Tag Archives: fears

January – Goals and Resolutions

New Year's Decorations

New Year’s Decorations

Ahhh, January. The month of new beginnings, of fresh starts, of plans and goals and motivation. Of post-holiday depression, of dark mornings, of bleak weather (yes, even in Arizona). It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

We’re a whole month into the new year, and I’ve had plenty of time to think about how successful I was on my resolutions for last year (surprisingly successful!) and what I want to do with the year ahead of me.

Last year was about the little things – the minor elements of daily life that tend to pile on top of each other to put me in a foul mood. With a few little adjustments, I started chipping away and the things that stressed me out the most. I took a test, tried to be on time to work (which worked out until the time changed), flossed my teeth (sometimes – I guess, slightly more than usual), started running, and compiled and began reading a very long book list. And then, as with everything else in life, huge gigantic upheaval entered and I was worried that all my work was for naught.

Arizona mountains in December

Arizona mountains in December

Turned out that was totally false. As far as helping me achieve my goals, moving has been one of the best things that’s happened in a long time. Of course, I’ve always loved moving. Yes, it’s hard. It continues to be hard every single day. But talk about new beginnings! I wrote a little about how moving has changed very basic things about my habits. Since getting our stuff back and moving into a new place, those habits have changed again, and not necessarily for the better. But I have the unique chance to re-organize my life, basically from scratch.

I have big plans for 2013. This year is about the big things, the goals that will pay off in the long term, but will take some work today.

In 2013 I’m going to:

  • take all my architecture tests. And hopefully pass them all, too, but let’s set reasonable goals, OK?
  • get an architecture job
  • move to a long-term house
  • continue my reading project: my goal is 52 books this year, 30 from my classics list. so far I’ve read 2 – both from the list!
  • grow a garden and start composting again
Snow covered tree in Cincinnati

Snow covered tree in Cincinnati

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New Sidewalks / New Shoes: Adventures in Walking

One of the things I disliked about our first apartment in Tucson was that it was so far away from everything that it was very hard to walk anywhere. It was also super hot (I think the 90 days over 100° this year were the first 90 days we were here) which made it hard to be outside at all. So when we moved to a bigger place, I wanted to be able to walk places! The walks from our apartment are a bit long, usually over a mile, but the weather has cooled down to the “beautiful” stage that everyone was telling us about (OK, so it still gets near 90° but the evenings are wonderful) and all the basics are walkable – groceries, library, pharmacy, park, church, Starbucks, etc. This weekend was in the 70s so we went on some walking adventures.

Well, it actually started when I took my bike out last week. I’ve outfitted it for hauling groceries and library books and such, with panniers and a rack. The rack that came with the bike did not get along with the panniers and almost led to a wipe-out one bike ride in Cincinnati when the pannier came unhooked and got stuck in my wheel spokes. So I needed a new rack for the back of my bike, and some lights for if I’m ever out after dark. Off I went on my bike to the bike shop, having not really ridden my bike since I was a little kid. I rode a few times in Cincy, but always on back streets with no traffic. It was terrifying. The super-busy main street was actually totally fine. It has a bike lane and is well taken care of – smooth road, no potholes, no gravel. The side roads were quite different. The one with traffic was extra bumpy and had tons of potholes. The one without any traffic was covered in very fine gravel. Because no one has grass here, yards are all covered in gravel. I guess it’s quite hard to keep the gravel in the yard, and it often spills into the street. And gathers in little piles where the traffic pushes it, and makes novice bike riders like me panic a lot.

While I’m on the subject of gravel . . . it’s the gravel that required me to get new shoes. Also, I can always find an excuse for new shoes. But these are not my typical shoes. Usually, when I go shoe shopping, I end up with heels or flats, at least one pair in a bright pattern or color. This time I ended up with these:

Sandals

on purpose. I wanted sandals that I could walk/bike in, for quite a long way, through the gravel without having sore feet. I grew up in those velcro-strapped sporty sandals – Teva-type but Teva’s were too expensive – and I was looking for the grown-up version of those. Turns out they’re kind of hard to find, especially in October. So I spent several hours going to every shoe store I could find in Tucson and ended up back at DSW (where I started). I hope they will be practical and comfortable and still be appropriate to wear out. We’ll see.

So, for the real story, we thought that we might take our bikes out together over the weekend, but I wasn’t really up for the stress quite yet. We took our trusty feet out for a walk – we got pizza, walked to the park, and had a lovely little picnic. There were tons of people at the park – kids were playing on the playground, people were out walking their dogs and kids, a soccer game was in full swing. We ate our pizza, then lay down on our picnic blanket for a while and enjoyed being outside and in the company of other people. It was a fun Friday night.

Saretta Picnic

Our picnic spot.

Pizza

Mmmmm, Pizza

Nate

Nate’s just really happy that we got pizza for dinner. It doesn’t happen very often.

Picnic Tree

The big pine tree we sat under.

Sunset

If you look closely, you can see the mountains.

Church

Church at the edge of the Park

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Wednesday – Sketches

sketch 1

an architectural detail in Rome

Today I did something I have not done in a very long time.  I opened my sketch book.

I haven’t drawn anything – yet.  Sketching terrifies me and always has.  Despite design school, despite being encouraged and taught and even graded on my creativity and sometimes my sketches, despite 6 years of communicating my ideas through sketches, despite an entire summer in Europe filling a sketch book, despite all the practice I have, I am still terrified.  And I’m not really sure why.  I passed all my classes; no professor ever told me my sketches were terrible.  I was told other parts of my design process were not up to par, but that’s pretty much required for design school.  Ask any designer, they will agree.  I own a lot of sketchbooks, but as I was looking through them again to write this, I discovered that the vast majority of them are less than half full.

The image today is one of my sketches.  Don’t bother telling me whether or not you think it’s good – I wouldn’t have posted it if I didn’t think it was appropriate for public consumption.  It’s from the Europe trip, by the end of which I had several passable sketches.  I love looking through that sketchbook, there are so many memories locked in the unassuming little black book.  And by the end of the trip, I was getting pretty good.  I filled many sketchbooks that summer, and it’s quite possible I haven’t sketched since.

The first page is the hardest.  That blank page looking back at me, judging me for the awful sketches I’m bound to scratch out.  So I usually just close the book, leave it for another day.  But today – today I’m tired of leaving it blank.  I still don’t know where to start, so I will do what I’ve always thought was the best thing for the first page of a sketchbook – a big fat slash.  So there.  I put something in my sketchbook.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll actually sketch.

sketch 2

a more typical I'm-sketching-because-I'm-bored sketch

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