Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Resolutions and to-do list

When I was younger my New Year's Resolutions were always along the lines of "Be a better person", and other things so vague they were doomed to either obvious failure or obvious success, depending on the stringency of your definition. I've found I have more luck with specifics, and a lot of what I want to do this year has to do with developing or picking up skills. "Do X more" falls into the vagueness trap, but "Do this specific thing once" goes against the spirit of resolutions in my mind - they should be about continuous self-improvement. To compromise with myself, I've made a project list!

Take a First Aid course

This one might be a cheat to include, as I signed up for it at the start of December. It starts at the end of the month, and I still have to pay, so I hope they're not the sort to give spots away. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, so I'm pretty excited!

Sew a bag

I have a few sewing projects under my belt, but I'd like to become more proficient at it.  There are some crafts I'd be happy to try once, and then leave be, and sewing isn't one of them, but the time required to set up and get a run at things, and the fact that it's stationary, are disadvantages it has against knitting. I have both the fabric and material to make an easy bag, though, and I have a few patterns I bought in a flurry of enthusiasm after my first sewing project, so I want to make a start on them.

Crochet Cthulhu

I learned to crochet hyperbolic shapes for my old job, and I use up spare yarn crocheting squares for the Henry Bear Blanketeers, but I can't do anything other than double and trebles. I learn better with a specific project, so I'm going to make Cthulhu from a pattern in Creepy Cute Crochet. I had been going to make this fella here for my brother for Christmas, but, having only looked at the pattern on Ravelry, I didn't realise the pattern was in Finnish, and Google translate let me down. (This meant my brother was the only one not opening a handmade gift from me on Christmas day and I am a terrible person.) This way I get to use a so-far-unused pattern book and get better at crochet! The pattern level is 'intermediate', but psshhht.

Build a robot capable of following a straight line

I'm excited about this one because everything else is just improving on something I can already do to some degree, but I have no idea about programming or electronics or building robots! I understand that the starter project for robotics is to build a robot capable of following a straight line, but obviously the eventual aim of my beginner's project will be to make the robot capable of feeling joy and love. It will be everything that I'm not. I yammered so much about my plan to build a robot that my boyfriend got me a beginner's Arduino set for Christmas, and an Arduino-compatible body, which looks like Wall-E if one uses a little imagination. Me and this robot, BFFz.

Learn The Heart Asks Pleasure First on piano

Because it makes me a little bit sad that there's a piano in the house and I can't play anything on it. I think I started to learn this piece years ago, before I gave up piano lessons and playing instruments generally, but I don't think I made it to the end, and it is incredibly beautiful. (I also think it's interesting that the sense of the piece is very different to the sense of the poem of the same name, by which I vaguely assume it to be inspired.)

Take a climbing course

I want to try a new sport, and want to do something about my feeble little arms. Twofer!

Run a half-marathon

There's one in the Phoenix Park in September, I can be ready by then! It will be nice not to expect this to happen when I walk into a sportswear shop or section.

Write a short horror story

I want to write anything that isn't precisely laid out facts, and short stories were my strength for the Leaving Cert. (I couldn't write discursive or persuasive essays without throwing in a qualifying, "But of course, I can see how I might be wrong and stupid and the exact opposite of what I've said may be the case", even though as Gaeilge it was "Níl aon dabht i m'intinn" and "Táimse go huile is go hiomlán i neamhaontais" all over the shop.)   Horror stories have a place in my heart, and I think it will be an enjoyable challenge because it's difficult to write a genuinely scary story.

I'll probably add to it over the course of the year - I want to take a language class, and join an Irish-speaking group to get mine back up to scratch, and start drawing again, and volunteer with kids once my Garda vetting for my new charity group comes through - but those will be a good start.

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