Turn of the Year

God Jul!

It is the turning of the year, and like Janus I am looking both backwards and forwards. Beware – today is a day of multiple posts.

As is traditional at this time of year my online friends have posted our yearly Resolutions thread. I notice I did not complete one last year, perhaps due to failing to complete most previous years’ resolutions. Let’s review previous years:

2013 Resolutions

1. Lose weight Let’s put a number to it. I want to get down to 165lbs. I can’t afford to pay for group anymore, but I know the logic, I just need to stick to it.

 – achieved in 2014, where I reached my goal of 147lbs, but now I’m back up to 182lbs (probably more due to this weeks lavish cheese eating) so need to restart.

2. Reduce my alcohol intake Because frankly it’s empty calories and it’s expensive.

 – … on the basis that I am already two scotches and a mulled wine down, this is perhaps one I need to take on board again this year.

3. Start a savings account for the cats It’s no good saying that I can either insure them or save the money instead and then not actually save the money in a separate account – if it’s in with my savings I won’t touch it as that is labelled ‘house’. If I start them their own account, I won’t feel so bad dipping into it.

 – Well I have a house now, so my normal savings account (though labelled ‘garden’ technically) is also labelled Rainy Day Fund, which includes cats. So done, technically, though I should put some by that I do not dip into even for garden.

4. Get Spock’s dental done Kitty has foul teeth, but what with Thomas’s lymphoma and Alfie’s ear, he’d dropped down the priority list.

 – done, but as Spock is a bad teeth cat (some have chronic gingivitis, he is one such cat) he is due another now. Perhaps my new resolution should be brushing their damn teeth so Kizzy (new kitten) and Alf don’t have the same issue later on, though Spock will continue to have issues despite brushing. No harm in brushing his teeth too though. Apart from to me, Mr Violent that he is…

5. Move out Assuming it makes sense to do so. Not that I don’t love living with my parents, and I’ll hang around if they need me, what with my dad’s illness and all, but my life goal is urban homesteading, and to do that really one needs a homestead. There’s only so much preserving and veg growing my parent’s can tolerate in their kitchen, and I simply don’t have the space in one room to re-start my craft hobbies. Everything’s easier in your own space, from craft to dieting yourself to slimming the cats…

 – Done! Succeeded in 2014. However due to garden being somewhat of a rate limiting factor the homesteading aspect has not been so successful (excusing onions with white rot, not my fault, a couple of brussel sprout plants, cabbages I don’t eat and chard I do). Garden must be a resolution of 2016. Also Spock was successfully slimmed. Alfie not so much.

6. Sort out my diet irrelevant of weight loss Bread is not a staple that really agrees with me, but priority shifts lately mean I’m eating a lot of it as it’s easy and we haven’t the time or energy to faff with cooking properly or indeed shopping properly. But a diet of mostly bread, pasta and beef gives me gut upset, so I need to get back to my more veg less carb lifestyle. Prolly goes with 5.

 – This is habit for me now – I do eat pasta but I never buy bread. I don’t think beef is an issue for me though perhaps I do need to Eat Less Meat and more fish.

7. Finish the website revamp Wink

 – … oops. We (J and I) have set ourselves April as a deadline. J has said this is stupid and not realistic, but with no deadline we will have no pressure. J is the limiting rate but legitimately so, being the programmer. I do need to pull my weight though, as eventually PHP 4 will become obsolete. So finishing it in 2016 is a resolution.

8. Graft my apple tree I have an old apple tree which I adore in our old house – eventually we’ll have to sell that house, or alternatively she may fall over (she’s 80+ at least, very tall, and at an angle). If I graft a cutting onto some rootstock I can have her shorter clone to take with us.

 – Done! Annie now exists in my garden and I have even eaten some of her clones’ apples. Though new resolution is to make sure the damn things survive. I have four of them – two M26 (dwarfing) and two M27 (very dwarfing), all still in pots as I can’t decide where to plant them. The nursery sold me two of each since the backups took as well, but now I have to find homes for four trees.

2013 Summary: 5/7, not bad, though they have promoted several new resolutions. Note, at 2014 I had a score of 2/7 so some of these were evidently multi-year resolutions.


2014 Resolutions

1. Be kinder
Sometimes I’m just mean/patronising and I shouldn’t be.

 – I am much better now, though I did find myself slipping the last couple of days. I do have some resolutions about being generally a more effective communicator, the wording of which perhaps reflects my more corporate lifestyle at the moment.

2. Finish weightloss – reach target of 10 stone/140lbs
Not far to go now, was at 147lbs before eating everything so just need to get that last little bit off.

 – See previous – Got to 147lbs, since then have put on almost 40lbs, so back to the drawing board! Though still below my max despite all the cheese in the world.

3. Exercise
Whether it’s yoga, Zumba, archery or Couch to 5k I need to do some exercise to tone up and improve cardiac fitness. I was a member of a gym in 2012 and I miss the exercise. Not something I thought I’d ever say… At the moment I can’t even find my trainers; they are lost somewhere in storage.

 – Definitely need to do this one. My back is failing again, I did one yoga session for bad backs and it made a massive improvement. It’s a no-brainer – this needs to be part of my routine. Although easier without a cat (Alf at the time) trying to help. I found my trainers though.

4. Settle down
If this new job works out, buy a house, settle down, move my stuff out of storage, get on with crafting, preserving and homesteading etc., consider getting a dog or some chickens or bees. I need somewhere to plant my grafted apple tree after all! This also goes hand in hand with finishing any projects that need stability like website revamp, sorting out diet, upgrading PC, repairing the laptop, finding my trainers etc.

 – Got house! Settled down, only a few boxes to work through. Laptop is fine (I think I just bought a new one), also bought a server to play Minecraft games, trainers are found though rarely worn. However I craft and preserve intermittently, and have no livestock. Or planted apple trees (they are in pots). Website revamp isn’t finished and diet isn’t that good. I would like to get some quails at some point (chickens are too noisy and perhaps too productive for a single person though) but it’s not a specific goal as they also come with responsibility. Main goal on urban homesteading front is the aforementioned garden-cum-allotment.

5. Sort out finances
Repair savings, having lived off them for a year, and set up the cat account.

 – Sorted – savings built, then decimated to pay for new windows, and are now being built again for garden. Cats will always have priority over house improvements so happy to share cat and house savings.

2014 Summary: 2.5/5 – Not horrific, but a noted continued deficiency in the health/welfare aspects.


No resolutions notably noted for 2015, that I can find. Which surprises me as, you know – see a post, respond automatically.


So what of 2016?

I have some objective resolutions and some subjective. Let’s start with the easy objective ones…

Objective resolutions:

  1. Get to 140lbs.
    Assuming I’m around 190lbs now, and can lose 1lb per week if I take a pessimistic view, that’s 50 weeks. So break it down (because a year is too long);
    April 1st = 177.5 or less.
    July 1st = 165 or less.
    October 1st = 152.5 or less.
    January 1st 2017 = 140lbs. Done.
    I am now also wondering if pounds should be expressed as fewer or less…. It should be ‘fewer pounds’, but ‘165 lbs or fewer’ looks weird… I wish to weigh less, and also to weigh 50 fewer lbs. Hmm.
  2. Give up alcohol for January.
    Get rid of the empty calories! This should correspond with #1. What I hope is that by the end of January I am so impressed with how easy it is to lose weight when not drinking anything, I will maintain that long term. Here’s hoping.
  3. Clean the cats’ teeth twice weekly.
    I think I may need a chart. And with Spock, a set of gauntlets.
  4. Get Alfie to 5.5kg. Get Kizzy on a diet that fills her up and suits her dodgy gassy belly so that her belly is the same width as her chest.
    If I have to slim, so do you, tub-o-lard and fartipants. Spocklar, you are exempt, as you are a Target Member of our weight/girth loss group. Well done. Have a sticker.
  5. Eat fish (omega 3 rich) at least twice a week. Reduce meat consumption to no more than twice a week.
    Vegetarian food is ok. Vegetarian food is ok. Vegetarian food is ok. Say it with me. Seriously though, as I have bad joints (double jointed with joint pain, bad lumbar spine, dodgy left ankle), a tendency to brain issues (dyslexia), faint family history of heart problems (Granddad), boosting omega-3’s in my diet is no bad thing. And all of us in animal welfare and with any understanding of the cost of raising meat versus ‘raising’ vegetables know that eating less meat is a good thing all round.
  6. Finish the fecking website revamp.
    Ok, so April is optimistic, but 2017 is not. FINISH THE BLASTED WEBSITE. Last revamp was 2009. Revamp has been planned since about 2012. This is becoming unacceptable.
  7. Revamp front garden
    I think March is a realistic deadline for the front garden. It’s not supposed to be productive, it just needs stripping and covering with weed fabric and new gravel, and I just want to have it done before the weeds establish. Again. So lets just get the damn thing done as soon as the weather is good enough. I have a handy man sorted – book him by the start of March, or earlier, weather permitting.
  8. Revamp back garden
    Although I would like this done earlier so I can grow veg this year, it is a bigger project. Same idea though – strip it, place weed fabric, and then lay out raised beds and grow veg. Book man by the start of June. Seriously, get it done.

Only two subjectives!

  1. Be a better manager.
    It’s fine to be nice, but dammit I need to be effective as well. I’m not ineffective but there is an element of only ever picking the low-hanging fruit, while the big airship projects float overhead untouched. I have very high standards for myself, and will generally feel that I have not achieved unless I have achieved perfection. To help with this I will be setting some objective resolutions for 2016 away from this blog.
  2. Be more organised/structured
    The act of even setting the objective resolutions feeds into this – I think I need to approach life as if I am in Starfleet. Get up at a specific time, do set tasks, achieve.


So there we have it. A three-year review, and a set of objective resolutions. My thoughts of approaching life as if I were a Starfleet officer did remind me of my first blog (which wasn’t a blog as it was private as the internet barely existed in those days) where I wrote about my life using a Star Trek universe as a parody. I was the Captain of a starship, possible called the Vantage (big Voyager fan) and I wrote my diary as a captain’s log. Stardate was expressed as 20151221 so legible and datable, and characters were given ranks appropriate to their hierarchy over me, so I think ?teachers? were Admiral’s etc.

I was inspired to find that blog so have started a search of all my old DVDs/CDs labeled things like ‘Old PC backup 2001’ etc. to see if I can find it. And is often the way, I have found other things of interest, which I will be posting here, hence the alert at the start of this post; beware, more posts follow…

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