It's a Resolution, Baby!

52 Weeks. 52 New Year's Resolutions.

52 Weeks Wiser. Resolutions in Review. January 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — H-Ro @ 2:54 PM
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I realise none many of you have lately found yourselves wandering listlessly, stuffing yourselves with all manner of unhealthy concoctions to fill the empty void that’s opened in your hearts since this blog has come to an end.  So I offer you this one final post to tack up on your wall and read over and over until the pain begins to fade.  OR it will simply bore you to tears and you’ll feel immense relief at never having to subject yourselves to my banal meanderings ever again.

 

First of all I’d like to thank my family—particularly my mum and dad (when they weren’t cursing me for my stupid resolutions)—my friends and the occasional strangers for all your incredible support.  I have felt astonished and touched (the good kind) by your positive comments and suggestions and I am very much looking forward to spending more time with you this year which is one of my (unofficial) resolutions.  Amazingly I have even managed to inspire one of you to start a similar crusade of your own.

 

Some have asked me about my resolutions for this year and while I have delightedly answered that I have none, the truth is it’s difficult to separate all the things I want to achieve from the resolution tag.  For instance I am thrilled about finally having the time to finish some of my Playstation games, complete my studies, establish our new business, go out more often, experiment with my camera and actually clean out my room (I can hear my parents gasping already), some of which I will only be able to bring myself to do by adopting the resolution approach and putting aside dedicated time for them.  I’ve said it before and I shall repeat it this one last time—it is amazing what you can get done once you commit to making it happen.

 

An interesting side effect of these resolutions is a newfound bravery.  Once I would have let embarrassment and inconvenience get in the way of things I wanted to do but yesterday at the Gallery of Modern Art my friend and I put aside discomfort to join long queues for the best and most memorable exhibitions and have a go on the large metal slide that joins the third floor to the ground floor.  Normally I would have walked away from these experiences because they were too challenging but they ended up being the highlights of the day.  I am so looking forward to enjoying life without having the resolution blog looming over me every second, but with the greater enthusiasm it has given me for adventure and new experiences.  You never know, I may even come back to this blog if I find myself with some money to burn.

 

In the meantime I’ve started a new task which I may blogarise in the future if I can think of a way to make it interesting.  I’ve begun entering every competition I find provided I’m eligible and the conditions aren’t too difficult.  The idea started as a way to prove how unlucky I am but it occurred to me that maybe that’s because I don’t put myself out there enough.  So if you’re lucky (or, more specifically, if I’M lucky) you may find resolution baby has turned into winner baby.

 

To end this blog I thought I would give an update on each resolution, perhaps unwisely because I found that writing the updates was almost as painful as actually doing them so only the truly committed amongst you should bother to read on.  For the rest of you I hoped you enjoyed Resolution Baby.  Thanks for coming.

 

1.  Start a Blog.

Well, yes, I did start a blog and by some miracle managed to sustain it for 52 weeks.  Sadly, now I am ending one.

 

2.  Be a Better Photographer.

Thanks to the blog I finally feel as if I’m at a point where I can wrap my head around the workings of an SLR without having to continually reread the manual.  Problem being, whenever I take my camera off ‘Auto’ the photos usually turn out terrible.  In 2011 I plan to discover whether this is because my camera is faulty or if I’m simply not destined for photography.

 

3.  Learn to Use Photoshop.

Earlier in the year I applied for a retouching job which initially resulted in a lot of interest from the employer but after sending them some of my Photoshop efforts I never heard from them again.  I’ve barely used Photoshop since due to a lack of time and a lack of faith in my skills.  I assume Photoshop can’t be faulty so I’m taking full responsibility for this one and will dedicate large portions of this year to being better with it.

 

4.  Read 3 Books a Month.

I’m well aware I never posted my books for the final three months so here they are:

 

October –

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Beautiful Creatures – Garcia & Stohl

Prophecy of the Sisters – Michelle Zink

 

November –

Guardian of the Gate – Michelle Zink

Hush Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick

Crescendo – Becca Fitzpatrick (the worst thing I’ve ever read)

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life – Bryan Lee O’Malley

Preincarnate – Shaun Micallef

The Countesses of Castello – Milena Agus

 
December –

An Object of Beauty – Steve Martin

The Hundred-Foot Journey – Richard C. Morais

Nerd Do Well – Simon Pegg (I hate to admit it but I technically didn’t finish this until January so it doesn’t actually qualify for December.  Therefore, I failed one resolution.  That’s alright isn’t it?)

 

I’ve decided not to include reviews, however if you continue to be interested in my reading efforts you can find me devoutly using Goodreads at http://goodreads.com/Starlsy – a site I cannot recommend highly enough if you love to read.  If you do decide to take a look you will notice I have 80+ books on my ‘To Read’ list.  Sadly, at least 75 of these are already cluttering my bookshelf waiting for their turn to have their pages ruffled.

 

5.  Make a Record Bowl.

It sits on my dresser holding my stuff.

 

6.  Learn to Yoyo.

Suffice to say I have not decided to take yoyoing up as a regular hobby however I did recently have a go of my five year old second-cousin’s yoyo and, while I was still useless with it, it was much easier to use than the plastic hunk of crap I was trying to use.

 

7.  Go to GOMA.

I’ve been back twice since.  It never disappoints.

 

8.  Register as an Organ Donor.

Still registered, although, thankfully, organs still intact.

 

9.  Start a Trivia Team.

I have not been back to trivia since but am definitely keen to do so now I have a bit more spare time.  I shall endeavour to drink less.

 

10.  Become a Fictional Character.

Nick Earls’s next book is due out in July.  No idea what it will be called.  No idea if my character will make the cut.

 

11.  Learn a Craft from Mum.

I am never sewing again.

 

12.  Make a Terrarium.

The terrarium still provides a leafy home for my plastic figurines although it is looking a little sadder and sparser now than ever before.  Unfortunately the smaller one died quite quickly, was replaced, and died again.  Regardless, it was a fun and worthwhile task.

 

13.  Explore the Rumour of a Local Beach.

I’ve not been back which I hoped to do come summer, but since Queensland hasn’t seen the sun for weeks it may have to wait a touch longer.  I’ve added it to my ‘Things To Do’ file which is oddly labelled ‘Time Travel’.

 

14.  Dress like a Geisha.

Even thinking about this makes my eyes hurt at the memory of the white gunk plastered on my face.  The kimono is now safely tucked away until next time I get the urge to spend hours getting dressed.

 

15.  Check out a Roller Derby Game.

I actually went to the second bout as well but it gets a little boring if you attend too regularly.  Still, a fun night out and am looking forward to catching a game from a different league eventually.  Also, a skate centre has opened up near my house so … well … I was going to imply that maybe I’ll get so good I’ll join a derby team, but who am I kidding right?

 

16.  Make a 3-Dimensional Theatre.

Now lives in a box in the garage.  I think.  Where’d you put that Dad?

 

17.  Learn About Nutrition.

Ahem.  Oh hey, I did get a dehydrator for Christmas and I’m whipping up some tasty and healthy snacks as we speak.  Hopefully this will offset the 10kg of Cadbury chocolate sitting in the fridge.

 

18.  Make Homemade Ice Cream.

T’was delicious.  Also made a second batch of sorbet that was pineapple and passionfruit flavour.  Now that it’s summer we’ll undoubtedly finish that off.

 

19.  Free the West Memphis Three.

As of November all three of the WM3 have been granted evidentiary hearings to decide whether a new trial will be ordered due to insufficient evidence being available in the original trial.  The case is being given priority as the judge is keen to “get this done as soon as possible”. Damien’s wife delivered the news saying ‘this is the beginning’.  He replied, ‘no, quite frankly, this is the end.’  Easily my most popular blog post.

 

20.  Notice other Numbers.

The number 33 continues to plague me, in fact, more so now that my parents take photos of their own instances of 33 and email them to me.  I just try to ignore it.

 

21.  Attend Paniyiri Greek Festival.

This was my least favourite resolution of the year, and probably the weakest addition.  I apologise.

 

22.  Learn to Knit.

I never did wear that cowl.

 

23.  Prepare a Four-Course Meal.

Is anyone still reading?  Purple Monkey Dishwasher.

 

24.  Attend Lifeline Bookfest.

I believe there’s another one soon.  I was going to volunteer but the temptation to add more books to my collection would just be too great.  My name is Hayley and I’m a bookaholic.

 

25.  Make Preserves.

The jam was delicious.  I’m waiting for the day my mother asks me to make more.  The corn relish is too dry and chunky.  Have never found a solution for this and as a result it’s slowly turning mouldy in the pantry.  Sad face.

 

26.  Go to Australia Zoo.

And I did.  Writing a recap for all 52 resolutions was a bit silly really.

 

27.  Wander Through a Cemetery at Night.

Looking forward to wandering through a cemetery during the day, equipped with camera, sometime soon.

 

28.  Be a Tourist in my own City.

It would be too soon to do this again but it was a lovely experience and I’m looking forward to working with some of the photos this year.

 

29.  Learn to Meditate.

Haven’t done any meditation since.  I would like to though.  I’ll stick it on that ‘Time Travel’ list.

 

30.  Appreciate Past Achievements.

A few more to add now and hopefully the future will bring many more substantial ones.

 

31.  Splendour in the Grass Music Festival.

Will I go again this year?  Only time will tell.

 

32.  Watch Movies I’ve Never Seen.

Now I just need to catch up on all the other movies and TV shows cluttering up the place. You can follow my viewing habits at http://gomiso.com/u/starlsy.

 

33.  Catch Up With My Family.

Just got back from Adelaide having spent Christmas with the Southern relatives.  It was a marvellous time.  And not so fraught with drama.

 

34.  Visit a City I’ve Never Been To:  Adelaide.

Now I’ve been there twice!

 

35.  Attend a Writers Festival.

I look forward to attending more now that my anger over the last one has subsided.

 

36.  Go to Powerhouse Farmers Markets.

I haven’t been back although I’ve discovered a couple nearer to home that I’m looking forward to attending.

 

37.  Eat My Weight in Chocolate.

Why did I think this was a worthy resolution?  I do this all the time!

 

38.  Get to Know My Local Area.

Now that the resolution challenge is over I’m immensely looking forward to spending more time in these newfound places.

 

39.  Learn about Web 2.0.

Well, whaddya know?  I finished this very worthy course from which I’ve learnt a lot.  And I won a $50 WOW Sight and Sound GIFT VOUCHER.  Awesome!  They will be revising and adding new components to the course later in the year.  And hopefully, more prizes.

 

40.  See the Tim Burton Exhibition.

I did finally buy a copy of ‘The Art of Tim Burton’ from eBay for cheaper than from the publisher.  It is the most beautiful thing I own.

 

41.  Try Cake Decorating.

This just ain’t for me.  I wonder if she ever ate it all?

 

42.  Zombie Walk!

Already thinking about my costume for this year.  Bring it on.

 

43.  Make Something with Felt.

I haven’t made anything more yet (except a pouch to hold a present) but I’m always thinking of new things to make.  Perhaps I’ll have a whole felt family by the end of this year?

 

44.  See Monster Trucks.

From what I understand the Monster Trucks Association has since fallen apart (much like the trucks) so we may have been very lucky to catch this show.  I might have my facts wrong though.

 

45.  Start a Business.

This is still very much in the works, however after a few negative comments and a few timing issues this is probably moving forward slower than anticipated.  It will be the first task I commit to this year.

 

46.  Learn how to Frame Pictures.

No mat cutter for Christmas people!  My birthday is in May.  I did buy some frames from Ikea and have framed a few of my favourite pictures.  If only the mats fit them properly.

 

47.  Try Pumpkin Pie.

Most of this went in the bin.

 

48.  Have Acupuncture.

I stopped having acupuncture and taking the Chinese herbs.  I’ve barely had hayfever since.  Stupid unpredictable condition.

 

49.  See U2.

I saw Gorillaz the following week.  U2 were good but the Gorillaz stage show was bloody incredible.  If you ever get to see them, whether you like them or not, jump at the chance.

 

50.  See The Nutcracker.

I was given a ticket to see Wicked the Musical for Christmas which I’m thrilled about seeing since I originally missed it in London.  I didn’t get a nutcracker though.

 

51.  Give to Charity at Christmas.

Well I’ve only just done this resolution.  Gimme a chance!  Am looking forward to seeing the RSPCA pet I sponsored after January 25th.

 

52.  Celebrate the New Year & Reflect on the Last.

If you’re keen to do something next year get in touch and we’ll plan something BIG.

 

Anyone still with me?  Hello?  Is this thing on?

 

You’re the truly special ones.  Thanks for taking the journey with me to …

 

The End.  🙂

 

 

Week 52. Resolution 52. Celebrate the New Year & Reflect on the Last. January 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — H-Ro @ 5:46 PM
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One of the primary reasons I began this blog is that last New Year’s Eve I was filled with despondency at spending the most important night of the year playing Little Big Planet with my mum while the outside world erupted in fireworks and joviality.  I love my mum (and also Little Big Planet) but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being left out of a universal cause for celebration.  This ignited a lightbulb of realisation that I’d become the kind of person who waits around for life to happen instead of forcing it to work for me which could only end in another 12 months of failed expectations and false hopes that each successive year would be better.

 

Did these 52 resolutions make for a better year?  My initial response was no but that was because I was looking at it from the wrong perspective.  Sure I am still single, working a casual job and living with my parents.  If anything, the resolution challenge made it even more difficult to improve upon these areas, sapping all my money and spare time.  But it did give me a purpose, 52 personal achievements to be proud of and more confidence in my writing.  It sent me on many journeys I wouldn’t necessarily have taken and forced me to put aside excuses to learn and create things I’d always wanted to but would never have gotten around to otherwise.  While it distanced me from some, it brought me closer to others and it has given me a handy method to tackle all my tasks in future and an ingrained motivation to continually strive to be better in years to come.  Maybe I didn’t tick any of those big boxes but that certainly doesn’t mean that this blog has not been worthwhile.  Perhaps it wasn’t a brilliant year but it was by no means a bad year either considering it was rich and full and I was blessed in many ways.  There are two sides to everything—it’s just a matter of which one you choose to focus on.

 

For my 52nd resolution I was adamant to spend my New Year’s Eve doing SOMETHING.  Initially I had grand plans to finish my resolutions with a flourish but most people don’t like to think about New Years before Christmas and early efforts to rouse interest in friends fell on deaf ears.  This was my mistake in 2009 and the frantic scrambling for last minute activities was not something I wished to repeat.  Subsequently, ideas such as house boats, theme parks, beaches, golf and picnics were all thrown around as the ideal way to spend the day of New Year’s Eve but when I discovered I’d been scheduled to work, my plans shrunk in size.  Instead I considered a pre-eve dinner, gathering friends together before they set off on their drinking adventures but my work hours were extended and so all my plans became unfulfilled dreams.  No matter.  I still had a party to go to and nothing was going to get in my way.

 

After work I was a whirlwind of preparation cooking hors d’oeuvres and blending fresh raspberries, mint, and apple & cranberry juice to act as mixer for my vanilla vodka.  Both of these were enjoyed amidst my friend’s backyard tropical garden where the night was filled with chats, laughter, music, sparklers, toxic punch and the inevitable end of night Singstar screeching.  (I suspect our hosts practice a lot of Singstar in their spare time as I can never beat them.)  It was a fantastic evening among company that I always enjoy immensely, even if I did suffer a mammoth hangover, a shattered container, a grazed knee and a potentially fractured toe the next day.  But as the night ended at approximately 4:40am these ailments were probably to be expected.

 

The interesting thing I learnt in my process of concocting the perfect evening is that most people simply don’t care about New Year’s Eve.  Many folk I spoke to about their plans were more discouraged by having to stay up until midnight than the disappointment of spending the night at home.  It seems that they’d learnt a lesson I was still yet to learn.  That New Year’s Eve simply marks the end of another average year and the start of another mediocre one and no manner of crazy celebration is going to affect how the new year will turn out.  It made me realise that I shouldn’t feel resentful if I have no plans and in fact, if I hadn’t spent a New Year’s Eve at home I may never have devised the Resolution Challenge.

 

However, there’s also much to be said for sacrificing one night of sleep to spend tapping into universal good cheer with friends and family celebrating having made it through another year with all the trials and triumphs it bestowed and the glimmer of hope that the next year will be filled with good health, good fortune, inspiration, accomplishment, happy surprises, and more good days than bad.  And if nothing else, the recognition that it takes an average year to prepare for an amazing one.

 

There are two sides to everything—it’s just a matter of which one you choose to focus on.  And your choice may make all the difference.

 

Week 51. Resolution 51. Give to Charity at Christmas. January 3, 2011

The Christmas story I’ve always found the most moving is the Hans Christian Andersen tale, ‘The Little Match Girl’ where a young match seller freezes to death while imagining the perfect Christmas for herself—the kind of decadent Christmas so many of us take for granted.

 

It seems ironic that our bizarre Christmas tradition, intended as a celebration of the birth of Jesus, generally results in gluttony and excess.  However, it can’t be denied that it is the one time of year where we can enthusiastically love and be loved, give and receive and show our appreciation for the people who enrich our lives.  They say charity begins at home and at no time is this truer than Christmas making it the perfect opportunity for some of this charity to spill over into the lives of those for whom Christmas is a struggle.

 

Over the years charity has become a controversial topic about which a lot of criticism, negative attitudes and judgement have arisen.  There was a time you could donate some blankets, tins of food or second-hand toys but now all the charities ask for is MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, and, in some cases, a signature on a petition.  Subsequently it’s become difficult to make a difference if you’re time or cash poor.  Most people are now sceptical about how much of their monetary contribution actually makes it to those in need with the establishment taking a sizeable scoop off the top.  Charity shops have become priced well out of the range of those in need because demand has outweighed supply and the dollar has become more important than provisions for the underprivileged.  Whatever your opinion it’s clear that charity certainly has a massive PR problem.

 

Furthermore, people are often judged for the nature of their contribution with a common belief being that the only valid way to help is by volunteering, while others simply use the guise of charity to falsely flaunt their philanthropic natures.  On the other hand, people who actively campaign for charity can become a financial burden on their friends and risk adopting a self righteous attitude.

 

Personally I’ve not always been an overly charitable person.  I’ve given here and there but never with great gusto and I, too, felt charitable organisations were not to be trusted.  Yet, gradually my attitude has changed over the past two years to the point that I now I find myself passionately adopting causes and donating unthinkingly.  I always empty my wallet of change whenever I see a collection box for the RSPCA, Leukaemia Foundation or the Guide Dogs and feel saddened when my coins makes a dull thud against the plastic instead of clinking upon a mountain of change.  I hope my gradual progression will evolve from “change for change” to eventually inspire me to put aside my insecurities and make a tangible difference through a hands-on contribution.

 

To work towards this end I began thinking about what I could do this Christmas.  My interest was initially sparked by an ad in a local magazine looking for gift-wrapping volunteers in support of the Leukaemia Foundation.  As someone who has directly experienced the helping hand of the Leukaemia Foundation I jumped at the chance to give something back, despite my extremely shoddy gift wrapping skills.  Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for them) they already had enough volunteers and so I was added to a standby list should they need extra assistance.

 

This is not the first time I’ve put myself forward for volunteer work and found that the charities in question were already full up with volunteers or had a list of demands that were impossible for the average Joe to meet—most likely because they’re looking to sift out the best from a charitable, but not necessarily qualified, bunch.  Naturally, to retain the best of the best, they then need to consider paying wages which is where the cost of running these organisations begins to skyrocket and why people become wary of how their contributions are being utilised.

 

I’ve personally chosen a number of charities to support of which I’m no longer suspicious about whether my money is directly reaching those in need because I’ve come to understand that the infrastructure and staff are equally crucial in making a difference.  Besides, if you gave money directly to a cause you’d likely find it would be squandered without proper procedures in place.  And let’s not forget that you need to spend money to make money.  Charity organisations may not be ideal but they’re the best vehicle we have.

 

With this in mind I put a small amount of money aside from my Christmas spend to divvy up between my favourite charities, being the Leukaemia Foundation, Amnesty International and the RSPCA in my support of health, human rights and animal protection; all charities I’ve seen direct action from and feel I can trust.  I also deposited some money into the commissary account of Damien Echols from the West Memphis Three to contribute to his nutrition while on death row, making a direct impact to his quality of life.

 

As my Christmas holiday involved a plane journey I ensured I put some money into the Guide Dog containers scattered throughout the airport and donated my change via the UNICEF envelope distributed with Qantas headphones.  I also signed petitions for World Vision and Amnesty for causes I believed in.  I purchased gift tags only from companies that gave a portion of the purchase price to charity and I picked up this little guy from IKEA to put under the Kmart Wishing Tree.  He made me smile and I hope he makes a child in need smile for a time too.  I considered at length whether I could bring myself to donate blood but simply the thought of giving a whole bag made me considerably squeamish and so I decided against it.

 

I expect some will judge me for my meagre contribution.  It would not be the first time.  But I believe I’ve made a difference that requires no approval and while it may not seem like much now, I know I’ve fuelled a  fire within myself that will lead me to make regular contributions by any means I can.  Perhaps I can urge you to do the same?