2022 Prospective

Let’s switch things up this year — let’s write the prospective first. After all, 2021 is over on December 31st, and then I have all of 2022 to reflect; I can literally write the retrospective any time. But the sooner I announce my 2022 theme, and put it down on paper, the sooner I’ll know what I’m fully committing to.

So without further ado, 2022 will be…

The Year of “Enough.”

I’ve felt overwhelmed for a while now by all the “stuff” in my life. In my day jorb, I am an engineering manager at a startup — itself a stressful situation — and in my personal life I try to balance too many hobbies, including larping, TTRPGs, writing novels, and streaming games on Twitch.

This is a lot. A lot of commitments, and a lot of possessions. A lot of mental energy consumed tracking things, maintaining them, and disposing of them when they’re no longer useful. This is the outer and inner disorder contributing to my lack of calm.

It got both better and worse when I started treating my ADHD. I now have fewer “dunwannas,” and hard, boring things are easier to do than they used to be. But at the same time, once I was medicated, I felt like possibilities were open to me that weren’t before. And when that happened, a million ideas I wouldn’t have bothered with before crowded through the door to my attention.

It’s exhausting. Even when I relax, I can’t relax. I feel like a tireless engine that always needs to do, do, do.

My goal in 2022 is to pare down my life to the essentials.

What does this mean? I’ll give you a few watch words and strategies that I have in mind.

Cultivate boredom.

I want to be okay with doing nothing, even just for a few minutes at a time. Meditation helps, when I actually do it. But there are other ways to be bored.

Watch my kittens play.

Pet Lirazel.

Stare out the skylights.

Listen to the hum of the refrigerator.

“For every new thing you bring into your life, ask yourself: what will you give up?”

These words of wisdom came from Janessa, the director of marketing at my company and an all-around brilliant person. I would have phrased this less eloquently by saying something like “interrogate everything that comes into your life.” Or: “one thing in, one thing out.”

There’s a tricksy bit here. Many commitments aren’t explicitly brought into my life; they sneak in. Thus cultivating awareness of their arrival is a necessary first step.

For example, my Pathfinder group decided to commission art of the party. And by “decided” I mean I instigated it, and thus I’m the one who had to compile everyone’s preferences and communicate with the artist. Did I think of that before I posted “hey folks wanna get some party art done?” in our Discord?

I did not.

Was it worth the time I spent herding cats? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.

But I am getting better at…

Saying no.

Or at least, better at saying, “maybe,” “let me think about it,” or “let me check my calendar.”

It might be worthwhile keeping note of the things I say “no,” “yes,” or “maybe” to in a single day — maybe in my journal? What we measure, we improve, after all. For example, recently I said…

  • “No” to getting a book out of the library when I have three in progress and hundreds unread on my shelf.
  • “Yes” to playing in a new D&D campaign (that I’ve been wanting to play for a while) — and I’ve been pretty joyful about this.
  • “Maybe” to buying a Worldcon 2022 membership from someone who can no longer use it.

Likewise, I think it’s important that I reflect on what I have brought into my life, and how it’s made me feel. I bought an RPG sourcebook recently, rather expensively, which turned out to be not what I expected. I might still get value out of it, but probably not what I anticipated. How could I have prevented mistakes like this?

And when that fails…

Get rid of the stuff that no longer brings me joy

Declutter, in other words. Both physical things and intangible things like commitments. Recurring expenses. Clothes that no longer fit. Books that represent a person you no longer are, or a life you’ll never lead.

I suppose this is a little Konmari-ish, though I can’t really say I love her methods. Some of it seems very silly and woo-woo to me; I will not start my decluttering journey by thanking my house, sorrynotsorry. I’ve also looked into The Home Edit and uhhhh those ladies have way too much energy for me. I know my library has a copy of Peter Walsh’s book It’s All Too Much — I’ve read it before! Maybe it’s time to take a second look.

… goddamn it, Lise, you’re doing it again. Even if they’re library books, even if they go home after three weeks, they’re still mental clutter.

Ultimately: what a home organization system won’t tell me is what stuff no longer fits my life. That’s a path I have to walk all by myself.

In any case, I started my decluttering today — a “Begin as You Mean to Go On” strategy, as Leigh Bardugo would call it — by going through one of my bookshelves and getting rid of a number of books. Technical manuals that are so old they’re useless, books I have to be honest about never reading, etc.

In the process I discovered…

It’s harder to get rid of things than to acquire them

So now I have a box of books I don’t want sitting in my guest bedroom, right? What am I going to do with them? They’re still taking up room in my house.

I can’t find any book donation bins near me. My town library isn’t taking them right now. The nearest thrift store is a Salvation Army, which I would prefer not to donate to — and the nearest Goodwill or Savers is 40 minutes away in Worcester. The only charity that will do home pickups to my area is the Epilepsy Foundation, and currently they are only picking up clothes, bedding, and shoes.

The library in the next town over is taking some donations of books, so that is probably what I will look into. But that will require me to take some time out of my day — probably a weekday — and drive over there and potentially wait in line and who knows, they might still tell me they don’t take them.

(ETA: I learned that the dump in the next town over has a book donation box! Hooray!)

Whereas if I want to buy a new book, it’s a few clicks away, and it will show up automagically on my phone or at my doorstep.

… maybe the lesson here is “don’t save your credit card info in your browser.” I definitely would do less impulse buying if I had to go downstairs and find my credit card every time I wanted to buy something.

The decluttering burst

I learned about this from the Be More With Less blog. It’s literally “let(ting) go of one hundred things in less than an hour.” It’s even easier if you count throwing out trash.

I’ve tried it a few times, and honestly, the hardest part was counting how many things you got rid of.

But seriously, folks…

No more books.

I have SUCH a backlog. Maybe this is a good year to conquer Mount TBR. As I said elseweb…

If I really, really need to read books that aren’t on my bookshelf — like, say, for the book club at my job — I can use the public library. But as I said above… for the love of gourd, stop, Lise.

Regular connectivity detoxes.

I love ye olde W-W-W, I really do. I work as a web developer, after all! And how else could I miss half of a movie by falling down an IMDb rabbit hole?

I’ve talked before about the “attention economy” that is social media, and what a drain it can be on our lives, so I won’t say more here. But there’s another piece to this, which is the fact that we now have the entirety of human knowledge at our fingertips, on our phones. For someone like me — with ADHD — this can be the source of more “brain stuff” that we don’t need.

For example, recently I learned about 1000 Hours Outside — a challenge to spend a thousand hours outside in the next year. It’s mostly aimed at kids, but adults can play, too, and once I saw that one of the trackers was a coloring sheet, I was ready to sign up.

Noooooo, Lise. A thousand hours outside in a year is ~2.7 hours per day, and how tf would I fit that in my life? Do I just want another thing I to feel obligated to do? I already have a hard time getting outside as much as I would like; this would only make it harder. To say nothing of the mental effort of tracking that time, or figuring out what counts as “outside” time.

So, it’s important to me to get away from it all ™, where all is “a constant drip of all the world’s knowledge and more new ideas than can fit in my head.” A complicating factor is my seeming inability to just ignore the internet if it’s there; if I can be connected easily, I will be.

One solution I found: Last year I spent three nights in a yurt in western Mass the week of my birthday, and I just made a reservation to spend four nights there again this April.

I chose this place because of a very specific feature — there’s no wifi in the yurt, and cell reception in this part of MA is spotty. I left my phone locked in my car for most of the weekend, and checked in once a day with my husband, when I was up at the main house and had access to wifi.

Of course, I can’t spend four nights in a yurt all the time, so I will also need to figure out some way to get short-term detoxes, as well. Something to noodle on.

Banish perfectionism.

I’m working on it.

Time-boxing helps.

Making myself sit here and finish this post and not eat until it’s done also helps.

Speaking of…

That’s all, folks.

I’ve screamed into the void enough for now. Maybe I’ll add more later. Maybe I won’t. Now I’mma go eat dinner.

Photo by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash

2021 Prospective

Hey, this took a long time to write! It’s Q2, and here I am finally putting virtual pen to virtual paper. But rest assured, I have been trying to live this, even if I haven’t been talking about it.

My theme for the year is: “Making my outsides match my insides.” Or, put another way, “wearing my heart on my sleeve.”

What does that mean?

My mother said to me once, “You just don’t pay attention to how you look, do you?” At the time I heard it as an insult, but I’ve come to realize it’s not — it was an accurate observation of my state of mind.

See, this shows in how I treat my body — as a sort of meat car for the really important stuff, i.e. my thoughts, memories, mind, etc. What does it matter what my outsides look like?

Heck, I drive a 2007 Toyota Yaris; I don’t even care what my car-car looks like. It just gets me from one place to another.

And so with my meat car.

But I’m a materialist, so I know this is false thinking. There is not separate mind stuff and body stuff. (Take that, Descartes!) The mind is the brain is the body. (Or, at least, the mind is an epiphenomenon that can’t be directly controlled except through the bo– look, I was a cog sci major, okay??)

So, yeah, I have never paid a lot of attention to my appearance. Most days I work from home wearing pajamas; if I have a meeting, I might actually take a shower and put on a bra and real clothes. This is a lifestyle the pandemic has only encouraged — and the permanently remote job I have now does not help.

A lot of my work over the past few years — with these annual themes, in therapy — has been about being genuine, vulnerable, true to myself. About putting my “heart on my sleeve” in an emotional or mental way.

Now I want to put my heart on my sleeve in terms of my physical being — my personal style, my body image, and the stuff I’m putting out into the world.

Get ready, we’re putting a party hat on this meat car.

Or at least on this slime. (Credit: @theperkypugs on Twitter)

Personal style

I have always been envious of people who have a personal style. The sort of person who you see and think “gee, I feel like I know who they are just from looking at them.”

I am not like that, unless you consider my greasy face and a 10-year t-shirt to be an expression of my personality.

(I mean… I think my ripped “Rowsdower: Canada’s Brass Knuckles” t-shirt does have some personality to it).

I’ve put a lot of thought, last year and this, into what I WANT my personal style to be. I’ve put together a Pinterest board called “I want to be fabulous” with pictures that inspire me. I’ve also written out some bullet points that I think express my desired aesthetic well:

  • Androgyny/gender-bending
  • Historical elements
  • Baroque (in both senses) details — beautiful inutility. Lace, ruffles, silk.
  • A bit of equestrian chic, like an eccentric noblewoman riding through the fields
  • Academic
  • Nerdy things, ie my Tee Turtle shirts, TES jewelry
  • Lushness, swishiness
  • Jewel tones and blacks
  • A little bit of goth
  • Moons
  • Capital R Romanticism
  • Actually, if I could look like Orly of Buckingham1, that’s right on. Maybe with more skulls and moons.
  • Fae/elven
  1. By which I mean Orlando Bloom as the Duke of Buckingham in the 2011 The Three Musketeers. My god he’s fabulous and I’m not sure if I want to be him or I want to bang him… or, being ace, “have passionate conversations about poetic forms while brushing each other’s hair and kissing.”

I tried to boil this down to a single tagline, and what I came up with was “eccentric time-lost noblethem.”

So how does one become such a grand thing? Let’s set some intentions!

Catalog wardrobe using the Stylebook app

I downloaded Stylebook a couple of months ago, and while I’m not making full use of it yet, I already love it. It’s inexpensive (a one-time $3.99), and has a ton of functionality, as well as robust documentation to help you learn how to use it. Once you have a full wardrobe to work with, you can ask it to “shuffle” items and suggest outfits.

Basically, it helps you get the most out of the wardrobe you have.

However, it does operate on having all your wardrobe items entered in, and that is a challenge I’ve only just begun.

I think a modest goal here would be to add five items to Stylebook per week. That’s one for every week day. I assume I will be wearing more than one garment per day, and that I will wear real clothes at least one or two days a week.

Participate in Snazzual Fridays

This is a hashtag/event my friend Tegan created at the start of the pandemic last year, to get us out of the rut of the permanent athleisure lifestyle and to put on clothes that might not otherwise get worn. I’ve done this a couple of times, but mostly my snazzual days don’t fall on Fridays. That’s okay — any day can be snazzual if you feel it in your heart.

So my modest goal here is to Be snazzual 1-2 times per month, and document it. (More on that latter part below).

Continue to define my personal style, and expand (or purge) my wardrobe appropriately

As with all “stuff,” acquiring clothes is infinitely easier than getting rid of them.

My most recent influx of clothes has been a) giant bag of shirts and leggings I got from someone on my Buy Nothing group, and b) Stitchfix.

I’ve been surprised how many new-to-me pieces came out of the giant bag o’ clothes — there’s a lot of “tunic tops and leggings,” which is my go-to day-to-day style when I actually put on clothes. (It also ties in well with my “lushness” and “swishiness” elements — and I generally think the “long over lean” look is a good one for me).

Stitchfix has also been positive, but it’s also expensive, and I want to avoid getting more clothes than I will wear or have room to store. I’ll continue to use Stitchfix, but I’m still figuring out the right frequency.

I also want to expand my personal style pinboard and use it to extend the possibilities of my wardrobe.

Finally, I want to make a habit of reorganizing my closet seasonally, to rotate in seasonal items and get rid of stuff I haven’t worn in the past X amount of time.

Body image

One thing I run into pretty quickly when thinking about personal style is… the mirror.

I want to look like an elf, and I have the body of a hobbit.

I am not tall and thin and angular and androgynous. I am short and fat and squishy.

I’m not okay with this. I’ve never been okay with this.

And yet… this body is here to stay. It’s the only meat car I’ve got. I’m not getting any taller, my fat is always going to be distributed this way, and whenever I’ve intentionally tried to lose weight, it hasn’t been terribly effective.

In the vein of “accepting the things you cannot change,” here’s what I’m going to do to improve my body image in 2021.

Take more selfies

Selfies aren’t just vanity — they play an important role in accepting our body by curating how we present it to the world. If we can repeatedly see ourselves at our best, maybe it becomes easier to say “ew I’m ugly and fat and my hair is too thin” every time I look in the mirror

I’ve already created a “Selfiegeddon 2021” album on Facebook; I intend to add 50 selfies to it by the end of the year. (We’ll see if that’s unique shots or total — I’m willing to bend the rules depending on how I’m doing).

In that spirit, here’s MAH FACE.

Focus on health, not weight

Do I want to weigh less? Yes — if nothing else, I want a more proportional body, so that clothes fit me better.

Do I want to focus on losing weight? Hell nah.

My solution to this is to focus on activities that are healthier — and be surprised by weight loss that may happen.

For example, since the beginning of this year I’ve been trying to eradicate my sweet tooth. Not just sucrose, either — I make ample use of artificial sweetener. But I feel like all that does is keep those cravings alive and make me hungrier in the long run.

When I get to the point where I would sell my soul for a Boston creme donut is usually where I say, “okay, it’s time to lay off the sweets.” After about two weeks without, I crave sweets a lot less and my hunger levels are less spiky.

So, in that vein, my “healthy not weighty” goals:

  • Moderate my relationship with sweets, as specified above.
  • Continue exercise in a gentle, non-competitive way.
  • Eat more veggies. “More” is vague, I know. For one thing, more than three mini peppers with my usual lunch of meat and cheese 😉
  • Eat breakfast. I don’t do this enough, because usually when I wake up the last thing I want is food. But it keeps my hunger at reasonable levels throughout the day.

Find better role models in body image

I want to look like an elf — but who says elves have to be tall and thin?

Tolkien, probably, but let’s not forget he was drawing from the poetic Eddas. And if you go back far enough in Nordic/Germanic myth, elves and dwarves are the same. (Alberich, who appears in the Ring cycle, is variously described as an elf or a dwarf, I seem to recall).

… and if there’s anything playing D&D taught me about dwarves, it’s that you can hear the clap of their ass cheeks through Mithril Hall.

So, uh, I guess what I’m saying is, I not only need to put my own image out into the world — I need to find images that represent what I am looking for and are relatable and achievable. I also want to stop having a viscerally different reaction to images of thin vs. fat people.

Earlier this year I followed some plus-size alt-fashion Instagrammers. But I’m not a heavy Insta user, so I can’t say this has done anything for me. I also try to skew my pinboard towards plus-size fashion icons, too, but lemme just say all your results change for the worse when you add “plus size” to any query on Pinterest.

So I need to do some noodling on this point. But bottom line, I want to merge “people who look like me,” “people who are being their authentic selves through fashion,” and “people who look fabulous.”

All right? All right. I think that’s enough to keep me busy for a year. Now back to my paint-stained pajamas for the night.

2020 Prospective

A slight misquote of Terry Pratchett: “She couldn’t be a prince, and she’d never be a princess, and she didn’t want to be a woodcutter, so she’d be a witch and know things.”

It’s the first year of the new decade, and what do I want to do with it — the year I turn forty?

The theme this year is going to be “green witch.”

… when I mentioned this goal to my friend Kim, their first question was, “Are you pagan?”

So… that’s a tough question. I don’t really want to turn this into a forum on my religious beliefs, but I will say that I have always been curious about pagan nature-based religions, like Wicca or druidry. For someone who grew up roaming through the woods, I find staying in touch with the natural world and honoring the course of the seasons very compelling. But whenever I’ve dug deeper, it has always felt disingenuous to fixate on the gods and practices of a land I have no real connection to.

(Plus sometimes pagan religions can shade in the woo direction too easily. I want an evidence-based way of being in the world, and nature spirituality; is that so much to ask?)

All of this tells you that I’m not going to be embracing my inner pagan. So what is this year about?

“Green” has a few meanings here, and I’ve definitely embraced the ambiguity of the term. I chose it for both “the natural world” and “environmentalism” meanings, with a smidge of “town green,” i.e. the center of a town.

As for how I mean “witch,” I’m drawing from a few fictional sources: Naomi Novik’s book Uprooted, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld witches, and the witches of the larp I’ll be playing starting this year, Cottington Woods 2. (And I’ll even be playing a witch!) I am very interested in the image of a witch as a crone, as a wise woman, as an advisor. Someone who may choose to live in solitude, but is deeply rooted in place, and deeply connected to the people of that place.

With that in mind, I’ve set down a few precepts for the year.

A witch stays in touch with the natural world.

“The witch knows nothing in this world is supernatural. It is all natural.”

Laurie Cabot

I have a love/hate relationship with the natural world. It’s both a sandbox of infinite curiosity and also sometimes deeply unpleasant. Ticks, poison ivy, mosquitos, heat and cold, and the ceaseless movement of wind and air care not for your photo opportunities and learning experiences. Like a narcissist, the natural world can’t really love you back; the best it can offer is indifference.

Which… is a lesson in and of itself, don’t you think? “Loving impossible things” sounds like the title of a course on being human.

To this end, there are a few things I want to try this year:

1) I want to plant a garden. And actually tend it, and harvest stuff from it. Nothing makes you aware of the fractiousness of nature like planting a garden! I have lots of decorative plants and shrubs around my property already, so here I more mean edible plants, like vegetables or herbs. I’ve had gardens in the past, and they’ve all suffered to varying degrees from my neglect. I’m ready to give this another try.

2) I want to forage some wild foods. Not as dangerous as some folks seem to think, especially if you stay away from anything ambiguous. (Like nightshades). Morel mushrooms are trivially easy to identify and tell apart from anything poisonous. Elderberries, too. And I’m fascinated by this recipe for elderberry mead that EB sent me…

3) I want to take a nature walk once a month. Not my normal walk/run, but a journey where the goal is to observe. I want to memorialize these observations in words or in art. Once a month, I think, is reasonable enough to fit into my busy schedule, while still observing the passage of the seasons.

Which brings me to my next point…

A witch honors the cycle of the year.

“The moon has awoken with the sleep of the sun. The light has been broken, the spell has begun.”

Midgard Morningstar

By this I mean both the natural phenomenon, like full moons, equinoxes, and solstices, as well as human celebrations, like Christmas and the birthdays of important people in my life.

Observing holidays is a way of slowing down the passage of time, by making certain days feel special and less like every other day. This encompasses everything from decorations, traditions, gifts, etc.

Right now the way I celebrate the holidays is… non-existent, really. Christmas/Yule is really the only one I have any sort of observance of, which is usually putting up a tree and watching certain Christmas movies. (Muppet Christmas Carol and Scrooged, of course). But I usually do nothing for my birthday or my husband’s birthday, and nothing for any other holiday.

I’d like to change this. Even if it’s just putting out a pumpkin for Halloween, or getting up at dawn on the summer solstice, or going out to dinner on my birthday. These celebrations don’t have to correspond to any faith; nor do they have to be unique to me.

I just want to signpost the fact that time is passing.

A witch lives hyperlocally.

“We were of the valley. Born in the valley, of families planted too deep to leave even when they knew their daughter might be taken; raised in the valley, drinking of whatever power also fed the Wood.”

Naomi Novik, Uprooted

I live in a small town, but I often don’t feel a part of it. I don’t have kids in school here, I don’t go to town meetings, I work in a town 40 miles away from it, and I do much of my shopping in other towns. (To be fair, the latter is largely because it’s so small I have to go to surrounding towns for many needs).

The term “hyper-local” is one that I believe was coined by the Buy Nothing Project — at least, that’s how I heard of it. I heard Mrs. Frugalwoods talking about her Buy Nothing group, where she could donate and receive items in a gift economy model, and that sounded like something I could get behind.

(It sounded very similar to Freecycle, actually, but the rules on Freecycle are much more fast and loose).

I looked into it, but at the time there was no group for my town. I could have joined one a bordering town’s group, but you can only belong to one BN group, and doing so sorta defeated the whole “hyper-local” mandate of the movement.

As part of this theme, I decided I was going to start a Buy Nothing group in my own town. But then a nice member of my community decided to start one like… a week ago, so all I had to do was join it!

There’s more to living hyperlocally than Buy Nothing, of course. (I am, at best, only middle-to-low-buy). It’s making a choice to support local businesses and creators instead of going to the big box store. It’s knowing you can depend on your neighbors. It’s thinking globally, but acting locally.

Some specific hyperlocal things I want to do this year:

1) Attend a town meeting. Our local government is town meeting-based, which means that lots of important decisions are made there — like the plastic bag ban (which I have mixed feelings about), or the decision to ban all marijuana-based businesses from town (which made me livid. Why are you turning down income??) Have I ever attended one of these? I have not, dear reader. I should remedy this.

On a related note, my landowners’ association doesn’t have regular meetings, but when they do, I should attend. Of course I say this, and then they schedule a three-hour meeting to talk about finances on a Saturday where I have a bajillion other, actually fun things I could be doing, so…

2) Do more local shopping. Again, since it’s a small town I can’t find everything here, but I can generally find most things within the tri-city area.

Food is the biggest challenge here, but also the biggest opportunity, depending greatly on season. We have lots of farms in our town, and even more in the surrounding area, but we are also in USDA zone 5, so not everything is available all year. Over the thirteen years I’ve lived here I’ve gotten better at identifying the different local businesses I can frequent, so it’s really just a question of setting up routines around going there instead of the Hannaford.

(And, I mean, I don’t object to shopping at Hannaford; it does support the local economy in some ways. Just not as many).

3) Improve my relationship with my neighbors. This comes back to the Buy Nothing ethos, which states that “the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors.”

Regrettably I don’t have the best relationship with my neighbors. When I moved here, I was new to owning a house, country living was difficult and confusing, and forging relationships with people was at the bottom of my to-do list. I think some of my neighbors took that personally, and I often feel like I’m still paying the penalty for that.

But having a working relationship with your neighbors is just unquestionably a better way to live. If I got along with my neighbors, I might be able to depend on them to watch my cats when I travel, or borrow tools from them, or let me use their shower when the power is out (we have a well, so no power = no water; my closest neighbors have a generator, though). And vice versa, of course.

A witch is not wasteful.

Witches… get their power directly from the earth, which asks for nothing but a sense of balance in return. Yet still, because of their tie to the earth, witches tend to try and protect it, treating others who squander the world’s resources as foolish, and seeking sometimes to undo them.

Cottington Woods rulebook, “Witchery Skills”

This point ties into both environmentalism and frugality — two themes that often (but not always) go hand in hand. A witch, as I said, is tied to place; stewardship of that place depends on preserving its resources, whether that be funds or forests. It also ties into self-reliance, which was the underpinning of my last two years’ themes.

To that end, this year I’d like to…

1) Complete Uber Frugal Month challenges in January and June. Some of you may recall I once had a frugality blog, and it’s something I still care a great deal about — hence why I’m currently doing the Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Month. (At least, I am. I wouldn’t say Matt has 100% bought into the challenge). I’d like to do this again when it comes up in June.

2) Read The Zero Waste Home, and incorporate at least one of the tips into my life. I doubt I’m ever going to be anywhere close to “zero waste” — just like I doubt I’m ever going to be “no buy” — but that doesn’t mean I can’t make improvements in this area. And while I’m sure there are many good books about home environmentalism out there, this is one I happen to know about, so I figure it’s a decent place to start.

3) Pay off my student loan and Matt’s car loan. We’re pretty close, and by my calculations we can finish it off this year.

A witch knows things.

She couldn’t be the prince, and she’d never be a princess, and she didn’t want to be a woodcutter, so she’d be the witch and know things, just like Granny Aching—”

Terry Pratchett

To me this precept is all about intellectual curiosity, with a local focus. Intellectual curiosity comes naturally to me, so I anticipate this portion being the most fun part.

Towards this sub-theme, I want to…

1) Join the “friends of the town library.” I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but they don’t make it easy — you have to print a form off their website and bring it in with a check. So much for living in the future! But I do really love our library and make a ton of use of it, so I feel this would be a good way for me to give back.

Relatedly, I want to attend a program at the local library. I keep wanting to do this, but again, they don’t make it easy. Since the library closes at 8pm on weekdays, the place is usually about to close up when I’m getting back into town at 7pm or 7:30pm. I think I can make this work with a little more planning, however.

3) Visit a few new-to-me local parks, attractions, hiking trails, and businesses. I’ll start by coming up with a list of places I’d like to try!

I think that should keep me busy for at least another year!