Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 New Year’s Resolutions

As usual, I have a long list of New Year's Resolutions. I like to make an ambitious start each year. This is the first time I have published a resolution list where others could see it, though. Did that affect me in any way? Well, yes. I removed the target weight from item 2 (but I still know what it is). Item 3 might conflict with item 2, especially considering the ingredients called for in The Art of French Cooking(!). But I made my first recipe from the book, which we got from CostCo last month, a crab quiche, and it was heavenly. The best quiche I have ever made. Anyway, I’m hoping item 4 will compensate...

Putting this on my blog will also help me keep track of it during the year. One problem with a resolution list is that the list itself tends to get lost in the shuffle. This way I won’t lose it.

Oh, a comment on item 1, which may seem like an odd resolution for an avid reader to make. I spent several hours the other day trying to make space for recent book additions in one of our bookcases. I ended up having to box some books. The whole experience reminded me of an A.N.L. Munby quote from A Book Addict’s Treasury by Julie Rugg & Lynda Murphy, which title alone sounds a cautionary (though humorous) note.

The will-power necessary to get rid of books must be maintained at all costs. Even if one buys on a modest scale — say, one book a day on average — they fill room after room with the inevitability of the rising tide. I once visited a house in Blackheath after its owner had died. It was solid books. Shelves had been abandoned years before; in every room narrow lanes ran between books stacked from floor to ceiling, ninety per cent of them utterly inaccessible. In one of the bedrooms there was a narrow space two feet wide round the bed, and there the owner had died, almost entombed in print. This macabre glimpse of the ultimate excesses of bibliomania has always been a warning.

Elly is more than slightly skeptical I will accomplish this resolution, and also pointed to the fact that I have added half a dozen books to our inventory during the last few days in preparation for my self-imposed moratorium. Oh, well. A Book Addict’s Treasury kept its rightful place on the bookshelf and was not consigned to a storage box. It is one of the more charming additions to our home library in 2007, chock full of amusing quotes on the habits of bookish folk. I recommend it highly to fellow addicts. My one regret concerning the book is the authors are too self-effacing: other than a few fascinating pages in their introduction, the book consists entirely of quotes from others. Still, a wonderful accomplishment.
  1. Not buy a single book in the month of January.

  2. Lose weight!

  3. Cook more – especially French dishes (Julia Childe’s The Art of French Cooking)

  4. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day. (Morning exercise bike.)

  5. Read at least two hours each day.

  6. Keep a reading journal on my blog.

  7. Do some sketching or watercolor painting at least 4 days a week.

  8. Finish laundry room.

  9. Finish day room.

  10. Build library.

  11. Finish staircase and hallways.

  12. Hang the two doors we bought last October.

  13. Make and install kitchen threshold.

  14. Get my workshop organized.

  15. Remove hedge from hell in front yard and plant garden instead.

  16. Plant shrubbery for birds in backyard.

  17. Build water feature between hackberry trees.

  18. Plant vegetable garden.

  19. Make a stained-glass project.

  20. Build nightstands for Sherlock Holmes bedroom.

  21. Build 221b Baker street diorama S.H. bedroom.

  22. Reserve Tuesday and Thursday evenings for reading.

  23. Get together with friends more often.

  24. Start practicing the guitar again.

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