Sunday, January 9, 2011


M and I made a few (very achievable) resolutions this year. Say what you will about resolutions: maybe they are good for you, maybe they are hokey, maybe they ultimately lead to failure and tumbling self esteem- but we made some. And so far, we've managed to keep doing them. 11 days! Go Team! I have graded each on how much better it's made me feel about myself/my life; the grading scale is arbitrary.

They are:

Quit being so emo about how L.A. isn't our kind of city and actually GO out and DO something in it/achieve projects at home. First Objective: Go to Chinatown with Joel.

Achieved? Yes

Grade: B

We actually explored more of the city instead of sitting in our apartment like dopes, which was the point of the objective. Joel was fun/chill to hang out with, and having tins of dumplings shoved at us in a Dim Sum restaurant because we had white-people-body-language and couldn't appropriately convey "NO! Go Away!" to the cart wielding ladies was exhilarating if initially bewildering. The experience made me wish I'd been able to go to Yum Yum Cha Cafe in the village more than once. But mostly, Chinatown didn't provide us with much diversion, unless we (meaning "I" -the only girl of the operation) were interested in spending lots of money on trinkets and souvenirs. In fact the whole outing served to reinforce my suspicion that L.A. doesn't have that much to do. Not only was Chinatown far less exciting than expected- many of the shops were sadly closed, and the "most touristy" plazas were bizarrely empty despite it being a 60 degree Saturday in January. However, we achieved bonus points when M and I agreed- against our original plan- to go to a movie with Joel.
--> C and M Gain the Power of Spontaneity! <--

On a related note, go see The King's Speech; it's awesome, sharp, polished, moving and wry.

Sit together at the end of every day and record in our tiny diaries between 1 and 3 things that stood out from the day.

Achieved: Yes

Grade: A+

M found a pop-psych book: 59 Seconds which provides a scientific approach to self-help: It says "here are quick things you can do that studies show will make you happier". One of the things the book encourages is writing down something that made you happy at the end of the day- this can really, truly provide lasting warm fuzzies. So far it's really worked, plus it's a little moment of bonding, where M and I cap every evening in a few minutes of unity, sharing the things we did and experienced with each other, as well as with the eyes of the future.

I've often been interested in keeping a diary, especially after my thesis-writing last year, which wouldn't have been possible if nineteenth-century women hadn't faithfully kept diaries in the awe-inspiring circumstances (frontier settling and the Civil War fighting) that they did. I would love to be able to offer a similar, if hopefully less dramatic, perspective on my life and times to my future children and grandchildren. The trouble is that I always find myself either writing too much about whatever is stressing me out at the time- which is depressing/irritating to read- or forgetting to write at all. That's why I'm hoping that writing a diary twitter-style will work for me. So far, so good!

Go on a walk every day. It doesn't have to be far- we just have to get out of the apartment and walk somewhere EVERYDAY.

Achieved: Mostly Yes except for M one day when we forgot.

Grade: A

This has been great too. We don't have any mileage or weight goals- just a general wish to improve our health/stamina through going on a walk every day- rain or shine. I miss the boost that walking around the Rice campus gave me. Walking was the way I exercised, the way I experienced little moments of beauty, and the way I refreshed my brain. It's been great to find that again, plus it gives M and I more time to talk to each other about our days, rather than getting lost on our computer screens. Final bonus- it's helped us notice more of our neighborhood by exploring. Good deal!


  1. I completely agree about walking--I really miss when I did it more. It seems like the weather always foils my resolve. I also have the same problem with diaries; I've kept one since the sixth grade, but there are periods of months where there's just nothing, probably because nothing was annoying me at the time. So, yeah, middle school is recorded in excruciating emo detail, but high school is a lot sketchier. After I started drawing pictures and pasting random things in in college I started writing more, maybe because it was more fun and sort of art, but I like the twitter diary idea too!

  2. I approve of all these endeavors! Simple ways to vastly enrich one's life.

    My mom told me once that when my brother was little, she would pick him up from school and ask how is day was; invariably the response was something negative about something stupid or mean that another kid had done, or something that didn't go his way. One day she started specifically asking questions more along the lines of "So, did anything cool happen today? Anything funny?" His demeanor improved considerably when he stopped focusing on the negatives.

    I wish you the best of luck with all of these resolutions. Keep trying on the first one- it's tricky, because "destination" locations like Chinatowns tend to be composed entirely of restaurants, shopping venues, and two or three cool sites buried somewhere in the middle. Maybe try looking for places more like parks, or community centers that offer free or cheap classes in crafts, or dance, meditation, a language, anything. Learning a new skill or activity is something you will take with you even after you leave, and you can enjoy a new community while being forced to get out of the house : )