Next year’s lessons

A lot of people make resolutions for the new year.  Lofty goals, sweeping life changes; things that are intended to make them a better person and/or make the world a better place.

Me?  I’m not that ambitious.

Sure, I could drone on about chasing those pesky PRs, but I feel like I do plenty of whining about my running goals (and lack of achievement thereof) as it is.  Or I could officially resolve to drop those few pounds that have settled on my belly over the last couple of months, but that’s not very interesting to write about, and anyway, I’m hoping they’ll scram when I up my running mileage next month.

Instead, I’m going to post 11 things I’d like to learn to do next year.  They are small, meaningless lessons: none of them will make me a better person, or affect my path in life in any significant way.  And most of them are things that I probably should know how to do anyway.

So here’s to continuing education, and 11 things to learn to do in 2011:

1. Bake bread

So I’ve got beer bread down.  And now I’m ready for the next step: I’m excited to sink my fingers in to some yeasty kneading projects!  I’ve never been a huge baker, partially because I’m not a huge sweets person (too busy eating potato chips to develop a sweet tooth, I guess) but freshly baked bread is something I cannot resist.

2. Drink Scotch

The hubs loves scotch.  I love the idea of scotch: something nuanced that you can sip in front of the fire while discussing malt and peat content and generally sounding like a badass.  However, it’s hard to sound like a badass when you’re making a puckery face and smacking your lips distastefully as long-dormant memories of shooting Wild Turkey in the bathroom of your dorm suddenly present themselves.

I’ve been told that I just don’t know how to drink scotch.  I believe this.  And I’m willing to learn.

3. Spell

I’m not a terrible speller.  In fact, I used to be a pretty good speller.  I even made it to State Spelling Bee in third grade, whereupon I was eliminated on the word “several,” for which I will never forget that second “e” again.

But spell check has made me lazy.  Admittedly, when I want to write a word that I’m not sure how to spell, I just make a rough guess, then right-click on the red-squiggled word and select the correct spelling.  Lazy.  Things hit rock bottom the other day when I was handwriting a note and couldn’t remember how to spell something dumb, something that I should know – and I actually went over to my computer and opened a blank Word window so I could take a red-squiggled guess and let the computer figure it out.  LAZY.

I need to re-learn spelling and stop letting spell check turn my brain to mush.

4. Fix a flat.

It is completely idiotic that I’ve owned this thing for almost five years and yet – if I got a flat while riding, I’d be completely screwed.  I need to learn basic bike maintenance like yesterday.

5. Jump turn

I guess this depends on whether I get out to the mountains this season.  It’s not looking good, unless I win the lottery.

But I’m gonna stick it in here anyway.  I love skiing and do alright on groomers, but put me on moguls and I’m an extra-hot mess.  Last year, I took a couple of lessons and it helped a little.  I have a long way to go, though.

6. Carve a bird

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I really have no idea how to carve a roasted chicken/turkey.  I usually end up picking it apart with my fingers.  Not the most efficient (or sanitary) way of doing things.  Time to fix that.

7. Taste wine

Of course,  I drink a ton of wine.  But I don’t actually know that much about it.  I’d love to educate my palate (good lord, that sounds pretentious) and be able to present the stuff I drink here with better details…not just like, “It was fruity and I liked it.”

8. And beer, too.

Actually, I am thinking that 2011 will be the Year of Beer for me.  Raleigh has a pretty awesome craft beer scene and I need to take better advantage of that.  And beer is more fun to play with than wine, anyway.

9. Apply mascara

I’m not a big makeup girl, but you know what?  It would be really nice to leave the house without black flecks all over my eyelids, on the occasions that I do decide to pretty it up.  But somehow, no matter how careful I am, I end up with mascara all over my face.  (Anyone have any tips on this?)

10. Poach an egg

You know those perfectly puffy, whipped-cream-looking poached eggs that are so prevalent while out for brunch?  I want to learn how to make those.

11. Do a headstand

Because this is, by far, the most humiliating part of yoga class.  How hard should be to vertically launch my rear and balance it in the air above my torso?  Why can everyone else do this but me?

Well, there they are.  If I can learn to do, like, six out of eleven, I think that 2011 will be a success.

So, yo: What’s one small and ultimately meaningless thing that you’d like to learn to do in 2011?

34 responses to “Next year’s lessons

  1. Hahaha your number 2 is why I can no longer drink rum or whiskey. And a tip with the mascara? q-tips and face lotion, magic and takes the mascara right off your eye lids and brow bones.

  2. i want to do a headstand or yoga.
    PS- i always crack up at all your illustrations! they are awesome!

  3. so I kind of love this list. If I was clever/cool I would’ve thought of it first. Sad day. I’m contemplating ignoring the end of the year because all of my blog posts are coming out dumbbbbbbbbb.

    • OMG HERE ARE THE TOP THIRTY THINGS I DID AND SAID AND WROTE THIS YEAR, PART ONE – PART TWO COMING TOMORROW! BE EXCITED!

      The bar for year-end posts is low. Glad I could exceed it a little for ya. :)

  4. Those are great goals and they inspire me to want to try other things too…

    I recently tried making bread. I would LOVE to be able to do yeast bread. I need to practice that (I kill the yeast always).

    I go wine tasting but I really don’t know a lot about wines either. 😉

  5. I like your idea – it doesn’t set you up to fail, and it’s about enjoying life rather than cutting all the joy out of it. Also, baking bread is probably the best thing ever and I have a fail-safe egg poaching method, but mascara and all other makeup? Um, no. Can’t, and didn’t have to when I worked in a plant. Now, I’m just too lazy to learn 😛

    • Fail-safe egg poaching? Do share!

      • Bring water to a boil, salt generously, pour in a dollop of vinegar. Crack your egg and drop it in as close to the surface of the water as possible. Immediately take off heat, cover the pot, and wait three minutes => a perfectly poached egg.

        I have found that you need to use a pot that will hold heat – cheapo pots lose heat too quickly, so eggs take a minute or so longer to poach in those.

  6. I have a breadmaker and it’s incredible. I do fairly well with yeasty things (except vaginas, that’s just gross) and I think the trick is just playing with yeast and some warm water until you know what “good” versus “bad” yeast and proofing looks like. Trick: boil a cup of water in the microwave, then put your bread dough in there to rise when it’s done–the water creates steam and the microwave warms up, so it’s a perfect place to rise dough.

    Meaningless goal for 2011: Teach the dog to shake. He’s an idiot, and we’ve been working on it for year already with no luck.

  7. My goal for 2011 is to not have any goals.

    It’s gonna be swell.

  8. i would like to come visit you in North Carolina!!

    and +1 on learning how to carve a bird. no matter how many youtube videos i watch, it still befuddles me.

  9. I also want to make bread. SEVARAL loaves of it! I applaud you for wanting to drink scotch, as I’m a firm believer that you need a certain amount of testosterone to enjoy it. I think you should hit up Sephora on your next NYC visit-I bet you’re applying mascara right, maybe you just need a better type?

    I’d like to learn how to properly blowdry my hair. I don’t know if it’s my lack of technique or bicep strength that makes me want to quite after 5 minutes.

    • I have always thought so too, re: scotch, but recently have met quite a few girls that are in to it…which is kind of why I’m like wow, they’re cool, I wanna be cool too.

      Blowdrying suuuuuucks.

  10. what a refreshing new years list. i just wrote one of highlights from 2010 and i’m thinking that i’m being lame this year. i’m going to need to do something big to keep up with you :)

    i’m with you in learning how to taste wine/beer. mostly i rely on others to tell me what to drink

  11. After ten years of applying mascara pretty much every day, I still look like a raccoon afterwards every.single.time. I’ve given up trying to avoid the smearing, and remove it with q-tips and make-up remover in stead (trying to avoid removing the mascara from the places where I actually want it to stay).

    However, I seem to have a tendency to rub my face a bit excessively when I’m tired or frustrated. A colleague came to my desk the other day to ask me something, but went completely still, looking quite perplex. After some prompting, he blurted out “you have a black line there – and there”, pointing to my cheek and forehead. Yeah – professional as ever.

  12. I had my tacky bragging about how well I ran in 2010 post and I was going to do a “look at all this stuff I cooked” post but after reading a bunch of those in google reader and wanting to shoot myself in the face after 2 of them I decided to refrain.
    My husband has been trying to get me to drink scotch for years but even just smelling it makes me gag so I don’t think it’s going to happen.

  13. I’m going to learn how to hem jeans/pants so that my husband stops bugging me! :)

  14. Baking bread is one of my must learns for this year. Along with jarring my own salsa and veggies since I am on a mission to save dough.

  15. A fabulous list full of fabulous drawings!
    Being a farm girl, you’d think I would know how to change a car tire. I THINK I could do it, but I’ve never actually had to do it and I know I should practice to make sure. I also need to get a new vehicle pronto, so learning how to be a smart car shopper would be good. :-)

  16. Oooh, bake bread is on my list. Like a real, honest to God loaf of bread. I have my doubts. I can do banana bread but yeasty things scare me (yes, Brie, vaginas too! ;))

    I’m a snowboarder so I despise moguls. Sometimes I have no choice and I’m sure it is hilariously entertaining for anyone on the lift above me. I hate them…I am forever on my tush!

    My 2011 Goal: Learn to make good french pressed coffee (how hard can it be…coffee + water. Duh!) and actually enjoy drinking it! I think coffee is an acquired taste and I’m going to acquire it!

  17. I really want to get into Yoga in 2011.

  18. I have tried to think of something I want to learn in 2011, but I keep on returning to the very dull goal of “Get a job.” Once I do that, I guess I’ll try to learn to write lesson plans, control a classroom of 25 16-year-olds, dress professionally five days a week, not drop the F-bomb in casual conversation, etc.

  19. I can’t do headstand either!! I’ve even tried it with the legs against the wall, but no. Shoulder stand is where it’s at for me. I can’t even do full wheel either so I’m guessing both is due to lack of upper body strength. Hmmm…something to work on next year…

  20. I’d like to find a way to phase out plucking my eyebrows. That shit is a serious time suck.

  21. i should look into a small wine-ducation as well. i have no desire to be a snoot about it, but it would be nice to notice the flavors / be able to pick out a wine at the store.

    love the artwork!

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