Quarantinetunes

I made a playlist for these grim times.
Cover image by the wonderful Shawn Downey.


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2020 Goals

2019 was a survival year for me. I hope 2020 is a thriving one.

Some of my 2020 goals are “keep going” but some involve doing things differently.

The most controversial goal is weight-loss. I guess it’s a cliche sort of resolution… the kind that seems destined to fail. And I suppose it’s not fashionable to want to lose weight; the prevailing message is self-acceptance. But I think it's okay to strive to change something you're not happy about.

But it seems natural for me to focus here now: My body went through hell last year. I didn’t push it to perform as much as just get through it. And sometimes that meant rest and food.

I think there’s also a loss of trust in your body when you get sick. And you have to trust your body if you’re going to ask it to run, or stretch. I’m ready to get back there.

Okay, so here’s the full list:
1. Keep reading more: I’m always a happier person when there’s a book on the go
2. Start running again and stretch properly
3. Lose weight, but also just listen to my body about what feels right…
4. Keep up 4-6 week facials
5. Increase my pension contribution %
6. Use all massage, acupuncture benefits
7. Tack somewhere in Europe (Aix, Vienna, Rome, Paris, Bath, Edinburgh?) onto my next trip home
8. Unsubscribe from retail newsletters (to minimize impulse spending)
9. Unfollow retail Instagram accounts (also to minimize impulse spending)
10. Save SUPER aggressively
11. Work A LOT on side hustle stuff
12. Find an accountant
13. Keep up Beau’s training - his “off” command needs more work outdoors
14. Watch a lot less TV - maybe unsubscribe from some streaming services?
15. Keep up daily meditation - I fell in love with Headspace in 2019
16. Go vegan when eating at home (vegetarian eating out)
17. Shop a lot less this year - replacing, upgrading rather than adding…
18. Wear more of the shoes I have in my closet!
19. When spring/summer rolls around, spend more time in the ravines
20. Find more ways of minimizing plastics in grocery shopping
21. Paint kitchen!
22. Replace mattress with organic one (maybe this brand?)
23. Incorporate more writing on Instagram, which means slowing down & being thoughtful about what I post and why
24. Add one new recipe a month to my “everyday” cooking arsenal
25. Forget what others want/expect from me and be brave enough to take some risks
26. Don’t worry so much if I suck at something I really enjoy doing….

Checking in on 2019 Goals

I've spent a lot of time this week thinking about 2020 goals, which I'll document in a separate post. I feel really optimistic about 2020, and the 2020's more broadly. But it's not so much turning a new leaf as continuing. Life is good and I count myself lucky in many ways.

2019, though, was an up-and-down year... for many of us it seems. For me, the first half of the year was focused on a major surgery and recovery. I came out of that craving change and reinvention but with no idea what I wanted.

And so I puttered along and did little things. It doesn't make a great Christmas card headline, but most of living happens between the headlines anyway.

Checking in on the goals I set this time last year...

1. Get through the health stuff I need to get through - Done! I feel 100%
2. Continue training Beau - Yep! He’s doing so good these days :)
3. Get more acupuncture, massage and self-care (use those benefits) - Yep, yep, yep!
4. Set new professional goals - Sortof. Not the change I had in mind when I wrote this, but there's an exciting plan that needs more time
5. Figure out work wardrobe (I’ve been in a rut) - Yep :)
6. When I can, start running again - Didn’t do this. Exercise will be a huge 2020 focus.
7. Be a better listener - Work in progress…
8. Drink less alcohol (it increasingly bores me to get drunk) - I quit drinking almost altogether!
9. Visit Ireland - Yep!
10. Visit Lake Louise - Nope…
11. Travel somewhere new - Nope…
12. Continue making my home a home I love - Yep! Home will always evolve, but I accomplished a lot this year!
13. Keep more to myself (I can be too much of an open book) - I think so???
14. Make purchases with great purpose - I think I made good purchases, but I made too many of them...
15. Save more money - I actually did this! I want to save even more in 2020
16. Find new positive ways of understanding self, life, choices; live freely - Work in progress, but I feel more free from past bullshit
17. Read more books & poetry - Reading slowed down in second half of the year, but I read a lot more this year, which I posted about here and here
18. Spend equal time teaching & learning - I think so?
19. Get more facials - I mastered facials in 2019
20. Stop TV marathoning (no more than one episode at a time!) - Broke this when recovering from surgery but overall did an okay job at this
21. Keep bringing lunch to work - Did this in spurts but want to be more consistent
22. Stop swearing (or at least, swear a lot less) - I think I made a dent in this, but can keep working on it
23. Cook a new recipe every weekend - Utter failure
24. Have people over more! - Hmmm… about the same. I'm not sure why I even wanted to do this?
25. Eat mostly plant-based but don’t be rigid about rules - Yeah, went through phases of being vegan and definitely feel better
26. Don’t let people I dislike cause pain - Working through some of this, but I'm becoming more confident saying "fuck them"
27. Wear sunscreen (find a sunscreen I'll wear first) - Yes! I wear sunscreen daily now (Supergoop!)
28. Switch to natural deodorant - Failure! I’m scared of the stinky phase
29. Push work to a higher quality, every day - Feel proud of my work right now
30. Watch more new movies and documentaries - I think I did okay on this, but would rather read more
31. Make fewer, better, more meaningful photographs - Nope, just Instagrammed my dog too much
32. Less screen time (esp. Instagram) - Nope, Instagrammmmmm
33. Relearn how to single-task - I think I did a good job at this overall
34. Stop saying "you guys" - I still slip occasionally, but have more or less eliminated this!

2019 Reading - Part 2

My reading slowed down a lot in the second half of 2019. Still I managed to read 33 books in 2019 so I think that’s pretty good. (Honestly, I don’t really measure the number of books as much as I hope to read things that are memorable and meaningful.)


20. To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine
To Throw Away Unopened was super raw, timely read for me. It cut a little close to the bone in some parts.

21. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
I set On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous aside. I could tell it was good, the line-up was just all wrong of On Earth, then Viv Albertine and this. I needed something lighter.

22. Eventide by Therese Bohman
Eventide was the light interval I needed. Forgettable but did its job.

23. No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol
Cast No One Tells You This aside. If you’re looking for a book about spinsterhood, I much preferred Spinster. This grappled with questions I don’t care to grapple with (much handwringing over children, turning 40 etc.)


24. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
First time I read a book while also watching a TV production of it. I love both versions of The Handmaid’s Tale - it made me appreciate the updated elements of the TV show better. Sometimes, I can feel when Atwood feels chuffed she’s written a great line and that bothers me…


25. The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee
So beautiful, sensual, Italian. I would watch a documentary made out of The Land Where Lemons Grow. Prepare to google images of places and art as you read this.

26. Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry
Godot meets In Bruges. I loved Night Boat to Tangier. Kevin Barry is a national treasure. This is my favourite from this selection.

27. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Where the Crawdads Sing was just lovely to read. I would reread.

28. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Gobbled The Testaments. Thought Atwood did a good job evolving the story, incorporating all the fan speculation and still writing something that stood apart from the TV show.


29. The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
Read The Friend on a flight. Thought I would love it (dog!) but if you want a good dog novel, Paul Auster’s Timbuktu still holds a special place in my heart.

30. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Ask Again, Yes was a nice little yarn. Nothing too memorable but enjoyable to read.

31. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Water Dancer had such a good opening, but what Coates has in writing, he still lacks in character development. A long book of people proselytizing at each other rather than truly interacting. Some special moments that kept me going. Glad I finished despite its flaws.


32. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
The Dutch House was sooo good but I felt the ending was abrupt and too tidy and didn’t do the story justice.

33. Lampedusa by Steven Price
Wrapping Lampedusa right now. December's been a manic month so this has felt like a slog. But when I'm actually reading it I enjoy it tremendously.

If you want to follow along with what I'll be reading in 2020, Instagram provides more "in-the-moment" updates. Follow me here.