I’m trying to be better at marking the good things that happen every week. It can be hard, especially with the onslaught of alarming news over the last few weeks (months?), so as an act of self-care, I’ve decided to keep a list of good things that happen each week. Sometimes I’ll share them here.
This one is a slight cheat because it was published last week, but this interview I did with Nate Mell of Felt + Fat for Town Dish was fun. I loved looking through the photos of their custom porcelain tableware that’s all over great restaurants in Philly and elsewhere.
We got take out from The Fridge for VDay, and ate our fancy pizza while watching Westworld. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
These flowers (pictured above) from Lavender Fox Florals. I have very strong feelings about those moody deep plum ranunculus.
I was finally able to snag the new Zadie Smith novel, Swing Time, from the library after a very long stretch of having it on hold. I’m loving it so far, and I’m realizing how long it’s been since I read White Teeth or On Beauty.
Cuddle Magic is playing in Harrisburg tonight! We first heard them years ago at a Lion Versus show at the Rotunda in West Philly. We’ve seen them a few times since, once as an opener for Anais Mitchell, and they are such a delight. Their live show is mesmerizing, and I guarantee that I’ll be questioning my decision to stop playing music after seeing them tonight.
My plant collection (like many of us, tbh) has had a rough year. A bunch of them lived very happy lives on and around my desk at Urban Outfitters’ HQ, in a converted shipyard warehouse-type building, with floor to ceiling windows and a ton of light. The other cohort was pretty happy in our West Philly apartment, which was situated on a corner, so they had two sides of light. We were on the third floor, above most of the buildings around us, so nothing blocked the sun.
It’s been kind of hard to find the right spot for the right plant in the new (actually very old) house. I’ve already lost several, and sadly I think a few more are on their way out. One of my goals for February was to replace some less-than-attractive plastic hanging planters that the previous owners left with something a little more intentional.
I actually already have Magical Thinking Hand-Knotted Hanging Planter, and I really like it. It’s quite sturdy, and looks good. I got it while I was still working at UO, and could take advantage of that sweet, sweet discount!
I could definitely make them myself, but at this point in my life, I have to think about the trade offs of time versus money. Does anyone have a really fast macrame tutorial? Otherwise, I’m gonna buy a couple of these and be done with it.
I skipped small goals in January. The world was all aflutter with everyone’s new plans and lists of things to do in the new year, and it felt like just too much to add on for the month, too.
But I do like the practice of it, and I like how it helps me frame the months. February feels practically over already (“why’s it so short?” she whined), but I’d like to come up with a few things to focus on. I’m having trouble picking, to tell the truth. There’s so much that I could do, and what feels like so little time this month. So I’ll try to keep it simple.
1. Make the plants beautiful. The former owners of this house left some plants here. They’re lovely, and they’ve fared well so far considering my hit-or-miss abilities as a plant mom. But they’re also in plastic hanging baskets like they came straight from the greenhouse, and replacing their pots with something nicer and gifting them each their own macrame hanger will go a long way in making them look less like ragamuffins.
4. Make a plan for Chad’s birthday. I’m feeling like we need to do something or go somewhere for Chad’s upcoming 3-0, since we went to Reykjavik for mine. He may just want to staycation and work on his projects all day while I bring him food, though. Either way, we need to start planning now.
5. Get some frames. We now have quite a few prints we’ve collected that are frameless and in storage. And by “in storage,” I really mean gathering dust in corners of rooms that need to be tidied. I’d love to get them hung so I can look at them again and we can finally show them off.
It’s been a wild few weeks, hasn’t it? [EDIT: Correction. It’s been two weeks. Only two weeks. 👀] I’ve been wanting to write and share here, but I wasn’t sure what to say. I’m sad and angry, but I’m also grateful for the responses in places like Philly and Lancaster. I’m proud of and grateful for the amazing sanctuary city I moved from, and I’m reassured that Lancaster was a great choice for our move.
The internet has not been a comforting or healthy place for me to spend too much time, and I want to acknowledge that, while also noting that it’s been key in connecting with others who are working so hard to improve things (shoutout to Tuesdays with Toomey!).
So for today, I thought I’d compile lists of encouraging things that are happening (mainly around Lancaster and the huge numbers of refugees this little city welcomes and has been welcoming for years), resources for how to keep going, and a few self-care tidbits. This list is just as much for myself as it is for anyone else. Maybe I’ll add to it later.
5Calls.org makes it super easy to call your elected officials
Fax Zero has made it really easy to fax your senators. This is great for those of us whose dear senators have gone totally missing or just taken all their phones off the hook (ahem, looking at you, Pat Toomey)!
I think a lot of us are struggling with what and how much to share online, and I think Sarah von Bargen is doing a great job on Instagram. This post from Lisa Congdon on politics and social media was also really helpful to me.
And finally, tips from me: Take a bath, write, go to the gym, make something with your hands, read fiction or poetry or essays or whatever your mind needs. We’re gonna have to play the long game here, and that means we have to take breaks from the madness so this doesn’t become normal to us. ‘Cause it’s not.
I’ll be the first to admit that, especially after last week, the NYE/New Year’s goal/planning appeal is starting to wear off. I wonder how much of that is due to the rapid consumerist marketing cycle of advertising to the next holiday. I saw Valentine’s Day stuff in stores immediately after Christmas.
But it’s still the beginning of the year, and it’s helpful to acknowledge the things you want to accomplish. I’m mainly doing this for me, as a record of my goals and plans for the year, with the full knowledge that saying I want to do something won’t make it happen, but with the hope that recording it will solidify it in my head a little bit and encourage some level of accountability to myself.
Find community — I think I need to find a few communities, really. A group of Galentine’s Day type ladies, local tech ladyfriends, a church, and the type of friends we had at the end of college.
52 CodePens — This was doomed once I got behind and gave up on doing any. I think I’ll halve it and shoot for 26 this year. I can then pleasantly surprise myself if I surpass this.
Echo App — I think the idea is still cool. And I need projects to put on GitHub. So I guess I’ll keep it.
Blog series — I mainly added this so I’d blog more regularly. That still applies. Maybe I’ll call it an editorial calendar/plan.
Make a quilt — I started one and hope to finish in 2017.
Etsy shop of found and vintage home goods — Holding off on this one for now. I have too many other things going on, and it’s clear I want to spend my time on other things.
Establish a writing practice — This didn’t really happen, I think mainly for scheduling and mental health reasons. Which is unfortunate because that’s when I need it most.
Inbox Zero — Yep. I’m so close.
Things I want to add:
Write and share a lot of code
Write and share a lot of words
Make another bra. I took a Bra Making with Madalynne class in December, and it’s such a rewarding project that can be done in an afternoon.
Continued work on the house, both large improvements and small ones that make it feel like home.
12 dinner parties — this one scares the crap out of me, but I really want to intentionally try to forge some relationships in our new city.
Learn a little every day
Continue to be visible
Feel hireable and like I can contribute — or, feel like I’m adequately prepared for the next phase of my career, whether it’s freelance or remote employment
Find real, meaningful, tangible ways to resist everything that’s wrong with the present administration
Do something musical again. Low pressure, but with some structure. Maybe revisit voice lessons?
Book a weekend writing retreat
Take scheduled digital breaks
Feel strong and energetic — food, running, trying a barre class, yoga, lifting
Be well and regularly fed
Invest and be invested in in Lancaster — Find my people and make time to explore greater Lancaster County. Lancaster City is so wonderful I rarely leave, and I know there are so many hidden gems in this beautiful place outside of the city.
Make time for Philly — for friends, fun time, and professional connections. These three are often one in the same for me!
Lisa Eats Cheese — site launch and more videos!
Look for a local acupuncturist I like
Be steeped in tech, creativity/writing, good friends both new and old, and a church/spiritual community.
These don’t feel like particularly measurable goals. For some reason this year I’m gravitating toward broader themes of how I want to feel, mixed in with a few pretty actionable items. There’s a big difference between 12 dinner parties and feeling strong and energetic. But my hope is that a goal like “feel strong and energetic” leads me to do concrete things I’ve wanted to do, like try a barre class, light lifting while watching TV, and consistent meal planning. At the end of the year, I’ll know if I feel that I invested in and was invested in in Lancaster, even though it’s vague. So we’ll see how that goes.
What are your plans? Are you still feeling that New Years goal glow?