Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Extreme Silliness

I'm stealing Joyce's theme, because after being all depressed and mopey, I thought we could all use a laugh.

So, from Christian Lander, he of Stuff White People Like fame and fortune, check out "Stuff Environmentalists Like" parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

My favorite quote?

"Since the human population is most responsible for the destruction of the planet, you might be wondering if it is appropriate to suggest that an environmentalist commit suicide as a gift to the earth. The answer is no, mostly because environmentalists have so much work to do before they die and are eventually composted."

Damn straight, Christian.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can't Get Enough of Me?

Then check out my posts on ethical tuberculosis consumption over at Just Means.

Why I Continue To Have Hope

Yesterday, I found a passage of Anthony Giddens' book The Consequences of Modernity that struck me as really relevant to yesterday's conversation.

Giddens discusses "adaptive reactions" to risk and classifies our reactions into four broad areas:

1) Pragmatic acceptance- this involves not really thinking about the risk too much because, ultimately, it's out of your hands. 
2) Sustained Optimism- faith in rational thought and science; a trust in the ingenuity of human beings
3) Cynical Pessimism- often involves use of black comedy to alleviate one's emotional response to risk
4) Radical Engagement- engagement in the risk to reduce it; a belief that we can practically mobilize to diffuse risk

Honestly, I've fallen into all four categories at times, but yesterday I was in cynical pessimism mode.

Today, I'm in radical engagement mode. 

You see, as I read your wonderful comments, and then Chile, Rob, and Crunchy's blog posts, I realized that we can mobilize, and we are mobilizing. And maybe our individual contributions are small, but to paraphrase Barack Obama, collectively, we are more than the sum of our parts. 

How can I be a pessimistic cynic when you all, every one of you, show me what's best about human beings on a daily basis? How can I be hopeless about the crises we face, when people I have never met, from all around the world, are rallying to cheer me up? How can I believe that human beings are fractured and doomed, when I see so many people of different religious affiliations (or non-affiliations), political parties, and ethnicities uniting together to drastically reduce their impact,  to give to others, or to pee on their plants.

I can't.

I believe in the power of us, because I have seen us. You have shown me, you continue to show me, what is so wonderful about humanity.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

People, Cheer Me Up!

I had a really depressing post here about how basically, I feel like we're all totally screwed. And then I realized that such a post is not particularly productive and was just going to bum you guys out. 

So I deleted it.

Instead, I'm going to call on you guys to cheer me up and get me out of this funk. Tell me one good story about the environment. It can be from your personal life, it can be a local story, it can be a national story, or an international story.

Just some good news. Because sometimes we all need a little dose of hope.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Being An Environmentalist Girly-Girl

I've read with interest la Crunchita's experiment with no-poo, and I have to admit, I was a little relieved when she gave it up.

Because, well, everyone is always going on about how part of being an environmentalist is accepting one's own natural beauty and not worrying about make-up, or dying one's hair, or any of the other superficial things we ladies do to enhance our outer beauty. Environmentalism is all about remembering that it's the INNER beauty that counts.

Yeah, well, eff inner beauty! Sometimes a girl wants to look pretty. You know ON THE OUTSIDE. WHERE EVERYONE CAN SEE HER!!

So yeah, I use Dr. Bronner's bar soap on my hair, but I also throw a dime-size dollop of organic conditioner on it. And because I wash my hair only once or twice a week, I now straighten it (yes using an electric straightening iron) so that it doesn't look frizzy-scary the other 5-6 days.

I use Tom's of Maine deodorant (which I swear doesn't do anything, but luckily I am not that sweaty a person, so I think a deodorant is more of a placebo for me than anything) and organic chapstick (which comes in a plastic tube.)

But I also use M.A.C. lipstick and Estee Lauder eyeliner. 

And while I have given up my lovely liquid body wash, and those nylon spongey things that come with them, I still use a cream face wash in a plastic bottle. And yes, my cream face wash is super non-organic and comes from Neutrogena. Because, folks, I tried all the hippy face washes, and my face kept getting more and more broken out.

And, the fact of the matter is, this little blogger is a wee bit vain. And so I really didn't like living with the acne, especially after years of being told that my skin was amazing. So, I went back to the Neutrogena face wash. And my face immediately cleared up. And I was happy. 

All this to say that there are many things I will do for the environment. I'll give up shaving cream, and shampoo, and I'm not bleaching my hair even though I desperately want red highlights. 

But the face wash stays. And you can pry my eyeliner out of my cold, dead hands.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Confidential to Will and Maggie

Dude, what happened to your site?!

Giving Up The Ghost

All right, guys. I give in. After seven years of happy meat eating, I am re-vegetarianizing myself. Well, I'm giving it a six week trial run anyway.

I am not happy. I like meat. I don't want to stop eating meat. But lately, I feel like I can't justify eating meat. Especially considering how many things I've let slip lately. (Don't talk to me about my soda consumption. Just don't.)

I think there are sustainable and ethical ways to eat meat ... but, I'm not really doing it. I've been eating meat from who knows where, and I've been doing it far more often than I should. So, there you go.

Anyway, if you want to tell me really awesome things about being a vegetarian, I would appreciate it, because, like I said, really not that psyched about the whole plant-eating thang. And frankly, I clearly need a change of attitude because if this six week trial is going to be useful at all, I need to be approaching it with positivity. 

Does no meat mean I can eat more chocolate and drink more beer? Probably not, right? Ah well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Taking the Week Off To Be A Drama Queen

I have a couple thousand very preliminary words due on my dissertation on Friday. Now, you might wonder why on Earth two thousand words should be a problem for someone who routinely writes 1200 word epic blog posts. And frankly, I have to admit that, objectively speaking, 2000 words is nothing, and rationally, I should be able to approach this in some sort of calm manner.

But instead I've opted to completely freak out about the whole thing, alternatively crying because I have no new ideas and everyone has thought of everything that I've thought of and thought of it better than I have, to drinking because oh. my. God. nothing that I'm saying is interesting or relevant or important, to lying awake wondering if my methodology is empirically bankrupt, to drinking some more because why am I the stupidest person in the universe, and oh God, the pain, the pain!!!

Can't you guys tell I used to be an actor?

So forgive the lack of posting, but I'll be back Monday. Hopefully.

Also, can I just say to all the PhDs in the hizzouse, that I give you mad props. I don't know how the hell you do it without slitting your wrists or drinking yourself into a coma. 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Games We Play

I'll be honest. I want a new computer. And a new iPod. And while we're at it, I wouldn't mind a new camera and a new cell phone.

Now since I'm a poor graduate student, I don't have the money for any of that stuff, but when I had a job, how did I deal with the temptation for shiny, new toys?

Well, I recognized that the shininess disappears relatively quickly. That there was always going to be a newer computer, and latest cell phone. That my finances and the environment would both be better off if I just held off buying new gadgets until the old ones finally and truly bit the dust.

But, man, that's so boringly principled, isn't it?

And as much as I love my principles, I have to admit that if I only had my principles, I wouldn't have lasted a year as a non-consumerist.

So, how did I do it?

Simple. I treated non-consumerism as a game. A game I wanted to win. And since I'm a fairly competitive person, I was definitely going to win. 

Instead of buying new stuff, I pretended to be MacGyver and figure out how to make do with the stuff I had on hand. Finding stuff used has become part of the adventure for me. I scoured Gumtree, Freecycle and charity shops looking for sweet deals. And when my computer was moving super slow, I tried to change my thinking from, "Augh! Want new computer!!" to "I wonder if I can last out another two months with this computer." Then my competitive streak would take over and I had to last out two months, and another two months, and another two months, and another two months.

Now that I'm no longer a stringent non-consumer, I still do all these things. But now and then, when I badly want or need something new, I also allow myself a once in a while splurge. For example, when I was in LA, my favorite pair of jeans ripped. I dutifully went to the thrift store where I found pair after pair of super fugly jeans. So I went to Nordstrom's and bought a pair of Citizen's jeans. They were expensive, but they were also gorgeous, they fit my body perfectly, and frankly, I hadn't bought a single pair of jeans in three years. And I don't regret buying them at all, nor do I feel any guilt about it. Because it's not something I regularly do, but once in a while, we all need a treat.

What mind games do you play to get yourself to live in accordance with your environmental principles? You still have a day to enter the APLS carnival hosted by Cath.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sustainable Cities

Many of you are familiar with former Bogota mayor Enrique Penalosa and his work in transforming the city of Bogota, but if you aren't, I highly recommend this video. Hell, even if you are familiar with him, I recommend this video.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why Adaptation Is A Good Thing

As I mentioned in my last post about adaptation, there is some controversy swirling around adaptation which has prevented it from taking as prominent a position on the world's stage as it should. Now, some of you who read my last post might think, wait, why would adaptation be controversial?

Well, it's controversial for the reasons Diane MacEachern encapsulated in her comment:
Though adaptation is part of evolution, I think it gets us into trouble in the
industrial age. It seems like the notion that we'll adapt to the problems we
create generates a barrier to the idea that we should prevent problems from
happening in the first place. I'd like to see a greater emphasis on "prevention"
and more caution around the notion of adaptation.

Essentially, adaptation became controversial because people feared that if we started discussing adaptation, people would figure that we didn't need mitigation.

Now, I love Diane. I adored her book (go read it by the way!) So, I say this with nothing but admiration and respect for Diane. I think the idea that we should be wary of adaptation in and of itself is really wrongheaded and dangerous.

Let me give you an analogy. Let's say you don't believe that teens should have sex. Then you might argue, well, we shouldn't talk about condoms because that's encouraging teens to have sex. Now, and again, this is my opinion, but in my opinion, talking about condoms does not encourage teens to have sex. Talking about condoms simply informs and empowers teens, allowing them to make better decisions. And frankly, given that many teens are having sex, not talking about condoms is basically burying your head under the proverbial sand. It doesn't make the problem go away.

Basically, mitigation-only environmentalism is like abstinence-only education. It's a denial of the reality on the ground which is that global climate change is happening. Now. And people *have* to learn to adapt. (And by the way, I'm not saying Diane advocates mitigation-only environmentalism, because I don't think she does.)

So what I'm saying is we must, must, must talk about adaptation, and we do need to adapt. BUT, and this is where I think Diane and I agree, this doesn't mean we should accept any old adaptation strategy presented at us. For example, I remember during the great tomato outbreak, one of the adaptive strategies tossed around was, "Just cook all your vegetables!" Uh, no. That's a stupid form of adaptation.

So, while in and of itself, adaptation is a good thing and not something to be wary of, we do need to critically assess adaptation strategies to decide whether or not they are reasonable solutions. If you want to go back to my previous analogy, what I'm basically saying is adaptation, like birth control, is good. But just like all forms of birth control are not equal (some are good, some are bad, some are stupid) all forms of adaptation are not equal. But just because some forms of adaptation are bad does not mean we should stop talking about adaptation. Rather, it means we need to discuss adaptation MORE so we can start to truly figure out what are good adaptive strategies versus bad ones.

Our focus should not be: should we adapt?
Instead our focus needs to be: how do we adapt?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Science Book Challenge

I think I'm going to wade into the challengicious waters again and take on the Science Book Challenge. It helps that this is a pretty easy challenge for me, what with the being in school and all. 

I haven't decided on all my books yet, so I'm happy to take recommendations from people. The theme is "nature's wonders." The first book I'm going to review for this is Uncertainty on a Himalayan Scale, which, is uh, academic as hell, and yet awesome. For example, the book goes into a little discussion on how you define "forest." Yeah, I know, I know, forest is like porn, we know it when we see it, but really, if you think about it, how do you define it? Tricky huh?

I can't find it at this moment, but the UN definition of "forest" is absolutely hilarious in its specificity of area, tree height, etc. Seriously, in the words of the immortal Karen Walker, "It's funny cuz it's sad."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wait, Why Are We Worried About Peak Oil?

I just read this in a 2001 paper by Larry Lohmann at the Cornerhouse:
Yet the mining of coal and oil will have to be halted long before supplies have
run out. The amount of carbon in remaining deposits of fossil fuels (over 4,000
billion tonnes) swamps both the carbon pool in the atmosphere (720 billion
tonnes) and the carbon pool in the terrestrial biosphere (2,000 billion tonnes)
(see table). Atmospheric science suggests that adding just a few hundred to a
thousand of this 4,000 billion tonnes to the air could precipitate catastrophe.

So, wait a second. If this is true, then peak oil is really not something to worry about, right? Because by the time we hit peak oil, we'll all be dead!! Happy Monday!!

But seriously, this paper is a little old. Is there newer research that refutes Lohmann? Hit me up, peeps.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What Is Adaptation, Anyway?

Last December, I wrote a post about adaptation, and subsequently realized that I hadn't given many of you an adequate enough primer explaining what adaptation is, exactly. So, for this month's Green Mom's Carnival hosted by the Not Quite Crunchy Parent about global warming, I'm going to put on my teaching hat and try and explain a little what we mean when we talk about adaptation.

Basically, when we discuss climate change, there are two main points to look at: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation focuses on reducing carbon emissions and stabilizing the carbon content of the atmosphere. When we talk about reducing our carbon footprint, we're dealing with mitigation. Mitigation is probably what most people are familiar with because that's what is talked about the most.

Adaptation is talked about a lot less, for several reasons, but it is just as, or perhaps more important than mitigation. Basically, adaptation focuses on reducing vulnerability to climate change. Now, most people, when they think about adaptation, think about engineering and technological solutions to reduce vulnerability: stuff like sea walls, or better levees. This is certainly part of adaptation. But not all adaptation is technological. Adaptation might involve planting less water intense crops in a region vulnerable to drought. Or it might involve developing evacuation strategies in the event of a hurricane. In the third world, adaptation often runs concurrently with development. The idea is, the more developed a nation becomes, the less vulnerable its people are. The more we promote third world development, the more likely those nations will be able to weather climate change successfully.

Basically, say you are reducing your use of electricity because you want to lower your carbon footprint. In that case, you would be practicing mitigation. But let's see you want to reduce your use of electricity because you are worried that in the future you won't have ready access to electricity due to peak oil. Then you would be practicing adaptation.

On a global scale, adaptation is becoming increasingly important for a variety of reasons. One, because climate change is no longer a future occurrence. It's already happening in many parts of the world, and thus, people are already having to learn how to adapt. Two, because the stigma towards adaptation is luckily dying. Believe it or not, environmentalists, including Al Gore, used to think that if we talked about adapting to global warming, people would just forget about mitigation. Thus, adaptation was seen as something not to be discussed. Luckily, everyone has kind of come to their senses and people now realize that adaptation and mitigation can be pursued together.

All right, that's my basic introduction. Does anyone have any questions?

The Diversity of Voices in the Blogosphere

To continue our discussion from the past few days, today I wanted to talk about a comment that Going Green Mama left and that she then explored further on her blog. She wrote:
So, Erin, here's the question. Is the housewife/green theme on many of these blogs a result of peer pressure or because the working mom who's trying to incorporate some of these changes just doesn't have enough hours in the day to blog about it?
It's a good question. And I think that while I had sort of assumed that the focus on DIY was somewhat a result of peer pressure, I think Erin makes a good point that perhaps, the focus on DIY makes sense when you consider that a lot of eco-bloggers are SAHMs.

Now, I hope I was clear in my initial post, but just in case I wasn't, I'm going to be completely clear right now. I don't think there is anything wrong with a woman wanting to stay at home with her children, and wanting to make her own jam, or can her own vegetables, or grow her own garden or anything like that. I don't think any of them women whose blogs I read daily are some sort of affront to feminism. I don't think they're being brainwashed with the patriarchy. I think it's great that we do have choices in this day and age, and frankly, I think we all have to individually make the choices that are best for *us* and, wouldn't it be nice if we could do that without everyone else judging those choices?

(Although, with regard to choices, Abbie makes a good point that we actually don't all have choices, which is true. She can't give up work, and frankly, nor can I. I have to support myself, even if I didn't want to, I don't actually have a choice. But the point remains that we do have *more* choices than many other generations. Even a generation ago, I would have had little choice about getting married. At a certain point, if I weren't married, I would have simply had an arranged marriage. But now, I have the choice not to do that. So while I may not have a choice right now in terms of supporting myself, I do think I have way more choice in my life than Indian women did 50-100 years ago.)

Now, for whatever reason, it happens that a lot of eco-bloggers are SAHMs. And as Erin pointed out, if you are a family living off of one pay-check, then paying $8 for a jar of jam doesn't make sense. And yes, I really did pay $8 for my jam when I lived in LA. I'm not just making up numbers in case you were curious. ;)

On the other hand, if you're me, and you live alone, and there is no one with whom to divide work (but also no one other than myself to spend money on), it might make more sense to just buy the $8 jam. There's also an eco-efficiency of scale that you lose when you're making jam for one, so honestly, I think that for me, the most eco-solution probably is to just buy my jam at the farmer's market.

I guess the truth of the matter is,  we write about our personal experiences, and what we know. Given that SAHMs represent a large portion of the eco-blogosphere, it's probably not surprising that DIY is a big component of the eco-blogs.

But I do think it's also important to remember that we're not all alike, and that's okay. It's okay for us all to follow different paths. And that's something that I have to remind myself. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Feminism and the Environment: Continued

Wow! A lot of people had some really great things to say about this topic the other day, and frankly, I'm super jet-lagged, so I'm going to let you guys do more of the talking.

I think there are a couple points that came up that are pretty valid that I'll try to discuss over the next couple days:

1) It's okay if work gets distributed along gender lines, so long as both parties are doing roughly equal work.

One of the actually kinda cool things about living alone, is that by necessity, you end up doing both the traditionally "male" and traditionally "female" work. I've cleaned the toilet, and I've also been responsible for unclogging it. I've set up my electronic systems, and decipher strange Swedish diagrams to put my furniture together. I research my own mutual funds, and I do my own taxes. These are all things that my dad was responsible for when I was growing up ... actually I'm not sure he would have ever unclogged a toilet! But he did everything else. And now I know how to do all of that. Do I love doing all that stuff? Not always, but I do value the fact that I can do all those things on my own, just as I value that I do know how to cook, even if I don't really enjoy it.

So it occurs to me that actually the trend towards delaying marriage may be the best thing that has ever happened to our society. Because, frankly, most of my guy friends know how to cook and clean for similar reasons ... there was a long length of time where they lived alone or with other guy roommates before they moved in with their girlfriends.

Anyway, like I said, I do it "all." I mean, I clearly don't do it all, as I let a lot go and pay for other stuff (like meals a lot of the time), but there is no work split on gender lines. Any work in my household is probably done by me. So there's no real question of anyone doing an unequal share of work.

But when you are in a relationship, it's easy to fall into unequal work patterns. It's also easy to perceive unequal work patterns where one doesn't exist, because it's much easier to comprehend the work you're putting in for the household versus someone else.

In my personal experience, with my parents work was split generally along gender lines and I think my mom did end up doing more work than my dad. However, in previous relationship history, work was probably fairly equally split (and not along traditional gender lines), though I think we both often perceived ourselves to be doing more work than the other!

Now, most data still suggests that maybe household work isn't coming out roughly equal in the wash, and that women tend to put in more work in the household than men. Even when those women have a full time job. Do you think that data is valid? Do you see that manifesting in your life? Do you think it manifests in your friends and neighbors?

And if women do put in more time into the household, how much of that is self-imposed? Do we feel the need to have a cleaner house than men do? Do we feel the need to cook more complicated meals when a simple one would suffice? And if we do have higher standards, is it really fair to expect someone else to meet them?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Are The Feminist Movement and The Personal Environmentalism Movement Compatible?

It's the night before I fly back to London, and I should be ... doing any number of things. Sleep comes to mind.

But I can't sleep right now, because I'm a little riled up. See, I've been following Crunchy's excellent discussion regarding Depletion and Abundance, and today's discussion topic delved into the subject of domestic work.

I haven't read Depletion and Abundance, so I don't mean this to be a critique of the book one way or the other. Instead I want to specifically talk about the feminist movement and whether or not it can be compatible with personal environmentalism.

Because, see, here's the thing. Unlike a lot of eco-bloggers, and unlike a lot of my readers, I hate all kinds of domestic work. And yes, this includes cooking.

Oh, I'll do it. I've cooked three course meals. I've made homemade butter and homemade jam. But frankly? If I had to cook for myself every day of the week, I'd shoot myself. My dream life involves having my own chef and maid and gardener. And maybe my own personal butler who would feed me hand-peeled grapes. Given this, I tend to resent it when it is suggested to me, that, oh! but cooking and canning your own food is so much fun! And so rewarding! And you should totally make all your own tomato sauce, because, AWESOME!!

Um, how about, instead, I don't. And I let you make your own tomato sauce because *you* enjoy it, and then I buy some off you instead, because, yes, I would prefer to spend more money on a jar of tomato sauce, than make my own. Yes I would.

The problem is, all this cooking and canning and pickling and storing, not to mention all the line-drying and non-toxic cleaning, and non-toxic child rearing, generally falls to the woman in the relationship. I know there are exceptions. But in most of the blogs I read, it's the woman who is doing the bulk of the domestic work. Sometimes, they continue to do the bulk of the domestic work even when they have a job that is just as demanding as their husband's.

Now, maybe the women who do this work do it because they enjoy it. And if so, then, more power to you, sister! I salute you. But I think a lot of women don't enjoy said domestic tasks. But, because we live in this Martha Stewart-obsessed culture, we are told that a) we are wrong for not enjoying scrubbing toilets or baking cookies and b) that we should just suck it up, and domesticate.

As a result, a lot of women live with a lot of guilt. Guilt that is compounded by every freaking eco-blogger touting do it yourself laundry detergent! and do it yourself soap! and do it yourself jam! and do it yourself ... you get the picture.

And at its core, we're not seriously addressing the gender inequities that result in one person doing all the canning and cooking and cleaning while the other gets to enjoy the perfectly canned fruits.

The truth is, we're never going to address gender imbalance when one set of people, largely women, are consistently being told "you should enjoy cooking and cleaning, and if you don't, you're not feminine." Or that if you don't enjoy making organic baby food from scratch you're not a good mom. Because the truth is, you can be a good woman, and you can be a good mom even if you would rather pay a service to wash your baby's organic cloth diapers. Or you would rather buy $8 jam from the farmers' market. Or you think that if the toilet only gets cleaned once a month ... well, no one will die.

So let's not claim to tell people what they will or will not enjoy, or how they should spend their time. Instead, let's try to get people to do what they actually *do* enjoy. For me, that might mean that I would rather get a paid job in the workforce than stay at home. And maybe that would mean that I would use my money to then pay someone who would rather stay home for their homemade jam. Because in the end, my paying someone else for homemade organic local jam benefits the environment, benefits feminism, and freaking benefits me. And all of you. Because all y'all don't want to be near me when I'm cranky. /End rant.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year, New APLS Carnival

The first APLS topic of 2009 is up! Go check it out, and get your posts in by Jan 19th!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

To Sleep Perchance To Dream

I can't sleep and it's becoming a problem.

Seriously, I don't remember the last time I slept through the night. And I would blame it on time zone shifts except that I wasn't able to sleep properly the last two weeks I was in London either.

I've never been a very good sleeper, and I have suffered bouts of insomnia before, but this is so prolonged that I'm starting to go insane.

I am not a big believer in medicating myself (I'm not Tom Cruise, I don't care if you take meds, I just mean for myself personally) so I haven't ever tried sleeping pills, and I'm loathe to start. Especially because I'm afraid if I take sleeping pills, I'll get addicted and unable to sleep without them.

BUT. I do need something. So, anyone have any good tips on how to cure insomnia naturally?

I just really, really want to sleep through the night.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I kinda can't believe it's January 1st, 2009.

Seriously. Where did 2008 GO?

Not bad for one year.

It's a little amazing to me how much my life has changed in the past one year. I'm honestly not sure where the next year will take me, but I am realizing that right now, the ends are not as important to me and I am just enjoying the journey that is life.

However, there are a few things I hope to accomplish this year. Resolutions, goals whatever, you call them.

1) I hope to write my dissertation, and graduate. And then, ya know, get a job-like thing. You know, one of those things where people pay you to do work? Instead of you paying someone so you can work harder than you've ever worked?

2) I want to do some freelance writing, and start to write more for other blogs/publications/etc.

3) I want to sing more. After two months of choir, I realize how much I've missed it these ten years. I'd love to take voice lessons, but that would probably require that job-like thing.

4) I also want to learn guitar. This one has been on my "resolutions" list for years now, but now the pressure is really on because learning guitar is also on my list of things to do before I turn 30. It was an extremely short list, and I've actually accomplished everything else: I wrote a novel and I'm learning Spanish. Guitar was the third thing on the list, and the only outstanding item. Of course, I sold my guitar when I left LA, so this would require buying another guitar in London, and then finding a cheap teacher ....

5) I want to explore Europe/the UK/London more. I have to be honest. I spent *a lot* of time these past two months getting to know the library very well. And that's great, and I'm proud of myself for working hard in my classes, but it's getting a little embarrassing how little I've explored London. And frankly, when else am I going to get such a good chance to go to York? Or to Brighton? Or to Nice? Or Dublin? Or Copenhagen? Or Berlin? So as much as I love the library (and I actually do ADORE our library) I need to find a balance that allows me to see the world around me just a tad as well.

I think five is probably more goals than I can handle, so I'll stop there. 

What about all y'all? What are your goals for the next year?