Old Year’s Resolutions

This seems like a reasonable time to look at the resolutions I made at the start of 2008, and see how I did. Maybe even rate my success in each on a scale of 1 to 5, just for kicks…

Goal One: Spend more time in nature. Progress: I did go hiking in the Muir Woods when visiting friends in San Francisco earlier this year, went up into the Verde Valley late this summer, and I went on a few hikes around the Phoenix Zoo this fall. I’m not sure my backyard counts as nature since it’s in the suburbs, but I did spend a lot of time tending to my gardens and hanging laundry on the clothes line. All in all, I did not do as much out in natural settings as I would have liked, but I did improve over previous years. Rating: 3 out of 5

Goal Two: Finish a first draft of my book. Progress: FAIL! I wrote some, made a few attempts at an outline, but I have already worked more on my book in 2009 than I did in all of 2008. Looks like I need to push this goal forward and make it a higher priority in my schedule, since it is a high priority in my heart. Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Goal Three: Physical Fitness. Progress: Not bad at all. I ended up at about the same weight as I started the year, so that’s what I’ll focus on in 2009, but my cardio health has improved dramatically, my strength has increased overall, and I have actually come to enjoy physical activities – especially in the spring and fall when the weather is so great here. Plus, I actually finished a 5K! Rating: 4 out of 5

Goal Four: Get more done at home. Progress: I have done well on this one. I take care of my honey-do’s a lot more often before even getting reminded of them, I seek out new things to do that will help out, and most of all I’m really enjoying taking pride in keeping the household in good shape. I can still improve a LOT, but I think I’ve done well for 2008. Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Goal Five: Do 175 hours of volunteer work, and give at least 10% of our income to charitable endeavors. Progress: This was one of my big successes this year, I exceeded both of my goal numbers. Now to figure out what to do for an encore… Rating: 5 out of 5

Goal Six: Help others attain their goals and dreams. Progress: I worked for most of the year with a small, dedicated group of individuals to figure out how to start a non-profit that could assist others in trying to address the social needs of their communities. On a smaller scale, I got involved with or led several efforts through the year that managed to get people giving their time, money, and energy for the betterment of others. Hopefully these efforts will have a compounding effect that creates far more good than I could ever do on my own for others. Rating: 4 out of 5 (there is much yet to be done)

Goal Seven: Spend more time with friends. Progress: Whether it was hanging out with Mike at Chipotle, setting up virtual coffee breaks with friends who live in other parts, having people over for meals or parties at our house, or traveling to stay with friends and catch up on things – 2008 was a banner year for friendship in my life. I wish I’d been able to visit a few of them that I didn’t get to, but there’s always 2009. Rating: 4 out of 5

Goal Eight: Travel to three places I have never been, at least one of which is more than a leisurely day’s driving distance away. Progress: Well, I have been to San Francisco, but my wife hadn’t so the trip there in March sort of counts (we went a lot of places while there that I certainly had never been to). Locally we drove up to Cottonwood and stayed a couple of nights at a lovely bed and breakfast there. So… two out of three. Not bad. Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Goal Nine: Spiritual. Progress: I did not get as involved in a community of faith as I had hoped. However, I did go deeper down my personal spiritual journey. Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Goal Ten: Be a champion for children. Progress: We have yet to be placed, but are still on the fostering list. I went and volunteered for two days at an after-school program in San Francisco and had an amazing time. Mostly, I spent quality time with my nephew and niece, and have grown to where I feel like I’m “good” with kids. If plans go well, I will be able to make a bigger impact next year. Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Goal Eleven: Be sensible about money. Progress: We have hit some HUGE goals this year financially despite the economy. We have some investments that should be exciting to watch over the next few years, and are on track with our aggressive plan to pay off our mortgage (the last standing debt we have). Rating: 4 out of 5

Goal Twelve: Improve my mental health. Progress: I have never felt sharper, nor felt like I learned so much in so little time. Rating: 4 out of 5


Sustainable Silverware

I just learned about a cool company called Biocorp, that has come up with “biodegradable and compostable bags, liners and food service ware.” They only let you order in larger quantities (by the 1000’s) for much of their stuff, it looks like, but still an awesome step in the sustainable direction.


This week has been crazy busy. I have been monitoring my trash output, but I have not been recording it as avidly. I think my awareness is way up though, and this weekend I’ll try to put together a recap of the last few weeks, what I have learned, etc.

Trash Tracker – Sept 18 & 19

Brief summary of the last couple of days:

  • five candy wrappers (individual sized)
  • three paper plates (lots of parties)
  • a plastic fork
  • the packaging for a book I got, which I could neither identify as paper, plastic, or from Earth
  • two coffee creamer individual packages
  • a coffee stirrer
  • the tape and sticky cellophane off the new refrigerator delivered today
  • some mustard that had gone bad

Trash Tracker – Sept 17, 2008

Well, I’ve already doomed myself to a little trash today by packing a small single-serving sized bag of chips as part of lunch. But yesterday went well the rest of the day, and I’m not foreseeing anything more than the chip bag today. Yet.

Trash Tracker – Sept 16, 2008

The rest of yesterday went quite well. Went to Home Depot, but bought things with no packaging and did not use any plastic bags to put the purchases in. We did buy a couple of things at Trader Joe’s in packaging, but nothing that can’t be recycled.

This morning I had to take out a bit of tubing from the irrigation system that was causing a leak. Maybe two or three inches long, but I had to trash it. I also had a tasty sandwich for breakfast that came in a nice non-recyclable wrapper. I brought my lunch so I do not foresee any trash there.

Tonight I am going to a happy hour, at which I will have a beer, which they will likely stick on a cocktail napkin I will then have to throw away. I am hoping to avoid that, as well as other trash-based incidents, but we’ll see.

I’m thinking after every two weeks of this journal I will post a tally of the total trash from the two weeks prior. That will be interesting to look back on over time.

Trash Tracker – Sept 15, 2008

Yesterday we had our niece and nephew over to the house, and I discovered that the presence of children increases the difficulty level of not producing trash. I personally only threw away a paper plate, napkin, and a cupcake wrapper, but there was more trash generated in my house than normal.

This morning so far I just threw out one cupcake wrapper (yes, I seem to be eating an inordinate amount of cupcakes recently). I brought my lunch and it is the last of the frozen meals I had bought prior to my trash tracking days, so I will definitely be tossing the thin plastic covering over the tray from that later today.

Update: lunch brought with it the need for a napkin. Also, I ate some pistachios, and their shells became trash, but I’m pretty sure they’ll biodegrade quick-like.