Monday, 11 June 2007

Personal Goals

I've just been tagged by Katie Alender to come up with 15 personal goals. Being tagged is a huge thrill. When I was a kid, I was seldom ever tagged on the playground, due to an almost complete lack of coordination and an inability to dart about quickly. When I got tagged, I stayed tagged. This blog tagging sounds like a lot more fun -- a sport that even a P.E.-compromised person such as myself can have fun with.

Here, then, are my 15 personal goals:

1) Lose weight -- I don't need to lose a lot, but I still see this as my own personal Mt Everest. Mainly, I want to stop using food as a means of fighting ennui. I have found that when I am bored, I go to the kitchen and forage, even when I'm not really hungry. This is a slippery slope if there ever was one, and I have to dig my heels in somewhere and claw my way back to the top.

2) Get more fit -- This goes hand in hand with losing weight. I work out a lot in the course of tending my garden, but this isn't enough. I used to hike, walk, cycle and swim. I'm going to start with walking and see if I can't work in the other things gradually.

3) Meditate more -- Not too long ago, I'd have rolled my eyes at anyone suggesting that this would become an important part of my life. But meditating is a great way to deal with stress and worry, and the more I do this, the more peaceful I feel. With a couple of teenagers around, I need all the peace I can get. Especially since we bought the drum kit.

4) Keep up my Japanese -- I used to know the Joyo Kanji -- roughly 1,900 Chinese characters (written Japanese is derived from Chinese and called 'Chinese characters' --kanji-- even in Japanese). Gradually I am losing this and learning them was such a pain in the neck that I really ought to be studying Japanese every day to prevent further leakage. Given my inherent laziness, you can bet that isn't happening, and I've got to do something about it before I lose even more of it.

5) Be nicer to my kids -- self explanatory

6) Be nicer to my husband -- as above

7) Be nicer to my friends --hey, this is easy!

8) Not obsess so much about getting a book published. I ought to acknowledge to myself that this may never happen for me, and that if it doesn't, it still is not the end of the world.

9) Learn how to finish things -- I'm great for starting, but awful for winding up and finishing off. It is as though there is some part of me that does not like to see the end of things. Currently, I have started three books and gotten 7/8 way through all three of them; in the garden, I've got four unfinished hanging baskets; in my sewing bag there is a half-embroidered head scarf and a rag rug that I started for the cat in January. And worse still, I have a manuscript that is one-half finished. I think I'll start with the manuscript, then hit the hanging baskets.

10) Try to keep better informed about American/modern popular culture. (I only learned what a blog was last year, who Paris Hilton was one month ago, and that you could use 'friend' as a verb sometime during the past few weeks...Scary.)

11) Remember to shut the £)*$"-ing cat in the kitchen at night so that my sleep isn't disturbed every time she drags in a dead animal.

13) Remember to return the library books (our monthly library fines could feed a family of eight in Bangladesh for at least a month).

14) Learn how to do things on the Internet and in my blog that everybody else seems to be able to do.

15) Not feel too pissed off with myself for not managing to attain all of these fifteen goals...

Now I tag Kim Ayres (Ramblings of the Bearded One), Eryl Shields (The Kitchen Bitch Ponders), and Kanani Fong (Easy Writer)...

Sorry that I couldn't manage to make your blog names light up the way Katie got mine to do, so that you can click on them and flick into your blogs; hopefully I will learn how to do this after reaching goal 14...


Katie Alender said...

Very nice list, Mary! I'm so proud that I've given you two of your three pop culture lessons. I'll also be happy to help with any of the web stuff, just drop me an email!

Eryl Shields said...

You cruel woman, I don't even know what a personal goal is!

Also, how can friend be used as a verb?

Mary Witzl said...

Katie -- Thank you for offering to help me with web stuff -- you can bet I will be taking you up on that at some point! I feel silly googling people like Paris Hilton just to be able to understand conversations going on around me.

It was fun being tagged and posting those goals. I've even been trying to keep them: I've been struggling to be nice to my eldest for the past hour, but I may have to get mean pretty soon if she doesn't go to bed before midnight...

Eryl -- Personal goals are a little like the resolutions people make at New Years, but seldom keep...They are fun.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who was not aware that 'friend' had evolved from strictly noun status to (sometimes) verb. When I saw it used that way the first time ('Will you friend me?') my assumption was that someone had just forgotten the 'be' of 'befriend.' Then I saw it used like that three or four times, in that many different blogs -- and the penny dropped. Wow. You turn your head for one minute and English does all sorts of weird things.

Kanani said...

Here's how to put links on both your blog and comments

name of blog

Brian said...

From a life process that has gone on for twenty or so years longer than yours Mary, I would say that a major problem in the way of implementing one's personal goals is that it is a very difficult thing to avoid the highest obviating factor -- simply that of getting older . Not an easy goal to achieve in other than a totally final way !!

I won't comment on your individual goals -- but I find 9 and 15 very relevant to me .

Language : I sometimes read the blogs of others who are a lot less interesting and accomplished than you , and on some of the rubbishy literary sites that this has led me to , I find the crossover of parts of speech where the verb *write * has become a noun -- as in the comment * a good write *

If you ever do this , I shall first scream , and then , despite my deep appreciation for yourself and your * writes * ,
cease reading your blog !!!


Eryl Shields said...

So is it used in place of befriend?

I guess, as with any living language, the usage of English words changes and develops constantly. It seems to be getting faster though, or am I just getting slower at keeping up?

I'm just going to start creating my list of personal goals now. Hopefully I'll have finished by the end of the day!

Mary Witzl said...

Kanani -- Thanks for that tip, but you have greatly underestimated my ignorance! Obviously I need to click on one thing, then back to another in some easy-for-others-but- hard-for-me way until hey presto, the names light up and I have done what everyone else seems to manage so effortlessly. Sigh.

Brian -- Even if you hadn't warned me, I would never use 'write' as a noun. This might be because of my TEFL background; it seems wrong to change verbs into nouns so callously when many learners are just getting the hang of the idea of nouns as nouns and verbs as verbs.

I tend to be prissy and conservative about tenses too. I sent an agent a manuscript and he turned it down, stating that he 'wasn't loving the voice.' I knew then and there that even if he had been 'loving the voice,' his misuse of the present continuous, albeit intentional and colloquial, would have grated on my nerves, and it was better that he didn't decide to be my agent. That isn't entirely sour grapes...

Eryl -- Yes, 'friend' is now used in place of 'befriend' by those who presumably get tired of extra syllables. You can see that I am one of those obnoxious purists who resent seeing language change. I think it is good to have a few purists around; we offer a nice balance to the creative types who play with language and make it do new and interesting things.

Good luck with your list of goals!

Eryl Shields said...

List completed and published. And I managed to make the names light up, though that was because my son talked me through it.

I'm half purist and half enjoyer of creativity. I don't see me using 'friend' in such a way, it just sounds lazy and wrong. I have a similar problem with the business jargon my husband falls into when he forgets it's me he's talking to. It's ugly and, also, I don't know what he's telling me.

Kim Ayres said...

I'm going to have to think about these goals and I'm afraid I'm not going to promise to join in on this one. There was a time when i could have listed hundreds of the things, but these days I mostly just want to have a nap, which saps the motivation for goal setting.

However, to solve your linking thing...

The problem Kanini fell into was as soon as she tried to demonstrate what to do using angular brackets <>, blogger turned it into a link.

So what I'm going to do is show you how to do it using square brackets [], but when you try it, convert them into angular ones.

All link codes start off with

[a href=

then you stick in the web address in quotes and close the bracket, eg. ""]

Then you stick in your linking text, which will be the blue linking bit, then you put [/a] after it.


Here's a link to the BBC[/a]

Put all these bits together and you have a link.

So, to try this out in a comment, copy and paste this code:

[a href=""]Kim is wonderful[/a]

then change the square brackets [] for angular ones <>.

Now click "Preview" and see if it the link works (right click and select "Open in New Window" if you don't want to lose your entry).

If this still doesn't work, email me and I'll send you instructions via email.

Carole said...

I must say, I think number 10 is a bit overrated. And what you see on TV is not true American culture unless you are very rich, cute, and haven't got a lick of sense. But perhaps I am too harsh. It's just the world I live in is so much different that what I see portrayed by any media outlet.

Mary Witzl said...

Kim -- You were good to offer me that help, and believe me, I have tried. But I could not get the names to light up! I will have to e-mail you, and perhaps Katie too. I really am sorry for being so obtuse and hope that you don't rue the day you tried to help me learn to blog...

Carole -- Your comment made me laugh. I don't really want to learn what all the celebrities are doing, but I only found out who Paris Hilton was a month ago. That makes me very out of touch, and I would like to be only a tiny bit out of touch. So, for instance, I would like to know who Paris Hilton is, that she has just been to jail, etc., but not all the particulars of her incarceration or her various silly past actions.

Katie Alender said...

Eryl, "friend" is mostly used in its verb tense on social networking sites like MySpace, where you add other users as "friends", which people shortened to "friending". Happily for the English language, I haven't heard it said outside the context of the internet.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian said...

One of my grandsons ( and many of his mates ) use a word that I have also heard outside his school grounds . It bugs this ex Latin scholar .

Asking about sporting fixtures one student enquires of another : Who ( never whom ) are you versing on Saturday arvo ?
And do you know , the answer rarely rhymes !


Mary Witzl said...

Katie -- On one hand, I am a fussy language purist, but on the other, I sometimes listen to my kids talk and love some of the things they say, and how they say them. And one newish word I love is 'diss' as in 'disrespect.' This is a great word and a useful one, because it fills a void of sorts; other than 'scorn' and 'treat with contempt,' etc., there are few ways to describe this. So I happily use 'diss' and am grateful to have it around to use, and does that give me a little more street cred, I wonder? (I like 'street cred' too.)

Brian -- I haven't heard that one and I would never know what it meant! In fact, what does it mean...? And is 'arvo' afternoon? I used to work with Australians when I lived in Japan and we were forever cracking each other up with each other's weird English.

I've given up on 'who' and 'whom,' but am driven to distraction by 'me' used in subject position and 'I' used in object position. The former sin is usually committed by kids, but EVERYBODY seems to use 'I' in place of 'me' in object position: 'Want to come to the store with Jan and I?' It just makes me cringe.

Jewell Ertman said...

Just wanted to say I've been reading your blog for awhile now, and it always makes me smile to see a new one. Thanks for the enjoyment!

Brian said...

Verse is short for versus -- Latin meaning against , so versing is playing against .

And yes , Arvo is afternoon -- we use the "o " on the end of words a lot- often on the end of shortened christian names or even surnames -- eg Robbo for Robinson


Brian said...

PS thanks for deleting the double post

Old thick fingers struck again !


Mary Witzl said...

No problem, Brian. You have given me the opportunity to feel smug about one of the few things I can do: deleting double posts.

Oh, once I manage posting photographs, what rejoicing there will be!