Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sweet Little Dumplings

Winter break is here (minus the coming pile of papers and finals I will have to grade at the end of this week) and I have to say: as much as I love school, I really, really, really love vacation. After all the intensity of the last few months, this vacation isn't a luxury - it's a necessity.

Of course, I use the term "vacation" lightly. While I am free from classes and teaching for the next four weeks, I still have a lot of work to do. I want to write at least 25 pages of my novel. I want to write a draft of a braided essay for next semester's creative nonfiction workshop, and revise a short story for the visiting writer workshop I'll be taking. I want (no, need) to write a syllabus for the class I'm teaching this spring. I'd also like to tackle some non-academic projects: put together the guest book from the wedding (a DIY attempt - I'll share when it's finished), write our thank you notes, finish the new chicken coop, refinish a second-hand dresser that I scored from someone who graduated last May, buy and wrap and mail Christmas gifts before the New Year. I'm pretty sure I won't get all of those things done, but I'm hoping to make a decent dent. Winter break hasn't even officially started, and I've already made some progress. Ambition, y'all: it works!

Vacation isn't all work, obviously. This weekend I took a break from my list of goals and obligations, as well as a break from raucous nights at the bar, and went to a small and lovely dinner party that my friend Jen hosted. She made a huge spread of Asian inspired dishes - dumplings, scallion pancakes, broccoli stir fry, garlicky green beans. We all contributed wine and champagne, and it was a wonderfully low key and relaxed evening of friends, food, gossip, and laughter. I need more nights like that. I hope to make space for them in 2013. 

Another thing I need more of in my life: yoga. I think I averaged about four classes a month this last semester, which is a far cry from my once three-times-a-week practice. This was mostly due to my schedule - I taught in the mornings, which is when the best classes at the YMCA take place. Next semester, I don't teach until 11AM (hallelujah!) so it should be easy to get back into a regular practice. I went to yoga this morning, and it felt so good - like my body was waking up after a restless sleep, shaking off a semester-long hangover, and remembering what it means to move thoughtfully and with purpose. Yoga is the perfect balance for my personality - I get so caught up in to-do lists, and projects, and goals, that I need someone in front of me, telling me to stop thinking, to lie down, to not move for five minutes. It's usually the hardest five minutes of my day, but that's what makes it so necessary.

Resolutions for 2013: more dinner parties, more yoga, and a finished draft of a novel. I should probably stop there, but I won't. Baby steps.