Yup. New Year. Review of last year's goals and working out what this one's will be. I'll be the first to admit that last year's goals were for the most part either too ambitious (e.g. walking the Thames Valley path - I'm only just able to contemplate the prospect of walking for enjoyment again on level paving, still a long way off a tramp through fields to the source of our Great River) or too trivial (baking pumpkin scones) or there just wasn't enough time. I am proud, however, that I managed to tick off just about everything on my music list and made a concerted effort (even if a failed one) at most of the things on the health list. Travel was largely scuppered by the whole crippled thing, but even then there were some exciting trips that hadn't been on the list - most notably Florida to see the space shuttle launch and spending a week in Lisbon with my parents.
And there've been other achievements too - 3 performances of my music, I joined the London Composers Forum, wrote two major works (well, major in the context of my largely miniature-based compositional output), spoke on a composer panel and made great leaps ahead in my understanding of musical theory.
But enough of the past. It's time to think of the future. 2011, here I come!
- Try to keep up at least 5 pomodoros a week of musical activity (preferably composition, but I'm not going to be too hard on myself here. If I'm working, I'll be satisfied if I just get in a little listening or counterpoint study) Totally creamed this one! masses of work done this year, even if not too many pieces were completed. Also did a ton of listening and some study too.
- Orchestral arrangement of Deconstruct: Point, line, plane for the LCCO's orchestral workshop, due at the end of January Meh. Alas no. This didn't happen. I did try but the piece didn't want to go there
- In 2010 my music was performed on 3 separate occasions. I'm setting myself a goal of getting 2 performances this year as a minimum. 1st performance confirmed already! Remembrances of Half-Forgotten Dead People will be premiered on 4 March - 15-odd years after it was written. Ha! December update: Overachieved on this one - yay! apart from the Remembrances performance, I also heard my Pieces of Eight performed at an LCF lunchtime concert, and the wonderful Midnight Llama played my graphic score Carrion Comfort in Colchester too.
- Get all scores for CD ready and sent off to my lovely and patient partner-in-crime. Ugh. Fail. But we did at least talk about doing it so the project itself isn't totally dead in the water.
- Implement new score dissemination scheme on caitlinrowley.com. Half-done. This turned out to be a bigger project than anticipated, involving recreating the site as a purely WordPress site, which has meant reworking the templates, messing about with custom post types and custom taxonomies and also means sorting out user signup which then needs to be linked to MailChimp. So this one is ongoing and will hopefully be ready to go sometime in 2012 (note lack of specific timeline :-) )
- Take at least one piece along to an LCF WiP/WiT session for feedback Done! I took Carrion Comfort along to the second-last one of the year and, of course, it was fabulously useful and helped me over a bit of an obstacle.
- Write a new piece specifically for a call for scores Done! Diabolus for unaccompanied violin, written for Conway Kuo's 15 Minutes of Fame call for scores
- Send off a score to at least one call for scores Done! See previous :-)
- Practice the flute no less than once a week. Hmm. Well, this was largely scuppered by root canal work that left the left side of my face mostly numb for about 9 months. But I've done a ton of practice since, and even had 2 flute lessons, which were a huge help, so while I haven't specifically achieved this, I do feel I've at least tried and got into the spirit of it a bit.
- Continue on with harmony/counterpoint/ear training work - not going to specify a pace for this, i just want to keep plugging away at it. Uh. Not really. Instead I did 6 months of private composition lessons, which were incredibly helpful but I haven't really touched my counterpoint etc exercises this year much at all.
- Listen to 1 new or revisited work or album a month. I'm thinking of keeping a listening diary as a way of practising what I'm learning with the harmony/ear training stuff and improving critical faculty etc. January: Doing well! Pulled out the Dawn Upshaw Sondheim album that I don't think I ever listened to in the first place, revisited Carl Vine's early symphonies, discovered the music of a new composer, Philipp Blume thanks to a Twitter-friend. February: Joined SoundCloud and listened to a lot of random stuff on there. March: Gordon Crosse's Thel, Nicholas Maw's Life Studies (both from my composition tutor). Also more random music by people I follow on SoundCloud and Twitter, plus have been starting to delve more properly into the NMC Songbook (WONDERFUL album). Listening diary not really happening yet. December: So this wasn't really as structured as I'd hoped, but I think I basically kept up with the quota, and I started keeping a bit of a listening diary on my iPad and also occasionally blogging about stuff I heard. SoundCloud has been incredibly useful and I've heard a lot of new stuff via Twitter and, yes, it's all been interesting and helpful.
- Blog on a musical topic at least once a month March update: So far (till this week when I got hijacked by finishing a piece) I've been blogging every week on caitlinrowley.com on musical topics. Hoping I can continue. December: I've managed to keep up the once-a-week blog post for most of the year, barring a couple of hiatuses (hiatii??)
- Buy a new piano pedal so I can play John Field's Nocturnes. DONE!
Other creative activity
- Try at least two recipes out of my new Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. Yup - peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies, also the pecan & white chocolate cookies - both excellent!
- Try at least one new bread recipe out of The Bread Bible. Hmm. I don't think I actually did this, but I can't quite remember. I know I've made both the Pain de Mie and near-perfected the crumpets, but I can't remember if I made the crumpets first last year or this year. This one's a maybe...
- Have a go at a felting project (suspect this may be the French Press Slippers which my sister-in-common-law very kindly gave me both pattern and yarn for for Christmas!). In progress. Nearly finished the knitting. Hoping I can at least have them sewn up and ready to felt by New Year. Must buy a tennis ball for the agitation...
- Knit gloves to go with green Strangling Vine scarf. Nope. Keep putting this off because I hate converting skeins into centre-pull balls - it's tedious and it can be hard to get Djeli to sit still that long but if I use a chair I invariably get in a muddle.
- Draw more - again, I'm not going to set a schedule but I've done barely any drawing this year and I'd really like to get back into it. Well, I did do a bit, pretty much all on iPad, but there were a couple of Mr Pickleberry cards over the year and I didn't think twice about drawing the cards for the crackers this Christmas, so while I haven't done as much as I wanted, I think I can count this as a win.
- Sort out the collage box - this item was pretty much a total fail last year, but at least I don't think I've really added to it - I've been focusing more on taking photos and using those on the iPad, but I need to cull/scan/use what's in there - I need to reduce the pile one way or another so it fits tidily back into its box again. Ugh. Fail.
- Bring photos up to date on Flickr. Unfortunately this means going back to last Christmas on the Isle of Man and even the Christmas before in Denmark. SO need to sort myself out. Fail
- Finish writing web book. Kind of changed tack on this and most of the content will probably end up as blog posts on raspberryblue.com
- For the third year in a row I'm going to put my hopeful foot forward and say I'll try to do the Drawing London on Location course at Central St Martin's. If anyone's interested in doing this with me, just yell! Nope. Still interested. Unlikely to happen in 2012 with the whole going-back-to-uni thing though.
- Determine jumpers to recycle into yarn and unravel & ball up at least one of them. Nope.
Home and health
- Yeah, fix this dratted ankle. What did you think would be first??! Well, the ankle is greatly improved - physio says it's fine so I just need to continue to strengthen it, so I guess it's fixed. Now to fix the second sprained ankle from August and finish fixing the busted calf muscle from November...
- Finish sorting out the house so we can find stuff (where are my art supplies???) February: Art supplies found! December: Mostly I think this is under control now, or as much as it can be in this house...
- Help Djelibeybi get the study sorted so we can both work there Sorted! MUCH better now. Just need to finish putting stuff into shelves but it's essentially done (March). December: In spite of sorting it out, it's very much Djeli's study, while I mostly work on a tiny table in the bedroom or from the bed. Again. With my piano in the other room... Still, we did get it sorted and things are definitely working better than before we did it.
- January = detox (after I get back from Durham on the 8th - no point trying to detox when I don't have control over what I can eat...) Uh... whoops?
- Get back to healthy eating again - cut out sugar, dairy, bread where possible. I think I've kind of found a middle path with this, which definitely is making me feel healthier. No cheese is a key, I think. Also no refined sugar unless I've baked it myself, which cuts back on a lot. I've become a bit of a fruit fiend. Totally addicted to pineapple and dried mango. I've also discovered I can eat clementines, which is lovely (oranges make me feel queasy)
- Urgh. Weight again. Um... I'd like to be no more than 75kg by the end of the year. In theory that one should be easy, so let's hope it is. The no-exercise thing has been a killer, so hoping I can sort that very soon. FAIL. Can I make this text bigger? Although, it has to be said, not entirely my fault (see above re: second sprained ankle and busted calf muscle, also add in back pain problems which have persisted for most of the year)
- Join gym for 3 months and see what it can do for me, even if all I'm doing is very slow treadmill work. Nope. But I did start my own exercise schedule involving counting squirrels while walking in local parks, which was both enjoyable and quite effective - bought a Nike+ for my iPod, which has been great. Djeli even said that he burned more calories doing a 3-mile squirrel-walk with me than when he worked out at the gym. So I don't feel bad about not having joined.
- Do a London walk with Djeli. Thames Valley may still be a little ambitious, but I should be able to do a reasonable-length London city walk very soon. Nope.
- Practice visualisation relaxation technique. Kind of tried, didn't really work. Probably need to try harder.
- Work on non-dayjob income-generating services. Well, this has sort of been a success, although I'm not bringing in as much income as I really should be. But my freelance business is up and running and I've got quite a bit of work done this year and starting to get into a proper routine with it, which is grand.
- Decluttering: This year I think I'll aim for a sock darn-or-cull blitz. Also 2 books read and disposed of. Oh gosh. Why do I keep putting this into these lists?
- Clean up my desk once every month (I'll aim for every couple of weeks, but suspect that's a little too ambitious. Once a month should be doable). Yeah, I think I mostly kept to this. Or at least very nearly. It's tidyish now, so I'm considering this a win.
- Be more selfish. I think I've done quite well on this one this year, but things also got rather out of control when I wasn't concentrating on this, so I think it needs to be upfront and prioritised. I need sleep. I need me-time. WIN. Although I couldn't have achieved such a level of selfishness as to sign myself up for a Masters degree which will probably take two years if I hadn't had Djeli's support, so karma++ to him.
- Work out what I'm going to do about the vast towers of cooking magazines and recipe cards, even if I don't actually do it. The important thing is coming up with a plan before we need to move it all again. Not really. I did try - started scanning the wretched things, but it wasn't a huge success. I think for the issues of Jamie magazine I want to keep, I'll just re-buy them in the app once reviews report it working properly. It's well set up and easily searchable and they'll still feel like proper magazines. Really don't know what to do with the rest though. Might have to take the old-fashioned approach and just cut out individual recipes we want to keep and stick them in a book or something :-(
- Last year's travel list still stands, but this year I'm going to prioritise a couple of things:
- Attend a summer festival OR
- Attend a composition summer school - Dartington would be nice, but I'm open to whatever may present itself
- Given that our house will have an additional resident from about March in the form of Djelibeybi's eldest son, the mighty Zombieninja Davidbowie, I'm thinking prioritising the running-away-for-a-weekend's-quiet-composition-on-my-own might also be a good thing
- Fail. Nearly all travel was cancelled this year, mostly because of the back problems and endless root canal issues. But I did do the CoMA Midwinter Composers Masterclass in Durham, which was fantastic, spent a whole TWO WEEKS at the Edinburgh Festival, which was fabulous in spite of brain meltdown while we were there, and got to go to the Isle of Arran at the end of it. And we went to Spain for the first time and saw the Barbary apes on the Rock of Gibraltar which I've been wanting to see since I was about eight.
- Time to buy a new laptop. Nope. But I did buy myself an iPad, which has been one of the best things I've ever bought.
- I think this year should be the year I finally take the plunge and get Logic Studio. Done! And what a great decision - this has meant much more realistic audio files up on SoundCloud and on my site, which I'm sure have contributed to the number of requests for pieces I've had this year. Well worth the investment.
- Be a better friend, daughter & fiancée. I've let a few people down this year from when I've been overwhelmed. I don't want that to happen again, even in spite of the "Be more selfish" item. Total fail at this. Largely due to physical and mental health issues. But that's no excuse. Will try harder.
- Back computer up regularly. Yeah, this one didn't happen even once last year (although I did implement a score backup system), but y'know - hope springs eternal? Got a system working for this at last *preen*