As much as I love winter, I do feel I'm ready for spring now. I miss the sun, the light, the colour, and the smells of summer, and even though we're not even in spring yet, even though Spring Equinox isn't until the 20th March, February is when things start happening, changes become visible, and the outside world slowly starts waking up again. I bought some daffodils in a pot last week, and this morning two of them had flowered. It's very cloudy and grey here, but every so often, only for a minute, the sun peeks out and the room is briefly flooded with light and slight (ever so slight) warmth.
When I wrote my New Year's Resolutions, I was focusing on the whole of 2012. I didn't have any specific month-long goals other than "to get started" as it were. Now February is here, I'm thinking about what I want to achieve between now and the end of winter, as well as now and the end of the month. Keeping my resolutions has been interesting to say the least (that's code for "I didn't keep any of them at all at any point": that bookcase has been moved at least twice, for example!), but no matter. It doesn't mean I've messed up the whole year, and at no point have I felt that I did.
So, February goals. Well, I'm on target with my book goals: I've read seven out of seventy-four of my "challenge" books, and twenty-three books in total (many of these books were either children's fiction or slim volumes of poetry, so twenty-three isn't quite as impressive as it sounds). I'm by no means aiming for another twenty-three, but I would like to read at least six books from my challenges list. I'd like to return my focus to Charles Dickens, though perhaps not quite so intensely (I found prioritising one author leads to restlessness): I am very interested in reading The Old Curiosity Shop because, frankly, I want to see if the death of Little Nell moves me to laughter, as Oscar Wilde so spitefully suggested, or tears as Dickens would have hoped. I'm hoping for the latter, I'm not so impressed with Oscar's statement! I also would like to read Dombey and Son, as well as finish Bleak House.
I'm still not done with He Knew He Was Right, and I'm still loving it, so that ought to be one of the first books for my attention. I'm so excited by Anthony Trollope! I think I may also be ready for Catch 22 - a book I've started many times, but never finished. I've not picked this book up now for five years, so I think it's time! I also want to read Portrait of an Artist by James Joyce because, having finished Dubliners last night (more on this later) it is the last of the "major works". For now, I can only say I wish Joyce spent more time writing as he did in Dubliners and less time with his experimenting, however important the experiments were! (I'm selfish like that).
Finally, I think I want to finish War and Peace this month. The second time around is no more enjoyable than the first, and I feel that the first time I read it far too quickly, this time I'm reading it far too slowly. On a similar note, I'm not sure reading Middlemarch in sections is working terribly well either, but I'll reserve judgement. Les Misérables at a slow pace, on the other hand, seems to be going well. That said, I have no particular intentions to finish Middlemarch this month, so we'll see.
Aside from that, I have no long reading lists for February. I've felt very constrained in the past when I've tried to stick to long lists: sometimes a book will inspire me to read a book I hadn't thought of, or for no apparent reason I decide that I must read a book that wasn't on the radar. I don't want to feel like I oughtn't because I have other books to "get through". I don't like reading like that, and as varied as my 2012 challenge list is, it's still also a slight burden. Nevertheless, it is a worthy challenge and on the whole I'm enjoying it very much!
As for personal goals: well, the big one - my weight is, as ever, a constant source of irritation (at best) so I decided to set a more realistic goal. Although I broke my scales (broke is an understatement, I smashed them), I got the fancy ones out of the garage. I won't get weighed every day any more, I'll just aim for once a week. So far I've lost 10lbs, and I've signed up for a "Lose 10lbs in February" thing on myfitnesspal, and if I manage that, or near enough, that will bring me pretty close to my goal weight. With some hard work, though with realistic expectations, I should be done by May. My weight plans never go accordingly though, so no deadlines. The main priority is to be realistic and healthy.
I also have a staggering amount of figures to go through by the middle of the month for Big C, so they're a priority for the rest of this week and early into next week. After then things will settle down a lot more. Hopefully that will give me some time to read other people's blogs. I've been useless with commenting of late, and I hate being like that, so when I'm free I'm very much looking forward to some blog hopping and seeing what everyone else has been up to!
Finally, the Spring Clean! I'm big on Spring Cleaning, and February is the month when plans are made. By the end of the month and into the early part of March I'll get started. I love Spring Cleans!
So there are my February goals! In the next few days I'll check in with everyone else and see what your plans are :)
Oh, last thing: I just got my 10 000th page view, so thank you to everyone who checks in! xoxo