Happy New Year! Things I would like to do in 2014…

It’s New Year’s Day and I’m feeling a little envious of my guinea pigs, who are spending the cold and gloomy day snuggled up in their blankies within easy reach of their hay piles.

Barley in a blankie.

Barley in a blankie.

Based on the activity I’m seeing on facebook and Twitter, I’m doing what most of my friends are doing today: whiling away on the internet, maybe wondering if it is going to snow, and possibly thinking about what 2014 might have in store. As I scrolled through my blog reader, I saw sci-fi writer John Scalzi’s blog post about his goals for 2014 and was inspired to stop and think about what I’d like to do during the next 12 months. (If you aren’t following John Scalzi’s blog yet, you should. He’s a smart guy with interesting things to say.)

2013 was an amazing year. Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder debuted and found its way into the hands of thousands of readers and inspired a lot of people–Kansans in particular–to think about their own community histories. Book-related events took me all over Kansas, where I met some pretty amazing people with amazing stories of their own. Jim and I explored parts of Kansas previously unknown to us, increasing our wonder and understanding of our home state.

As I step into 2014, I hope to continue to grow as a person and as a writer. Here are some of my goals for the next twelve months:

Writing Stuff

  • Finish researching and start writing my next Kansas true crime book.
  • Finish writing a novel I started two years ago. The plot went off into the weeds; it’s time to drag it back onto the road.

Blogging Stuff

  • Blog about Kansas places I’m exploring for the first time (see “Kansas Exploration” wish list below).
  • Start a new blog about small-town and locally-owned Kansas restaurants that can accommodate food allergies.

Kansas Exploration Stuff

  • Visit at least one of the Kansas State Historic Sites I’ve never seen before.
  • Visit at least one state park I’ve never seen before.
  • Visit at least one national park/site I’ve never seen before.
  • Visit a Kansas Civil War battlefield.
  • Visit at least one Kansas place known for its rock formations I’ve never seen before.
  • Follow the Santa Fe Trail through at least two more Kansas counties.
  • Learn more about the Native Americans who lived in Kansas.
  • Explore more of Southern and Western Kansas.

Personal Stuff

  • Finish unpacking. We moved into our house in February 2013; we’re maybe 64.56% unpacked.
  • Decorate. You’d think that with all of the pictures I shoot, I’d have some art on the walls, but no.
  • Step away from the desk. Go walking. Maybe even get back into doing some yoga.
  • Cook at home more. Reduce the processed foods and increase the veggies.
  • Read lots. My Goodreads goal for this year is 100 books.
  • Take a real vacation somewhere. Anywhere. Maybe even *gasp* leave Kansas for a few days! (I hear there are 49 other states in this country alone!)

I *know* I’m not going to get through this whole list (though I’m really, really hopeful we’ll at least finish unpacking). But I love knowing that any and all of these things could be in my future.

But for now, as the guinea pigs are cozied up and I’m puttering around online, I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. I hope 2014 will be a fabulous year for you, too!

8 thoughts on “Happy New Year! Things I would like to do in 2014…

  1. jlee1057

    Your list sounds a lot like mine; just substitute “Missouri” for “Kansas” and delete the “Writing Stuff” category. Interested to see that you plan to write about restaurants accommodating food allergies. I’ve pretty much given up on restaurants fully understanding gluten-free (I have celiac disease). After getting sick numerous times when eating out, even after asking lots of questions, I’ve chosen not to play Russian roulette by eating out except at a couple of places that I know are safe (thank you, Spin Pizzeria). Look forward to reading more of your entries in 2014.

    1. Diana Staresinic-Deane Post author

      Growing up on the Kansas side of the state line in the KC Metro, my earliest memories of learning to drive include my parents saying, “Do NOT cross the river into Missouri.” The result is that my Missouri experiences are really limited, though I need to resolve that. A few years ago, Jim and I vacationed in Missouri for a week, and it is beautiful and fascinating in a way that is totally different from Kansas.

      I feel your pain on the food allergies and restaurants issue. A couple of months ago, I blogged about how you’re putting your life in someone else’s hands every time you let someone else prepare food for you. I really want to support local businesses, but I often end up eating at chain restaurants because they have standardized practices on their side (not that they always work). I am hoping to be able to acknowledge those places that are sensitive to the needs of their allergic customers. It’s not fail-proof, but it makes a big difference to know that a restaurant will at least double-check the labels on their products for you. (I’ve had restaurants refuse to do this for me before.) I really wish food allergy information was part of the basic training for all restaurant employees, but it’s not. Anyway, my big dream would be to get a blog going about the different restaurants out there that can be safe for people who have dietary needs.

  2. Rachel Creager Ireland

    First, adorable guinea pig. We just got one about 2 months ago and I had no idea what I’d been missing out on all these years.
    Second, wow, that is quite a list. 100 books? I’ve been debating between two projects, while you just put everything on the list. Respect.

    1. Diana Staresinic-Deane Post author

      Aww, congrats on your new family member! We adopted our first two guinea pigs a decade ago and have since taken in our tenth rescued pig. We had no idea how much we would love these little guys! If you haven’t found it yet, there is a great website called GuineaLynx (http://guinealynx.info) if you ever need guinea pig advice.

      There is no way I’ll be able to finish this whole list without winning the lottery and quitting my day job. But there’s always 2015, right? 🙂

  3. Deborah Barker

    Laudable goals. Your plans to visit a Kansas CW battlefield can only take you to Mine Creek. Knowing your admiration of veterans’ memorials, be sure to check out the cemetery in Parsons which has a HUGE one, designed by our own GPW.

    1. Diana Staresinic-Deane Post author

      Enough goals for the next ten years, I think! I’m laughing about the single battlefield…I think my brain was thinking battlefields and massacre sites. But if there is only one to visit, it should be an easy one to achieve, right?

      I’m making note of the cemetery in Parsons. I had no idea Washburn designed memorials, too!

  4. Les

    In response to your traveling to more Civil War sites, come over here to the East Coast where you could see lot’s of Civil War Historical area’s. Gettysburg is a big one! This place is about a 2 hr. drive for me, and I’ve been there a number of times. It’s a very interesting town to visit, not to mention the Battlefield itself. On July 1-3rd, the biggest and bloodiest fight took place here killing thousands of Union & Confederate soldiers, each fighting for what they believed in. I plan on going back there when the weather get’s a bit warmed. There are still places that I have not seen yet. When I do, I’ll make another Post about it. I do have one post called “Hallowed Ground” on my Blog, but it’s not much. Be Well.


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