In Which I Am Resolved
by Sarah Gillig Sunu -- January 2nd, 2013

Back in NC!  In the wake of the materialism of the season, and while the post-Christmas sales are still going on (jeans, shoes, and winter coats are the few things that I don’t like get at Goodwill, since they never seem to have my size, so I will be getting some new jeans to supplement my 2- and 6 year-old pairs), it seems like a good time to step back and think about how I want to change my impact over the next year.

I don’t normally like to make resolutions on New Year’s, because I feel that more often than not, they are totally forgotten by February.  But my resolution of two years ago was very successful (I resolved to take better care of my teeth, which my dentist now tells me are ‘perfect’!), and last year’s also worked well (I resolved not to make any resolutions, and I am happy to say that I was successful), so it seems a shame to break the streak.

However, there’s always the problem of what to resolve.  It needs to be something that I wouldn’t normally do on my own, or it doesn’t really count (“Eat 5 apples a week” doesn’t count—I like apples already).  It also needs to be something that’s feasible (“Hike Kilimanjaro” is not feasible for me this year, and honestly, I don’t think I’d really want to), and doable within the constraints of a graduate student’s time, budget, and resources (“Save $10,000 this year” is alas, also not feasible).  It should also be about something I care about, so that I’ll actually do it.

With all these things in mind, this year’s resolutions will be:

  1. Take shorter showers, using the low-flow shower in my apartment. After doing a group project on water use, it’s pretty clear to me that water efficiency is critical for our society moving forward.  I just discovered that the shower we don’t normally use (out in the hall) is low-flow at 2 gallons per minute, so I’ll be switching to that for my regular shower routine, unless we have guests.  I don’t loiter in the shower unnecessarily, but I think I could be more aware of how long my shower routine takes.  Now to find a shower timer.  But when we have our own property (be it house, condo, or shack), I plan to get one of these and take longer showers again.  By the time my husband and I are in a position to do that, they’ll probably be even more efficient.
  2. Keep doing my walks outside, even though it’s cold now.  It really does make a difference to my state of mind, and refutes the first-year MEM irony of studying the environment by spending most of your time in the computer lab or the library.

What are your resolutions, and why did you choose them?


Pictures below from my winter break, mostly of Christmas at the Old Governor’s Mansion.  It was a beautiful display, for pictures of the set-up, go here. A great way to practice my camera skills!


A broader view of the dining room table at the Old Governor's Mansion. I thought it looked awesome, plus, all the succulents are still alive and can be repotted! I did wonder where you would actually put food....


Succulent close up on the dining room table at the Old Governor's Mansion.


A bird's nest in the dining room of the Old Governor's Mansion.


One of the portraits in the Old Governor's mansion (don't worry, I didn't use the flash!).


Christmas tree in the dining room at the Old Governor's Mansion, KY.


Even the bathroom at the Old Governor's Mansion was decorated!


Advent wreath in the Old Governor's Mansion.


The tree in the sunroom of the Old Governor's Mansion was decorated with African Violets.


Dining Room Table at the Old Governor's Mansion, KY.


Decorations at the Old Governor's Mansion, KY.

Close Up

Pearl Tree decorations at the Old Governor's Mansion, KY.

Glass and Magnolia

Magnolia leaves and fruit in a table-top decoration at the Old Governor's Mansion, KY.


Pinecones at the Old Governor's Mansion, KY.


Roses at the Old Governor's Mansion in KY.


Even the pantry at the Old Governor's Mansion was decorated (and most of the food in it is made in Kentucky)!

Close Up

Decorations at the Old Governor's Mansion, KY.


Oranges in a moss bowl at the Old Governor's Mansion, KY.


Birch branches were part of the dining room decor at the Old Governor's Mansion.

Capitol Dome

A close-up of the dome as the sun begins to set.

KY State Capitol

The Kentucky State Capitol, my favorite State Capitol, of course! I used to be a page there for the House of Representatives when I was in high school.

KY Governor's Mansion

The Kentucky Governor's Mansion, decorated for the holidays.


A Kentucky Cardinal in my backyard. Practicing with my new camera, but I couldn't get a closer shot without it flying to the back of the bushes.



  1. Phil and Jane
    Jan 2, 2013

    More power to you to live intentionally! You set a good example for all of us.
    Do you know what a Navy shower is? Saves a lot of water –
    turn on shower, get wet, turn off shower, apply soap, turn on shower, rinse off, turn off shower!
    We enjoyed reading your Tidebook entry.

  2. Sarah Gillig
    Sarah Gillig
    Jan 10, 2013

    Thank you!

    I did have to take Navy showers when I was on board the Corwith Cramer for the summer Sea Education Association program, and also at the Shoals Marine Lab.

    That was in the summer though–in the winter it gets so cold when you turn off the water, it’s hard to make yourself do it!

    That’s why I’m just shortening my showers–I should be able to stick to that–but I might try to do Navy showers in the summer again. Thanks for the reminder of that option!

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