Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 25th, Mom & Dad!

My parents have successfully managed to put up with each other for 25 years today!

The thought of 25 years with the same person is so daunting to me. They've raised my sister and I, are now empty-nesters... and still haven't killed each other yet. Impressive!

Congratulations, Mom & Dad. I love you guys.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Admitting your failings

I did something Saturday night that was hard for me. It was emotional and embarrassing, and I cried a little. But at the same time, I loved it.

You know that liberating feeling you get from being heart-wrenchingly honest? That's how I still feel. Sometimes we just need to sit down and be brutally honest with one another. We admit our faults, we apologize, and we know that things are going to be okay.

I've been struggling unknowingly with a grossly inappropriate communication faux-paus for most of my adult life. I was raised to feel like that was normal, and I actually came to the conclusion that it wasn't one night about a month ago. I was driving down the road, bawling, and called my sister. I remember the first words out of my mouth - "Do you feel like you were emotionally stunted because...?" She has a much better grasp on her emotions than I do, apparently, and was thankfully able to calm me down.

I have been unintentionally hurting someone for years because of said faux paus, and I finally sat down and apologized for it on Saturday. I explained where I was coming from, took responsibility, said I'm embarrassed, and I'm sad, and I'm sorry.

And things were fine. The world didn't end. I wasn't wrapped up in a hug (because I really didn't deserve one). I wasn't struck by lightning. But I had peace.

For years and years and years, getting an apology from me was like pulling teeth. I thought apologizing meant admitting you're wrong, and I am never wrong. I'd put up a good fight before I would apologize. But I've done it a lot more lately, and I kinda like it.

When I was in Prague, staying at a hostel, the little kitchen area had only a small fridge. I had gotten a few cartons of yogurt for breakfast, and was keeping them in there. But the hotplate in the kitchen happened to be situated on or very near the top of this itty bitty fridge. There were two boys in there making something on the stove, and I said "Excuse me; sorry" when I needed to get into the fridge. And then again later, to get into the fridge again. One of them said something silly about how I apologized too much, and that it was unnecessary.

But I disagree. I'm sorry for inconveniencing people. I'm sorry I've hurt others' feelings. I'm sorry I haven't been who I think I should be, and sometimes I'm sorry I haven't lived up to the expectations of others.

Most of all, I'm sorry I haven't apologized more. I'm sorry I have let my pride get in my own way. I'm sorry I've used apologies as weapons or incentives, or done anything other than offer them when they were needed.

So, as one of the ways I am inviting love into my life in the coming year, I will apologize more often. It's liberating. And getting over my pride doesn't make things worse. It makes them okay. Sometimes even better. It brings me peace.

And if there's one thing I need a shitload more of, it's peace.


2012 in review

Last year, I posted this:

I resolve to accomplish the following five things from my 101 list:

  • Complete a half-marathon.
  • Complete a 5-day juice cleanse. (I will be starting January 2nd)
  • Achieve my goal weight (125 lbs.) and maintain it to the end of the year.
  • Acquire 75 customer points.
  • Write to Billie and Wally once per month.

And things that are not on my 101 list:

  • I resolve to fit in my new turquoise Banana Republic dress by Mark's brother's wedding in February. 
  • I resolve to make more of an effort to keep a spotless house. 
  • I resolve to go 30 days with no alcohol. 
  • I resolve to apply 100% of myself to my schoolwork. 
  • I resolve to keep a journal of thanks, updated daily. 

And of those ten things (why in the world would I make ten resolutions?!), I completed a juice cleanse, I wore the turquoise dress in February, and I'm proud of my house right now. And, while I didn't achieve my goal weight yet, the scale tipped at 129.8 this morning, so I'm not complaining. That's more than 30 lbs. down this year. Thirty. Wow. 

This coming year, I resolve to: 
  • Achieve my goal weight (125 lbs.) 
  • Purchase land
  • Finish my 101 list with 75% completion (let's be honest - I don't think I'm going to get all the way there. I have less than 30 goals completed currently.) 
  • Buy a wine fridge! 
  • Cultivate love. Loving myself, loving my family, partner, friends - I feel like I've been so wrapped up in stresses lately that I haven't had time for love. And that needs to change. 

I'm only going with five this time, so I have more of a chance to succeed. Plus, I have all the rest of my 101 list to work on! I'm going to be a busy little bee in 2013. 


Sunday, December 23, 2012

I'm excited to be an adult!

I couldn't sleep last night because I was lying in bed thinking about some of the changes I'm so excited to make in the upcoming months. What to do about my current job. How my new business cards should look. Where to network to find customers. Whether it's important to have a website. How marketable I will be without my sommelier certifications. How exciting it will be to put out a blanket and sleep on my own land the night I sign the paperwork. Where I should put the enormous Costco wine fridge when I finally purchase it.

Decisions, decisions!

It also occurred to me today that, when the B&B is open, I should have monthly themed wine dinners. The wine team dinners don't have to stop when I'm no longer a part of the wine team! They can be my practice for the future - a cross between the classes I teach now and the wine dinners I love.

And then the more immediate future - I accepted a new tutoring client today. I'll be working with a third-grade boy to improve his understanding of math. The young girl I'm currently working with completed her final on Friday, and got an 81%! I am so excited for her - especially considering she failed a number of her earlier tests this past semester. Her parents just said they want to expand our tutoring sessions to encompass science and English as well, so our twice-weekly sessions will probably double, at a minimum. I had four sessions scheduled last week with the single mom I'm tutoring, and she said she will want to continue to meet 2 - 3 times per week during the semester. Plus, I still have the two math students sticking with me from last semester!

I'm super excited to take on more clients, because that means I can cut back my hours at work without a painful blow to my bank account. I can do more of something I find gratifying and satisfying and less of something I don't care to do.

This is my I'm an adult outfit. 
And that leaves me more time to be an adult. Like tonight, where I drove to the library in my *cough* "housecoat" and "relaxing pants" because I worked 61 hours just at my unsatisfying job. I came home and just had to get out of my awful work clothes.

Speaking of work clothes - one of the things I am most looking forward to about consulting is that I can wear my real clothes again. I absolutely loathe that every day, I wear the same thing to work. Sure, I might change up the pants, or the tank I wear under my work shirt, but the idea is the same. I can't wear a skirt. Or heels. Or that (hypothetical, of course) fabulous new sweater I bought. I just got a new amazing cashmere scarf in the mail and can't wear it because I work so often I never get the chance to dress up and go out.

I'm looking forward to wearing clothes that I get to choose. I'm looking forward to real sweater weather. I'm looking forward to getting paid to cook for other people. I'm looking forward to owning my own home, with my own land, my own yard, no upstairs neighbors vacuuming at midnight, and no 6am leaf-blowers outside my window. I'm looking forward to decorating each room exactly the way I want to, and having much more time to myself.

I called Mom tonight and was talking about tutoring, and work, and school, and whatnot. She said it sounds like I'm much more excited and motivated about school this time around, so she's excited that I seem to have set my mind on nothing less than success. I'm excited for school because I'm excited to be done. I'm excited that it means I'm taking this next step in life and I'm so ready for that.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

One year from now.

It was recently suggested to me that I have a discussion about where things will be one year down the road.

And it got me thinking. Every year has brought about so much change, I never could have predicted where I'd be the year prior.

August 2007 - Kyle and I were dating, long-distance. I went to visit and meet his parents for the first time.

August 2008 - We moved down here to Arizona and got our first apartment together. Neither of us had even been to the state.

August 2009 - He deployed to Afghanistan during my first week of school. I didn't know how to process any of it, because we had less than one week's notice.

August 2010 - We were having horrible difficulties readjusting to him being home, and fought like cats & dogs. I kicked him out of the house a month later.

August 2011 - I came home from Europe a huge cow - a trip I had planned because we broke up a few months prior. He came over the night after I got home with dinner and a few bottles of wine, and got so drunk he slept in the tub.

August 2012 - We got back together again after one fantastic night of stir-fry and sex, because we both felt like we were coming home.

Right now, I'm working a job I mostly hate, making dirt. In one year, I hope to:

  • have completed my 101 list,
  • own land,
  • be self-employed - or at least minimally employed by my current employer, and 
  • just generally be more in control of my life. Actually look like I'm 25 and going somewhere, rather than 24 and working retail. 

365 questions: 261 - 270

261. If you could live forever, would you want to?  Why?

No. While it may be possible to live forever, I'm sure there won't be cures to all the body's ailments and I don't want to live in pain. Also, it's paining to see the state of the world today. I don't have high hopes for its future.  

262. If you had to be someone else for one day, who would you be and why?

I would probably put myself in the shoes of the man I love. Sometimes I really wish I could know what's going on in that head of his. 

263. What positive changes have you made in your life recently?

I registered at ASU again for the Spring semester! I'm not terribly excited to be back in school, but I am so ready to be done, and this is the first step. I also took on another tutoring client and cut back my hours at work, which I know will do wonders for my mental well-being. 

264. Who makes you feel good about yourself?

I interact with people daily who make me feel good about myself. My coworkers. My aunty and cousins. My family. Even my customers. It is so gratifying to hear that I recommended a "life-changing" wine. 

265. What is your biggest regret?

Not realizing the depth of my communication deficiencies until a few weeks ago. I have been making heinous communication mistakes for years because that's what I grew up seeing, and wish I could have seen that earlier. It would have saved a lot of heartache. 

266. Which one of your responsibilities do you wish you could get rid of?

Cleaning the bathroom. There's no one else around to do it, but I sure wish I didn't have to do it myself! 

267. What’s something you don’t like to do that you are still really good at?

Cleaning the house. I hate to do it, but when I set my mind to it, I surprise everyone. 

268. What type of person angers you the most?

A dishonest one. I could never befriend anyone who was largely dishonest. 

269. What is missing in your life?

Stability and accomplishments. 

270. What is your most striking physical attribute?

That's not a hard one. Definitely my hair. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Congratulations, little sister!

I am so glad to be home.

Little sister got married on Saturday. The fifteenth - just a few days ago. Up in Alaska. Outside. In December. We had tons of family in from out of town, and one of our German foreign exchange students from high school came over with her mom. The last week has been a total blur of family, new faces, stress, and general ridiculousness.

That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable! The wedding was gorgeous and I couldn't be happier for Sister and her new hubster. Welcome to the family, y'all.

Since I know all you really care about are the photos  -

Me! Preparing to stand in the cold. 

Beautiful little sister, pre-wedding. 

Little sister and her new hubster. Congrats!! 

They're off to Dubai for their sunny honeymoon, where they will doubtless have lots of relaxing and fun while I'm back to the daily grind here. I came home to 60 hours at work this week. This is me thrilled.

I'm officially the only sibling who hasn't been married yet, so I guess the pressure's on! Thank you to everyone who joined our family to celebrate this weekend.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Let's talk politics.

I'll preface this by saying I got into this discussion with my fab friend Sam earlier this evening. And it made me super frustrated - so much that I had to do some retail therapy. After a new cashmere infinity scarf and a gorgeous holiday dress, I feel much better. So much that I'll revisit this again. 

I hate politics. I hate that people get so worked up over "their side" that it invites hatred. One of the things I was taught from an early age is to never bring up religion or politics in a casual conversation, because they are both incredibly polarizing issues. My daddy is a wise man. 

Liberals hate conservatives. Conservatives hate liberals. This is an interesting debate for me, because I have always been a registered Independent, but have, until recently, identified more on the Republican side of things. More socially liberal, but fiscally conservative - leaning overall toward conservative values. 

Liberals think conservatives are uptight. Prudish. Jesus freaks. Controlling. Conservatives think liberals are all on welfare. That they all act like victims. They are all jealous and envious, because Republicans make all the money. Liberals are baby killers. 

And quite frankly, I'm tired of it. Mostly, I think this country sucks. Our politics suck. Our appropriation of money sucks. Our laws mostly suck. And people need to quit bitching at each other and accusing each other of being the problem. 

I believe the government should not have any say in what happens in my uterus. I believe I am entitled to healthcare that includes birth control. I believe we spend way too damn much on our military. I believe we involve ourselves in foreign wars to appear macho and we need to quit flexing our muscles. I believe we need to pour more of our money into educating our children and allowing young adults to afford a college education. I believe in small government, and I believe in equal rights for everyone, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. I believe we should take better care of our veterans who come home. 

Banana Republic, please hire me as a model.
I believe in people. I believe people are our greatest asset, and they are worth the investment. I believe we need to get out of our own way and treat others with love - the way you would want to be treated. 

Speaking of the way I want to be treated, I also just treated myself to this gorgeous sweater. So every time I wear it, I will be thinking of how I just preached that we need to treat each other with love. 

As I close this, I just received a breaking news notification that another US base has been attacked in Afghanistan. Whenever I hear news like that, I am immediately grateful that I don't have anyone I love over there right now. Then, I wonder what in the world we are still doing over there. And lastly, I'm saddened. Attacks like these are a reminder of how little respect and love we have for one another. 

Love your neighbor as yourself. 


Friday, November 30, 2012

November 101 update!

  • have a minimum credit score of 720. 
Woohoo! I am so proud of myself right now. In January, when Kyle was looking for a house, I subscribed to Equifax's credit monitoring program. I pay them a reasonable monthly fee, and they watch my stuff for me. If anything changes notably on my credit report, I get an email notification. 

January 27th, my credit score was 704. I made it a goal to get that up to "Good" rather than "Fair." I am so excited that, in less than eleven months, I've raised my score 20 points! I have better credit than the 20-somethings I've talked to (though admittedly I don't go around asking everyone's credit scores. I have a little more tact than that), and the one thing that is suggested to raise my score is getting a mortgage and diversifying my lines of credit. How cool! This is one of the most exciting goals to cross off my list. 720+ credit score with nearly $80,000 in student loans? Not an easy task.

Now if I could just get it up another 10 points to where it was three years ago before we broke that lease at the worst apartment complex ever... 

But not to overshadow my progress!

  • read two books
  • paid down my loans
  • donated a (very) small amount of rice. 

For the month of November, I planned to: 

  • read four more books (halfway done!)
  • run one mile without stopping
  • get down to 135 lbs.
  • write Billie & Wally
  • watch one old movie I've never seen
  • pare my closet down by five more items. 
I may have only achieved one of the goals I set out to accomplish this month, but I'm still super proud of myself for what I've done. Being able to cross off the credit score goal was HUGE for me. I would like to be a homeowner by 25, and I have made huge strides to get there. 

I didn't write Billie & Wally, which means I need to every month for the remainder of the challenge. I'm disappointed in myself, but I've been so shockingly busy I've headed to bed before 9PM some nights. I'm just exhausted with all the work I've been putting in for my tutoring clients and at my thankless job. I know eventually it will pay off (and it has been, with the amounts I've been able to pay down on my loans), so I'm hanging in there right now.

For December, I will:

  • run 1 mile without stopping
  • get down to 130 lbs. 
  • watch the Aurora Borealis
  • read four books

And speaking of bed before 9PM, I'm heading that way now. Sleep sweet!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brianna's B&B

I was talking tonight to a friend from high school about these crazy Bed & Breakfast plans, and he got all excited! Started asking me about my business plan, if I had anything on paper yet, if I'd taken accounting classes... holy cow. I'm nowhere near that far yet.

I talked to Brittany today at work about ditching her loser live-in boyfriend who is still refusing to commit to her after nine years, and moving up to be my manager. She makes a mean quiche and is a total bedding snob, which quite frankly is more than I can say about myself. I've never even tried my hand at a quiche.

So. I'm one step closer to having a manager of sorts. In the last year, I've raised my credit score 20 points to better my chances of getting a fabulous rate on a loan. I have sketched a rough floor plan - four bedrooms plus my own, and perhaps a guest house to come later. I have a general idea of where I'd like to build.

This weekend, I will look at the course schedule for accounting classes offered this spring. I will research bed and breakfasts in the Sedona / Cottonwood area and gather intel on potential competitors. And I will start putting together a business plan.

Shit's gettin' real, yo. This is serious.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10 more things I'm thankful for.

21. I'm thankful I get to sleep in tomorrow! I don't have to be at work until 9AM. I've worked at 5 or 6 in the morning every other day this week.

22. I'm thankful I had another tutoring client drop into my lap tonight. This middle-school girl has a learning disability and has been struggling in several subjects. Her parents are looking to meet several times per week, as an ongoing thing. I am so lucky to get paid to help people.

23. I am thankful for massages. It's so amazing how one hour can make such a difference! I hold stress in my back and shoulders, and a massage is like a gift from heaven, every time.

24. I am thankful for Costco. Even living alone, and cooking for only myself, Costco makes such a huge difference in my shopping trips. Plus, you can't beat their samples!

25. I am thankful for my Johari window. A year or more ago, a group of my message boards all started Johari windows together, and contributed to each other's windows. Whenever I'm starting to feel down on myself, it immediately lifts my mood to see the words others use to describe me. I am intelligent, and kind, and mature, and giving. And others see that in me.

26. I am thankful for daily deal sites. Without them, I wouldn't have found my yoga studio, discovered some of my favorite places to eat, or experienced some of the new and exciting things around the valley.

27. I am thankful that I had the self-control not to spend more than $20 over the entire Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend madness. I bought some new panties, since Kyle's rude dog ate mine, and that's it.

28. I know I already said I'm thankful for awesome coworkers, but I'm so ridiculously thankful for coworkers who make me laugh on a daily basis. Coworkers who counsel me, build me up, and remind me that the Jack Daniels man is anatomically correct. They're amazing.

29. I am thankful for love. I am blessed to be around it, to witness it, to see admiration and adoration in the eyes of the countless couples I see every day.

30. Most of all, I'm thankful I am me. I'm thankful for every life experience I've had, every lesson thrown my way, every trial, and every joy. Sometimes I wish I may have handled my cards a little differently, but I am thankful I have been dealt every one of them, because they made me into who I am.


Monday, November 26, 2012

20 things I'm thankful for

I didn't do the 30 days of thanks thing. Obviously. But I think it's important, so here's the start of my list. I'll finish it in a few days, when I don't have to be at work six hours from the time I'm posting.

1. I am thankful for my family. My parents have provided me with this amazing home and my car, and I only have to pay for maintenance and "extras." It is such a huge burden lifted off my shoulders when I have outrageous student loans!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hey Jesus, your humor sucks.

Once upon a time, when we first moved down here, Kyle got a shitty job, making a shitty wage at a shitty place. He worked at a halfway house for federal convicts, and we both hated it. Him mostly because he was a glorified security guard, but not able to be armed, and was still responsible for drug-testing all residents (like, had to stand next to 'em and everything). I hated it because on weekends, he worked at the facility for sex offenders, and we shared a car. So when I came to pick him up, I was incredibly uncomfortable waiting there while the residents hung out outside, smoking and playing cards.

The week before his birthday, he was fired. He had cut the padlock off the fuse box to replace the A/C fuse, and was terminated for destroying company property. At the time, he didn't mind. It was the final push to accepting his recall, plus we had a lot more time to spend together before he left.

Well today, I got an application at work from someone who works at this same halfway house. He used to work with Kyle, and is now their program director.

Jesus, your sense of humor blows. I take things like this way too seriously. Everything is a sign, or something to read into. Or at the very least, to set me emotionally on edge.

When one of my coworkers left to return to his old job at Kyle's place of employment, I found it surprising. A little off-putting. A reminder that it's a small world. But now two coworkers that both know him? Particularly when he's ridiculously anti-social and has only had two real jobs since we moved here? That's just weird.

If there is a point, please make it. Because this is awfully strange.

An update in the romance department

It's probably been a little obvious lately that things aren't fine and dandy. You know all those frustrations and fears I voiced before Kyle's brother moved in? Well apparently they weren't ill-founded. Chris even said he had a sit-down chat with Kyle and told him they never would have moved down here if they had known sooner that we were dating again, and essentially put Chris's decision on whether to accept the job offer overseas in Kyle's hands after that conversation. Awkward.

Things were mostly okay until two weeks ago, when I voiced frustrations that seeing Kyle once every ten days wasn't a relationship and wasn't fair to me. I went over to walk Yogi bear, since I had finished up with a tutoring client right down the road, and Kyle had a ridiculous emotional outburst.

Snuggling on the couch. Too adorable!
Now he is embarrassed of his behavior (as well he should be), says I caused all this drama, and he wants to be done so he can put it behind him. It's even more frustrating to me because he's failing to accept responsibility, and because he's so proud that he can't stand his brother (who witnessed The Outburst) knowing how unacceptable his behavior sometimes is.

It hasn't totally set in that we're doing anything other than arguing right now. In fact, I've probably talked to him more in the last two weeks than I have in the rest of the time his brother has been here. We had a three-hour phone conversation after Thanksgiving dinner. Yesterday he denied saying most of the things he did, or blamed it on being 3AM, but it was still three hours, and meaningful, and I learned he had been struggling with some things that I wish he would have voiced earlier.

Of everyone I've dated, he has been the one to make me feel like shouting from a mountaintop. He possesses the three most important qualities I want in a man. And from the first day we slipped between the sheets, things have just been easy. I feel like, in many ways but perhaps that one in particular, we were made for each other.

I love those eyes. 
I'm frustrated and want to talk things through, but he won't set his pride aside long enough to agree to a chat - at least not right now. So I'm missing my boys and hoping he'll come to his senses some time soon. I'm spending my time working on me. I know I haven't been blameless, and still have a lot to learn - particularly in the communication department. I'm working on my goals, deep-cleaning my house (something that hasn't been done in way too long!), and looking out for me.

And I'm missing waking up next to this face. And going to bed with this face. And opening the door to kisses from this face.

This picture was taken the day we were supposed to get married. We hadn't seen each other in five months, and I called to have dinner with him. The way he looked at me, after that much time apart, melted my heart. I wish we could just fix our individual communication issues and tendency toward emotion, because we are so good together.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small victories.

One of the worst things about living alone is not having someone around to make the bed with me.

First world problems, I know, but I'm serious! I am super fail at bed-making. Kyle is bomb at bed-making. (Must be all that practice in the Marine Corps.) And one of the things that I missed most when he was deployed, and then after he moved out, were his bed-making skills. I would do one corner, he'd do his two, and then he'd come over to finish up the last corner because I could never get it quite right. (And I was always way slower, so he did two to my one.)

Tonight, I made a beautiful bed. My sheets are tight, the corners look perfect, and I did it all on my own.

It took 24 years, but I finally have managed to make a good-lookin' bed. And I must say I'm mighty proud of myself.


What I liked most about 50 Shades

Someone bought it for me. So I returned it for cash.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving is my fave.

It's my favorite holiday of the year. And not just for the food!

I was raised not celebrating Christmas. My dad's religious upbringing (prohibiting all holidays) combined with his bitterness toward the church ruled out all of that. No gift-giving (buying into commercialization), no tree or fancy dinner or awkward, organized circle of obligatory thank-yous while inwardly rolling your eyes at the latest present.

Instead, we made a big deal out of New Year's Eve and of Thanksgiving. New Year's Eve we spent as a family - just the four of us, laughing and watching movies and exchanging tokens of appreciation in an entertaining way. (The tales of the 'treasure hunts' Dad concocted will have to be saved for another day.) But Thanksgiving was something to be celebrated with all.

Some of my earliest Thanksgiving meals are at my Aunt Tammy's house. Not only did they include her, her children, and their spouses, but our family, Tammy's coworkers, and anyone she came across who didn't have Thanksgiving plans. We put together puzzles while the ladies slaved away in the kitchen and Shawn made his famous peanut-butter balls at the dining table. I played the piano while Amy took pictures of everyone chatting on the couch. The cousins played Risk in the spare bedroom, and I don't think I ever won.

All my Thanksgiving memories are special. They're about bonding with family. They're about deciding to take a nap after dinner, and crashing on the top bunk of your younger cousin's bunkbed, while an older cousin takes the bottom bunk. They're about Ben's "bumblebee buzzing out of the barn, with a great big ham sandwich under his arm" tickle attacks. They're about setting aside your diet plans for a day because Christie's eye-mouth tart is DIVINE. They're about people, and caring, and being important, and love.

Thanksgiving is all about love.

It's about love to me. And that's why it's so special.

In the last four years, since I moved down here, I haven't been able to spend a Thanksgiving with my family. The first year, Kyle and I went to the mid-afternoon Thanksgiving meal offered by ASU's off-campus student services office. The experience was sterile and weird (checking in and having someone cross your name off a list so you can enjoy some turkey and mashed potatoes), but it was still Thanksgiving, because I shared that experience with someone I loved. Year two, Kyle was deployed. I spent the day at Sandra's house with her family and felt right at home, because I was surrounded by love. And also puzzles. Year three, Kyle and I did a crazy, disjointed Thanksgiving dinner on our own, at my condo that I had just moved into that morning. But even though we ate in courses (the casserole pan had to be washed between cooking the green bean casserole and the carrots), the experience was full of love. Last year, Mark and I went over to Kris's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Again, an experience smothered in love. Slow-dancing in the living room with my date, knowing my bff had slaved over three pies just so Thanksgiving could be everything she thought I'd want it to be.

Tomorrow, I'm spending Thanksgiving with another family I love. Michael always has something beautiful and nice to say when he sees me. Syd is one of the greatest women I know down here. I am blessed to call them friends, and to share in the love in yet another slightly-dysfunctional Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I have lots of dreams.

Before I ever went to college, I had dreams. Lots of them. So many I couldn't decide what I wanted to go to school for, even though I knew it was expected of me. 

I still don't know what I want to do with my life, because I want to do a little of everything! Back a few weeks ago, I mentioned I would like to own a bed & breakfast. I've always loved B&Bs. I think they're super cozy, plus it would be a blast to meet so many new people all the time. 

So last Friday, I started drafting a floor plan for said bed & breakfast. I'm thinking somewhere in Sedona or Cottonwood. Four bedrooms, plus possibly a guest house suite type of thing for extended stays. 

Except, since I'm a dreamer, I can't just imagine my floor plan. I imagine where the fireplace is going to go in my bedroom. And how, since the layout of a walk-in closet just doesn't fit with the idea I have for my room, it will be a separate room spanning the length of the wall, with little secret doors on either side of the bed. And how I'm going to have a huge wall of shelving in the downstairs laundry room where all my sheet sets will be perfectly folded and stored inside their matching pillow cases. 

I also imagine that, since I am super classy and all the uppity wine snobs will want to stay at my B&B, I'll have a wine cellar. Perhaps I'll invest in some spectacular bottles and have a "wine list" for guests. Wouldn't that be nifty? Make it something you couldn't just run down to the grocery store to get, and, since it's so far out of the Phoenix bowl, people will be willing to pay a premium. 

I told you I'm a dreamer. But if looking forward to owning my own home that makes me a ton of money is what keeps me together when I'm working 70-hour weeks, so be it! 

What are some of your dreams? 


Monday, November 19, 2012

I am not a cow!

Well, I should hope that much would be obvious. I don't much resemble a large barnyard mammal.

You probably know the story of my Europe trip last year. And that, because of unwise decisions that I would totally make again if given the opportunity, I gained approximately one pound per day while I was gone.

It hasn't come off easily, but I'm super proud to say that I am officially 25 lbs. lighter now than I started the year!

I've completed two months worth of boot camp. I've practiced yoga. I've ran, and biked, and walked, and cried when I felt I wasn't getting anywhere. Sometimes I've worked hard at it, and sometimes I've hardly worked. But today, I'm proud.

I'm proud that another co-worker asked me yesterday if I'd been losing weight. I'm proud that she commented on how baggy my pants were. I'm proud that, when I pulled on my brand-new, size-two pants this morning, it wasn't a struggle. I'm proud every time I look in the mirror and see my hip bones. I'm proud because I've had to work to get here, and the signs of that hard work are finally visible - and not just to me.

Here's to another ten or fifteen, and to wearing boots with skinny jeans this winter!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tips to strengthen intimacy

Intimacy is the bond that holds a couple together. It's the friendship, the raw emotion shared, the future goals, and the connection you share. It's also something I've always struggled with - whether I'm not opening up enough, or whether I feel like I'm being shut out, intimacy always starts to wither.

Here are a five things I've discovered to help rekindle that bond.

  1. Regular date nights.
    This is one we've all heard repeatedly. You need to take time together on a regular basis to cultivate your relationship. I suggest if you're living together, a minimum of one date night per week. If you're not, you need at least two. A relationship cannot thrive if there is a lack of communication and quality time. Set aside time for each other, because you're worth it!

    Something that I've always maintained is that watching movies together on the couch may be a date, but it's not quality time. I recently realized that's not necessarily true. To me, quality time is all about bonding - not just sharing a common experience. Giving your partner a head massage, or foot massage, or doing something that involves focusing even a small amount of your energy and attention onto them is still quality time, where holding hands on the couch isn't (to me). 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Five Basic Needs

Years ago, I subscribed to a few relationship newsletters. Most of them I ignore now, since I haven't unsubscribed, but a few of them I do open up and read. A lot of them are trying to get you to buy their book, or their system, or check out something new and exciting. But occasionally, I'll find a diamond in the rough.

Today was one of them. The subject of the email was "5 reasons why I hate my wife." Certainly got my attention. It opened with a letter from a man talking about how upset he was because his wife wasn't meeting five particular needs, and then went a little more in depth about those particular needs and how they're the five most important for a man.

According to the email, they are:

  1. Words of affirmation and praise
  2. A sense of being respected
  3. The feeling that he is being listened to and heard
  4. Physical touch (affection rather than sex)
  5. Intimacy and bonding

I was intrigued. I would say respect and being listened to are two of the most important things to me. I've always felt like I reason more like a man. I never used to think with emotions. Part of it was my upbringing, but I've always been super logical. Tests aren't hard - I either know the material or I don't. I'm not a big worrier and never have been. Things changed a few years ago when the dynamic in my relationship changed, and I started becoming a little more emotionally charged. Even so, I still feel like this list applies to me whole-heartedly. 

If I don't feel respected, it breaks the bond of friendship for me. It's impossible for me to maintain any relationship if there's not respect in the room. If I am not being listened to, I start to act like a crazy person. I act out in order to bring attention to those things that have been bothering me. I crave intimacy - not just the between-the-sheets kind, though there's really no substitute for that, but the raw sharing of feelings and dreams that strengthens that bond. Physical touch and words of affirmation are like icing on the cake for me. I love and need to feel adored every once in a while, but without that deep friendship and respect, I don't feel flowery words are meaningful. 

I don't think this is too far off from the list of five most women would compile. What do you think, ladies? What are your most important needs to have met in a relationship? 

Friday, November 2, 2012

I love my job(s).

Not the retail one, so much, but the other two.

I've been modeling lately for a workshop at SAS taught by Robert Lemler. It is one of the most thrilling things in the world to have a well-known artist bring in several of his works, and have the class recognize you as the subject.

"cool light" by Robert Lemler
And one of my favorites -

"Colorful nude" by Robert Lemler. I wish I had the money to buy this one.
Truly thrilling to know someone thinks you are beautiful to buy paintings of you and hang them on their walls. Such a self-confidence boost to walk around the room during breaks and see the amazing representations of you that people are working on. It's an experience I wouldn't trade for the world.

And the other fabulous job - I scheduled my first two tutoring sessions yesterday! I have one tomorrow morning, and one Monday late afternoon. One of my favorite things in the world is helping people learn. Whether it's teaching, tutoring, or leading someone through a new experience, broadening the minds of others is so rewarding for me. Both of my new clients are looking to take the ACT in December, and I hope to impart some of my knowledge and time-management skills to them.

It's been such a breath of fresh air to do something I love to do for the last week and a half. I am really looking forward to cutting back hours working retail - preferably just to classes and private events there, and being able to focus on something that brings me joy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 101 update!

Talk about progress! Here's what I accomplished this past month.

  • got rid of three shirts from my closet
  • donated some rice! 
  • paid $2700 toward student loans
  • used $4 in coupons
  • read three books!

Goals completed:

  • kissed in the rain (10/11/12) 

Last month, I made a list of the progress I planned to make this month. 

Goals for October:

  • make an effort to catch up on rice (50K+ grains donated)
  • run 1 mile
  • lose another 5 lbs. (get down to 137)
  • pay $1200 toward loans
  • read 4 books
I didn't quite get to all of 'em, but I'm pretty happy with where I'm at. The three books I read this month landed me at 50 of my 100 read. I'm halfway done! With these two new jobs I've been working, if I can get some more tutoring hours, I will be able to quit working in crappy retail and then I'll have plenty of time to read again. I'll need to read one book every 7.96 days to complete these 100 in time! 

I'm far from my rice goal, but my computer has been ornery lately. It won't load the ads under my questions, so there aren't any ads paying for my correct answers, and then I feel bad continuing to answer more questions. So when I get a new computer, finally, there will need to be more of the 17K+ days I used to have. 

I won't lie, I don't think I ran once this month. Or, maybe I did, but it was only once. In better news, I weighed in at 137.8 this morning! I did lose more than 5 lbs, because I used an incorrect number to calculate the 137 figure, and I'm almost at that goal. 

And obviously I paid well over twice what I had hoped to on my loans. It's a good thing, since they mature on Sunday. I'm a little apprehensive about that - the huge big-girl bills finally coming due, and not having the option to pay anymore. But I must say I'm pretty proud of myself for making just shy of $5000 in payments in the last two months. 

For the month of November, I plan to: 

  • read four more books 
  • run one mile without stopping
  • get down to 135 lbs. (don't judge! It's the holidays.)
  • write Billie & Wally
  • watch one old movie I've never seen
  • pare my closet down by five more items. 

Thanks for cheering me on! 


Friday, October 26, 2012

Lessons from the fair

At the fair. Baby wallaby!!!!!!!!!!! 
Kyle and I kicked off the day on Wednesday with a 6-hour photo session with the incredibly talented Ron Brewer, of Ron Brewer Images in Surprise. We then trekked back across town to the fair, where we spent the rest of the day. As we were leaving the fair, Kyle commented on how many people had taken interest in our relationship throughout the day -

  • Ron, when I was taking a quick potty break, asked Kyle how long we had been together. (His response: five years.) 
  • When running Kyle's credit for his new mattress, the salesperson looked at me and asked our combined household income. ("Oh, no. We don't live together.")
  • An exhibitor pawning her Dead Sea Salt scrub in the Expo booth asked if we were married while she scrubbed my hands. 
He asked why, when other people were taking note of our interactions and commenting on how cute we are together, aren't we always happy. 

It didn't take me long to think of a response. We don't respond well when there's the slightest hint of conflict. But there's a little more to it, and these are the five things that came to mind. 

  1. It's the little things - a good-morning text message, a surprise coffee at work, picking up flowers on your way over, or just a call to say goodnight.  Making his favorite cookies, picking up some candy corn on my way over. Sometimes the smallest actions make the biggest impact. All are small gestures that won't put you out more than a five-spot, but that convey love and affection in a way that words don't. 

  2. Think before you speak. I was baring my soul the other night in a way that obviously put him a little on the defensive, but Kyle responded by calling me crazy. The last thing I want to hear when I'm emotionally vulnerable is something like that! The same goes for me. I could have re-evaluated my emotional tirade to tone it down a bit, I'm sure. 

  3. Apologize often, and sincerely. Sometimes all that's needed to rectify a situation is an apology! If you hear "I'm upset because," apologize for the action that caused that emotion. It could make a world of difference.  

  4. Put your partner first. You're in this for the long haul - at least that's assumed when you're in a committed relationship. Set that precedent for making them feel important. Plus, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. And mama, if you're happy, make sure the mister knows how much you appreciate him. 

  5. Always be respectful. If you wouldn't talk to your coworkers the way you talk to your partner, perhaps you should re-evaluate your behavior. Be kind. All those 1 Corinthians attributes that love should be? Be mindful of those.  

And now I'm hitting the hay because the clock just passed midnight, and I think Kyle passed on his stuffy sinuses to me by way of a sore throat. I'm going to try to keep these five things in the forefront and see what a difference it makes.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

25 things.

I started reading a new blog tonight: Momastery. It's the story of Glennon, a beautiful mom of three, and her daily struggles with sanity. She's pretty entertaining.

Anyway. Her very first blog post was the "25 things" that was floating around facebook in 2009. (Proof that I also succumbed..) I remembered mine and thought it would be fun to do a then and now kind of thing. So here goes.

The old one:

1) I argued with Kyle's mother the other night and found out who truly is the bigger person.
2) I really need to start eating healthier.
3) Even with my eating habits, I've managed to lose over 25 lbs. since I left the sorority house. I'm really proud of myself. I'm smaller now than I was 3 out of 4 years in high school.
4) My electromagnetism class is really stressing me out.
5) I'm in love with Pandora radio.
6) I think the tv show House may have made me want to change my specialty from Oncology to Infectious Disease.
7) I was pooped on at the bus stop on Friday.
8) I should wash the silverware all at once so it's not such a pain, but I don't. I wash one utensil whenever I need it.
9) I'm so excited that I've finally started my Bioengineering stuff. I'm on my way!
10) I'm terrified of the Passion Parties expo I'm doing this weekend. I don't have a banner and I'm worried I'll look like an idiot - so unprofessional.
11) I don't miss high school, but I do miss the quality of the friendships I had. I've had a really hard time making friends here since I don't live on campus, and I'm drifting away from the friends I had.
12) My favorite food changes almost daily. It may be anything from mashed potatoes to cheese, Tequila lime turkey tenderloin to green bean casserole.
13) I'm afraid to open bags of microwave popcorn after the story of that guy who got cancer from the microwaved butter fumes.
14) I can't remember the last time I watched tv before December. My mom and sister watched the news while they were down here visiting. I didn't know we got tv signal in our apartment before that, and we've been living here since August.
15) I'm habitually late to everything, and I feel really terrible about it, but I generally don't make any effort to change.
16) I have two 7:30 AM classes. I'm not at all a morning person.
17) I'm addicted to MSOS.
18) I get a lot of bloody noses.
19) I've changed a lot in the last two years. I'm finally happy who I am as a person.
20) Several friendships and my relationship have suffered because of it.
21) I took a women's history class last semester and have changed a lot of my views on society, men, the civil rights movement... all because of that class.
22) I hate being lied to more than nearly anything in the world.
23) I wish I could make friends easier.
24) For the most part, I couldn't care less about turning 21. I don't drink, and I have no friends to go out with if I did.
25) I set my goals for myself way too high.

And now a new one.

  1. After swearing off Kyle for a year and a half, he's back around. And that scares me a little. I'm especially nervous about his brother living there now, since it would be an understatement to say we don't get along. Things have been going better than they have in years, and I have a sinking feeling the other people living there are going to ruin that. 
  2. I'm fat. I gained 40+ lbs. in Europe last year and have lost less than 20 of that. Ew. 
  3. I dropped out of school. Or am taking at least a semester off, anyway. And my dad doesn't know. It makes me nervous that he might find out and tell me how disappointed he is in me. 
  4. I am still late to almost everything. Probably the only reason I haven't been written up for it more often at work is because they can't afford to fire me. 
  5. I do my dishes like a real adult now, but my house is still almost always cluttered. It's embarrassing, but when I get my one day off a week, I want to cherish it rather than clean. 
  6. I have a compulsive shopping problem, and it doesn't discriminate. Groceries, lingerie, eye makeup, shoes... I over-buy all the time. 
  7. I love the people I work with (for the most part), but I intensely dislike my job overall. I have a job interview later today, and I'm sitting down with someone else to go over my availability because they've already offered me work. 
  8. The forum I wasted more than two years of my life on, I haven't logged into in months. I don't know that I've been on at all this year. I'm embarrassed that it used to consume so much of my time. 
  9. I still hate being lied to more than anything else in the world. 
  10. The longer I live in this country, the more I know I don't want to for long. I would love to make my home in Europe - preferably Austria. 
  11. That deployment that I was so afraid of? It was probably the strongest part of our relationship. It was the coming home part that I should have been worried about. 
  12. My newest life goal is to become a master sommelier (hopefully the youngest female master!) and be an overseas editor for one of the wine magazines. 
  13. I am slowly working my way through a list of 101 goals, and though my progress may not be as quick as I'd like, I'm really proud of myself. It's a big undertaking and almost all my goals require a substantial amount of effort or planning. 
  14. In less than two months, I've paid more than $3500 toward my student loans. Pretty proud of myself - especially on a retail salary. 
  15. I purchased a $1000, unlimited year-membership to my favorite yoga studio back in July. I've gone less than ten times and I'm incredibly disappointed in myself, but I still don't try any harder to make it worth my money. 
  16. The whole being 21 isn't a big deal thing? I get free wine from work. It took me five months to finish seven bottles. 
  17. I limit my interactions with people who have juvenile or intolerant vocabularies. If you use the words "retarded" or "gay" in normal conversation, we probably aren't friends. 
  18. I adore my little bird, but I don't let her out as often as I should because I hate that she shits all over everything. 
  19. I am constantly multi-tasking. You'll never find me with less than five to seven tabs open on my computer. 
  20. I love to read! I currently have 14 books checked out from the library. 
  21. I am really jumpy - especially late at night. Sometimes I hate living alone without a scary weapon by my side. 
  22. I would love to have a bed and breakfast some day. I love to cook and desperately want an amazing house! 
  23. I have the horrible habit of pinning oodles of recipes onto my Pinterest food boards and never making them. 
  24. I really want to chop all my hair off, but I've had long hair nearly my entire life. I'm terrified I will cut it short and then hate it. 
  25. I am so glad I am constantly growing as a person. Looking back on my list from three and a half years ago, I am surprised at some answers and embarrassed by others. I hope to be able to look back on this in another three years and wonder at the changes I've made. 

There you have it! xoxo

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 101 update

So I forgot when I was doing my August update that I actually did complete one! I ate bison. Bison burgers with a shit-ton of feta, to be exact. And they were delish. So I'm counting that one for this month, since I forgot to for last month.


  • ate bison.

Made progress:

  • read one book!
  • paid $1800 toward student loans. (I'm pretty proud of this one! That's more than 10% of my goal, and my loans haven't even matured yet.) 
  • updated the blog with one recipe
  • answered ten questions
  • donated some rice

Goals for October:

  • make an effort to catch up on rice (50K+ grains donated)
  • run 1 mile
  • lose another 5 lbs. (get down to 137)
  • pay $1200 toward loans
  • read 4 books

Let's see how it goes! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

365 questions: 256 - 260

256. When should you reveal a secret that you promised you wouldn’t reveal?

The mental health professional has established a good precedent on this one, I think. Only in situations of life and death, personal injury, or immediate harm. 

257. How would you spend your ideal day?

I'm a total homebody. Knitting, drinking hot cocoa in front of the fire, reading a book, snuggling with my man. Or winning the lottery. Or making oodles and oodles of money at a job I enjoy. 

258. What is the one primary quality you look for in a significant other?

Trustworthiness. If you can't trust your partner, there really is no relationship. 

259. What do you admire most about your mother and father?

They both work harder than anyone I know. My dad owns his own business and has worked incredibly long hours to provide for the family. He built it from the ground up after we moved up to Alaska and has made a name for himself that is recognized nation-wide in some circles. My mom is going back to school and has a 4.0 GPA. She studies like her life depends on it - determined to do her best. 

260. What is the best advice you have ever received?

Probably that to never regret. And I don't know that it was ever said to me; it's something that I've always tried to do. All other "sage advice" coming to mind has exceptions. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oh, Sedona.

In my head that sounds like the chorus of one of my earliest musicals. "Ooooooooo-klahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain..."

Anyway, that's where I was this weekend. Or for a very short time on Sunday, anyway. Kyle and I packed up and headed out Saturday morning. We got the obligatory trail mix granola bars and hit the road. After stopping for gas and dropping the puppy dog off, we made our first stop at Javalina Leap Winery.

It was pretty neat. Their wines were tasty, for the most part. We bought a bottle of their Sauv Blanc to take home (which, interestingly enough, is the only wine they have nothing to do with. It comes out of California and they slap their own label on it), and got to peek in their back room where they have huge fermentation vats. I liked the place. Some of their wines were underwhelming (particularly the rose), but the ambiance pretty much made up for that - walls plastered in local art for sale, entertaining wine sayings, etc. Kyle was a bit put-off by the amount of advertising on their tasting glasses (which included their website and tasting hours), but oh well. We didn't buy them, so I don't really care.

Headed back into town and had a late lunch at The Tavern in Old Town Cottonwood, and then wandered around town. We stopped in a few bookstores and nifty little shops. My favorite was probably the olive oil and balsamic vinegar store. Of course I couldn't leave without buying anything, so I now have a bottle of vanilla balsamic on my kitchen counter.

Oh, dog. 
We picked up the ornery dog and headed up Mingus Mountain to set up camp. Toured Jerome the next morning on our way down the hill, and someone bought me jewelry for the first time ever. (I can't get a good picture, but the earrings are gorgeous. They remind me of fern fronds. Super delicate. Beautiful.) Took a detour to Tuzigoot National Monument, where the dog remembered he was afraid of stairs, and I laughed aloud as the big, strong man carried the 90-pound wimpy dog down the steps. After that adventure, we finally headed up to Sedona. Toured the shops for a few hours, got a pretty good sunburn, and headed home so we could retire early, since I had to work at 6AM Monday.

We did much less overall than we had planned. I had a whole itinerary for Saturday - all the things we were going to do and see, etc. that didn't go according to plan. It was wonderful and relaxing, and I thoroughly enjoyed having a whole weekend off. On the way up north, Kyle commented on the ridiculous grin I was apparently sporting, and we came to the conclusion that, aside from planned vacations surrounding the Marine Corps (and our three-year anniversary), we had never had a weekend off together in the four years we've lived down here. We've never taken a weekend to get out of town and just go do stuff. It wasn't everything I'd ever dreamed of, but it was amazing and wonderful and exactly what I've needed.

In other news, I picked up a bunch of new books from the library tonight, including two cookbooks. Look for some new recipes coming soon!

Monday, September 3, 2012

365 questions: 251 - 255

251. What do you understand today about your life that you did not understand a year ago?  

I'm not sure I totally understand the question. But I suppose the superficial answer is that I understand paying the interest on your student loans while in school is much more important than one might realize. 

252. Whose life have you had the greatest impact on?

Outside of my family, probably Erika's or Kyle's. Erika and I have been friends since we were seven years old. It's hard to be friends with someone for 17 years without having a huge impact on their life. Kyle and I were together for four and living together the majority of that time. It's impossible to be in a committed relationship with someone without impacting them in some way. 

253. What did life teach you yesterday?

That it might not be such a bad idea to give someone the benefit of a doubt. That sometimes you might be pleasantly surprised when you do. 

254. Who impresses you?

As silly as it might sound, Ron Paul. He has stood by his convictions and tried to do this country right for a number of years now. He holds strong to his convictions. And he doesn't try to force his personal moral beliefs on anyone by legislating their bodies. 

255. What have you done that you are not proud of?  

Many things. I've said things that were untrue. I've behaved in embarrassing ways. But I don't regret any of it. I apologize if necessary and move on. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

August 101 update


  • donated 8000 grains of rice
  • read four books
  • used $13 in coupons
  • answered 25 questions
  • paid $200 toward student loans
  • lost another 5 lbs!

I didn't complete any goals, but I'm not all beat up over it either. I made substantial progress on a number of goals and made my first student loan payments in years, so I'm happy. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'd better make a million dollars a day.

Pinterest is addicting. Not in that "I can only think about pinning" kind of crack-addict way, but more the "uh oh. I clicked on pinterest in my top eight visited sites and I am being sucked in!" way.

Two of my favorite things to do on there are plan my future home and ogle future vacation spots. One of my most enjoyable hobbies is to envision that I have more money than I know what to do with, and draw up mental blueprints of a future home. It occurred to me today that perhaps I need more than one fabulous home, because to cram that much awesomeness into one small space might make my head explode.

A dual-head, dual-control shower. A wood-burning fireplace. A wine cellar. A library. Lots and lots of glass and open space in the kitchen (and subsequently, a super-expensive monitoring system to ensure no boogeyman will get me). The largest master closet ever. A laundry chute. A housekeeper to take care of everything.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

And then there's the vacation home. Wrap-around porch with hammocks and/or a porch swing. Lots of water. Preferably something somewhat secluded and cantilevered over a body of water. Falling water would be nice.

I'm currently looking for viable get-rich-quick options. Any leads, let me know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sometimes I'm a bitch.

Especially when I'm hungry. I was reminded of this a few days ago by the person who has probably seen me the bitchiest when I've been hungry. So I just wanted to say...

Now would probably also be an appropriate time to talk about how much I love SomeEcards. I'm spending this, my only day off this week, perusing their selection of highly entertaining tidbits and thinking how many I could send to one person before it gets irritating.

I also determined today that women on their periods (namely me) shouldn't go grocery shopping unattended. I know that's something I have a problem with usually anyway, but today I walked away with three tri-tip roasts, when I have never in my life used a grill. I also purchased three things of ice cream and two packages of cookies. Super fail.

I'm in the process of compiling a playlist for Kyle's and my roadtrip to Sedona (or somewhere else up north) in two weeks. Feel free to chime in if you have any suggestions! Love songs, country, oldies, some (very little) rock, Bloodhound Gang... What are your roadtrip staples?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm being spoiled.

In more ways than one.

My parents are pretty awesome sometimes. They are allowing me to live rent-free in their condo down here, and they even pay the electricity bill. Pretty nifty considering I have spendy wine and no wine fridge. I keep the house at no more than 75 degrees typically.

Except that I like it warmer. When Kyle and I lived together, I was constantly sneaking to turn up the air to 78 and he was following right behind me, turning it down to 72.

Apparently he's decided that his electricity bill is more important than his comfort, because he keeps his house much warmer than mine. Plus, he has an abnormally high body temperature (or it feels that way sometimes) so you hardly need a blanket when he's in bed.

Every time I come home now, I'm freakishly cold. My house is chilly. And every night before I go to bed, I turn up the heat because I don't have a bed-warmer sleeping over.

It's amusing the things I take for granted sometimes. Super cheap housing, a snugglebug, and good morning kisses even when you have stank breath.

Life isn't so bad after-all. I'm a pretty lucky lady.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

365 questions: 236 - 250

236. What was your last major accomplishment?  I surprised someone who I can't easily surprise. I'd say that's probably an accomplishment. 

237. Through all of life’s twists and turns who has been there for you?  My best friend ever, Erika Gail. 

238. What or who has been distracting you?  Exhaustion. Feelings of being overwhelmed. And Kyle Robert. 

239. What are you looking forward to in the upcoming week?  Saturday night! I get off work relatively early and my puppy is coming over. 

240. Who is your mentor and what have you learned from them?  Yikes. My mentor? I don't really have one anymore. In high school, I would have said Mr. Brown. And everything I've learned from him truly can't be put into words. 

241. What are you uncertain about?  Money. School. Relationships. 

242. What do you think about when you lie awake in bed?  Someone who is turning my life upside-down. 

243. What’s something most people don’t know about you?  My shopping addiction knows no bounds. If I'm lingerie shopping, I have no control. If I'm grocery shopping, I probably need a babysitter there, too. 

244. When you have a random hour of free time, what do you usually do?  Read!

245. What makes you weird?  Haha lots of things. I love pickled beets. The only milk in my fridge is coconut milk. I live alone and yet my pantry is stuffed to the gills. I have a very Type-A personality. 

246. If you could relive yesterday what would you do differently?  Nothing, really. I had a pretty productive "morning," and then put in a 12-hour day at work. 

247. What do you do over and over again that you hate doing?  Cleaning the house. I am not naturally a clean person. 

248. Would you rather your child be less attractive and extremely intelligent or extremely attractive and less intelligent?  More intelligent. I'd much rather be remembered for the impact I had on other people because of the wise things I said or the scientific discoveries I made rather than being an unusual beauty. 

249. What white lies do you often tell?  "Sorry I'm late." 

250. What is the biggest change you have made in your life in the last year?  Oh goodness. I've made a ton of changes. I think overall, I've just become a much more responsible person. I've done a lot of introspection and realized that some of the things I've done were perhaps not the best options. I've matured quite a bit. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

365 questions: 225 - 235

225. What is your saddest memory?  I tend to block super emotional stuff out. If you want a recent sad memory, though, it would be me at Jerry's funeral, knowing I didn't make it home in time to say goodbye. That breaks my heart. 

226. What would you like to change?  The number on the scale. For something less superficial, the amount of money I owe in student loans. 

227. How many people do you love?  Lots. I can't help but care about people. 

228. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?  Oh, goodness. The best one I've ever made? I don't know for certain. The decision to learn from my past mistakes rather than regretting anything was probably a wise one, though. 

229. What’s your favorite true story that you enjoy sharing with others?  I love recounting my ridiculous adventures in Italy from last summer - couchsurfing with men who proposed marriage, getting a room with three guys I'd met an hour before, and sharing one bed with two other people who were both feeling a little amorous. 

230. Right now, at this moment, what do you want most?  I want to know what the future holds. I've never been big on surprises. I like to have all my shit in line, and life has sorta thrown me a twist lately. 

231. What are you waiting for?  How are you writing your life’s story?  I'm waiting for love and for success. But I'm writing my story with a little humor. 

232. What makes love last?  Hard work, every day. Love is a decision, not just an emotion. 

233. What good comes from suffering?  Strength and the experience. Every experience is one from which to learn. 

234. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last year?  Don't take anything for granted. Not love, not people, not money. 

235. Based on you current daily actions and routines, where would you expect to be in five years?  Ideally, I would be writing for a wine magazine or consulting for a snooty restaurant. Happily married to the love of my life. Student loans hopefully paid off. Probably without kids. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

"Do you love me?"

That song is stuck in my head. You know the one - from Fiddler On The Roof. Tevya (or however you spell his name) is singing to his wife, asking that question. Her response? "I suppose I do," after listing everything she has done for him throughout their marriage.

I have been reading the Anita Blake series lately. If you've been watching my reading list, it's more than obvious. I've been going through those books like they are water. Reading #11 tonight, the protagonist is talking about her love situation, and two different guys are doing some psychoanalysis crap. And reading through it, I was suddenly reminded of myself.

Not that I've found The Perfect Man and have been holding back, or anything. That's far from the case. But the whole thing - dating a few guys at the same time, having super complicated feelings for someone who is in and out of her life - aside from the fact that her main squeezes are vampires and werewolves/wereanimals, it gave me pause.

Today is August 4th. It was supposed to be my wedding day. Nothing in the last two years has gone quite according to plan, and I've grown and changed immensely as a result. Some ways for the better. Some ways still surprise me sometimes. But today, I wish I would have been singing the closing line of that song. "I suppose I love you too."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

July 101 update


  • donated some rice. 18,000+ grains, to be more specific. 
  • read nine(ish) books. I lost track. I'm at 42 down, in case I lose track again next month. 
  • visited another northwest state! I spent some time with my dear Erika in Seattle on Sunday. 

I didn't cross any off completely, because I sometimes fail at life. However, I feel like maybe this month is the month to change that and perhaps stop failing. 

Actually, I'm not super bummed about it. Hard to be The World's Most Productive Person when you have family in town for ten days and then Grandpa dies. I'm not sweating it. 

In other news, I have a year membership at my favorite Bikram studio now. Maybe that means I'll get skinny soon. I just have to get off my lazy ass and do something about it. 

In August, I will:

  • make my first student loan payment in six years
  • start reading a book in German
  • read another 6+ books
  • donate 50K+ grains of rice
  • lose another 5 lbs. 
and then some. Wish me luck!!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Halfway update!

Oh, boy. I can't believe that 503 days ago, I started this project. In those 503 days, I've done quite a bit. I spent my entire savings. I gained a bunch of weight. I ended a relationship that I thought for sure would be happily ever after. I've also traveled. I have helped feed the hungry. I have gotten back into reading passionately. I got a new job, doing something I love.

Life has taken me on a path I didn't expect over the last year, and I have really grown because of it. I haven't quite accomplished all the goals I had anticipated having done by now, but I'm not terribly disappointed by the progress I've made either.

Of my 101 goals, I have completed 25. I have made significant progress on another 15. Since my year update in March, that's another seven completed and five goals attempted - 40 overall compared to the 35 of March.

My progress on uncompleted goals is as follows:

  • Use $100 in coupons (61% complete)
  • See five theater productions (20% complete)
  • Attend two concerts (50% complete)
  • Watch 10 old movies (40% complete)
  • Visit 15 states (20% complete)
  • Blog about 50 new recipes (32% complete)
  • Yelp five new restaurants (40% complete)
  • Read 100 books (39% complete)
  • Visit ten museums (40% complete)
  • Write a letter to myself (have to find it to complete!)
  • 365-day photo challenge (1 month in today)
  • 365 questions (61% complete)
  • Achieve my goal weight (24 lbs. away)
  • Donate 1M grains of rice (36% complete)
  • Clean out my closet (20% complete)

Many of my goals from here on out are ongoing goals - ones that I have to work toward, that can't be completed in one day. The ones that aren't generally involve money, and are things for which I would need to save. My progress may appear to be going slowly, but I feel I'm making a dent and will continue to chip away large chunks at a time. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the progress I have planned out! 


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Grandpa Jer is gone.

Wednesday, I bought a ticket home for next week. I called and told him to hang in there - that I was coming.

Tonight, I got the call from Mom that he's gone. I know the last week has been a huge downhill slide, and there's no way to really have known when he would go. According to the doctors, he should have had another month and a half at least.

Cancer is a bitch. I'm glad I was able to chat with him this week and tell him I loved him, and I know that he loved me too. Now it looks like I'll be heading up this week to start attending to service plans rather than spending time with him.

Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers. Grandpa Jer might have lived a wonderful, full 79 years, but that doesn't make it hurt any less.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mom is in the house!

And we've been rockin' out (or relaxing, as might more often be the case) since she got here a week ago. She's experienced her first Arizona dust storm, eaten at The Melting Pot for the first time, and gotten her first senior discount at the grocery store. We've lounged by the pool, drank wine, moved furniture for the neighbors, and just generally been pretty awesome.

Sara managed to choose a wedding dress, and dresses for Mom, Sara, and me are all ordered. Quick plug for Schaffer's in Scottsdale - they are amazing. Lisa is one of the best bridal consultants I've ever worked with. Also, I'm too tired to care about dangling participles. Sorry.

I have the day off tomorrow to spend hangin' out with Mom, perhaps grabbing a cinnamon swirl from Great Harvest for breakfast, and lounging around on her last day. I've had a blasty blast and hopefully you'll see more of me pretty soon!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wild is changing my life.

The book. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. About a year ago, my plans to hike the PCT were hatched. Sam, my awesome hippy California friend, inspired me. Talked about her dream to hike it. Talked about hiking it together. And my own dream was born.

We had initially planned to hike the John Muir Trail this July and August in preparation to do the entire trail next summer. We have been seriously talking about it since November of last year. Planning, looking at tents, dreaming about gear, and mentally divvying up the weight. So when I saw this book at the library, there was no question that I needed to read it.

It is changing my life. The dream I thought was a little too out of reach for now is back, firmly planted in my forebrain. If a heroin user can hike the PCT, never having backpacked a day in her life, then so can I. And I will. Next summer. JMT or not this month, I'm all over making this happen. If not next summer, then the summer Sam graduates. Or whatever summer we can work it in. Because this is so real I can taste it. I need this more than ever. Cheryl Strayed, thank you for the inspiration. And hiking enthusiasts, this is a must-read!

Monday, July 2, 2012

June 101 update


  • Got my brows threaded for the first time!! 


  • Read ten books. 
  • Donated 5,800 grains of rice
  • Lost another five lbs! 

So maybe I didn't get as much done as I had anticipated/hoped. But I got a bunch of reading out of the way, and hopped back on the freerice bandwagon. I'm making strides on getting other obligations paid off so I can concentrate on student loans. I have my modeling website up and running, and I've been making a few contacts for work. I've seen a handful of old movies, but ended up falling asleep in the middle of most of them, so I haven't been counting them toward my goal. 

Today has been full of responsible adult-ness. Chores and whatnot. But I'm about to get my rice on, and I might even finish an old movie tonight! 

Sara gets here in four days, and Mom comes to visit in eight, so I probably shouldn't make any promises on how much I'll complete this month. Here's to hoping I cross off two more goals and make progress on another two. 

I'll be back with a more comprehensive update later this week. :)