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.