Monday, July 26, 2010

Fly Fishing Pt. 2

I went out a few weeks ago and tried fly fishing for the first time. I loved it. It was so peaceful and it was as close to meditation as I think I'll ever get. (I'm a think-too-much typical Virgo. All you Virgos out there who can sympathize, can I get a woot?)

If you've never gone fly fishing, here's what it was like. I'm standing in the middle of a beautiful lake. The sun is shining and it's cool, but not too cool. I casting my line. Back and forth. Checking over my shoulder to see what my line is doing. Is it leveling out before I bring it forward again? No? Patience, it is. Ok...where are the fish? Looking, looking. Oooh, a little flip-flop in the water over there tells me where to cast! Cast, pull slowly in. Cast, pull slowly in. How's my back cast?

Rinse, repeat.

So, since I enjoyed the time so much, I decided to get some inexpensive used gear and get back out there. I got my very first fishing rod today! It's used, but a good one. It's a Sage Graphite III 586 (5 weight, 8' 6" long).

Now, I just have to get out there and try some more fishing. Oh yeah, and learn how to tie things on. And probably a million other things. But, here's to hoping I still get to have that simple train of thought each time. When work, school, parenting and dating don't matter and all I'm thinking is - where are the fish?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fly Fishing

Me and my girls at Rocky Mountain National Park earlier this month. We took fly fishing lessons and had a blast. I now understand why people like fishing. It was the closest a busy-minded Virgo like myself ever gets to meditation.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

What does Easter mean in an atheist household?

What does Easter mean in a house with atheists?

I am raising an amazing 10-year-old son. But I have this feeling like part of the "basic education" that I've been providing throughout his life has been conspicuously lacking in one major area.

I've taught him (and continue to try and teach him):
  • how to treat others
  • that learning is not just a pain in the butt for school, but rather an opportunity to explore the amazing world around us and that you can learn your whole life
  • that friends can't be replaced, we need them and it pays to be a good friend
  • that family is different than friends, and there's no replacement for family either (not even friends)
  • that food is one of the simple pleasures in life and can bring joy
  • that girls like boys and vice versa...and that it's a good thing
  • that I don't want to look back at the end of my life and regret things that I didn't do because I was afraid
  • that you have to see the original classic movies (even if they weren't amazing by today's standards) before you see the new remake...because I think it's right to give the old movies their due and the new versions often times are crappier (and, yes, he thinks the original trilogy was so much better than the prequels - which I wouldn't let him watch first)
So, I've covered a lot of bases, but one major area that we were educated in that he is completely lacking in is religion. I was raised in a Baptist Christian household. We went to church every Sunday. We prayed before we ate and before we went to bed. But really, inside, I was a young atheist. A doubter that felt like a liar when she prayed and wished that she didn't have so much cognitive dissonance when it came to her thoughts on God.

I came to terms with my feelings and am in a happy place now. But I've realized in the last few years that my son doesn't know the simple stuff - you know, Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, etc., and I'm doing him a disservice by not giving him some information about religion. At least for future Jeopardy questions, but mainly for the larger picture. Most people do believe in some variation of Christianity. And my son is completely out of touch with that world.

Perhaps I'll buy the book on Amazon on world religions and see how much it covers. Maybe I'll ask him if he remembers from last Easter what I explained about the holiday (and how it has nothing to do with chocolate, boiled eggs and rabbits). It would be a lot easier if we ate chocolate crosses and the risen messiah was the mascot instead of the "Easter Bunny."

For now, I'm going to try and come up with a new Easter tradition for us to enjoy. He's too old for the egg hunt and too young to appreciate a ham dinner with deviled eggs. His idea was to have it be a "code day" where we make new codes up. Maybe he's not so far off from what Easter is for many of us...a day with hidden meanings that are very separate from the original idea.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day - aka Find Cute Boys Not Wearing Green Day

People who work with me know. I'm boy crazy.

It stems mostly from the fact that I'm boy-deprived. I got divorced 2 1/2 years ago and although I've been on a bunch of dates, I haven't had a boyfriend. So, besides a few sweet kisses with one boy, I've been lonely. And, um..."desirous of companionship." (Which is why I stayed up later than I should tonight when I heard that Dwayne Johnson was going to be on the Tonight Show.)

So, all I have to say to the smart, cute, single guys out there: stop wearing green on St. Patty's day.

I took advantage and pinched at least four boys today. (It would have been more, but I had to run an errand on lunch.)

And, what do you know, you can't really pinch someone without striking up a conversation. I mean, it's sort of weird to just pinch and run, right?

Next year, I'm going to head into Boulder and find a busy place with lots of cute boys. I hope they forget to wear green.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

February Foodie Stop: Breadworks in Boulder

Judy's Pick
February 2010

2644 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80304

They pride themselves "on our award-winning organic artisan breads, fine pastries, fresh à la carte breakfasts, lunches and our gourmet take-away food."

What We Ate
We both ate the chicken torta panini, which has grilled chicken, spicy avocado mayo and pepper jack cheese on their fresh baked bread. It came with chips and a pickle.

The Good Stuff
The food was fresh and the bread was great. We both had French toast on our minds when we finished lunch. The bread was dense and moist, something unlike the weightless Sara Lee white whole wheat I usually buy for home (for my son's PB&Js). The trip through line was pretty darn fast - but that's for another reason (see the section below -what we would change).

What We Would Change
Judy and I are both big flavor people. We don't shy away from seasoning our foods well. These sandwiches, "spicy avocado mayo" notwithstanding, were nothing special. The flavors didn't pop at all and weren't really memorable.

In addition, when I pay $8.95 for a panini, I at least expect that it will be grilled for me right then, served hot from the griddle with crisp bread and oozing cheese. These were precooked and kept wrapped and in a hot spot.

The Bottom Line
Based on what I ate there, I would definitely consider going back to buy one of their breads for home. I have also heard good things about the soup, so I'd try those. However, I'd skip the paninis because of the price and lack of flavor. Our paninis, with loose chips and a pickle cost $8.95 plus tax.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Keeping Commitments: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is...

We have all heard it, some story about someone who lost all of the weight they should have because of a wager. Or that they did some other monumentally huge task that they always avoided because someone dared them to.

Whether it's the money, or hating to lose, this type of motivation seems to work well for some people.

Enter, a website where you can make a contract with yourself and put your money where your mouth is. You can involve your family and friends, so they know what you're promising to do.

If you don't fulfill your commitment, you either lose money to a friend/family member or you can choose to lose your money to a charity - but it will be a charity you HATE, because hey, where's the motivation otherwise?

This is a great idea. At first I sort of blew the idea off, but then I realized...for a frugal person like myself, this is ideal. I would hate to lose the money, so I really should use this to make me follow through on some big things.

Like finding a job that makes me excited to head to work. Or being more social so that I have a chance to meet my next great love.

What would you choose to commit to?

Friday, February 12, 2010

From 60 to Zero (my new year's crash & burn)

It's official. I've hit my new year's slump.

I'm exhausted and working hard to keep dragging my butt to work and studying for school. The new year started out gangbusters, but I think that was because I still felt the promise of change. The fresh start made me hopeful that this year will somehow hold some promise that last year didn't.

Why did I think this? I'm not sure.

At the end of the year we were all excused from focusing on our serious responsibilities (at least a little) because we had "urgent" personal things to take care of. We all talked about holiday shopping, cooking and visiting relatives.

After the new year hit, I got super focused. I organized my paper pile, put away my decorations and actually put things on my calendar. I think that many people I know did the same thing. We made resolutions, hit the gym and cleaned our offices. The holidays were over, and gone with them the joking and goofing off.

If I were a business owner, I think that I would find a way to capitalize on this new year energy spurt.

Because, now, on February 12, my energy is gone.

Work is back to being, Except that we have the added pressure of big budget cuts and potentially employee layoffs. My workout schedule is suffering and I'm trying to talk myself into going to the coffee shop to study instead of to the local pub for a beer.

I have to figure out how to rejuvenate again and get back that vim and vigor. I think that I'm going to try something new and/or creative as often as I can. We'll see if that works.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saying What You Mean (and Why I'm an Idiot at Dating)

I'm a big proponent of saying exactly what you mean. Our ability to use specific words to clarify our intent is one of the best things about language in general.

I used to accidentally say things like 'I'm sorry' when caught up in a conversation with someone who was very upset or angry. But after working for years in various jobs, I realized that some people take that sort of comment very literally. They automatically take your simple apology as an admission of responsibility, when all you're really trying to do is make them feel better.

I am also very careful not to commit to anything that I won't be able to provide. My tendency to take language fairly literally has also led me to demanding more clarity from those who are communicating to me.

But, I admit to being completely lost on one particular communication front: dating.

I was hanging out with this guy on Friday, who is nice and easy to talk to...and I like him on a very basic level. Boyfriend level, I'm not sure. But definitely enough to consider it. So, I gave him my phone number when he suggested that he could "get my number and call me sometime on purpose to hang out." a person like me, who loves the specificity that language enables us to achieve, I find myself wondering - what the hell does "hang out" mean these days?

I think that dating used to be a lot more formal and clear cut. These days I can't tell if I'm just making friends or heading towards a potential good night kiss. I think that they should publish an online guide, one that changes with the times, that tells you the new rules & definitions of dating.

There are certain areas in my life where I feel smart. But dating isn't one of them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting Trained for Free

I met a fellow named Rick recently who told me that he liked to cook. We shared several conversations about food and cooking. It was great to talk with someone who knew what fond was and who could point me to some local foodie shops.

He mentioned that he learned how to cook by taking a job cooking. But after several conversations, he explained further.

He decided that he wanted to learn how to cook. So, he approached a local restaurateur and offered to work for free. The restaurateur allowed him to work at one of his local restaurants and boy, did he learn. After about 6 months, he was offered a paid position at one of the other restaurants.

He turned the job down, but that's because he wasn't looking to work as a chef, he just wanted to how to really cook for himself.

My first thought was, well, good for you, it must be nice to have a luxury of not earning a living for six months. But then I realized that I have friends who have been laid off and they're not working anyway. They could be using this time off to learn something new.

The one thing that I've figured out recently is that creativity and hard work means more than anything else when you're trying to navigate this tough economy.

So, if you know of a field where you can work for free to learn about it, I say go for it - you never know. Employers are also dealing with a tough economy and they might love to take you up on your offer.

If you don't know of any companies to approach, or need more skills before you can make such an offer, consider taking online classes. Below is a list of some great universities and a couple other companies offering free courses online.

Free Online Classes/Courses
Learn That

Hewlett Packard Free Classes Online

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2010: A Visual Representation & Goals

Wordle: 2010

My visual representation of 2010!

Goals for the Year
  1. Try one new restaurant every month (January was Leenie's in Longmont, CO)
  2. Blog more often (so far, so good...but that's how it always starts)
  3. Go out on at least one second date
  4. Do well in all of my classes (8 this year)
  5. Keep exercising and eating right on a regular basis
  6. Start using the Rosetta Stone products that I have
  7. Learn at least 2 new skills that will help me be more successful at work (MS Access is one...the other?)
  8. Clean out my closet and drawers and get rid of some stuff that I'm just not using
  9. Figure out a better way to store my onions, potatoes, etc., in my very small kitchen
I know that this is just a belated list of resolutions. But it's never too late to start thinking about what you really want to do with your time and I think it helps to verbalize your goals, too.

No Annual Reviews - How do you motivate and recognize?

At my current job (been here 2.5 years), I don't get an annual review. I've never had one.

I get the same increase for being here another year (a step increase) that every other clerical/administrative staff will receive.

I might have been doing a really crappy job this fiscal year. Or I might have been the best employee ever seen, saving the company millions, and I would have gotten the very same increase. While this a great on some level (if I ever decided to turn into a real slacker, I don't think I'd ever leave...oh wait - I just described some of my coworkers), I have a real gripe with this.

I feel like an actor (pronounced ak-TOHR), "What's my motivation?"

When there is no accountability built into my work year and also no reward or recognition, the only motivation is going to come from inside of me. That's great, but even for fairly motivated people, we still tend to perform better when we're presented with clearly outlined challenges and the knowledge that someone actually cares what we're doing.

At my last company, we had a personal plan for the year, outlining our goals for our development. Some were simple items that required nothing but self study, but other goals included the company paying for training. We also had annual reviews that tied in to our current responsibilities, feedback from stakeholders and those personal growth goals. It kept me honest and on track. I also really appreciated getting support to develop myself during the year. Feedback from my peers and supervisors was also invaluable (usually, it would be very nice comments but every once in a while you'd get a great insight about some area you could improve in or develop).

Now I work in the public sector and have no goals or review. Maybe this is unique to my job, my office, my company, but I think this model may be found in other public sector jobs.

So, if you can't change the way they do business where you work, is there another method or system that, on a small scale, can foster motivation, self improvement and recognition/reward? And, it would have to be done without budget support and everyone will still get their step money can't be the incentive.

In my mind, it should include:
  • clearly defined objectives/goals for work projects
  • defined personal improvement/development goals
  • guidance throughout the year to make sure employees are on track
  • recognition amongst their peers, a way to be differentiated from others and give coworkers a goal to work towards
If you've got something like this at your work already in place, ideas are welcome.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Help! I've Lost My Career Path!

I am not sure why, but it seems like more and more people I know are unsure of what they want to do with their careers.

Doug, a young bartender at my local pub, has a story that is probably not too different from other people I know. He has his bachelor's degree in economics, with a minor in Spanish, and an associates degree in audio production. He's a bartender now, but that's because he couldn't find any work in his field and needed an income. But how did he end up here?

He was working in another state for a small start up. It was a company that focused on green building. Everything was going great, he loved the company, owner and the work. Then, the owner tells him that she doesn't know why, but they've run out of money and can't afford to keep him on. Later on, she found out that her accountant was embezzling and had stolen $200K from the company.

So, he took advantage of the opportunity to move to Colorado. He loves it here, but he couldn't find work in his field. He took a job bartending just to get by. Now, he realizes that he doesn't want to go into the economics field and heck...he sort of just doesn't know where he wants to go. He saw me doing an exercise designed to help one find their direction in life, and told me very seriously he'd like to know how that works out for me.

My grandparents never waxed on about how they didn't know what they wanted to be. They simply took good jobs, took care of their families and moved on. There wasn't a question about whether or not the loved their jobs. My grandpa worked for the city, managing the crews who paved the streets (hot and smelly). My grandma worked for the phone company as an operator. I think that we talked about how interesting their jobs were, but it never crossed my mind to ask if they liked their jobs.

So, why do we ponder this topic to death now? Why do we get degrees that we don't use, or get 3 degrees in completely different subjects? Is this the new "hippie" culture? Instead of experimenting with drugs and exploring deep philosophical questions, are we experimenting with careers and pondering job/life satisfaction?

I'm feeling my way towards a chosen profession, but even I'm not 100% sure yet. I'm working as a professional in the meantime and getting a real middle-of-the-road degree (business, legal emphasis) because, hey, it's never a bad idea to know about business. It always applies.

But why is it that we have such career ambivalence in so many of our Gen X and Gen Y employees? Is it indicative of a larger issue?

And more importantly, has anyone found an aptitude test that will actually tell me that I should eat great food, travel and have earth shattering sex for a living? Because, doesn't that seem like what we all want? To be told that you should 'do what you love' and 'find what makes you happy' and all that other bull that doesn't seem to exist in the real world (or, at the very least, let's admit that it can't exist for everyone...we can't all eat great food, travel and have sex for a living; after all, who would cook the food for us, fly the airplanes to exotic places and, um, I don't know, create flavored lubricants?).

I would love to see some online tools, tips and tests that have genuinely helped people figure out where they should be, career-wise, in their lives. Something that has real world value. If you've used something like this, let me know. And then I'll pass it on to Doug when I stop in for my next beer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How Layoffs Can Sometimes Be a Good Thing

Seems like when we have a bad economic situation, like now, we talk about the negative aspects of it. Layoffs, foreclosures and a falling stock market become part of the daily news.

But when about 20 people at one of our locations were being "displaced," I saw a scenario where some people were happy about it.

Displacement (in my company) means having to find a new job in the company and if there are displaced employees who qualify for an open position, it cannot be offered to outside candidates (unless, I suppose, that the displaced employees all turn it down). But, basically, because most people don't want to take a job unless it's just right (location, coworkers, status, etc.), for many it just is a nice way of being laid off.

Several of the displaced administrative staff asked me if I knew of any jobs. They would ask over and over again, venting about the process and complaining because they were losing their jobs. Not fun to listen to (none of them were what I'd call friends), but understandable.

So it surprised me when some of the folks who didn't lose their job told me (very quietly) at lunch one day, that it was a good thing.

"We had been trying to get rid of that person for about a year and a half. They didn't do their job, they just hung out. So, we started the process of collecting information and counseling them, so if they continued to not do their job, we could write them up and eventually let them go.

Then, they hurt their back at work. They filed a workers comp claim and were out on leave for about a month and a half. When they came back, HR didn't want it to appear that we were trying to get rid of them because of the claim. We had to back off and haven't been able to do anything about it since then. We're glad they're finally going to be gone."

I realized, that if you have employees that don't do their work, can't seem to get along with others, are bullies or have some other issue that prevents them from getting the job done, that layoffs are the perfect time to let some of those folks go. It may not be nice, but when you're forced to reduce staff and you keep the essential employees (read: the ones who do the work), that probably means losing some dead weight.

It's a great reason, even if you're tenured or past your probationary period, to be indispensable. Bottom line, do your job well.

I've survived one round of layoffs (at another company) where, by all rights, I should have been let go. Instead they let go of someone with more tenure than me and kept me instead. I was the only exception that they made to the rule. I'd like to think it was because I'd become too important to the 'powers that be' because of my skills and attitude.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Hate the phrase, "You should just be happy you have a job."

I hate it.

Not that it's not true on some level. Most of us, even if our job sucks, are happy that we have an income. That part of our job is nothing to complain about.

But what I hate is that lately, with the economy being so bad, it's become this catch all phrase that really says even if you have a crappy job and aren't happy you shouldn't complain because someone else has it worse.

Well, hell, if that was the only reason to not complain - that someone else has it worse than you - then by all rights, none of us in the U.S. should be complaining about much of anything.

I don't advocate complaining (because, really, what does that get you, except for friends who don't want to hang out) but I do recommend doing something about it.

So, what can you do about it?

Change what you can about your current job.
Most of us feel either happy or unhappy about work because of the people. You can't get rid of your boss. And you probably can't get rid of any other employees. But you can protect yourself from coworkers that are difficult to work with.

Make sure that you're really doing your job. If they have a true gripe about you because you're not reliable or you come in late all the time, then you can expect people to be upset and express it. But if you're truly doing everything that you're supposed to be doing, it gives you a solid place to approach your (or their) boss from. Explain the situation with the difficult coworker and ask them if they can either limit your joined projects or intervene to correct inappropriate behavior.

I have a coworker who has been sending me tons of email, nagging that one of her contractors wasn't being paid on time. She sent several emails that straddled the fence of being professionally curt and being rude, basically insinuating that I wasn't doing my job. She used a tactic that she frequently uses, cc'ing her boss as if this would somehow get me into further trouble. (She has bullied a lot of people in my workplace, sometimes yelling, moving into their physical space and trying to get others in trouble. You can't believe how hard it is to get rid of some employees once they've been with a company for a while. Also, it doesn't help that she threatened HR a lawsuit based on alleged sexual harassment when she realized that she might actually get in real trouble.)

After having a conversation, her boss and I understood each other perfectly. Her expectations were way out of line. He told me that he would make sure she understood what to expect. She continued to send me emails harassing me about this situation every time this person had a payment being processed. She would push and push, again inferring that I wasn't doing my job.

The person who really mattered was the boss, because his opinion could affect me in the future. This lady likes to make herself seem more important than she is...she is constantly trying to control others and seize more power in our office.

So, I defeated her by cutting her out of the equation. I went back to her boss and said, "I thought we were on the same page on this." He agreed that we were. I explained what she was arguing over (same complaining, different day) and he told me that she was wrong and that he would talk to her about it.

I refused to let her intimidate me into doing what she wanted (which was apologizing, jumping through hoops and providing her with preferential treatment). I refused to let her make me look bad and even managed to make her look bad, but only because I was doing my job. I took away the power she was going after. I do battle with this particular lady multiple times a year, but she mostly leaves me alone now because of the way I handle her bad behavior.

Learn new skills towards a new job.
If you're already employed, you have the luxury of being able to learn something new for a future job. Get your current employer to spring for paid training, computer classes or books. Take those community college classes to learn to be a pharmacy tech. If you're unhappy at work, this is the perfect time to really figure out something new to do.

Tell your friends, family and church that you may be in the market for a new job. Join a professional group online (LinkedIn, Brazen Careerist, etc.) and start rubbing electronic elbows with others who share your skills or interests. Pick up tips and perhaps even learn about jobs from those you meet.

Get a different job.
It's never going to be the ideal time to look for a new job. But it will probably make you feel a lot better if you know that you're doing something productive towards finding new work. And even in a bad economy, there will continue to be good companies with good jobs. There may be more competition for those jobs, so I recommend making sure that you're putting your best foot forward (have an awesome resume, practice interviewing, clean up your party pics on your MySpace page, and get a great outfit).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Foodie Goal: Eat at one new restaurant every month.

I love food. I love to eat it, cook it and learn about it.

When I moved to Colorado a few years ago, it was a new adventure, a state waiting to be explored. I've made a few small trips, to Colorado Springs, Glenwood Springs and Estes Park. I've tried some local food in my area and in those places I visited.

These are a few places that I've tried and really got a kick out of (for either the food, the location, kitchiness or the people):

Johnson's Corner
- it's a truck stop known for their "dinner plate cinnamon rolls" but I ate the chicken fried steak and pie (yum)
King's Chef Diner - the purple castle looking building is actually an old diner car seating 13; their green chili is excellent (spicy)
Radda Trattoria - a Boulder Italian restaurant that we really loved (try the roasted cauliflower)
Lucile's - a Creole cafe (think beignets with powdered sugar)

But my explorations haven't been as extensive as I originally imagined. So, after seeing this great list compiled by Westword, I asked my friend Judy if she would be interested in trying a new restaurant every month. One a month is not a lot, which is exactly the point. I don't want to feel overwhelmed and then abandon the plan, so I'm sticking to a safe goal.

This month we're going to try another southern food restaurant, called Leenie's up in Longmont. I'll be keeping up with my exercising this week so that I don't feel guilty eating the chicken fried chicken with gravy.

Next on my list (I hope that Judy agrees) is the udon noodle bowl at Bones, a new Denver restaurant that is kicking butt and taking names. Pics and reviews will follow.

Let the dining commence!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Best Part of a Diet

I dieted from December 31st to January 9th. 10 days. I also exercised every one of those days (fine, I missed one day...can't I pretend I actually made it all the way to the end?). I felt SOOO good while I did this diet, that I'm convinced that it's the right way to do it. Exercise was essential, but eating the right foods for my 1200-1300 calories per day was important, too.

My diet basically looked like this:

- Food (examples): whole wheat English muffins, tofu, low fat cottage cheese, veggies, low-sodium turkey, low fat, low sodium soups, etc. Low fat, low carb, low sodium are all things to remember. High protein stuff helps. 1200-1300 calories per day total.

- Frequency: I ate about every 3 hours and actually counted calories the first couple of days to get the hang of how to estimate my caloric intake more accurately.

- Simple Eliminations: I eliminated sugar and cream from my coffee and learned to enjoy it black. No sugar in my tea, either (it's funny how much more you can taste of the tea and coffee flavors when they aren't masked). I didn't put a tablespoon of butter on my English muffin when I ate it, and it was fine (who knew it could be).

My exercise was all indoors because it's winter in Colorado and many days this season have been well below freezing and snowy. I used 10 Days to a Better Body, a DVD that I bought on Amazon for about $9 plus shipping. It has 2 separate workouts, one for upper body and one for lower body. You are supposed to alternate the exercises every day.

This DVD rocked. I'll continue to use this. The best thing about doing these exercises is that my waist is slimmer than it was before, so it pulls in and gives me more of an hourglass shape.

Now that I'm done with the strict part of the diet/exercise process, you know what I'm thinking? It's time for a classic Smashburger with jalapenos.

I was surprised how much I actually enjoyed my dieting/exercising phase and have decided to incorporate a lot of the things that I learned into my long term regular diet.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cleaning House

The new year is the perfect time for me to "clean house."

January is a busy time for me. My vehicle registration is due, my AAA membership is due, and my auto insurance is due soon. I just enrolled and bought books for 3 new classes in my bachelor's degree program (I also started reading my books early..4 chapters down already). I got my son geared back up to return to school (I only had to listen to a few days' worth of whining). I got him signed up for a Kung Fu class and we went to our first session tonight.

So, I obviously have plenty on my plate already, but find that my mind gets into organizational mode and decides it's time to clean everything up. So, I moved old posts from 2 other blogs that I was successfully managing to ignore about as well as this one and deleted them. Poof. They are gone.

I also decided that it was time to go ahead and start looking at the things in my life that I would like to do/have and try to methodically work towards those. I have decided that I want to find out how much it would cost to get a tummy tuck and breast lift done. I'm tired of feeling self conscious about my body and I'm tired of worrying about what other people will think of me if I decide to do it. It's my money and my body. I'm the one who will have to heal.

I've decided that my own personal demons - my neuroses, fears and secret obsessions are not my enemies. They aren't signs of any particular kind of weakness. They are just me. I like being me and I'm pretty sure that one day (even though right now it feels like never) I will meet a boy who will like my brand of crazy, too. Here's to hoping he shows up soon (and in an amazing hot bod, to boot).

My house cleaning has more to do with mind cleaning than anything else. After getting a good night's sleep, eating decently and exercising, I feel pretty damn good. I'm ready to face 2010. Here I come.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Year's Wish

I really love Neil Gaiman's New Year's Wish (as delivered at Symphony Hall in Boston):

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.