31: The Year of Happiness (or something like that)

If you’ve read this blog…ever…you know that me and happiness go back and forth. I continuously try for it and have gotten so much closer in the past few years in so many ways. So, for a while, people kept telling me “You need to read this book, the Happiness Project.” Never one to shy away from a good book suggestion, I finally gave it a try about a month ago.

I knew the premise – a woman took a year and month by month, she tried to do different things (and in some cases cut out different things) to try and make herself happier.

As a writer, I didn’t really like the book, because of her writing style. She’s a former lawyer, and it read at times like a lawsuit. Small tangent: Yes, I know what those read like because I used to have to read them at times as a part of my job at a community newspaper. JARGON CITY.

And then there was the month where she mentioned in passing that she was trying to curb her habit of eating a spoonful of brown sugar out of the jar whenever she passed it in the kitchen. WTF.

Anyways. Criticisms of the writing aside, I loved the idea. Each month, she was taking a different aspect of her life and focusing on it and how she could be happier in it. One month it was family, so she focused on creating good memories with her kids and new traditions and taking time to slow down and enjoy her time with them. Another month was work, and she made the promise to herself of a certain amount of writing a day. She also planned to write a book in a month – so she did.

The basic principles were there. I wanted to do it. I didn’t wanna copy it completely, but there was so much I could learn and apply on my own. And by doing it on my blog, I would have the opportunity to hopefully communicate with others who may be doing the same or who could give ideas and feedback.

Plus there’s the fact that I need this right now. Maybe more than before. I recently made the heart-wrenching decision to find a new home for my sweet puppy, because it’s what is best for him, though it won’t make saying goodbye any easier. I also recently made the decision to talk to my doctor about my medicine and making a change. My therapist – who I will somehow name a child after one day – and I have had some discussions and think this may help things even more with my moods and anxieties and depression. (I’m not going down in dosage again, it’s not that. Just FYI.)

So I need a distraction. I need a project. I need something.

As for a start date? What better than a birthday? Today I turn 31. (ACK). So why not make 31 the year of my own Happiness Project?

I don’t have it all mapped out yet, but I have started a bit of a list. (Go ahead, act surprised even though I know you’re not.)

But here’s the premise. Each month I focus on something different. The whole month I work on that and that alone. It may be something I only have to do once. It may be something I continue to do throughout the year as I add in the different months and their goals. I currently have 9 ideas for the project and have known since I finished the book which one I would start with.

The way it will work? At the beginning I’ll announce the focus and why. That month, I’ll do different things in that vein. We will see if it makes me happier, but as I’m writing this entry I’m coming to the realization that it’s not even so much about happiness, it’s about focusing on me, something I really don’t do and when I do I don’t do it well. (Drink every time I say focus in this post and you’re too hammered to read this sentence.)

Throughout the month, though, I’ll keep you updated of the progress and of what I’m doing to accomplish that month’s goals. At the end of the month we’ll see what changes/differences if any, it’s made.

And the first month starts today.

I didn’t wanna jump in TOO crazy-like, because turning 31 is a lot to process on it’s own (I’m OLD), but the first month I knew needed to be about cleaning up.

ME PROJECT, MONTH #1: Cleaning up, decluttering and dehoarding

I’m not messy. And I’m definitely not a hoarder. But when I moved last year? Boxes would come in I hadn’t seen or touched since I moved into my last place. So did I need what was in them? Probably not. Yet several are sitting in my guest bedroom closet, just kind of taunting me. Not that I have, like, other stuff to put in there, really, but I know for a fact in there right now are most of my folders from classes from college. WHY? Don’t tell A&E about me, guys.

Small tangent again: Is that show on anymore? I guess not. They brought Intervention back, though, so maybe there’s hope. Also anytime I watch that show it just makes me wanna throw out EVERYTHING. Also vomit.

I also need to admit I got a slight head-start on this month in a way. I have a ridiculous amount of T-shirts from college (because sorority and also free shit). They’ve been sitting in my dresser/closet/giant Rubbermaid container for the 9 years since I graduated just collecting dust, basically. I wasn’t going to throw them out or donate them because the sorority shirts at least, did mean something. And I spent a lot of cash on ‘em.

Luckily, a good friend’s mom quilts and makes blankets and is a pro. She’d just made my friend a T-shirt quilt out of her old lacrosse shirts and I asked her to do the same for my shirts and she luckily, thankfully, agreed. The Rubbermaid container full of shirts is no longer taking up space in my front hall closet and I’ll have an awesome new blanket soon that means something special.

I have a couple of other things in mind to do, but I’ll save those for later posts and update you on my progress as I go.

Have some ideas for my project? Are you doing your own? What’d you think of the Happiness Project book? Do you eat a spoonful of brown sugar every time you pass it in your kitchen?

Oh. And Happy Birthday to Me, I suppose.

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Is it considered a sabbatical if you don’t go anywhere?

Guess what I haven’t done much of this month?

Yeah…if you came back after the limited amount of excitement provided after March’s blogapalooza, you must really love me. And I love you, too.

It wasn’t intentional, originally. Granted my brain had just about dried up when it came to new and exciting things to share with you, and even when I did think of something, I didn’t have hardly any time to write it.

You should see my calendar for May. The only days without stuff written on them until after Memorial Day are Wednesdays. And Wednesdays are only blank because I can’t make plans for those days. Wednesdays are our production nights at work and I don’t get home before the sun goes down — and lately, I’m nowhere near home before the hour is into the double digits.

This is not a post to complain, because I want to be doing every single thing that’s keeping me busy. However, I would also like to blog. But something had to go for a bit, and unfortunately it was this website right here.

It’s not permanent, and I didn’t mean to stay quiet for so long, but when you work the majority of your day on a computer, the last thing you want to do is come home and work on one, therefore for almost all of April my laptop has been regulated to wedding-related work and Netflix instant TV shows and movies only. Oh, and I finished a book or two in there somewhere.

Yeah, we’ve missed a bit, you and me. And for that I am sorry, especially if this is even such a thing that merits an apology.

But I have had people ask about why I wasn’t posting and encouraging me to get back on the horse and what a better time to do so then right around The Most Wonderful Time of The Year, the Kentucky Derby! (See what I did there?)

More substantial stuff will come later on – like photos from my family’s Derby party this weekend – where I get all stealthy and try to take amazing candid stuff in preparation for these weddings (yes, plural) I’ll be taking pictures at next month. Plus there’s the usual stuff you can look forward to – the texts that sound like my friends, insane amounts of Instagram pictures, the websites I wish I’d thought of and a ridiculous amount of songs because I spend entirely too much time in the iTunes Store.

But I want you to know, I’m not gonna be quiet for a whole month again, in case you’re worried. If you’re not, well, then, bully for you. You shouldn’t be.

For now you’ll have to settle with an update on a lot of things, portioned in nice little bite-size morsels for you so we’re all caught up and it’s like I never left!

Ready? Go.

Gettin’ crafty up in this piece
One of the things you’ll see later this month is how, while I was “away,” I was real crafty. Like, so much so you won’t believe it was me that did it on account of I usually suck at crafts.

This is the way we ball
Sand Volleyball. Monday nights. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. Well maybe not but damn is it hard to run in sand. And one night it was so cold my feet turned purple.
In other news I can’t serve in the sand, but am infinitely more willing to throw myself towards the ball. On account of it doesn’t hurt. Especially if you have one of those later games and you get a couple beers in beforehand. Note: The beers have nothing to do with my serving abilities, or lack thereof.

The 28th Amendment
Full disclosure – I had to Google how many amendments there were in the Constitution. Don’t judge me. You probably didn’t know it either – there are 27 – unless you are Baby Einstein.
This particular amendment has nothing to do with a historical document, because, well, I never wrote my Five down on paper.
After careful consideration and months of not having him on my TV, I have decided to make a change. I’m removing Michael C. Hall from the list, though I’d still like to have him tell me bedtime stories ’cause his voice is sexy. He’ll be replaced by Zac Efron. Again, don’t judge me. He grew up. And he grew up well.
That’s all I’ll say about that except for how I haven’t seen his new movie yet but I really really want to and the preview by itself is enough to make me need a cold shower.

The best show you aren’t watching
Justified. It’s about Kentucky. Eastern Kentucky. Timothy Olyphant just shoots people. ‘Cause he can. And Daniel Faraday from LOST is in it. As the opposite of Daniel Faraday from LOST. I’ve watched all three seasons in the past month. HOOKED. Thank you, Eth.

Weddings and babies and houses, oh my!
We are currently less than two months from Ashley and Matt’s wedding, less than three months from Rebeck and Jered’s and less than four months from Rachel and Swarles’!
Wedding season is in full swing – May is full of showers and parties and that reminds me, I have a dress to get altered.
After this weekend I’ll have taken three couples’ Engagement/Save-the-Date pictures and I was recently asked to shoot another wedding. WHAT?
Add to that the addition of our little half-pint, Emma, to the CKR fold and you guys, we have a baby. Who let us have a baby? And there’s another one coming in October!
Our second half-pint belongs to Katie and Hunter, who recently just made MY life considerably better by moving to the Lou. Now we just gotta get Sammi to Nashville and our plans for a CKR compound will be closer to fruition.

That One Time I Almost Rode In A Hot Air Balloon
With Derby season comes Derby Festival, which includes a ton of cool events that you get to participate in if you so choose, moreso if your job is in the media. Yours truly was ALMOST so lucky.
Scheduled to go up in a hot air balloon for the Great Balloon Race that was cancelled the morning of. And it was not rescheduled. Even though it is, EVERY. OTHER. YEAR.
We’re not talking about it anymore, but I have to share this gem:
When I was talking to my mom about getting to ride in the race, she said, “Do you get to go on it for the whole time?” to which I replied, “Nope, I’ll probably bail out in the middle of it. I think they’ll probably have a parachute for me.”

Running
What is, things I stopped doing completely? Yeah, about that. I’m getting my ass into gear this month because I’m signing up for a couple of runs later this year. And if I sign up and pay the money, then I have to do it. And that is some good motivation, because I don’t like to waste money (pay no attention to my ever-expanding DVD collection…).
So far, my friend Sammi has convinced me to do the Tap ‘N Run in Nashville (I am nowhere near ready and probably won’t be, for the one in Louisville) and the Color Run, which are a 4 and 5K, respectively. And the Tap ‘N Run includes beer. So there’s that.

Making a list and checkin’ it twice
A few weeks ago my good friend Matt (who, by the way is a beast of a runner and is gonna get famous for his blog, Lager Jogger, so you should check it out and say you were there at the beginning), Tweeted to me “I have so many things to do I need to make a list of all the lists I need to make.”
Never has something been more true. This is my life right now, which is fine, but WHOA a pause button like Zack Morris had on Saved By The Bell when the world paused but he didn’t have to would be real nice some days.
I have lists of lists to make, for real, and at some point, I’m gonna get to them all.
Eventually.
I’ll put it on my list.

More smiley things

There have been a couple of weeks in the past month that have tested my ability to handle my anxiety. Which, looking back, was not that big of a deal, but in the midst of it, I’d never have understood.

Better now – very much so. And the things in this blog may have had a little to do with that.

I’ve written about smiley things before, and now it’s time for some more of them. What’s making me happy these days, in no particular order.

This kid: It’s an old video but I love watching it every time. Good motivation, whether you’re trying to learn to ride a bike or not. You will get the hang of it, I know it!

I love finding stuff like this..some of the things people come up with are amazing.

Insomnia + anxiety is best explained.

I wish I could figure out how to do something like this, it would make me much happier about having Facebook Timeline…

For font snobs like me: Seriously, this is the worst font ever.

The book I’m reading right now is going to be a movie this summer. And it’s about vampires. And I am convinced it will be awesome. Suck it, Twilight.

Instagram rocks my world. Here’s a few of the pics I’ve taken recently and the list for the “photo a day” challenge I’ll be taking part in next month because I’m that addicted, you guys.

Pictures of animals with captions in all caps. AMAZING.

Bein crafty – I’m about to make some awesome stuff in the next few weeks. It’s stuff that doesn’t really require me to be good at crafts! Because I’m not!

Mom and the little sisters and me painted some pottery. I made an ice cream dish. Because if there is one thing I cannot live without, it’s Moose Tracks Ice Cream.

I got this awesome shirt last week.

It’s from BustedTees.com. One of these may or may not be purchased next.

Prints made out of words. My future home might have a wall full of these.

Twenty-feeeive

Today is the birthday of my little sister, Rachel. She is a quarter of a century old. And cute.

And by now, you know the drill. She’s family, it’s a birthday, I like lists. Here is a list, filled with some of the things I like about her.

1. She knows what I’ll say before I say it and is one of the few people who knows what I’m thinking just from a look.
2. She started a blog!
3. She takes my advice on television shows she should watch, which makes me feel important.
4. She was my first roommate.
5. She is letting me take engagement pictures of her and Chuckie and I did their Save-the-Dates.
6. She’s really good at crafts but not so good it’s annoying, so she’ll come with me to do things like paint.
7. She’s moving to Boston for a couple years (which is simultaneously happy and sad, because I’ll miss her a lot, but it’s an amazing opportunity for her and Swarles) and she said I can come visit!
8. She put me in charge of the playlist for the wedding day preparation, because she respects my DJ abilities.
9. She is already committed to a Justin Timberlake concert with me wherever we can if he ever goes back on tour.
10. We don’t hold hands as much as me and Sami or me and Chuckie do, but that’s OK.

Miss you

As you know, on this blog in 2012, we’ve started honoring some of my family members (when I’m a professional blogger I’ll branch out to friends as well) on their birthdays with a photo and a list I make about them. In March, there are two birthdays that are tough. They are the birthdays of my grandfathers, both of whom have passed away – one in 2008 and one just this past September. I miss them both, all the time.

This is my grandpa H. He would be turning 75 this year. That’s still so young.

I miss him very much.

Happy birthday, Grandpa.

#firstworldproblems

Remember how I talked about First World Problems?

I thought it’d be funny to keep a log of the ones I was “suffering from” in the past couple weeks. They’re all really serious things to worry about, you guys.

I’m way behind on all my shows.

I have no time to catch up on the stuff on my DVR.

The antibacterial dispensers weren’t motion-activated.

It’s so annoying when Pandora stops playing to ask if you are still listening.

I woke up at 7 a.m. On a Saturday. Usually I get up at 8.

I had to get out of my warm and comfy bed an hour before my alarm because I had to pee.

I got five new comments to approve on the blog but they turned out to all be spam.

It’s too cold to walk outside to go get lunch.

Girl Scout cookies come in smaller boxes so now there are fewer of them.

I have something going on every night this week.

My headphone cords are always tangled.

I’m tired of all the music on my iPod.

I need a new laundry basket.

I’m too tired to pack a lunch for tomorrow at work.

There aren’t any new episodes of Glee until April.

I don’t have time for a nap this weekend.

I only had time to nap for like, an hour.

My magazine subscription ran out and I don’t know if I want to renew it.

Whenever my nails all get the same length and look nice, one always breaks and then I have to cut all of them.

My pillows aren’t fluffy anymore and my neck hurts in the morning.

I had a dream where I was dating Jason Segel but he broke up with me.

I’ll never be a Muppeteer.

I’m too afraid of needles to get Lasik.

I accidentally fell asleep with my contacts in now they’re dried out.

I can’t eat cheese anymore because my body rejects it.

It’s only natural that this is the next step

I like lists. And organization. And generally orderly things. It makes for a clean room but damn if it isn’t annoying when I have to get up out of bed to push my desk chair in because it’s bothering me for no other reason than it’s askew.

Yeah, I’m that weirdo. Guys are just lining up.

I would link to every list I put on this blog but that would just be ridiculous. If you want to see them that badly, they have their own category.

YUP.

But this isn’t about lists. It’s about charts. And the thought a couple of guys had to devote a blog to various types of them. Some are bar, some are pie, some are venn diagrams… it’s fascinating.

One of my personal favorites is a pie chart that shows what happens when you try to move a photo in Microsoft Word.

It’s fittingly called “I Love Charts” which is similar to what this blog might be named if The Roommate hadn’t come up with “On Account Of.” True story.

Check it.

Swarles Barkley

Today is my soon-to-be brother-in-law’s birthday. Whoa. That’s weird to say. I haven’t wrote a blog about him before, but since they’re getting married now and he’s gonna be around more, I guess I should start.

Just kidding, he’s been around for 10 years already and this wedding thing is really just a formality to make it official and a chance for us to throw a huge party because he’s been my brother for years.

He goes by many names – Chuckie, Chuck, Charles, Swarles, Swarlees, Chuck Diesel, Charmazmin, Mister Bubbie.

And keeping with the birthday theme I’ve begun this year, I’m going to give you a list of some of the things I like about him.

Because who doesn’t like lists? Especially if they’re complimentary in nature.

1. Vacation Chuckie.
2. He’s a good motivator, he always tells people they can do something, no problem.
3. When he was little he named his dogs after kids in his class. Adorable.
4. He was my Best Band Friend in high school. I have notes somewhere with that label to prove it.
5. He takes good care of my sister. And his friends and family.
6. He’ll sing karaoke and harmonize with me, especially on the theme song from Friends.
7. Party Chuckie.
8. He’s a real-life ninja. Seriously. Don’t play ninja tag with him. You will never win.
9. He stayed outside at the Haunted Yard with me this year (that shit’s scary!)
10. Sometimes we hold hands to make Rachel mad. (Seriously you guys, I just like holding hands with people…)

Notes on a meatless existence

• A lot of restaurants make up for their lack of a vegetarian option by offering a “veggie sandwich.” Veggie means no meat, of course, but what they lack in dead animal they make up for with cheese. No bueno.
• Hamburgers smell better than they ever have when you’ve told yourself you can no longer have them.
• I still hate olives.
• Peanut butter and jelly has more calories than a tuna sandwich.
• I really don’t miss bacon.
• If you close your eyes and pretend really hard, a salad tastes just like ribs.
• This has been the longest month of my life. It seems like I haven’t had meat in years.

Overachiever

That’s what I was in November. ‘Cause now you’re like “it’s about time, holmes, where have you been?”

My sincerest apologies. To make up for it, I’ll share with you a couple of my new favorite videos.

These things made me cry, I laughed so hard. I really want to go to a store and do this and see what would happen… even better than the things they ask for is how they try to explain them…