New year, who dis

I’ve never been one to make a big deal out of New Year’s Eve. Sure, my friends and I have had some awesome parties for it and there was that one time on Bardstown Road, but really, it’s just another day/night for me.

I do try to think of a resolution of some sort – usually involving some sort of cleanse after the massive amounts of eating done during the holidays. And by resolution I mean like 25 things I’m going to start doing, stop doing, or do more of in the year ahead. Because #overachiever.

Then we get to like, day 4 of the new year and I haven’t done any of the things I said I would (or I have even though I swore I’d stop) and the anxiety kicks in. Welp, the year’s a waste. You fucked up. Set the bar too high, try again next year. Because I am nothing if not really easy on myself…

It is fun to go around the room before the countdown begins on Dec. 31 and hear what everyone’s best moment of the year was or what they want to do looking ahead. But for someone like me, who is a ball of anxiety at all times, it can also be a little bit stressful.

Now before you remind me that NOBODY is making it stressful for me but me let ME remind YOU that DUH. That’s what anxiety is. Hi. Welcome.

And it’s not like, the soul-crushing anxiety I get from other things like choosing a good Halloween costume or baking something (more on that here on the blog soon). But it’s me wanting myself to do better. To be better.

Don’t get me wrong, life is steadily improving for me year after year.

Aside: As more and more people I know are joining me in the over-30 club, I am telling them (and meaning it) that my 30s have been so much better and more fun and awesome than my 20s ever were. So, you’ve got that to look forward to, youngins.

But even though life is getting better – I’m getting better – there are still things that gnaw at me. Things I want to start doing: learning how to cook better, taking compliments without deflecting them somehow, giving money to the offering at church. And things I want to stop: being so hard on myself for basically everything, taking other peoples’ bullshit personally, wasting nice days indoors doing nothing.

And I don’t know if it’s the anxiety or the mild OCD or what, but for some reason I seem to get in my head that these things can ONLY be started/stopped at the beginning of a year or else they don’t matter as much. Because I AM THE WEIRDEST.

Here’s the thing though. Couldn’t tell you what my 2017 resolution was if I tried. Maybe I wrote it down somewhere? But I have no idea what my plan was for last year and if I accomplished it. Let’s say I did, just for fun.

I tweeted Dec. 31 that one of my goals for the year was to write every day. I wrote Jan. 1 and 2 but on the 3rd I didn’t make time for it. FAILURE. REDO. START THE YEAR OVER, RESOLUTION IS BROKEN. And that’s when I realized I was going about all of it the wrong way.

All kidding aside – my goal/resolution/what have you, for the past few years has been to take care of me. To get me better – mentally, physically, everything. And that’s been an uphill battle sometimes but I 100 percent believe that the person you see before you today is far and away more healthy than she was a few years ago. I’ll have a story for you soon re: dating that will show you just how much, actually.

I talked resolutions with my cousins and sisters at our family Christmas and everyone mentioned what they were going to try and do or not do this year. One of my cousins said her plan for the year was the same as it was every year – to kick ass.

That’s all. To KICK ASS. Not: “Make sure to eat vegetables with every meal.” or “Go to the gym 4 times a week.” or “Volunteer 40 hours a month.” It was simple. Kick. Ass.

That’s all any of us should strive for, right?

At church recently, the message was about purpose. And getting up every day and saying “Alright, what are we going to do today to live out our purpose?” And he wasn’t talking about your job, or your volunteering or anything like that. He was talking about “What are you going to do today to live out being YOU.” Because that’s our purpose.

And to do that, you have to first be OK with yourself. Be nice to yourself, accept that maybe you can’t do it all. But you can do some. And you can continuously try and get better every day. And that’s a resolution that doesn’t have to start or stop when the date changes.

So, I’m stealing my cousin’s resolution. And continuing down the path I started a couple years back. I’m going to kick ass this year. I can’t wait to see what that looks like.

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New year, new plans, new all kinds of stuff

So for my first post of the New Year, I wanted to motivate myself. Thus, the reason it was my past year in review (when it comes to blogging).

It was pretty sad. I posted a lot that I’m really happy with, but looking back, it averages out to less than once a week! Unacceptable.

Therefore, one of the resolutions on my list of them for 2014, is to write more. I feel like I say that a lot, but really, I mean it this time. I find myself missing it, more and more, wishing I had the time to sit down and let the creativity out but then finding whatever (usually silly) reason not to.

So here’s a promise in writing to give you lots more to read this year (or look at, ’cause that photography thing’s getting to be a lot of fun).

I’m also hoping to start a “Photo of the Week” posted every week to help on two fronts: It will keep me posting regularly and taking pictures more often, instead of just when I’ve been hired to.

I said I had a list of resolutions and I wasn’t kidding. I’m sure you’ll gradually hear about them as I work to accomplish them, but in general, this year they are about putting myself first, in all aspects. I will do what makes me happy, I will do what’s best for me, I will take better care of myself: mentally, physically, emotionally, all of the -lys.

And it starts today. Clean slate. 2014.

Let’s do this.

Yes (wo)man

There’s this movie called “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey. He’d said no to everything, been afraid of new experiences until all of the sudden he decided to try and do the opposite – to say “yes” as often as possible.

I wouldn’t say I’m going THAT far, but 2012 is definitely the year of new experiences. And so far, so good.

I’m trying things I would have called crazy before. Crazy only meaning something I would likely never do, or it would take a lot of coaxing to get me to.

I’m also signing up for new experiences that aren’t crazy at all, but that are things I’ve been meaning to get off my ass and just do already.

Remember my resolution to go without meat for a year? Still goin’ strong. I’ve developed a greater love for fish and, to the dismay of The Roommate, an addiction to shrimp. When I tell people I’m doing this, the first reaction is “What? A year? Why?”

My answer is usually along the lines of “Why not?” And that’s kind of the mantra I’ve adopted from here on out, starting with 2012, the year of new stuff.

I’m running. Not as much as I did in January, but to be fair this month has been NUTSO and I’m looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule and hitting up the gym a few times a week and even running outside now that its not -19 degrees. I’m planning to do at least two 5Ks so far. Baby steps, friends, baby steps.

I play volleyball every Monday night. And I plan to, well into the next couple months. I’m in a league and on a team that’s second place in that league. And though I’ve come home with a ridiculous amount of bruises from hitting the ball the wrong way, I’m getting better. And I’m loving every bit of it.

I tried guitar for a minute, but I’m afraid I don’t have the patience. My youth group kids are learning each week and it was originally my intent to sit in and learn something as well. But I’m finding it cooler to watch them learn and play and be proud of themselves when they hit that note, that chord, that drum beat. I’d be missing that if I was playing too, because I’d be entirely too stressed out trying to get my fingers to bend in ways they’re not used to – FYI a C chord on guitar is hard as shit.

I’m going to volunteer more of my time this year, I’m going to help others. For example, last weekend I worked the scoreboard at a Special Olympics Basketball Tournament. It’s not much but it’s a start. I worked a little bit with the organization in college through the sorority, but I want to do more. I want to give back, I want to make friends with these amazing people.

I’ll be Walking again later this year and hope to have just as much incredible support as we did last year.

I’ll be taking a more active role with the youth group and working with them to help them grow in their faith and in their relationships with each other and do some fun and interesting things the rest of this year to learn more about themselves and the world around them and how they fit into it.

Oh, and get this. I signed up for yoga. WTF.

There are so many things wrong with that sentence – “I signed up for yoga.” When I think of yoga I think of gracefulness, which is not a word associated with me. I also think of flexibility, which I have none of. Also, I’m afraid I’ll get too relaxed and fart in the class or something.

But seriously, a co-worker bought a Groupon and happened to catch me on a day where I was particularly motivated and, well, now I’ve paid for 10 yoga sessions and what in the bloody hell was I thinking?

There are other new things coming this year – I’m watching three of my favorite people in the world get married to great guys. Two more of my closest friends are becoming baby mommas for the first time, one of whom will do so in the same city I live in! My girl Katie and her husband are moving to town and I couldn’t be happier. And even though I’m a three-hour drive away from the other baby we’re welcoming into the world, she’s going to get just as spoiled by me as if she lived here.

For a long time I’ve been a pessimist. And that’s not gone away. But right now, at this moment, I can’t help but feel optimistic. This so far has been, and I have no doubt it will continue to be, a great year. And I have a sneaky feeling that this year’s just the beginning.

Resolution-izing

I’m a couple days late to the party, I know, but I’ve been thinking. I needed time to solidify my plans for the new year and come up with things I want to do more or less of this year or start or stop doing altogether.

In no particular order, these are the things I want to do — or don’t want to do — this year. Since I am putting it on the Internet for the world (or the few people that read this) to see, I’m counting on you guys and girls to hold me to it.

1. Get healthy. I believe this was one from last year and probably a few years previous, but this year I’m serious about it. Wanna know how I know? I worked out outside on Monday. While it was 30 and snowing. If you know me, you know that’s a big deal.

Seriously though, I resolve to eat better and smarter and well, less. Newsflash: You don’t HAVE to clean your plate if you physically can’t without feeling like shit after.

1a. Get healthy. Besides the eating better and working out stuff, there’s some other health matters that need attending to. Nothing life-threatening, just some things that need to be checked out and hopefully fixed. As we saw last year with the surprise appendicitis and, well, a week and a half ago, nothing is out of the question. I hate going to the doctor, but I have good insurance and would rather pay a co-pay than for anesthesia from a surgery. That’s just ricockulous.

2. Spend wisely. 2012 will be the year I attend — and in a couple cases take part in — some weddings. It will also be the year I (attempt to) become a homeowner (or condo owner cause that’s cheaper and easier). Plus one of my best friends is having a baby and I’m ’bout to buy that kid all kinds of adorable stuff.

Add to that a resolution to get outta town more often to see friends and family (you’ll see that later on in this list) and I gotta be careful where I spend my money because I’m gonna need to be spending it. Kind of a lot.

Savings will be important, but I’m not going to become a hermit, necessarily. I’m just going to think it through a little more before I decide to shell out some dough.

3. Spend my time wisely, too. It kind of goes along with the previous resolution, in that I don’t have to always spend money to get out of the house and enjoy myself. But besides that, I want to do more that involves helping others.

I loved being a team captain for our family and friends’ Alzheimer’s Walk team and can’t wait to do it again this year. But there are other things I’d like to do as well. I want to find ways to volunteer my time and give back to others because if there’s one thing I realized in 2011, it’s that I should be (and am) beyond grateful for what I have in this life because others aren’t as lucky.

4. Road trip it up. I have friends and family all over the country. Well, kinda. They’re mostly east-coasters but there are a few others scattered between here and California. OH and there are those two guys I know living in South Korea and that family I have in England.

Now I may not be able to do another big trip like I did in 2011, but BG is a two-hour drive. Nashville is three. Jackson and Chicago are five and the company I will find when I get to those destinations is well worth the extra time spent in the car.

I also have aunts and cousins in Tennessee, N.C., Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania I’ve been meaning to visit.

It may seem to contradict my whole not spending much money thing, but in 2011, I plan to make a more concerted effort to visit my family and friends who don’t have the same area code.

5. Only play games if I’m with the Game Night Bitchezz. Now really, I’m not talking about board games. But speaking of which, hey game night friends, lets try to do this getting together thing more often than we did last year. Or maybe I’m just feeling spoiled because I’ve seen you all like, every single day since UK went on Christmas break.

Nah, the games I’m talking about in this case are of the mind variety. I’m 27. Some of the gentlemen (and I use that term very loosely in some cases) I’ve dealt with in recent years are older than that. Time to start acting like it.

If you like me, you like me. If you don’t, fine. None of this middle of the road, I’m not sure stuff. If I care about you, I’ll make the effort. If I see that you’re not, I’ll adjust accordingly. Done wasting my time on those who aren’t worth it.

6. Be crafty. Remember how I told you about this plan for my room? Haven’t done it yet. It’s easy and cheap and my wall will look so much prettier, so why the hold up? I have no idea.

Plus, have you seen Pinterest? Holy crap it’s addicting. And there is an endless supply of crafty things on there even I — She Who Sucketh At Crafts — can do. I mean, the vodka-soaked gummy bears I saw on there worked, who’s to say other things won’t?

7. Gimme a break. I need to take it easier on myself. I believe I said last year-ish that I wanted to be happier. I think I was, for the most part, in 2011. But there was still that pesky anxiety crap to deal with. The majority of that anxiety came from unnecessary worry.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t something good about keeping yourself in check. But I need to maybe do it less. The sooner I realize I’m never gonna be perfect, the better. I will do my best, while remembering that stuff will go wrong, and more often than not, it will be out of my control.

I will stop being so hard on myself, so mean to myself, so amped up on the thought that one little thing will have a domino effect on everything else. In related news, I may find a new therapist, since I haven’t been able to get ahold of mine in about a year (something seems wrong with that…).

8. Make this blog better. We’re coming up on the third birthday of this here website and there’s so much more I could be doing. So make note that I am declaring that I will post more, shoot more pictures and actively try to make this thing look better in 2012.

And there you have it. Eight resolutions for 2012. I think I can do it. After all, it’s on the Internet now, so I kind of have to, don’t I?

Happy New Year, boys and girls.

A farewell to cheese

Due to my body’s decision that it no longer can handle cheese, there are some lifestyle changes that have to be made.

And by lifestyle changes, I mean, I’m gonna be the one at the parties standing over there by the veggie tray because I can’t really have anything else.

Not that it’s not a good thing to be giving up that stuff – it’s forcing me to be healthier, which, let’s face it, I’ve needed to do for a while. However, there are the occasional delicious treats I will miss due to the part-self-imposed, part-gallbladder-imposed indefinite hiatus from all things queso.

Oh, and here’s another fun fact, it’s not just cheese, it’s cheese and any kind of creamy sauce – see alfredo, the tastier and more deadly alternative to marinara.

We’re a few days in to the diet I plan to carry out in the new year (and forever, really, if I can make it stick) and so far, so good. However, in my mind I’m slowly gathering the list of things I once could enjoy but now cannot, unless I want to go to the hospital again. No thank you. One ER trip in a lifetime is plenty for me. And the meat thing, well, if I eat meat again it won’t send me to the hospital, but then how will I be able to brag about no longer being a carnivore?

Wanna know the list? Perhaps you can enjoy some of these things in my place. Just don’t remind me how delicious they are.

Things my body rejects but once loved:
• Buffalo Chicken Dip
• Poppyseed Chicken (a.k.a. The Only Thing I Can Cook Pretty Well)
• Fettucini Alfredo
• Spinach Dip
• Macaroni and Cheese
• Tequila Wait a second, how’d that get on there?

The completely self-imposed meat restriction has further-reaching consequences, such as no more Chick-fil-a (let’s not talk about it) or BLTs and you can just forget about that Turkey Tom from Jimmy John’s.

Looking over all these things I’ve listed, none really hurt — except maybe Chick-fil-a, that’s a hard one to deal with — so I think I’ll be able to live without having them just fine.

And when I start to dread bathing suit shopping less than a dentist appointment, I’m pretty sure it’ll be worth it.

A Whatchama-tarian

It’s around this time of year that people say goofy things like “(Upcoming Year) is totally gonna be my year.” I usually think that’s corny. And cliche. However, this is probably the one year I’m thinking something along those lines.

Case in point: several big events and trips in 2012, as well as the possibility of becoming a homeowner.

Yes, I could be jinxing it right now..and I could also end up with a New Year’s Eve kiss that somehow throws a kink in the system like previous ones have done. (2006 and 2011 were two such circumstances. What can I say? I have questionable taste in boys. I blame alcohol).

But yeah, 2012 is a big year for a lot of reasons and I plan to, among other things and pardon the French – make it my bitch.

Step 1 in doing so? Shape up or ship out. I’ve already hired a trainer that I’m pretty sure will allow me to pay her in hugs. She’s a beast of an athlete whose motivation and accomplishments I’m in awe of and I’m also pretty sure she’s going to make me run much more than I want to. She’s training for a mini-marathon and wants to do Ironman and I’m lucky if I can run for longer than the 3 minutes the Couch to 5K lady forced me to do back when I was trying to be athletic before.

Step 2? Eat better. Let me proclaim here and now that starting Jan. 1 (actually starting now, I guess, because I’ve done well the past couple of days) I am a pescetarian. I Wikipedia’d it for you for explanations’ sake, but the even shorter version is no meat for this girl. Just fish.

So yeah, that means no ribs, no chicken, no steak. And no hamburgers, which I’ve brought in some help on. My cubicle buddy at work is not a hamburger fan. Naturally, she was the one I went to first to recruit as my at-work conscience. Whenever she sees me leave to get lunch somewhere, she’s to remind me not to get a hamburger. And after a discussion the other day on things that grossed us out to the point of gagging, she found out MY aversion to some things, namely silverfish and maggots.

Excuse me, I threw up.

Being the good friend that she is and the even better coach, coaxing me towards a hamburger-free lifestyle, she made me this:

Excuse me, I threw up again.

So, since making this proclamation to myself and one or two others, I’ve stuck to the fish thing, except for that not-really-very-good grilled chicken sandwich I got for lunch the other day. And it hasn’t been that hard.

Also, everyone I’ve told has been supportive. My family is supportive, however, Mom has yet to grasp the name of what it is I’m doing. For example, the other day she said “It’s a good time to become a Presbyterian or whatever that thing you’re doing is called.”

Well, I’m already a presbyterian and I’m pretty sure that has nothing to do with not eating meat. In fact, I think I’ve had more fried chicken — all kinds of chicken, really — at that church and with people from it than anywhere else.

I guess you could call this a resolution, but I’m not going to. It’s a test of my willpower and motivation, and you can expect plenty of updates, I’m sure, on the progress throughout the next year for sure and however long I can keep it up. Maybe forever?

You’ll hear about the good and the bad, too, like when I realize what I can’t have now. Most recent realization? Buffalo Chicken Dip. Dammit.

Bring it on, 2010

Every year on New Year’s Eve, I kind of think of some resolutions, but I can never really nail down a list, much less take them all seriously enough to stick to during the year.

Then I realized it’s because I don’t make the resolutions tangible enough and they’re more out of guilt than want or need. Until this year. Everything I’m about to resolve, I am going to do this year. And why not? I can do it, it’s just a matter of motivating myself to make it happen.

Plus, 2010 and I have gotten along pretty well thus far – as of day 3 – so I owe it to my new friend to try and stick to my resolutions.

Some are more serious than others, while others are more of a work in progress than something I hope to be done by this time next year. But all of them are things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, so why not put it in writing.

My 2010 resolutions, in no particular order are:

1. Exercise more. The roommate and I have scheduled a workout three mornings a week before we go to work. The clubhouse in our apartment complex has an exercise room and we don’t live that far from it, so we really have no excuses. I plan to do the 5Ks I took part in last year and this year I hope to do more running than walking in them. Which leads us to number 2.

2. Continue to better my time in each 5K I do this year. Of the three I did last year, my best time was in the third race. I’m not embarrassed to say it was around the 49/50-minute mark. Which is pretty good in my opinion for a non-runner. Even better since the first one I did, on a whim, took me 57 minutes to finish.

3. Work on getting my OCD more under control/not be SUCH a perfectionist. Since I’ve gotten a roommate, my OCD has been considerably better than it was when I lived alone. No more wondering if the door’s locked, the oven’s off – yes, I worried about that, suffice it to say I’ve got irrational fears, but more on that some other time – but there are still things I need to work on. Like how when the roommate isn’t here for the night/week, not checking the door and stuff to make sure it’s the way it needs to be. I need to calm down and realize what I’m doing while I’m doing it. And that I wouldn’t go to bed if I hadn’t locked the door, so if I’m in bed, the door must be locked.

4. Get some things accomplished on my list and add some new things to it. Several are attainable. And one is already paid for. I will be getting a massage – just got to decide when, because the parentals got me a spa package for Christmas. I can read the Bible this year, or at least start reading it/get a lot read. I can make a donation to a deserving organization, just gotta decide which one. I can run a 5K, or half of one, at least. And both DMB and John Mayer are coming to Louisville this year, so I can try to get good seats at either concert. I can go tubing this summer and I can work on my football throwing. I can also volunteer somewhere.

5. Save more money. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to – part of this resolution also includes getting my DVD-buying under control, which should be easy since I am up-to-date on all my TV on DVD, for the most part. But there are lots of things I want to buy…flat-screen TV, laptop and CAR are at the top of the list. As is paying off the credit card and paying more on my student loans.

6. Go on a trip, preferably up north. I’d love to go to Boston, of course, especially during baseball season. I’d also like to visit my aunt and cousins in New Jersy and take a day or two to go to New York City. I haven’t been since I was in seventh grade and really want to go back. Plus I know a few people that live there now.

7. Have somebody to kiss at midnight for 2011. This New Year’s Eve was fun, if not random. It was a party where I knew about half the people there. It was fun, but at midnight I just kind of watched everybody else kiss. In fact, the only time I have had someone to kiss on NYE was Dec. 31, 2005. It was a friend who had come up to me a few minutes before midnight and said he didn’t have anyone to kiss. That one kiss though, led to about 10 months of confusion, hurt feelings – that was pretty much just on my part, and unnecessary drama. It wasn’t all bad, but probably more bad than good in the long run. My best NYE in recent years though had to be when a group of us went to Wet Willy’s on Bardstown Road. It was one of the craziest nights I’d had in a while and I spent it with three of my best friends. Oh, the stories from that night…

8. Calm down. If you know me, you know I get stressed. A lot. More than I need to about stuff I don’t need to worry about, most of the time. In fact, in the past few days I’ve woken up with a headache – how that can happen during you doing the most relaxing thing you can do is beyond me – and while it could be sinus problems, I’m sure stress is a little bit of a factor too, especially since the nights I’ve woken up with a headache I’ve had some crazy dreams. It’s not worth it to be so amped up and anxious all the time, so this year, I’m getting it under control.

9. Start freelancing more. Since I’ve been on the communications task force at my church, I’ve been doing a lot more design work on the side, whether its for my church or for part invitations or whatever. A lady on the committee with me hired me to design a newsletter for an organization she works with and they were pleased with the result, so much so that HOPEFULLY it will mean more work from them in the future. My grandpa wants to pass my work along to his church, because he seems to think they are in need of a newsletter overhaul, so maybe that could pan out. I just like playing around with different aspects of design now that I know more about it and putting together these newsletters for the two groups I’ve done it for has been fun. Plus, the extra money’s not bad either.

10. Be better at keeping in touch with/seeing old friends. Several of my friends live outside of Louisville and it’s getting harder and harder for us to get together. We’re all busy and personally, I haven’t been that great at keeping in touch as of late or meeting up with my friends, even those that live here in town. So this year, I’ll be taking more road trips – unless the car remembers its got 108K miles on it and craps out on me – and making more phone calls and planning more movies, dinners, coffees, parties, whatever, to make sure I can spend time with my friends.

So there you have it, 10 resolutions for 2010. These are all things I’ll be working on this year and hopefully accomplishing. There’s no reason I can’t. Bring it on, 2010. I’m ready for ya.