2012 is going to be a great year! My best friend is going to get married and throw one heck of a party, another really good friend is going to have a wedding, one of my friends is in the final fingers-crossed stage of an adoption, and who knows what else we’ll see?
Well, here are my goals for 2012:
Get completely, 100% out of credit card debt. This is going to happen in a few months, and there will be a happy dance all over the place. I’m aiming for finishing off that credit card by the time my friend has her wedding, so it doesn’t look like swamp thing was at her wedding. Right now it’s set to be done in May, and her wedding is at the end of April. Diligence will pay off.
- Do ten pullups. I was going to write “do one pull up” but I figure, once I can do one, then I can do ten. And putting “do one pull up” on a goal list for the next twelve months is a bit wussy, even for me.
Participate in a triathlon. Gulp. My boss is doing the Portland Triathlon with his son and he’s trying to recruit the rest of the office. It’s a 1.5 mile swim in open water, a 25 mile bike ride, and a 10k run. All at once. This is a stretch goal. It’s on the other side of possible, but only just. It’ll be super challenging, and a bit expensive to get into (seeing as I don’t have a bike or swim gear!) but I think I can do it. Scratch that. I know I can do it.
- Be more charitable. Give $100/month by the end of the year. I’m 20% of the way there.
- Get caramel business off the ground. Any ideas on a name for this?
Yep, 2012 is going to be a fun one!
- What I’ll be Doing in 2012 (If the World Doesn’t End) (carlybananas.com)
- Tips to Keep your New Year Resolutions in 2012 (moneyexpert.com)
- 6 Tips To Making Your Savvy New Year’s Resolutions Stick (businessinsider.com)
- New Year’s Resolutions: A User’s Guide (wdfyfe.wordpress.com)
My little sister is a schoolmarm. She gets the kind of time off that all other professions envy. In return, she has 30 fifth graders and 30 sixth graders who turn to her for their math and science learning. I say, please, take the time off! That’s a hefty task! And it allowed her to come to Portland for three glorious sister-filled days. Her friends weren’t in town, and we had a couple quiet nights at home and one lovely night out where we went to different restaurants for a progressive dinner. We went to Tasty & Sons in North Portland, then to Produce Row in Southeast. We went to The Woodsman, where the employees dressed like fancy lumberjacks… you know, the “dress up” clothes hypothetical lumberjacks would wear, if they could ever fit into skinny jeans. We went to Ashley’s house for Christmas crafts and family dinner. We ate. We drank. We spent time together. We loved it and we are planning to incorporate sister time into our holiday traditions.
One afternoon, I came home and she shouted, “your present is up there! wait for me!” She came upstairs, and I was looking on the walls. No new art. Nothing jumped out at me, until she told me to turn around. Where there was once a gross cardboard box filled with random crafty things, there was now a tackle box of sorts! She rearranged all of the assorted things from the box into a lovely display.
Here is a picture:
Look how it even says “Time for a Crafternoon” in Scrabble tiles! She even included a gift card (no! two!) so that my next craft adventure will be on her.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a thoughtful gift.
Then, on Christmas Eve (when my family opens gifts) she gave me a book that will help me make a business out of my caramels. Again, thoughtful, perfect, and spot on.
I went searching to find my 2011 resolution list. Let’s see how I did:
- eat breakfast every day: I did this for six months, and just couldn’t keep it up. I get up really early and just can’t eat breakfast in the 6 o’clock hour. But I do actually eat in the mornings more often than not nowadays, and I am happy with that progress.
- be more open to new ideas: I’m definitely more open minded and more open to new learning opportunities. I’m thinking of ways to expand my horizons.
- be more positive: This is definitely an area where I have improved greatly. I have framed my outlook in terms of thinking of how lucky I am, how many things I have, rather than focusing on what I don’t have.
- let mean comments roll off my back: I would call this a partial win. There are some people who can still say mean things and get me upset, but my guess is that’s how it’ll always be. For the most part, though, I don’t spend time with people who say mean things.
learn how to cook meat: Partial win, too. I am significantly more comfortable with meat, and I can only think of one time where the thing I made went from the table to the trash, and I think it’s just that I’m not a huge fan of ribs. I learned to cut up a whole chicken, I can cook pork tenderloin, I’m an expert with sticking something in the slow cooker, and I can even cook steak. The fact that my diet has become more meat centric forced me to get better at this, since let’s be honest, there’s only so much ground beef a person can eat.
- run a 15k with emily and dave: Well, this was probably cheating, since I think at the time of writing my 2011 resolutions, Emily’s plane ticket had already been purchased. I ran it, and had a blast. I ran a half marathon, too, and then I stopped running. I think I put on jogging shoes and went jogging six or seven times since April.
- travel for work: A win, I suppose, but a silly goal, in retrospect. I went to Colorado and New York in the early part of the year and Park City, Utah in the summer.
- travel for fun: Yes, definitely. However, I think that some of the travel was to make my relationship more fun. And I realized something really important: if you have to travel every month (or more!) to keep your relationship fun, you’re doing it wrong and it won’t last.
- love more: Yep. Win.
- be less skeptical: Hmmm. Some of these (like this one!) make me wonder what I was referring to, exactly. Skepticism is good, and exists for a reason. The opposite of skepticism is blind faith and that’s not something I’m good at. I’m more open to new ideas, but I’ll forever be skeptical. I’m not as apt to listen to my critical inner voice as I once was, so let’s call this a partial win. And a reminder to make my 2012 resolutions decidedly less vague.
- believe in myself: YES! Much more than I was. I’m going to include listening to my gut, because I finally got around to that in the summer and haven’t looked back since.
- give the benefit of the doubt: This one is kind of hard, actually. I definitely don’t think the absolute worst every time someone says something, but I still need to be a bit more generous and assume that people mean the best when things are unclear.
All in all, not bad. For next year, my goals need to be SMART (I can hear the teacher voice of my sister coming through here):
2012 goals to come!
- How to Stick to your 2012 Resolution – Beauty from Within (modealanix.com)
Last weekend, my boyfriend and I went to Vegas and had a wonderful time. We’re not party animals, so Vegas was kind of an odd choice, but we made it exactly the kind of trip we wanted.
We didn’t spend much money or time gambling, we walked all over the strip, we got massages, we slept late, we hung out by the fire, and we saw three great shows and one mediocre one.
Shows I would highly recommend:
- Jersey Boys (link goes to the CD, which I’m strongly considering purchasing): Story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. So fun! Great songs, wonderful acting, a lot of machismo.
- Michael Jackson Immortal Tour by Cirque du Solelil: My first Cirque show, and it was amazing. Coming from someone who works at a desk all day, it’s easy to be impressed with what people can do with their bodies. The only thing I didn’t realize going into the show was that Immortal was the last album Michael Jackson ever released (and even then, it was posthumously) and I’d never heard many of the songs. But they put old ones in, too, and it was over before I was ready.
- Absinthe: Adult variety show, came highly recommended by the guy working the discount ticket line. Very small venue, pretty raunchy, but still impressive. Like a tiny circus, but without animals. We sat in the second row, which was close enough to see everything, and far enough away to not be the butt of the emcee’s jokes.
In the vein of if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, I would recommend staying away from kid-friendly shows, or shows that cost $10 in general. Unless and until I have kids, there is only so much amusement to be had in watching an illusionist stick a girl into a box and “cutting her up” six or seven times.
We stayed in a condo (the boyfriend has access sometimes to his parents’ timeshare credits!) way off the strip, and that was better. We cooked our meals for the most part, and did a good deal of relaxing.
All in all, Vegas was enjoyable. If and when I come back, I’d like to remember to do the following:
- Rent a car
- Stay in a hotel off the strip
- Bring a swimsuit!
I’ve been really focused lately. Focused on work, on family, on friends, on writing. Focused like a laser, trying to dig my way out of debt. Focused on Christmas, too. On filling my days with happiness.
On giving. I made holiday gifts (though I haven’t mailed them to those I haven’t seen in person) and I’ve given those out.
And now, somehow, unexpectedly, I find myself thinking over the spirit of Christmas. What is Christmas? I believe that the definition is rather personal. At least for me it is, since I am a non-believer. But I love Christmas. I love the lights that I can see at night. I love the look in a kid’s eye when I ask if he’s sure he’s on the nice list this year. I love spending time with my sister, my mom, my dad, and all 78 pets.
I love the way Christmas makes me feel. The Christmas version of Kathleen is happy. She laughs easily, she’s not so cynical, and she judges people less. She gives to people holding signs. She wears holiday attire, though she is still too young to pull off the Christmas sweater look.
And yet, the season gives me pause. On Thanksgiving I wrote that I was thankful that all of my problems were first world problems. I can’t help but think that I don’t give enough money away. It makes me feel guilty that the only giving I do goes to my local NPR affiliate. I’m one of those middle-class, NPR listening, fancy-coffee drinking, local-food eating liberals who are too selfish to see that their actions don’t reflect their values.
My actions don’t reflect my values. According to my actions, making caramels and paying my credit cards are more important than helping others. And that doesn’t sit well with me.
So I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to donate every month. Not just to Oregon Public Broadcasting, either. Today, I gave to World Vision. Sure, they’re an evangelical group, but they do good work. I don’t want to sponsor a child, but I do want to give. There’s a section on their site that’s called “area of most need” — that sounds noble. I only gave a little, but I intend to donate at least ten dollars a month to some sort of charitable organization.
And I’m going to give to the people holding signs in the cold. If you’re holding a sign and standing on the corner on my commute to work (I get to work around 7 or 7:30) I will give you money.
I don’t know what else to do, and I don’t know how else to give back. But it’s important to me. So if you have any ideas for this season and beyond, please let me know.
Current state of affairs:
And then, a better way to visualize:
Join me as all those go to zero!
Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a bride.
This weekend, after a surprisingly enjoyable visit with my parents (surprising since Mom is recovering from hip surgery and I was expecting her to be a tough customer, when she was in fact a trooper) I spent some time shopping for something I don’t typically purchase: wedding dresses. My best friend is getting married in the Spring and needs a dress. We spent Saturday driving around my fair city attempting (in vain) to find a lovely dress at a vintage shop. There were a few, but the styles left much to be desired and the sizes were less than ideal. So then we thought we’d check out the mall. Regular stores might have white dresses, right?
Wrong. There’s this conspiracy that says you can only wear a white dress on your wedding day, and all the stores follow that rule by offering dresses in every other shade but white. We gave up after a few hours and had dinner. It was fruitless. But we did have a lovely dinner where we talked about life, love and marriage.
Sunday, we met up at a wedding dress shop. She had to fill out a survey and had to describe her ideal silhouette. She didn’t really know what she wanted, so the girl helped her with a few different kinds.
Now, my best friend is practically perfect in every way, but she lacks leg length, so the short dresses looked a little like she was playing dress up. She’d thought she would be able to find a short dress, but she was mistaken, evidently, since there’s no such thing as petite in that part of the store. She found a dress she looked great in (naturally!) but was hesitant about the price tag. The dress was $700. I realize now that 700 is “cheap” in wedding-dress speak, but that is absolutely ridiculous. She decided she would look elsewhere for a better deal, and didn’t end up getting that dress.
Meanwhile, in another universe… There was a girl in the room next to my friend’s who was getting married sometime soon. She tried on one dress, and her friends laughed because she looked like a wedding cake. So she tried on another. And she kept twirling around in it, and loved it. The salesgirl said, “okay, so that’s $675. Would you like a credit card? It’s six months zero percent something or other.” She said okay, then she went and looked at veils and tiaras and shoes and other accessories with her friends. The salesgirl came back.
“It turns out you were not approved for this credit card. That might be because you just turned 18.” Red flag #1.
“Let me call my fiancé and we’ll have him apply for this card instead.” Red flag #2.
One of this bride’s friends gets her a phone, and she calls her man. They get his info, and the salesgirl walks away. She’s still on the phone with her man (boy, let’s say, she’s all of 18 years old) and she says, “oh, so my friends and I were talking and August 4th works best for them, so let’s do that.” Red flag #3.
“Oh, and we’re not telling your parents until next year, right?” Red flag #4.
Let me see:
- You just turned 18
- You cannot afford this dress by yourself
- Your fiancé doesn’t want to tell his parents
- Your friends set your date
- You just turned 18!
A dress that takes you six months to pay off is not a dress you should be buying. Full stop. A relationship where you talk about the wedding before you talk about the marriage is not a marriage that has the cards stacked in its favor.
Marriage is not about the dress or the shoes. Choosing to marry is choosing the person you will be in a relationship with for the rest of your life. It’s giving up a part of yourself to be half of a unit. Half of all marriages end in divorce. If you spent $675 on couples counseling to communicate better and be a better partner, and you ended up wearing something else on your “big day” then you’ve done yourself a favor.
My advice? So glad you asked!
- Wait! Date the boy, see what kind of a man he turns into, and decide then if you want him forever.
- Figure out what you want to do with your life, and do it! Then see if he still fits.
- Read Lisa Firestone. Find out what she means by “fantasy bond” and take a hard look at your relationship.
- Find out what you want out of a marriage. Really know the answer to that before you figure out what you want out of one day in the summer.