Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Look Back and Smile Forward (Part II)

Now for the fun part: thinking about all the hanging out, trips to foreign lands, new skills and maybe a few tears.

Party like it's 2014

A regular weekend coffee date with Alicia

I can't wait to see where this whole John thing goes. Buckle up, internet! I will continue to work on our communication (me=not being condescending; him=being patient).

I want to continue to keep in touch with all my friends. I miss them still and will think of new ways to let them know that. (carrier pigeon? stripper-gram?) Thank god for Skype!

I promise to go out more to meet new people. Maybe a book club, sewing class, outdoor adventure gang, boardgame nerdout.

I haven't seen my Texas family in over a year. I'd like to go see them and catch up and get mad at them and then make up.


I'd like to help out more with Sierra Club especially the Communications Team. Maybe dabble in some outings.

I want to become fluent in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop or at least make some cool flyers and edit pictures of my cats.

Home & Budget

John and I are apartment shopping. This will be our first time picking out a place, which might require some extra hard communicating (see above).

I want to play in the dirt again with John and maybe even grow some veggies. Our new apartment will probably not have a yard so we'll  be back at the community garden--not that I'm complaining.

John and I have continued to cook at home (with a few arguments) and have enjoyed healthy, yummy meals. Not surprisingly, we've saved some cash and cooked up some love (oh yeah). I'm hoping against hope that our new place will have a gas stove and a regular sized fridge.

Continue paying down debt. As many people know, I'm not ashamed to discuss my debt and foolish spending habits. (Of course I need to spend $30 in China-dollar-zone at Target.) I pledge to keep using the envelope method to increase my savings and pay off my Capital One card, ENT Loan and possibly my Lowe's credit card this year.

Spiritual & Intellectual & Physical

I NEED to find a yoga studio I like. I tried out 4 different places last year, yet nothing has appealed to me. I was spoiled at Fountain of Health with inspirational instructors that I could trust. But in the Land of 10,000 yoga studios, there has to be one that fits me (and is reasonably close and affordable).

Write in my journal more. I know it helps me tease out frustration and relieves some emotional constipation. I need to turn off the TV and pick up a pen!

Complete my Goodreads goal of 20 books. I probably could read more if those pesky Game of Thrones books ever ended. I read some amazing books this year. Fave fiction: The Poisonwood Bible Non-fiction pick: Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

I'd like to continue to blog. I think it might just be for me. I have no subscribers and don't get too many comments. Yet I feel a little more accountable for my goals and I like sharing my new life with my old friends.

More bikes, more hikes. I can't live in the #2 most bike friendly cities and not bike. I will bike to the lightrail in the summer and take that to work at least once a week. Two birds: save the world and firm my butt.

I will complete some of my cross stitch and craft projects that have been on the back burner for quite some time. They're probably burnt by now...

Experience & Travel 

So many places to go, so little money and time. Hopefully my budget skills will allow me to go to
these places this year:

  • California! in February with John to see Monica in LA, Sandi in San Francisco, Robin in Sacremento, and whales in the ocean
  • San Diego for Moriah & Kimberly lesbian beach wedding 
  • Visit Colorado to see everyone! 
  • The Big D to see my family (That's Dallas for everyone outside of Dallas)
  • Pop down to Branson to visit my mum 
  • The big trip: Ireland in the fall with John for some Gaelic action 
I will also stop into five Minnesota state parks to mark off my list and get to know my state. 

More music, art and all that cultural crap. I must take advantage of Minneapolis as a nest for new acts and shows galore. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Look Back and Smile Forward (Part 1)

As you know, I love traditions. One activity I've been able to keep up is reviewing the past year and looking at the future every new year with my best friend, Alicia. The last two years we've had to Skype but that hasn't stopped us! Here are my 2013 revelations and my 2014 expectations.

2013, you blew my mind! 


Simply said, I got to be with John. We created adventures, fought about trivial things (cheese?!), and decided to move all of our crap together for better or worse.

Friends, new and old. 

I made many great friends in Minnesota that I'm thankful for. Rachel, Germaine, and I have explored this strange Midwest world and had quite a few laughs because of it (you drive on ice?!). Couchsurfing, Sierra Club, work and volunteering have opened the doors for me to ask the hard question, " wanna hang out...or something?"

I had quite a few visitors to my new home: Christina in January, Alicia in March, Julia in April, Mom in June, and Hannah in September. I hope to have many more visitors in 2014! (Hint: get your ass over here)

Explored my new home. 

With my new MN drivers license, I zoomed across the Cities and state to visit friends, go to events, and check off state parks. I got out during the winter to an kite festival on a frozen lake, ice fishing and ice skating. My summer was filled with To-dos (I did 18 of 25--not bad)

I turned 30!

I still feel like I'm 28. That's a good age. But alas, I'm going into my forth decade on this earth. My birthday was insanely awesome! A week of events with friends culminating in a surprise visit from Hannah for the big day. (Credit: Thanks John for my awesome birthday gift of Hannah.

I had longed to go to Italy for my 30 birthday with my sister, but that idea floated away when I couldn't make the finances work. Instead, Julia and I went to Costa Rica. I had dreamed of going since I learned about the cloud rain forests in elementary school. It was an unexpected and completely amazing trip.

Screw you, credit cards!

I am proud to say I met with a financial counselor from Family Means, a non-profit to help with your budget and debt management. I held to my budget and cash-only spending the whole year (a few hiccups occurred) and was rewarded with paying off 2 of my credit cards. I'm tired of being in debt and finally feel like I have control. I didn't use credit once last year even though I had many unexpected expenses pop up.

And now for 2014....

Friday, January 10, 2014

My first white Christmas

I stayed hunkered down in the Midwest for the holidays. After spending Thanksgiving with my mom in Branson, I promised John that we could celebrate Christmas with his family. I was a little melancholy at first; I didn't have any of my traditions here. I was excited to join in John's family's traditions, but I wanted my own, too.

One of the activities that I look forward to every year is a mani-pedi on Christmas Eve with my sister, our friend Kathleen, and the other lovely ladies during my Dallas vacation (wine included, of course). I would have never done this on my own--I hadn't even had my nails done before--but now I can't wait for a little girl time and pretty nails. Although I wasn't in Dallas to enjoy the polish festivities, I decided to make my own fabulous tradition in Minneapolis. Germaine and I went to get pampered and sip wine. What a great start to Christmas!

Another new tradition with John: visiting the Como Zoo on Christmas Day. We saw a polar bear playing outside in the snow and seals playing in the water. We had to strip off layers in the Tropics area and greenhouses. We even saw a sloth! Perfect Christmas morning! The rest of the day I could share in John's family traditions: gifts, dinner, drinks and quality time.

As my blog title suggest, this was, in fact, my first white Christmas. But didn't I grow up in Colorado? Yes, but surprisingly it doesn't snow around Christmas. I've had many (too many) white Halloweens, but never a snowy day on Christmas. Minnesota's holiday produces perfect, fluffy snow. It's all I could talk about!