I’m about a month and a half late in doing this, but better late than never, right?

I started out my 26th year with 26 goals. How well did I do? Guess you’ll have to read to find out!

BEHOLD: Pictorial proof that I accomplished 15 of the 26. Ones in bold are ones that did not get accomplished.

1. Hike a 14er – my friend who said she’d take me didn’t… so hopefully this summer

2. Canoe/kayak Dillon Reservoir – Colorado is in the middle of a major drought. I don’t have pictures but I probably could have walked around in the water of Dillon Reservoir it was that shallow. So no canoeing for this girl.
3. Go to the Sundance Film Festival – I talked about going with The Lawyer, but then both of us got a significant other, so it was forgotten.
4. Snowshoe in RMNP – I did this TWICE! And to the exact same trail… the park is 415 square miles and I went to the same trail twice in a week… clearly I need to get better about planning this stuff.

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5. Fall in love – This is worthy of its own post, and was technically a month late of the one-year goal, but it happened :-)

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6. Get the full bonus amounts at work each quarter – When I started my job, I thought it would be more about my work and productivity, so this was important. Little did I realize that it had everything to do with the guys in the field and how well they did that would determine the outcome of my bonuses. But I got to go to the field twice, which was always a treat– including having to wear a men’s size large of coveralls. (I don’t have permission to post pics of my coworkers, so please ignore the blacked-out faces)

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7. Go to Cheyanne Mountain Zoo – The Roommate and I went here after we accomplished #8. What a fun zoo and experience!
8. Have brunch at the Broadmoore – I don’t know if I can fully describe just how over-priced that brunch was, but at least I had a fun companion and ate till I felt I was about to burst since it was a buffet and I insisted I get my money’s worth!
9. Grow a lush garden – I don’t know if I can eat store-bought lettuce ever again! We did have a broccoli plant that we neglected and went to seed. It was actually quite beautiful, but got really top-heavy and fell over and uprooted itself… oops! I didn’t get any pictures of the end result, so you’ll recognize the pictures from this post:

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10. Learn to roast a chicken – Didn’t do this… I find chicken boring so being motivated to roast it didn’t happen. But I love the roasted chicken from Costco, so I want to at least try it once to see if it’s worth doing it myself or keep only spending $5 to get it.
11. Travel somewhere that requires my passport – This didn’t happen, but I DID go to four states, so it half-counts since I accomplished #12 four times! I’m going to two countries this year (maybe more if timing works right for my trip to France in the fall), so I’m making up for it this year.
12. Travel somewhere outside of the state – Balboa Island in California, Chicago, Orlando, and New York City– and they all happened in the last half of the year.

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Balboa Island, California

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Top of the Hitchcock Building, Chicago

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Who’s ready to see Micky and Minnie?

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Central Park, New York

13. Eat at least one thing a week from our CSA bag – I didn’t keep good notes on this, but it was always in the back of my mind… I’m pretty sure I did this. I even made baba ganoush with the eggplants we got!
14. Learn to grill the perfect steak – Thanks to reading a lot of grilling books, watching Americas Test Kitchen, and getting some pointers from The Roommate’s dad, I can say I now know how to cook a perfect steak, on the grill or on the stove/broiler
15. Throw at least one party/get-together a month – If I missed a month, then the next month had more than one party, so it made up for it!

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16. Have a reason to wear each of my three LBD’s – Wicked with the girls, TJ’s wedding, and dinner at The London by Gordon Ramsey with Company Ink in New York (so I actually wore one of them twice… I still count it as three!)

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Girls night out to see “Wicked”

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TJ’s wedding with my sister!

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After the most delicious dinner of my life in New York!

17. Go on a full-moon snowshoe hike – As mentioned in #2, Colorado was in a drought. So to find a time that it had just snowed, hadn’t warmed up enough to melt it all, AND be a full moon was pretty near-impossible. Maybe next season…
18. Treat myself to a shopping-spree for new clothes for work – I never did an actual shopping spree, but whenever I found a piece of clothing I liked, I would buy it. I’m not good about treating myself to things like that, so I count it as a win!
19. Go to at least one concert – LMFAO for a friend’s birthday, Gotye (where we sat in the 3rd row!) with my sister and her BFF, and Aimee Mann with my mom:

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20. See fireworks in DC – They did fireworks at the City and County Building in downtown Denver, but not in Glendale where they have the best ones. I also saw the fireworks at Disney, which I was slightly disappointed in, but I should be happy I got to see any at all… but for the record, Glendale’s fireworks are the BEST!

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21. Go hiking with my parents at least once this summer – My mom has 3 jobs, so hiking rarely happened. But I did go hiking with the guy I went on the blind date with. So I’m counting it as a win!

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22. Jump in a pile of freshly-raked leaves – The leaves on my tree are lame for jumping in, and Company Ink took his away to add to mulch piles before I could jump in his… and everyone else I know lives in an apartment so they don’t have trees to rake because of. Major fail :-(
23. Ride my bike every day to work in the summer – I need a new bike. And a better system of getting out of the near-impossible garage that we park our bikes in. So I only rode a few times. Once I get a lighter bike (seriously, my current one weighs about as much as I do!), I will definitely ride more. Plus, I might have more riding buddies this year, so that always helps.
24. Make limoncello –  I looked up a recipe and video on how to make it… does that count? I will make it soon and have it in time for summer and sitting on our porch and looking at our great view of the mountains!
25. Go to a game for each of the Denver professional sports teams (except the Nuggets– I hate basketball) – As of last night, I actually succeeded in going to a Nuggets game! Boy can Company Ink be persuasive! But I did go to a Broncos game twice– once with my family and once with work people, a Rockies game with The Lawyer, and an Avalanche game with Company Ink. It sure does help that our company pays for a box so we always have tickets available for the Avs!

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26. Write my 3rd NaNoWriMo novel in November - This was covered in this post. But 2013 will see the awesome comeback of me as a novelist!

Even though I only accomplished 58% of my goal list, here are some other things I did:

Met famous people:

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Angelo from Top Chef

Went to Wicked twice:

We totally won the Best Dressed award!

We totally won the Best Dressed award!

Danced in the Denver Pride Parade with Colorado AIDS Project, the organization I volunteer for:

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Rode in the Denver Cruiser Duct Tape and Cardboard night:

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Chopped my hair off:

photoMade home-made sushi with The Roommate and Company Ink:

photo (2)And saw a ton of elk while driving through Estes Park and driving across Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park:

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And lots of other things that I didn’t get a picture of :-)

Hopefully I’ll make a new list for this year. But seeing how long it took me to write this post, don’t hold your breath!

Hey there! I know it’s been forever since I last posted, but life has just been so crazy for me ever since the Christmas season started. I have told numerous people that I honestly thought I would ease into the year when I got back to work after Christmas… hahahaha!

(I shouldn’t admit this, but I also had the thought that maybe I would get better about posting on here… clearly that was another New Years Resolution that can be classified under FAILED!)

I’ve also noticed that I don’t tend to feel the need/urge to write when nothing bad or dramatic is going on in my life (or if it’s super dramatic, I don’t have the energy or brain capacity to write). Since life has just been busy, typing away on my computer has been the last thing I want to do.

So all that to say, I’m here, I’m still alive, and there is much to update you all on. And I really, truly want to be better about posting more often– even if it’s my favorite video of the week!

Speaking of:

I seriously laughed uncontrollably when watching this video… which was awkward because I may or may not have been at work where all my coworkers could hear me snort and giggle! These guys have a whole series of videos that I spent most of my day at work watching while mindlessly working in Excel watched at night after I had gone home and was sitting on my couch.

And that’s why they pay me the big bucks!

My updates:

The biggest changes in my life are all happening this month.

The saddest thing is that I had to say goodbye to The Roommate because she is following her lifelong dream of living in Washington DC. I’m going to miss her terribly and it’s weird to think that she’s not coming home any time soon, like it was when she went to Europe a few months ago.

The Roommate and I get along so well, which makes sense since we are practically the same person, so I am really going to miss how easy it was to live with her and how much fun we had as roommates. She and I can talk for hours about anything, but it wont be as easy to do via the phone. So I’m already planning a trip out to see her some time in the spring. I can’t wait!

The other thing happening this month is that I’m moving. I was all set to stay in my beloved house another year and have my sister move in when her lease was up. However, with only 3 days left on my lease, my landlord sent me an email telling me he was going to raise my rent $200 starting in April if I wanted to sign for another year…

Yeah, no…

So in a mad scramble, my sister and I found a new place to live in only 2 days! It ended up working out for the best because she will be able to move in with me March 1 instead of March 30 since our new place is owned/managed by the same property managers!

So yay for things working out!

So needless to say, I’ve been on a packing frenzy. I hate packing and I hate moving, so I’m trying to be good about getting all my packing done waaaay in advance of my moving date so I don’t end up in as a sobbing mess on the phone with my mom the night before I move… which also happens to be my birthday, so that’s really not a good plan.

I’m also still trying to cross a few things off the last of my Birthday List, but I didn’t do as well as I  had hoped. I guess it shows that I had a very different outlook on my year than it ended up being. But in lieu of not doing things on the list, I did OTHER things that are just as interesting and exciting! I’m hoping to post about a few of those things on here to share in the joy.

And of course, I’ll make another list for this next year… holy crap, I’m going to be 27! Just one more year away from my Golden Birthday!

I have things I also want to process about Company Ink, so if Excel continues to be as big of a pain in the butt as it is right now, I’ll have plenty of time to talk all about what’s going on really soon!

I’ve been working on a post about my trip to Disney World back in October… I’m way behind, I know. But in the meantime, I had to share this video that I have watched at least a dozen times in the last week and it has made me laugh out loud every single time.

And I don’t even own a dog or cat!

For the past three years, I have participated in what is known as NaNoWriMo. I even took a hiatus from blogging last year when I did it last year. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. If you’re dedicated, it’s only 1,667 words a day that only takes about an hour to hour-and-a-half of writing a day. It’s not difficult and very manageable– even with a full-time job and a social life.

The first year, I wrote a novel that will NEVER see the light of day. Only The Roommate has read a passage from it (I wrote a sex scene in my book and had her read it while sitting in the middle of a crowded coffee shop). It was a story that had so much of my life/me in it, it was kind of embarrassing. The amount of projection that happened was appalling! I clearly needed to process through some things, and my story was where it happened.

And it was the worst, most cheesy story EVER! However, it did involve a Spanish chef, so that was fun to write about ;-)

After a trip to Spain last year, I wrote a story about a matador for last year’s NaNo. I obviously have some sort of affinity for Spain…

I was so excited about that story! I had the ending in my head before I even had the full story outlined. I knew what I wanted the characters to be like and I knew where the story was going to end up. It was also themed after one of my favorite pictures, which I have framed in my bedroom:

“Billy Boys” by Jack Vettriano

My main character, Enrique Romero, was based off the guy second from the left. See how cool and suave he looks? So sexy!

I loved my story. I loved the characters. I really enjoyed trying to get the story to where I wanted it to end up, and was marveled at how brilliantly it worked!

I sent a copy of it to my parents, my sister, The Roommate, my friend who also did Nano and was eager to hear what they thought. I knew it wasn’t publication-worthy, but the ideas and themes and character development was what I was going for. Plus, I used places that I had actually been, so I could picture my characters there. I loved the entire experience of writing last year. I was proud of my story and I wanted to share it with everyone!

But then came this year…

I tried to write. I even got ideas from friends and family to help make the story fun. But my heart just wasn’t in it. I wrote just over 10,000 words and could not muster the energy to write any more. My characters were fun and entertaining– a cross-dressing boss, a hypochondriac secretary… but the story just could not come together.

I also realized I didn’t care. I didn’t care about my story, I didn’t care about “winning” (which is reaching 50,000 by Nov. 30), and I really didn’t care about my characters. I liked the ideas of where some of their stories were headed– a man following one of my characters home after a cruise and constantly asks her to marry him, a machete fight in the Amazon Rainforest, and money laundering through a travel agency– but I just couldn’t muster the creative juices to get my characters there. I wrote a fifth of my story and they hadn’t even begun doing any of those things…

So after a conversation with my sister, who helped me feel good about giving up on “winning,” I finally said, “enough!”

I know I set out to get novel #3 written, but I just couldn’t do it. But I feel good about it. I wasn’t enjoying myself and I didn’t like my story. And as my sister pointed out, I’ve written TWO novels! Not many people in the world can say that. So when I look at it that way, I really have succeeded.

I’ve convinced Company Ink to try it next year, so maybe he and I can be writing buddies and I’ll have more motivation when next year comes around.

But for now, I’m content with not fulfilling a goal I had for myself. But at least I tried. Maybe “Holland America Line” will be more developed when next year comes around and I can take another stab at it… or find a new story somewhere in my brain to write about next year.

I wrote my entire post and WordPress deleted it. I’m royally pissed but I hope this new post will be just as good. Wes, you deserve nothing but the best.

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Wes, my heart is broken for you and I am so upset that I will not be able to attend your funeral. Please consider this my eulogy to you:

My friend, The Chef, called me on Saturday night to tell me that my dear friend, Wes, took his own life on Friday night. I sobbed for an hour straight when I got the news. My heart broke into a million pieces.

He had been a Marine, along with 5 other of our friends, who my sister and I lovingly called “Our Boys.”

Wes was the kind of friend who would travel 2,000 miles and spend hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket just to come to Colorado for one day to attend my wedding. Here he is with The Chef who also made the trek out to help me celebrate:

He didn’t show his vulnearable side to many people, but my sister and I were one of the lucky few who got to see it. He was easy to talk to and you could always relax around him. I feel eternally grateful that he let us see into the soft, teddy-bear side of him that his manly exterior usually refused to allow.

We met Wes in youth group in high school. He was definitely not a goody-two-shoes like the rest of us, but that is what made him unique. He challenged our views of those who were different and not like us. And we loved him all the more because of it!

Wes and I connected pretty quickly, being a bit of an outsider myself. We could talk easily and we even had the same goals for our professional lives– we both wanted to be counselors. He wanted to take the hardships of his own life and turn them into teaching points and motivation for others. From the last that I heard, he was in school studying to do just that.

One of my ALL TIME favorite stories to tell is about Wes. Background info: you could get Wes to do anything if you told him he was a wuss if he didn’t.

We were all sitting on the lawn outside our high school during lunchtime. Someone had stolen Tabasco sauce from the Chipotle across the street to use on their burrito. For whatever reason, someone then said, “Wes, you’re a total p*ssy if you don’t put that Tabasco in your eye!” With barely a hesitation, he grabbed the bottle, tilted back his head, all the while yelling, “I’m not a p*ssy!” He dripped a drop of hot sauce IN HIS EYE and immediately began yelling and screaming about how much it hurt. The rest of us stared and laughed in amazement/horror that he just did that!

As I said, you could get him to do ANYTHING!

The Chef, who is also one of “my boys,” reminded me and my sister of the story about when we had all gone for a night on the town before everyone left for boot camp. One of the guys’ dad rented a Hummer limo for all of us and treated us to dinner at Ruth Chris’ Steak House. On the ride home, being stuffed full of delicious steak and cigar smoke, someone got Wes to EAT a cigarette! Using the same tactic as before, of course…

Wes also took my sister to his senior prom, and ended up being a better date to her than my boyfriend was to me. For that, I’m immensely jealous of her! What a great guy she was honored to have by her side!

One of my favorite pictures is of Wes, The Chef, and their friend, The Baseball Player. They had all come over to our house for a “water party.” A “water party,” for those of you who don’t know, is where you play drinking games but instead of drinking alcohol, you drink water. Having 2 Marines and their friend who drinks (alcohol) like a fish really helped our team win ;-)

After all of Our Boys got home from the Marines, I was supposed to stop worrying about them! They were all supposed to be okay. But I think the war did more to Wes’ psyche than anyone realized.

It had been a while since I had seen you, Wes, but that didn’t mean I didn’t care very deeply for you. You will forever be one of “my boys.” Your outlook on life was very unique and you will be greatly missed.

You were a great friend and I love you with all my heart. I’m sorry I didn’t say that more and that it had been so long since we connected. I hope your soul is finally at peace. I love you!

If you or anyone you know is feeling lost or like life has not hope, please call this number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to this website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Know that there is ALWAYS someone out there who loves and cares about you.
And if you are a man living in Colorado who needs someone to talk to, but may think it is un-manly to talk about your feelings, please go to this website for information: mantherapy.org/

I just wrote out an entire post, and WordPress deleted it… I now have to start all over :-(

Life has been absolutely crazy lately, and I want to take a moment to breathe and express my gratitude about where my life is right now.

At this time last year, I was in a job that I loathed. The office was described by my fellow-coworkers as toxic, crazy-making, and just downright miserable. But now I am in a job where my boss regularly acknowledges my contributions, I’m respected by my coworkers, the new engineer’s manager even said to all of the engineers that he was so glad that I was a part of that team because I bring so much value to it! It still makes me smile just thinking about that. Towards the end, I never smiled at my old job. There was nothing happy and my contributions were never acknowledged. It’s such a breath of fresh air to finally be in a place where I’m treated like an adult and respected as a valuable member of the office.

Plus, they sent me to Williston again to continue learning about what the engineers do on a day-to-day basis and to learn more about what our company does. I went in February where I nearly froze to death (and coinsidentally is the first time I met Company Ink!) but I had just started at that job 2 weeks before– so I was still pretty unfamiliar with the intricacies of our work/company and I didn’t know any of the engineers yet. But I was reminded that I take quality half-way decent restaurants in Denver for granted…

While The Roommate is gone for the next month and a half, which I miss her so much so I’m packing my life full of other things so I don’t have to think about it too much or be at the house by my house too often (denial really is a beautiful thing), I’ve been spending quality time with friends, family, and Company Ink.

I’ve gone to Chicago to visit my old college roommate, I went to Balboa Island in California with my family (no one wanted to kill each other by the end of it, so that is a definite success!), and got to spend an evening while we were there with a few of my cousins who I only have interaction via facebook, but don’t really know them at all.

Company Ink and I even spent a weekend up in Beaver Creek to look at the foliage. It was our first weekend getaway together and it was so much fun (although I got a little drunk… stupid altitude messing with my already lightweight-ness!). So New York for a long weekend is definitely in our near future… ;-)

And I’m getting ready to go to Florida for a week with some friends to go to Disney World the day after my BFF’s little sister gets married (congrats TJ!) Wow, the wedding is a week from today and I leave for DW a week from tomorrow… I have a lot of packing and shopping to do! Hopefully my friends’ children behave relatively well and we all walk away still being friends. I went to Disney World when I was 6 and I have a vague recollection of it– plus, I’ve heard it’s completely different so it doesn’t really matter! Watch out Mickey and Minnie– here I come!

I know I can take the simple things for granted in my life, but taking a moment to reflect on where my life was only a year ago really takes my breath away. Now if only The Roommate would get back from Europe– then things would be perfect! (P.S. Roommate, in case it isn’t clear, I really really miss you! I cannot wait for you to get home so we can have normal face-to-face conversations and have major, quality boy-talk!)

Anyone have any positive things going on in their life they’d like to share?

 

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