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.

P1040859
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 🙂

P1040818
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)

P1040432v2
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:

A
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.

561009_4208585247293_1149618948_n

Balboa Island, California

P1040312

Top of the Hitchcock Building, Chicago

photo_1

Who’s ready to see Micky and Minnie?

P1040816

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!

P1040035
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!)

P1040061

Girls night out to see “Wicked”

P1040446

TJ’s wedding with my sister!

P1040827

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:

P1040102

P1040372

photo (3)
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!

P1040248
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!

P1040280
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!

21769_4485208802709_942721018_n
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:

P1040142

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:

318108_3801573512254_1274483584_n

Rode in the Denver Cruiser Duct Tape and Cardboard night:

P1040184

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:

photo_2

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!

Advertisements

Last December, The Roommate and I came home to a gift card left in the non-working mail slot by our door. There was no note, no indication of who left it. The Roommate and I used the gift card, of course, but then completely forgot about it.

THREE MONTHS go by and I get a text from A (yes, I’m talking about him again) asking if I got a gift card a while ago. He had introduced me to the ice cream shop when we were dating, so he was my only guess as to who had left it.

He explained that he left it because he felt bad about how things ended with us (he just stopped talking to me… really mature…). What I wish I had texted in reply: “Yeah, and that’s really the way to show your remorse– leaving an anonymous gift card and waiting three months to tell me who left it. The apology totally came across…”

But I never said that. And I never asked him what the hell he was thinking. The truth is, I really don’t care why he left it. All I saw it as was FREE ICE CREAM!

That was back in March and that was the last time I really interacted with him.

So you can imagine my surprise when The Roommate and I got home from running errands on Saturday and there was a bottle of local organic ketchup sitting on our doorstep.

Our first thought was, “did A leave this?” But seriously, why would he leave us ketchup?

Our next idea was that it was one of our friends who we recently had over for Gourmet Club and someone made a homemade curried ketchup (it was amazing!) But after texting all of them and our family members, no one had any idea what we were talking about. And I’m sure they got a good laugh at our expense.

Lo and behold, 3 months ahead of schedule, I got a text from A last night asking if I got a ketchup delivery.

I should mention: I don’t have an affinity for ketchup, I’ve never mentioned liking it (enough to want a special bottle of it), and I sure as hell never mentioned it to A. So, I ask: WTF?

Actually, what I asked was, “yes I did, but there was no indication of who it was from… if it’s from you, why not leave a note or text as soon as you leave it?”

His response… you’ll never believe this… was: “That was supposed to be part of the mystery… because I wanted to see if you were a mystery solver.”

Again, WTF?!?!

I’d be the first to admit that in my pretend life, I’m a CSI detective, but what’s his deal? What part of him leaving ketchup is supposed to help me just figure out it was him? I mean, the ice cream card made sense since he was the one who introduced me to them, but ketchup? WHY KETCHUP??

This is just further proof that I will never truly understand men.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a conversation my mom and I had last weekend. We were talking about a topic that comes up with a lot of frequency within my family and with The Roommate– how women are portrayed in media.

I’ll save the rant for now, but one topic made me think more about my life than just how my age or gender are portrayed: they all encourage the passivity of women.

And it’s this passivity that has been nagging at me recently. It’s rare that things “just happen” to people. And most importantly in my life right now is that dating doesn’t just happen to someone. If you log onto a dating website, you’re being active and if something romantic happens, it’s because you took the time and effort to log on and interact. And if you go out “on the prowl,” you are inviting conversation by how you act and dress. And life, I’m finding out, is NOT like a romantic comedy where you happen to run into your soul mate while perusing the ice cream aisle at the grocery store…

And it’s this necessity of action that has inspired a new step in the dating process for me. As well as this quote:

There’s a time to let things happen and a time to make things happen

-Hugh Prather

I realized I’ve been waiting for dating to magically happen for me. I’m still digging my heels in about not doing online dating, I lament about all of my friends being coupled-up/married, and I realized I only know 4 single people! So my dating network is pretty limited.

So I’ve decided to stop sitting around being passive and make something happen!

…drum roll…

I’ve decided to host a singles party! I know that there HAVE to be people out there who are single and looking for a good place to meet others that isn’t a bar or online (Right? Or am I the only one who still insists on meeting someone “organically” (aka not online)?).

I’ve chatted with The Lawyer about it, and I’ll be chatting with my sparse group of singles friends to gauge interest. I’m hoping to have this be a fun and relaxed night and even if romance doesn’t happen, maybe some new friends can come out of this!

What do you all think? Is hosting a singles party corny and stupid (and desperate)? Or is it a fun way to mingle with other singles (I swear I didn’t type that on purpose) and possibly get connected to people who have gotten a stamp of approval by being invited by friends/trusted people?

Personally, I think it could be a lot of fun– but only if people are willing to come and put themselves out there. Otherwise, it’ll be me sitting at home with my mom’s delicious food (she’s going to cater the party) and hanging out with my 4 single friends (two of whom I know have a crush on me…).

Let the party begin!

Sorry to keep you all waiting to see if VD was really Mr. Darcy…

I’m sad to report: VD is not just a visual douche, he is a full-fledged douche to the Nth degree!

Is anyone surprised?

I should say that the overall flow of conversation during the date was some of the better first-date conversations I’ve had. I can’t tell you how bored I am with the typical first date questions– “where are you from?” “What do you do for work?” “Tell me about your family…” So because of his better conversational skills, I stupidly let my guard down more than I should have.

And because of that, I completely missed his come-on that told me that all he wanted was to get in my pants. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to really put 2 and 2 together.

I wrote a blog post a while ago about what topic of conversation you ALWAYS bring up on a first date. My answer, in case you don’t want to click through to the old post, is food– more specifically, cooking and eating. If a guy walks away from a date and doesn’t know I like to cook and that I’m a total food snob, then that is definitely a failed date.

Anyway, I mentioned the fact that I like to cook to VD, and after our waitress asked us for the 10th time if we want to order food, he recommended that we cook together THAT NIGHT. Through his explanation, I realized that not only was he not going to be buying me dinner, he wasinviting himself over to my house! On the first date!I could hardly hear the rest of our conversation over the warning sirens going off in my head.

When I told him I had no desire to cook dinner that night (and definitely not to come over to my house!), he suggested that our next date be a cooking date at my house… because even though he “totally loves to cook too!” he doesn’t own a saute pan or a wooden spoon…

Seriously, if you’re going to try and woo a foodie, you shouldn’t show that you’re completely full of shit so early in the game.

After about two hours, he told me that he did, in fact, have to go meet a client for dinner. By then, it was 8:00 and I hadn’t eaten since lunch. I was FAMISHED! We then asked for the check and VD told the waitress, “oh, I already closed my tab out.” I had gotten there a little late (minor emergency at work), so he had ordered his drinks and paid his tab– clearly there was never any intention of staying for dinner.

When the waitress brought my tab– all of $6– VD didn’t even make a move or word to pay for my drink. WTF?! He had just finished asking me to “cook with him” but wasn’t going to at least buy me a drink first? I mean, really…

We then walked out of the restaurant and when we got to the street corner, he told me “I’m parked that way.” Okay, that’s fine, I don’t need you to walk me to my car. It’s not like first dates are where you bring your “A” game or anything…

I then hugged him goodbye and told him I had a nice time. That’s when he didn’t let go and pulled me in for a kiss!

Now, I’ve kissed quite a few men in my life, but never once have I been surprised by a kiss. I pride myself on being able to read situations and men really easily, so I can anticipate what is about to happen. That definitely did not happen this time– my brain literally had to play catch-up and the thought “oh, I’m being kissed. I should kiss back!” actually ran through my head. It wasn’t a bad kiss, but seriously dude, read the situation!

I’ve finally learned what a “player” looks like.

And in case I had any questions about whether or not I misread him or his intentions, I got a text on Saturday night at 11:30pm asking what I was up to… SLEEPING! Thanks for waking me up, though. I really appreciate that.

 

 

I spent my evening last night at the Denver Center for Performing Arts to see the show “Wicked.” It’s quite possibly the best show I’ve ever seen! And I had the unique opportunity to see it twice!

I went last night with my friend, The Lawyer, who had never seen a live musical before– quite the travesty since he’s 32 years old! However, it was really fun to be there with someone who had never experienced the wonder and amazement of quality live theater. I’ve been going to plays for as long as I remember– my family and my BFF’s family saw the play “The Frog Prince” at least a half a dozen times when it was at the Arvada Center when I was about 10 years old… and we still quote a line or two from it to this day- “pass the peas please, thank you!”

I actually dated The Lawyer a while ago, right before things started to happen with Funny Man, but I just didn’t feel any chemistry. I was actually really disappointed about that because he and I are so similar– he likes to cook, we have similar tastes in restaurants, movies, music and I feel relaxed and comfortable around him. But no romantic spark… sigh…

But we have become really good friends, and even talk about other dates we go on with each other– which I consider the true test of a male/female friendship– being able to talk about dating other people with them. And because we’re so similar, we have been able to enjoy a lot of random things together. We’re even compiling a list of restaurants we’ve been wanting to try to go to together.

Last night was one of those nights! He wanted to go see “Wicked” and he asked me to come with him. Oh, twist my arm, I guess I’ll go see it again. We decided to get dressed up to go to the theater– the only way to go, in my opinion. I donned one of my homecoming dresses from high school and he wore a really sharp suit and we had a night on the town.

It was so refreshing to be able to go out and enjoy a good meal (I paid since he paid for the tickets to the play) and a show with a male companion and not have to worry about the romantic implications of everything. I was able to relax and laugh and enjoy myself without worrying about what he thought of me, or trying to be the “perfect” date and, in turn, making myself anxious or nervous.

One of the best nights I’ve had in a while!

And because I was looking super cute, and I got permission to post this pic, I want to share it with you:

We totally won the Best Dressed award!

Wow, all that’s missing is a corsage and boutonniere and we’d be at prom.

I read these articles on the Daily Dish (here and here) and I’ve been thinking a lot about the post I was going to write in response to those.

I can definitely say that I fully agree with those articles. I believe friendship is the key to happiness– Yes, finding a romantic connection with someone for life is great, but if you’re lacking strong friendship connections, you will feel a lack of something in your life. A single romantic relationship is not enough to make you feel fulfilled or dynamic. Everyone needs more people in their life than their significant other.

Not only do I seek out new friends on a regular basis, I strive to be the best friend to people that I can. I have learned the value of friendship, especially as I went through my divorce, and want to be the kind of friend to people that I want them to be to me.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had me make (or offer to make) food for you for a birthday, a new baby, a celebration for something awesome happening, to meet new people, to make new friends, for a holiday… or even heartache. Yeah, that’s most of the people I know. Food is definitely one of my “love languages,” which I don’t hear anyone complaining about 🙂

What that shows is that I want to be there for people in the most fundamental and connecting ways possible– over a shared meal. But a night of talking over drinks is also a great way to spend my time!

All of these thoughts I’ve been formulating in my head for this post came to a complete collapse today when I realized I had let down a friend in a pretty substantial way. Thankfully (OMG, am I thankful), no one was hurt or harmed, and my friend will probably never know what happened. But I let her down and I was on the verge of being labeled “the worst friend in the world.” As I was wiping tears from my eyes on my way to her house, I had an epiphany:

I really do value friendships over all other relationships. The verythought of letting down a friend was sending me into hysterics, but I’ve been in romantic relationships where I act cold and calloused about how my actions effect them. I (hopefully) never do that any more, but I know that the thought of an upset or angry friend makes me more anxious than the thought of an upset lover.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that friendships are truly a choice. There’s a great quote that I have framed on my wall that says:

“Friendship is the only relationship that you have because you really want it, there’s nothing keeping you together other than that you want to be.” — Jean Theisen

Finding great friends is rare, and the idea of losing any of them makes me sad and anxious. As much as I’m a believer in fate, I have a harder time believing that any friend can be replaced, that they wont leave a giant hole if they ever weren’t part of my life in some capacity. For romantic relationships, it’s the ol’ “plenty of other fish” mentality that doesn’t have me so concerned. I think finding those friends who “just get you” is rarer and more precious than romantic relationships. So no wonder I value them so highly.

I’m always so thankful when I’m able to help and be there for friends in their moments of need. Yes, being there during the good times is great as well– don’t get me wrong– but it’s during the hard and difficult times that true friends show their true colors. And when I can be one of those friends who people can call when they need help, are in a bind, or need a shoulder to cry on, I love it. I know how refreshing it is to have those people in my life and comforting it is to have someone(s) in the world who isn’t blood related to you who will come to your aid at the drop of a hat.

So during this time when I am wishing I had a boyfriend, I sit back and marvel at the wonderful friends I have. I have the overwhelming honor of being in their lives, and I would hope they feel the same way about me.

Friends are so precious and I hope and pray I can continue to be the best kind of friend to everyone that I meet. I love you all!

I went out this weekend with the guy who had emailed me through meetup.com. We had emailed back and forth a few times and finally planned to meet for drinks after work at a bar near downtown on Friday.

I first went to an even earlier happy hour with a friend of mine before heading over to meet my date, so I was nice a liquored up for the date… meaning I had one drink and could already feel a slight buzz. I’m a major lightweight!

Anyway, I met up with him and we sat on the patio and chatted for two hours, never dealing with a lull in the conversation. We have a lot in common and we both asked questions back and forth. Because I had to go meet with a friend later that night, I left after 2 hours after agreeing to go to the Denver Botanical Gardens on Sunday.

Things had gone really well and I was looking forward to seeing him again.

Fast-forward to Sunday.

I called him after I was done hanging out with my friends, as I had told him I would do. The Botanical Gardens was closing in 30 minutes, so there was no time to go there– but really, it’s just a bunch of plants… and I’ve been there before and not much changes year to year. I met him at a restaurant close to where I was, but it happened to be closed on Sundays, so we ended up going to a jazz club around the corner.

Let me just throw this out there: jazz club with live music + dinner = a pretty awesome date idea

My date and I continued our ease of conversation, talking about movies we like, things we like to do– you know, the typical first-date questions– when he made a comment that sounded kinda whacky (unfortunately, I can’t remember what the comment was… just know that it was “out there”). Not really thinking about what I was asking, and really only wanting to give him a hard time for saying something so dumb, I said to him “Are you a conspiracy theorist?”

That’s when he responded with “I don’t like that term because it has a lot of negative connotations…” and proceeded to tell me about the different “observations” he’d made about Denver, about Colorado in general, DIA– our airport… He actually spent a good amount of time telling me the “crazy” things people believe about DIA and then explained the “not crazy” things that are suspicious about DIA.

I would like to go on the record to say that I’ve lived in Colorado my entire life, I remember when they built DIA, and I have never looked into the “weird” things that surround DIA. Because really, who cares? If it doesn’t effect me, why do I care if there are buildings buried around DIA?

But now I know– there are buildings buried below the airport, too many tunnels than would be necessary for airport expansion, giant rooms below the airport, demon horses (the horse is a real thing (it’s the stories about it that are whacky)–have you seen the demon horse that greets you when you drive to the airport? Holy crap is that thing freaky! The eyes GLOW!), swastika layouts, phallic symbols (thank you Stephen Colbert!)… the list goes on and on.

I don’t know how he didn’t just get up and leave because my face told him I thought he was an idiot. I have a terrible poker face, and even if I’m telling you one thing, my face will tell you how I really feel/think. So either he’s the least-observant person ever or I managed to not let my true thoughts show through.

We ended up going to get ice cream (hey, a lot can be overlooked if I’m promised ice cream) and walking around continuing our conversation. When I finally dropped him off at his house (he had walked to the restaurant and we had driven to the ice cream place), I realized that I could not care less about seeing him again. Yes, we had a lot in common and he was a really nice guy…

But I just can’t get over the fact that he’s a bit crazy!

Is it weird that I’m glad I went on a date with someone where the story that came out of it was finally a “you will not believe who I went out with this weekend!” kind of story. I’ve had the (un)fortunate fortune to go out with relatively normal, albeit boring, people and the dates are usually “just okay” with nothing interesting to report or tell people about.

So thank you, Conspiracy Theorist, for being my first crazy!