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!

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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?

 

Consider this my acknowledgement of the fact that I haven’t posted since… holy crap! August 10! And that was the day that so much happened 🙂

Anyway, I have a lot of boy-related news to share with you. And I’m apologizing in advance: this is kind of long. But I didn’t want to make you wait to hear all the details by making this a multi-part story.

For those of you who may have forgotten where we left off, I last told you all that I finally admitted my crush on my coworker. I’m calling him Company Ink (CI for short) for now until I think of a better nickname. Well, after inviting me over to his house that next night to watch a movie (which we actually watched, thankyouverymuch!), we spent hours making out on his couch.

I then proceeded to spend every available moment with him the rest of the weekend.

The most amazing part about everything is just how normal and natural it all feels. That anticipation as he leaned in for the first kiss– since I was finally sending the “I’m truly interested” and “OMG! Kiss me!” signals– and everything has flowed without any hesitation. Spending the entire weekend with him didn’t feel overwhelming or like we were going to fizzle out once reality hit (aka work the next day).

Even when we went rock climbing with his good friends on that Sunday, it was not a big deal that we were dating. It made sense to them and was kind of expected. Apparently, he had been lamenting to these friends about how he couldn’t figure out if I liked him or not, and even got them involved in trying to figure me out… As I explained to CI later, it wasn’t that I didn’t like him. It was the fact that I work with him that was my big hold-up. So they were never going to figure me out!

We’ve had quite a good laugh over how I just couldn’t figure out what to do. And my mom was appalled about just how mixed my signals actually were: I invited him over to my house to watch a movie in the middle of the day, but then cancelled on dinner when he was clearly asking me out on a date. I went to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival with him, but would drag coworkers along with us when he asked me to go to lunch. And that’s just the beginning. He sure is lucky (and relieved) I finally made up my mind!

My biggest anxiety about dating him was the fact that WE WORK TOGETHER! But come to find out? It’s really no big deal. I see him in the hallway, I chat with him just like I had before, and we give each other quick pecks on the lips when no one is around. (Let me just state for the record: soundless, quick kisses are completely disappointing… but that’s what we have to do for now since we still haven’t told anyone at work yet). So far, there’s not much difference between before and now– which is exactly like it should be. We have been able to maintain our professional/business relationship and keep our personal life outside of work hours. Well, except for the covert pinch I gave him in the elevator with all our coworkers around 😉

I’m really happy with how things have gone and it’s happened like I would have wanted– I was friends with him for almost 9 months before something romantic happened. Meaning: we were friends first. We know we can talk easily, we have a lot in common, and we connect on a deeper level than just physical attraction. I’ve dated guys where there really was no depth, and it was so unsatisfying on an emotional level. Instead, now I have someone I know I like to talk to and we can spend hours talking and hanging out– and it’s never strained or filled with awkward silences.

One of my favorite things has been that making plans has not felt stifling or overwhelming. He emailed me a link the other day that had a hotel deal in the mountains that we can go away for the weekend. So in a few weeks, I’ll be in Beaver Creek enjoying the views of the changing aspen trees and wandering a ski town I’ve never been to. We’re also talking about going to New York City for a weekend some time in November. Our company has every other Friday off, so it makes it really easy to plan long-weekend getaways really easily! He even told me, after a second-failed attempt to win “Book of Mormon” tickets, that we could just go see it on Broadway when we’re there…

So after spending most weekends together (when one of us isn’t out of town) and a couple of nights a week, we finally had THE talk.

We had spent 8 hours at Wash Park on Labor Day with a bunch of friends. My sister was introducing CI to her friends and she ended it with “he and my sister are…. dating?” He told me about the conversation on Tuesday and that was the catalyst that was needed to talk about what we were calling each other/what we were doing. We’d talked a couple of weeks ago about what we were looking for, so we knew at least we were on the same page there.

So, over some mediocre sushi, CI officially became my boyfriend!

To continue our natural progression of our relationship, even that conversation was simple, easy, and natural. It wasn’t dramatic or anxiety-filled. We knew we liked each other, we’ve been spending a lot of time together, and we want things to go to the next level.

Even though I don’t really like labels, especially that of boyfriend/girlfriend, because they sound cheesy and weird (which I explained to my mom that I now understand why Dan Savage calls Terry his “huuusband” on his podcast) I call CI my “buhfriend” (it sounds better if you hear it).

Company Ink has already been to 2 family nights, and tonight will be the third. It’s also the last family dinner The Roommate will be at for a while, but that’s for another post. I’m basking in the happy thoughts of me and CI and I’ll get to the “I’m really going to miss her” emotions and blogging tomorrow.

For now, I’m happy 🙂

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!