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!

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!

When I ask the above question, I’m not asking if he’s loaded and lives in a gigantic house. I mean, that wouldn’t be bad, but what I really mean is, “is my first impression of you accurate?”

I was chatting with The Lawyer yesterday about a date I have tonight. I met a guy at an industry happy hour last week and after some texts and emails back and forth, we planned to go out for drinks after work tonight.

As I was explaining my thoughts about going on the date, I told The Lawyer that I was excited (because I strangely like first dates) but I was also hesitant because my first impression of the guy when I saw him was “wow, he looks like a douche.” He’s kinda cute but how he carried himself just gave off that vibe. And because of that, The Lawyer asked if he could call him the “Visual Douche”… and I’ll call him VD for now– hopefully he changes that perception.

As VD and I chatted briefly at the happy hour, and what I can remember from it since I was 3 drinks in and asked him where he went to school at least 2 or 3 times (and that was even worse because he went to the college literally around the corner from my house), he seemed like an engaging person and was pretty dynamic.

So it got me thinking about first impressions. I’m interested to see if after our date this guy can be considered a Mr. Darcy– the misunderstood, but totally awesome suitor– or Mr. Collins– the obnoxious, no one wants to be around him suitor. (And if you don’t understand those references, go and read (or watch) “Pride and Prejudice.”)

I’m hoping my first impression of VD is wrong and something happens between us, even if it’s just for a little while. But I learned the hard way with Voldemort that my first impressions/instincts are pretty spot-on in the long run.

So fingers crossed that my date tonight turns out to be a Mr. Darcy.

Regardless of who I end up with, I do want to be looked at like this:

Be still my heart!

Remember that Birthday Resolution List I  had? Well, The Roommate and I have started making progress on one of them: last weekend we started our garden!

Our awesome landlord put grass seed down (yay! we’ll soon have an actual lawn!… wait, now we’ll have to mow…) and also pulled up our man-eating rose bushes that lined the side of our yard a few weeks ago. So The Roommate and I are now able to plant our gardens on the side of our yard and at the back of it!

Living in Denver, we have to stick to pretty strict planting times… that whole “risk of frost/snow-coming-as-late-as-the-end-of-May” sure puts a damper on wanna-be-green-thumbs. However, according to our friendly neighborhood nursery worker, we could start planting lettuce and root veggies as early as last weekend!

So we grabbed a few started plants of three different kinds of lettuce, some cold-weather flowers– gotta keep the honey bees that live in our tree happy!– broccoli plants, and a few packets of seeds for carrots and spinach.

We also got a couple of bags of compote, carried to my car by the cute, studly (come to find out when having to carry the bags myself– those suckers were heavy!) nursery worker, and set to work on our garden. I should mention that Denver has been incredibly warm this spring, so The Roommate and I were outside when it was 70 degrees! I ❤ Denver!

We dug our hands into the dirt and pulled out some more weeds and roots and got the dirt more-or-less tilled. We then added compote to it and grabbed our plants and seeds.

After plotting out the different sections, here was what we ended up with:

Lettuce! (specific types to come later... I forgot to write them down and I'm too lazy to go look!)

Broccoli and another kind of lettuce seeds
And our flowers for our beloved honeybees!

Carrot and Spinach seeds

I’m super-excited for the rest of our garden once it’s finally warm enough to finally plant everything else! More pictures and updates to come as the summer progresses. Let’s just hope I don’t have a black thumb!

Also, we want to have cute signs to put in our yard to mark what is growing where. Anyone have any suggestions as to where to get them or a fun/cheap way to do them ourselves?

Have any of you read the book, “Law of Attraction” by Michael J. Losier? It was recommended to me by The Narcissist and the ideas of that book have actually stuck with even though I read it years ago.

The idea behind the book is that we put “vibes” out into the universe and the universe will respond in-kind. If you put negative energy out, you’ll get negative things happening to you. And if you put hopeful, positive vibes, good things will come to you. Sounds cheesy but I actually recommend the book– it’s got some pretty interesting ideas.

I talked about it in this post way back when, but I was reminded of it yesterday when I opened my email and saw a unique email waiting for me to read. I’ve been dealing with the Funny Man issues and have been feeling a lot more positive and open to the idea of really dating and really letting myself relax and truly committing to wanting a relationship.

Well, if Mr. Losier is to be believed, then those positive vibes I was putting out into the universe caused a guy to email me via meetup.com! I’m not as active as I’d like to be in regards to those groups (it’s not a dating site–that’s an important thing to note), but this guy saw we had a few groups in common so he messaged me.

It was a simple message, asking basic questions about me and it didn’t feel at all intrusive. I don’t know what is going to happen with him, but all I know at this point is that he looks pretty cute and it took a lot of guts to email some stranger to get a conversation going. And it sure gave me the ego boost I needed!

According to WordPress, this is my 100th post (including both private and public posts)! Thanks everyone for reading and commenting!

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Living in Denver increases one’s probability in owning a dog by about 537%… or so it seems. I think I know about 3 people who don’t own a dog (I count my BFF as having one because one of her cats acts like a dog).

In case you were wondering, I do not own a dog.

BUT…

I own a toad.

That’s right, a toad. Dogs and cats are WAY too high-maintenance.

Because of his dedication to me and ability to not die after a week (or more) without eating (because I’m neglectful), I want to tell you about him.

First off, I should expose my extreme lack of creativity and tell you his name: Mr. Toad. Completely original, I know.

This is pretty much what he looks like (minus the leaves– he lives in a plastic cage with moss):

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Mr. Toad has stuck by me through countless boyfriends, about a dozen of houses/apartments, a husband (who?), and even flaky friends.

He also seems to be the invincible toad. Christmas this past December marked his 7th birthday with me! (His friend, Pickles, only lasted about 3 years to give you some perspective).

I got him as a Christmas present from my mom to have in my dorm room– she claimed, rightly so, that fish were boring. Little did she know that this toad would still be around over 7 years later.

I am too busy and lack the desire to commit to taking care of a pet that has much more maintenance than Mr. Toad. I clean his cage every couple of weeks, add water when needed, and feed him LIVE crickets every few days. Best. Pet. Ever!

Most importantly, I don’t have to pet him, hold him, or interact with him physically for any reason.

And that’s the best arrangement for both of us. He clearly loathes being held (as has been shown by him leaping out of my hands and behind a small bookcase when I was in college… what a brat!)

If you ask any of my friends who have dogs (or dog-like cats), my tolerance for them is very low. I will pet them once (if at all) and then wash my hands immediately. Except for my friend E’s dog– that dog is awesome. But she’s also really old and extremely low maintenance, so she isn’t coming up to me every 30 seconds wanting to be petted and drooling all over me.

Anyway, Mr. Toad sits happily in his cage, untouched by my hands, and I just say “good morning” to him every day in what The Roommate has deemed my “Mr. Toad voice” and that’s about the extent of our interactions. When he has been fed, I’ll watch him leap at the crickets, but he gets distracted by me and even after all this time, still thinks I’m food…

I never said he was the smartest toad.

He’s the perfect pet for me and I strangely love him. I had a complete and utter meltdown when I thought I had accidentally killed him when I thought the cage lid had squashed him– yeah, that was not the birthday phone call my dad thought he was going to get. Thankfully he came away unharmed.Whew!

Mr. Toad has been through everything with me and is one of those constants that I know I take for granted. That strange, slimy, erratic toad is one great pet.

Plus, he’s way more interesting of a topic instead of being just like everyone else by owning a dog. So even more bonus points for him!

My favorite story to tell about Mr. Toad is this one:

I got him my freshman year of college and I lived with a sorority girl (who I’ll call Pi Phi for no reason whatsoever ;-)) who I did not really get along with. We coexisted– she and I werenothing alike. So one day I came back to the room after class and Pi Phi said to me, “your toad was barking.” I looked at her like she was insane. I thought she was hearing things, and just brushed off her weird comment.

That night, I was laying on my bed watching some tv show, with Mr. Toad in his cage behind my head on my desk, and I swore I heard the a chiwawa in the room across the hall barking up a storm. “Why do they have a dog in their room?” I thought to myself. And then it hit me. I slowly sat up and turned to look at Mr. Toad. There he was, head up, and making a faint barking noise. It sounded like a small dog barking behind a closed door. I laughed and laughed and when Pi Phi came back, I told her I finally believed her. So maybe she wasn’t as crazy as I thought. The End.

Oh, and if you ever call him a “frog” I just might punch you in the face. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I love you, Mr. Toad. I just wish you didn’t eat live crickets–they’re really disgusting.

The Roommate found a blog or article (I don’t know the source) of someone who made a dining room table from an old door. Since The Roommate and I have attempted to be creative in ways to decorate our house, we lept at the opportunity to try it.

Because we found the idea via a blog, I will post a how-to for how we did it. Enjoy!

If you’re going to also embark on this crazy project here are some things you will need:

1) Someone who owns a lot of tools– saws, drills, paint brushes, gloves, safety goggles, etc.

– Bonus points if the person knows how to use said tools and can show you how to use them as well.

2) A LOT of patience

3) Enough space to sand, stain, cut and screw (hahaha)

4) A knack for catching opportunities to say: “that’s what she said”

5) Creative problem-solving skills for any/all problems that arise

Not knowing we’d need all that before we started, here’s what we did:

We researched architectural salvage places in Denver, which there are only 2, and went and got a door. We found one that had glass panes in it, so it was lighter and the glass looked cool in the center(ish) of the table. But come to find out, that also makes it a lot weaker and not as sturdy.

The door we got was an old patio door, so it was covered in paint. We wanted to have a natural-colored table, so now we had to use stripper to take it all off.

And scraped gently… Do not get that stuff on your skin.

After 3 rounds of stripper, and thousands of “that’s what she said” jokes, we could finally sand the door… Even if there was still snow outside (welcome to Colorado).

Make sure to get face masks– sawdust gets everywhere!

Once the door had been sanded and we told a thousand more “that’s what she said” jokes, we went to Home Depot and get 4 table legs. Strangely enough, when table legs aren’t attached to a table, they seem really short.

Anyway, we sanded those as well.

I just have to say, working with power-tools is so much fun! How come it’s only boys who are encouraged to use them? I think I might add a drill to my Christmas list…

After all of those had been sanded, it was time to stain. After testing different stains, we realized we liked the natural look of finishing, so we didn’t stain it at all.

We then mounted the legs onto the table (thanks dad!).

Be sure to not drill through the table… (*whew* that was one mistake we managed not to make!)

Once the legs are mounted, the table was usable.

What we thought was the last thing we had to do was put putty in all the windows since we scraped most of it out when we were stripping (hehehe) the table.

I had every intention of ordering glass to put over the table, but I kept putting it off. So we just had to get clever about where to put our plates and glasses.

After more than one dinner where I gave my dad the evil-eye for leaning too much on the table (meaning he was barely touching it), we realized we needed to add supports to the table. It would bow with the smallest amount of weight.

We had to brainstorm ways to mount 1×3’s to the table with brackets holding the table legs. It was helpful that my career involves working with numerous engineers– a couple of them gave me some great pointers. After a lot of measuring and routing, we got the 1×3’s ready to be mounted to the table and flush with the legs and each other.

After measuring out each side so the screws don’t hit (a lot harder than it sounds…), drill into the legs. This requires a lot more upper-body strength than I possess. We used a spade bit so we could cover the screw heads with “buttons” when we were done.

Next we drilled up through the board into the table. Again, don’t drill through the table!

It was amazing how much sturdier the table felt with the 1×3’s! And how much you can tell that the door and the 1×3’s are completely different wood… Oh well. As we’ve said throughout this whole process, it just adds more character.

The one good thing that came out of my brief relationship with A was that he “knows a guy” who sells glass for way cheaper than I was finding. Thankfully, after an awkward text messaging exchange with A’s dad, we got our glass delivered to our house. So if you have a way of finding cheaper glass, I highly recommend it! Dating cowards not recommended.

Once the screws were all tightened and the table was ready to go, we unwrapped the glass and gently placed the glass on the table. We put down rubber mounts so it doesn’t sit right on the wood.

We then put in “buttons” over the holes. We “stained” them with the same kind of finisher we used on the rest of the table.

And with that, we were done!

A HUGE thank you goes out to my dad, who, without his help and encouragement and teaching (and upper body strength), this table would still just be a door.

 

**Updated: If you would like to see all the pictures we took while making the door, go here. Enjoy!