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’m hoping by posting about my current feelings about my love life will help alleviate my frustration. So please bear with me…

I have great friends, a great job, a loving family and most of my evenings and weekends are packed. I would describe myself as happy and content with my life.

However…

I am extremely lonely.

Both my sister, who in the past has been the biggest relationship-phobe but is now in a full-fledged relationship, and The Roommate are dating men who fit them so well and I have seen how much joy they get from being in those relationships.

I look on their relationships with envy and really wish that I was with someone who made that much sense with me. Instead, I end up on dates with players, dickheads, crazies, and bores. Or on no dates at all.

And don’t get me wrong– I am so happy for my sister and The Roommate and can’t wait to see where their relationships end up (it’s like a real-life romantic comedy for The Roommate… and I have front row seats!). Their relationships show me that there are people out there who fit perfectly with another person. And it’s been so great to see the positive changes that have come from them being in those relationships.

I like dating, I like going out and meeting new people. First dates don’t give me any sort of anxiety and I’m never nervous about them– which helps me be relaxed and a good conversationalist. But I’m not meeting anyone who would be a good match for me.

Not by a long-shot.

I have a dating philosophy that says “I never say no to a request for a first date” (within reason, of course). My thought is that if a guy has had enough courage to ask me out on a date (or even for my phone number), I will oblige. And I will go with a positive attitude and hope that something comes from it. Unless I’ve known the guy for a while, how can I know how good of a match they’ll be for me if I don’t give them a chance?

But do I need to change that philosophy? Am I not being discerning enough, so I continue to end up disappointed more times than not? Or is that the “right” way to do it, and hope that eventually I’ll go out with “the one”?

And I’m not even asking for much at this point. I know that the shaming of single women is “you’re just being too picky,” which I honestly don’t think I am. At this point in time, all I’m looking for is someone who has a job, can carry a two-way conversation, I have chemistry with them, and he isn’t an asshole.

I feel like I’m too young to have to start lowering my bar/expectations. Or has 26 become the start for spinsters? Maybe it is– during a recent conversation with a friend, we started talking about how it’s nearly impossible to find someone who is not either: A) completely immature, B) recently divorced, or C) not looking for a relationship. Sounds like a list of the traits of my recent dates…

I don’t want to whine. I hate when people whine about “no one loves me!”

But I can’t seem to help myself. I’ve been doing everything I can to meet people out in my world (as opposed to online)– I’ve joined social groups, attended meetups, drank at networking happy hours, I’m currently captaining my kickball team, volunteering more– but none of that hasn’t seemed to get me anywhere. Yes, I’m making new/more friends, but any guys I meet at any of those get-togethers are unavailable, way older than I am, or sleazy.

I’ve been bound and determined to not get back into the online dating world because I REALLY want to meet someone “organically.” But more and more, I’m finding that that has really become nearly impossible.

Is online dating really the only way to meet anyone any more? Or should I continue to be a “Ted Moseby” and hold out hope that I’ll meet my future mister out about in my life?

I’m feeling down about this, and I refuse to let it bring my entire out-look on life down, but I also can’t shake the dark rain cloud that is lurking in the background, ready to swallow me if I give it more than a moment’s attention.

Thanks for listening to me whine. Hopefully getting this off my chest will help me get past it and just live my life and tell that dark cloud to go away.

To help cheer me up (and tell you where the title reference came from), I’m hoping Winnie the Pooh will help:

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about fate and meeting “the one” lately. As I’ve been talking about in my recent posts, I feel like I’m finally in a place to be ready to be in a relationship.

With the personal work I’ve done over the last few years since my divorce, I feel like I’m in a great place emotionally and mentally. I want to do the work required in a committed relationship– I want to take the good with the bad. I’m no longer afraid of not being perfect (well, I’m at least working really hard on not being…), I’m happy with who I am as a person and with my life on my own. I’m now at a place that I want to share myself and my life with someone else.

I have a much more realistic view of relationships and longevity than I used to. My problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what the problems were with my ex when we got married (alcoholic/drug-using family, lack of long-lasting friendships, history of cheating…), it was the fact that I didn’t think that those issues would be a big deal in our relationship. And I believed that just because we were in love/married, all problems could be solved and overcome.

I’ve grown up a little bit and now I feel like I have a better view of things. And I’m ready to bring that new view into a relationship. I want to love someone and I want them to love me back. I don’t want to sacrifice who I am for the sake of a relationship, and I would hate for my future mister to do the same.

It’s one of my goals this year to fall in love and besides it being a romantic idea, I think it speaks volumes about where my mind and life are at in regards to that idea. I want to fall head over heals in love– no holds barred. I want to find someone who is perfect for me– I want my friends and family to meet him and say “oh my gosh! he’s exactly the person you should be with!” I have friends and family who are with people like that, so I know what it is like on the other side to see it in someone else’s relationship.

I’m ready– probably for the first time in my life.

Now all I have to do is just meet him…

This song is dedicated to everyone in the process of seeking out the person of their dreams:

 

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.

Zak graciously let me steal this idea from him, and I wanted to share it with you all. I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, because they all seem cliche and I forget all about them in about 3 days. However, when it comes to my birthday, I seem to have no trouble contemplating my future.

I want this next year, my 26th year, to be one of the best ever! I want to do and see things that either A) I’ve never done before or B) should do more often. I live in one of the best outdoor-activity states and I rarely take advantage of having the mountains less than 30 minutes from my house.

So, without further ado, here are my 26 to-do’s for my 26th year:

  1. Hike a 14er
  2. Canoe/kayak Dillon Reservoir
  3. Go to the Sundance Film Festival
  4. Snowshoe in RMNP
  5. Fall in love
  6. Get the full bonus amounts at work each quarter
  7. Go to Cheyanne Mountain Zoo
  8. Have brunch at the Broadmoore
  9. Grow a lush garden
  10. Learn to roast a chicken
  11. Travel somewhere that requires my passport
  12. Travel somewhere outside of the state
  13. Eat at least one thing a week from our CSA bag
  14. Learn to grill the perfect steak
  15. Throw at least one party/get-together a month
  16. Have a reason to wear each of my three LBD’s
  17. Go on a full-moon snowshoe hike
  18. Treat myself to a shopping-spree for new clothes for work
  19. Go to at least one concert
  20. See fireworks in DC
  21. Go hiking with my parents at least once this summer
  22. Jump in a pile of freshly-raked leaves
  23. Ride my bike every day to work in the summer
  24. Make limoncello
  25. Go to a game for each of the Denver professional sports teams (except the Nuggets– I hate basketball)
  26. Write my 3rd NaNoWriMo novel in November

Come February 28 (ONE WEEK!!!), let the games begin 🙂 I’d love it if I could cross off every single one of these– wish me luck!

I’m no stranger to crushes– my diary from elementary school is about nothing except which boy I like that day/week. Sometimes there were multiple boys who had caught my eye. I’m so not exaggerating.

My long-time best friend will not hesitate to tell anyone about my notorious stalking of PK (Pastor’s Kid– rightly named since that is, in fact, what he was) in high school. I’m serious, I literally stalked him in the hallways of my school. What can I say, I loved him! (He holds the record for longest crush with nothing happening– 5 YEARS!)

Since I’ve been single, it’s been rare that I develop a crush. What has tended to happen is that a guy asks me out on a date, we possibly date for a while, and then it’s over. I haven’t had to sit on the sidelines for very long (if at all) because something happens romantically between us fairly quickly. So the sitting and getting butterflies in my stomach at the mere thought of someone or the random Facebook comment that causes me to be “all a flutter” hasn’t really  happened to me.

I had a small crush on A (remember him?), but as I just said, I didn’t have to wait long for things to develop between us when I realized I liked him more than a friend.

BUT!

A is not who I want to talk about.

I’m telling you all this because I have developed the BIGGEST crush on a guy who I will call Funny Man. I cannot tell you how often he makes me laugh and how easily it happens. Spending time with him has made me realize just how infrequently I find my dates/boyfriends amusing. Yes, we can joke around, but to have someone cause my stomach to hurt from so much laughing is extremely rare. And that’s what Funny Man does.

I’ve been friends with FM for about a year. I play in a energy sports league– we do bowling in the winter, kickball in the summer and flag-football in the fall. It’s composed of only oil and gas people and their significant others. Anyway, FM was on my bowling team last year and I had a small crush on him the minute I met him. He was just getting out of a serious relationship, so I steered clear of him. I was also dating the most boring guy at the time, so FM apparently didn’t make a move either. (FM has given me endless shit about having dated that guy… and it’s rightly deserved.)

My relationship with FM has been purely platonic since we met, and I was fine with it…  until about a month and a half ago. I went to his birthday celebration and I realized I wished to be more than just friends as we shared a chair at the bar we were at. The entire sides of our bodies were touching and I suddenly couldn’t breathe… my heart started racing and I got all nervous.

What was happening? FM is my friend! I don’t feel that way about my friend… do I?

Since then, I haven’t been able to get him out of my head. I have even hung out with him for hours (yeah, including sitting on his couch until 11:00 at night…) and nothing happened. But there seems to be something there. I think…

As I was lamenting about my feelings to The Roommate, I had a revelation.

You know what I said about having had crushes on guys for practically my entire life? I’ve also been the object of crushes more times than I can count. I’ve been friends with a lot of guys and have also dated a lot. Needless to say, I know guys pretty well and I can read them like an expert. It doesn’t help that guys tend to be REALLY easy to read.

But that’s what is tripping me up with Funny Man. I am not able to read him accurately and it’s driving me insane. It’s usually pretty obvious if a guy likes me and I can react whichever way I feel (I can plead ignorance if I don’t like him back or reciprocate the feelings and we end up dating). But with FM, he acts and talks like he likes me, but he doesn’t actually do anything about it. I should mention that he is one of those people who is a natural flirt. He flirts with everyone and is extremely friendly, so then I doubt myself and wonder if I am reading him all wrong.

So he’s left me confused. During a texting conversation the other day, he mentioned wanting to spend more time with me… but no date was set, no plans were made.

There’s a song by the band Say Anything called “Crush’d.” For the last couple months, that song has been on a constant loop in my head when I think about Funny Man. Well, more the chorus:

I have a total crush on you, baby
And I can’t let it go, oh no.
I have a total crush on you, baby
Baby, if only I could let you know.

It’s pathetic. I know. I like him and he sort of says he likes me too, but nothing is happening. I need to just let it go and if he wants something to happen, it’ll happen. If not, well, we can continue the way we are– just friends.

The Roommate said she’s cheering for him– he’s actually likeable and people want to be around him (who knew there were people like that!). If only he would pick up the phone and ask me on a date, I’d be his in a heartbeat.

But I need to take the (very accurate) advice from He’s Just Not That Into You and give him the space to ask me out. It’s actually quite sad how much my life is like the main girl in that movie… but that’s a post for another day.

I’ve been dying to get this all off my chest, so now it’s out there. I’m not afraid of jinxing it (although my track record is not very good in that department), I just want to send those hopeful vibes out into the universe. I need to take the logical stance and tell myself “if it’s supposed to happen, it’ll happen. If not, nothing is lost.” But my logical side is fighting an uphill battle.

On my first date with Mr. Dad, we did a group-date thing. At first I wondered why he didn’t have the guts to go out with me just one-on-one, but after we got there, I realized it was a genius idea! It takes the pressure off trying to find something to talk about just the two of you, and it’s more of a group conversation. So if it’s ever an option, I’d highly recommend it as a first-date technique!

I brought my friend, D, and he brought his friend, A. Now, I should tell you, the reason I agreed to give Mr. Dad my number was because he was hott. Yes, I’m that shallow. However, when we walked up, I noticed that his friend, A, was even hotter!

I have a very consistent “type” that I am always attracted to (although I’ve dated only one other person who even remotely fit my “type” so I’m also not discriminating…). I go weak at the knees for a guy who has dark skin/complexion, dark hair, and extra bonus-points if his hair is curly. Think Alcide from True Blood… rowr!

I tell you this because A fit that description to a T. Needless to say, no matter how the date turned out, D and I were going to enjoy the eye-candy at the table with us! The date went well, but only after the fact did I realize the “group conversation” was mostly between me and A, not me and Mr. Dad. I let it slide because I was interested to see where things were going to go with Mr. Dad (little did I know what his nickname would turn out to be…).

Because of my budding relationship with Mr. Dad, I began to hang out with his friends (including A) even when Mr. Dad wasn’t in town. I went to Denver Cruisers with his friends every Wednesday and spent those evenings chatting with A, getting to know him on a strictly friends-only basis.

A small crush started to develop for A. I told D (who had absolutely no interest in him from the date) and The Roommate about the crush, but brushed it off as nothing. But the next weekend, when Mr. Dad was in town and we all went out to a club, I realized I wished I was dancing with A, not with Mr. Dad…

That weekend was when Mr. Dad’s secret was revealed. I ended things with him (obviously!), I continued to hang out with his friends. They all live here in Denver, and I really enjoyed going to Cruisers with them… and was hoping something would develop with A… but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

But little did I know, A was praying I wouldn’t stop hanging out with them either 🙂

More to come…