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 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!

I go through phases where I become completely obsessed with a song and will listen to it non-stop. The repeat button is worn out on my itunes (if that is possible…).

Here is my current obsession: (for those of you who get my blog via email, you may have seen a random post that had this video… I seem to fail in figuring out how to attach a video in wordpress’ weird “quick post” layout…)

I’m pretty sure I’ve contributed to at least a million of the 120+ million views the video has. I just can’t get over how hauntingly beautiful this song is.

The reason I’m sharing this song obsession with you is the fact that when I listened to the lyrics, I realized that when I think about my life, I have actually had the thought “oh yeah, I was married once…” My ex, Voldemort, is just some guy I used to know. I’m not at all connected to him. I don’t wish to have him back. I hope to never even run into him. I never use the term “ex-husband” even– he’s always “my ex.” He doesn’t even have enough standing in my life to be acknowledged in his past standing of importance.

When I was in the middle of my divorce, I couldn’t imagine how I would ever not feel sad about it. And yet, here I am, 3 years later, vaguely recollecting that I was even married to him… It’s crazy how I went from committing my life to this guy to labeling him under “some guy I used to know.”

Time really does heal all wounds.

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!

Before I get into my love life, which is enough for a post itself, I have some excellent news:

I GOT A NEW JOB!

After being unemployed for a month and a half, I was offered a job at a start-up oil and gas company in Denver.

I am slightly hesitant to be at another small company– 6 people to be exact– because working at a  small company was what screwed me over. But even in my initial interview, I was told that they were trying to do something different.  The HR woman told me that they even get the input from everyone about new policies, just to make sure everyone has a voice and feels included. That’s a huge step up from my old company who didn’t even have a maternity-leave policy in place and made it up on the fly as soon as one of the young female employees got pregnant (and it’s one of the worst policies I’ve ever heard… big surprise).

I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I know I will learn a lot. The engineer at my old company, who I owe getting this job to because of his recommendation to the operations manager, told me there was so much more he wanted to teach me if I had been able to stay at my old job AND they had promoted me to a tech like I asked. So this will be a great opportunity to learn those things and increase my understanding and skill-set for the future.

I start on January 23. I can’t wait for that day to come– I am so tired of sitting at home on the couch!

It’s a new year, so new and great things are going to happen! It’s only January 10 and I already know this year is going to kick 2011’s ass.

In light and celebration of my new job, I will leave you with this video– possibly my favorite song ever. (Could there be a more appropriate song?)

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When the crush on A started, I realized it was a mutual attraction (it doesn’t hurt that guys don’t tend to be very hard to read…). He was always so attentive when I came over, even if Mr. Dad was there, and would always put on my favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars. Never heard of them? Oh my gosh, check them out! He was always complimenting me and engaging me in conversation. Even the texts I would send him when I got home safely from Cruisers would result in about a half-dozen texts back and forth saying goodnight…

After I broke things off with Mr. Dad, I had the awkward task of trying to maneuver a friendship with A and him potentially having to stick to the “Bro-Code” and have nothing to do with me. I didn’t want to blow my chances with A, but I also wanted to respect the fact that Mr. Dad and A have been friends for 20 years.

Thankfully I realized my anxiety was unfounded when I got a text from A to come pick up my bike so I wouldn’t have to ride it home by myself after Denver Cruisers that night. He showed up at my house to pick up my bike, and even in his ratty shorts and a t-shirt, I wanted to pounce him. But I refrained… barely….

I then drove to his house and met up with him and his friends. We all went to Cruisers, me being the only female in a group of 5 guys. We had a blast and when we got to The Circle of Death (yes, it’s that awesome!), A and I went to find some food. As we were walking, I told him about ending it with Mr. Dad. He told me he wasn’t surprised but reiterated that Mr. Dad was a great guy (not that I ever said he wasn’t). I was just thankful he didn’t respond with any sort of “well, we can’t hang out any more,” or “Mr. Dad asked that I not see you any more,” which is what I was afraid of.

After a while, the crowd started to break up and head to the final bar of the night. The guys, now well on their way to being drunk, convinced me to call in sick and come out with them. Because I was feeling so ill (*wink*), I decided that was a fun idea.

I rode with them to the bar where A and I started flirting hard-core. He finally professed his attraction to me, but he was feeling reluctant to do anything because of his friendship with Mr. Dad.

After a few minutes, he leaned over and kissed me! It was a small, short kiss, but enough to give my adrenaline a jolt.

He sure got over that reluctance pretty quickly…

We then spent the rest of the evening flirting, kissing, and being nauseatingly PDA-ful. Thankfully his friends were too drunk to care one way or the other.

It’s been heartbreaking how many guys are atrociously terrible at kissing, but that was not the case with A. A’s kisses were perfect. As I kissed him, I couldn’t get enough of him. I didn’t want them to stop!

I mentioned before that I haven’t dated guys who are my “type.” While kissing A, I realized just how stupid that was. Until that moment, I never realized how important it is to be completely attracted to the person you are with. It adds another layer to the attraction that cannot be contrived or even faked. I wanted to wring my fingers through his curly hair and never let go. I didn’t want the night to end. I’ve never felt that level of attraction before!

We all finally rode back to A’s house where I didn’t get to sleep until 4am… because I was so sick, of course 😉

The final installment and how I spent the day recovering coming up…

I’m going to totally cheat and use a playlist/cd I’ve already created. But in all fairness, it’s the most kick-ass playlist EVER! When I went through my divorce, music, and these songs in particular, got me through some of the toughest times. Some of you who read this already know most of this list, but there are some that I added after making the cd! So consider the extras like bonus tracks! Plus, if I link to something,  you can watch the videos of them, too!

There were songs that struck such a deep chord with me that I can’t ever listen to the song the same way again. So this playlist is dedicated for each and every person who has gone though heartbreak, lost who they were, and/or finally got the courage to kiss his/her sorry ass out the door.

Play on!

1) Feeling Good by Michael Buble – I even named my Freedom/Divorce Party after this song! This song is all about it being a new day and it’s full of new possibilities and hopes! “It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new life for me! And I’m feelin’ good!” I still get all energized when I hear that song! Hearing it live was just icing on the already awesome cake!

2) Breathe by Anberlin – The entire song pretty much sums up my entire experience with my divorce. I learned so much since then that I “can’t return to who I was before.” It’s all about moving on and changing after a hard experience. Who hasn’t had one or two of those? (P.S. It’s a lyric video… sadly, Anberlin hasn’t made a video for this song)

3) Bye Bye by Jo Dee Messina – You just gotta have a no-longer-putting-up-with-his-shit song on there! And ain’t never lookin’ back! What a studette!

4) So What by Pink – It wasn’t until I really listened to this song that I realized she had the line “lost my husband… not gonna pay his rent.” It was then that I realized how empowering this song is. It’s about having the fighting power to not deal with him not valuing you and getting in people’s face if they mess with you. It’s actually a lot deeper than it initally sounds– It’s not just about going around fighting people. Listen to it and you’ll see what I mean. Also, the feeling of being better off without “him” around has never been so eloquently put 😉 Plus, if I could be a rock star, I’d totally be Pink! (This is probably my favorite song on the cd. My itunes says I’ve listened to this song at least 60 times…)

5) This is Your Life by Switchfoot – “This is your life. Are you who you wanna be?” I wasn’t the person I wanted to be when my ex and I split. This song opened my eyes.

6) Independent Woman by Destiny’s Child – Do I really need to explain? The title of the song pretty much says it all! The lyrics pretty much describe my existence– I bought my own clothes, my own jewelry, and even my new car! And I didn’t need a penny of “his” to make it happen!

7) Bigger Than My Body by John Mayer – This song is my life theme-song. Being short, I feel like a lot of people underestimate me, so the statement of being bigger than my body really resonates with me. Plus, it’s all about doing great things and being so much more than you already are!

8) More Than Fine by Switchfoot – Besides being incredibly reminicent to high school, this song became something of a mantra for me during my whole divorce. I worked my ass off in therapy to be “more than fine, more than just okay.” I wanted to be great! I wanted to be happy and fantastic and healthy and just fucking awesome! Unfortunately, Switchfoot didn’t add that last part to their song… (P.S. Another lyric only video)

9) My Give a Damn’s Busted by Jo Dee Messina – I actually had to explain this song to more than one person as to why it was on my cd in the first place. This song is all about being tired of “give me one more chance.” It’s about being over it, over their excuses, their lies– everything. The part of you that gives a damn about them, their happiness, their apologies… it’s all gone!

10) How I’m Doin’ by Dierks Bentley – Country sure does have the best breakup songs, don’t they? This one’s no exception. It’s all about doing fantastic after someone crushed you! That’s the best revenge!

11) Boston by Augustana – It’s a song about starting over in a new place.  I can’t tell you how many times, even still, that I have fantasized about packing up everything I own and moving to a completely new place, if not a new country– to start a new life where no one knows you and you don’t know them.

12) Survivor by Destiny’s Child – Listen to the lyrics… they’re exactly my experience! I was/am stronger without my ex than I ever could have been! I work hard every day to be the best version of myself. I’m a survivor of a toxic relationship, and I am stronger because of it! Also, I wasn’t about to let the fact that my marriage fell apart crush me. I was going to grow from it and let it be the motivation I needed to never make a mistake like that again.

13) White Horse by Taylor Swift – I’ll try to stay off my soap box about “needing” a man to come rescue you on a white horse, but this song is all about letting that illusion fade and realize that life is messy and there is no white horse and no magical formula to live happily ever after.

14) My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne – “So much for my happy ending” is what I felt when everything fell apart. This song is also the story of our relationship– thought we were perfect for each other, but it turned out to be a complete facade.

15) Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson – “Since you been gone, I can breathe for the first time” was the feeling of relief when he moved out, and we finally filed our papers. It was over. He was gone. And once October 19 rolled around, I really never had to deal with him ever again. Never ever again.

What songs would you add to this list? Do you have playlists of your own that have deeper meaning than just being your favorite songs?