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Twelve in ‘Twelve

Welcome to 2012, y’all!

I love starting a new year.  I like the fresh start, the clean slate, the time to reflect on lessons learned and goals still to be accomplished.  Since I was in high school, I’ve made it a point around the first of every year to take a mental assessment, linger in thankfulness for the moments of growth and joy in the previous year, and set out challenges and plans for the coming year.

This year, I’m still working on the reflection-on-the-past-year part.  I think the fact that it’s not coming easily to me is a reflection of a double-edged sword: one on side, I’m solid and comfortable enough in my own skin that I don’t feel the need to constantly reflect and re-assess who I am in order to feel grounded and purposeful; on the other side, I’m letting life get the best of me at times, and I’m not allowing myself (giving myself?) the time to disconnect from the world, reconnect with things unseen and create room for myself to grow.

So I’m starting with my goals for Twenty-Twelve.  And I’m hoping that in working on these, I’ll make the time and space for myself to reflect on a regular basis throughout the year.

Twelve

The Twelve in ‘Twelve:

1. Work out at least four times a week.

2. Learn to sew.

3. Pump up the jam on this blog.  It’s boring and has no sass.  That will change this year, people.

4. Post on the blog at least once a week.

5. Dedicate “me” time twice a week.  Working out doesn’t count as “me” time.

6. Re-do my Etsy shop.  New, uniform, better pictures.  Descriptions with some thought in them.  And?  Branching out from jewelry.  Hubs’ photography, home decor crafts, Christmas ornaments, maybe some fun antique and vintage items (because our shopping problem needs an outlet).  Lots of fun things up my sleeve, but I know it’s going to take lots of discipline on my part to make the time and put in the effort to do it and do it right.

7. Research modern parenthood.  This one is vague, yes.  Don’t really know where I’m going with it, but I’m starting by reading this book.  It arrived in the mail today, and the fact that I’m a little nervous to read it tells me that I probably really need to read it.

8. Take more pictures.

9. Order wedding photos.  Make an album.

10. Arrive at work before 9 am every day.

11. Do a 10-minute pick up every night before bed.

12. Cut credit car debt in half AND conduct Operation Down Payment.  These are some seriously saving and debt-reducing goals


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New Years’ Eve Menu

We’re hosting our monthly dinner club this month on New Years’ Eve.  Instead of making a full sit-down dinner, I’m going to go with nosh-your-way-through-the-night apps.  Our dinner club “rules” are that another couple brings dessert and everyone else brings wine.  Here’s what I’m thinking I’ll serve:

DIY Ham Sliders.  Hubs got a nice frozen honey smoked ham from a client for Christmas.  I’ll slice it up and set it out with rolls, cheese, spicy mustard, mayo, and some fun random jellies (raspberry jalepeno!)

Chili Cheese Popcorn.

Cheese Tray.  Assorted aged cheese, artisan crackers, salamis, golden raisins, capers, olives, red grapes, mango chutney, and local honey.  My kind of heaven.

Bacon-Wrapped French Green Beans.  Wrap em’ up, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake to slightly crisped perfected.

Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

Chips and Garlic Tomato Salsa.

Cowboy Caviar.  Texas-style black eyed peas for good luck in the new year!

Crunchy Romaine Salad.  A delish family recipe that I’ll share in the coming days.

Rudolph’s Tipsy Spritzers.  Complete with a festive ribbon tied on the decanter, of course!

What are your New Years’ Eve plans?  What traditions do you have to ring in the new year?

 

Re-Balance

I love my job, but I’ve been letting it get the best of me lately.  August got busy and I put my nose to the ground to push through.  I’m flexible enough to let my normal work-workout-cook-keep-life-in-order schedule go for a week or so to meet deadlines and do my best professional work.  Now it’s almost mid-November, and there’s been no slow down.  I’ve been in the office on holidays, Sundays, and in the evenings in sweaty gym clothes.  So it’s time to take a step back, figure out how to re-balance and adapt so I can move forward in a way that lets me be the best me on all fronts.

I don’t mind the work.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is that it’s too easy for me to set aside me time and just work.  And, eventually, not only is my work going to suffer because of it, but the rest of me is, too.   In fact, I’m already starting to see the signs of that.  So, as hard as it was to just set everything aside for a few days, I put up an out-of-office message, slept in this morning, and had a day to myself.  Tomorrow’s a holiday, and I’m going to take it.  The WHOLE day.  And the whole weekend following it.

This time last year, I wasn’t working.  I slept more than 8 hours every night and I went for long mid-morning jogs outside nearly every day.  I got used to seeing myself in the elevator mirror heading down for my jog, hair a mess and no make-up on.   I’ve already gotten the wake-up call telling me that I need to take a break and re-balance myself, but seeing my no-make-up self in the mirror this morning really made it sink in.  I look so different than I did just one year ago.  And not in a good way!

My shoulders are in a permanent state of tension, even when they shouldn’t be.  That’s got to change.  I got a massage on Tuesday and went for another one today.  I’m re-training myself to relax.

I used to brew green tea every afternoon.  Not just when I was at home all day, but even when I went back to work.  Sometime in the past few months, my afternoon tea turned into afternoon coffee.  That’s going to stop.  It’s back to my tea.  Because it’s not just about the tea.  It’s about the ritual, the smell of jasmine pearls, the clean and healthful warmth, the moment that is focused on wellness and calm and not on fueling up to power through.

My sleep is really important to me.  I think I was more nervous about a new sleep schedule than anything else when I went back to work.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep 12 to 15 hours a day anymore.  (I realize 12-15 hours is way beyond a normal amount of sleep, but at the time, I was recovering from a major illness and really depended on that rest).  The transition to “normal people” hours wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be, but I’ve let myself slip past that and keep finding myself waking up after less than 8 hours of sleep.  As much as I wish I was a short sleeper, I’m just not.  I have to accept and embrace that I’m not going to be my best me without at least 8 hours of sleep.

A few months ago, I think I ate an entire tree full of leaves every day.  Seriously, the check-out clerk at the grocery store would frequently comment on the volume of veggies I bought.  That volume and variety has dropped off big time.  While I’m still eating fairly well, I know I’m not eating as clean as I’d like to – mostly because I feel like I need the energy from my food so much more lately.  When I’m tired and sleep is not an option, I turn to food, and not food of the leafy variety.

All of this is to say that I see the signs, I don’t feel like myself, and while I can’t go back to my old routine of balance, I have to adapt and find a new one.  And because I’m a planner, I’m making myself a list of re-balance goals.  Friends, please help me stick to these and to adapt to new ones when life changes again.

–          Reduce morning coffee to one cup.

–          Buy ingredients for green juice and make it in the morning before work as often as possible (and bring a toothbrush to work… Hubs calls me “Gasoline Breath” after I drink green juice).

–          Drink green tea every afternoon.

–          Stick with a bed time that lets me get at least 8 hours of sleep.

–          Make time for “me things.”  Start a craft project.  Post new items in my Etsy shop.  Learn how to make something new.

–          Do yoga once a week (this one might be the hardest for me to make myself do).

–          Stop lying in bed for 20+ minutes in the morning reading news, tweets and blogs.  I want to go to sleep and wake up with intention.

–          Meditate and write at least two nights a week.

How do you re-balance when life changes?  What are your trusty rituals for re-centering?

Wardrobe Updates

I recently found the wonderful Tiny Twig blog and have been thoroughly enjoying her “31 Days to a No Brainer Wardrobe” series.  I feel snobby even thinking this, but I’ve been most impressed by the fact that many of the wardrobe pieces she’s featured have been from Old Navy.  And they are ADORABLE!  I’m a […]

Freak Out and Throw Stuff

Keep Calm Parody Poster from Earmark on Etsy (Click on the picture to link to Earmark's shop)

I mostly want to freak out and throw stuff a lot lately.  I’ve felt overwhelmed with all the things I have to do and all the things I want to do.  And all the things I feel like I never actually get to do.  Work’s been crazy and I kind of wish I could just step back, freeze the rest of the world, and have a few days to get myself organized and focused, and then start the rest of the world again when I’m feelin’ all in charge and ready to go.

Since that idea’s not working out so well, I’m trying to cling to a few things:

– Controlling what I can and reminding myself to let go of the rest

– Getting back into my workout routine after travel and a couple of just-have-to-get-stuff-done weeks –  and loving the high of working myself to my limit

– Eating a frozen dinner (of the organic and wholesome variety, of course) and just being okay with not creating my meal myself from real, whole foods

– The calm I feel listening to the Jennifer Knapp Pandora station, sometimes for hours on end (I’ll guess I’ll have to post something deep sometime and explain why I have no desire for religion or church but I still feel a compelling need to worship and rest in the peace of pure goodness and love…)

– Staying up later than I should tonight to write it out.  I always – always – underestimate how much I need several moments to let my heart and mind pour out onto a page.

I feel unbalanced.  But it’s okay.  It is what it is, and this too shall pass.  I’m not perfect; life’s not perfect.  And that’s alright.

Words that came out of the mouths of my family members (okay, some of them may or may not have come out of my mouth) over the weekend in a small town in Georgia where my grandfather was getting married (I’ll get to that story later):

* “That neighbor’s good and dead.  The new one’s an old maid.”

* [aunts and I talking about panty hose; male family member pipes up]: “You don’t wear hoes.  You buy ’em.”

* “I saw this brother the other day…” [no idea where that story was going; my mind was blown at “brother”]

* “I poop three times a day.  I’m a vegan.”

* Family Member A: “All the cousins were born in clusters.”  Family Member B: “That’s what you call a cluster f—.”

* [2 year-old is stomping his feet in the fellowship hall following the wedding]: “Don’t be doin’ that too often. This is a Baptist church.  You might be accused of dancing.”

* [Family Member A shows a picture of her new husband to another Family Member B] Family Member B: “Well, he looks like a nice old man.”

* [headline on the front page of local paper states, “Drive-By Flu Shot Clinic to Open”]: “Gives a new meaning to ‘drive-by shootin’,’ don’t it?”

*(this one is a recalled memory about my grandmother, from when she was recovering from chemo.  It was talked about over the weekend, so I’m going to say it counts) [after the “passing of the peace” during church, she hands a bottle of Purell to another family member] “Here; wash the fellowship off.”

 

What I’ve Been Loving Lately

The sign in my bathroom that says, “It’s the little things in life that make living so grand.”

Sunshine in the dining room.


This book.
A lazy and cozy Valentine’s Day with my Valentine.
A new energy and positive movement in my job search.  And feeling so thankful for friends and colleagues that go out of their way to help me and vouch for me.  And embracing being able to stay up late, sleep in and work out in the middle of the day while I still can.

Getting excited for friends (real life and blog world “friends”) that are pregnant.

 
Feelings of deep, deep connection – in the simplest, most mundane parts of life – so strong that they bring tears to my eyes.  I feel so blessed and lucky for the huge love in my life.
       Method’s Hardwood Floor Cleaner.  I’m a sucker for anything almond scented.  Plus?  This stuff makes my wood floors so pretty and shiny!

The Tracy Anderson Method.  I’ve been doing her mat workouts and dance cardio for a while now, but I started her Metamorphosis program yesterday (the fitness part; not the full food program).  Man, oh man, am I sore this morning!!!