Tag Archives: New Year’s

Time to refocus

1 Jan

Happy new year!

Here we are again. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of resolutions. But I know I’m not perfect, by any means, unlike Calvin:

calvin-and-hobbes-new-year

(I love that cartoon.)

So looking back at what I wanted to focus on in 2013 and setting the focus for 2014…

Physical health
I did get back to the gym on a regular basis. I certainly ran more. But then I broke my foot. I was in such great shape prior to that, and it’s been hard to get back into a regular routine with any sort of endurance. But this week has been good. So for 2014 I’ll keep working on going to the gym regularly, building endurance, and running more.

Food
My eating didn’t change much this year, although I somehow got a little sugar addiction lately. Boo on holiday food. So let’s refocus on that for 2014: more veggies!

Writing
My writing was definitely done in waves. I had stretches of lots of blog posts, and then nothing. (See: lack of posts in December.) So there’s the focus for 2014: more consistent blogging.

Dancing
Breaking my foot really made me appreciate dancing. Prior to that, I was going to more groups and practicing on my own. After I broke my foot, I practiced a lot because I was working on checking out. But since then, I’ve struggled to get into a routine. So after the holidays, it’s more group classes, more practicing on my own, and still appreciating it.

Creative hobbies
I stopped baking for a while in the last few months for various reason. I packed my grandma’s recipes, so I can’t go through those until after July. But I’ve baked more this week and will continue to do so. I did learn to crochet but didn’t practice, so now I need a refresher. I certainly knitted more this year and will continue to do so for 2014!

Relationships
No movement there. Meaning no action taken on my part to have anything happen. Stupid Mr Big still in my brain. But steps have been taken this week…more on that soon.

Money
I’ve made some progress towards my financial goals, although Christmas was not planned for as well as it should have been. Oops. So I’m going to take the first six months of 2014 and refocus on money.

Mental health
This year, I realized that my issues are like a chronic condition. I will always have them; I can only cope with the flare-ups. And I’ve done a better job of that lately. This will always be a focus for me though.

At the end of the day, I still strive for this:

peace

And hope to remember this:

light of your being

I hope 2014 is everything you want it to be. Happy new year!

Happy new year!

1 Jan

happy-new-year

Wishing the very best to you in 2014!

Here’s to love, joy, peace, happiness, and fulfilling lives with friends and family!

Time to refocus

1 Jan

I like New Year’s because it’s a chance to refocus. I don’t like resolutions…they sound like work and negative consequences and failure. I prefer to think of it more positively: let’s refocus our efforts as we start a new year.

calvin-and-hobbes-new-year

Unlike Calvin, I’m very aware I’m not perfect. But here are the main things I’d like to refocus on in 2013.

Physical health
I was doing very well for most of 2012, but December was kind of a bust. So, time to get back to the gym three times a week (like I was before). I’ll keep running and do more strength training. I want to continue and increase my morning yoga. It’s such a great way to start the day.

Food
It’s also time to get back to eating healthier, especially now that the holidays are over. (I don’t even want to think about the food I ate in December!) And expand the types of food I cook. Chicken and rice can only be made so many different ways.

Writing
Writing has become very important to me as has this blog. I’d like to write more often and build a consistent schedule of posts. (I’ve been doing well this week, haven’t I?)

Dancing
You know, this has become such an integral part of my life, and I sometimes take it for granted. I want to make it a more deliberate part of my life again, and I want to become a better dancer. I want to dance more – go to more group classes and more parties at the studio. I don’t always make a priority of the group classes, and they are really good and fun to go to. I also want to work on things on my own that I can do on my own, like Cuban motion exercises.

Creative hobbies
I’d like to bake more and try new recipes. Keep going with my grandma’s recipes and try those. I’d like to do more knitting – maybe try mittens – and maybe learn to crochet too.

Relationships
I think I need to take a more active part in dating too. Meaning actually trying to meet people.

Money
I think I have one final hurdle to overcome in terms of managing my money as well as I’d like too. So my goal this year is to tackle that hurdle. If I can do it, I’ll reward myself with some of the money I’ve saved.

Mental health
It’s going to be important to continue to work on avoiding the thinky place. I’ve made great progress, but I still have some work to do on it. I have a feeling this will always be something to work on for me.

***
I guess my ultimate goal is this:

peace

Thanks, Michelle, for the image! It sums up perfectly what I ultimately aim for. That, and to make the day better for people I meet each day.

Here’s hoping 2013 is all that we all want it to be. Cheers!

2012 roundup

31 Dec

2012 was a good year for me.

*I moved out of my parents’ house and back to my beloved city.

*I went to my first Dance-O-Rama. It was a great experience, although difficult at the time, and I can’t wait until I can do another one.

*I had a rhythm dance dress made for me.

*When 2012 started, I was 3 weeks into a new job, which I really liked. And I still like it a lot, and I’m still learning a ton.

*I started knitting much more. And have made some nice things.

finished-cowl

baby-blanket

*I started running, and ran two 5Ks, including this one.

*I found an old cocktail book and have been making great old cocktails from it.

burkes-cocktail-guide

I did the same with some recipes from my grandmother my dad found.

*I made some crafty things, and they turned out OK.

jewelry-holders

wall-quotes

hair-dryer-storage

*My dancing has improved A LOT this year, especially in the last three months.

***
In terms of the goals I made at the beginning of the year:

*Better physical health? Yep. I lost more weight, getting within 10 pounds of my goal. (I have gained 5 in the last month, but we won’t talk about that yet.) I was eating a lot better (until the last month, but we’ll ignore that for now.)

*Better mental health and a most positive outlook? I think so. I’ve tried to be more positive and to not go thinky. A few people have commented that they’ve noticed a difference in my attitude.

*I went to a Dance-O-Rama, I’ve not been as thinky about dance, I’ve done more creative things like baking and knitting, and I’ve continued with my blogging.

***
Speaking of my blog, here are some interesting stats.

*In the past year, most of my views came from the US with England, Canada (Hi DG!), and Australia (Hi KP!) next.

*My most viewed post is one I did on Quicken vs Mint.com, followed by infusing vodka, and pear chocolate cake. Money, alcohol and food.

*The most common search term used that drives people to my blog is “mint.com vs quicken” (or some variation of that) followed by “pear chocolate cake”, and “handle of Svedka”. Money, food, and alcohol. Sense a pattern yet?

***
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what my goals for 2013 are. Til then, be safe tonight!

Weekly roundup

3 Jan

Last week:

*Survived Christmas with my family – barely.

*Fell into a funk that I think was depression and it made me wonder if I even matter to the world and to the people I know.

*Got to have a cocktail at home!

*Shared my secret to infusing awesome flavors into vodka.

*Had the week off work to relax.

*Realized that my family history adds to my inability to trust compliments and that I don’t know how to ask for help when struggling.

*Worked out 4 out of 6 days last week – YAY!

*Recapped my year.

*Went out for New Year’s eve for the first time in 15 years.

*Wrote my resolutions I mean things I want to refocus on.

*Got bit by a dog at daycare. Luckily he didn’t break the skin, but I have a lovely purple and yellow bruise on my arm.

*Baked cookies.

*Spent most of the week in the thinky place.

*Caught a cold.

Resolutions, I mean refocus

2 Jan

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. To me, resolution has a somewhat negative tone to it. Somewhat like I’m going to bunker down and trod through this god-awful task. No wonder people break their resolutions all the time.

I prefer to think of New Year’s as a time to reset myself. It’s a chance to refocus on the areas I want to pay attention to. I still may break that focus, but to me, refocusing is a much more positive light. Besides, as we all know, I can end up in the thinky place way too easily and have a hard time with high standards for myself, so thinking of it as a refocusing avoids that trap.

So for 2012, here are the things I would like to refocus on.

1. Physical health
This includes eating and working out. I’ve drifted a bit from my eating plan that I’m on to lose the last 10 pounds. Starting tomorrow, I would like to refocus on that and follow it more closely, thus allowing me to lose the last 10 pounds. I have to lose that weight, because as I’ve mentioned before, there is something in me that makes me afraid of that success. I need to succeed to overcome that.

I would like to refocus on working out. I feel so much better mentally when I do that. And it will benefit my health in the long run. And it will improve my dancing too. I also know that an object in motion stays in motion while an object at rest stays at rest. For me, if I’m up and moving and doing things, I’m happier and have more energy. If I’m sitting on my ass and watching TV for great periods of time, I get depressed and thinky. So working out is almost a must for me. (Interesting that it’s so hard for me to go do though.) In the last week, I went to the gym four out of six days, which is awesome. I know I can’t go that often once I go back to work tomorrow, but I have it scheduled three times a week. So I would like to shoot for those three times.

2. Mental health
As I said, working out will help with this. I also would like to just switch back to a more positive mindset. I’ve spent a lot of the last week pondering what’s wrong with me and my life. Yesterday, I reread my second blog post ever which talked about what’s going well in my life, and I read the one about life being 90% attitude and 10% what happens to you. Both were great reminders of the positive things in my life. I also chatted via IM with my friend SS. In our conversation, she just asked me in passing “What you looking forward to this year? Any travel/daytrips planned? events, competitions?” And that little question really helped me shift my thoughts. Instead of brooding about the bad things, it made me think about what I have to look forward to in 2012.

So although I’m Irish and therefore tend towards the melancholy, I would like to refocus and remember the positive things. And although I don’t have any particular answers about the impact I have on the universe, I’m going to choose to believe I have one.

3. My mother
As you know, my mother and I are not alike. I am much more like my father. This can lead to tension between my mother and me, especially when she gives me the lecture on being a bad daughter. But I also realize that she’s 74 and in not-so-good health. I mean, she’s not dying. But she probably won’t be around too terribly long. I know that sounds harsh, but she has lots of health issues. So I would like to try to give her more of what she wants in a daughter without sacrificing who I am. So last night, I sat with her and watched some football games and Masterpiece, instead of watching it alone. I think she appreciated it. I also tried to make more conversation with her. Not a ton, but more than I had been. It goes back to recognizing the responsibility I have in the relationships with my family. And I would like to step up and do my share.

4. Other stuff
The rest of it is kinda smaller stuff. I really hope I can go to a Dance-O-Rama this year; it’s looking possible but I can’t commit yet.

I’m going to continue dancing and improving and would like to try to not get to the thinky place. I would like to work on believing that I am a very talented dancer. (For some reason, I intellectually know that and can write it, but emotionally I struggle to believe that.)

I would like to really get into my new job and learn a lot and make a difference there.

I would like to continue with my creative outlets and do more baking and knitting. Maybe try knitting mittens. I’d love to learn to crochet too. I would like to expand my beadweaving skills and do more of that.

I would like to move out when my parents sell their house this year, and I would like to move back to my old neighborhood and to a place that I can afford and can keep dancing.

I would like to continue my blog and maybe increase my readership.

And I would like to make and maybe sell to friends my infused vodka.

And lastly, I would love to win this giveaway! Savory Simple is a great blog I follow. I love her writing and her food. The recipes are super easy too. You should check it out!

What are you going to refocus on in 2012? What does 2012 hold for you? I hope it’s a great year for all of you.

New year’s eve

1 Jan

I went out for New Year’s eve for the first time in about 15 years.

When I was married, TD and I would sometimes go to a friend’s house for a party of about 25 people involving lots of food and blackjack. We stopped doing that because we weren’t having that much fun at those parties, and it was nice to just stay home. We ended up with a custom of getting really good Chinese food and watching movies. In hindsight, it was relaxing and maybe a bit boring, especially for an extrovert like TD.

Once we divorced, I had a great dog that had separation anxiety, so I had to stay in on New Year’s eve. I also had few friends post-divorce, so it was actually fine. It was nice for me to have that excuse of my dog to avoid finding plans.

I personally believe, to a certain extent, that New Year’s is a lot like Valentine’s Day…a lot of societal pressure to do something and to go out. Both are overrated holidays, in my opinion.

But this year, I was faced with not really wanting to stay home with my parents on New Year’s, and I got two invitations that I couldn’t really turn down. First, my friend LS from the dance studio decided to have a party because she was tired of going out and always getting the creepy guy hitting on her. I thought that going to her place and hanging out with friends would be great. Then a bunch of other friends from the studio decided to go to the Eagles Club for dinner and dancing and they invited me. Knowing that I love dancing, they knew I had no reason not to go.

So I then had two places to go to…and me who hasn’t been out for New Year’s in years! And of course, we were supposed to get a winter storm that night too.

Given the funk I’ve been in for the past week, I wasn’t too sure about any of it. Yesterday I had a dance lesson that initially was totally helping lift me out of the thinky place. My teacher decided that we should have a lesson of just dancing through stuff. We did all the opens: first waltz – went well, including randomly improving a turn that’s been killing me. No idea what I was doing differently, just started doing it differently and it’s so much better. Then tango – went well! Then foxtrot – went well. There is one turn I mentioned that I’d like to work on. It feels awkward and I think we haven’t worked on it because Nate is turning at the same time and therefore can’t see me. Then viennese waltz – went well. Then rumba – we’ve been working on upgrading it (“choreographically upgraded”), and yesterday was the first time we did it to music. It went pretty well! We were pleased.

And then – you guessed it – my nemesis triple swing. I had performed it at a practice party a few weeks ago, and it went GREAT. I got compliments on it. My teacher got comments on how well I did. So we ran it yesterday, and disaster. OK, not disaster, but I missed a few steps and it was not as good as it has been. This of course sent me to the thinky place immediately. And I really started beating myself up about it. We did cha cha after that, and that went well. But I was stuck on the swing open. I left the studio almost in tears because of it.

I had to go to my part-time job to do a few things after my lesson, and I talked to my friend SR while I was there. I was telling her all this and how I really just wanted to go crawl in a hole and stay there for a while but that I didn’t want to spend New Year’s at home with my parents. She told me that if I went out, I’d have fun and feel much better. She pointed out that I could leave whenever I wanted to, and she offered to call me with an “emergency” if I sent her a text asking for that. I realized she was right and I should just suck it up buttercup and go.

So I did. (Only after I got a lecture from my mother as I was leaving about going out in such awful weather which really wasn’t that bad and wearing a short skirt that would give boys the wrong idea.)

And you know what? I had fun. The dinner was pretty good (prime rib!), and the drinks were cheap. The band was great. And although I was with friends who were in couples, the guys did a good job of making sure everyone danced. So I didn’t sit out too much. I started to get tired around 10, and I wanted to stop by LS’s party, so I left. Got to LS’s, talked to a few people there, and left around 11:15. Home by 11:45, which was perfect!

I still have remnants of the funk I’ve been in. And I’m still in the thinky place. But I had a productive day. And I need to remember that an object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest. All week I’ve been very low energy which has made it difficult to get motivated. But today I was and got some stuff done. Kinda ready to continue it tomorrow. Then back to work on Tuesday which should help get me back on track fully.

I probably wouldn’t have gone out if I hadn’t had that conversation with SR. And I’m glad I went out. So thanks, SR, for holding up the mirror for me and telling me to stop being a whiny baby (my words, not hers). We all need friends like that.

Happy new year!

1 Jan

Happy new year!!

I hope that 2012 brings you and all of us happiness and joy, great health in body and mind, time with amazing friends, and a calmness and peacefulness about life. You all deserve a fantastic year!!

2011 in review

30 Dec

I saw this questionnaire on a blog I read “So It Goes.” I thought it was interesting and thought-provoking, so I thought I’d do it here as a review of my 2011. (By the way, if you haven’t read it, you should read that blog. She’s so inspiring. She’s in college and fights an eating disorder. She’s really amazing, check her out.)

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Danced bolero. And online dating.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Somewhat. I kept all of them to a certain extent, but not all of them all the time. I think I’m going to look at 2012 as a fresh start, not a time for resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My friend EF gave birth to her first child. A girl named Alison.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My aunt (and godmother) Irene. She was my dad’s sister-in-law.

5. What countries did you visit?
Um, none.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Better progress on my issues.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 29 – the date that marked two years since I last talked to Mr Big.
July 31 – the date I started this blog.
September 20 – my 40th birthday.
December 6 – the date I started my new job.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting a new job that I love, managing my money better, and improving my dancing.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Letting the craziness and the thinky place win at times.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just the usual headaches and colds. Nothing major, thank God.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My dance dress!!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
What? Weird question.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Another odd question.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Dance.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Dancing for the first time in my new dance dress.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
“Someone Like You” by Adele and “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier in general, sadder this particular week.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner
c) richer or poorer? The same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Going out with friends. And having an occasional cocktail.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying and spending time in the thinky place.

20. How will you be spending New Year’s?
With friends.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
No.

22. How many one-night stands?
None.

23. What was your favourite TV program?
The Big Bang Theory, Dancing with the Stars, How I Met Your Mother, and Masterpiece.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No, I don’t hate people.

25. What was the best book you read?
Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Team of Rivals

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Nothing in particular, just the general new music that the Current plays.

27. What did you want and get?
My dance dress and more dancing.

28. What did you want and not get?
More money. And true love.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Super 8.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 40! I spent the night at the dance studio, dancing with my friends.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Hmm, not exactly sure. Overall it was a pretty good year. Maybe exercise more?

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Oh that’s a tough one. Hmmm. Pretty classic, I think.

33. What kept you sane?
Writing, knitting, baking, dancing, reading.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Not sure.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I don’t really get involved in politics. Gay marriage is one issue that kinda stirred me. (I’m all for it, by the way.)

36. Who did you miss?
Mr Big.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Hmmm. In person? Not sure if I met anyone new. At work, through my new job, I met my new boss who is smart and who I’ll learn a lot from. On the interwebs, probably Terra at Arthur Murray Woodland Hills.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Oh wow, far too many to mention in one little post!

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I can’t really think of one particular song that sums up 2011 for me.

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