Saturday, December 31, 2011

In 2012, I Resolve To...

New Year's Resolutions are not typically my thing. I like to periodically look at my life and try and work on making it better without a calendar date to tell me it's time.
This year, my goal-setting and the new year happen to coincide. 
I've got a couple of different resolutions that relate to each other well. Before I go into that, I'd like to say how pleased I am with my self that I don't have those typical "lose 50 pounds" or "quit smoking" resolutions. I was going to try and lose about 5 pounds and get into better shape, but thanks in part to and, I did that in December. Now it's just keeping up the fitness and maintaining the weight for me. So, not really a resolution. But I do have a few that may sound familiar to you. In no particular order, in 2012, I resolve to: 
  • Simplify
This relates mainly to my volunteer work. I am determined to find a way to make it what I want it to be so I can spend less energy doing things that don't excite me. It's not always about having the time to do these things, it's also about having the energy to devote to it. The more energy I devote to volunteering for stuff I don't want to do, the less I have to spend on the fun stuff. 
Simplifying can also relate to the other ways in which I'm already working on simplifying: my home decor, wardrobe, diet, schedule, etc. 
  • Water My Lawn
I saw this post on Pinterest the other day and it fits me well right now:

Not that I'm about to jump ship or anything, but every now and then the day to day of hum-drum life seems just a bit blah. A bit unfulfilling. I think it's natural for the mind to wonder what if. To look outside of ourselves for validation and worthiness. So- I resolve to water my own lawn.
I've got tons of great stuff going right now. Seeing what I have and appreciating it is great and needed, but I've got to do more. I've got to "bring it." Nurturing the parts of my life that nourish and fulfill me. Things I will "water":
My health- continuing to exercise and eat well and take vitamins. Keeping up with good habits and being generally loving toward myself.
As taking care of myself is quite important, I've also got to give some love to those that love me back.
My family- From the outside, my husband and I have a great relationship and really, we do. Being human, we do have things we need to work on. When I'm feeling less than fulfilled in marriage, I will often look to my husband, thinking up ways he can improve and picking at things that just don't seem like enough. This year, I'm going to work to shift my awareness here. Sure, there's things that I want to be different, but what am I bringing to the table, here? If I don't bring myself 110% to the marriage/ family/ household picture, there's no way the grass on this side will be greener. Then what? go to the "other side" and fuck up that grass? No way.
Along with that, bringing more of myself as a parent to my daughter is a 2012 plan of mine. If my daughter is acting like a turd, it's likely because I haven't yet done a good enough job of teaching and modeling how not to be a turd. (Not that she's a rotten kid or anything, but she is a kid.)
For me this year, watering my own lawn looks like bringing more of the best parts of me to my family. They are the ones who help me thrive and they deserve more of the best of me.

  • Save Money For Eurotrip 2012
So, we bought our tickets to Europe! This effectively drained our bank accounts. If we don't do a great job with focus and savings in the next 6 months or so, our Europe trip will look like this: We fly to Berlin and hang out for 3 weeks at a friends house, eating rice and beans and wandering aimlessly on foot 'cause we're dead broke. We'd rather our trip look more like this: Some visiting in Berlin, travel to Paris, South to the French Mediterranean, Over to the Swiss and/or Bavarian Alps [hiking!], Cruise down the Rhine and head back up to Berlin all the while tasting wines and beers and chocolates and cheeses and touring museums and castles with the possibility of a night at the Moulin Rouge in Paris and a night at a rock concert in Berlin. 
While we could have fun either way, I'd rather my first ever overseas trip look more like the latter. 
So, how do we save? We really live a fairly frugal lifestyle. That said, there are ways we can cut back a little more. We do tend to dine out more than we need to. Even if we choose to go to restaurants, we can make little changes like splitting a meal (T and I used to do that a lot) and ordering water instead of wine with dinner. 
We've spent quite a bit of money and energy in the past couple of years on home improvement projects. At least for 2012, we can ease off the house projects and send that money to the bank for our trip. 
Of course, any "found money" or spare cash, or if by chance, we get a decent tax return, that will go to saving for the trip as well. 
We are fairly good at saving and "telling our money where to go" so I'm confident we can do it, we just need to keep reminding ourselves of our goals. 

Along with these 3 resolutions, I've got some minor goals of nurturing friendships and not stressing so much about things that I can't change, refocusing my business goals and that sort of thing. Lils starts kindergarten in 2012 so it's overall going to be a big year! 

With that said, Happy New Year! 
I hope 2012 is the best year yet for you and yours. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Survived the Holidays!

Christmas is officially over at my house. It ended when Lils and I took down the tree today and shoved it out the front door. It will look lovely in the New Year's Eve conflagration on Saturday. 

For all my grumpiness around the holidays, I actually did quite well this year.
I managed to Christmas shop without breaking the bank. I've got a marketable skill as a massage therapist and am convinced that a good massage is all anyone really wants for Christmas. I hit up a couple of local business owners and bartered gift certificates to gift shops, boutiques, and even a hair salon. I even gave some massage gc's directly to some people who I know would use them. There's a good gift at little cost to me. We also gave out cookies and cranberry chutney to folks. I even baked some gluten free cookies for those people in our life that eat that way.
So, as the gift giving tends to be the most stressful part of the holidays for me, I am happy to report that it went quite well this year! Kiddo's best gift from us was a handmade doll changing table. For $10 at the thrift store, we got this:

 And turned it into this:

I love that she is still at that age where the biggest gift she asks for can be got for very little. We were pretty proud of ourselves for making it, too. 

I feel like I made out well this year, stressed way less than usual, and didn't go broke trying to make things just right for everyone. 
For now, I will look to 2012 with great anticipation. We bought our airfare to Europe as a gift to ourselves this year. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Letting Go and Simplifying...

I'm trying to simplify my life these days. Eating better, exercising more. I think I finally figured out a work schedule I can be happy about. I'm even working on simplifying my wardrobe, little by little: a few practical things that I can mix and match; giving away the clothes that I don't wear. I have dreams of simplifying my home decor but am coming up against some opposition from the lovely people that live with me.
The biggest thing that clutters my thoughts (and home) these days is my responsibility to the ski club. I love to help the club, I can be effective in my role with them, but I know I took on more than I'd like. When they made me president of the board, I was torn between feeling honored (It's the oldest ski club in America, after all) and the feeling of "oh shit, what am I getting into, now?"
8 months ago, I told the board that I wanted to let go of my role as president. Yeah, that didn't happen. Now,  I'm searching for ways to let it go without hurting the club too badly. I've got an idea of my ideal role with them: Local fundraising, community contact, web presence, helping with events, connection to club members, that sort of thing. Somehow the stuff that I'd love to do gets pushed aside in favor of the things I need to do: chasing paperwork, communicating with the state (our trails are on state land), helping with grants, being the go-to person for everything else with the club. ugh. How do I let go of the stuff I don't want to do in favor of the things that excite me about being involved with the club?
I've let the rest of the board know that I'd rather not do these things. No one else is keen on taking it over, though. Some days, I just want to walk away from it all. Then my sense of responsibility kicks in and I concede to sticking around a while longer. My current goal is to make things simple and streamlined enough for the next person to be able to just step into the role without too much difficulty. Simplifying my job so I can let it go to simplify my life. Sounds complicated...
Meanwhile, I hope for snow so we can open the trails for the season!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Few Odd Things That Made Me Chuckle Today

Kiddo asked me how to break into buildings, 'cause she "might want to do that someday." OK then.

We went to a Christmas theme park today. There was the usual holiday- themed stuff: mechanical sleighs, elves, gingerbread cookies. All fun for the little ones.
There was also this one-antlered reindeer:
 There were a few of these, and for no good reason, I was cracking up inside. 

Another silly one: A dinosaur with a puffin (or penguin?) head and another with antlers. What the...?

Well, that was silly. 
It was a COLD day for wandering around a theme park and I found myself emphatically saying no to any ride that seemed it may have any speed for fear of wind chill.
Days like this make me especially grateful for my hot tub. What a lovely way to warm up. It was a crisp clear night out there. Perfect for star-gazing. We even got to see a few shooting stars; likely leftovers from the Geminid meteor showers. 
Yep, life is good. Strange at times, but still good. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surviving These Holidays.

So I wrote a post last week about how much I dislike the holidays. Then it got deleted. It was a great post and I'm not going to attempt to re-create it.
I do get all weird and grumpy during the holidays, but I'm doing a few things to combat my inner Grinch and they seem to be helping.

  •  I'm giving in- the Mr and Mini Me really dig Christmas so I decided to surrender to it. I went along with getting the tree and didn't whine too bad when they wanted one that was bigger than the 3 foot tall balsam fir I was keen on. We saw a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet and it was actually really lovely. We've been watching Christmas movies. (Well, I've been cruising Pinterest while they watch movies.) 
  • Handmade stuff that I want to make. I've been able to leave the paper snowflakes and gingerbread cookies to the others while I focus on the mindlessness of handmade paper bows and the culinary delight that is my cranberry chutney.
  • I surrendered (a bit) to the commercialism of the season. I went shopping. This year, I was lucky enough to have some good friends along for the shopping day. They are the type of friends that can talk me into or out of buying just about anything. Sometimes, that's just what I need. Plus, we got to have a big yummy lunch out. I live for lunch with my girlfriends.
  • I've been working out. Not too extreme, but exercise is a great way for me to combat the doldrums of the season and I'm doing a bit more than usual these days. Hooray for endorphins! 
You won't catch me caroling around town any time soon, but I am finding ways to be less grumpy for the holidays. Who knows? Maybe someday I'll actually look forward to the season.

Until then, Here's my favorite Christmas song ever: