Tag Archives: goals

A Hard Time

I am having a hard time right now thinking of anything to write about.

To blog about, first of all. I think about things in my life I can blog about and then remember that I already have. I could blog about my trip to New York over Memorial Day weekend and how I saw Come From Away, Waitress, and Anastasia, plus ate some great food, but would that post really be much different from this post, or this one, or this one? I guess I can always do my Song of the Moment and Playlist of the Moment posts and pick up I Read Books again. I suppose there will always be movies and TV shows to write about. I could keep doing the Links of the Week, and I’m sure at some point I will, but those will inevitably include current events, which are just depressing me right now.

It’s a too-familiar feeling, this type of depression. What’s happened, you ask? Well, nothing. Nothing is happening. I still don’t have the three things I want the most. I still fear things staying the same. I still wonder if I really deserve love. I’m still not a very nice person. I’m still lonely. I’m still searching for someone to tell my stories to.

It’s all been done.

I’m having a hard time thinking of anything to write about outside of this blog. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I became a writer who doesn’t write. I’ve lost confidence in the ideas I have, lost faith in the idea that I could ever really write something that other people would enjoy.

I am having a hard time making myself do the things I know I should do: write, cook, exercise, go to bed early, socialize. I am having a hard time accomplishing any of the goals I’ve set for myself. I am having a hard time looking at myself in the mirror, or at happy couples I see in public. I am having a hard time being happy for anyone who finds love or has a baby. I am having a hard time taming the negative thoughts raging inside me.

I am having a hard time right now.

My 2016

Objectively, a lot of really terrible things happened in 2016. Violence, war, terrorism, natural disasters, the deaths of many beloved celebrities, and, of course, the election of a fascist Cheeto.

For me personally, though, this was actually a very good year. Although it wouldn’t take much for this to be a better year than last, honestly, considering that in 2015 I lost my apartment in a fire and, as you could probably tell from this post, was suffering from some pretty intense depression. Three days after Christmas last year, I started taking EffexorXR, and on New Year’s Day, I started feeling more like myself again. And thus began a much better year for my personal life.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that happened this year:

  • I completed the Insanity workout and tried some workouts I’d never done before, like Bodypump.
  • I saw Les Mis on Broadway one more time as well as A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder right before it closed.
  • I saw Ramin Karimloo in concert three times- twice in Indianapolis in March and once in New York City in July.
  • I saw The Sound of Music and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (again) in Boston.
  • Over the course of the month of April, I ran 100 miles.
  • I went to New York and saw Hamilton (with the original cast!), Waitress, She Loves Me, and Bright Star.
  • I had my ten-year college reunion in June. It was wonderful- I got to see a bunch of friends I don’t get to see enough, including Christina, Jon, Steph, and Jackie. It was just as much fun as the five year, although there was the weirdness of seeing how many people have kids now. (There were some “WTF? She had a BABY?!” moments.)
  • I did an open-water swim, which had been on my bucket list for years.
  • I got an unexpected but quite welcome promotion and raise at work, and I also got a bonus for some extra work that fell on my plate over the summer. I continue to be happy with my job and coworkers, people seem happy with my work, and I’m actually kind of shocked at how little I miss publishing.
  • Since this was the first full summer I spent at my apartment, I got to take advantage of the nice pool my complex has.
  • I went to my friend Caroline’s lovely wedding in Connecticut.
  • I went to Zimbabwe, with a bit of Botswana and Dubai, with my friends.
  • Erin and I joined a kickball league in the fall, which was fun. It also enabled me to go to a fun Halloween party, where I dressed as a tree.
  • tree
  • I continued to sing in my chorus, volunteer at the soup kitchen, and be involved in my church’s young adult group.
  • For the first time, I sang with the choir in a Christmas concert at my church.
  • I’m keeping my apartment tidier and cleaner than I used to. I still have work to do, but I’ve come a long way.
  • I read a LOT. 108 books, to be exact, almost twice as many as last year. Thank you, longer commute. I’ll blog about those books in more detail in a future post.
  • I made a lot of good food, although not as often as I would have preferred.
  • Towards the end of the year, I saw a lot of good movies.
  • I watched, or finished, Making a Murderer, Friday Night LightsThe People vs. O.J. Simpson,  Stranger Things, Fuller House, The Path, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Catastrophe, One Mississippi, and Outlander. I also got hooked on This Is Us and Full Frontal.
  • I had a lot of fun times with friends and family.

So, what DIDN’T happen this year?

I wish I had better news about dating, but…I don’t. Dating continued to suck this year, and I still have moments of loneliness and despair. The best thing I can say about it is that I’m not giving up.

I surprisingly did not do any road races at all this year. Next year, I’m aiming for another half-marathon.

Despite starting off strong, I did not exercise as much as I wanted to.

I obviously did not blog as much as I wanted to.

And I’ve fallen out of writing fiction, which I’m sad about.

So those are all things I’ll work on changing next year. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the state of the world, but I hope to keep the state of the world around me doing well.

Look Forward

This was not a good year for me by any stretch of the imagination.

And honestly, it’s only partly because of the fire. While that sucked, it’s pretty much behind me now. What’s not behind me is the persistent loneliness that was the dominant feeling of this year.

I remember back in 2008, I had a coworker who lost her apartment in a fire remarkably similar to mine– it was a fire that was caused by someone else’s cigarette, it killed one person, she had renter’s insurance, and her apartment wasn’t damaged as badly as the others, although she still had to move out. At the time, I felt so bad for her. Now that I’ve been through it myself, I find myself envying her, because there is one key difference between her experience and mine: she was (and still is) married. I had to go through the whole thing alone.

A few days ago, someone asked me who I call when I have a bad day. The question surprised me, because…I don’t call anyone when I have a bad day. Like, it doesn’t even occur to me to call anyone. And I realized that it’s something that people in good relationships take for granted: that when they have a bad day, someone will be there for them.

I might never have that.

The year certainly had its bright spots (my new job is definitely one of them), but overall, I spent too much of this year very unhappy. I’m doing my best to make changes in my life, although I know there’s no guarantee that I’ll be successful in making those changes.

But if I had to tell you one thing I’ve learned from this year, it’s this: it’s important to give yourself things to look forward to.

Buy a ticket to that thing you love. Plan a trip. Sign up for a race. Take a class. Mark your calendar for when that book/movie/TV show comes out. Do what you need to do to keep yourself going.

Because when your future seems uncertain, when you don’t know if your life will ever turn out the way you want it to, when it seems like all the good things in your life are behind you, the best thing you can do is give yourself a reason to look forward.

Produce More, Consume Less

 

I cannot believe I’ve let this much of January get away from me without blogging. This definitely does not fit in with my goals for the year, which include a lot of things I want to do with this space. But more on that later.

 

My tendency is to aim high and make too many goals for the year so that when I look back and see what I’ve accomplished and it’s more than half of them, I can shrug and say, “Eh, not half-bad…literally.” The thing is, though, there are always so many things I want to do and so little time (which reminds me of the Willy Wonka quote in the video up there). I want to write fiction: short stories, the novel I started, another novel I’ve had rattling around in my brain. I want to redesign this blog and have more posts and regular features and just generally do more with Pure Bright Fire than I’m currently doing. I want my writing to be published on other sites. I want to exercise more, cook more, and eat healthier. I want to volunteer and do more with my church and donate platelets more often. I want to travel and spend more time with my friends. I want to read a lot of books and watch a lot of movies and binge-watch a lot of shows. Oh, and I also have to work and hopefully get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

 

I’ve found that a lot of bloggers, rather than New Year’s Resolutions, pick a word that’s their word for the year, something they want to focus on. I can’t do that because I can’t decide on a word, funnily enough. But as I was pondering what I want to do in this new year, a certain phrase popped into my head and I can’t get it out: “Produce more, consume less.”

 

Now, that doesn’t quite work for all my goals–exercise doesn’t really produce anything except sweat– but it’s fitting enough that I’m keeping it as a mantra of sorts.

 

I want to produce more fiction, more writing for other sites, more content for this blog and produce a new design.

 

I want to consume less of the useless crap I read on the Internet- especially when I decide to raise my blood pressure by reading comment sections.

 

I want to produce more of my own food- cooking healthy things, trying new recipes.

 

I want to consume less sugar, junk food, and takeout.

 

It doesn’t work so well for exercise, like I said, and time with friends, traveling, and other fun things don’t really fall into easy produce/consume categories. And there are definitely more books, movies, and TV shows I want to consume, but I want my media consumption to lead me to produce good writing.

 

But it works well enough that I’m going to try to abide by it. We’ll see how I do.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

The first couple of weeks of 2014 have been kind of nuts. If things don’t change, it’s shaping up to be the year of other people losing my stuff.

New Year’s Eve was fun- I went with some friends to the Harpoon Beer Hall. However, the first couple of hours of 2014 sucked because the Harpoon’s coat check? Lost my coat. Someone else must have taken it by accident when they brought it back from the coat check, so they ended up sending me home in a Harpoon sweatshirt. Long walk back to the T on a freezing cold night- it was not fun. They did say they’d pay me back for a new coat, and I’ll take them up on that, but even though I know there are a lot of worse things than this, I’m pissed. I LIKED THAT COAT.

Then the following week I went to San Francisco for my company’s sales meeting. Getting out there was a bit of a mess. The airline delays that week were all over the news. We were supposed to fly out Monday morning, but after that flight was canceled, and the second flight we had booked resulted in us having go back into the terminal where we would have taken the first flight to get our canceled tickets and therefore waiting in a really long line and missing our flight (deep breath), we ended up having to take new flights Tuesday afternoon, arriving in San Francisco Tuesday night and missing a whole day of the conference. I didn’t want to check my bag, but I was in the last boarding group and they pulled the whole we’re-out-of-overhead-space thing (once I was on the plane, I could see that there was actually plenty of room) and made me check my bag, telling me it would be waiting for me at the gate when we landed.

It was not. I didn’t get my bag back until Thursday morning. I’m actually surprised I got it back that soon. I was not very happy during the period of time I didn’t have it.

The actual trip went well. I got to see Jenna and Mikey for the first time in almost a year! I also got an award for making my sales goal, and my flight back was great- I even had an empty seat next to me. (I’m weird and like long plane rides.)

Sooo, things have been busy and occasionally nuts, which is why I’m just getting around to writing this now.

2013! There were some really terrible things that happened this year. My uncle died suddenly in May. There was the marathon bombing and its aftermath in April.

But when 2012 ended, I said I felt like I’d spent a lot of the year in a state of blah. I definitely do not feel that way about 2013. I got shit done this year! As much as I would have liked to? No, definitely not. Dating was one disappointment after another (although I did put forth a lot of effort). I was really inconsistent with sleep, diet, and exercise and therefore am still fat. I never did that open-water swim. But here are some of the things I got done this year:

  • I did a lot more writing, completing several short stories and having one short story accepted for publication. My Grub Street class was a lot of fun.
  • I traveled to Europe for the first time ever and had a fantastic time. England and Ireland were just wonderful.
  • I also went to Marco Island and had another fantastic time lounging on the beach with my friends.
  • Work. This was not the weirdest year of my professional career, but it’s definitely in the top three, for reasons that it would not behoove me to get into on a public blog. Bottom line, though: the year ended with me making 132% of my sales goal and getting a nice bonus, so that was pretty awesome.
  • I did Run to Home Base and the Tufts 10K for Women.
  • And I did all the fun things I talked about here.

So what’s up for 2014?

  • I can’t guarantee that I’ll meet someone, this year or ever. But I will certainly keep trying.
  • I have gotten more involved in my church, and I’d like to continue that.
  • I’m open on where, but I’d like to take another fun vacation.
  • I’m thinking about volunteering as a writing tutor.
  • Finishing a collection of linked short stories I’m working on.
  • Getting more short stories published (or at least trying hard).
  • Making my sales goal again.
  •  Possibly another half-marathon, finally getting to that open water swim, and maybe a triathlon.
  •  More cooking.
  •  More reading (unofficially aiming for a book a week).
  •  More making good use of the Roku.
  •  More fun times with friends.
  •  Hopefully get a cat!

I turn thirty this year, too. Seeing as I’m still single, I don’t really like to think about that, so I won’t. (Wow, I wrote that right after I wrote about getting a cat.)

I’m going to have to move in 2014—my landlady told us awhile ago that she’d be vacating the property to do renovations after our lease is up. So, I hope, by June I will be living alone for the first time.

We’ll see where I am a year from now. Things right now aren’t bad, but I’m still hoping they’ll end up a lot better.

Some Good Things

It’s been a bit since my last post, and I’ll write about something more interesting pretty soon. Sometimes it’s hard to find things to write about when life is good. Which it is right now, I’m happy to report. Not because of one huge reason (I’m still single, sadly), but lots of things are going right lately. And it can be obnoxious to talk about how great your life is (see this article!), but on a blog about my life, I do want to share what’s going on with me.

So here are some reasons I’ve been happy lately:

-One of my goals for the year was to write more fiction, and I have. A long time ago, I used to try submitting short stories to magazines, but after awhile I just…stopped. Until this year, when I started submitting a couple of stories around. Recently, I found out that one of them was accepted! My short story “Things You Don’t Know I Know about You” is forthcoming in The Sierra Nevada Review, and it will be out in May. Yea!

-I made my sales goal at work, which means I’m getting a bonus in a couple of months.

-I completed a 10K yesterday and got a good time for me! I finished in 53:29, which is a 8:37 pace, faster than I usually run.

-I’ve been better lately about exercising and not eating crap.

-My roommate and I got a better Internet connection. I then joined Netflix, and then I bought a Roku. The Roku has massively improved my life. I’m now catching up with TV shows I should have been watching. Parks and Recreation is now one of my new favorites—I’ll do a post in the near future about everything I’ve been catching up with. Breaking Bad is probably next.

-But I’m not starting Breaking Bad until baseball is over because RED SOX IN THE ALCS WOO!

-It’s fall and the weather is lovely and I recently went apple picking because YEA NEW ENGLAND.

-I’ve picked up a little side project editing college essays for high school kids, and I’m enjoying it.

-The Boston Book Festival is coming up this weekend- I’ve meant to go every other year, but have always been busy. This is the first year I’m making it.

-BC’s football team still isn’t great, but they’re at least better than they were last year.

-I saw a great play called The Power of Duff last weekend. After I see a good play, it makes me want to see [Allie Brosh] ALL the theater! [/Allie Brosh] So maybe there’s more theater for me in the near future.

-Speaking of Allie Brosh, her book is coming out at the end of the month!

-My friends are awesome, although that’s not new.

-My furry friend is also awesome.

Happiness Is…

Something I do that I know I shouldn’t do: I judge the severity of your problems by whether or not you’re in a happy relationship.

There are some problems that are universally terrible- death, destruction, and serious illness or injury, and of course I sympathize with people suffering from these problems regardless of their relationship status.

But then there are normal generational angst problems. You lost your job, or you hate your job, or you didn’t get into the school you wanted to, or you don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You don’t like where you live, you’re living at home and hating it, or you’re having trouble finding an apartment or buying a house. You had a falling out with a friend, or you miss your friends, or someone else’s wedding is stressing you out, or you’re fighting with a relative.

If you have any of those problems and you’re also single (or even in a bad relationship), I sympathize with you. But if you’re happily in a relationship or engaged or married? I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I just can’t take your problems seriously. At the end of the day, you have someone to come home to whom you can talk to about it, who will comfort you and make you feel better. My problems might be the same as yours, but I don’t have anyone to come home to. If I ever lost my job, I wouldn’t have a significant other’s income to fall back on. I don’t have anyone with whom to buy a house or split the cost of a one-bedroom apartment. I don’t have someone who’s committed to being with me.

So there’s my ugly confession, and reading over it, it makes me sound really bitter. I’m not, I promise you. Like anyone, I have moments where I’m down, but the majority of the time, I choose to be happy. And happiness is, indeed, a choice and not a destination like some people make it out to be. You can’t spend too much time thinking about the future or, to paraphrase John Lennon, you miss the life that’s happening while you’re busy making other plans.

But recently, I took a step back and thought about my life and everything in it. I realized that the one unequivocally great thing in my life right now is my friends, who are amazing and fun and keep me sane.

With the rest of my life, though? There’s not really anything else in my life with which I’m completely satisfied. Nothing is really that bad (I guess things could always be worse as long as I’m not starving to death in an impoverished country), but nothing is at the place I hoped it would be by now. I still don’t have any of the three things I want the most. I’m writing more, but still not nearly as much as I want to. I’ve gained an insane amount of weight in the last year. I have trouble getting enough sleep. And my career goals are still in progress.

Life is short, and it’s time to start working harder to change things. When this year comes to a close, maybe things will be better. For now, I’m choosing to be happy, but I’m also choosing to move forward.

Obligatory New Year Post

Everyone is doing these year-summation and New Year’s resolution posts, but I find myself resisting that. Partly because, well, I’m not sure how I feel about 2012. It wasn’t a bad year but not a particularly good one, either. I kind of feel like I spent most of the year in a state of blah. There were so many things I should have been doing—dating, eating better, exercising more, writing, meeting my goals—but most of the time I opted to collapse in bed wasting time on the Internet instead.

Although, at least I can say that my time blogging didn’t fall into the “wasting time” category. I did meet my goal of posting 50+ times last year, and I had a lot of fun doing that and staying involved in 20sb.

So here we are, 11 days into 2013, and thankfully, I’m on my way to having a more productive year. And while I’m trying to get a lot done, I’m also trying to cut myself a bit of slack and not hate myself if I don’t meet those goals as fully as I’d like to, since that sometimes leads to giving up. Progress, in any form, would be a good thing. Here are some of the things I’m going to work on:

  • Dating. It would be so, so nice to be in a relationship with a guy I love. Dating sucks, and the longer I’m single the more discouraged I get, but I’m just keeping my eyes on the prize here.
  • Financial things, which I won’t bore you with.
  • Eating better. I’m not going to do some kind of detox like the 17-Day Diet I did last year, which did help me lose weight in the short term but which I wasn’t able to keep up. But I am keeping track of what I eat, cutting down on sugar, and cooking more.
  • Really committing to exercise. I’m taking a break from distance running for now, although I might do some shorter races this year. When I was training for my most recent half-marathon, I found myself dreading the runs on my schedule, which is a pretty good indicator that I’m not getting any joy from running. So while I’m still going to run sometimes, no races with double-digit miles for now. I am also trying to make it to the pool, the yoga studio, and the gym more often. I went to a boot camp class on Monday, will be going to Zumba tomorrow morning, and am making my way through Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred. (In more than 30 days, though—that whole cutting myself slack thing!)
  • Certain work-related goals that I’m not going to get into here.
  • I don’t talk about this much on the blog, but I have a church I go to that I really like and I’d like to get more involved with it.
  • Getting more organized. This is embarrassing to admit, but I’m a bit of a slob and more often than not, my bedroom looks like my closet threw up. I need to get rid of a lot of the shit I don’t need, too.
  • Getting more sleep. Amazingly, I’m already making progress at breaking my terrible habit of staying up late for no good reason, and I feel better already.
  • WRITE. I love writing fiction. Why have I been doing so little of it in recent years? I’m thinking about taking another Grub Streetclass as well.
  • And the most fun one—traveling to England and Ireland! I have never been to Europe and would love to change that. And I have some amazing friends who would be great travel buddies as well.

On a related note, recently, after hearing about it from several other bloggers, I completed the Joy Equation with Stratejoy. I’m kind of skeptical about self-helpy kinds of programs like that, but I really liked it and felt like my head was clearer once I finished it. It helped me zero in on the values that are important to me and give me a clearer idea of what I want my future to look like.

This is going to sound kind of vague, and I apologize, but 2012 was also a year where I kind of challenged some of the things I thought I wanted. For most of my twenties, I’ve been working toward certain things for my future that, I realized this year, I no longer think I want.

The summer right after my senior year of college, I was living on campus at the school I’d just graduated from, working one part-time job in the morning and another in the afternoon and then going back to the dorm room to search for jobs online until I went to bed. I had no idea what my future held in terms of jobs and living situations but did have a weird, completely unfounded faith that everything would work out—and it did. That summer ended with me finding a job and an apartment in an instance of absolutely perfect timing. I am kind of astounded when I look back at how optimistic I was when I was twenty-two. The faith I had in myself and in the future seemed to be completely unfounded and misplaced—but it wasn’t. And now I wonder if some of that belief is what actually created that future.

So now I’ve done something I’d previously been terrified of—imagining a life different from the one I’ve spent years imagining. Now that I’ve let go of something I’d held onto for way too long, weirdly enough, I don’t have any fear at all. I have two quotes from books I love that come to mind (and I’m pretty sure I’ve used both of them before on this blog):

“Not giving a shit, she decided, is like the defrost option on a car’s heater that miraculously unfogs the windshield, allowing you to see where you’re headed.”

-from Empire Fallsby Richard Russo

Not to say I don’t give a shit about anything, just no longer about things I shouldn’t.

“And when the event, the big change in your life, is simply an insight—isn’t that a strange thing? That absolutely nothing changes except that you see things differently and you’re less fearful and less anxious and generally stronger as a result: isn’t it amazing that a completely invisible thing in your head can feel realer than anything you’ve experienced before? You see things more clearly and you know that you’re seeing them more clearly. And it comes to you that this is what it means to love life, this is all anybody who talks seriously about God is ever talking about. Moments like this.”

-from The Correctionsby Jonathan Franzen

So that was all a really long, complicated way of saying something that I probably could have just said in the words of George Michael: “Cause I gotta have faith.” And that’s something I’m going to work on, too- while it’s important to take steps towards goals like I’m doing now, what’s also important is working on having more confidence, more hope, more faith that in the end, everything will work out.

New Year Reflections

Some years end and I feel like not all that much happened.

This year….yeah, a lot of stuff happened! And most of it was good. This was like my Energizer Bunny year—I just kept going and going, trying to accomplish as much as I could. Here’s some of what I did this year:

  • Got a new job that I really, really wanted.
  • Moved! I still live in the same neighborhood, but this new apartment is just a better living situation for me in every way.
  • Ran two half-marathons, one in Boston and one in Florida
  • Did a few other runs- the Harpoon 5-miler, the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, and the Jingle Bell Run 5K
  • Went to Disney World
  • Went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Got my wisdom teeth out. Please don’t kill me, those who have had painful wisdom teeth experiences, but my teeth were only on the top and not impacted, so getting them out was just like having any other teeth pulled. I was conscious through the procedure, didn’t take anything stronger than Advil, and went out to 90s Night the same day I had them out.
  • Joined the bone marrow registry
  • Had a fun Valentine’s Day with friends
  • Had the absolute best weekend of my life at my five-year college reunion
  • Went out to Vegas for Jon and Steph’s wedding, where I had a lot of fun and met a lot of cool people
  • Saw Celine Dion in concert!
  • Had a really fun birthday party back in July
  • Went to my cousin Ryan’s beautiful wedding by the ocean in South Dartmouth, MA
  • Played on my office softball team
  • Made some new friends at work
  • Went to Aruba with my family for the second time, and I crossed an item off my bucket list by going parasailing
  • Joined 20sb and discovered a great community and lot of great blogs
  • Continued singing in my chorus and had a couple of solos in the concerts
  • Did a lot of exploring around Boston—places like the Arboretum, the Boston Harbor Islands, Castle Island, and the Franklin Park Zoo
  • Did a day trip to Portland, Maine
  • Went to several churches of different denominations—this will be discussed in an upcoming post, because I’m still not quite done with the project
  • Somehow, without even trying, managed to break my bad habit of watching reruns of old TV shows when I could be doing something more productive
  • I am actually astounded at how much my anxiety has improved. It has been a long time since I had a major anxious freakout.

One bad thing that happened this year—I didn’t blog about this when it happened, but my paternal grandmother died at age ninety-three back in May. Thank you to Megan and Cat, who were with me in the T station after a softball game when I returned a call from my dad and found out. It was sad and I miss her, especially at family events. But she was a wonderful lady who had a great, fulfilling life. Her health had been declining and she really missed my grandfather—her husband of sixty-six years—who passed away in November of 2008. So as sad as it was, I’m at peace with it. And I do have to say, deaths in the family really make you reflect on the family you have. I am very lucky to have such a large extended family that I’m close to both literally and figuratively.

Some disappointments in the past year:

  • I HAVE GAINED SO MUCH WEIGHT. I weigh more now than I have ever weighed in my life. I know everyone says this, but this year I am going to try to make eating healthier, exercising more regularly, and cooking at home instead of eating out big focuses of my life.
  • While I blogged a lot more, I am still having trouble motivating myself to get back to my fiction writing. I don’t know why.
  • I wish I had more money saved, but at least the reason I don’t is that I spent it on some fun stuff last year—like going to Florida, Las Vegas, and my college reunion.
  • My trip to New York.
  • Dating! More than anything, I want to find the man I will spend the rest of my life with, but dating just sucks so much. I only went on about four first dates and two second dates in the last year, so in 2012 I’m going to try to step it up, but I am starting to wonder if there really is just no one out there I would be compatible with.
  • I do not get nearly enough sleep because I stay up late for no reason. This is another terrible habit of mine that I need to break, and it’s probably one reason why I gained so much weight this year.
  • The Killing. Lesson learned: do not blog about a show before the season finale. Worst season finale EVER! Everything they said had led us to believe that we’d find out who the killer was by the end of the season, but a last-minute loose end meant that we didn’t, and it annoyed the crap out of me.

I don’t know if I’m making any resolutions per se, but here are some things I’m aiming for this year:

  • Successfully completing the 17-Day Diet
  • Much more cooking and baking
  • Completing an open-water swim
  • Running another half-marathon in November
  • Making it to New York for a weekend without being interrupted by a hurricane
  • Taking trips to both Southern California and Washington DC
  • Adopting a cat! I have been an aspiring cat lady for years. I adore my roommate’s dog Juno, who has convinced me that for the rest of my life I’m always going to have to have pets, but if I’m getting my own pet, I will start with a cat because they don’t require quite as much time.

I do have to say that overall I am very happy and very lucky, and I do appreciate that. I have a lot to be grateful for.

Filling Up the Bucket

Today in “I’m a Moron”: you know that camera cable I was looking for so I could write this post? IT WAS IN MY CAMERA BAG. Duh.

Anyway: two weeks ago, I flew out to Las Vegas for Jon and Steph’s wedding. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I will say that their wedding was lovely. The vows they wrote were very sweet, the decor was beautiful (all in my favorite color, purple!) and the reception was just the right mix of classy and fun. They had appetizers themed after places that were significant to them (i.e. Sam Adams and Fenway Franks for Boston, Bass and mini fish and chips for London, etc.) and table numbers with numbers that had meaning to them. They also gave away flip flops to everyone at the reception for dancing and had both a photo booth and an Elvis impersonator who showed up for one song! Also, it was kind of a weird mix of people at the wedding– a handful of people I knew from college, but many more I didn’t: Jon’s friends from home, Steph’s friends from home, Steph’s friends from when she studied abroad in London, Steph’s friends from when she worked in London for a couple of years, Jon’s work friends in LA, Steph’s work friends in LA, their neighbors in LA…you get the picture. But they were all so much fun! After an awesome bachelorette party, a day spent by the hotel pool (part of it in a rented cabana), and an after-wedding trip to a club in the hotel, I made a lot of new friends. We’re all in a wedding Facebook group now and want to reunite to party again.

It was great to see Jon and Steph, whom I hadn’t seen in awhile, again. It was also awesome to spend more time with Christina- after not seeing her for almost two years, I saw her for two separate occasions in one month. We enjoyed staying in a lovely hotel, played some slots, went to a cool aquarium, and ate some great food.

Also, I crossed a couple of items off my bucket list.

You have a bucket list? you’re now saying. Why, yes, I do. Housekeeping detail: if you read this blog in Google Reader or another method that’s not directly on the site, I now have a new design (it was time for a change) and some new pages. One is on me, the other two are on my bucket list and my travel goals.

I first made the bucket list (which includes the travel goals) the summer after college, just a couple of months before I started this blog. I’ve only modified it a bit since then, and I’ve accomplished some of the items on it–living in Davis Square, traveling to places like Philadelphia and San Francisco, etc. Some items on it are totally do-able (taking a Spanish class, joining a book club, spending the whole day reading a novel); others are harder (becoming a best-selling author, attending an award show, owning a boat). The travel goals range from typical (London, Paris, Rome) to more quirky and Katie-specific (Washington Depot, CT, which inspired Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, and Quechee, VT, where I used to go skiing, in the summer rather than winter). As my life progresses, I will update you on which items have been accomplished.

So, what’s now been crossed off the list? Traveling to Vegas, first of all. But also?

I WENT TO A CELINE DION CONCERT.

…I KNOW. You’re jealous, right? Well, you should be!

Okay, in all seriousness, I know that it’s not a concert most people would make it a life goal to see. She’s not, and never has been, what the cool kids are listening to. Some guy wrote a book about her that’s subtitled “A Journey To the End of Taste.” Ana Gasteyer did a famous parody of her on SNL. Most people roll their eyes at the mere mention of her name.

You know what? I DON’T CARE. I’ve been a huge fan of hers since I was twelve. There is nothing the least bit ironic or guilty-pleasure-ish in my love for her. I genuinely enjoy her music. I love the things she does with her voice. I love almost all of her songs, from “Where Does My Heart Beat Now” to “Taking Chances.” I love that she seems like a genuinely nice person, and that while people sometimes trash her music, I’ve never heard about her doing or saying anything bitchy or controversial– and with her level of fame and the kind of celebrity culture we live in, the press definitely would have jumped on any story about that. I love that she takes her singing seriously, but not herself or what other people are saying about her, as you can see in these videos.

And if you don’t believe me? Believe Michelle Collins (thank you, Megan and Rebekah, for introducing me to her brand of hilarity). She will never apologize for her Celine Dion love and neither will I!

The tickets were an early birthday present from my parents. The seats were awesome and did not disappoint. (They didn’t allow photos in the theater, so I have no pictures from the actual concert.) I could see her really well, and she sounded fantastic. She did a lot of covers, which surprised me- it was about half and half her own stuff and covers like Journey’s “Open Arms” and Janice Ian’s “At Seventeen.” One of my favorite songs she did was actually a French song called “Ne Me Quitte Pas.” I don’t speak French at all, but this is a sad love song, and she cried while singing it- it was surprisingly very moving.

And of course, the finale was “My Heart Will Go On,” a favorite of mine since my days as a Titanic fangirl. It was amazing, and I didn’t stop smiling all the way to the airport.

What’s next to be crossed off the list? I don’t know, but I’m ridiculously glad to have checked these things off my list. What an awesome trip this was.