Tag Archives: new year

Giving thanks, 2014 style

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll be honest with you: this year has kind of sucked.

Every New Year we say “This is gonna be OUR year!” And sometimes we’re right: 2009 was a good year. As was 2012.

But 2014 was not kind to us. But the silver lining – because I always have to look for the silver lining – was that I spent much of this year being actively thankful for specific things in my life. Because I had this idea that, if I spent too much time dwelling on the negative things, God and karma and the universe would say something like, “Guess you don’t care about all this good stuff then.” And it would be taken away.

So I’ve thought a lot this year about the people in my life, the ways I’m blessed, and the things I’m grateful for. And there are plenty of them. At the top of almost every list are my husband and my son, two people I couldn’t live without. There are my parents, who are consistently supportive and loving and who make the 3-hour drive from Lakeport to Pacifica over and over and over, just to hang out with us. Drew’s parents treat me like one of their own and I have literally ZERO crazy “in-laws” stories (and I know that other women out there have some crazy in-laws). There are my friends: the real-life ones who have put up with me for years, and my online mommy friends, all of whom are invaluable. I have a job I love, with people I love. I get to live by the ocean in a neighborhood and an apartment that I really, really like. (There’s even ample street parking.)

And on top of all of that, this year I’m also thankful that 2014 is almost over. Rather than ringing in this New Year by saying “I can’t BELIEVE it’s already 2015!” I’ll be saying, “Thank God. Now, bring on a fresh start.”

Just to make sure I don’t end on a downer, here are some really specific things I’m thankful for at this exact moment: My kid is napping, and he apparently knows who Elmo is, which surprised both Drew and me this morning. I made a German chocolate pecan pie for dessert tonight and while it looks a little, um, “homemade,” the filling part tastes good. We’re actually going to finish our Disney Project this year, which was a grand undertaking, and I’m proud of that. It’s a really pretty day right now…but I hear it’s going to rain all weekend, which would be really nice.

See? Still an optimist. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Filed under Baby, Children, Drew, Endings, Family, Food, Friends, Holidays, Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion, Sentiment, Writing

Out with the old, in with the new

I have a dilemma.

I’ll back up a bit. I was at Barnes & Noble the other day, and their 2014 planners were 50% off. I picked up a cute polka-dotted one, but then I stood there thinking, “When was the last time I even used my planner?”

I just pulled it out of my purse. It’s open to the week of October 28.

I love scheduling things and all, but scheduling is so much more straight-forward when you do the same things week after week. My planner was extremely useful when I was juggling three part-time jobs and making sure that I could get to all three of them, and also trying to coordinate seeing shows around the Bay Area. Now that I just go to the one job, and I don’t go out anymore, it’s a lot easier to keep straight in my head where I’m supposed to be. (Answer: work. If not work, then go home.)

Also, Drew and I had a wall calendar this year, which we actually used. And that makes more sense, since it’s accessible to both of us.

I guess my purse planner has been replaced by a combination of kitchen wall calendar and iPhone calendar…which I hate to admit, but there it is. The thing is, I can put appointments into my phone, and they’ll show up on my work calendar as well! Which is very helpful.

So, I guess I don’t have a dilemma, so much as I have a sad fact to face: 2014 is gonna be the first year in many years that I don’t bother buying a planner for myself.

Even though it was $4 at Barnes & Noble, and very cute. Did I mention it was covered in polka dots?

But I didn’t buy it. Instead, I bought the board book version of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, which I later discovered Drew has never even heard of. So I think it was a good choice. (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom also has polka dots on the cover.)

Happy New Year! Let’s raise a glass to 2014 and to moving on, however (un)willingly we do so.

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Filed under Books, Endings, Fashion, Holidays, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Sentiment, Technology

How To Make New Year’s Resolutions

To no one’s surprise, the world did not end this year – meaning 2013 is nearly upon us. That means it’s time to start making all kinds of promises that are meant to make ourselves “better” people: thinner, smarter, cleaner, neater, richer, more interesting, more well-rounded people.

I have made New Year’s resolutions every year for the past 5 years, to varying success. Sometimes they have taken different forms, depending on how ambitious I am. Also how tired I am of failing at my standard resolutions: save money. Go the gym. Write more. Eat better.

In 2009, when I was still living in New York City, I made a list of 100 things I wanted to accomplish during the year. Some things were easy: watch a sunrise. Send valentines to my family. Go on rollercoasters. Some things were more of a challenge (and thus, didn’t happen): Buy a MacBook. See a Cirque du Soleil show. Some things were private, some things were silly. Some things were foresightful: Move back to California (by driving). At the end of December 2008, how could I have known for sure we’d move back? I guess some things work out. Ultimately I crossed 59 things off that list. In terms of grading, I believe that’s an F. But in terms of New Year’s resolutions I’d say it’s pretty darn good.

In 2010 and 2011, I just made categories of promises to myself: some resolutions about my health, some about writing, some about money, some about relationships. There are usually two or three things under each category, and I try to be as specific as possible. So not just “save money” but specific amounts. Not just “write more” but certain monthly goals to meet. It doesn’t always work but it makes it a lot easier to say how it went at the end of the year.

I’m coming to the time that I review how I did in 2012. I will say that my two biggest goals – “Get pregnant” and “Have a baby” – will make up for any goals on which I fell short this year. (And yes, I made those two resolutions separately as my way of making it clear to the universe what I wanted. Like I said, I believe in clarity.)

I’m also coming to the time that I will form my new resolutions for 2013. I predict they will be much the same at my 2012 resolutions. But as always, I have high hopes for the new year.

Here are my tips for writing successful New Year’s resolutions:

1. Be specific. Don’t say “be healthier,” say “Drink 32 oz of water a day.” Instead of “Be a better person,” try “Volunteer at a soup kitchen once a month.” Specificity keeps you on track and gives you a way to assess how it’s going.

2. Categorize. I find it really helpful to group things together. Then I can have one from each category that I’m working on at once. I like the categories of “health,” “finances,” “relationship,” and “writing.” But that’s just me.

3. Don’t go overboard. I usually have around 12 resolutions, but they are all baby steps and lots of them are season-specific. Many of them are monthly goals. So it’s not like I’m ever actually juggling 12 things. It’s just things to think about throughout the year.

4. Keep them somewhere you’ll see them occasionally, so you remember that they exist. I’m not a print-them-out-and-stick-them-on-the-fridge kind of girl, but I keep them somewhere that I can glance at them now and again, and see how far behind I am.

Happy New Year and happy resolving! May you accomplish enough in 2013 to feel proud…but still leave plenty of room for improvement in 2014!

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Filed under Awesome, Beginnings, Dreams, Endings, Holidays, Humor, Nonfiction, Self improvement, Sentiment, Writing

2011 New Year’s Resolutions: Finis

Now is the time to look back on 2011 and see which of my New Year’s resolutions I accomplished. I’m happy to report that this year went pretty well!

1. Get off of unemployment

In June of 2010 I finished up a contract job at Marin Theatre Company, and I spent the remainder of the year patching together work from MTC, the San Francisco Opera, and reading for Samuel French, as well as supplementing with unemployment. While it wasn’t the tightest things have ever been around here, it was frustrating to be constantly thinking about trying to get enough hours among all the jobs. My number one priority as the year turned from 2010 to 2011 was to get off of unemployment. Which I did, basically right away, when I started subbing in January.

2. Get a career type job

Subbing was very interesting and I learned something, I’m sure. But it was obviously not for me. And like I said before, I was tired of cobbling together a living. My number two priority was to get a freaking real job, with stability and health benefits. Which I did in February! So far, 2011 resolutions are going great!

3. Lose 30 pounds

Oops.

4. Pay off at least one credit card

Oops again. Well, that was a tall order and I might have guessed that it wouldn’t happen.

5. Help Megan to have the best wedding ever

Done and done. I might add, I also helped Liz have the best wedding ever. A good year for weddings!

6. Change everything to my new(ish) last name.

The things I hadn’t yet changed over to my new last name (from my 2009 wedding) were my Mastercard, my gym membership, and three store credit cards. As of this morning I had changed my Mastercard and my gym membership. I planned on just moving this resolution to my “2012 resolutions” list, but then I had this big burst of inspiration, and so I spent some time on the phone this morning calling around and changing the rest of it. 2011 ftw!

I want to mention that every customer service representative I talked to said, “Congratulations on your recent wedding!” when I told them why I needed to change my name. I was too embarrassed to say, “Thanks, it was over 2 years ago.” How time flies.

7. Remember birthday cards for important family members this year

Well, unfortunately I had a couple lapses this year, and for that I am sincerely sorry. I have changed my system because having them in my planner is not working out as well as it used to – I’m just not in the planner often enough. I put the birthdays that keep slipping past me into my gmail calendar so that I’ll get a reminder 2 weeks out, so I can actually get something in the mail in time. 2012 will my card-sending, offending-no-one year.

8. Get a passport!

Thanks to Drew and the scavenger hunt he arranged for my birthday, I am now the proud owner of a passport. And I used it to fly to New York in October, so I know it works.

9. Write!

This was broken down into 5 categories to make it more quantifiable:

  • Script Frenzy in April
  • Submit to Samuel French Off-off-Bway Festival in July
  • Nanowrimo in November (I made the conscious decision to stay sane this November)
  • Blog 100 times over 2011 (the actual number is 168 public posts, counting this one)
  • Look into a Record-Bee column (I actually submitted about four of these)

I’m feeling pretty good about this year! So it’s time to start making me some 2012 resolutions. While I ponder over those and try to make them as specific and achievable as possible…let me know what your biggest resolution is!

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