Monday, January 30, 2012

Exceptionally Ordinary

 Today was one of those walk-all-over-your-town kind of days. January 30, 2012: nearly seventy degrees outside. How does the line go? "Concerns about the world getting warmer, the people thought they were just being rewarded for treating others as they like to be treated, for obeying stop signs and curing diseases, for mailing letters with the address of the sender. Now we can swim any day in November." I could stay in and worry about why this is happening--my theory is that the world is going to end very, very soon and so the Mayan Powers That Be are doing us a kindness by providing as many delightful days as can be--or I could go outside and take in my town.

 I walked to the hardware store to look at paint samples. Nothing really jumped out at me. There are three places that sell paint within three blocks of my house but I just went to the lumber store near the library. Then I took a trek down Main. Mildly discouraged with not falling in love with a paint color (really, no big deal), I decided to stop at the Cook's Nook and pick up a bottle of uniquely flavored syrup for my morning coffee. I went straight to where they usually are but, oh, they've been moved? Oh, they've been downsized. I don't want vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, or Irish Cream. I can get all of those at Walmart and I haven't yet. I want something weird. Something like Cupcake or Blood Orange or Peanut Butter. But, I continued to browse because I am a foodie and despite the fact that I can't really afford to spend $15 on pasta--I wanted to. But I contained myself. I walked on.

I walked over to The Hidden Closet which is a consignment shop. I've been on the lookout for the perfect black (or possibly brown) knee-high black boots and I thought, "I haven't been to a retail shop that has them, the internet doesn't have them but maybe this tiny little consignment shop in McPherson, Kansas does." And you know what?! You're right, of course they didn't. So I walked over to the Bookshelf and bought a magazine and a present--which she graciously gift wrapped for me without my even asking. So sweet, that one.

So, from there I was anxious to get home and write a few blogs (my goal, today, was three). But I was jonesing for some sweetness. I ordered a scone and a lite chai at The Well and accidentally told him that it was "for here" instead of "to go" and then I was a little too embarrassed and guilty feeling to ask for it to go. He'd already dirtied one dish. So, I took a table and was happy that I'd brought Mr. Wally Lamb with me (that book weighs a good six pounds but I don't go anywhere without it). So, I ended up staying for about an hour and a half, reading and listening to a woman at a nearby table talk about how completely worthless her husband is. It made me sad--her dressing him down so flagrantly in public. But, I suppose, I don't know their relationship. I like to think of myself as more modest but I've never lived in an exhausting, long marriage. I can tell myself that I'm better than that but God knows that woman is certainly better than me in some ways, too. People are people. We come to the ends of our ropes every now and again.

So here I am, finishing 1/3 blogs.
I hope you had a nice little day, too. What did you do that was exceptionally ordinary?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Find Your Color

It's becoming clear to me that I'm getting a little obsessed with color. It's also becoming clear to me, by looking around my house and also my pinboards that while I love a lot of color variety--I'm not so much interested in bright brights. They look pretty. They make a wonderful statement but they're not so much me. I'm drawn to muted tones. Many muted tones--all together but I can't live with a dresser painted "marigold fields" and black. Fun project--sure--but I where on earth could I keep it?

Unrelated activity: I was flipping through the Facebook--like I do. My friend Joshua posts the best instagram photos. Sorry, other instagramers, he wins at it.  He recently posted a few photos taken around his house. One of a window shade, another of... I'm guessing under the sink (ed. bathtub--actually)? I loved the colors in the under-the-sink bit but it felt a little weird, you know? Liking something that, in reality is probably pretty gross. But I wondered if I was right in finding it gorgeous or if I'd truly lost my mind. So I signed in to Kuler and uploaded those photos (which I, yes, stole from Facebook) and made some color palettes.

Sink Bathtub  (yes, so pretty)

Birthday Cake
Also, Kuler is so my new favorite toy. And you can, too.

I'm going to combine a few helpful suggestions that you guys left for me, yesterday, and I'm going to more than likely employ Color Scheme #1 (Window). I promise, the next time I talk about this dresser project--it will be reveal the finished product.

But you should go! Take pictures around your house and your life and find out what sorts of colors you surround yourself with!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Survey Says?

Upfront: this is not a proper blog post. I'm working on it--I have a whole lot on my blogging plate right this second. Don't worry, I'm still here. But I did want to ask you a question.

Remember the last post that I wrote and I told you about this dresser that I inherited? Well, the other day I had some time to kill in Walmart and so I perused the paint chip section--lightly. I picked up a few vibrant colors but I'm not totally certain about what to do. So... we're going to make this a group effort. I need your help.

I love all of these colors and what I'm picturing (a vision that I'm absolutely not married to, by the way) is a vibrant piece of furniture with black trim? I'm seeing black, glass drawer pulls (like this? eh, but clear. This! Oh, that's pretty. ) and maybe even some black paint in trim places? I'm not going to tell you which color I'm leaning towards because I don't want you to humor me. Also, if you're seeing this project go in a whole other direction, I'm open to suggestions. More pictures of the dresser found here.

From left to right: Marigold Petals, Cherries Jubilee, Fresh Tangerines
You all are usually much smarter than me, so, leave your comments and feedback in the commenting feedback place.

Also, PS, I might have just discovered this and thrown my plan (as shabbed together as it was) out the proverbial window. All my real windows are painted shut. Anthropologie is always pulling this crap with me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sundry Sunday

Walking through Target on a day where I recieved particularly good news, I wanted to buy something for myself. A treat. I was thinking something along the lines of knee-high boots but I walked out with this chevron striped dish towel for $2.99.

Alyssa gave me one of those design-your-own coffee cups from Starbucks. I covered mine in a pretty condensed spirally pattern. I would like about eleven more of these.

I inherited the dresser that was once home to my nieces and nephew's clothes. I don't know what I'll do with it but I know it will involve some paint and maybe even some knobs (though the ones that are currently on it are pretty adorable). Any and all suggestions are welcomed. In the mean time, Kiki loves it as is. I can't get enough of the little legs and the scallops along the back.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Adulthood is in the Eye of the Beholder

There's a part of me that has always felt like I'm out of the house without my mother's permission. D'you know what I mean? Despite the fact that I haven't lived at home in... going on 9 years(?). Despite the fact that I file my taxes by myself and pay rent every month. Despite the fact that I wake up every morning, take a shower, make coffee, go to a job that I love, come home, make dinner for myself and my cat, and occasionally even clean up after myself--despite the fact that I am a relatively self-sustaining, individual 28 year old--I still feel like my parents are gone for the weekend and left me with $20 with which to do as I please.

This morning I put a check in the mail to the IRS to pay my last year's taxes that I'd forgotten about until just about last night. Mailing a check, mostly unprompted, to the IRS? Adult activity. I sat down and wrote up a budget for the month. Adult activity. Did a load of laundry before I was in dire need of clean unders. Adult activity. It's indisputable, I'm so far out of childhood that I shouldn't be surprised anymore when something so grown up bites me. But those kinds of things are no big deal. I can always talk myself out of feeling adult about those things.

But you guys, when I go grocery shopping and use my re-usable bags, when I haul my parcels up the stairs and put them away into the cupboards, freezer and refrigerator--that's when I feel like a bonafide lady person.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Make Your Bed. Lay Down. With Your Cat. And a Loved One.

Because I am in love with The Hairpin, I was reading this article yesterday and was instantly inspired. I've had a rash of a few days off lately (it's all either every other day off or a hundred days on--no middle man with this job, it seems) and I was just laying on my couch feeling lonely and terribly bored. I considered going downstairs and hanging out with Arryn's kids but I knew it was nap time. So I read this article and, like I said, was immediately bit by the bug. I wanted to be organized immediately and no later.
Organized like woah.
My house has never been, by any stretch of the imagination, spottless. Maybe never even clean by some standards. But there are no bugs. There will always be piles of overlooked bills and dust in the corners. It's a fact. And if those things have been assessed recently, well, then I'm sure the garbage is overflowing in the bathroom. But my house is generally pretty reasonably tidy. And when I say "reasonably", I am comparing it to much of the living conditions of a select few roommates during my time at college. Reasonably means that the only dishes left in the living room overnight are usually only drinking glasses. Garbage is usually taken to the bin the morning after a party. Books and magazines are generally never really moved--but at least smooshed together into a semblance of a stack wherever they may lay and on my coffee table right now are... 6 bobby pins, three pairs of earrings, 4 magazines, two bottles of nail polish, a camera and a wrapper from a squirrel nut zipper. Peanut butter caramels, you guys, from the glory days.

But my bedroom--I have thrown "reasonable" to the dogs. This is a space where organization comes to die. But no longer. I walked to my room and saw the floor completely covered in laundry. The side table covered in dust and kleenexes and the table lamp which, I might add, is completely far away from my bed. It's useless over there. My dresser is stacked with books and hair ties and bobby pins and pocket change. Abandoned laundry that, for whatever reason, didn't even make it to the floor. Zero usable space atop that puppy. My unmade bed and laundry, laundry everywhere but not a stitch to wear! I look at the clothes all over my floor and think about the kids in the Compassion International flyers who are wearing sweatshirts that advertize clear Pepsi and say, "da bomb!" and here I am trampling my fine polyester cotton blends! My first world has problems!

I marched to my room, stood in the doorway and texted Alyssa "I don't think I know how to clean my room." Honestly. Want me to make you a fine batch of Choux Pastry? Not a problem. How do you clean a bathroom? Shower, sink, toilet, floor. Work from the top down. Do your socks need a good darning? I could swing it, probably. Cleaning a thoroughly neglected bedroom? No idea. So I decided to do it--write down what I did and then blog about it because while I may be the only person in the world who doesn't know how to clean her bedroom, I'm not the only person who would want to read about it. What? People don't want to read about how to clean? Well, I'm too far in to stop now and do you really think you're going to close this window? I'll bet you don't.

Step One: Survey the Scene. Make a list of the obvious problem areas. What do you hate the most? For me it was 1. Laundry. 2. Clutter/ disorganization. 3. Dust.

And once I recognized what I was up against, I cut the room into sections and tackled. I'm a multi-tasking cleaner which is why I can work for hours and it'll look like I haven't done a damn thing. I'll be cleaning up a table, take a glass into the kitchen, wash it, throw away some stuff, notice a stray bobby pin, take it to the bathroom, clean the mirror, and then what? Nothing. Nothing looks any better.

Step Two: Take it Piece by Piece. Because of my lack of concentration, I knew that I would need some small-timey goals. Easily attainable, easily celebrated and then easy to move on from. Any time I reached a goal, I rewarded myself. Step two-and-a-half: Reward thyself.

First things first, I cleaned off the top of the dresser. When that was clean, I allowed myself to bring in the laptop and stream ancient episodes of This American Life (I think I might mention TAL in every other post--if not more). This was dangerous because where the laptop is, there also is Facebook. But it's all about self restraint. And... I was having some fun.

Next, on to the side table. I cleaned it off entirely and that area looked very short and blank. I didn't like it at all, really, so I brought in the doors that I took off of the china hutch when I turned it into a book shelf a few years ago. They're about three feet tall? That's an estimation from a woman who is absolutely terrible at things like estimation. So, anyway, I wiped them down, leaned them up there and scotch taped up a few old post cards that I keep for sentimental reasons. It adds height and brings in a friendly atmosphere. Now, if anything falls, then this will be the world's worst mess to clean up what with the glass and the spilled wax but for now--looks fun! My reward for successfully completing this area? New Scentsy smell. This really was a treat because I've been wanting to warm this bar of Linger that my sister gifted to me. It's January's scent of the month and it smells so good and feminine without being girly. To quote: "Pink grapefruit, sugared apple, lavish praline, and flirty marshmallow create a fragrance that says 'stay'." So... that's in my bedroom right now... Any.way.

Step Three: Accommodate Habits. Don't fight them. I realized that I was picking up piles of bobby pins and hair ties and pocket change and try as I might, I know that's never going to change. I'm always going to wait to take my hair down until after I get into bed. I know that about me. Instead of trying to break that habit and just setting myself up for inevitible clutter, I just plan to contain it.
Years ago Jamie made me this "mortar and pestle" in a ceramics class. It doesn't really work for a mortar and pestle so it's being used for the first real time since she gave it to me. To hold things that come out of my hair. Something tells me that Jamie doesn't really mind.

I also know that usually, after I get into bed, I remember that I didn't wash my face. But I'm, you know, already in bed and stuff. For the longest time, I'd just fall asleep and wonder if I am a gross person. But, now, I keep a pack'o these things in the top drawer of my dresser. It's pretty much the greatest idea I've ever had (or stolen from Real Simple magazine).  Lets not kid ourselves--you still need a good scrub-a-lub on that face every now and again but sometimes if you just need to take off your makeup--these are more than adequate. They make my face feel soft and clean and they smell awfully pleasant. Which brings me to the need for a little bitty waste basket within arm's reach.

After I accommodated my habits, I took care of the things that I couldn't completely take care of. Or... I took care of the things that I could take care of and piled up the rest. Don't worry--I'll show you the truth, too. I could hang up all of the clothes that sat in the "I'll get to it" pile. Ten points for getting to it! I shoved all of the huge, hunky sweaters into the top of the closet, and I carefully and thoughtfully put away my shoes into the Ikea storage unit that Alyssa gave to me as a part of my birthday gift. That is to say:
Which brings me to Step Four: Plan for the Future. Obviously I've neglected some rather important aspects of adulthood. Things like--laundry hamper (?!) and shoe storage. But, seriously, I see stuff like this and this and this and I know that's not me. I know that sometimes it's amazing that I have the decency to kick my shoes to the corner of the room when I take them off. When I go to put on a pair of tennies and the laces are already undone, I can't help but think, "good on you little lady--unlacing her shoes." So, hanging them up delicately or storing them in individual boxes is not reasonable for me. What is reasonable is finding a nicer basket than the current Ikea storage unit and stowing it away in the open space beneath my side table. Something like this would do. It's not sexy but this girl knows her limitations. I'm 28 years old and I don't have a freakin' laundry hamper! That is to say I consider this room to be cleaned:
Real talk.

My not-too-distant future plans include finding a basket for my shoes--this isn't a dorm. Implementing some semblance of a laundry system (my reward for finishing my bedroom was a no-holds barred pass on Pinterest until Ryan came home from band practice and that was fun--I got some okay ideas. I'm going to keep tiny people as slaves and make them wash my clothes by hand in my bathtub).  Also, hooks. I have too many cardigans/ hoodies/ sweatshirts/ scarves/ hats and not enough patients or space to keep them all folded and tucked away. There are few things I love more than the convenience of handing something one a stinking hook. It's up--it's out of the way. It took eight seconds.

If I can keep my room clean until the summertime, I will reward myself with new bedding. I have had the same sheets since 2008 and my current comforter was one that I settled on at a garage sale. It's nice and squishy and comfy but it's pink and there are flowers all over it. It would make perfect duvet stuffing.
Step Five. Make your bed. Lay down. With your cat and a loved one.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Don't Be Scared

He told me, "that was pretty cool." He patted my back and walked off. And that's how I learned that no one is ever really better or cooler or smarter than anyone else.

I was in a lucky lot as an English major during my time in college. My freshman year, I had no idea what I was up against. By my sophomore year, it was obvious who the geniuses were but by the end of my time, we'd all gotten to know one another's niches. We knew who thought the same. Who clung to Shakespeare and who wanted Bukowski--and how in the world did we all relate to and learn from one another, still?

When I was a sophomore, I took Faith and Literature and from the get-go, it was obvious that I was in far, far over my head. For one, the hard ass, I'm-not-putting-up-with-your-bullshit professor that I was afraid of (and eventually grew to love and appreciate the way that obese people love Jillian Michaels) was the instructor. For another thing, it was one of those classes that only came around once every four semesters and so I felt pressured to take it right then--even though it was full of my small school's most intimidating and sexy seniors. Really smart guys. Really hot guys. I was one of two girls and the most immature to be sure. The class discussions that we were having, I couldn't even begin to understand. I dropped the class pretty early in and re-took it again later. By then, I was a senior and it was taught by a mushy instructor that you could talk into/ out of anything. But I had a really good group of classmates by then, at least.

But back in my sophomore year--the same semester as the false-start on upper-division, one of those sexy seniors was taking English Comp II. I do not know how he'd missed it before or why he was in this class, now. I was still intimidated by him but more in my element in this class that had a lot more focus on writing than the reading and the reading was even pud because it was still considered a gen-ed. When we focused on poetry, our instructor asked us to bring the lyrics of a favorite song. One kid brought Scar Tissue by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I was on a pretty serious Gavin DeGraw kick and at that time, Chariot was singing to my soul. The sexy senior brought some song by The Walkmen and I tried to like The Walkmen for a while after that but I kept jamming Jason Mraz. I mean, I keep jamming Jason Mraz--because real love doesn't die, even when the other party gets really, really sentimental and a little cheesy. I like The Walkmen, now and it has nothing to do with Sexy Senior.
When our instructor asked us to share the haikus that we wrote, mine had significant rhythm issues and he wrote a 6 stanza piece about some pier on the east coast.

One day, our instructor in English Comp II asked us to do a free-writing exercise. Free writing--putting your pen on your paper and not taking if off for a pre-determined amount of time. She gave us five minutes. I remember this all vividly.
For a good minute, I had my pen on my paper with a mind completely void of anything except, "tyger, tyger, burning bright in the forest of the night. What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symetry?" I couldn't write that. I couldn't copy freaking William Blake and pass it off as my own thoughts. But I wrote it down because it was all I could think. "Tyger, tyger, burning bright in the forest of the night. What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?" And that lead to a painting that I'd seen one time. A black background with the face of a vicious tiger lunging forward. I'd seen it in my father's hospital room, less than two years before. My dad was on a terminal floor with patients who would be there for months at a time. Someone would come around every now and again and change out the artwork--let you choose between framed posters of watering cans and pictures of babies dressed up as vegetables and inspirational sayings. My dad always elected to keep the tiger, though, because he said that it was courageous and he loved it.
And I started writing. I wrote about it for the first time in my life, I wrote furociously about my dad and how he died and what I did and what it was like. I wrote out things that I didn't know that I was feeling--fears that I didn't know that I had--thoughts that scared me a little bit once they were acknowledged. But it felt good to get it all out. All at once, the instructor told us to put down our pens.
And she started asking people to share. And I was terrified. I did my best to look sick or to avoid eye contact. I'd written six pages in my notebook. Everyone else had, like, half a page about what they'd done so far that day--ate for breakfast, what they wanted to do this weekend. She called on about four people and I thought I was in the clear because we were just about through. People started putting away their books and waiting for dismissal and she asked me to read. I shook my head and said that I'd rather not. But she insisted.
So I did. I read it all in a soft, mumbly voice. Sexy Senior was sitting right in front of me and he heard it all. When we finished, my instructor had wide eyes and I think I scared her--but I probably gave her a little hope that maybe her whole life and job as a gen-ed English teacher might not be a total sham. I just shoved everything in my bag and couldn't get out of there fast enough. I walked fast--I ignored my friends. I just wanted to get to my room and take a shower and a nap and retire for the day at 2:00 pm. On my way out the building, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Sexy Senior squeezed and told me, "that was pretty cool." He patted my back and walked off.

And that's how I learned that no one is ever really better or cooler or smarter than anyone else.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blue Mantle

 Genesis drew me a Love Dinosaur. Later she added "volcano water spikes". I accidentally left it at her house but I can not wait to frame it and hang it in my living room.

Yesterday I listed about three things that I wanted to do. I did one of them. I refashioned my mantle. Honestly, I'm not completely in love with it but it'll work until I can put some more thought into it. It's nice, right now, though. Airy and blue.

Framed Thank You card from Sarah's baby shower; Amos;
peacock feathers from the Christmas tree. You can't tell, but
I painted my sconces.

All the blue books from off of my shelf: Blankets,
a collection of Emily Dickenson poems to remind me of Tamra,
The Winter of Our Discontent, The Portrait of Dorian Grey, and
The Maytrees by Annie Dillard.

This frame is the single most complimented item in my house. I glued these napkins to it.
That's all. I picked up these prints for ten cents a piece at Third Thursday a few months ago.
They're not the best but I kind of like them that way.

That's all, really.

Monday, January 9, 2012

On Cabin Fever: Fight, Not Flight.

A week or so in and I'll say I've certainly done a good job at keeping the Facebook resolution of 2012. So far, so good. Days like today, days-off, will be the real challenges. Once I get into a habit of checking Facebook the same way that I check my email and my blogs, then it'll be fine. The less time I spend interacting with the internet, the more time I can spend interacting with some real life. Real life.

Also, since I have decided to make a useful craft every month in 2012, I have made a decision about my January project. But I'll talk about that another day, probably.
It's been a very distracting week and a half and so I haven't paid all that much attention to much else but, you know, I have a year. We'll just file that under "famous last words."
I like my town a lot, you know. On my days off, all I really want to do is ignore my own home and walk around and visit all of the stores and browse and drink all of the coffees that they offer to me. McPherson opened a lot of new businesses this year and I've been feeling a conviction to shop locally as often as I can. I live in a prime spot, within walking distance to most places.

I need to fight that urge today, though, because I'm going to try my hand at penny pinching for the next few weeks. Also, even though the winter hasn't been too cold or oppressive yet, I'm getting a little cabin fevery. I know what you're thinking: Cabin Fever? Get out! But, no. I need to fight it. So, I'm going to make some changes to my personal space. I'd suggest the same for yourself--if you start to feel bored like I do, sometimes.

You have to look at your space with new eyes, sometimes. Sometimes the little nick nacks have been sitting in the same spots for so long that you don't even see them anymore. Sometimes those dvd's have been sitting in the same stacks on top of the television that you don't even recognize that it's a bit of an eyesore. The stack of mail by the door, the pile of coats in the chair. Just moving them--maybe even moving the chair, it'll refresh us. Let's fluff the pillows and shake the dust out. Make some tiny changes for a new perspective.

What am I going to do? I'm going to listen to the Noah and the Whale radio station on Spotify and see if I can't get a little refresh happening in here. Wash all of the dishes, scrub the shower, and then get to work on this living room. I'll certainly pull everything off of the mantel and re-arrange it. That's a reasonable to-do list I believe. 

And, good morning.

If I do say, I've gotten quite good at making morning lattes with my new espresso maker.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And a Happy New Year to You...

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll
take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

There's a little part of me that feels like or wonders if this--Saturday night, the night that we all drink more than we would on an ordinary night in my apartment and we will all laugh and wear too much eyeliner and kiss and kiss and kiss at a predetermined time.  This New Year's Eve party could easily be the turning of a page. I certainly won't say "end of an era" but we all know that there will be bookmark events that occur in the next year--just like they always do. I have already begun to bookmark parts of 2011 by saying things like,
"Was that before or after we started hanging out with Katie?"
"I'm pretty sure that was after you joined IHAL."
"That happened shortly before he died."

For the first time in my life, I'm wondering "which one of us won't be around for this next year?" I still haven't talked about the event much, here. I'm not totally sure if I could or if I should but my friend died very unexpectedly this year and it makes you feel, "to what other precious thing should I hold more tightly?"

I find myself living a different sort of life than I believed I had before. I live a life that has much to lose. Sometimes it's too scary to keep going but the world doesn't stop just because you're having an emotional crisis. You wake up. You step out of bed and each step thereafter is in confidence that the ground won't give out this time. This is what it's like to be in love, to have I've-got-you types of friendships, to like to go to work. To be so tooth-acheingly happy and so scared that you're going to lose it all at once. The other night as I was driving down the highway behind Ryan, I kept picturing his tail lights swerving off into a ditch and what would I do? I didn't tell him that I thought about that. I couldn't possibly fill him in on every irrational thought that pops into my head--I'd have a full-time job of it. That's what writers get paid to do. But that's what it's like to be in a happy spot in life, sometimes. For me, anyway. I know this blog gives off the impression that I'm too happy--and I am, in the grand scheme. I still have those days with the fits and the staring out of windows and the unbearable sadness. But I have found ways to pack it up and carry it along while I go about my day. Sometimes you lay it down and other times you do not. This is what I can only describe as realistic happiness; an ivory table cloth upon which there has been eaten a chocolate cake. I imagine there will be a perspective change or three by this time next year. We'll see.

And I bring to you a list of three lists:
15 Favorites of 2011, in which I will make a list of the greatest things that I experienced in 2011--big and small.
10 Hopes for 2012, in which I think of things that would make this new year a happy year.
5 Goals for 2012, in which I try to tackle something more realistic than "resolution".

1. New friends. It is difficult to make friends when a grown-up moves to a new town and doesn't have classes or a cafeteria to force relationships with people. Not being in college can be so weird. When I moved here, I hoped for friends but I just knew that I'd never again have the types of friendships that I had when I was at MidAmerica. I thought that no one would ever really understand me and never really want to hang around me when I'm sick or in a grouchy mood or unimpressive. As it turns out--I'm not really the only one who felt that way. I have developed a vast array of acquaintances and a very small group that I am very happy to call my friends. Some friends are every-day friends and some friends are twice a month friends but all of them are completely precious. A little part of me was, initially, hesitant to become close with these people for a myriad of irrational reasons, one of which being that I thought that it would mean that I would have to love my dear friends from college, Alyssa and Jamie and Gina, less. But I'm learning that's not true at all.
2. Going to the Cosmosphere with Justin and Katie and Ryan in March. This was the first time that I ever hung out with Katie and the first time that I ever hung out with Justin--outside of work. Justin wore Stan, an incredible t-shirt.
3. Scentsy. Is this totally lame? Maybe it is but I still love it. My sister started selling it and I'm hooked. I'm going to start selling it, too, because I have an addiction and Sarah's moving away. I never thought I'd be the kind of person who sells this kind of crap but I'm doing it, everyone. Even the boys in my life use Scentsy, now. The other day, I came home from work and my sister had plugged a warmer in underneath the kitchen cabinet and had "Christmas Cottage" warming and my heart just about melted. It was delicious and felt very homey.
4. New Girl. 2011 is the year of Zooey Deschanel and yes, she is getting to be a tad overwhelming but I love this show. It has replaced Dexter as the only television show that I will make an effort to see--and even then, not much of an effort, but I do try.
5. My Halloween costume. I worked so hard on this bad boy and it was an unmitigated success. Colorful, so comfortable, easy to wear and about three pounds of hot glue. I don't know how I'm going to not wear this again next year.
6. Bossypants. Oh, Tina, could I possibly love you any more? I'm not sure but I'm up to the challenge. Tina Fey makes me want to take improv classes. She makes me want to be... completely cool.
7. Ani's Wedding was the most gorgeous and realistic wedding that I've ever been too.
8. Pinterest has completely revolutionized my creative life. Instead of wondering, "I wonder if it'll look stupid for me to wear leggings and ankle boots." I'll go over there and search "leggings and ankle boots" and then get a picture like this and decide that I, too, can pull off a version of that. Or, I've got jewelry everywhere but I'm not terribly interested in buying anything to organize it. So... search and voila. I could find a box like that at a thrift store so easy. Coat of paint--peg board. Done.
9. Royal's First Show. That whole trip, beginning to end, was pretty overwelming and fun. I'm excited to see what the boys are going to do, this year.
Numbers 10-15 are secrets. Not because they're juicy or incriminating or anything like that. Just because they are wrapped up tightly for me. Just for me to ponder all of these things in my heart--like Mary.

1. I hope Jamie and JD come home.
2. I hope Alyssa and Jeremiah find a much more permanent place to stay.
3. I also hope they develop nice, close friendships--a community.
4. I hope Ed and Ange get a baby.
5. I hope all of my nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters and adjust quickly to their respective moves and that they all draw closer and closer to one another.
6. I hope I handle the relocation of so many people with grace and dignity (though I did cry last night when I hugged Kasey goodbye--for real this time).
7. I hope Katie falls hopelessly into reciprocated love. With herself and with a boy.
8. I hope Justin moves to Pennsylvania and finds that he is honestly, truly and undeniably happy.
9. I hope that Andrew stays around McPherson for a good, long, while.
10. I hope that Ryan does not stop being so delusional about me.

In lieu of "resolutions" I'm going to make a short to-do list with measurable activities. This year, I would really like to cultivate creativity in myself.

1. Give this blog a make-over.
2. Turn a little bit of my home (either in the guest bedroom or the unused corner of the dining facility) into a creative space that is full of can-do attitude and a sewing machine. 
3. Craft something useful (either for myself, my home, or another person) once a month. (One goal, specifically: I want to sew a dress by the end of the year.)
4. Spend considerably less time on Facebook. I waste more time in front of that "social" network. A measurable goal? A combined total of one hour per day.
5. Keep my gorgeous hardwood floors from collecting dust and cat hair and bunnies in the corners by giving it a thorough sweep once a week. Yeah, this is something I am actually writing into my date-book. Once I get a date book. I'm not super pumped to part with the one I have now. I love it too much. Time to browse etsy and see what I can find. This one, perhaps?

Have you any goals/ hopes for 2012?