2010.

It’s hard to believe another year is coming to an end. 2010 was a good year for me, if relatively uneventful. Like any year, it has had its ups and downs but for the most part its been the “same old, same old.” Not that that is bad–but I hope to add a little more spice to 2011! More on my goals for the New Year later, but today I wanted to reflect on all the accomplishments and positives of 2010. I’ve never made a year-end list like this before, but I have to believe its a “good thing” as Martha would say. I easily get caught up in my current and potential future problems/concerns/stresses without reflecting on all the great things I’ve done and past problems I’ve conquered. Happy 2011!

  • A year of good health
  • I got a new job (and even though I don’t like it, I am proud that I was hired!)
  • I traveled to 12 states: NY, PA, OH, NC, OK, WI, NJ, RI, MD, LA, FL, MO
  • I checked 4 new states off my list: OK, WI, RI, LA
  • I was present to see 3 friends and 1 cousin get happily married
  • I lost some weight and improved my overall fitness
  • I read 37 books! (that is an average of 3/month)
  • I established a great group of new work friends
  • I ran an 8k with my sister
  • I went to my first ballet
  • I went to my first vineyard and wine tasting
  • I participated in the DC Global Mala and completed 108 sun salutations–in a row!!
  • I attended my 10-year high school reunion
  • I played some golf and maybe improved a teensy, tiny bit
  • I did both e-Harmony & Match.com. Nothing permanent came of either, but it takes a lot to play the online game, and I put myself out there.
  • I went to a concert by myself for the first time
  • I grew to kind of like living in Arlington
  • I have maintained strong friendships with those whose friendships I value most
  • I started a blog!

Right said TED.

Yesterday, my job entailed stapling. I printed and stapled all day. Riveting. To help pass the time and survive the monotony, I tuned into some TED speeches. TED is a non-profit whose goal is to have “Ideas Worth Spreading” available, for free, to the public. They do this by offering brief, free lectures or speeches from leaders in the fields of Technology, Entertainment, and Design (hence TED), but really this also includes business leaders, politicians, etc. It’s a great site and worth an exploration. I listened to three different speeches, but these two really stuck out for me:

Sheryl Sandberg Sheryl is the COO of Facebook. She is talking to a group of women about tips on how to keep women in the workforce–and aiming for the corner office. Really, though, its great advice for anyone in the workplace on how to keep yourself in the game. Paricularly interesting was her tip to “always sit at the table.” At my office, whenever we have meetings in the boardroom, most people–including me–sit on the outer periphery, even if there are chairs left at the table. I tend to do it not so much because I am a woman, but because of my title. I always think that the executive team and managers gets first dibs at the table. Also, all my friends sit along the side, and I tend to prefer to sit by them.  After listening to her speech, however, I realize that by simply sitting at the table you are making a statement. I would call it sitting in the spot you want, not the spot you have.  We’ll see where I choose to sit at our next all-staff meeting, but I appreciated her opening my eyes to a new perspective on how such a simple thing can mean so much.

Brene Brown Brene Brown is a Research Professor at the University of Houston who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Pretty loaded stuff, I’d say. In this speech she talks about how her decision to study these things led to her own personal exploration of vulnerability. She really struck a chord with me because I related so much to her personality. Type A, control freak, avoider of vulnerability–and funny! I’ve got some work to do on the subject, but she opened my eyes to the fact that without allowing oneself to be vulnerable you are also shutting out a lot of other potential emotions and experiences. Maybe I was starting to understand this anyway, but it was important for me to hear out loud.

I’m going to go back to TED today while I continue to print & collate. I really am not sure what people in the working world of old did without the Internet.

Quotable.

Just finished a book called One Day by David Nicholls. Pretty good, though I’d really love to read a fully happy book one of these days. Regardless, here are a few quotes from it that I really liked (mind the Brit lingo), plus one I found somewhere…don’t remember now where…that also struck me. I love the power of good writing to give me pause and either remind me of things of I have always believed but lost or help me see things in a new way.

Found in One Day:
“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it and think how different its course would have been. Pause, you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on that memorable day.” -Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“‘Live each day as if it’s your last,’ that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. … Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.” -Emma Morley, page 433

From somewhere:
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work and that when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
-Wendell Berry, The Real Work

Getting ready for the fresh start of a new year.


For Foggers.

Today I was utterly and completely flattered by a self-proclaimed “loyal reader” who e-mailed me fiending for a post. I haven’t had anything that I’ve felt compelled to write about lately. Or at least the thoughts swimming in my head are not ones I want to put on electronic paper. I honestly believe the increased intake of fat and sugar—and equal decrease of any sort of cardiovascular activity—has left my brain a bit too mushy to really say anything of much value or entertainment. However, I don’t like to deny flattering requests, so here are a few random tidbits to hold you over, Foggers:

*Tonight is a full lunar eclipse. I am still debating whether it is worth setting my alarm at 2:45am for. I am more intrigued by the fact that this is a full lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice. Full moon. Lunar eclipse. Winter Solstice. If that doesn’t add up to some totally bizarre-o stuff happening I’ll be really disappointed. Last time this happened was in 1638. Next time it will be 2094. I should probably get up to watch it, but I think the really bizarre stuff happens when I don’t get enough sleep.

*Last week, on my day off, I went grocery shopping at Wegmans. I forgot how amazing that store is—I know it seems hard to believe that a grocery store could generate such love, but go once and you’ll be hooked. Not for a grocery shopping novice, though. You have to be mentally prepared or that place will suck your wallet dry. I succumbed a bit to the pressure myself. It had just been so long! Plus, even in the VA store they carried Chef’s sauce. I made Chef’s sauce over rigatoni with homemade meatballs for dinner that very night. It was like eating Buffalo. The city, not the animal. Which, by the way, I learned by losing a $18.50 bet is not synonymous with Bison. Dangit.

*This morning I signed up for a half-marathon. Why, hello, Monday. It has been on my bucket list, and a college friend signed up as well. So, I figured—what the heck. I feel totally out of shape and need some motivation to get me back in the game. It’s the National Half-Marathon, it’s on March 26, 2011 (March?! Crapppp), in D.C., and I’m inviting any and all to join me. I give myself until January 1 to gorge then it’s Game. On.

*I went to a lovely holiday party on Saturday night. I wanted to bring caramel-bourbon truffles that I saw in Cooking Light. But I couldn’t find the golden table syrup I needed (couldn’t even tell you what that is). So I ended up making apricot chocolate chip cookies, but I bought the cheap apricots, and it showed. They were ok, but just ok. That night when I got home and wrote the 2 or 3 lines in my 5-year journal, it said: “Went to a holiday party tonight. Need to learn that its ok if my cookies aren’t the best in the room.” I’ve got issues.

Sunday Math.

The best Sundays for me resemble this simple equation:

 relaxation + productivity=domesticity  

For whatever reason, the domestic side of me goes into high gear on the 7th day. While for some, the  litany of chores and “have-to-dos” are a drag, I have found that, for the most part, domestic chores relax me while simultaneously offering a great feeling of productivity and accomplishment.  This past Sunday was no exception. From start to finish, it was a nearly perfect. Here’s a quick run-down:

-I woke up at 8:30 and, because my roommate’s friend crashed on the couch, was trapped in my room. Solved that easily by reading in bed for an hour and a half. For those interested, The Girl Who Played with Fire is even better than Dragon Tattoo

-Next came a delcious egg breakfast and a trip to the grocery store.

-Returning home, I forced myself out for a chilly but delightful 40 minute run.  My UnderArmour running tights are one of my favorite pieces of clothing–mostly because I find them simply miraculous in their ability to keep me warm. 

-After a quick shower and snack I headed out for my second shopping excursion of the weekend. Pier 1. Target. Michaels. I did some damage in each, but crossed a few more Christmas gifts off the list. Plus, I struck crafty gold at Michaels. I had been planning for weeks to make a wreath this season, which was part of the reason for the trip to craft heaven in the first place. After a bit of wandering, I found the glittery motherload. Wreath “picks” 50-60% off. For realsies!? Don’t mind if I do. So I did.  The glitter may never come off of my Uggs, but I had to wipe the drool of my creative juices on my way home. Once arrived, I whipped up a quick enchilada lasagna to feed me (and an army) for the next week and settled down to work. Here’s what happened:  

I started with this:

And, well, this:

And ended up with this:

To be honest this picture doesn’t even do her justice; she is way prettier in person. I forgot how much I utterly adore crafting. I was so pleased with my finished product that  I started thinking about it at work the following day and, realizing I hadn’t noticed it on my way out the door in the morning, I immediately called my roommate  to make sure it hadn’t been stolen in the night. It hadn’t been. But I would understand if a neighbor simply couldn’t help himself. The best part about this wreath? All told, it probably cost about $8, which is undoubtedly the best deal my wallet and spirit have seen in a while.

Oh, and just  a little heads up, I now own a glue gun. Consider me armed and dangerous.