The Gratitude Drive

Last night found me hanging out with old friends. Not old chronologically, but old as in I've known them for over 8 years. 

One of my darlingest, sweetest, kindest and closest friends celebrated her birthday. And joining in the fun were several friends I've known for almost as long as I've lived in CO.

As the night wore on and the crowds dwindled, talk turned to how we met, which if you ask me, is still a miracle in and of itself.

We met thru the Internet...specifically, thru our blogs. Strangers that followed links then more links and somewhere/somehow we found each other and started caring about each other and along the way we became friends. Real true-to-live-honest-to-goodness friends.

And what friends those are.

Back in the day, almost 9 years ago this March, no way in Hell did I have any concept of how much this lowly little blog would change my life. But change my life it did one hundred fold. For beyond the better. For the best ever.

As I drove home last night, the whole drive was consumed with gratitude and love. For those I've met along the way. For their grace and kindness and love and trust that has changed my life and made me a much better person than I ever could have become on my own. Feeling a huge dose of humility that I was honored to have been included in their lives. 

Seriously, the grace I've been given by having these friends in my life is epic.

I'm forever grateful to meeting Curt aka the first blogger I ever met and deciding to create a blog of my own. It has been the catalyst to so many good things and greater people in my world.

And to S, the birthday girl, for reaching out to me and becoming my Internet friend before I even moved to CO. She's also the best hugger you'll ever meet...but that's another story for another day!

The gratitude continues for everyone I've met thru their blog, my blog or this wacky wonderful amazing thing we call the Internet. This will change your life in ways you never imagined if you let it!


Last Look at 2012

2012..and 2011 to be honest...was filled with too much sadness, death, illness and did I mention the sadness?

2013 WILL be better...has to be better.

So many friends share my opinion that 2013 is OUR year. I'm partial to 13...my birthday is 12/13...and 13 has always been lucky for me.

I know we make our own luck, but I'm not taking any chances.

Almost everyone I know always says "Come Jan 1, I'm going to eat healthy, exercise, get organized, etc etc etc".  I'm no exception (except for the organizing part :->), but this year I got a headstart. Other than Thanksgiving and Christmas, I've had at least 1, if not 2 salads a day for the last 35 days. Just wanted to see if I could do it and guess what? I did!

Joined a group of friends on Facebook for a 100 Day Challenge to spend 100 days in a row exercising, eating healthier and getting to a better place in our lives. Again, a headstart. Upped my walking last week and just got home from the gym. A far cry from the level of most of my friends (Marathoners, IronMen/Women, Climbers, Slackliners, Ice Climbers, Movers and Shakers, 4 % body fat) but it's a step in the right direction and what amazing role models I have!

Joined an online motivational group 3 weeks ago to figure out how to turn the ideas I'm passionate about into a side business.

The hardest challenge of all? Realizing that I'm way too comfortable in certain areas of my life and vowing this has to change if I want to live up to my potential. My stomach just dropped typing that.

Wishing you strength and courage in your 2013 dreams. Remember, it's OUR year :-)


My 2 Cents

I've been mulling over the tragic events of the last several weeks.

First the Newtown massacre. 20 little children and 7 adults murdered. 

Last Monday, Webster NY firemen ambushed by a gunman who left a note saying he wanted to "burn down the neighborhood and do what I like doing best, killing people".

Then came the deluge of comments over Facebook, Twitter, news media.

"Gun control". "Access to mental health". "Hug your kids now, choose action later". And why. So many people asking why. 

And how to prevent this from happening again? What can we do so the next time it happens we don't feel so helpless and lost?

Is it really all about gun control? Maybe. Or maybe not?

My personal opinion is that you don't need an AK-47 to go hunting. It's also my opinion that what we have today is a far cry from our forefathers intentions that created the 2nd Amendment.

I've never been a fan of guns. They terrify me. I've had two encounters with guns. The first time, I shot a target pistol 3 times on a friend's ranch. All 3 times I hit the target so I figured I had nothing left to prove.

My 2nd encounter with a gun is when I was followed out to my car after work and my attacker brandished a gun once I was inside my car (he chased me and I made it to my car before he caught me). Short story short, I started my car, he ran, I followed him and got his license plate #, went back to work and called the police, filed a report and they caught him within 20 minutes. And sentenced him to  youth camp since he was under 17 and it was his 3rd offense.

The entire experience terrified me and even though it happened when I was in college, I remember each detail as if it happened yesterday. So now you know how I feel about guns.

Better access to mental health services? Maybe. Or maybe not?

The assumption seems that people with mental issues possess enough self-awareness to seek out assistance. And are limited through lack of funds or lack of insurance or lack of services or a combination of the three. I'm sure some people do reach out...I know many that have. But what if they don't feel they're a danger? What if they feel they are right and everyone else is wrong? What then? Or what about that person that lives their life in quiet solitude, blending into the background, never once raising anyone's suspicions of their mental capacity until the day they snap? How do we catch the ones that are slipping though the cracks?

I honestly feel it's  part of our culture. As a whole, Americans can be cruel. They bully. They're rude. Mean-spirited. All you have to do is read Facebook or Twitter or any online column and see the cruel comments tossed out on every topic imagineable. Live and let live or turn the other cheek? Nope, not so much for many of us.

We need more love. More understanding. More tolerance. And by tolerance I don't mean tolerating that which hurts and maims and belittles others. Instead I mean tolerance of people that are different. Look different, talk different, have different viewpoints, live different lifestyles.

Seek out those who are disenfranchised. Who are down on their luck. Who need a shoulder. Who need you. 

There are so many beings who are hurting than can benefit by what you have to offer. Volunteer. A day a week. A day a month. An hour a month. Or maybe just a one time gig. What are we doing to make our world a better place and to lighten the load of someone that needs lifting up, whether it be financially, spiritually, educationally or emotionally?

I've been asking myself the same question lately.

In the past, I've volunteered on several occasions. In Virginia, as a short-term Guardian Ad Litem. In Florida as an Adult Literacy Volunteer. Also in Florida as a Kennel-Guide and Foster Puppy Mom...beings don't have to be human to be hurting.  All the volunteering I've done in CO has been politically related and while the results were what I'd hoped for, more and more I'm finding the need to reach out to help in areas that benefit people with immediate needs, ie Literacy programs and Habitat for Humanity are two that come to mind.

I've often been accused of being too Pollyanna-ish or always seeing the glass as half-full. And that is very much true. But one thing I do know is that one person spreading love and tolerance is better than one person spreading hate and contempt.

Our actions define us.

Put on the rose-colored glasses with me for just a minute and imagine what would happen if for 15 minutes everyone in the world did one kind deed. Showed one extra person that they cared. That that person mattered. Just for 15 minutes. I think it would be amazing. Maybe a pipe dream, but what an amazing pipe dream.

We're a world of so many differences, but we're alike in that we're all human, all have feelings, all want to be loved, all want to matter.

So just for today, love a little extra. Volunteer. Do a random act of kindness. Give an extra smile away (Matty V says that they're free). Don't flip off the car that cuts you off. Hold back the urge to be mean and snarky. Be a little kinder. Be a little gentler. 

We have many huge issues in this world that require solutions we don't always have. We don't know the why. But maybe we can each, in our own way, get started on the how.

Just my 2 cents.


Surprises and Smiles and Lights and Longevity

It's been awhile since I've posted.

So I'm making up for lost time with a huge recap of the last 4 days which cumulatively were some of the most amazing and special days of my year.

Weds, Dec 12 was the day before my birthday. The day before a carefully crafted 4 days in a row off! Made possible by bookending the last half of one week and the beginning of another week. Working in retail - during the holidays - means NO vacation time, so I got creative. And boy was it worth it.

One thing about me you have to know - if you don't already know - is that I'm a huge believer in destiny and miracles and intuition. And six weeks ago when I asked for the time off, I told my two BFF's  (Tim and Brian) who'd moved from CO to Seattle WA that I would have this time off and "wouldn't it be nice" if they surprised me for my birthday weekend.

When they sent me my Hanukkah presents last week and said that nights 5 & 6 present would be on the way, I replied by saying "Oh sure....YOU GUYS are my night 5 and night 6 present. And I honestly and truly believed that would happen.

So back to Wednesday and being off work and running errands. Earlier in the day I'd texted Brian asking him when their plane was landing. He told me I was crazy and he was sorry but he was in Seattle, nowhere near CO.

And as I'm in the middle of running post-work errands, Tim texts me to say hi and if I'd gone to the post office to get the package they'd sent me for nights 5 and nights 6. The text is followed by a call. And the call turns out to be Tim telling me that YES - he and Brian are here in CO and YES we are having dinner together as soon as I can meet up with them.

I SCREAMED!!! My dream had come true! My besties were BACK IN CO! YIPPEE!!

Within 5 minutes we were hugging (and I was jumping up and down) then hugging some more. I have such awesome friends!

Off to dinner we went. Margarita's were imbibed. Yummy Mexican food was consumed. Stories told, laughter shared, pix posted to Facebook which unleashed the floodgates of texts from Brian's former (and my current) co-worker's excited to see that Brian was back in town.

Bri & Kath

After dinner, it was time for Night 5 Candle Lighting. And more laughter!

 

Bri Lights

One of my many Hanukkah presents - a gorgeous candle holder that magnified the light a hundred fold! (Yep, that's the Instagrammed version) ;-)

Hundred Fold

And here's Brian's version of lights (Tim surprised Brian and packed Brian's Menorah from home - which is just like Tim aka The Most Thoughtful Person in the Universe)

5 lights

There are few things in this world as special as watching Menorah lights in a darkened room with your family (aka friends-like-family, which Tim and Brian are to me).

Talk about Miracles!

 

The next day, Thursday Dec 13 was my birthday!! What better way to start the day by having breakfast at my favorite place with my favorite people? The drive into Boulder was beautiful as always made even better (as if that was possible) with a lovely birthday call from my Dad and Mom - aka Best Parents in the World :-)

Snooze Boulder

Snooze breakfasts are out of this world and it was so nice and comforting to start the day in a familiar place with familiar faces.

The rest of the day was one surprise after another! Brian stopped by his former workplace  to say hi and catch up while Tim and I had some quality time to ourselves. In the months before they moved we'd started having "Tim and Kath Days" and it was nice to have that special alone time once more.

More errands followed (they dropped me off then used my car to run their errands) followed by a dinner with former/current co-workers (more smiles, laughs, stories, memories made) and finished the night back at my place for Night 6 candles...and me SCREAMING from the surprise of walking into my room and finding a GORGEOUS headboard that matched my desk (that Tim and Brian had given me the previous year for Hanukkah/my birthday). My sneaky Hanukkah Elves had worked quickly while I was at my appt to make everything happen.

Check it out!

T & B

 

Truly awesome friends - agreed?

You would think this would be enough surprises for the day and night, right? But you'd be wrong. There was more spoiling to be had. I'm still in shock as I write this, two days after the fact.

We fired up the lights for Night 6 and listened to Matisyahu's Miracle - which I ADORE :

Just livin’ in the miracle, candles are my vehicle 
Eight nights, gonna shine invincible 
No longer be divisible, born through the struggle 
Keep on moving through all this hustle 
Head up, heads down through all of the bustle 
New York City wanna flex your muscle 
Look so down, look so puzzled 
Huddle ‘round your fire through all the rubble 
Bound to stumble and fall but my strength comes not from man at all 
Bound to stumble and fall but my strength comes not from man at all 

Do you believe in miracles 
Am I hearing you? Am I seeing you? 
Eight nights eight lights and these rites keep me right 
Bless me to the highest heights with your miracle 

Against all odds drive on till tomorrow 
Wipe away your tears and your sorrow 
Sunrise in the sky like an arrow 
No need to worry, no need to cry 
Light up your mind no longer be blind 
Him who searches will find 
Leave your problems behind you will shine like a fire in the sky 
what's the reason we’re alive – the reason we’re alive… 
Bound to stumble and fall but my strength comes not from man at all 
Bound to stumble and fall but my strength comes not from man at all 

Do you believe in miracles 
Am I hearing you? Am I seeing you? 
Eight nights eight lights and these rites keep me right 
Bless me to the highest heights with your miracle 

Eight is the number of infinity one more than what you know how to be 
And this is the light of festivity when your broken heart yearns to be free 

Do you believe in miracles 
Am I hearing you? Am I seeing you? 
Eight nights eight lights and these rites keep me right 
Bless me to the highest heights with your miracle

 

A perfect end to a perfect birthday filled with so much love from my lovely besties, family and friends.

Sadly, Tim and Brian had to cut their visit short the next morning and flew home sooner than expected, but the time we spent together was epic and wonderful and beyond my wildest dreams. They are (seriously) two of the nicest and finest people I've ever met and I am honored and humbled to call them my friends.

The last part of this post speaks to longevity. 5 years to be exact. As I posted on Facebook this morning :

"5 years ago today at 3:14 in the afternoon I signed the offer letter for a job that would change the course of my life.

5 years with the BEST Management team ever! 5 years with peers that inspired me and challenged me and continue to do so to this day. 5 years of meeting coworkers that would become my family. 5 years of amazing products that would enrich my life and the lives of others. 5 years where every single day I'm so proud to say I work for Apple.

Today is my 5 year Appleversary (yes, I coined that term) :-)

So humbled and honored. Thanks to all my Fruitstand Friends for making my journey so awesome!"

And that's my amazing weekend.

Surprises of epic proportions. Smiles & hugs & ahavachesed (lovingkindness) from two of the most important people in my life. Lights to celebrate victories and great miracles. And belonging to a world where work feels like play and peers like family.

All is right in Kathyland tonite.

 

 

 

 


Presents From The Blogosphere

Back when I started my blog in March 2004 I was new to the concept of blogs and what they entailed.

Initially, my scope was political commentary (I'd just discovered Daily Kos) but after 2 days and maybe 3 posts, I realized I needed to stick to what I knew...which wasn't political commentary.

So I blogged about foster puppies and Howard Dean and Jim Stork and Betty Castor and the three campaigns I volunteered for. And foster puppies.

During a Stork Staffer party that I hosted at my house, I met several out-of-state volunteers that traveled to FL to help with the campaign. As one of them helped me un-stick my garbage disposal, I asked how he'd heard of our campaign. Turns out he'd read a post on Daily Kos talking about the Stork campaign and it inspired him to up and leave his home state of CA and travel to FL. He also said he was looking forward to meeting the blogger that wrote the post cause he wanted to shake their hand. 

I looked at him and told him that he'd already shook my hand when he arrived. Yeah, I wrote the post that brought this guy from CA to FL and now he was unsticking my garbage disposal for me.

The blogosphere is like that. Bringing the randomest awesomest bestest peple into your life.

Fast forward to 2006 and being new to CO. Not knowing a soul. And meeting most of the people that would become my friends through their blogs.

People like Tom

I met Tom via his blog through a friend of a friend's blog. One click of a link and just like that, you have a new someone in your life!

So I started following Tom and he started following back. I got to know Tom and his partner Dale through Tom's blog and one day, after reading a random tweet of mine, Tom and Dale showed up at work with piping hot Mrs. Field's cookies for me. And a hug to go with the cookies. I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was our first In-Real-Life (IRL) meeting!

Through the years Tom and Dale have been part of my online life and my IRL life. They graciously hosted me when my truck broke down and I had no way to get back and forth to work. Tom 'informed' me that I was staying with them, case closed. 

Tom and Dale took turns taking me to work, picking me up from work, feeding me, hugging me, being there for me, and just being awesome. They refused to accept payment for anything and were the most gracious and welcoming hosts a person could ask for.

Over the years I've been honored to be a part of their lives and their struggles and their celebrations. So it's with a large degree of sadness that I'll be saying 'goodbye for now' to Tom and Dale in the next several weeks.

They're moving to MA for Tom's work and in the process will ( I am positive ) make MA the new 'coolest place on earth'....cause they'll be there.

While Tom is on Facebook and Twitter in addition to his blog, since I met Tom thru his blog that is what I'll be looking to every day for updates on their new lives in MA.

Tom is one of the sweetest, kindest, most incredible people you can ever hope to meet - Dale is the same way - and I'm so incredibly grateful that I clicked that link over 6 years ago.

Thanks Blogosphere. And thanks Tom and Dale. I can't imagine a life without you and thanks to the internet and Tom's blog, I won't have to.

xoxo


Catching Up

Summer was busy with lots of changes. Some good, some not-so-good but what can ya do, life is all about change.

Funnest parts of Summer were dogsitting Blanche & Honey Badger & Spikester, housesitting, Diane & Kelly invade Colorado,  my trip to CA to hang out with my parents for a week and dinners & fun-time with Tim & Brian. And Aigneis and Mildred and Tucker and Mr. Zigglesworth.

After answering way more Craigslist ads than I thought possible...and talking to way more "interesting" potential landlords than I thought possible, I moved late August. Back in Superior, a neighborhood that I cherish that's super close to work which my commuting budget loves. Superior is very much a bedroom community... a very spendy bedroom community...but the views and the parks and the proximity to most (definitely not all) of my my favorite people and places makes me really happy. And content. For now.

Had a scare several weeks ago when my Dad was rushed to the ER. We almost lost him but luck was on our side. Not going to say a whole lot about his situation out of respect for privacy, but he's doing much better now. Much better.

Still on the path to getting debt-free...closer than I was last time I blogged. The move put that on hold for a bit, but now I'm back to making progress. Yay for progress!

My friend Ryan is my inspiration. So is Mortgage Free By 30  As well as No More Harvard Debt

Mr. Money Mustache is a local blogger that has a love for bikes and common sense ways to grow your 'stache.

My daily inspiration is Dave Ramsey.  His podcasts are free and they're a lifesaver. Every time I walk into Target I'm listening to a Ramsey podcast on my phone. Have any debt-reduction/frugality blogs you'd like to share? Leave the links in the comments.

I've gotten really good at saying no to anything that costs $. Ask my friends that issue invite after invite. If it involves money and even if it doesn't cost money but requires gas to get there, 9 out of 10 times my answer is no. Short term situation for long term rewards. Haven't been to a concert in ages. I love concerts...used to go all the time when I first moved to CO. They're not in the cards anymore. 

Back in the day when I was married and we were getting debt-free from $75K in consumer debt, my go-to answer was "is it a want or a need". These days my response is "INITB"...It's not in the budget. So when you start seeing INITB on my Facebook posts, you'll know what that's all about!

Finally, let's chat about blogging. I've been doing this for awhile...since March 2004. Doesn't seem like 8 years have passed, and I'm glad I've kept my blog active even tho it's been dormant a time or two.

It's been great to go back and read the archives and see where I used to be to where I am now and I'm sure the same will hold true years from now.

So that's my news...what's up with you?

 

 


Too Much Month, Not Enough Money?

Actually? That's not the case.

.96 cents left in my Food envelope, but I have enough food on hand to get thru the rest of the week. I'll need to be strategic at bringing my lunch Tues/Weds/Thurs, but I'll make it work.

Yesterday was a splurge from Jimmy John's and today I had half a breakfast bagel for breakfast and the other half for lunch, with a brought-from-home Noosa Raspberry yogurt as a snack. Not the healthiest, I realize...I have to work on that.

Still have $20 sitting in my Gas envelope which I probably won't need to use since I have half a tank with 3 more commute days left to drive. Housesitting in Boulder plus a fuel efficient car is a Godsend in the budget dept. 

This whole "Cash Envelope" system is getting much easier. Dave would be proud!


One Month Check-In

One month ago I made a list of my assets and my debts.

Thankfully, my assets outweigh my debts.  For that, I'm grateful. Still, I HAVE DEBT, which is dumb. I was debt-free for over 3 years but got back into debt when my truck died (at 134,000 miles) and yeah, I guess I panicked when I found that used Subaru's cost more than new Kia's. So I bought a new 2011 Kia Sportage. Awesome warranty! No more worries about my Isuzu breaking down again and again and again. It was safe. Hassle-free. For the first time in years, there was no stress as I started my day, wondering if this would be the day thay my ride broke down AGAIN!

I put 50% down on my Kia and wound up owing just under $17,000. Several months later came  a tragic death in my family and I resurrected the credit card that had been dormant - and paid off - since March 23, 2010. Used it for my flight back to CA. And my rental car. And to fly my grief-stricken parents out to CO for a weekend (and pay for their hotel) a month after the funeral.

Was it emotional spending? Absolutely. Was it necessary? No. But sort of yes. I wanted my Dad & Mom with me after losing a precious member of our family. It was honestly more for me than it was for them...but it was for them too.

Then came the gym membership. And the car registration - didn't have my checkbook with me  when I went to pick up my plates and CO doesn't accept debit cards without adding a surcharge for using a debit card.  

When I started putting restaurant meals  & random purchases on my credit card, I knew I was back at square one.

So I stopped cold turkey.  Started listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts again. Told myself "NO" more than I told myself "yes". Even tho it was difficult, started using a cash budget envelope system. Dave was right. It takes about 3 months to get the hang of it. Doing so much better now than I was 3 months ago.

Part of getting real about this endeavor was selling my beloved Apple stock. It was doing so well and was on the way to high 600 a share. Should I sell? Should I hold? 

Wound up selling 9 of my 10 shares and paid off (and cut up) my VISA credit card. Never again. No more credit cards - not worth it.

A month ago my debt totalled $18,973.80.

Today, after throwing an extra $99.59 towards my car loan principal, I'm down to $13,068.46. The $99.59 came from a check from insurance overpayment, using money I budgeted for food and gas that I didn't use cause I have no life as of late, and a $25 Target gift card from my dentist for referring a friend. I took $25 cash out of my food envelope, replaced it with the Target gift card, and added it to my mid-cycle car principal paydown. That's what no restaurants, no booze, no movies and no Target splurges will do for ya! As well as eating less, driving less, staying home.

It doesn't bother me as much as I thought, cause I view this as part of the "greater good" for my future. For all the times I had fun and wasn't as frugal as I should have been, this is the reverse action. Making up for lost time.

I've been looking into getting a part-time job. Have had 3 house/dog sitting gigs in the last 2 months. Have 2 more lined up. And I'm faithfully bringing my lunch to work on a daily basis. Seriously, this all adds up!

As I discover more and more Debt-Free & Frugality blogs, I'd like to think that the Debt-Free-Frugal-Living movement is catching hold. At least I hope so!

A life without debt beats a life with debt any day. 

 


$$$$

MONEY!!!!

Found some incredibly cool debt-free blogs that have become my new addiction so of course I'm going to share them with you.

A Colorado local, Mr. Money Mustache is a hoot! Common-sense, humor and authenticity all rolled into one...with a mustache. Plus? He and his wife are retired! And they're still young enough to enjoy retirement.

Joe Mihalec of No More Harvard Debt paid down $101K of debt in seven months. SEVEN MONTHS! Beyond amazing and truly inspiring. I read Joe's blog from end to beginning last weekend.

One of my favorite blogs is my buddy Ryan's Becoming Debt Free - his most current post "Going Out" really resonates with me. 

And my story?

I'm on a cash-envelope budget (thanks Dave Ramsey ) and am always looking for ways to save more / make more money.  Cashed out my Apple stock to pay off my credit card (then I performed a plasticectomy on my credit card!!) and the only debt that remains is my car loan, which I want to pay off in the next 16-18 months, if not sooner. My biggest win of last week was paying an extra $250 on my car loan...seriously, it gave me goosebumps!

What debt-free/finance blogs do you follow? Do you have a success story to share? What is your biggest 'a-ha' moment when it comes to personal finance?


In A Semi-Perfect World...

...this is what I need for my next place, ideally located in Superior, Lafayette, Louisville or possibly Westminster.

* Attached garage for my car
* Private bedroom with attached private 5 piece bathroom
* Home or townhome
* South-facing driveway
* Shared use of the kitchen/laundry
* All utilities included in rent - no more than $550/month total
* 1 year lease - may be open to longer terms
* Drama-free, drug-free, smoke-free, kid-free & cat-free environment
* Open and honest communicative environment

Why would they want me as a housemate?

* No drama
* Reliable, conscientious, super neat, organized, quiet, considerate, accountable
* Always take my clothes out of the washer/dryer as soon as the cycle ends
* Always clean up after myself
* Pay rent early. Always!!
* No pets, kids, family members will tag along with me
* Have my own furniture
* Gainfully  & happily employed
* And last but not least, why WOULDN'T they want me for a housemate?? :-)

Know anyone  looking for a housemate that fits this description? Let me know!! 

Hoping that my Social Media network will fare better than Craigslist.

Thanks :-)

Basement Sweet Basement

If you follow me on Facebook or The Twitters, you know I've been looking for a new place to live. And looking. And looking some more.

After lots of pros and cons and sleepless nights and praying and countless hours perusing Craigslist (for rentals), staying in touch with my AWESOME realtor Angela Fox and her assistant Kerri (for purchasing), I'm staying put until my landlady's house is SOLD! 

Until that happens, I'll take my time finding the perfect future Kathyland. Taking it slow is never a bad thing.

For now, Basement Sweet Basement is the place for me.


These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...

* Terms of endearment

* Laughing so hard I cry

* Laughing so hard I cry multiple times during the day

* Kindness for no reason

* Celebrating a friend's good news

* Having the house to myself

* HGTV

* 2 days off in a row

* In-room fireplace

* En-suite bath

* The satisfaction of cooking a home-made dinner and bringing the leftovers to work the next day

* Long talks on the phone with friends

* White twinkley lights

* Doggies

* Surprising friends with unexpected gifts

* Elf & Love Actually

* Updating my blog instead of THINKING about updating my blog

 

What are some of yours?


Pet Peeves

In no particular order...

 

* Will it kill ya to put the seat down?

* People that take the last bite/slice/piece and don't throw away the now-empty container

* Slobs

* Shoppers that block the aisle with their carts 

* Litterbugs

* Intolerance

* Cilantro. Yeah, you knew it had to make the list!


My List

My 10 year divorceaversary was  last week. Prior to that, was married for 20 years. Which is a fair amount of years to be with one person.

When I was newly divorced, I figured I'd spend a year or two single, then start to date, then eventually wind up married again. I didn't feel strongly about this happening but just assumed it would since most of my friends that had divorced were usually back to being married within several years.

Except that didn't happen cause I discovered I didn't really want it to happen. And the longer I remained single, the more I liked it. Actually, the more I loved it.

Not that I have anything against dating or marriage...it's a good thing if it happens for the right reason with the right person. But not something I felt I needed or wanted. Even tho I felt this way,  the first night I moved into my apt after separating I made a list of qualities I wanted my next partner to possess. Just in case.

The No's -

* No Drugs

* No Kids or Cats (allergic to both)

* No Smokers

* No Tattoos (I know they are fashionable but they scare me & I loathe them)

* No Felons

 

The Yes List

* Kind

* Great sense of humor

* Loves Dogs

* Has a loving relationship with his friends and family

* When he smiles, the edges of his eyes crinkle. The sign of an authentic smiler. Which is important to me.

 

Over the years I've added to both lists.

No intolerance. No rudeness. He can't be mean for the sake of being mean. Hell no to someone that uses 'silent treatment' (btdtnft). He can't be lazy. Or have bad hygiene. Or be a total slob to the point of being a hoarder.

On the Yes side, has to be a great hugger or at least not mind being hugged several times on a daily basis. Has to be open to sex more than 3 times a month. More like 3 time a week. At least. Is confident without being cocky. Knows the difference between calculated risk and a sudden whim. Has a healthy relationship with money. Must be comfortable with someone that lives in the social media world. And while he may not have a Twitter handle or follow millions of friends on Facebook, he has to be ok that I use both. Maybe a little too much at times.

Lists can be good. They're like a road map for an important trip. And if you don't know what you're looking for or where you're going, how will you know when you get there? 

Exactly.

After 10 years of honing my list and getting a grasp on what is a must have and a nice to have and realizing that a list is great but people aren't defined by action items on a list, I'm ready. It's time for the next step.

For years, every time I told a friend I was ready to date, I always changed my mind within 5 minutes. Cause my life was good and comfortable. And the memories of being in a relationship had been bad for so long compared to the length of time I was married, that I truly thought that playing it safe and avoiding the whole dating issue would be the best course of action.

2011 made me see things differently. Nothing specific happened to create this change  in attitude other than waking up one day and realizing that playing it safe was getting me nowhere. And was a horrible way to live an authentic life.

So here we are. 

I've tried EHarmony & Match.com before. Wasn't impressed. Besides. who knows me better than you guys, right? So I'm asking for your help in this "Dating Adventure". If you know someone that might be good for me (we'll worry about Mr. Right later on down the road), send him my way. I'm great for starting as friends and actually prefer it that way.

My list of No's is still intact. Not gonna change my mind if he has kids or cats. Believe me, I've tried guys with kids AND guys with cats and it's not meant to be. And let's not even discuss smokers, ok?

One more question. What kind of list did you/do you have? Did it help? Did you stray from your list? Did you find your happily-ever-after and where did you meet them? What advice do you have for me. Good? Bad? What one thing you'll NEVER do again? And what do you wish you would have done sooner?

I'm all ears. And ready for the next step!

 

 


I'll Tell Ya What I Want...

...what I really really want!

Yesterday was my birthday. And for as long as I've had my blog, I've written birthday resolutions. They resonate more than New Year's Resolutions cause they're tied to my birthday plus by writing them here I feel it makes me more accountable to you guys. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Just re-read every birthday resolution I've written since 2007 and I can honestly say it boils down to one thing...one BIG thing. Listen to your gut.

For advice on how to live, what to feel, what to buy (or not), what to believe in, how to act, how to be happier, thinner, healthier, wiser...listen to your gut. Then? ACT ON IT!  And that may be the bigger action of the two. Cause what is self-reflection worth unless you act on it?

I want to be the person I know I'm capable of being. How to get there? To coin a term from a friend "GOYA" aka "Get off your ass". 

What does that person look like? Healthier. Fit. More financially aware. Less spending time on the internet, more spending time on self-improvement that doesn't involve the internet.

Listen to your gut, act on what it tells you and don't forget to GOYA.

Secret to sucess? I'm willing to bet it is!