Thursday, December 31, 2009

On re-living the past...

Ever have those moments where the past unexpectedly crops up?

Does anyone have any idea what to do with those moments?

When songs, people, places, thoughts, names, everything seems to remind you of the past?

Sure, when the past memories are bad or painful, it's easy to know what to do with that. You just ignore, stifle, generally set them aside. I have plenty of those. In fact, much of my early-twenties is filled to the brim with memories and people I'd rather just forget. Painful and stupid actions. Mistakes that are better left un-mentioned.

But what happens when the memories are good? When the experiences remain fondly in your heart? What are you to do when a memory crops up that you'd somehow forgotten you had? It's like our minds have this filing cabinet that stores all the best and none of the worst and at the most random and unexpected times, those files get opened. And why is it that such wonderful memories can bring both joy and pain?

Much of my time lived in Minnesota conjures up just that.

Joy and pain.

I remember so much about that year. And even the year prior, in Canada, that somehow leaks into Minnesota. Some of the people even. Minnesota was largely a year that I'd rather have done without. Too much hurt. Too much resentment. Too much...weirdness. It's one of those periods in my life during which I did and said really stupid things. But I also managed to do some really brilliant things. I mean, you can't count a year an entire loss when it's the year in which you meet your best friend. She was one of a few redeeming qualities of that year.

But there is one mistake from that year which has recently cropped up. I'm not ready to expound on it. I may never be ready. But so much of my time in Minnesota is tangled up in this one incident. Actions leading up to this one moment were well worth it. I can tell you where I was, who I was with, what was said.

So I'm muddling through that moment in time, wondering why I did what I did. And while the memories are difficult, I am amazed at how easily I can go back to that time and smile...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On resolutions...

So I haven't yet come up with anything in the way of a New Year's resolution, so in keeping with the theme of maintaining past resolutions, here are 5 things I've never done that I'll try to make happen in 2010:

1. Graduate from college
2. Learn to shoot a gun
3. Roast a prime rib
4. Buy a house
5. ......?

I really can't think of anything for a "new" resolution though. Probably "remembering to take time for myself" is a good one. That's something I've struggled with for as long as I can remember. So many of the resolutions I've put into play in the past have involved doing or not doing something. It was like some kind of extended Lent, which never really worked. There was the year I swore I'd never swear again (that didn't happen). And what about the one where I said I wouldn't kiss a boy again until I got married? That was a) stupid b) unrealistic c) detrimental and d) laughable (considering I was 19 at the time).

I'm not sure I think resolutions should be about doing or not doing things. To be honest, I don't know WHAT resolutions should be about. I guess maybe it's about being a better person. Not necessarily to the world or your family or your friends, but just being a better YOU. What can I do to be a better ME? I really have no idea.

Admittedly, there is much about me that needs improvement. I'm frustrated easily. I get bent about stupid things. I fly off the handle. I'm lazy (sometimes). I don't apply myself. I doubt myself. I'm forgetful and sometimes inadvertently rude or insensitive. I say stupid things. I tell jokes that aren't funny.

There are several ways in which I could be "bettered", but I'm not sure any of those things can or even should be changed. Maybe it's enough to be aware of my follies, to be conscious of the ridiculous patterns I've created and make an attemp - however slight - to avoid those missteps.

So my question is: what does "resolution" mean to you? And do you have any for 2010?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the year in review...

I suppose it's the time of year where reflecting is appropriate. So here goes.

2009 presented itself rather challenging, but not without its heavy-duty "ups". Traveling proved to be my "thing" this year....I literally spanned the globe, most times with Todd, but made one solid trip with my girls (not all of them, but a solid group of them).

I finally took it upon myself to take some initiative and lose all my honeymoon weight. Yes, that was nearly 2 years ago, but it was taking to time to motivate myself. I had a goal, both in weight and time and reached both and was able to take on The Circus with pride.

Fitness was a new adventure this year and I completed the Bolder Boulder in approximately 1 hour and 6 minutes, a feat I was certainly not expecting. I ran the 10K in honor of my mother this year. She used to run every year until her knees just gave out and I'd been promising for the last 6 years that I'd run it for her someday, and I did. I even took her solid advice to "save something for the stadium" and ran through Folsom Field in under 15seconds...that was awesome!

I also did another race that I'd been wanting to do for years, Run the Republic. I undertook this race with three of my other girl friends. Our team name: The Skinny Bitches. Our name never got announced over the loud speaker on race day, but we think that was for obvious reasons. This race was a stairclimb...56 flights at just over 1000 steps to the top of the tallest building in Denver. I clocked in around 16mins for that sucker and that was without training. Holla!

I took quite a liking to the theatre this year. Another goal of mine was to see a Broadway show. Todd took me to The Phantom of the Opera this year and we were both blown away. The music, the costumes, the was all impressive and exciting! Then, in October, I was invited to see Wicked with a good friend for her birthday. This proved to be even more exciting that the first and I am certain that the latter is better than the former, but let's be honest: just about any Broadway show is spectacular!

You've all already heard about our traveling adventures so I won't write more about that here. It was big year, biggest yet in fact. We plan on topping ourselves in the years to come.

Todd and I both got to see one each of our former roommate get married this year, both to people we adore. Tarynn to Cory and Gabe to Kelly....each are perfectly suited and we were so happy to be able to celebrate with each couple.

Reflecting on the year gives me reason to pause and think about all the things I learned this year:
  • Japanese people are the kindest I've ever met
  • Cruisers are among the worst
  • Friendships take an extraordinary amount of work
  • I'm allowed to be selfish...with me, my time, my friends, my husband
  • The place in my heart for my family continues to grow
  • I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to
  • I am stronger than I give myself credit for
  • While I don't enjoy writing fiction, I'm not exactly bad at it
  • I work my best under stress, which is weird (G&Ks wedding proved that)
  • I throw a mean book release party
  • Selling myself short is the dumbest thing I've ever done
So, bring on 2010 and all it's challenges, adventures, and lessons....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On Christmas Baking

This year, I went a little bonkers with the cookie making.
To be completely honest, I've always gone a little bonkers, but this year was especially out-of-control.
I usually choose four recipes to make, two of which are seasonal "standards": the perfected sugar cookie and my grandma's coconut macaroons that (apparently) only I am able to do well (which is weird because I learned the recipe from my dad and now he's totally incapable of doing them himself).

But this year, I was so excited about the Christmas season that I made the following (most of them in one afternoon):
The Perfected Sugar Cookie
Coconut Macaroons
Waldorf Slice (another grandma recipe that my mom requested)
Pecan Tassies
Anise Ovals
Biscotti (another request from mom)
Chocolate Peppermint Bark

and with the help of my dad, I finally learned how to make:
Christmas Cake
Christmas (plum) Pudding

The last two were my absolute favorites thsi year because I got to make them with my dad. He and I are the sentimental fools in our family and those two recipes in particular are HUGE traditions for us so I was glad to learn how to make them. Even if they are incredibly difficult and time-consuming. But eventually Todd and I will host a Christmas dinner and the plum pudding and all it's glory will be on me to make. So I'd best be prepared.

And if you've never had my family's Christmas cake, I highly recommend it. My dad makes the loaves in three sizes and the little one usually ends up going home with me. It's one of my favorite holiday treats so having a tiny batch to myself is always a's soft and fruity and nutty and basically wonderful.

Todd isn't *quite* as in to Christmas as I am (probably never will be), but easily one of his favorite parts of the holiday, other than eating my cookies, is decorating the sugar cookies. He gets really excited and makes fun creations...this year included a smurf-like elf and a "USA" bell (among other, less appropriate designes).

So now our house is filled to the brim with nearly a dozen cookie tins just waiting for Christmas parties and various people to deliver them to. I had official Quality Control Managers this year...even braved a snow storm to make sure they arrived before bedtime. They were the first QCMs in my baking history and all were approved, so that was good news!

Yes, I love to bake. Yes, I love Christmas.
It's a marvelous combination!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Beethoven's Playlist

I've been guest posting on a new blog, Beethoven's Playlist, and you should read them!

The first was a post about Christmas music and today's post included my thoughts on some current musical phenoms...


Monday, December 14, 2009

Somebody's got a case of the Mondays...

Today started out fine, I guess. We both slept in a little bit, but I'd made the coffee last night so it was brewing by 6am. Just that extra little bit of sleep was nice.

The whole morning really just went off with every amount of normalcy that it could. My drive to work was even easy, arriving 5 minutes early. That's when things went downhill.

My phone was ringing.

It was Todd. Not entirely out of the ordinary, but why would he call rather than text, like normal?

"Hi honey...umm...I just got in a car wreck."

Blamo! Monday has officially arrived. Bastard Mondays.

The whole story is too long to tell here. And it's rather boring, honestly. No fireworks, no injuries (thank God). So the car is at "the shop" and we're waiting to be told if it's repairable or if it's a total.

Poor sad Cavalier. It's been a good car. Hopefully we can get it fixed. Sigh.
Merry Christmas.