Entries from December 2012

Unraveling 2013: Settling Up With the Past

Monday, December 31, 2012

This year was a tough one at times, and a fun one at others. This year I accomplished some goals that I didn’t think I could, cut some things out of my life that needed to go, and gained some perspective that I will rely on for the rest of my life. 
When I try to think of what happened this year, not too many big things come to mind. I didn’t land a new career job making bajillions (or even just thousands), I didn’t find myself in a sordid love affair (though I did have some small frustrations with males), I didn’t travel to a new corner of the world or speak in a different language… 
But things did happen. When I dig, and look back, and see where I was at the beginning of the year, and then look back and see where I was six months ago, I do realize that things have changed for the better, and I’ve made some progress in areas of my life that never saw this kind of progress before.
I’m doing all these little things that seemed so impossible at the beginning of the year and here I am. And now that I’m here there are new things to stress about, but there is also a lot of understanding, a lot of acceptance, a lot more picking and choosing, curating if you will… because that’s what keeps me running smoothly.
I feel like at this time last year I was a mass of different colored yarn that had been thrown around, knotted and messy. Now I feel like many of the knots have come undone and the process has been tedious at times and challenging but fun at others. I feel like now the yarn is in it’s own bundles, maybe with a few knots to undo but ready to be weaved together.

I’m looking forward to using what I’ve learned in 2012. I’m ready to start with this new foundation of knowledge about myself and other people, some new perspective that I’ve gained. I’m ready to think bigger and try harder and learn over and over again that being a beginner is just fine. That progress can be a slow process and not everything comes to us immediately. 2012 has been the greatest example of that. 
For 2013 I decided to go through a little workbook to organize my thoughts on what I wanted. I found this one here and started getting a lot out of it from the first page.

It starts with a look back, so that’s what I’m going to do here. Tomorrow I will look forward!

-word of 2012: Strive…
I didn’t stick with it because I didn’t feel I had a base to strive from.

– embraced: my emotions, my place in life, who I am, what I’m good at and what I need to work on
– let go of: medication for anxiety, a tendency to make a dude perfect in my mind because I want one around
-discovered: a new sense of confidence in many different aspects of my personality and what I have to offer
-grateful for: so many things, getting out of the latest time of sadness… having money to feed myself AND get a place to live. My health, my ability to buy things I want even if I shouldn’t. My jobs.

– worked through Spirit Junkie, The Fire Starter Sessions and 168 Hours
– took myself off of anxiety/depression medication and haven’t looked back
– saved and moved out
– haven’t used credit card in 10 months
– landed four jobs… three of which I kept
– started a quilt and learned how to use my sewing machine
– switched the blog over to www.butwewillstay.come and did a little design work on it
– completed 52 photos in 52 weeks
– was accepted to NAU to get a teaching degree in English

– motivation to keep exercising
– motivation to buy food at the grocery store and eat at home
– stepping away from the phrase “I can’t”
– being single… still…

What do I want to say goodbye to:
I want to say goodbye to not trusting my gut, to thinking I can’t do something, to thinking I’m not pretty, funny, sexy, interesting, smart, crafty or any-other-desirable-trait enough. I want to say goodbye to “I can’t” and use either “I’m having trouble with” or “I won’t.” I want to say goodbye to wasting time doing absolutely nothing when I want to be doing something. I am saying goodbye to people that aren’t worth it, those that don’t inspire me or care about me in the way that I need them to. I am saying goodbye to copious amounts of drama and worrying about things I can’t change. I am working on saying goodbye to taking things personally.

With all that being said and done it’s time to bring in the new year!!! 


The Goals of 2012 Revisited

Monday, December 31, 2012

I made some goals in January that seemed really important and necessary then. Some of them were fully accomplished and others were remembered from time to time. My goals for next year will have a different layout and a different focus… but that’s for the next post. For now I’ll reflect on what did and didn’t work.
1. cook or bake 12 dishes
It started out as 24 dishes and that seemed like too many. This year was not the year of cooking… it was just a side thought. This year a main project will be cooking. I’m looking forward, and somewhat skeptical about it.

2. 52 in 52 photos
Completed and enjoyed. Next year I will not strive to post a picture (or 5) a week but photography is still going to be a big, HUGE focus. Photography and cooking. Photography of food… 

3. develop healthy exercise routine, eventually get to 5 days a week
I started the year out strong and did some good things for sure but I do not by any means work out 5 times a week, not even three now that we are at the end of the year. 
Next year will have a health element to it, but I will be slower with it again… figure out what really works and what doesn’t. 

4. learn how to love running… and eventually run a 9 minute mile Just learn how to love working out.
There are days this year that I loved working out… days that I looked forward to my dance class or even just going to use the gym at my dad’s house. Those were the good days. But the good days aren’t what goals are made for. So the harder days will be something to push through in the next year.

5. read at least 26 books either already bought or from the library
I wanted to heavily cut back on the amount of money I spend on books. While I didn’t completely stop buying new books, I was more selective and bought very few that I wanted to immediately give to the library when I was done with them. Most of the full price books bought ended up on my small bookshelf. AND I became way more friendly with the library. Oh yes, and I ended up reading 80+ books… Ultimately I think I did well on this one.

6. pay off at least 3/4 of credit card and car debt (about $8,500)
Not even close. BUT I stopped using my credit card completely and have been paying more than the minimum since my birthday. I’m satisfied with my progress in that department. Definitely pushing for more progress next year, but the groundwork has been laid. 

7. go to or register for a blogger meet-up/seminar/summit
I went to a Creative Connections event this year and met Lisa and Debbie. While it wasn’t Alt or anything out of town with a hotel stay involved, it did benefit me greatly. I count this as a win.

8. create 2 pieces of word art
This became unimportant as the year went on. 

9. launch www.butwewillstay.com 
I DID IT, I DID IT, I DID IT! It took so much less work than I thought. This year is about redesigning the blog and doing more things with it. 

10. make a quilt
I started, and I’m almost done with the top layer. I didn’t plan this out well timing wise. I have been sick for the past month and haven’t felt motivated to go on to the next steps. But I will finish it, and I will post about it. I’m stoked I buckled down and started it.

11. crochet an infinity scarf or a cowl
DID IT! I made two cowls. One of which I ended up giving in the white elephant gift exchange because I messed up the pattern (that I thought of myself) and so it didn’t quite work right. 

12. finish a blanket that is as big as a queen size flat sheet

13. move into an apartment or house
DONE AND DONE! Moved into a house that my friend was already living in on the first of October. I love my little room, I call it my den, this was a huge win.

14. pay for someone behind me in a drive thru line 4 times
I did this once, it felt pretty good. I didn’t do it more than that either because I would forget or there would be two people in the car behind me the handful of times I was in the starbucks drive through and while being generous is nice, I couldn’t justify paying for more than one drink at a time. I’ll think of more things to do in the new year. 

15. go on at least 12 adventures
(Palm Springs, Warped Tour, Dia de los Muertos, Creative Connections, Renegade Craft Fair, pumpkin patch, Girl’s Night Out, )

16. be enrolled in a program for my teaching credential
I decided pretty early on in the year that this goal was not something I was ready to move forward on anymore. I was accepted to the school of my choice, which was a nice pat on the back even if I didn’t end up going. I do wonder what it would have been like if I had been back in school, but it is what it is and I’m glad I don’t have the added debt to worry about. 

17. say yes to 4 things you would normally say no to
I honestly don’t know if I did this one or not. I don’t think I did anything so far out of my norm that it would count enough. Next year is about accepting more invitations even if they are to things out of the way. 

18. make 4 vlogs

19. adopt a kitten
Not feasible or fair to a kitten right now. I would have to keep her in my room and no where else so that she wouldn’t be eaten and I don’t like the idea of a kitten just staying in a room like mine. Maybe in a year or so when things change a bit. There is a cat in my future, I just can’t have her yet. 

20. get a credit card with 1:1 airline miles Get rid of credit card
I did neither. I was going to get a credit card with better benefits but then I thought it would probably entice me to use the credit card again. Something I just can’t do. If I could get airline miles for the money I spend on a debit card I would do that… but I haven’t looked in to the options. 
I will be looking and applying for a credit card with a WAY lower interest rate this year so that the money I put towards it won’t just be paying off interest. 

21. shoot and develop 12 rolls of 120 film
I think I managed to get 6 done. I lagged towards the end of the year. Film is expensive. But with photography being a big focus in the next year expect some more film pictures. 

22. at the end of the year be proud to look back at how far you’ve come
I’ve succeeded here. I’ve made some great steps and learned some great things. I’m just looking even more forward to the lessons learned and things accomplished next year!

23. get a fun and challenging job!!!
One of my jobs is both fun and challenging at times. So I kind of got this right. Moving forward I’m going to be looking at my options for employment. I like the one job a lot but the other two are just for the money. I want more satisfaction out of a job… and more money and stability in the new year. 


The Books of 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

  I started out this year telling myself that 52 in 52 wasn’t a goal at all. That reading a couple of books a month was a-okay and there was no competition and the focus for the year was going to be pictures not words… I started this year telling myself all of this and what did I go and do? Break my record (of 65) from the year before, by 16 books. I was a reading machine it seems, almost 7 books a month! 
This year I counted second reads as a book, my justification was that it still takes time to read the book even if you have read it before. I allowed some books that were smaller to be counted as well. I didn’t limit myself too much, but if I hadn’t finished the book it didn’t count. 
While I like saying that I read over 80 books this year I find myself lacking a real sense of accomplishment… I have to be honest, I don’t immediately remember all of the characters in the books or even the plot line sometimes. 
While this year somehow became about numbers, I want next year to be about enjoyment, retention and knowledge. Next year I am going to be a lot more picky about which books I choose to read, and I am going to make myself more accountable. I may even start a separate blog or notebook to make notes about the books (even the fiction ones) so I retain more of what I read. 
I did manage to read and retain quite a few good ones this year, I’ve highlighted them in blue and yellow… blue for the ones that blew me away (haha, oh cheesy) and yellow for the also really good.
The mustard yellow books are the ones I find myself disappointed in or unhappy with. 
I will take the best of this year and put them on my bookshelf to share and read again. I will be more critical of what I pick up and choose to read, and I will take notes. I look forward to 2013… it’s the year I relearn how to dig in to a good book.

The Books of 2012

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey – Trenton Lee Stewart

The Help – Katheryn Stockett

Love is the Killer App – Tim Saunders

Small is the New Big – Seth Godin

Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay

The Art of Eating In – Cathy Erway

The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club – Jessica Morrison

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers Ph.D.

Schooled – Anisha Lakhani

Vision – Beth Elisa Harris (second reading)

Soul Herder – Beth Elisa Harris

The 4- Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss

Truth and Beauty – Ann Patchett

Start Something That Matters – Blake Mycoskie

An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later – Francine Pascal

The Bean Trees – Barbara Kingsolver

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

Looking For Alaska – John Green (TWICE)

Paper Towns – John Green

The 100 Thing Challenge – Dave Bruno

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – Amy Chua

Insecure at Last – Eve Ensler

Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert

My Name is Memory – Ann Brashares

Pay it Down – Jean Chatzky

Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi (second reading)

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You – Peter Cameron

Catch – 22 – Joseph Heller

True Believer – Nicholas Sparks

The Money Drunk – Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green (TWICE)

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon (second reading)

Slow Love – Dominique Browning

Is Everyone Is Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling

A Homemade Life – Molly Wizenberg

Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

Seriously… I’m Kidding – Ellen Degeneres

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime – Mark Haddon

Betwixt – Tara Bray Smith

Little Bee – Chris Cleave

Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver

How to Sew a Button –  Erin Bried

The Other Side of the Story – Marian Keyes

Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson

The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson

Smart Women Finish Rich – David Bach

Normal Gets You Nowhere – Kelly Cutrone

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

The Postmortal – Drew Magary

French Women Don’t Get Fat – Mireille Guiliano

Twenties Girl – Sophie Kinsella

Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg

The Start-Up of You – Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

The Summer We Read Gatsby – Danielle Ganek

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Happier At Home – Gretchen Rubin

Instant Love – Susannah Conway, Amanda Gilligan and Jenier Altman

Juliet, Naked – Nick Hornby

Twisted – Laurie Halse Anderson

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Switch : How to Change Things When Change Is Hard – Chip Heath & Dan Heath

The Best Advice I Ever Got – Katie Couric

This is How – Augusten Burroughs

Spirit Junkie – Gabrielle Bernstein

You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) – Tammy Strobel

Empire Falls – Richard Russo

Last Night At Chateu Marmont – Lauren Weisberger

Insurgent – Veronica Roth
The Fame Game – Lauren Conrad
The Fire Starter Sessions (TWICE)
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think – Laura Vanderkam
Inheritance – Christopher Paolini
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma – Trenton Lee Stewart
The Brave – Nicholas Evans


52 photos in 52 weeks: a year in review

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve taken more pictures this year than ever before. It may be due to instagram, or the fact that I was given a DSLR for my birthday… it may have been that I was looking or that I carried a camera more… or it could have been because I never wanted to show up to the end of the week empty handed.
I am often in awe of those people that take a photo a day for a year. To be that on top of things, that ready to take pictures intimidated me. I wondered if I would run out of things or not see enough in my day to day life. I wanted to do something similar but not quite there, because I wasn’t ready for a daily commitment, but I wanted a challenge. So I looked at last year’s 52 in 52 and I made the subject pictures instead of books. I’m very happy I did. I took more pictures than I thought I would some weeks and others I only had a couple to choose from, but many times I liked what I had come up with and I took time to get to know my new camera. 
It’s been a year of slow growth that I am looking to continue in 2013. Photography will be a interest that I delve into further, learning Manual better, diving into photoshop and making photo adventures a priority. 
Until then here’s a look back at some of my favorites from the year.


Word of the Day: Exhausted

Friday, December 28, 2012

Is anyone else feeling the after Christmas slump or are you all just getting ready to go out for New Years? I’m exhausted. I’m fighting off yet another sickness (that’s 3 in a month), I’m dealing with the loss of the family kitty and the thought sinking in that I’ll never get to pet her soft head again… I’m battling money worries and trying every hour of every day to stay positive and know that there is an ebb and flow and if I do my best and pick up a couple of extra shifts things will work themselves out. I’ve managed to be pretty successful in not getting incredibly anxious about money or anything else (except sickness… that is an Achilles heel for me) but sometimes it’s a mental state to maintain.
I’ve come a long way this year, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and gained a solid base of self esteem but sometimes when the blood sugar is low, and the stomach is gurgling and I have to say goodbye, the strength just buckles.
I know that tomorrow will be better and if it’s not, next week will. I know that I have a lot of things I want to accomplish next year, a lot of fun projects to work on. I know that I’m doing alright and that my woes are of little consequence compared to those around the world.

I know all this, if I back up, and think logically, I know that this is just a little dip…

But sometimes, despite knowing, sometimes the other things just overwhelm.

And that’s where I’m at today. In bed, mentally exhausted, ready to read an uplifting book and hoping upon hope that tomorrow feels even just a tad better that the past two days.

Two bits of bright in the otherwise dull: I started learning some basics in Photoshop and I have found a strong contender for word of 2013.


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