Really, these are the goals for 2011

I should stop setting goals and start focusing more on living – I know I should, but I can’t.  So that will wait for 2012.  Or when I am 40.  Ever since my 30 before 30 list, I loves me some goals.  And like any list of goals I have ever had, they have changed since I first imagined them.  Here is the “final” list:

1. Exercise for 250 hours.

2. Post what I ate – every good, bad, ugly detail – for 300/365 days.

3.  Lose 25 lbs.  I need to lose more, but I want a realistic goal for this year – something that feels obtainable, not overwhelming.  And losing 25 is better than gaining 5.  You can’t argue with that.  No, I said you couldn’t.

4. Get rid of x amount of debt.  This one is between me and my husband, but it is a BIG number.  As the kids say, we are going to have to make our own fun!  But nothing is more fun than being out of debt.  Yep, I am officially old because I truly believe that.

5. Eat in 1000 times.  That means only one meal out per week – and that includes Starbucks, fast food, lunch with friends at work, our sweet friends at Abuelo’s.  This will perhaps be the hardest for us – we like to eschew the drudgery of the kitchen – but will be very important for #4 and #3.  I think I might craft a little cookbook of our our daily recipes to make it more fun.  Tonight we are doing apple-sage field roast with hard cider sauerkraut that my friend J turned me on to.  So yum.

6. Complete 25 books.  I still have a lot of books to consume to hit my 40 before 40 goal, so I will need to continue to plug away.  Right now I am in the midst of the Harry Potter series – so that should be fun/easy.

7.  Get rid of 500 things – either by recycling, consuming, or giving away – it will be hard to define what a things count – but off the top of my head:  booklets of scrapbook paper, yarn, CDs, DVDs, books, unused dishes – lots to do.  I am sooooo looking forward to having less stuff.  My stepdaughter totally inspired me this weekend by *spontaneously* cleaning out her closet.  I am going to borrow some of her fortitude and tackle my bedside table tonight.  Woot!

8. 250 study hours.  Grad school starts in 10 days.  I will need to get good at studying again.  I am not too worried, I was once great at it, but having a weekly hourly goal will help me.

9. 500 blog entries – with 30o days of calorie posting, this is just 200 entries of other stuff – which I really do want to share with my small readership – I love having this blog as a digital journal of my life – where I have been and where I have been going.  And unlike my junior high school diary, being on the internets reminds me to set my filter a *bit*, so I can reread entries without cringing too badly.

10. Organize 5 things.  Blech – I don’t want to do this one, but I need to – and the sooner it is done, the better.  And I know I will love the results.  My fab craft empire still is organized and awesome.  I think I am going to tackle these five things:  Spring holiday decorations, autumn/halloween decorations, Christmas decorations, Muner’s desk, Reading room closet/wrapping papers. 

In short, my focus this year will be lightening my load.  My forties are nigh, and I want to be fully fabulous by then.  Just a bit more work, and I will be there.

HOPE YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR!!!  Love, love, love you all!

Choose Your Own Adventure!

A friend recently asked me if I was glad I got married. My answer was and is, yes, unequivocally. There are a lot of things I would have redone in life, but marrying DH is not one of them.

But the question got me thinking about choices. And then today in class we talked about Choose Your Own Adventure books, which got me thinking even more about choices. Every choice, even those that aren’t really choices, affect us in meaningful ways because there is the effect of the thing that isn’t chosen.


Marriage is a perfect example of a choice. When you are in a committed relationship, you give up some things – independence, lack of oversight in your personal habits, worrying about only yourself. And if you are single you give up some things – companionship, partnership, having someone who has to drive you to the eye doctor when you get your eyes dilated.
The concept of me as married still doesn’t always jive with my conception of myself. I was single for a *long, long* time. And I figured I would always be single. And I had made a plan in my mind on how to stay single but not become bitter. And part of that plan was reminding myself that there were advantages to being single and that with every choice there is the thing you gain and the thing you lose.

But the problem with choices is that often you are confronted with the happiness of people who had made the other choice – like seeing a middle-age married couple at the movie theater and he takes her hand and carries the popcorn for her. And you (I) think, “Hey! I want that!” But then you see them go into some horrible action-adventure crud that he picked while you can go in and see Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants without anybody judging you. (Note to self: Don’t miss Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2!)

And then there is Mary Cassatt. While wandering through the Art Blog by Bob (I love you, Bob.), I found an entry about Mary Cassatt where Bob points out thats he paints the most tender scenes of motherhood and family life imaginable, yet never was married or had children. My great-grandmother had a poster of The Bath in her bathroom, and even at a young age I would look at that picture and think about how much I loved my mother. As a grown woman, that painting makes me long for a child. She has captured the beauty, serenity, and unbridled joy of motherhood. And yet Mary Cassat never married and had no children. She chose to hang out with male artists and make her work a priority. That blows my mind. To be able to paint something so desirable that you don’t have with such sweetness and admiration demonstrates a generous person who is confident in her decision.

I strive to be Mary-like in living with my choices. From choosing not to have children to the breakfast I eat, every choice seems to have the thing you gain and the thing you give up. And I want to find joy in the choices I make, and be joyful for the people who choose the other thing.

Here is a list of choices I have made where I am aware of the thing I gave up, but still would have made the same choice:

1. Studying to maintain a perfect GPA in high school in college. I gave up lots of fun for that one. And I feel the bitterness of interacting with colleagues who have made it as far as me who partied lots versus studying lots. But I still wouldn’t give up my time spent with the great philosophers, artists, and scientists. I only got one chance in life to make learning a priority, I am glad I did. But I am sure I missed out on some great parties.

2. Getting married to DH. I miss a lot of my single habits – spending money on whatever I want to spend money on, worrying about only my schedule, sprawling across the bed, but that is nothing compared to having a lifelong companion – one who really gets me and likes to see me every day (or nearly every day).

3. Not having kids. I feel the pain of not being a mom – especially since I see the joy it brings so many others. But I made this choice so that DH and I still could have some sort of couple life and so that the twins can remain the focus of our energies and money and love. This choice is and will be hard. But it is the right one. And as I live with the choice more, I am appreciating the mother-daughter bond of others, rather than coveting it.

4. Living in Kansas City. Sometimes I wonder how different and freer I would feel if I had moved away from my hometown – creating a new self, new relationships in a place that I haven’t known for 34 years. But then I can meet my mom for coffee when I need mom-advice or go to Loose Park rose garden and know that no other place would feel like home, and I would always miss being here. And then I hit a pothole and I think, I bet Austin is nice. 😉


There are things I love about being a grown-up (grup).

(list 6) Things I Love About Being a Grup
1. No homework.
2. No scheduled lunch period that is different from your friends’ scheduled lunch period.
3. There are no popular kids. (At least they are easier to ignore.)
4. Watching whatever I want on TV.
5. Having my own dog and cat.
6. There is no need to know what is cool.
7. Making my own schedule.

Increasingly though I am finding one part of being a grup that I do not like: fear. My parents will tell you that I have always been a worrier. From the first day of kindergarten to finding a job after college, I worried. And generally the worry was needless – either everything ended up being fine or the thing I feared was not as bad as I expected.

I am finding that with a house and a family and a job there is a new level of fear – a subliminal hum in my mind that keeps me from taking risks or truly relaxing. Doesn’t that suck? From guttering to corporate downsizing to tires to college funds, the line of things to worry about seems to stretch from here to the next economic upturn – such a mind-boggling long list of worries, that I am not going to put them in a list.

Instead, today I am just going to take it one moment at a time – and take my hint from the birds DH and I saw on our hike yesterday – we made it through winter, so chirp, damnit!

(list 7) Reasons to CHIRP on March 31, 2008

1. No astronomical gas bill for another six months!
2. Today I have a job!
3. There are crocuses blooming in the back yard!
4. It is warm enough to walk outside!
5. There is a new Top Gear on TV tonight!



I have never understood obsession with one’s age. This has mostly been a product of being young most of my life (I am now 33), but also seems like a silly thing to worry about for the following reasons:

(list 2) – Why I Do Not Understand Worrying About Age

  1. It is completely out of one’s control. Time passes at its own speed. I have tried to slow time down when eating at Le Fou Frog with my husband and tried to speed it up during meetings with annoying coworkers, but I can’t control it. And I cannot control when I was born and that time has passed since I was born, so I refused to worry about it.
  2. My favorite person in the world was really old. My best friend as a child was my great-grandmother, and she was old, obviously. But she was fun, smart, and had the best apartment and most charming friends of anybody I ever met. And she ate cherry ice cream out of pretty porcelain dishes and walked to the book store or library every day and didn’t have to go to work – if you add a cat, that seems like just about the most perfect life ever. In some ways, each day that brings me closer to that seems pretty darn good.
  3. Men and women age “differently”. To borrow a favorite word of my husband, “Bollocks!” I loathe, despise, abhor the concept that men gain value and women lose value as they get older. Enough said.

And then my 30th birthday loomed! I began to see aging not as inevitable or welcome, but the passing of time that meant I had less time to do the things I wanted to do. I reacted by having four(!) birthday parties and creating my 30 Before 30 List (with the help of a long-time friend of mine, Laurie Sevedge Beane). The list was a checklist of everything I wanted to do before I turned 30. Here are the rules of the list:

(list 3) The Rules of the N Before N List

  1. Everything on the list has to be fun. You can’t put anything on the list that has to do with reducing debt, getting a promotion, or eating more veggies – it all has to be fun!
  2. The list has to be achievable and complety under your control.
  3. It must include some travel.

Other than that, it was wide open. I achieved most of the goals on my 30 before 30 list, and had a great time doing it. If you don’t have a list, I highly recommend one! And it doesn’t need to be a list for a decade with a round number. A dear friend of mine has a 37 before 37 list (she started when she was 27), and my 7 year-old stepkids have an 8 before 8 list. (I will publish theirs in a future blog – it is THE most adorable list EVER!)

To the right, I have published my 40 Before 40 List (list 4), as well as indicating if they are completed. Future blogs will update you on my progress.

Note that I have broken two out of the three rules for lists. Some are not fun (getting out of debt) and some are not completely under my control (getting married).

If you have an N Before N List that you don’t mind sharing, please add it to the comments!