2016’s Resolutions: Recap

I know a lot of people poo-poo on New Year’s Resolutions, however I really enjoy having a guiding list of priorities for the year, even if I don’t end up hitting all those priorities. Last January I came up with seven things that I knew would stretch me, but also that would be manageable if I kept at it. As 2016 winds down, it’s time to recap how I did:

2016 Resolutions: End Results
  • Sweat four times per week: running, yoga, exercise class, whatever
    • I was hit and miss with this one; from March thru October I did this consistently and I ended up losing 30 pounds. I…have not been very good at it since. Need to get back on the wagon.
  • Consistent meal planning and healthy eating
    • Yes! I’ve been keeping a grocery list and meal plan list on the side of the fridge, and I have been really good at making a healthy plan and then sticking to it for the week. Win!
  • Consistent writing: blog, notebook, and/or personal journal
    • Yes!! Not only have I blogged consistently here for the last year (my goal was to publish here three times per week, or 156 times for the year. I am currently sitting at a cool 146, which makes me really happy.
    • Additionally, I have been writing a few sentences about my day in a diary-planner type book, and I’ve loved flipping back through it to see what book I was reading, what I was looking forward to, or what was frustrating me. I will do this again.
  • Set and stick to household budget, bulk up savings and retirement plan
    • Yes!! I paid off all my personal debt this year, and my savings and retirement accounts both are beefier than they have ever been! I will continue to focus on this for 2017 to ensure I’m solidifying these better financial habits.
  • Family camping trip with the kiddos
    • Not exactly. I went camping by myself. Blue Eyes and I went camping. The four of us went to Montana for a week and spent the bulk of it outside in the mountains doing camping-type things, but we stayed in a cabin, not a tent or trailer. So…kind of? I’m counting it.
  • Visit two new National Parks
    • Yes! I actually visited three new-to-me parks! Joshua Tree, Sequoia, and King’s Canyon
  • Learn Spanish
    • Uh, no. I spent a little bit of time with Rosetta Stone, but this was not nearly the kind of priority that I had planned on it being. Oops.

Ok, so of the seven I rocked four of them, one (camping) I’m counting as a “yes”, one (working out) was a solid B+, and one (Spanish) was a big fat fail. Overall, I am not mad about this. I mean, 2016 was a dumpster fire in many ways, I am happy with how I did on this list.

How about you? How did you do on your resolutions?


A proper list of unrelated things

When writing is hard and my thoughts are scattered, it always seems like a good idea to churn out a list. So, on that note:

I hate 3D movies. I don’t particularly like IMAX movies. 3D IMAX is an unnecessary nightmare of magnificent proportions.

I don’t particularly like Facebook, ESPECIALLY during election “season.” I’ve not signed on since July, and I’ve not really missed it, most of the time.

I love to cook, like, I really love it. I love trying out new recipes and I love making them up as I go.

I don’t like competition, it doesn’t drive or motivate me, I don’t care if I come in 1st, or 2nd, or 17th. Don’t care. Am just here for the experience.

I consider “family” as anyone/everyone who has your back, and those who don’t…honestly, I’m kind of okay writing them off as acquaintances, not family.

I cry. A lot. And I am not embarrassed about that (most of the time). I cry when I’m happy, or sad, or scared, or otherwise emotional, or for no reason whatsoever that is immediately discernible.

I’m not afraid of many things. I have anxiety like nobody’s business, but phobias? Not so much. I really don’t like the idea of sharks, I’ve never met a shark, so I can’t really state definitively “I hate sharks” but…I probably hate sharks. I am super skeezed out by praying mantises. Praying mantii? Whatever. Their tilty heads and creepy claws…nope. Nope, nope, nope. I am freaked out by zombies and aliens and unnecessarily loud noises, but, everyone is jumpy about that stuff, right?

I will almost always send or prefer to receive a text over a phone call. Or an email. Except, well, unless it’s a big deal, or you need emotional support, or it’s a birthday.

I have zero games on my phone…I have never had a game on my phone, actually, not since the days of Nokia and that awesome snake game. I realize you can probably download that same game to a fancy smart phone…but I don’t have any inclination to do so. Shrug.

I usually consider the glass half empty. Or maybe 60% empty. I’m a realist with a side of pessimism and, occasionally, a sunny disposition.

I don’t particularly love math, but I also took home a silver medal during a state math competition…so…there’s that.

I used to be known for my shoes, a different pair of heels every day, they were darling. I had a SHOE BLOG at one point for heaven’s sake. I still wear heels to work, cute heels, even, but after a ton of creepy fetishisty emails about my feet, uh, no more shoe blog.

I swear. A lot. I didn’t utter a single swear word until I was in my early 20’s, and until I was 30 I could count the number of F-bombs I’d dropped on one hand. It used to be a point of pride, how little I cursed…I don’t really care anymore. Sometimes you just need a good swear word. Or twelve.

What about you? Any list of random facts you’d care to unload?


A Day In The Life: Last Friday

It’s been forever since I did one of these posts detailing the minutia of my day. I love reading other people’s schedules and thoughts and opinions, so here it goes. A Day in The Life of Harriet:

9:45 pm: Plow through sorely neglected feed reader, see Lacey’s post, consider doing “A Day in the Life.” Also manage to reduce unread posts from 769 to a more respectable 13 unread. Yes, entire categories were marked “read all”….which is precisely why I put my blogs into categories: Favorites/Comments; Cooking; Fashion; Design; Not Girly Blogs; Trial Run; Travel; Mildly Entertaining; Family. (That first category is the one that gets 95% of my attention, always, the others are often skimmed for titles and then marked as read.)

10:30 pm: Shower, brush teeth, pick out clothes and shoes for tomorrow like a 7-year-old all excited for the first day of school (all three of these things are a must every night or my mornings are shot).

11:15 pm: Sleep.

6:15 am: pssst. alarm, here, time to wake up
6:20 am: Ahem. Alarm.
6:23 am: Alarm!
6:30 am: ALARM!

6:35 am: ALRIGHT I GET IT I’M AWAKE YOU ALARM MONSTER! Scroll Twitter with only one eye open, internally fighting with myself to simultaneously get out of bed already and just curl up and go back to sleep.

6:47 am: Sync my Magic Bracelet (ahem, Fitbit) (I swear I’m not 7 years old!) which tells me that I was awake 6 times and restless 32 times, which is a pretty typical night for me. (I know.)

6:50 am: Out of bed, get ready, use curling iron to de-wrinkle the collar and placket of my button-up shirt. I don’t remember the last time I used an iron for this task. (Judgey eyebrows down, please.)

7:17 am: Make bed before heading downstairs. I am constantly surprised at how much easier this is when your room is large enough to allow more than 18″ on ONE side of the mattress…but I still miss my Salt Lake apartment, tiny rooms and all.

7:20 am: Leave for work. It’s a “late morning” because Friday traffic is so much lighter than the rest of the week (I usually leave between 7:05 and 7:10 am).
Commute: Finish listening to audiobook I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam and decide a Day in the Life post is definitely in order. Also, decide Laura Vanderkam probably has no idea how most women live and work and “do it all.” Roll my eyes a bit. Or a lot.

8:00 am: Arrive at work. Order my usual Friday breakfast burrito from the cafe in my building (ham, egg and cheese, no potato) go up to my office while they make it, boot up computer, find address and stamp for a snail-mail card to my niece, walk back downstairs to mail letter and pick up breakfast.

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8:10 am: Scroll email, no fires to put out, so that’s good. Categorize and prioritize what needs attention first, color-code for reference.

8:15 am: Conversation with co-worker about upcoming annual report…blergh.

8:30 am: Start notes for this log, also first caffeine of the day. Diet Dr. Pepper 4EVAH! Also, it goes swimmingly with a morning breakfast burrito. Don’t judge.

8:35 am: Water plants in my office, I love having live plants AND a big sunny window to keep them happy.

8:40 am: Prep for weekly one-on-one with boss.

9:00 am: …twiddling my thumbs, boss is on phone call…answer a few emails.

9:15 am: FINALLY! Meeting with boss.

10:10 am: Ack! My meeting went long (was supposed to be only 30 mins) AND was delayed and now I’m late for my next thing. Rush out to XYZ High School where I’m volunteering at an event for the program I manage. Check in with site coordinator and get assigned to a computer lab where I will be helping students with college and FAFSA applications. The vast majority of students at this school live below the poverty line, which in Arizona means a family of 4 surviving on less than $22,000 per year.  I had a good conversation and experience with one girl in particular, her Mom never reached 9th grade and is a single parent who supports herself and 4 kids on $17,689/year. (!!!!) This girl has a 3.65 and wants to become a nurse, she’s got the grades to get into any program she wants, and she has the determination to finish it.

12:20 pm: Leave high school, still thinking about this girl and her family. Five people on less than $18k per year total! There are thousands like her in Phoenix. THOUSANDS! And hundreds of thousands more like her around the country. I wish I could help them all! (This is the part of my job that I love the most, btw. Seeing the program I administer make a difference in a student’s life trajectory.)

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12:30 pm: Lunch and a book–a full lunch break is essential for me to be productive at all during the afternoon. Veggie burger, sweet potato fries, and a giant Diet Coke (don’t judge). I’m reading The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and am learning so much about the Great Migration of black families from the South to industrial cities in the North and West and some of the historical situations that current racial tensions are based on throughout the United States. (*I tend to only order veggie-versions of burgers these days, unless I’m making it myself.) (Make mental note to bring lunches more often next week, even veggie burgers are expensive.)

1:30 pm: Back at the office: churn out a draft agenda for a huge Commission meeting next week; emails to all high school counselors who work on our programs; 30 minute conversation with brand new high school, getting them up to speed; figure out some storage and spacing issues with our Executive Assistant; finalize press release for my program; approve scheduled social media for the next 2 weeks.

3:45 pm: Holy crap! Where did the afternoon go! Quick break to walk around the block while I scroll Twitter and Instagram.

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4:00 pm: Back to the grind. A little more follow-up and planning for next week. When I started at this job I inherited two full-time interns when I really only have work for one part-time intern…it’s been a struggle to keep them busy and engaged in meaningful work. Wrap up my last “To Do’s” for the week, tidy up my desk (meaning: stack the piles of papers nicely), and spend 10 minutes with the interns being social, not their boss (asking about their weekend, his class and project, her boyfriend coming home from Iraq, etc).

5:00 pm: OUTTA HERE! Starting a new book for my drive home, Nefertiti by Michelle Moran. I’m on a “women who rule” kick lately, I thought this would fit the bill nicely. A few minutes in I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that it is clearly historical fiction and not an actual biography. Sigh.

5:50 pm: Arrive home. Mr Blue Eyes and I have decided to have an “at home” date night, dinner is grilled salmon and a big salad made out of fresh-picked lettuce from the backyard garden.

6:00 pm: Lettuce picking! I have 12 little lettuce plants (variety of types), 9 spinach blobs, and 1 overabundant kale plant. I pick leaves from everything to keep it producing. I also trim the basil (heaps of it!), oregano, cilantro, and thyme, by the time I am done my largest bowl is a tower of carefully balanced greenery.

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6:15 pm: Carefully wash all the leaves and pat them dry, send Blue Eyes to the store for a tomato and an avocado.

6:25 pm: Chop the rest of the salad stuffs: green onion, tomato, bell pepper, mushrooms, almonds.

6:30 pm: Blue Eyes puts the salmon on the grill (mine with sliced lemon, his without), I start chopping and tearing up the now-dry lettuce leaves.

6:40 pm: Dinner! Seriously, this is delicious. Hello, SALAD! Big Bang Theory reruns are playing in the background.

7:00 pm: Dishes, including the pans, turn on the dishwasher (I do all the dishes every night, no matter what. I loathe a dirty kitchen in the morning!).

7:15 pm: We have decided to go camping tomorrow night, he’s researching some hikes, beautiful vistas, and campgrounds while I’m making cooking plans and packing lists. Flagstaff and Sedona both promise cooler weather (like, in the 30’s overnight!) and possibly some leaf colors! Swoooon!

8:00 pm: Netflix movie Tallulah which is…not a light-hearted comedy. What the what!?

10:00 pm: Get ready for bed. (Tomorrow is Saturday so I don’t have to lay out my clothes, but you better believe I have considered which of my favorite comfy t-shirts will be gracing my body in the morning.) (Please, stop judging me!)

10:20 pm: I have an unexplained and unexpected major emotional thing and panic/anxiety attack…trying to measure my breathing and count my heart beats….

10:45 pm: Still feeling shaky, I won’t be sleeping anytime soon. Blue Eyes is snoring (his day starts WAY earlier than mine, and he is patting my hand while he snores), so I carefully ninja my way out of bed so not to disturb him and go into my little studio/former office to use my oil paints while listening to that Nefertiti book.

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1:05 am: Painting is done, time to wash out my brushes. I carefully sneak down the stairs so Blue Eyes doesn’t wake up and think I’m a burglar.

1:18 am: Upstairs and crawl into bed; finally exhausted enough to sleep.


Not giving a damn: a prime list

It’s been quite serious around here of late, not that I’ve ever made a habit of not discussing uncomfortable or real situations, but even so, sometimes it’s time for a list.

And because I’m generally crabby and cynical of late, this list will be all the things that I just do not give a damn about:

      1. College football. Okay, all football. And all other Sportsball.
      2. Pumpkin spice.
      3. 99% of TV shows.
      4. Pennies. Completely useless. (Although I no longer throw them away, I now put them in a separate change jar, far away from the rest of my change.)
      5. Award shows. I’m already bored.

        I just don’t give a damn.

      6. Lip gloss, lip stick, lip stain. Can’t do it.
      7. Voicemail. Upgraded my phone last November, haven’t set up my voicemail yet, which is an improvement from my previous phone where I’d just go months and months not listening to the messages. At least now people are aware they couldn’t leave a message.
      8. Trying to figure out Instagram stories…I just…meh. Not interested.
      9. Other people’s opinions on my taste in music or books or the 1% of TV shows that I enjoy. (A note: I don’t have “cool” or “trendy” or even “popular” taste in any of those areas. And I don’t care.)
      10. Celebrities…I cannot keep up with the gossip/romance/weight loss/whatever.

        Yep, don’t give a damn.

      11. Lately, Facebook. I go through phases, the last few months I’ve been on the outs with Facebook and have not noticed any significant decrease in my online happiness.
      12. Boutique hotels. Honestly, 9 out of 10 times I’d rather just book something I know will be clean and reliable, and if that’s a chain, great. I do not need hipster sheets on my vacation.
      13. Flossing. I’ve tried to care, I have, but I just don’t. Sorry, Dentist.
      14. Video games. I literally have never even played a Mario game. Ever.
      15. “Tradition.” I’m not a monster, I like upholding and creating new family traditions or self-care traditions or what-have-you. But I refuse to do something stupid or ridiculous for the sake of *cue Tevye arms* TRADITION!Don’t give a damn.

        Yep. Fiddler on the Roof reference, right there. Told you I don’t have cool taste in music.

        Still don’t give a damn.

      16. The brand of my yoga/workout pants, only requirement is they be black.
      17. My eyebrows.
      18. Star Wars. Star Trek. The enormity of the difference between the two.
      19. The fact that diet soda will probably kill me, I’m drinking it anyway.

        I just don’t give a damn.

For some reason, I feel it necessary to mention that “I don’t give a damn” was the 7th iteration of this sentence. Various other swears and combination swears-some quite funny–were typed in, and deleted. Honestly, “damn” was the least funny and least crass….but ultimately, the things I don’t give a flying fuck about are a lot more antagonistic than this fairly banal list. For example: I don’t give a flying fuck about bigots, perverts, Trumpists, racists, misogynists, dickwads, rape apologists, zealots, and anti-feminists. But, I am a lot more adamantly opposed to those things than I am to, say, the Emmy’s, or Star Wars, which hardly register on my consciousness.

Confession: it took many minutes to decide that a) it’s time to go to bed instead of come up with one more thing about which I am apathetic; b) 19 is a perfectly acceptable number of things in a list, because 19 is a prime number. And while there are 19 things I don’t give a damn about, the prime-ness of the number of items on that list is something about which I am deeply concerned.

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Summer Bucket List: 2016

I don’t know about you, but where I live summer is in full force. We’ve got summer vegetables available at farm stands, summer activities on weekends, kids in and out of the pool, and (COMPLETELY INSANE) summer temperatures. It was 103 last Wednesday and I still haven’t quite gotten over it. And this isn’t even the worst heat of the summer. It’s gonna be 118 before I know it. Summer in Arizona is going to be very different from my summer’s in the relatively mild Salt Lake City. I can’t just hop in my car and escape to the mountains for some mid-70’s temperatures and plenty of leafy shade. I mean, saguaro cactus give just enough shade for a really skinny person to stand in. My Summer Bucket List for this year (and all subsequent years) will look very different than previous lists, heading outside is more of an Arizona “winter” activity, not something that is at all enjoyable from May – October.

I have been firming up some work scheduling things and personal vacation-y things, the calendar was looking kind of…full. So I did the math: for a six-week long stretch I will only be at home in my own bed for six nights. Total. On average, one night per week for six weeks. Now, that sounds ridiculously overwhelming, but the good news is that every single one of the places I will be visiting (for work and for fun) are cooler than the Valley of the Surface of the Sun. So, despite knowing that kind of travel will be exhausting, I am looking forward to a little respite from the face-melting heat.

Summer Bucket List: 2016

      1. No sunburns, no tan lines, and religious sunscreen application!
      2. Finish up the landscaping in the backyard (the hardest part is already done, just some concrete work, finishing off some planter boxes, and laying the sod).
      3. Schedule a personal day off from work: go to a spa, get a massage, a pedicure, take myself out to a nice lunch, and maybe a movie, just because I can. (This should happen immediately after the 6 weeks of travel hell.)
      4. Go camping! Preferably somewhere higher in elevation, cooler, and leafier.
      5. Keep my backyard garden boxes alive! I need to rig up some shade to protect the baby veggies from 10 hours of the blasting Arizona sun.
      6. Eat at least one full meal harvested entirely from the backyard garden.
      7. Make homemade ice cream happen.
      8. Visit four new National Parks.
      9. Go to a rodeo!
      10. Tackle and manage a joint budget with Mr. Blue Eyes.
      11. Continue my current health and exercise regimen. (The good news is that the gym is heavily air conditioned, so while outdoor hiking may be a November and January activity, treadmill and exercises classes will be perfect when the temperatures soar.)
      12. Read a LOT of books. Inside. With the AC blowing directly on me.
      13. Finish the last bit of painting inside our house: 2 rooms and a closet.

I have had medium-levels of success with posting and then sticking to a summer bucket list in previous years, we’ll see how I do this year. Minus the “keep the backyard vegetables from burning up!” goal, these seem fairly manageable, even with six weeks away. Wish me luck!

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Summer Bucket Lists from previous years: 2015, 2014

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