20 questions: getting to know you, er, I mean, me

Sometimes in order to clean out my “Draft” folder one must pick up the little bits and bobs of partially formed post-ideas and dump them into a listicle. Here is one such list, full of all sorts of random bits about me.

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? Dinner, which was this delicious jalapeno-corn chowder with lots of green chilies and a roux added at the end, and a splash of vinegar and sprinkled with feta and cilantro. It sounds kinda crazy, but hoo boy, is it amazing!

2. Did you play Pokemon Go? No, I don’t actually have any games on my phone…yeah, I’m that person.

3. Who most often makes you laugh? There is a small but delightful bunch of people who regularly send me funny meme-y texts, they almost always result in a giggle or four.

4. When is your bedtime? It should be something like 10:00, but it most often gets pushed to 11:45. I’m totally a night owl, and going to bed earlier is a certain kind of mental torture for me.

5. Theater or Movie?
Live theater. Every time.

6. Do you believe ex’s can be friends? Depends on the ex and it depends on the level of friendship involved. Cordial? Sure. Surface-level friendship of occasional pleasantries? Yeah. Emotional intimates while simultaneously in or trying to be in a relationship with someone else? Uh, no.

7. Coffee? Tea? Soda? Other?
My caffeine-delivery mechanism preference is Diet Dr. Pepper, the full-lead stuff is too sugary, but the acrid-ish aftertaste of Diet? I love it. Add a little fresh lime juice and I’d guzzle it all day long. No apologies either. If I’m gonna die of something, I’m okay with it being DDP.

8. When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday. Feelings are hard, yo.

9. What is one talent you don’t have, but desperately wish you did?
I would love to have a Broadway-caliber singing voice, to be able to fill an auditorium and make everyone there feel something. I can mostly carry a tune, but that’s where my talent ends.

10. Who was the last person you took a picture/video of?
Person? ….probably my sort-of nephew, on Christmas…? But, I was taking pictures of price labels at Costco yesterday to do some comparison shopping. My camera roll is LIT!

11. Are you upset about anything?
Yeah, in general on a few things and more specifically on a few more. Hashtag: vague

12. Bike? Hike? Car?
Hiking! Give me a big, ole scary mountain to climb and I am ON it! That being said, Mr. Blue Eyes gave me a gorgeous beach cruiser bicycle for Christmas and it is quickly becoming a new favorite way to navigate my neighborhood errands.

13. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it?
I think relationships are almost always worth it, people are almost always worth the time and effort and emotional investment we choose to expend. Almost always.

14. If you could have any job/career, which would you do?
If someone would pay me 2 million dollars for 20 hours a week of “consulting” that’d be great.

15. If you could live/travel anywhere, where would you go?
Live: Somewhere with four distinct seasons and sky-high granite-topped mountains.
Travel: You could literally name almost any country and I’d be cool with going there to explore, but lately I’m swooning over Iceland (this has been a decade-long swoon, btw), Belize, Scotland, and Mongolia.

16. What is the last movie you saw?
Hidden Figures, the totally forgettable title of the AMAZING movie about black women at NASA in the 1960’s who furthered the space program through the sheer genius and brilliance of their brains, and a whole lot of fighting to have their voices be heard. (I know the book had the same title, but it’s so unmemorable I had to keep looking it up to tell people to go see the inspiring movie I laughed and sobbed through! Marketing fail.)

17. Are you a bad influence?
Well, that depends on who’s asking, now doesn’t it! I, of course, think I’m delightful.

18. What is one distinctive feature about you?
Well, it used to be my natural platinum hair, then my lavender hair, now it’s kind of a washed-out inbetween that doesn’t do much for anyone, least of all me. So, in lieu of white or purple hair, I’d say probably my big mouth. I am constantly looking up random facts and stories and then I’ll jabber on and on at anyone who pretends to be remotely interested. (Example: did you know most lichen grows at a rate of  about 1mm per year? This is only 4 inches every 100 years! The oldest known lichen is 8,600 years old!)

19. What is your favorite food? (Also? Sweet, or savory?)
I could probably eat Mexican food or sushi every day for the rest of my life and not be one bit mad about it. (Also? I used to be a total sugar addict, but the last few years my tastes have shifted distinctly towards savory preferences.)

20. Introvert or extrovert?
A little of both, actually. I definitely need time to recharge my own batteries, but I also am a people person and crave and thrive off meaningful connections. So…introverted extrovert? Extroverted introvert? I dunno, something like that.

What about you? Care to answer 3 or 4 of these? Hey, I’ll even let you pick the questions! But tell me something I probably don’t know!


2017 Resolutions

2017 New Years Resolutions_feistyharriet_Jan 2017

I really love New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve made them my whole adult life and probably have, on average, a 60% completion rate in any given year. Frankly, I am quite thrilled with this (totally extra super scientific) statistic. However, over the last few weeks as I’ve been trying to come up with resolutions for 2017 I went back through the last several years and realized, with a bit of horror, that my resolutions are almost exactly the same, year after year.

Let me explain.

Once upon a time (cough, 2011) I read 13 books for the year. This may seem like a pretty solid number for some of you, and that is TOTALLY FINE! But for me, it was jaw dropping, because I liked to describe myself as a bookworm, I would drive hundreds of miles for a used book sale for crying out loud, how could I–a self-professed bookaholic–only manage to read 13 books that year? Well, part of it was I was finishing my last semester of college, and I wasn’t counting college texts as “reading” (Das Kapital, I’m looking at you, you big lug!). But I realized that I was not prioritizing reading in practice nearly as much as I was in my head. So, for 2012 I made a resolution to read 50 books, a huge jump. Goodreads tells me I read 59 that year, a number that has continued to increase year after year. At this point, I no longer need to make a resolution to read a suitable-to-me-number of books per year, because bookaholic-level reading is now enough of a habit that I would do it regardless.

But my other annual resolution things? The ones involving healthy eating and regular exercise and more financially savvy spending/saving habits? Yeah…those aren’t habits yet. I will go a few months doing really well, and then make a flying leap off the bandwagon and go wander around in a corn field for a while. Or something. Metaphors aren’t always my thing, okay?

Finalizing my resolutions, I realized that some are so similar year after year because I have yet to commit them to Life Habits That I Don’t Need To Check Off A List, they are still aspirations that need constant reminding and tending and some kind of reward system. And…I think that’s okay? Yes, I think it is. I know I will be happier and healthier if I replace some of those cookies with green beans, and some of the Netflix sessions with a walk around the neighborhood. But my natural state is more sloth-and-cookies, not green beans-and-cardio, so back onto the Resolution list it goes.

Like previous years, I tend to have a few categories with a couple of co-dependent goals in each one, the goals work together to help me accomplish something great within that category. So, here it goes.

2017 Resolutions
  • Create a weekly schedule every Sunday, stick to it (this has worked SO WELL for meal planning and grocery shopping, time to apply that kind of planning to the rest of my life.
  • Write daily, including posts three times per week on feistyharriet.com.
  • Dedicate time to create something/work on a creative project at least twice per month.
  • Select a Master’s program and submit the damn application.
  • Figure out a “Date Your Spouse” project with Mr. Blue Eyes, deliberately creating time and space for our relationship to strengthen and deepen.
  • Back to my “fighting weight” (I have never been in a physical fight), which requires another 25 pounds of weight loss. After losing 25 pounds earlier this year and then keeping it off, I am ready to start Phase II of this project!
    • Sweat or be active four days per week, at least 30 minutes.
    • Three 4-week stretches of no sugars whatsoever (including most carbohydrates). I am in the first week of stretch #1, I’ll choose two other months to do this kind of “reset” thru the year.
    • Continue regular meal planning, cooking dinners at home, and healthy eating.
  • Landscaping in the front yard (we did the backyard this year and I LOVE IT SO MUCH!)
  • Finish painting the kids’ bedrooms
  • Host six dinner parties (something I’ve always WANTED to do on the regular, but am always too worried it won’t be perfect so I don’t even send an invite. Want to conquer this bizarre fear this year.
  • Three “no spend” months (January, August, and another one, TBD)
  • Make an automatic monthly transfer into my savings account that is untouchable, it’s not being saved for a project or trip, it’s just being set aside for later.
  • [Redacted resolution about work/money stuffs…not ready to blog about it yet]
  • Use my passport! Twice!?
  • Visit two new National Parks
  • Go camping, at least overnight, four times this year. We’ve got all the gear, I want to use it!

And there it is! It’s kind of a lot, but also most are things I am at least attempting to make a consistent part of my life already, my hope is that 2017 will be the year I finally level up in adulting: taking care of my body, taking care of my relationships, taking care of my finances, and taking care of my needs for a creative outlet, and adventure.

What are your resolutions this year?


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?


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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