Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Q&A

I read once (I wish I remember where) that as you get older, the highs and lows become less and less dramatic – age, in effect, is like lithium.

This has not been the case for me. This past year has been a flipping rollercoaster. While I am exceptionally fortunate in so many ways, life has not been without difficulties, especially this past year.

This survey by Rachel is a great way to capture my 2010:

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Got married. Performed standup comedy. Went to Greece. Got laid off from a job. Patched drywall. Got ordained and wrote and performed a wedding ceremony that made people cry.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I had a 30 Before 30 list. I didn't manage to achieve all of my goals, but I accomplished some of them. I have different ideas for next year.

3. What countries did you visit?

USA, Greece (during the riots), and London, UK (for one rainy, somewhat dreary night)

4. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

More hours in the day? Better organization skills?

I don’t think I lacked anything in 2010. I’d like to do a lot of things differently in life, but I feel like I’m really lucky overall. We’re moving into a house in 2011, so I’d like that to go well. I’d like to find good renters for the condo, and I’d like for the condo market in Austin to improve enough for us to be able to sell the condo.

Abe is starting the police academy, so I hope that goes well and that he stays safe. I’d like to start my own business someday – if inspiration strikes in 2011, I’ll be extremely pleased.

I’d like to have a baby, but Abe isn’t quite ready for that.

5. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory?

March 26th – our wedding.

Runners up:
March 29th – my first standup comedy performance
May 4th – watching the news in our hotel room in Athens and realizing that people had died in riots just a few blocks from our hotel.
June 14th – I got laid off from my job.
October 30th – I performed the wedding ceremony for two of my friends.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year??

I faced some of my biggest fears – commitment, public speaking, job loss – and I think I came through stronger on the other side.

7. What was your biggest failure?

I failed to complete my half marathon training, and I haven’t stayed active at all in the past few months. I have not focused on my health.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had some knee problems that started after I became inactive.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

Abe replaced his unreliable gass-guzzling F150 with a slightly less gass-guzzling (and much less polluting) small SUV. Eventually I’ll get him into a hybrid or electric car.

For myself, I bought several pieces of (inexpensive) mother-of-pearl jewelry that I wear almost every day.

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Abe. He’s really more wonderful than I deserve. My friends and family – they are also more wonderful and supportive than I deserve.

11. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I don’t know about “appalled,” but I was absolutely terrified after the riots in Athens. I just wanted to go home, honeymoon be damned. Police, government officials, taxi drivers – everyone seemed to be on edge and ANGRY. But the kind and wonderful people we met eventually outweighed the scary and stressed out people.

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I get really, really, really excited about a lot of things. Our wedding was amazingly fun. Performing standup was a blast. Searching for jobs ended up being an experience that taught me a lot about myself.

Small things make me really excited too: my niece started walking, jumping, dancing, talking. I’ve become one of her favorite people, and I absolutely adore spending time with her. I loved making handmade Christmas and birthday gifts this year.

I’m excited about moving, but I don’t know if I’d say I’m “really, really, really” excited about it.

13. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Two songs will always remind me of our wedding – “Question” by the Old 97’s (we practiced the dance so flipping much) and “Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night” by the Black Eyed Peas. They’re not 2010 songs, but they’ll always remind me of the wedding.

As far as the song that will always remind me of 2010? Probably “F—K you” by Cee Lo Green.

14. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Happier. (I think I said that last year too. High five for happy stretches!)

15. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Laughing. Dancing. Forgiving people right away. Writing. Smiling. Singing silly songs. Making gifts. Drawing. Cooking. Exercising. Traveling. Calling my parents just to tell them I love them.

16. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Biting my nails. Procrastinating.

17. How will you be spending Christmas?

Spent it with family (and painting the new house).

18. Did you fall in love in 2010?

I fell in love all over again with Abe, my family, my niece and nephew, my friends, my fellow bloggers. I am surrounded by some of the most wonderful people in the world.

19. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hmmm… Hate is a pretty strong word. I’m not overly fond of a few people, but active hatred takes an awful lot of energy. I’m pretty lazy, so hatred is mostly a flash-in-the-pan sort of emotion for me.

20. What was the best book you read?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

21. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I discovered an entire new genre (funk/soul) that makes me feel (ooooooh!) so brand new.

22. What did you want and get?

Married! A new job. A sewing machine. GPS for my car.

23. What did you want and not get?

A new career.

24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 30. I thought it would be a Big Deal, but my coworkers forgot, my friends were all out of town, and Abe and my family used up all of their inspiration on Christmas gifts.

Not having a big celebration was actually kind of awesome. In my head, turning 30 was this Dramatic Event, but it turned out to be no big deal. The world carried on spinning. Who knew?

25. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I was going to say winning the lottery, but honestly, I’m not sure I could handle another stressful event this year.

So… nothing? Wow.

26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

I wore cute dresses just about every day this summer (it’s too hot for pants!). My new boss even asked if I wore dresses for religious reasons.

Then it became winter and I got cold and lazy and started wearing what my sister called “fat lady clothes.” Whatever.

27. What kept you sane?

Friends, family, Netflix, Reddit, Google Reader.

28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Hmmm… Oddly I think I tended to fancy manlier men than I’ve ever liked before. Matt Damon (LOVE HIM IN COMEDY XOXO)… David Boreanaz (dirty cheater that he is).

29. Who was the best new person you met?

Frank, Sam, Karen and the rest of the people I met doing comedy are awesome. The new peeps at my new job were pretty cool for the most part. I met a few new interesting people traveling, but no one I kept in touch with.

30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010?

Life’s not about what you accomplish. It’s about how you get there, and who holds your hand (or your hair back) along the way.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

13 Before 31

It is better to fail at your own life than to succeed at someone else's.

-André Gide

The past few years, I've made lists of very specific goals that I wanted to achieve before my next birthday. 30 before 30, 29 before 29, etc.

For the most part, the list-making has been pretty successful. I've tried things I wouldn't have otherwise attempted, and overall, I've had fun.

This past year, though, I got a little burned out on the whole process. It all started to remind me of the annual review process I've gone through every year at every job I've ever had since I was 16:
  1. Write a list of goals (don't make too many!)
  2. Make sure they are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible!
  3. Answer the "W" questions - Who will help me achieve these goals? When will I achieve them? etc.
  4. Revisit these goals frequently to measure your progress!
  5. ...
  6. ???
  7. I am sure there's more, but I'm already bored out of my skull. (Business jargon. Blah!)
Aside from the "don't set too many goals!" thing, I followed this process obsessively. Why? Because it's what "experts" suggest works best.

This year, I say screw the experts. I'm not just crossing things off some Outlook Life Tasks Lists until I clock out of my time on earth. I am out for fun, evolution, and irreverence. I want to squeeze as much learning, creativity, inspiration and laughter out of life as I can, even if that means I sometimes end up doing things my own way.

So without further ado, I present to you my non-specific, difficult-to-measure, perhaps unattainable and unrealistic, completely intangible list of goals for my 31st year:
  1. Win a contest of some kind
  2. Do something, preferably regularly (weakly? hardy har...), that makes me feel stronger or healthier
  3. Solve some sort of mystery
  4. Do something, or several things, to help relocate my mojo
  5. Overcome some type of challenge, obstacle, or fear
  6. Don’t act my age every once in a while
  7. Question the truth behind truisms - think critically
  8. Have a brush with greatness
  9. Live out the lyrics of a song
  10. Go on an adventure
  11. Cut someone some slack
  12. Be honest about something when it would be easier to keep my mouth shut
  13. Replace something (or several things) on this list with other (open-ended) (or not!) goals as I see fit
What do you think, Internets? Do you think I'm dooming myself to failure, or do you think I'm on to something? Do you have any goals (specific or vague) that you want to achieve in the new year or before your next birthday?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sometimes I read books

When I'm not reading the edit history and/or talk pages of various Conspiracy Theory wikis, I occasionally read books. (On paper even. With my eyeballs!)

A coworker decided this meant I should join Goodreads. So I did. (Peer pressure woo!)

Anyhoo, if you have a account Internets, we should be friends!

(Did my peer pressure work? If so, please do not judge me for my terrible to mediocre taste in literature.)

I'm pretty lazy when it comes to social networking (my Twitter is sadly neglected, I willfully ignore Facebook, and my blog commenting is sporadic at best), so I don't know if I'll be a very good Goodreader. But I'll try my best.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Movie Poster Christmas Gift

I was supposed to post pictures of the Secret Santa gift I made for my friend Lo last week, but things have been kind of nuts in the Distractible household lately. We've been working on the house every day after work and all day on weekends. Time passes quickly when you measure it in coats of paint and patches of drywall.

Anyhoo, enough excuses. On to the gift.

This is Lo.

She loves old movies, cocktail parties, and being fabulous. She hates also loves being Rickrolled.

These are my friends who took part in the gift exchange.

photo by Melanie Dodds

At some point a year or so ago, we realized that we could use the first letters of our last names to spell out "BABAAM!" (With the exception of me, no one is particularly nerdy, but we all appreciated the Batman onomatopoeia.)

When it was time to open gifts, I handed Lo a gift bag. Inside was this shirt:


(I know no one is Rickrolling people anymore except me, but it never gets old.)

After I finished laughing, I gave Lo her real gift to unwrap.

The gift was originally supposed to be entirely movie-themed (there was a snafu due to my inability to read - don't ask), so I made the gift box look like a clapperboard. I forgot to take pictures, but it looked something like this:

The clapperboard clapper thingy actually worked! (Take that random coworker who said it would be too complicated and I should just put the gift in a popcorn bucket!)

Inside were a couple of small pug-related gifts inside to replace the movie gifts that didn't work out, and a couple of gifts from her wishlist.

I also gave her three framed pictures of drawings I made:

The third picture was Lo and her two sisters on a "How To Marry a Millionaire" poster. (I forgot to upload it.)

Since I had the frames, paper, and mats on hand, I was able to buy from her wishlist and give Lo a personalized gift without going over the spending limit.

Overall, I think the gift was a hit.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Painting, drawing, musing

We spent the weekend painting the living room and making repairs at my grandma's house. Abe's parents helped us. (I still get a little nervous around Abe's parents, even though they are probably the nicest in-laws I could have asked for. Social awkwardness FTW!) I should have probably taken before/during/after pictures, but I'm a little lazy and forgetful about that sort of thing. There's still a lot of work that needs to be done, so there will be plenty of opportunities for pictures of the rest of the house.


Tonight my friends and I are getting together for our annual gift exchange. I had a really awesome gift planned for the friend whose name I drew, but the entire gift creation/shopping process was a comedy of errors, and almost nothing worked out the way I originally planned. I'll post pictures of the part of the gift I made tonight (just in case she secretly reads this blog). The gift turned out OK, but not as perfectly as I had originally planned. C'est la vie.


I have been a little frustrated by the semi-anonymity of my blog lately. Mostly only friends and family know about my blog (and I'm a pretty open book as far as they're concerned), but nagging doubts in the back of my head that a stray boss or frenemy might secretly be reading sometimes keep me from being completely open.

I guess I should just remember this:

Internet VS Privacy - A Helpful Venn Diagram

...and continue to keep my secrets to myself until they are ready to be shared with the world.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And now for something completely different...

  • Turning 30 was not so bad after all. As I told Kim on Twitter, it really just means that my next major birthday is 33 (when I celebrate the end of Prohibition). The actual celebration was very low-key: my friends all left town, my coworkers forgot (they normally decorate cubicles for office birthdays), and Abe and my parents decided my birthday was too close to Christmas and Thanksgiving to think of creative gift ideas. It was kind of perfect.
  • My main job life in general is making me insane in the membrane. It seems like every time I think I finish a project or goal, said project/goal sprouts two more heads. (Too bad it was Hercules, not Achilles, who slayed the Hydra. Hardy har.)
  • I have an unhealthy obsession with Raising Hope. Watching the show is usually the high point of my week. Abe loves it too. I don't think we've had this much mutual appreciation for a TV show since Arrested Development (or maybe earlier seasons of The Office).
  • Speaking of television, for the past two weeks, almost every TV show I watch (I only watch comedies/dramedies for the most part) has made me cry. Is that normal?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On my doorstep this morning...

Pink peonies, tulips, and Gerbera daisies... I really do have awesome friends.

(Abe was the one who found the flowers. He said he was tempted to throw away the card and say they were from him. I'm pretty sure he knows these are my three favorite flowers, but finding them out of season in my favorite color? I think I would have figured out that my friend Lyndee had something to do with it.)

It's time for me to start looking on the bright side again, Internets. Here's to the next three decades!