Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Goals Rundown

This year my goals included:
  • learn/try to compost  Did NOT do this.
  • read at least 10 non-fiction books completed, read 12. see books I've read list
  • become a better friend....or make a friend I made three friends in CO, and rekindled a friendship from high school, but it is sort of like a new friend.
  • save more, lower debt With the move, I didn't save a dime.  Will try again when I get a job.
  • enjoy a more balanced life Sort of. I moved for this reason.  Until I work full time, I can't say it is balanced, but the second half of the year has been more 'fun' than years past.
  • send written notes (thank you's, birthdays, congratulations, etc)  I was all over this. I sent out moving thank you cards to about 40 people, I sent out hand written thank you notes to people after a party, along the way, I mailed out many post cards to various people. I sent sympathy cards, engagement cards and a few birthday cards.  I spent about $60 on cards and about $100 on postage.
  • be more tolerant of other people I think I have.  I've had so much more on my mind that I am not really sure if I noticed many other people.  My road trip didn't result in much cursing because of bad drivers and since I didn't work as soon as I got here, I didn't have to worry about strange coworkers.  When you are happier in general, I think this really isn't much of an issue.
and I'd really like to sell stuff I don't use/need...but that is a lot of work...and I am just not sure if I have it in me to do that this year.  Garage sales are great, but why should I sell a coach bag I used once for $5? I shouldn't.  People go to garage sales thinking they can get anything everything super cheap ($5-$10) sometimes the stuff is good stuff.  I did have a garage sale before I moved and I sold a few things on ebay.  It was a lot of work!

I'd also like to be more productive.  Not just with work, but my free time.  I feel like I waste a lot of time away, and I'd like to see that time being put to better use.  This was really half and half accomplishment.  Once I realized I was going to move, I worked my butt off getting things ready, packing, selling, wrapping things up, saying goodbye, etc.  There was so much to do.  But once I moved and I didn't have a routine, I wasted a ton of time mostly because I was feeling guilty for having "fun" when I should be spending all my time looking for employment.  So there were days I didn't leave the house and weeks where I didn't do anything fun because I felt guilty.  I should have enjoyed that time off more...lesson learned.

And without needing to list it above, selling my apartment this year would make me really happy.  I need this to happen, I hate living here.  But the apartment is listed with an agent, and the price is below market (and will probably be reduced again) and therefore sort of out of my control regarding selling.  The apartment sold!  Yes, I lost money...but thankfully it all worked out.

Finally, I'd love to plan a trip...but I am not sure if I am going to have the money for the kind of trip I'd like to plan.  This year I will have some big this is not a priority.  I'd say my 2 week road trip was more than enough for this year!  It was such an amazing experience. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

any major accomplishments in Colorado?

I was skyping with my 8 year old nephew last night and he asks me, "So, do you have any major accomplishments in Colorado?"  Where did he learn to talk like that?  I asked, "What do you mean by major accomplishments" and he responded, "You know, like a job, a friend, a house...".   I smiled and then gave him a tour of my temporary housing.  I told him I made 4 friends and that I am still working on the job thing.  He seemed a little pleased but I could tell he was hoping for more progress.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Date #1, he seems normal

After a little miscommunication, I had my first date with a man from the online dating site.  He arrived earlier than me and waited by the entrance along with the many other people waiting for a table, which was less than the amount of people by the bar...which meant he was easier to find.  Kind of.  He shaved his head, but I still recognized him.  He stood up to greet me and I apologized for being a few minutes late.  While I left with plenty of extra time, I was not familiar with where this restaurant was which was in a very busy mall around Christmas time.  Our buzzer went off and we were shown to a high rise table.

Conversation started to flow quickly and the waitress gave up asking if we were ready to order.  He was normal.  Well, as normal as one can be
on a first date.  He was decent looking, he presented himself well, he spoke correctly, he was polite, he kept conversation going smoothly and we laughed.  Ok, so he doesn't like fish or RVs and doesn't drink. Not a deal breaker.

We finally ordered food, split a small pizza and an appetizer.  He said he was surprised I was never married, since I was very pretty and was curious why I wasn't snatched up.  Good question. I don't know.  I tell him that I've had 'long' relationships they just didn't work out. Is it that I don't go to the gym? Is it my body, I am not thin and I have huge boobs.  Maybe I should ask the past men why they all preferred other women over me. I am really not sure what is wrong with me.  And I feel like at my age or older, if people haven't been married, there is usually a reason, unless of course they love the single lifestyle.  But I think I am pretty normal.  And he seemed normal.  So unless something drastic happened before we wrapped up, I knew I'd agree to a second date.

They cleared our plates and we continued to talk for another 45 minutes to an hour.  He said that he'd like to get together again and I said I'd like that and he had my number. After 2 1/2 hours of meeting we left.  Gave a quick hug and wished each other a happy holiday.

Thirty minutes after getting home, I had a text from him again stating he had a good time and hopes that if I have any other dates that they go poorly so he still has a shot.  It made me smile. That was kind of funny.

We've texted a few times since then; we are both looking forward to a second date.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

first holiday away

I kept debating if I should go home for Christmas.  Being indecisive, I decided if I went home, I would drive because airline fares were close to $800 and then since I am not working, I can stay longer than a few days.  But three days before Christmas, I decided not to make the long drive and to stay here in Colorado.  My first Christmas without my family, how bad was this going to be?

I got a call earlier Christmas even day from two different families to see if I was going to surprise them for Christmas.  My heart broke and I teared, unfortunately, I wasn't going to be there. No surprise this time.  Most of them thought I'd go home anyway.

Christmas eve is when my immediate family gets together, so I FaceTimed them after they ate dinner and for a little over two hours we chatted and I watched the kids open their gifts.  It was nice, it was like I was there and didn't miss too much, except for the amazing food.  Of course I cried a few times.   Christmas morning I called a few nephews to see what Santa brought.  Christmas day each family does their own thing in the morning and whoever is around then goes to my aunt's house for lunch/dinner, I've missed this once before, always nice to see cousins and aunts/uncles but this is more survivable to miss. And I had plans, I wouldn't be alone.

Christmas day I was invited to my roommate's families house.  I drove down that morning and had a very nice and relaxing dinner and evening with them.  I was so appreciative that they invited me into their homes on a day that is about family and god.  We had some delicious food, a lot of wine and played Catchphrase.  A family that likes games too?  This will be great.  The weather was supposed to be bad that evening, so I slept over.  It was really nice to see how other families celebrate this day.  It was much more laid back, relaxed and less chaotic than I am used to.

So, I survived my first holiday without my family.  I think it was probably a good thing for all of us that I wasn't there, so they get used to this idea that I won't always be around for all the special occasions/holidays.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

favorite 2014 holiday commericals

This year, these were my top 3 favorite holiday commercials.

  1. Kohl's. Boy sees reindeer.  watch
  2. Surface Pro 3.  Catchy tune.  watch  
  3. Wells Fargo.  I love snowmen; these snowmen are giving.  watch  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

DIY - small end table

My room still felt empty and I wanted a few more shelves.  I really was thinking of getting a small bookcase, but when I was in GoodWill they had this small sturdy end table for $10 and it was a 50% off for $5, I couldn't pass it up, even if it did have a heart border on it.

This piece was wood, so I sanded it down, scrapped off some gunk and tried to figure out how I was going to remove the piece with the heart.  First I got a small saw and thought if I could get between the crease, I could saw my way through, thinking it was going to be one of those wooden oval things to keep in place.  I had a hard time getting the saw through the smiggen of a crack, so that wasn't going to work.  Upon further inspection, it looked like staples.  I took out the hammer and started to hammer it to see if it would move.  It did but I needed to be careful because I didn't want to crack it.   Between lightly hammering and pulling, the border piece started to pull away, but I did crack the side a little bit.  I pulled the piece out and was only able to get one staple out, so I just hammered the others down, not a big deal since this is for me and not a kid and it is temporary furniture.  Then I started painting; about 4 - 5 layers of paint (maybe I put too thin of paint layers).

While I had the urethane, I elected not to put it on at this time.  If I have other projects I will then finish this one, but it came down to how messy it was to clean up the last time and me not being prepared; I don't have paint thinner or a crappy paint brush to throw away at the end.

So, I think that will be it for my room right now, unless I come across another great piece that has potential.  While my pieces aren't great...what I like is they all match so it gives it a sense of looking more put together than college poor random stuff.

Friday, December 19, 2014

step towards dating again

Going against everything I've said over the last 6 years, I signed up for an online dating service.  The decision was hard because that is how I met someone who turned out to break my heart by being not who he claimed...and the odds of that happening I am sure are quite high.  But then again, online dating is more mainstream than it was twelve years ago so maybe there are more 'normal' (as in not a sociopath) people on it?  

I signed up, added photos, filled out my profile, answered questions...and matches started to come through.  And honestly, I can't keep up.  I was a little shocked by this, in my young 20s there was not a lot of interest but now, wow.  But I shouldn't be too shocked.  I am decent looking and have a lot going for me...well, aside from a job and income. But I also struggle with my weight/size and I feel like many men can't look past that.

I am trying to look at everyone who has interest in me and I try to respond to everyone.  While there is a lot of initial interest, it seems like after a few question exchanges it dies down as the weeding out begins.

We will see what happens. I am looking forward to getting out and dating again whether it is from someone online or that I met first in person, and I know that it can still take a few weeks before a date actually occurs.  It has been so long since I've dated, and I think I am in the right place mentally now for a greater chance of success.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

lingering sadness over ManFriend

With all my free time, I decided to pull out my scrapbook, finishing up November 2013.  The last year has been overwhelming with everything I've done and the places I've been, and I was way behind in uploading and ordering photos, which I completed last week.  Now I just need to wait for a great sale on prints.

Having only a few pages left, I decide to have my last page be a ManFriend memory.  Unfortunately he was very camera shy and didn't take photos. I only had one of him that I took of his photo hanging on his wall from his sister's wedding so I can show my friend what he looked like, even if the picture was 10 years old.  And I went to linkedin at the beginning of the year and copied his photo from his profile.  Two really bad resolution photographs.  But I uploaded them for printing anyway, it is all I have of him. Seeing his pictures again made me smile.  I miss that face.

As his one year death anniversary is approaching, I can't help but miss him.  I've cried 80% of this year and was just starting to get through my days without thinking about him so much or shedding a tear and the month of January is going to be hard for me.

I have started to accept that I can't continue to blame myself for not knowing he was terminal; that was his decision.  I was a really amazing friend to him when we were friends.  After we broke up, it is normal to hold a little anger and frustration;  I know I can't continue to be mad about my behavior when he reached out to me out of the blue and told me {part} of his news; especially because he told me about the woman he was seeing...hard to listen to when you loved someone.  I still feel guilty about not doing enough for him; but that just loops back to one and two above - he decided that and I have to accept it.

A few weeks ago I blogged about writing a forgiveness email to ManFriend.  I did do that days after the post.  And I think that is when I started to stop tearing up regularly.  It really helped me.  I enjoyed thinking about the things I loved and hated.  I am fortunate to have met him and I know that we affected each other's lives because we were both in a bad place when we met and that turned around.  I never felt more connected to someone; I can't explain it - but it wasn't a connection like knowing so much or being on the same was more of a strong gravitational pull.  He said I was his angel and he is now my guardian angel {I hope, I asked for him...but I don't really know}, although he is probably very upset with me for being so teary-eyed and sad over him.

The sadness will fade with time but he will always remain in my heart.

Monday, December 15, 2014

short layover leads to asthma

With the inclement weather around the Thanksgiving holiday, JetBlue was kind enough to reschedule my flight for free, but that meant I would have a 45 minute layover in Boston.  I hate layovers, especially with really tight connections.

My flight was due to depart at 11:20 pm and while it was a full flight, we all boarded relatively fast and I was moved to row 1, which was great because I knew I needed to be out of the plane quickly since boarding will have already begun for my next flight by the time we land.  But we ended up needing to be de-iced before we could take off.  I knew as I was siting there that we were going to be late.  I looked at my departing gate and the gate were were due to arrive at, and it was only a 4 gates away, maybe it won't be so bad. Nothing I could I do, so I attempted to rest/sleep.

Our scheduled landing time was 5:08 am and my flight was departing at 5:48 am.  It was already 5:32 am by the time we landed.  I walked my NY fast walk out of the jetway, and we were at/around C17, my next plane was departing from C32.  Any idea how far away that is?  I don't, but it was far.  The monitors said 'closing'.  I was half running and half heeling over to breathe through the terminal, past security through the second part of the terminal.  I was so glad I wasn't carrying my luggage with me, that would have slowed me down even more...but wondered if my luggage would make it to my next flight.  Shin splints were starting to kick in.  It hurt to move. I wanted to stop, I wanted to pass out.  I wanted to get home and see my family.  I kept running/jogging/walking fast.

I arrived at my gate. The door was still open.  I handed the lady at the desk my ticket and I am bending over trying to catch my breath, I can't.  I almost told her to call for a medic thinking I was having a heart attack. My chest hurt.  I couldn't breathe.  I felt dizzy.  The lady tells me that they didn't think I was going to make it they were about to close the door and I told her I ran from the complete farthest part of that terminal and I was happy I made it.  But I am thinking, doesn't those computers talk to each other?  Doesn't it say that I had a connecting flight and my flight landed...and if I landed before they took off, wouldn't they wait a few minutes for me instead of putting me on standby on another flight?  A few minutes pass and she is now scanning my ticket to let me on the plane.  And two or three guys come running up.  I ask if there were on the same flight as me, they were.  So there are four of us, at least...even more reason for the computers to talk to each other.

I board the plane, and it was nice, just walking right on, even if everyone was staring at me because I was the last on (I wasn't) and my face was probably a little red and sweaty from the running.  I tell the airline attendant there were a few people behind me and I find my seat, an isle next to a mom and her grown kid.  I sit down, attempt to drink my water and I am coughing like crazy. I can't catch my breath.  I put my arms over my head. I look to see if there was a puke bag that maybe I can breathe into.  I continue to cough for the first 25 minutes of the 40 minute flight.  I realize I am wheezing. Finally, when I sort of have my breath enough to talk, I turn to my fellow isle passengers and inform them I am not sick, I just ran far to catch the plane, I didn't want them to be nervous about my constant coughing and heavy breathing right before Thanksgiving.

The wheezing continued for 2 days.  It was a nasty wheeze, I know because I made sure all of my family heard it!

I know I am not active and out of shape, but I was very surprised that intense 5-8 minute run/walk resulted in me finding out I have exercise induced asthma.

Friday, December 12, 2014

lasting lessons

Every once in a while I get out my external hard drive and move files over from my computer.  I don't do this as often as I should - lesson learned last year when I had a scare and thought I lost everything, but it was able to be recovered.

As I am moving pictures and documents over, I spend time looking through things from the past, old pictures, documents, projects, whatever.  I came across a file I spent a lot of time writing about my two ex-boyfriends.  I read only the last page, dated 2007 and it was heartbreaking.  The emotional abuse I suffered and sort of realized but didn't want to accept.  The debate of love between my heart and my head.  And my little note about where I'd be in 5 years, with him? married to someone else? with children?  I wanted to slap that 28 year old across the face and wake her up. Well, 7 years later and I am still single and I know the first few years were because of him and me not being ready to date other people.  I needed to heal.  And eventually I did; although those lessons will always be with me.

Then I looked through scrapbooks I made and no longer have and couldn't help but smile as I remembered 2002 - 2008.  I am happy to say that my scrapbooking style has improved greatly from my first scrapbook! But that first scrapbook was fun and I've enjoyed doing it ever since (and actually took it out today to work on!) and I may not have gotten into it if it wasn't for the timing of that relationship.  And as many great and fun memories there were from that time - and as happy and naive as I was, the last seven years resulted in even more adventures, sights and travel; and doing it alone made it even better - even if it didn't seem like it at the time.  I am proud of what I accomplished on my own.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

making it feel more like home

Living in a house with white walls and virtually little stuff is depressing.  Thank goodness my roommate had some furniture, like chairs, tables, rugs and plants.  That alone made the place look better.

My room needed help.  I had an air mattress, clothes and random things.  It was a sad room. Sad rooms don't help your mental state, so I knew I had to invest in some pieces to make it look better, a place that I didn't mind being in.  I already changed so much about my life - my location, no job, no family, few friends...I didn't need more to depress me.

I've become a thrift store shopper, mostly because I needed my money to go farther and will this stuff be temporary?

Thrift Store:
Curtains - $18 (2 panels)
Night Stand - $5 (got for 50% off; needs work, another DIY project - post forthcoming)
Picture holders - $4 for both
Candle holders - $3 for all four (50% off)

4 Glass things - used for makeup & hair stuff in medicine cabinet $4
Mirror - $10 (got for 50% off)
Filing Cabinet - $2.50 (50% off)
2 Picture Frames - $4 for both (small one will probably get painted)

Garage/Estate Sales:
Dresser - $20 (plus the cost to fix it, see other post)
Night Stand - $3.50 (50% off, plus the cost to fix it, see other post)
Chair - $15 (50% off)

New From Store:
Vase - $2.98
Vase - $1.98

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

wrongful packing

Now that I am staying put for 6 months, I am unpacking the boxes that I had in my car for my journey out here, plus the three that I mailed.

In July, it was hard to know what I might need.  I didn't know where I'd be living or what kind of clothes I would need for work. I packed about half my clothes both casual and work and a suit and one pair of heels, 3 'sneakers', 2 flip flops and one flat.  I packed one plastic tote of kitchen items such as one small pot, 4 of each plate, cup, fork, knife, spoon and the few larger serving pieces, an apple corer, a few tupperware containers and a corkscrew.  I had two small boxes of electronics with camera accessories, a wireless adapter, Google ChromeCast, wires- lots and lots of random wires, a DVD remote (yet the DVD is in another box in my parents basement), a few small tools, some hangers, some scrapbook supplies, a tote filled with bathroom supplies, a small seat, and one throw blanket and one pillow and finally one tote of food and paper products.  I also thought that if I found a job and a place, that I'd have all my stuff shipped out to me via pod, so this was just to carry me through a few months.

On my first visit home in October, I packed two boxes and mailed out to me, snowshoes, hats, snow pants, scarves, gloves, 3 coats, my winter boots, more tupperware, another small pot and some cooking gadgets like a whisk, rubber spatula, one of those small immersion hand mixers, a few recipes, and a shower curtain.  These boxes cost about $78 to mail.  I carried back in my carry on some more clothes.  It was hard because I still didn't have a place to stay consistently, and I didn't know what I may or may not need.

My second trip home was in Nov ember and I just found out I'd be signing a 6 month lease so I shipped one large box for $48, with one suit, lots of hangers, three pairs of shoes, pictures, knee highs and socks, a picture holder and a few other various items like a few candles, shower curtain rings, and my St. Anne statue.  In my carry-on I packed a king size comforter, a humidifier, and 2 family photos.  The price of that box surprised me, but it was kind of big and weighed about 32 pounds.  For $50 I could have checked it at the airport and gotten another 10 pounds worth of stuff.

Obviously I didn't pack well at any of these times.  The first time was the hardest and I didn't use a lot of that stuff until more recently. It really just sat in a few boxes untouched in the back of my car for months.  I didn't use any of the electronics, only a few 'work' outfits for interviews, and only used the scrapbook stuff once.  The wireless adapter I just plugged in yesterday, I've used a few tools and many of the hangers, and the hat, gloves and jackets.

I am not sure I can give advice to anyone who wants to travel with just a car load of stuff.  I think some kitchen equipment is valuable - I still need to get a small frying pan, but I've used most of the kitchen stuff I toted along.  Various clothes are important - both change of seasons and work/casual.  Unfortunately I haven't found a job yet, so that didn't get much use, but other people may luck out faster than me.  The electronics & wires could have waited (minus the laptop, iPad, camera and phone equipment).  I used the small folding seat when I attended little league soccer games and would have along the way if I picnicked (which I did not).  The pillow and throw blanket were very handy, but not enough once it got colder.  The bathroom supplies tote I used some here and there and other items not yet...but you know, it is always good to have some medication or a thermometer around just in case...and I actually did use my ice bag when I broke my toe - so that was a smart use of car space.  Scrapbooking supplies was a 'luxury' but I figured I'd have a lot of free time and a plethora of pictures...yet I am working on 2013 still and haven't ordered or even uploaded many pictures from my trip yet.

And I have been out shopping to pick up both practical things and things to make the place look a little homier.

Monday, December 8, 2014

the 4400

Netflix recommended The 4400.  A sci-fi show that aired on USA from 2004 - 2007 and had 45 episodes.  As I started to watch and enjoy the show, I kept wondering....with only 4 seasons, would this wrap up nicely and leave me feeling satisfied?

The writer strike, budget problems and low viewers played a factor in this show being cancelled, perhaps without and ending.

The shows starts with the reappearance of 4,400 people all who vanished over decades who were brought back to save the future human population, with unique new abilities.  The early episodes revealed drama with these new powers and morphs into a fight for power between good versus evil. Eventually the promicin (what gives people the special powers) is available to anyone, with a 50/50 chance of developing abilities or dying, which causes a greater divide between the promicin positive vs nonpromicin people and the war for the future.

As I typed that last paragraph, I think, that would never be something I would watch.  I am not into the superheros or comics or special powers...but I enjoyed this.  I spent hours watching the show, getting involved in the characters all to wonder what will happened?

On my second to last episode, I googled the 4400 and came across a forum about what would have happened if the show continued, to find a book "The 4400: Welcome to Promise City" and "4400: Promises Broken" and hoped that would have answered my questions, many of the reviews said it would.

I looked to see if this was available at the library, both in paper or digital.  It was not.  And I really didn't want to spend $15 on a book that I would read once.  I am going to keep searching around for a better deal or wait for a sale, you know, since I am kind of broke.

Now, having finished the final episode, sure, I'd like to continue the story because it was enjoyable and there is always a need to know more, but I also feel that this last 43 minutes were quite telling and maybe a perfect ending to this sci-fi drama because in basic simpleness, you know, deep down what will happen.

Another good recommendation from Netflix.  I look forward to watching something else, but after at least a few days break!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

grocery savings

I haven't cooked or planned meals in a long time.  Coupons were being delivered to the house I am at and I cut them out.  I haven't used coupons in a while, and for the most part, there are not coupons for items I actually buy.  Nonetheless, I clipped anyway and thew in a Ziploc baggie.

When the supermarket flyers came last week, I looked to see what was on sale.  Since I was not sure where I'd be living for December and when that was decided, I also had plans to go home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  There was no food here.

I went to three different supermarkets, all really close to each other and purchased only what was on sale at those stores.

  • Store 1 a farmers market like store- I purchased those mini oranges for $1.98, a package of chicken for $4.99, celery for soup $0.98 and green leaf lettuce for $0.98.
  • In store 2 I spent $22.61 but saved $14.97 for a total of 40% off my order.  This was a combination of manufacture coupons $1.50, double coupon savings $0.50, card savings $12.47.  Food included olives, peppers, raspberries, blackberries, cheese and granola bars.
  • And in store 3 I spent $18.63 with $10.92 in coupons, $2.16 in card savings and $1.80 in double coupons for a savings of 44%.  Food included beans, pasta sides, biscuits, shrimp, carrots, squash, avocado and pudding.

I felt proud of my grocery spending.  Many times I spend that much money and still have nothing to eat.  But this day, I had a lot of food.  I made chicken to eat throughout the week, had salad for lunch for 3 days, made my roommate and I a shrimp dinner, and have side dishes and canned goods to be used in the next two weeks. I also made a big pot of chicken chowder with chipolte (but had to go back to store to get the chipolte in adobo sauce, which was pricey at $3.50, but the price per serving was still low).

I hope future shopping trips have just as much savings.  But I doubt you'll see me as an extreme coupon lady anytime soon.