Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans…

Ah, the New Year.
Tomorrow starts another trip around the sun.
Many people use the beginning of a New Year to start afresh, to make changes to their lives, to try to be better people.

I’m not really doing that this year, although I had a sudden compulsion to buy a $40 planner yesterday to try to get myself and my year more organized.
I started my “New Me” in July, when I started P90X.

In 3 months, I lost 15 pounds, 11 inches off my waist, and more inches off my chest, hips, and thighs.
In the one month that I’ve been back on it since my break, I’m down a total of 18 pounds, and about 11.5-12 inches off my waist.  I’m only 12.8 pounds away from my first weight loss goal, and only 43 pounds from my final goal.

This New Year, for me, is about continuing to cultivate good habits:  eating better, working out every day (at least 4 times a week), and spending more time “unplugged.”

On Christmas Day, my fella and I went to brunch at a great little Thai spot near the house.  We’re both pretty avid people watchers, but on this day, I found myself drawn to the table next to ours, where four late teens/early twenties sat, on their phones.  For the first 10 minutes that they were there, the only time they looked up from their phone screens was when the waiter came by.  They sat in silence.  They didn’t speak to each other.  For 10 minutes!  Watching this, I became grossly aware of the tendencies I have to be on my phone when I’m out with Morgan.  USUALLY, if we’re out with other people, I stay off it till the very end, but a lot of the time, when we’re at a restaurant or bar, Morgan and I will both chat for a few minutes, and then spend a few minutes looking at our phones.
I really don’t like that this has become such a normal occurrence.  I don’t like that when I go visit friends, I have a habit of pulling my phone out when I don’t have anything to say.
Over the last week, I’ve made more of an effort to keep my phone/web use to a minimum.  I used to spend all day at work cruising around on Yelp writing reviews, and chatting with people.  I’ve stopped almost completely.  If we’re super slow, and I don’t have a book, I might hop on there for a minute, but, not nearly to the extent that I used to.  Morgan and I went to my parents’ house for Christmas Eve, and I kept my phone in my coat pocket all night.  I didn’t even take it out to take a picture of my dog in his new bed!  On Boxing Day, we spent the evening with some friends celebrating Hogswatch, and I’m proud to say that the only time the phone came out was to take pictures of the delicious food my friend had prepared, and to take a “thank you” call from my nieces and nephew in Chicago.
Last night, I had a lapse, and spent the better part of 3 hours on my phone, but so did Morgan.  We were at the ER, and he was in pain…there’s only so much “Its going to be ok baby” either of us could take.  But realistically, I feel that there has been serious improvement.

Its my goal, in the coming year, to try to spend more time face to face with people.  I want to spend more time actually talking with and enjoying my friends.

In my last post, I mentioned the loss of one of my best friends.  Its been two weeks since he died, and while we really didn’t speak often over the last few months, I miss him terribly.  I really regret not calling him more often to hear his voice…instead we’d text.  I regret not taking a trip out to see him.  I regret not badgering him until he came to see me in Vegas.

But losing Jake has inspired me to really make more of an effort with the people that I love and care about.  I have many friends that I don’t see often enough, simply because of being “busy.”  Well, I’m done being busy.  I’m almost 35 years old, if I don’t start living my life now, and really enjoying every moment of it, its going to be too late before I know it.

I’ll need to start small, of course.  Putting my phone away 30 minutes before bed, turning it off when I get to a bar or a party, NOT photographing everything I eat…I also want to set aside one day a week where I keep my phone off for the entire day.  Just have one day to myself.  This will also include the computer, unless I’m watching a movie, but I want to try to spend some of those days crafting, knitting, reading, playing cards or other games.

Technology is a wonderful thing that has the ability to bring people closer together, and in many cases it has.  Through social networking sites, I’ve been able to get acquainted with several women who share several passions of mine (belly dance is the first common passion, and we’ve discovered several others through the years), and these women, even though we’ve never met in person, have become real friends!  People that I think about often, and consult when I have a problem, or just need to vent.
But technology also has the dangerous potential to completely isolate us, if we aren’t careful.  We can be “out with friends” and spend the majority of our time on Facebook instead of talking to the people that we are face to face with.
I’m not going to let that happen to me.  I’m tired of telling people “I miss your face” and not doing anything about it.  I miss your face, so lets get together next weekend for a night of board games!  Who doesn’t love Cards Against Humanity?!  I miss your face, do you want to come over for dinner?  Morgan is cooking!  And once you’re there, tell me, how are you doing?  REALLY, I want to know!

My New Year’s resolution is simple:  I want to be a better person, and friend. I know what I have to do to accomplish this goal, and I am determined to do it.

May your New Year be safe, warm (its really cold here today), and full of life!

dance ferris

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Time after time…

And so, another year draws to an end.
Hogswatch is tomorrow (although we’re celebrating on Boxing Day), and the New Year is just a few days after.

Every year, I like to take some time to reflect on all that has happened, good and bad, to see my growth, and to assess where I want to be next year.  I’ll share with you a few of the highlights:

Morgan and I celebrated one year together, and a few short months after that, we came out publicly about our open relationship.  We received so much love from our friends, it was overwhelming to me.

I attended 3 weddings this year:  One for The Punknecks, one for my dear friends Jody and Jeff, where I was a pirate wench bridesmaid, and the most recent was on Saturday: Wasaabi and Karissa, where I was asked to stand up as a bridesmaid…I was honored to have been a part of all three.

Two of my besties also had a beautiful baby girl, Calliope, who is my goddaughter.  Once again, I was overwhelmed with emotion and joy.  Calliope is a beautiful baby, good tempered, and very smiley.

I embarked on a journey towards reclaiming my health, kicking some of my bad habits, and starting P90X.  In 90 days, I lost 15.9 pounds, 11 inches off my waist, and more from my hips and thighs.  My next weigh in is actually in a few days, and I think I’ve done well these last four weeks.    I’m eating better, making better choices, and getting myself active.  I’ve seen results in the fact that I, generally speaking, have fewer body aches and pains, and can fit into my clothing more comfortably again.

I’ve done 3 photo shoots this year, 2 with my fella Morgan…I’m pleased with the photos, and can’t wait to start diving into more modeling opportunities!

I’ve seen an outpouring of love from friends, during some hard times, financially and emotionally…

I’ve also started learning to play the guitar too.  This one started as a dream that I had one night, and has evolved into a desire to really learn more about music and to play another instrument.

Morgan and I became parents to an adorable furbaby:  Gentleman Jack, a beagle/dachshund mix, has been bringing us joy (and a bit of frustration) for the last month.  I love my sweet cuddle bug, and am so happy that we rescued him.

Of course…there have been some bad things…
Multiple costly car repairs have left us feeling drained, but the car runs, and is able to get me to work.  We didn’t raise as much as we needed for a down payment on a newer car, but we were able to afford the repairs with borrowing very little.

I’ve had some people in my life decide that they no longer wanted to be friends with me, which is sad to me, especially since they didn’t even talk to me about if there was a problem, but all in all, I see it as a positive.  No more needless drama, or ridiculous judgement.

The worst part of this year, however, happened just a week ago:  My best friend of 15 years, Jake, passed away.
He had been sick and struggling with all kinds of health problems for nearly or over a decade (the time frame when the problems started is hazy, but its close to 10-11 years ago).  Last week, his liver and kidneys failed, and he passed at home, surrounded by his family.  I consider myself extremely lucky to have received a phone call from Jake’s brother Donnie the day before he passed.  Jake couldn’t speak anymore, but I was able to speak to him, and to tell him goodbye, and that I loved him.  I’ve been a mess for the last week…good days, then bad…crying fits coming out of nowhere, this has by far been the hardest loss since my GrinGran passed away 13 years ago.
Even with this loss, I’m trying to keep a positive attitude:  Jake isn’t hurting anymore.  He isn’t in pain, he doesn’t have to go to the hospital every month…and he’s been reunited with his parents, sister, and friend Ryan.  The selfish part of me misses him, and always will, but I’m glad that I could say goodbye, and even more glad that he was surrounded by family and the people he loved.

In the coming year, perhaps driven a bit by the loss of a friend who was so young, and had his whole life ahead of him, my goals are simple:  I want to live every moment to the fullest.
I’m going to continue to try to live a healthier lifestyle, curbing more of my bad habits, and making better choices…being active, and trying new things.
I want to spend more time outside.
I want to start working on my “40 before 40” bucket list that a dear friend inspired me to start.
I want to play my guitar more.
I want to love more…be more accepting, more humble…less needy…less demanding.
I want to exercise love and tolerance.

I want to live, and be a better person.
I want to give freely of my love and time, to those who need it.

To all of you who have been a part of my year, thank you.  I love you so very much

A handful of special thanks:
To Karissa and Nina: my two best girlfriends…I love you guys.  I don’t know what I would do without your love, advice, and amazing spirits.  I hope that the year to come brings you two nothing but amazingness.
To Wasaabi:  I love you, my brother.  And I have to thank you for falling in love and making a baby with the awesomest woman who is now your wife.  I love you guys SO much…thank you for always being there, for your help, love, support, and your uncanny ability to make me laugh when I need it.
To Virginie and David: my dear amazing friends, a goal of mine this year is to spend MORE time with the two of you!  I love you both so much for the amazing support you’ve always offered, and for the brain stimulating conversations that we always have…the fun games, movies, drinks…I love you both so much, you are so dear to me.
To Jake:  I miss you so much, and I love you.  I’m glad that you aren’t hurting anymore.  Thank you for helping to shape me into who I am.  Keep an eye out on me…I’ll sing songs for you every now and then, and will always smile when I remember you.
And finally…to the love of my life, Morgan.  My sun and stars…moon of my life…you’re my everything.  As we approach our 2 year anniversary, I have to thank you.  Thank you for choosing to be with me.  Thank you for your affection, for your unwavering support, encouragement,  and love for me…we’ve been through some rough times this year, and you’ve stood by me no matter what…I hope you always know that I love you.  I will always love you.  Together, you and I can conquer the whole world.  I look forward to what this next year has in store for us…we’re going to do amazing things!  I love you so much.

To the rest of my beloved readers, even if I did not mention you by name, know that you are loved by me, and appreciated.   May your holidays be joyful and safe.
Good luck on your ventures in the coming year, and know that you have a supporter here,waving her pompoms for you.

Happy Hogswatch, and Happy New Year!

Me and Jack, the night we brought him home.

Me and Jack, the night we brought him home.

Jack and I at the shelter.  I fell SO in love with him when he climbed into my lap.

Jack and I at the shelter. I fell SO in love with him when he climbed into my lap.

My dear departed friend Jake, in his younger days...

My dear departed friend Jake, in his younger days…

My love and I.  photo by Bright Borders Photography

My love and I. photo by Bright Borders Photography