GOAL!!! (A List Update)

It's been a looooooong time since I updated you all on my list for 2012. Seeing as how today is the first day of fall, it seems like a good time to do a quick update. Here we go!

1. Continue to lose weight. Lose 10-15 lbs. by June.

Yeah, that didn't happen at all. It sort of happened, but then it un-happened. I didn't lose it by June, but I did lose about 5 lbs. in July. Then we went on vacation (more on that below) and I ate like a pig and undid everything I did. The new goal is just to lose some weight by the end of the year. To that end, I have done a little more work than talk. We joined the YMCA and my goal is to go swim a couple of times a week. So far it's been difficult to get into a routine because the adult lap swim hours are a bit later in the evening (usually around 8pm!) and also, we currently don't have a car (a very long, ANNOYING story) and won't for a month. So, it's hard to get over there to actually do the swimming. A.P. and I were supposed to go tonight, but he flaked out on me, which I was super pissed about because I was actually looking forward to going ALL DAY. LAME!

2. Have a planned date night at least once a month.

This, too, is probably an epic fail. BUT...the good news is with the exception of the past month where things have been a little more uncertain in terms of money (as a result of this), we've been better about going on dates and getting out of the house. This feature definitely helped and one day, I'll get my act together and get back on the ball and start posting those again.

3. Go on at least two vacations, not including planned trips (e.g. visiting family, weddings, etc.). One can be long, one can be short.

DONE and DONE! In January we went to Milwaukee for A.P.'s birthday and in July/August we returned to the Smoky Mountains for a week, which was awesome (and which I will hopefully post about soon). I'm happy that we forced ourselves to do it. We didn't attend a wedding over the summer that would have cost us an exorbitant amount of money for a weekend trip and chose instead to go on that much needed vacation. Of course, it wasn't long enough, but it was super fun...and necessary. We also went to Milwaukee for a quick overnighter in May and are going to try to go to Iowa City (home of my alma mater) before the year is over. I feel very good about the fact that we really forced ourselves to take vacations this year, both long and short, and I'm super, super happy that I had this on my goal list. It was a very important goal for us and I feel that if I hadn't really made a point to go on vacations, we would've blown it off.

4. Make and mail one card a month.

Peeps, this was totally wishful thinking. It never happened. Not once. Not even after I bought card making kits from Target. I'd like to believe that I could still do it for September, October, November, and December, but let's be honest, it's probably not happening. Best to accept it now.

5. Take a sewing course, or two.

Okay, this one makes me angry because I have the Groupon to do it. In fact, I bought the Groupon specifically to accomplish this goal. I have never regretted buying a Groupon...until this one. I should have done a bit more research on the place, but this was when Groupon kind of popped a little and up until then, they'd always had good places offering the deals. Since I bought this Groupon, the sewing place offering the classes has not offered the beginner's class. I looked all summer and there was a whole month where they just didn't update their website and offer new classes. I'm debating whether or not to contact Groupon and ask for a refund. I really have tried to accomplish this and it just hasn't worked out. Grrr...

6. Complete at least two photography projects.

It didn't start out as a photography project, but it turned into one. During the CTU strike, I took 1500 pictures! I ended up post-processing about 200 of the best (some of which you can view here and here). It wasn't an intentional project like my Stripes Every Day for the Month of May, but it turned into a photography bootcamp that was sooooo good for me! I learned so much, particularly how to really use my new fixed 50mm lens. So, I'm at least halfway through with this goal. And quite honestly, I have an awesome idea for a project, but it's sort of weather dependent and there was only one day this year I could have done it (I need 10 degree or below temperatures) and I hadn't thought of the idea yet! So here's hoping we get a cold day before the end of the world 2012. If not, I'm thinking some night photography might be kind of neat.

7. Train Ollie to do one rad trick.

He can sit, he can lay down, he can stay, but he struggles with come here and leave it. Until I hammer those two home (and I've been very, very lazy about training him the past few months), I can't really teach him a rad trick. But I think there's hope for this one yet.

8. Learn to play one song really well.

Guitar has been a point of frustration for the past few months. As pressure mounted at work, a lot of my hobbies and passions (including this blog) got lost in the shuffle. I took a break for a while and don't really practice like I should anymore. I need to push myself to do this. For a while, though, I was getting really, really good at playing When Things Go Wrong With You which not only is easy and fun to play, but is also the PERFECT song for my low, alto voice (even my mom said so!). So, maybe I'll keep working on that a bit. And Rainbow Connection. Perhaps as my final evaluation, I will (bravely) post a video of me playing and singing.

9. Write a book.

Ha! I repeat...ha!

10. Get our wedding album done. (And our guestbook. And our engagement shoot. And our prints ordered.)

Ha ha! I repeat, ha ha! Actually, I was going to get our album at Photobook America because I had a Groupon for it. However, when I went to buy the album it was going to cost me more than month's rent. I couldn't get A.P. to sign off on that deal. So instead, I put together some albums of all the snapshots and wedding planning pictures and bought those with the Groupon. Photobook America has a really good discount code you can get which actually would've cost me less than the Groupon deal, so I decided I'd redo the book at a smaller size and then use the discount code. But when we got the albums I ordered, the photo quality was not as great as I thought it would be. So, now I'm trying to figure out the next best thing. Ugh...it's been almost THREE years. What is wrong with me? Seriously.

11. Buy a house.

We had to make a very difficult decision about this back in July. We got the lease renewal for our apartment and though we had enough for about 15% down and had found some places we liked, we decided that it was in our best interest to wait six months. Much to my complete dismay, we extended our lease to April 2013. I was very angry about it for a while, but in my heart of hearts I know it was the right thing to do. Why? Because our lease expired at the end of this month. And we would have been buying a home right in the middle of my strike. Our savings would have been depleted because of the down payment and I would have been out of any kind of income right around the time our first mortgage payment was due. It was really, truly the smartest thing we could have done to extend our lease. I just hate that I have to spend another six months in this place...and spend another winter freezing my ass off in this barely heated apartment.

12. Read 2 books a month: one classic, one other.

I'm so kicking ass at this goal. Have I been 100% faithful to reading two books every month? No, not at all. BUT I've come pretty damn close every month. And some months (like May), I made up for it by reading more than two books. I'm slacking with my classics a bit (I may have just read fun things over the summer and half a classic), but I'm reading more now than I did before and that's a really good thing. So far this year, I've read 11 books, which I know isn't a lot for some people, but it's a vast improvement for me. I'm also currently in the middle of one book and have another all queued up on my Kindle. And if I would get my act together, I'd have a classic completed, too (I started one over the summer and just need to finish it). All in all, I'd feel perfectly good about crossing this off at the end of the year even if I didn't do exactly two books a month.

13. Use the crap out of my Christmas present: bike 2-3 times a week this summer.

Ummm...yeah...about that.

14. Expand NTMK the way I want to and start my other blog project.

Depending on how you look at it, I've succeeded twice. Not only am I blogging here, which is the NTMK expansion, but I also started blogging here, which was sort of my new way of doing #19 since the Word Doc I was keeping for a long time turned out to be a bust.

15. Blog on our family blog at least once a week.

This is a no go. TOO MANY BLOGS!!! :)

16. Archive all our photos.

I can't cross this off quite yet, but I will soooo be able to do that by the end of the year. I spent yet another chunk of my spring and summer uploading all of our digital photos into albums online. I still have to scan in the old film photos, which will be time consuming. I'm debating whether or not to drop off some albums at Costco and have them do it. Outsourcing...it's the way of the future. : D

17. Make meal plans and stick to them (also helps to curb money we spend on food).

Done and done. We totally do this all the time. It's helped our finances, but when we get lazy and skip a week, we end up eating out because I stock the fridge and pantry with less stuff. So that's the only downfall, but overall, I would say we did this more than we didn't this year. And it's been really, really good.

18. Create a cleaning system and stick to it.

The house is a mess. We have no system. It's easily cleaned as the mess is mostly clothes and work bags and things like that strewn about the joint. But we need a system. I kind of had one, but I totally don't follow it. Neither does A.P. Oh, well. Life's too short to spend it cleaning anyway.

19. Keep a work journal.

I started off the year doing this and then I stopped. Recently, I've sort of started again through my new blog. It's not a journal, per se, but it serves almost the same purpose. So, I'd say if I can keep up with it, this, too, shall be crossed off by the end of the year.

20. Floss every day.

Please don't tell my dentist that I still don't do this. I just hate flossing man. It consistently hurts my gums and, yeah, I just hate it.

21. Watch AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

You would think 100 movies wouldn't be so hard. That's not even a movie a day over a whole year. That's approximately 2 movies a week. I used to watch way more in college when I was studying film. And yet, I lost steam with this one. I'm wondering if it's not an eventual goal. Like, eventually it'd be rad to have seen all of the AFI 100 Greatest Movies.

22. Learn how to take better care of my skin.

I've been doing this. But I still have my Benzoyl Peroxide-based pimple cream and that was really what I was hoping to cut. I just can't. I don't have great skin and the two times I gave it up, it was BAD. I broke out like a teenager. I debate going to a dermatologist all the time, but worry they'll just put me on some prescription drug that I don't want to take. I don't know what to do. On the plus side, I started using Neutrogena Naturals, which are awesome. No dye, no harsh chemicals, and no sulfates. It's super gentle and that's helped a lot.

23. Get better at putting on makeup.

I totally feel comfortable crossing this off the list. Why? Because thanks to sites like my wonderful friend's and other sites like The Beauty Department, I really have learned how to apply my makeup correctly. I also attribute this to finally finding a foundation I like. I always hated foundation because it felt like I was wearing a mask. I never thought it looked great with my skin tone, either. But as I got older, I really wanted the coverage that a foundation gives. Powder wasn't cutting it anymore. Then I discovered mineral makeup, which is in powder form but is a foundation! So awesome, perfect for my skin ton, and easy to apply. Love, love, love it!

24. Wear my hair in a pretty style at least once a week.

Another epic fail. I cut and colored it finally, though! So that's something! It just doesn't really meet the goal. Oops.

25. Use less plastic bags! Ziplocs are one thing (though that could be reduced, too), but plastic bags from produce or trips to the store could greatly be reduced.

Done and done. We rarely use plastic bags now, including produce bags.

26. Compost, compost, compost.

Epic fail. I killed all my worms.

27. Eat pizza only 10 times this year.

Epic fail. I've eaten pizza like 10 million times this year. I blame A.P. He's addicted and it's just impossible to be married to him and eat pizza 10 times in a year.

28. Try not to use our credit card.

So far, so bad. Between car repairs and vacations and more car repairs and weddings, we've totally had to use our credit card. And the bills haven't been small either. We really need to get better about this. It's hard because a lot of that is a bit out of our control (e.g. the weddings and car repairs), but some things are within our control and those are the things we need to reign in: better food budgeting, trips to Target or Costco, etc.

29. Begin saving towards retirement.

I haven't done this at all. It was really a goal after we bought a house. Now that that's been postponed, so has my retirement savings. Really, I already save for retirement through my pension, but since that gets threatened all the time, I'm trying to expand my options so I don't work until I die.


Overall, I'm not doing great on my goals. This year has been...difficult. I lost sight of myself for a while and I still feel like every day is a struggle to do the things that make me happy: blogging, reading, playing guitar, taking photos, etc. Instead, I feel like I work, work, work and life gets in the way 100% of the time. It's a tough situation and going over these goals has made me realize just how bad I've let it get. Oh well, there's still three months...and next year. : )

(Photo via Flickr)

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