Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Year in Review 2015

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before? Went to the White House! For a press event with the president! Also, my first Spartan Race!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Heat pump paid off, still going on Matt's car for a few more months. 75% of the way through the KB swings before I gave up. I started working with a personal trainer last week (completed all my assessments and waiting for my training plans) so I'm optimistic there. My main goal for the year is to be more consistent with a practice of self-care - which would include more meditation and yoga practice.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? All the people I thought had this year were on the 2014 review when I opened it up to start editing, so Nicole is probably the closest one I can think of.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My Nana passed away a week after her 91st birthday.

5. What countries did you visit? Greece, Italy, France, and technically Spain (more technically than my technical visit to Iceland!), plus the two smallest countries in the world - Monaco and the Vatican. Also back to Bermuda for the second time.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? A SCUBA C card

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? March 3rd - the date they announced that Sweet Briar was going to be closing that summer. Spoiler alert: It didn't!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Donating over $4000 worth of stuff (and getting rid of a bunch more junk)

9. What was your biggest failure? Getting sidetracked and giving up on training for my third half marathon. I was thisclose to giving up on the race all together but decided the day before to run it anyway - and still beat my previous time by 34 seconds. I will always wonder how much faster I could have run if I had stuck to the training plan or anything even close to it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing's coming to mind this year. Made up for last year!

11. What was the best thing you bought? Two cases of wine imported from Italy, and blanket scarves.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Vixens around the world!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? The former SBC President and Board of Directors

14. Where did most of your money go? Outside of the standard "housing and taxes" I think most of our money went to travel this year :-)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to Europe!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015? 'Nothing Without Love' by Nate Ruess. Also, 'Here' by Alessia Cara makes me think of when we stayed in Athens, because there were only like 3 English language channels in our hotel, and one of them was basically 10 music videos - so we saw that one several times.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? fatter
iii. richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Being kind to myself

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Worrying about a government shutdown

20. How will you be spending Christmas? Same as usual - seafood dinner Christmas eve, brunch and steak dinner Christmas day with plenty of relaxing in between.

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? Same as usual - well done roast beef, mashed potatoes and green beans with Matt's family.

22. Did you discover any great new websites in 2015? Born Fitness - I just signed up for personal training last week.

23. How many weddings? Liz and Josh in Bermuda! Also got to celebrate Phil and Stacy!

24. What was your favorite TV program? Still House of Cards. Stephen Colbert on the Late Show took a few weeks to get warmed up but he's good now too.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Donald Trump 

26. What was the best book you read? From a practical standpoint, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. From an entertainment standpoint, I really enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Echosmith for new artists; 1989 for album (I didn't 'discover' Taylor Swift as an artist this year, but that album is pretty amazing).

28. What did you want and get? Five executed interagency agreements. And then a raise for completing said agreements without killing anyone.

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Pitch Perfect 2!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 34 - went to Vegas with Matt!! I was actually flying out there on my birthday, but the next night we went to Jean Georges as the Aria for their 6-course tasting menu (incredible) and then to see 'O' at the Bellagio (also incredible).

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A cleaning service. Still working on that one...

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? Overall pretty much the same as usual. But now I can wear a blanket and be fashionable, and I'm like 'THIS IS THE MOMENT I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE.'

34. What kept you sane? Time with friends.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? John Krasinski is hotter than ever.

36. What political issue stirred you the most? General GOP primary candidates' nonsense.

37. Who did you miss? Lawrie and Matt after they moved to PA this summer!

38. Who were the best new people you met? Well I finally got to meet my now cousin-in-law Josh and he's pretty cool. Also got to meet Jason Crandell when I took his 40-hour intensive (and some other pretty cool people at the DC training as well).

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015: If it doesn't spark joy, thank it and then get it out of your life (from my 7-months and counting journey of getting rid of Stuff).

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "Nobody got a you like me, nobody got this history / Of the good times and the hard times and the wild times they've been through / Nobody got a me like you / And I ain't much but this much is true / No one does 'I do' like we do" - Harry Connick Jr.

(11 years and counting! Previous Years' Roundups)

Saturday, September 05, 2015

2015 Race Calendar (Past and Present)

Reston 10 Miler, March 1st - ran with a friend, in 26 degree weather and snow

Run for Haiti 5K, March 22nd - ran with a friend, significantly warmer than 26 degrees

Spartan Sprint, August 1st - ran with friends. Actually, didn't run. Took us 4.5 hours, failed three obstacles (rope climb, multi rings. spear throw). Tons of fun though!

Rock and Roll Half Marathon, October 31st - Philly, half #3. Aiming for 2:05:00.

Two chances to go for a sub-26:00 5K - November 8th Veterans Day and December 13th Frosty 5Ks. Same course where I PR'd last year with a 26:42 (8:36 average pace). Would need to drop that to a 8:21 pace...

Already registered for Spartan Sprint on April 9th, 2016, and contemplating DC R&R half on March 12th.

Laptop #4

It's been useful in the past to document my laptop purchases, so now that number 4 is being delivered Thursday...

I never plan laptop purchases, they just sort of happen after the old one dies. In this case, my slightly more than 5 year old laptop wouldn't restart after a recent power outage (it didn't have great battery life, so I was pretty sure the battery had died while the power was out). I put the boot disk in and got it to reboot from the CD ROM drive, and then ran windows update. The laptop wouldn't restart after the updates installed, so I had to turn it off and turn it back on. After it restarted (and gave me the error saying it hadn't shut down properly) I shut it all the way down, and then it wouldn't start again at all. I had already formatted it back in January and re-installed the minimum programs necessary to buy some more time, so I guess the fact that I got over eight more months out of it was an okay deal.

Anyway - Lenovo G50, $304 on Amazon. Like a third of the cost of my first laptop. Continuing with my total lack of brand loyalty to laptops.

- 15.6" high definition widescreen (same size as my previous one)
- 6GB of RAM (two laptops ago this was 512MB!!)
- 2.0GHz AMD A8-series processor
- 500GB hard drive
- up to 5 hours of battery life
- Windows 8 (ehhh...)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

KonMari method

I read Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up last week. It was a short read, 126 pages total, and I finished it in two train commutes. The book is a New York Times #1 best seller, and Marie's consulting business has a three month waiting list in Japan.

The basic principle is discard first, and only after you've completely decluttered, do you organize things. Instead of going room by room as suggested by many organizing experts, Marie sets out categories and has you tackle them one at a time.

The KonMari method is more about changing your relationship to 'Stuff' first rather than figuring out the optimal storage for things. Before you even begin, you're asked to visualize your destination and explore the reasons behind it.

For me, I need a tidy house so I can have a CLEAN house. Right now my cleaning typically consists of a frantic 2-4 hour sprint before people come over (see: this Thursday evening...) I've never much cared for cleaning, but I dislike it even more because there's too much stuff in the way. I neglect vacuuming because my clothes are on the floor. I neglect dusting because there's too much Stuff on the tables. And so on. I've flirted with the idea and desire to have a cleaning service, but the funds never seem to work out and the poor woman would have the same problem I do anyways.

I have a bunch of Stuff. I think because I didn't have quite as much Stuff when I was younger, so having Stuff now was a sign of my successes. Most of the Stuff didn't make me happy for a long period of time though. The first category in the KonMari method is clothes - this is getting tackled on Sunday. I counted the hangers in my closet a while ago and came up with 276. But - this is just tops and dresses. And not even all my tops. There are sweaters on shelves. There are t-shirts in a drawer. And so on. Plus, I think there were even a few things in the wash. I couldn't even begin to tell you a fraction of the things in the closet off the top of my head. I hate putting laundry away.

I need a tidy house so my Stuff stops stressing me out. Not just the cleaning, but the finding. I can't count the number of times I've rummaged through a drawer looking for something, or misplaced a book or a piece of paper, or ran between the upstairs and downstairs looking for a particular pair of yoga pants that I swore I had just washed. I have multiple jars of salsa open in the fridge and who knows how many odd things tossed my pantry - my snacks are all out on the counter because things go into the pantry and don't come out. Sometimes I think I'm being frugal or responsible by saving half a lemon for next time I need it, only to buy two more while the poor half lemon disintegrates in the back of the fridge. Two moves ago, I managed to recycle about a thousand pages of class notes from grad school, only to agonize about tossing the empty binders because what about when I needed another empty binder? Ultimately I couldn't bring myself to pack, move, and unpack an entire box of empty binders. That was in 2011, and thinking about it now I'm pretty sure I haven't found a need to buy a new binder yet.

I've tried cleaning schedules, but they never seem to work - likely because of the Stuff. I've organized my bathroom counters, but they're still messy and dirty. I clean the fridge and pantry, but it doesn't last. So I'm hoping over the next several months (she says it can take up to 6 depending on how much time you have) I'll finally work past this repetitive cycle.

So. Sunday. Clothes. I've enlisted a friend, I've scheduled the donation pickup for Monday morning for all the Stuff I'm getting rid of. I'll pull everything out of the closet, out of the drawers, and then one by one though over 300 items (maybe closer to 400?) to ask myself if this item really makes me happy. If it does, it goes in the keep pile. If not, I'm supposed to thank it for everything it's done for me and send it on its way.