Sunday, December 30, 2018

Small Successes & New Year's Resolutions

As we move on to 2019, it's time to make a New Year's Resolution. In general, I suck at these, but I'm going to try again anyway because the idea of a new start at a new goal in a new year is irresistible to my one and only optimistic brain cell.

Thinking about what my resolution will be, I was thinking about all of the small successes I've had in 2018. I've begun trying to find success in the little things and not to let the small victories slip by unacknowledged. Maybe I'm becoming more sentimental as I get older. Maybe I'm just looking for anything to boost me up when my brain is constantly trying to drag me down.

In January, I began doing a Q&A a Day Journal. It asks you a question every single day of the year, for five years. So you answer the same question five times. I've completed every day this year. I'm really proud of that because I usually start things like this and don't follow through. I've followed through every day this year and plan to do so for four more.

In July, I went to a movie alone for the first time ever. Just a few weeks before my 40th birthday, I went to see Skyscraper with Dwayne Johnson. Granted, I was motivated by unhappiness at being home alone while Matt was in Branson, MO, having a good time without me. Turns out, he really wasn't actually having a good time, but that's neither here nor there.

In the October, I learned that I might actually like Baseball. I know this doesn't sound like much, but I've been pretty anti-baseball my whole life. I really did not like it and wouldn't give it a chance. I was reflecting to Matt about this tonight and he jokingly said, "I thought I would never see the World Series again."

In 2018, I've blogged more than in the previous two years. So, even though I only wrote 15 or so posts, I feel like it's an accomplishment over the previous, disappointing years.

Even though it's not much, just a few fairly unremarkable little things, for me, they were memorable during 2018. Gotta embrace the little things, right?

Okay, now for a 2019 New Year's Resolution (or two)...

I'm going to join my friend Jodi and commit to blogging, at least once a week. If I manage more, that's great, but I'm going to strive for just one post a week. 52 posts in a year is a totally reasonable goal.

I'm also going to dedicate myself to doing at least 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day, at leat 5 days per week. I've been using the Calm app and it's amazing. I don't always make time for the meditations, but I love the sleep stories. They put me right to sleep in the best way. I couldn't love them more. I also use the breathing tool, which helps with guided breathing and really helps to calm me down. Now, I want to start doing the meditations more regularly.

That does it for me this year... Happy New Year, y'all!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

An (Accidental) Compliment

A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing to go to an event for my job. I work at home and don't get out much, so going to a work event was making me quite nervous. I was a little bit nervous about the 2+ hour drive, but more than anything I was nervous about coming face-to-face with people who, until now, I had only met mostly over the internet.

My darling man, trying his best to pep talk me, said: "I don't know why you're so nervous, you're smart and charismatic, you'll be fine!"

Wait, what? He thinks I'm charismatic?

This may not really seem like anything. In fact, you'd think him calling me smart would have been more of a compliment than charismatic, but I know I'm smart. Despite many struggles, including a very powerful case of dyslexia, I'm damn smart. But, charismatic? I've never felt charismatic and no one has ever called me charismatic... until now.

I don't think he was trying to compliment me, so much as he was trying to remind me about my virtues. But, I've been thinking about the compliment ever since. My brain just can't seem to let go of it, so I'm obsessing (thank to my anxiety, pretty normal for me). Unable to resist, I asked him about it the other day and he said that yes, he thinks I'm charismatic. I wasn't fishing for another compliment, I promise, I was mostly trying to verify that he really felt that way.

Thing is, I've always felt so awkward and there are moments when I literally have zero idea what to say. None, no idea. And sometimes, I fumble through interactions, then want to crawl under my desk and die of humiliation. Then again, maybe I'm not so much awkward as my anxiety tells me I am. Either way, charismatic is a strong compliment. Matt's the best! ♥

Monday, December 24, 2018

Coffee and a Classic: Great Expectations

As a part of my Christmas present, my darling man ordered me 3 months of Coffee and a Classic. It's a subscription box service that allows you to choose between a classic novel, classic non-fiction, or classic children's book. You also get to choose between coffee, cocoa, or tea. I knew about this particular gift because he asked me about it before ordering. He let me choose which category and which beverage. Then he put in my email address wrong and getting it fixed was an adventure. They have great customer service who got back to us really quickly and were able to fix the gaffe in record time!

So, my first box came today and, oh my goodness, it's amazing. I couldn't be more pleasantly surprised if I tried. It's wonderful! I kind of expected just a book and some cocoa. This box was packed with goodies.

The December book is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The edition they sent is so lovely, it's got a silky blue cover. A couple of years ago, my best friend bought me Bram Stoker's Dracula from the same collection, so I knew these books were beautiful. It's such a lovely collectors book.

I read this book in high school, and haven't again since, but Matt recently read it. He really seems to enjoy Victorian literature, which is an interesting facet of his personality. His choice reading is usually business books and fantasy/historical fantasy, so the fact that he also loves classics is great. Now that I've gotten this book, I have every reason to give it another read. I'd forgotten how long it is!

The cocoa in the box is hot buttered rum flavor. I turned the package over and it's actually a white powder, I can't wait to try it. I drink so much cocoa these days (with creamer, a sort of Utah thing that I wish I had discovered years ago!).

The lovely wooden engraved book mark was in the bottom of the box and I just about missed it. I was reading the insert that came with the box when I noticed I'd not seen the book mark. I thought it was missing. So glad it's not, I just love it!

The beautiful cooper colored mug in the box was extremely hard to photograph because it's reflective. But, I did my best. It still managed to reflect my phone, but I think I managed to get a pretty good shot. It's so lovely in person. I absolutely adore the little Victorian scene.

There was a little whoopie pie in the box when it came, but I'm a little embarrassed to say that after taking a picture of the treat, I sort of, kind of ate it. I love that it's branded to fit the title... Miss Havisham's Wedding Cake was delicious!

The ornament in the box is a wood slice with Gads Hill Place, the country home of Charles Dickens on the front. On the back, it's got the name of the house. I put it on my Christmas tree and after Christmas will probably hang it on my desk.

The last thing in the box was Dickens themed wax melts. The packaging is so lovely, but they're too strongly scented like cinnamon for me to burn them. Ever since I was 20 years old and drank too much Aftershock (we're talking the whole bottle, and not the small one, either), I can't stomach anything that smells too much like cinnamon.

I'm just going to leave them in their packaging, which is just lovely, and keep them closed up. And who knows, maybe I will decide to risk it and burn one of the cubes... maybe.

All in all, this gift was a serious win. I've gotten other subscription boxes--Ipsy, FabFitFun, Lootcrate--but none of them have been half as me as this box is. If the next two months are even half as good as this one has been, we will definitely be renewing. Have I mentioned that I absolutely love it?!

Oh, one last thing... this is in no way a paid advertisement. I just love this thing so much, I wanted to share!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas Lights in Temple Square

In an effort to kick the blues and reconnect with the grateful spirit I've been feeling this year, we went to see the Christmas lights in Salt Lake City's Temple Square. We've gone almost every year since moving here, so it's becoming a sort of Christmas tradition for us. We usually eat Red Lobster, do a little shopping in City Creek Center, see the Macy's windows, and then head over for the lights.

This year didn't go according to plan, which was a bit of a bummer, but it was still nice to see the lights. It was the weekend, so the traffic was insane. We sat for almost 45 minutes in traffic trying negotiate just one city block.After the traffic, it turns out the parking garage under City Creek Center was completely full, so we couldn't park down there. It took us another 20 minutes after that to find parking in a lot two blocks down from Temple Square.

It was cold with a frigid wind, but we walked the two blocks with all the other light-goers. But, by the time we got parking and go to Temple Square it was too late to do any shopping in City Creek Center, which was pretty disappointing. So, Matt didn't get his new ball cap this year and I didn't get to go into the Disney store (you really never can be too old for that place!).

So, rather than navigating across the street and down another block to see the Macy's windows, we turned into Temple Square to see the lights. By this point, rather than feeling better, I was starting to feel worse, missing the shopping and the Macy's windows, after all that traffic. But, Matt held my hand and managed to bring me back to where we were so I could enjoy the lights.

They were just so beautiful, my mood lightened and I began to feel okay. Even with the massive crowd, surprisingly much larger than on Christmas Eve (which is when we usually go), everything was just so beautiful. The trip, which wasn't what we had planned exactly and was far from perfect, still ended up making me feel so much better. Being together with Matt and enjoying our time together, doing something we both enjoyed, it was such a lovely way to end the year.

However you spend it and with whom, I hope your holidays are lovely. In the words of the lovely old song... may your days be merry and bright, y'all!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

RIP Grandma

On Tuesday night my mom called me to tell me my grandma had died. She was my very last living grandparent. While she had been sick for several years, we thought she was doing better. She was living on her own again and going to social events. She was living her life. Then on Tuesday, my great uncle went over to check on her and found she had passed.

So as we end another year, and lose another person we love, RIP Mary Lou Rhodes. You will be missed. ♥

Friday, December 7, 2018

"I could fall in love with you..."

I'm listening to a book that's the second in a series where all the heroes are hockey players. I'm enjoying it, even as a person who doesn't watch hockey, but then the hockey isn't really the point of the story. And, the woman are all normal women, like kindergarten teachers and publicists. They're fictional women that real woman can identify with. The genre of romance novels where the male lead is some kind of athlete all go this way and are quite fun.

Anyhow, I'm about three quarters of the way into this book when the hero turns to the heroine and admits that he could fall in love with her... that he's already falling in love with her. *swoon* As a romance novel junkie, I sort of live for these moments. Especially since in this book, the hero is an emotionally closed off widower with a sweet little girl.

But it's not the usual "I'm falling for you" line that got me, it's the way it was said. He said, "I'm could fall in love with you... I am falling in love with you." That's almost a direct quote, but it stirred up a memory from a long time ago, back to my own happily ever after and something Matt said to me when we were brand new, almost 20 years ago. It's one of those things that just stick with you.

We were laying on top of the ugly floral comforter in the uncomfortable bed in a small Best Western in Waco, holding hands and staring at the ceiling, talking about everything. It's the way we were back then, we never ran out of things to say or topics to discuss. We had just come back inside after he had a cigarette and flopped down when he turned his head and looked at me. I smiled at him. I can still see the look in his brown eyes, like he was seeing something for the first time. He said, "I could fall in love with you... I already am." His voice was so quiet and serious. Everything about that moment was so perfectly... perfect.

It was a lovely moment that's forever etched into my memory from a time when most things were pretty tumultuous for me. I had a soon to be ex-husband, a divorce that wasn't at all friendly. Things were generally a bit ugly. On top of that, Matt and I had known one another for almost a year, but in person we'd only just met. We had almost instantaneous chemistry and we had fun together, but that moment was the one where I knew that we would be together, and not just for a little while.

No matter how difficult life was then, that one perfect moment was everything. It's still everything, even after all these years. It was a defining moment in my life and decided a lot about where I am today. And, well, it was pretty damn romantic. ♥

Around about 2000 or 2001

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Reflecting on 2018

With 2018 nearly over, I've been reflecting on how this year has been for us. And, honestly, it's been pretty full. We've both been working, of course, but both of our jobs have made a pretty big leap this year, too. For the first time in a long time, we've had a really good year.

After losing one of our best friends at the very end of last year, I wasn't sure this year was going to be a good one. And, we've had some challenges this year because, well, that's life, but it's been more good than bad for the first time in years. Around about this time of the year, I'm generally looking back and calling the year a wash, or worse. That's usually how I end each year, by reflecting on how rough the year has been. Not so this year. I never liked calling the year a bad one, so I'm happy that I don't have to do that again this year.

At the risk of jinxing it, because I tend to be a little bit superstitious, this year has been pretty great.

My husband spent much of the year on a big project at work (the exact nature of which I can't really say) and it was a huge success. He took several long business trips, too, which left me a little lonely around the middle of the year, but it was very much worth it. He's tirelessly dedicated to his job because, well, he loves it. That's priceless to me, that he has a job he's amazing at and that he loves.

For me, this year brought a job promotion. In October, I got a promotion that has been so amazing. I am absolutely loving my job, which is an adventure every day. Like my husband's job, I don't so much want to talk about what we do exactly, but being promoted has been wonderful.

Other than our jobs, the year has had some ups and downs. A good year doesn't mean the year has been flawless or without struggles. It hasn't. Take for example our sweet little dog, Chewbi, who just about died a few months ago. The good news there is that he's totally okay now, but for a minute it was very close. So, that he's okay is a serious win. We also took a road trip down to St. George in June and, though it was very brief, we got to see my folks.

To end things in the best way possible, we've been getting quite a lot of snow a bit early this year. Since we moved to Utah three and a half years ago, we've never failed to have a white Christmas, which we both really enjoy. Being from California and Texas, neither of us grew up with snow. While we're pretty tired of it by around about March, we enjoy having the snow for Christmas and the New Year.

I'll come back closer to the New Year to set some goals for 2019. I'm not sure I like the word resolution, because I never can keep New Year's Resolutions. So, I'm sticking with calling them goals. For now, as long as nothing terrible happens between now and the end of the year, 2018 is going to go down as a good one.

First snow, 2018