Books of 2014*

15 Dec

*Will update the first week of January to reflect books read between now and then.

This is just for personal record-keeping. These are the 58 books I read in 2014. Divided by category.

In 2013, I read 56 books: 18 Nonfiction books (3 memoirs), 13 YA books, 8 Misc. fiction books, 12 Erotica books, 3 Re-Reads, and 3 books I didn’t finish.

In 2014, I read 58 books: 15 Nonfiction books (4 [7?] memoirs), 16 YA books, 12 Misc. fiction books, 8 Erotica, 4 Re-Reads, and 5 books I didn’t finish.


  1. The Total Money  Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey – finance
  2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain – memoir, book club
  3. Eat to Live by Joel Furrman – food/fitness
  4. Yes Please by Amy Poehler – memoir
  5. The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler – food/fitness, book club
  6. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self Assurance, What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman – pyschology
  7. Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss by Jillian Michaels – food/fitness
  8. The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke by Suze Orman – finance
  9. American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics by Dan Savage – opinion/memoir
  10. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert – pyschology, book club
  11. Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work by Tim Gunn – opinion/memoir
  12. Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date by Katie Heaney – memoir
  13. Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin – self help/memoir
  14. The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke by Suze Orman – finance
  15. Wild by Cheryl Strayed – memoir

Young Adult

  1. Free to Fall by Lauren Miller – dystopic
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry – dystopic, book club
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – book club
  4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  5. Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
  6. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan – dystopic
  7. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  8. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  9. The One by Kiera Kass – dystopic
  10. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
  11. Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
  12. Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
  13. The Good Lie by Robin Brande
  14. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
  15. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan – fantasy
  16. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – fantasy

Miscellaneous Fiction

  1. Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton – chick lit
  2. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – historical, book club
  3. Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton – chick lit
  4. The Magicians by Lev Grossman – fantasy
  5. Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye – romance
  6. Lexicon by Max Barry – dystopic
  7. The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie – romance
  8. The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie – romance
  9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – dystopic, book club
  10. Napoleon’s Pyramids by William Dietrich – historical, book club
  11. Wool (Omnibus) by Hugh Howey – dystopic
  12. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – fantasy, book club


  1. 1001 Dark Nights by Cherise Sinclair
  2. Venus in Furs by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch – book club
  3. If Only by Cherise Sinclair
  4. Dear Sir, I’m Yours by Joely Sue Burkhart
  5. Bonds of Hope by Linda Aicher
  6. Compulsion by JB Brooks
  7. Drawn Together by Wendy Zwaduk
  8. Bonds of Desire by Linda Aicher

Didn’t Finish:

  1. From Scratch: Inside the Food Network by Allen Salkin
  2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – book club
  3. Story of O by Pauline Reage – book club
  4. Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan – book club
  5. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sara Manning


  1. Bonds of Hope by Linda Aicher
  2. Renegade by Diana Palmer
  3. Lawless by Diana Palmer
  4. Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

2014 Year in Review (Part 1)

15 Dec

This is the first of what will likely be many posts reflecting on the past year and pondering the upcoming one. Last year, saw this survey on a friends’ fetlife page and decided to do it again this year. The italicized answer was last year’s response.

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? 

I went to Mexico (Riviera Maya) including to Chichen Itza, I cooked a bunch of new recipes, I went to many new restaurants, I introduced a boyfriend to my family and met his family, I gave a eulogy and went to a funeral, I tried new workout classes (piloxing, kickboxing, hip hop cardio, among others), I lifted heavy weights (deadlifts, yo), paid off my car, and got a deep tissue massage.

2013: I went on a zipline in Vegas, I went to Harry Potter world in Orlando, I had korean barbecue, I learned to grill, I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, I played a bunch of board games I never had played before, and I went to many new restaurants and touristy things.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

I kept some of them. It took me half the year to get around to it, but I did end up focusing on health in the latter part of the year. I kept up with goodreads, game nights, my gratitude journal, and RSS feeds over the year. I’m also much better off financially. I didn’t write another short story, I didn’t save up as much as I wanted to, and I didn’t keep track of passwords or write letters to folks.

I kept some of them and didn’t for others. I saved the money I wanted to save, and at one point I had paid off my credit cards (alas, I spent them up again). I got addresses for a bunch of people. I went to a never-before-visited destination, and took a bunch of photos. I watched Secretary and tried wax and fire play. I did not do a 5K, work out enough, compile all my online passwords, try cupping, acquire a flogger, or write an erotic story (although I have extensive notes and could still do that in the next few days…)

Did anyone close to you give birth? 

I don’t think so, at least not anyone in my immediate friend or family circle.

My cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy a few months ago.

Did anyone close to you die? 

Yes, my mom. It was unexpected and the grief still takes my breath away, even though it’s been 4.5 months.

No one immediately near me, thankfully.

What was your favorite TV program? 

Suits, Once Upon a Time, Shark Tank, Grey’s Anatomy, Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones, without a doubt. Shark Tank probably takes a close second.

What countries did you visit? 


Dubai, UAE and Afghanistan. My non-work-related travel was all domestic.

What do you wish you’d done less of? 

I wish I’d kept my feelings to myself less, at least in terms of my needs or being upfront about what people could do to help me when my mom passed.

I wish I’d eaten out less and gossiped less.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

July 31, the day my mom died, February 16, the day of my first date with my dude, and September 18th, when we first said I love you.

That one’s hard. Maybe starting my new job in December, or my friend’s wedding over Columbus Day, or vacation in September with one of my best friends, or work travel in June that had bombings, or my family member’s bout with illness that started in April…

Did you suffer illness or injury? 

Nothing beyond the norm.

Not really, just sinus infections/colds.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? 

Confidence…been working on that, am much better than I was a few months back, but still hav ea way to go to be as fearless as I’d like.

Love…as in the true, lasting kind.

What was the best thing you bought? 

My vacation to Mexico :), my car (finished paying it off!), personal training sessions.

My table and chairs for our dining room.

Where did most of your money go? 

Bills (to put myself in a better financial position), and like last year, experiences – travel, restaurants, fitness.

Experiences – eating out, musicals, events, travel, etc. Trying new restaurants probably racked up the most money.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Getting a perfect rating at my job, the report from my last job making the New York Times, losing 30lbs.

Getting promoted twice within 5 months and finding a new job at my promotion’s salary.

What was your biggest failure? 

Calling my mom and being home more before she went septic (and the rest of the downfall) in June…not necessarily a failure, but a regret, which is similar. Otherwise…there haven’t been any huge noticeable failures, which makes me happy. If I’m looking for something, I’d end up back with the whole “wishing I vocalized my needs” more within friendship relationships. I wasn’t great at telling people when I needed them to be there for me (felt like if I had to tell them, didn’t count or was imposing).

I had a couple of failed attempted relationships that were upsetting. I also didn’t do a good job at keeping in touch with family/friends that are long-distance, and I utterly failed in my fitness goals.

What did you get really, really excited about? 

My dude, my vacation, fitness and cooking.

My new job and my vacations.

What song will always remind you of 2013? 

Stay with Me by Sam Smith, Say Something by A Great Big World, Happier by Pharrell.

TBD…maybe Lorde’s “Royals” just because it’s super overplayed? Or Paradiso Girls’ Patron Tequila song featuring Lil Jon and Eve.

Compared to this time last year, are you…
…happier or sadder?  Sadder…I’m happier about some things, but the loss of my mom lends a dark tint to things. (Happier)

…just older or also wiser? Both. (Both)

…thinner or fatter? Thinner, by 30lbs :). (Fatter. I gained about 15-20 pounds this year, which sucks balls.)

…richer or poorer? Richer; car and credit cards paid off, more in savings and retirement, making more money. (Richer? I have more in savings and more of my car paid off, plus I’m making more. The potential is all there. (If only my student loans would just disappear.))

What do you wish you’d done more of? Connect with friends and family far away. (Sex.)

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable. (The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable.)

Whose behavior merited celebration? My boyfriend and best friend, who were absolutely amazing in the midst of the horror of losing my mom. (Two of my best friends, whom I meet every week for dinner and board games. My roommate, for always cheering me up. My old roommate, for finally dumping her boyfriend who treated her poorly.)

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My father, in not realizing that his actions have impacts. Some of my friends, in not making time or prioritizing friendships when I needed them most. (My sibling’s breakdown upset me quite a good deal earlier this year. I also was very put off by the kink community’s general shift towards shallow and narcissistic interactions.)

How will you be spending Christmas? In the midwest with my immediate family. (In the midwest with my immediate family.)

Did you fall in love in 2014? Yes. (Nope. I was definitely infatuated a few times, but not love.)

How many one night stands? 0. (There was one guy I gave head to at Winter Fire that I never met up with again, so I guess that counts? We didn’t have sex, though, so not sure. Otherwise, I only fooled around with folks I was seeing or have ongoing friendships with.)

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? My mom not dying? Taking control of my fitness earlier in the year, maybe. (…That’s hard. I don’t think any one thing would have done it. I guess finding someone to get more serious with, physically and romantically?)

How will you be spending New Years? With my boyfriend and likely with some friends at a house party. (With friends, playing games, doing karaoke, and drinking.)

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No. Hate is a strong word. (No. Hate is a strong word.)

What was the best book you read? The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. (The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin.)

What was your greatest musical discovery? I don’t really know of one. (Spotify :).)

What did you get and not want? A lot of candy from various people. (Some kitchen utensils? Some gross OkC and Fetlife messages.)

What did you want and not get?  I can’t think of anything. (I wanted flowers from someone and I wanted a flogger, and I didn’t get those.)

What did you want and get? Close friends at my new job, boyfriend, various material goods. (Too many things to count. Furnishings, cookware, clothing, books. A new job. A close friend at work. Renewed friendships with my old roommates. More routines.)

What was your favorite film this year? Guardians of the Galaxy, Hunger Games, and I can’t remember seeing that many others. As for old movies, Pitch Perfect and Frozen. (Frozen.)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Turned 26, I went to dinner with a good group of friends downtown, and then went to a bar and went dancing. (I turned 25, and I went out to Tapas dinner with some friends then went dancing at some bars I’d never been to.)

What kept you sane? While I had her in my life, my mom. The rest of the time, my boyfriend, my roommates, my closest friends, and focusing on fitness. (My friends, most especially my roommates and their crazy antics, my work friend, and my weekly game nights with my two close friends.)

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much. (No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much.)

Whom did you miss? My family, most of all my mom. (My close friends in WI/OH/IN.)

Who was the best new person you met? My boyfriend, two new friends at work, and the couple that hosts my book club. (That’s really difficult. Maybe my work friend, who I’d met but didn’t spend any time with or talk to until this year. That, or a woman who hosts a kinky game group.)

What political issue stirred you the most? I’ve been really removed from politics this year…couldn’t tell you. (Striking down DOMA and Edward Snowden.)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014. Just because you have to ask for something, doesn’t mean the something isn’t worth having or will fulfill you any less. Money isn’t as important as time. Don’t underestimate the place people have in your life. (Learn to say no and slow down. It’s ok to trust others with your feelings. I have the power to make men nervous.)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I have absolutely no fucking idea. (I have absolutely no fucking idea. TBD.)

Train wreck, continued…

29 Oct

Last week was constant travel and stress for work, and this weekend just continued my emotional mess. I wallowed WAY more than I ever do, and spent hours watching Suits and feeling the sads. I did some things, including pumpkin picking, and there were bursts of fun, but Saturday night I should’ve done something and instead I wallowed. Normally, I force myself to socialize in those moments to get me out of the funk, but I didn’t have the emotional energy for it. It was one of those nights where I could’ve used company, but didn’t want to actively do anything, only everyone I know that could’ve included me in plans was doing something. Anyhow, at my book club Sunday I realized I should’ve gone to their event because they’re chill enough. The boyfriend helped, though, because he was willing to talk through some of our issues more.

This week has been marginally better so far. Work is still insanely stressful, but at least I’m busy. I’ve actively been refraining from getting more involved, even though there are some great opportunities being presented. I’m too busy to give my time away any more, which is a blessing and a curse. The sex I’ve had with the dude has been fantabulous, which always helps. My body remembers the deliciousness and just wants more… My family stuff is worse than ever, but I cycle through wallowing.

I’ve decided I do need to set up something with a therapist. I’m rapidly approaching a point where I feel overwhelmed and the desire to wallow and be sad is more present than I’ve had it be in over a decade. I’m not OK with that. I want to go back to enjoying the world around me more and thinking the best of people and situations. I’m not sure how to do that, though, with this debilitating loss. It’s made me rethink relationships with some people and impacts how I see everything. Now for the dude to help me figure out my insurance and where to go…

And, on the positive of all positives, I have a week long beach vacation starting Saturday. Clearly, I need this vacation more than ever.

Emotional Train Wreck

20 Oct

First off, I’ve learned that I’m really terrible at resisting temptation when I’m on vacation. I can generally make better choices than I would’ve before, but it’s hard, especially when relying on other people’s kitchens and cooking. When I’m home, I control when I eat out, where I eat out, and the caloric content of my snacks and breakfast. At other places, egg whites and the like are not in abundance, and so I start my day immediately 300 calories above where I want to be. More than that, I still am a bit of a food tourist, and I like seeing the unique sweets or restaurants a place has to offer. When there’s no gym available, and honestly, when no one else is working out or prioritizing fitness, it’s difficult to get that in too. I went to Boston a few weeks ago and to Philly/NYC this weekend, and both times I ended up completely off-base in my fitness and food choices. It sucks, because I do so well at home, but then I see little to no progress because of those weekends.

Anyway, aside from that, I’m an emotional mess. I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster for a few weeks now. I feel tired and about to cry a lot of the time. Work has been busy, which is good, but my current supervisor is completely incompetent and that wears on me. My dude and I had a slip up, of sorts, because of him being really stupid about something. Given that, it’s been really hard to trust him and to relax about our relationship. Doubt festers and breeds jealousy, which are negative emotions that I don’t like experiencing. They change how you view people and experiences, and that’s not good. We’re working on it, but it’s challenging.

More than anything, though, is the persistent missing of my mom. As time goes by, the reality of it sets in more and more. It’s so hard. My dad is actively dating this other woman, which sucks, and yet he also is really lonely and sad when he’s not with her, which sucks too. My sister isn’t doing all that great – her job was seasonal and is over, and she has too much time on her hands, and it’s easy to see the toll that’s taking. On my end, I just feel alone. I know I’m not; I have family, friends. The world, and their worlds, don’t and shouldn’t revolve around me at all.

That said, it’s difficult. People are very self-involved, and the ones who do reach out have such negative things going on in their own lives (or their outlook is just that way) that it doesn’t aid the situation. More often than not, though, people are just really busy, too busy even to reach out to call or check in. People don’t use the phone at all, which never used to bother me, but now does. People don’t ask about my mom or how any of that’s going, as if it just didn’t happen. Maybe they just don’t know what to say, but it feels like they don’t care. People that don’t live nearby put the onus all one me – if I want to talk, I can call, and they’ll try to answer, but that’s the most anyone has offered and it seems pretty fake, honestly. I just wish people would voluntarily reach out on their own – it’d make me feel a lot more cared for.

Really, it just makes me want to hole up and never reach out to anyone. It puts me in the “would they notice if I X” mindset. Really, there’s nothing less comforting than having people consistently check their calendars for weeks out and still not having time for our friendship. I hate it even more because people keep throwing it back to me like “this used to be you” in terms of my schedule. And yes, for a few years, my schedule was constantly booked. The difference, though, is I always found time for people. If someone wanted to hang out, I made sure to find a time within a week or, at most, two, to dedicate time to that person (which was WHY my schedule stayed so booked). I also sent emails and articles and such to people in the interim to foster the relationship. These people, it’s not like that.  It’s harder because I’m in a place right now where I need people more than ever, and yet I’m the one trying so hard to make it work, and I feel like this is a time when I shouldn’t have to try like that.

It’s all worse after this weekend and with the holidays approaching. It was extremely difficult to spend time with my dude’s family. It’s awesome seeing him in that environment, and I like meeting the people he cares about. That said, seeing his mom interacting with the family and him, and doing all the things my mom used to do…It just brings home how I’ll never have that again, and I will never again have someone to look out for me or care about me in that way. I don’t have that cheerleader, that source of love and comfort (and occasionally that pain in the ass).

When it comes to the holidays, thanksgiving will be nice. I’ll see my aunt and uncle, and my dad, and the dude is coming with. Thing is, I haven’t spend thanksgiving with my parents in years, so that’s not as painful. Christmas, however, is going to be a nightmare. Being back home in the house without her, being near my sister and her overwhelming emotion and grief, and having no one to hold together the traditions. My dad’s already discussed not even doing presents, which right there is already upsetting. I may get to see some friends from high school, but really, I won’t have anyone there for me. It’s all about me holding together the traditions and making sure everyone else holds it together, but as per usual, no one ever checks in to see how I’m doing. That’s not how my family works. I thought my dude was coming with, but his mom’s birthday is that weekend and birthdays are a huge deal in his family, and honestly, it’s ridiculously expensive to go to where I’m from. I couldn’t pay for it without my dad helping me, so I do get that. And, as always, time off is hard to get.

I struggle balancing what’s fair and reasonable to ask for as a need with what my partner may wish to do of his own initiative. On the one hand, it’d make a huge difference to me to have him there. I could really use the emotional support. On the other hand, can I ask him to spend the money and take the extra time off work, potentially stressing his time with his family? That seems unfair. Plus, the woman side of me feels like it should come from him; if he doesn’t want to be there, doesn’t feel the need to be there, then I don’t want him there…even if that makes it even harder for me.

Anyhow, emotional train wreck, basically.

And no shit, five minutes after I finished writing this (at work, since that’s where I was hit with emotion today),  my dad emails to say he booked a vacation for an 11 day European trip with his new girlfriend. The vacation is in april. Serious, much? And only 2 and half months after his wife of 33 years unexpectedly died. WTF? If I wasn’t a wreck before…

Too Soon

22 Sep

My dad went on a date tonight. My mom died 6 weeks ago. Isn’t that all there is to say?

On the one hand, he doesn’t have many friends, and making friends in the middle america states is difficult. Spending day in and out alone, thinking of a future alone, minus occasional interactions with my sibling and I, well, I get being lonely. He’s a dude, he could even be horny. I understand that he may want companionship and feel lost in his grief.

That said, joining an online dating site and making a date just 6 weeks after your wife of almost 33 years passed? Going on the date 2 days after what would’ve been your 33rd anniversary? WTF?

And of course, he’s told no one, just me. I want to encourage him to be happy, and I do want him to find happiness with someone else…but I can’t comprehend it yet. I thought I had a year or so.

Thing is, I still reach for the phone to call my mom, I still think of telling her things. I’m constantly shocked when I remember she’s gone. I can’t even understand the world without her yet. I’m still trying to understand a world with my dad without my mom, to imagine more weekends and situations where we’ll be together and she won’t be there. So…it’s a bit difficult for me to believe my dad can not only comprehend it, but can let someone else in so quickly.

I’m trying to remember the ways in which my dad demonstrated his love for my mom and showed his grief. I believe he desperately loved my mom and was truly heartbroken when she passed. This may just be his way of coping because he doesn’t know what else to do. But really, it’s hard, because I need to adjust to him alone before adjusting to him with someone new. But, it’s his life, not mine, and we’re all grownups, and my needs don’t necessarily come before his, not anymore. :(.

On the plus side and not too soon side, dude and I are madly in love and it’s fabulous (and celebrating 7 months!), and I’ve lost 15 lbs and 14 inches. So, *woot* on those notes.


3 Sep

My dark chocolate today said ‘it’s OK to be fabulous AND flawed.’ The irony being I flawed in eating the chocolate…

I’ve been doing relatively well on my nutrition and fitness habit-building, except for when I have visitors in town. I got really excited about some food-tourism stuff with my dad, namely liquid nitrogen ice cream and a gourmet rice krispy treat store. I also didn’t make it a point to delay our plans for me to work out. As a result, I’m not feeling super great about my weekend in terms of my plan, although it definitely was fun and great to spend time with my dad.

I’m struggling a lot with my mom, too. It was really hard to have my dad in town and not her. I’m so used to planning around things she’ll enjoy. I’m used to shopping, and as materialistic as it is, it’s sad not to have someone to buy me things anymore. My mom was the one to send me money sometimes, or if she knew I was looking at a sweater or dress but couldn’t afford it she’d buy it and send it to me without me ever asking, or she’d suggest or proactively get me some of the necessities – toiletries, haircut, bras, etc. – when I was in town or the same place as her. My dad doesn’t proactively spend money on me, it’s a request, must be a necessity, and even then is rare. It’s an adjustment, and buying those random things reminds me of the loss. Sometimes I’ll get excited to tell her about something before I remember I can’t. I want to ask her for advice or get reassurance before a new thing, and I can’t. I was so nervous about meeting my boyfriend’s mom, and I wanted nothing more than to talk to my mom about it, but I couldn’t.

It’s hard, too, because I can’t really fill in the reassurance/validity gap. I get that in an ideal world, I’d be so majestically self-assured that I wouldn’t need anyone to reassure me or validate me. My nerves or anxiety are usually based around other people’s thoughts, opinions, or reactions, and at the end of the day, my thoughts, opinions, and reactions are the only ones that should truly matter. I generally know how I feel – I’m that self aware – but I do still like to get others’ opinions to inform my decision, and it makes me happy to please those around me. Does that make me insecure? Maybe. Generally, though, I got that validation from my mom, and that was enough to keep me from seeking it out elsewhere. Now, when trying to seek it out elsewhere, I’m getting comments about how it seems insecure to need that type of reassurance or validation, and those comments are right, which sucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I do generally like myself. I’m happy with my strengths and personality, and I am thrilled with where I am in life. I don’t mean that sarcastically – for real, financially, professionally, romance and friend-wise, etc. – it’s all amazing. Currently, I’m unhappy about the loss of my mother, and I’m unhappy about my weaknesses. I’m always unhappy about my weaknesses and trying to improve on them, it’s a constant struggle, but lately other people have commented on some of them. With the loss of my mom’s cheerleading, having these things commented on is like a sucker punch to my confidence.

Basically, I need to work on improving my self confidence. I think generally working on my fitness and nutrition help with that, as it gives me a ‘proud of myself’ cookie. Moreover, I need to find ways to accept that in life, there’s no ‘right’ way to do something, I’m never going to be doing something right or wrong or good or bad. I can’t seek out guidelines by seeing what pleases people around me or what fits into society’s norm. My metrics have always been the following, and I need to refocus on that:

  • whether something would make me happy,
  • if I’d regret not doing it,
  • if I feel happy with how much energy I put into something, and
  • if it will improve my life more than take away from it.

Some handy advice to keep in mind or try soon (from lovely various internet sources):

  • Get crystal clear on the things that truly matter to you.  If they’re not in your life, you need to bring them in.
  • Write a list of the things you’re tolerating and putting up with in your life, then write down how you can remove, minimize or diminish each one.
  • Take a few minutes each day or just each Sunday (or any day that fits you) to use a journal to write down how you have grown, how much closer you are to your goals now, what you have overcome and learned and so on.

The last one, in particular, I think may be a good exercise to add on to my gratitude journal. Instead of just saying the great things in my life, focusing on something – just one thing – that I’ve improved or done well or learned can shift that a bit to be more introspective.

In the meantime, revisiting strengths and weaknesses will be helpful in me identifying which strengths to use to overcome weaknesses.


  • Loyal
  • Give good, unbiased, logical advice
  • planning/logistics
  • organizational skills
  • connecting people
  • seeing the positive in things/easily amused
  • diverse interests…musical theater, books, writing, reality tv, board games, stand up comedy shows, outdoorsy adventures, classes, food/restaurants, travel, movies
  • leadership
  • my job – synthesizing lots of information, research, data analysis,  writing, questioning people/data procurement
  • research
  • my passion…for public service, my family/friends
  • enthusiasm/energy level


  • Stubborn
  • Impatient
  • care too much about what others think
  • over-commit myself
  • don’t always communicate my needs effectively with others
  • don’t always properly prioritize my own health/fitness

I had a rough day thinking about all this, but ended it well. My lovely boyfriend talked me through things, and was really understanding about my needing certain types of validation/positive reinforcement for a while. He also emphasized that it isn’t weak to ask for compassion and encouragement from my friends, that actually it’s totally natural since we all deserve love and compassion. It kinda drilled home that I can ask others for those things I don’t think I’m getting directly, and maybe they won’t think less of me for it, maybe it’s just that they don’t 1) realize I need things or 2) know what to do that could be helpful.

Current Focuses (foci?)

20 Aug

What I’m focusing on in order to keep my mind occupied…

  • using myfitnesspal (app and online) as a food diary and exercise log, focusing on eating healthily and going to the gym or incorporating fitness where I can
  • educating myself on personal finance and keeping a strict budget, budget plan, and monitoring investments and overall financial portfolio
  • getting up to speed on “once upon a time”
  • maintaining routines, which for me includes book club, game night with grilling, and sunday errands
  • vacations and travel…dad coming to town, going to surprise him for his birthday, going to mexico for a week, going to boston for thanksgiving
  • staying organized in all facets of life
  • reading more, of all kinds – magazines, news, blogs/RSS, books
  • looking up classes to take with people – cooking for one friend, intellectual for the boyfriend, and artsy for another friend
  • getting my car up to date, including the GM recall, maintenance/preventative care, cleaning, etc.

If you have suggestions on things I can make into routines or make routine in my life, or things I could do to take my mind off things (preferably that are not food oriented and are inexpensive, and ideally, that can be done in 1-2 hours).


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