In our long-distance relationship, Friday night has been declared date night. This works out perfectly for The Boy and I, because he has had a standing winter engagement remodeling the bathroom in his parents’ summer cabin on Saturdays. Sundays are dinner at the in-laws house, which doesn’t afford us a lot of alone time, so we go out every Friday night.
The Boy and I are in off pay periods, which is nice, because 52 weeks out of every year, we have money coming in. Not every couple can be this lucky. In part, this means that every other week, one of us is responsible for paying for the date. This also helps defray the cost.
The other thing that we’re trying to do is cut down on the cost of eating out. We’ve done some good currently, in the sense that we don’t eat out at steakhouses, or other super-fancy dining, but we do drop some cash. The Boy enjoys all three courses of a meal, so that’s extra on the bill. And don’t forget: not only do you pay for the food, but you tip, too, so it’s not just $5.99 for a Moons Over my Hammie.
Last night was nice, because The Boy and I ate for $3.50. And though I recognize that it’s not the healthiest of choices, we found ourselves at The Boy’s favorite burger joint. I got a single cheeseburger; The Boy got a double, three cookies, and a water to drink. No fries, no value meals (some value), no soft drinks.
I did not need a gigantic burger, neither did The Boy, and we went the smart route by getting water; which I realize doesn’t taste as good (and honestly, I rarely get water with my meals), but fast food places will gouge the shit out of you on drinks. And that tiny burger was enough for me, and it seemed like the double was enough for The Boy (he did, after all, inhale three cookies).
We were well-behaved, and cut down our date night to about $32, roughly. (We went to a movie: the tickets murdered our date night budget, and we got stuff from the concession stand, another new thing that I don’t want to spend money on. But, we did get the smallest popcorn that they had and shared a large drink: but it still set The Boy back $8.50 – ouch.) In the future, we’ll probably hit the dollar theater, and find a way to cut down on concession costs.
Incidentally, we saw Juno. I thought it was a very good movie, and I was laughing through a lot of it. I think The Boy is the cheese to my macaroni...without the screaming infant.
What is your favorite kind of cereal?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs. I can take out three bowls before I realize what I’ve been doing.
When was the last time you purchased something for your home, what was it, and in which room did it go?
I purchased a purple-glazed bowl for The Boy and I to use as a serving dish when we get our own place.
What is the funniest commercial you’ve ever seen?
The FedEx one set in the pre-historic era, when the underling tries to send a bone via pterodactyl, and it gets eaten by a T-Rex, and the boss reams him.
That, and the one for that new movie with the sharks laughing how I’d imagine Wilford Brimley would. The Boy and Pretty Twin send me into fits of laughter imitating that.
Make up a name for a company by using a spice and an animal (example: Cinnamon Monkey).
Star (Anise) Fish
Fill in the blank: I haven’t ______ since ______.
I was talking to my co-worker about various and sundry things, and the topic moved to weddings (she’s getting married this year). Most of the time, I keep pretty mum on the topic of the relationship with my mother/parents: I try to keep it very simple, very unreadable – it’s just been...safer that way. For whatever reason, given the strife that I’ve had, specifically within the last week (this week has been eye-opening in the suck), I said something that I’ve been stewing in for years: since I’ve started dating at 16.
Me: I gotta be honest with you; my mother would be thrilled to find out that I broke up with [The Boy], canceled the wedding, and just stayed single until I was thirty.
[Co-Worker]: Are you serious? Does she not like [The Boy], or...?
Me: I don’t know. I think she’d be happy if I were marrying a lawyer, or a doctor, or a financial planner later in life. But she just doesn’t want me to get married. Like I said, she’d be thrilled if I broke up with [The Boy].
[Co-Worker]: That’s kind of sick....
Yeah, it is. But it’s true. She’d admit that she’d be thrilled, too, if I ever had the stones to confront her on it.
How many times per day do you usually laugh?
I’m not really sure. Being at work throws off my average: I usually laugh a lot at work.
What do your sunglasses look like?
I have a pair of clip-ons that go to my prescription lenses. They’re polarized. I’m praying Santa brings me Lasic surgery this year.
You win a free trip to anywhere on your continent, but you have to travel by train. Where do you go?
Anywhere on a train. I’d ride down the street if I got to do it on a train.
Name one thing you consider a great quality about living in your town/city.
It’s nice and quiet.
If the sky could be another color, what color do you think would look best?
I'd get rid of my Facebook if not for two reasons:
- Facebook doesn't actually delete them.
- I actually like it if people want to get in touch with me after long times of no correspondence.
I'm sitting watching Paranormal State on A&E and scaring the shit out of myself, even with all of the lights on and everyone awake in the house. I'm not sure why this show scares the shit out of me so bad, but it does. I've read negative criticism that the show doesn't seem real enough because the characters are too "herky-jerky" and seem to be "not camera-professional". And perhaps that's what makes me think that it's real: because these kids are just doing something of great interest to them, something that they really believe in, and aren't trained actors, so they won't seem very professional on cameras. I don’t believe it implicitly, but like all of the “paranormal” and such: I truly believe that people are experiencing what they are experiencing, but whether or not it’s “real” – time can only tell.
But that's just me. I like Paranormal State; The Boy just rolls his eyes and lets me believe it for myself.
Anyway, I did open my online savings account, according to my 101, with ING Direct, using some gift cards that I sold back through Gift Card Buy Back. [As a note about GCBB: I like the fact that I can unload gift cards that I’m not going to use, and get “free cash” I didn’t have before, but I don’t like the fact that they take a huge chunk out of the value of the card, and that amount is based on how in-demand the cards are. Apparently, the cards I had were lame.]
Looking back, I could have saved up some of my start-up money in my credit union savings account, and gotten a $25 signing bonus, but I was impatient to start saving. I could have had a little more self-control, but I think the fact that I am excited to start saving is unimpeachable.
My plan currently is to put 1% of my gross paycheck into the account, regardless of what’s happening with my finances: it’s just another place where my money is being distributed. The Boy likes the idea of saving 1% of the gross salary, because it’s a realistic amount: it’s not a huge sum of money that you’re likely to cut off because you can justify spending it elsewhere.
In addition, a $50/pay period loan that I’ve been paying back to my mother for the last six months has finally been paid off; so instead of writing the check to my mother for $50 per pay period to my mother, I’m going to essentially “write the check” to my savings account, thus saving more money.
None too soon: I was involved in a fender-bender about two weeks ago, and even though I wasn’t cited and my insurance won’t go up, I still have to pay $500 deductible, unless my body man can “bury” it for me. Keep your fingers crossed.
What is your favorite beverage?
Diet Coke, hands down. Nectar of the gods.
Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.
Home: 1) Antique brass lamp, 2) polished flint purchased at Yankee Peddler 2007, and 3) petrified wood from my parents trip out West.
Work: 1) A picture of The Boy in a frame, 2) two painted tiles from an artist friend of my other as a fundraiser for pet adoption, 3) Mary Kay hand lotion.
On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?
7: I have a hard time lying when questioned, but when I’m doing the spinning, by God, can I spin a whopper.
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?
I can’t really answer that: I’m a map geek and love seeing all the different names of cities; I couldn’t take that away from any city.
What stresses you out? What calms you down?
You name it, I can stress myself out over it. I de-stress by escapism.
What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?
My middle name is Naughton, given to me by my mother, who named me after my bitchy great-grandmother who did nothing but complain that she had no namesakes. So, here I am with my great-grandmother's maiden (and very Irish) name. What I'm going to do when I am married is make my maiden name's initial my middle name. And my middle name will be just the letter, not the whole middle name, so my married name will be [First Name] Z. [New Last Name].
If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?
I would use cashmere, wool, cotton, denim, Lycra, silk, and linen: only natural fibers (save the Lycra, but that's different because it is truly a miracle fabric. I would use a lot of jewel tones, but more on the spectrum of rich, natural colors, as opposed to bright, not-found-in-nature jewel tones. And I would use a lot of classic cuts.
Come to think of it, I think I would really be the reinvention of Ralph Lauren.
What is your least favorite chore, and why?
I hate cleaning the kitchen, because it is just that: a chore.
What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?
When out of the blue, someone with "authority" will call me or call for me. It stems back to the fact that my mother would call me down from my room to spend hours lecturing me. Anytime someone calls for me, I get that sick knot in my stomach of dread, waiting to be told how I screwed up.
Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.
I am sitting in the den, and three things I can see:
- The TV,
- A gargoyle sitting on top of the TV cabinet,
- My grandmother's wedding photo.
When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it?
A brand new bottle of Lolita in the mail.
If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?
I would want a winter home in the UK.
Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.
Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.
My Liz Claiborne suit that my mother bought for me while I was going on interviews. ...Its so classic, I'm absolutely in love with it.
If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?
Probably the day I told my parents I was getting married. That would be a good one to forget.
She is an abomination. Everything she touches turns to Velveeta. SourceI'm still laughing.
I think, just now, I realized something, in regards to the 101.
The biggest incentive for creating this list was because I want to feel as though my life has meaning, that I am doing something of substance with my life. Even though I though I did all of the things that I thought I needed to do to be happy (got an adult-person job, became engaged to my best friend, made better money, gained more responsibility), I’m still not. I’m not as profoundly depressed as I was given a single year ago, granted, but I still feel as though there is something huge missing in my life. I wonder if part of that is simply that right now, I’m doing the things in life I feel like I’m supposed to be doing, rather than the things that I want to be doing.
One of my sincere hopes is that this list is not only a balm, but a treatment. I’m hoping that this list is an avenue to not only accomplishing goals, but finding myself: my voice, my spirit, my center. I want to give every action and thought meaning. Some of the sagest words that I ever gave in advice struck me very deeply as well: if there is any meaning to this, outside of reaching God, outside of making it through to the next plane of existence, outside of just making it day-to-day, it is that we must leave this place better than when we got here.
I was looking through Facebook today, and saw that my future brother-in-law had posted pictures of his New Year’s Eve, and I felt a deep longing tug at my viscera, deep within me. And I realized the reason why I am doing these tasks so publicly: life is a shared experience, and this shared experience is one of the parts of my life that I am missing. For being here on this earth for 23 years, I feel as though I don’t have enough to show for it, at least in regards to the shared experience part.
So, one of the things that I am going to make a point of being very mindful of until September 2010, is that the journey will be almost more important than just accomplishing the goals. My greatest joy will be on September 28 of 2010 to say, “I grew. I became better than I was before.”
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).
Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.
Some common goal setting tips:
1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.
2. Stay Focused. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.
3. Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.
4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.
5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.
My list is as follows:
101 Goals in 1001 Days
Create a 101 in 1001 list.[Link]
Post list to my blog, with an explanation.[Link]
Post list to the host blog, to make myself accountable.[Link]
Create a countdown for completion.
5. Create a new 101 list.
Acts of Kindness
6. Donate blood.
7. Complete a Race for the Cure race.
8. Send a package to AnySoldier.com
9. Donate to Planned Parenthood.
10. Donate money to NPR.
Art and Hobbies
11. Create a body of work for my jewelry-making hobby.
12. Get enrolled in a craft show to sell my jewelry.
13. Take a metal-smithing class.
14. Take a belly-dancing class.
15. Take a cake decorating class.
16. Take a stained glass class.
17. Take a digital photography class.
18. Visit an art museum in a different city.
19. Obtain membership to a museum.
20. Buy an original piece of artwork.
21. Buy a DSLR camera.
22. Find/create a book club.
23. Get re-involved with the Shaker Arts Council.
24. Blog at least twice a week.
25. Journal at least twice a week.
26. Take a photo at least twice a week.
27. Actually get around to painting “The Bone Tree”.
28. Create a studio for myself.
29. Have a personal essay published in a literary magazine.
30. Create something that requires my sewing machine.
31. See the Chihuly exhibit at the Phipps Conservatory.
32. Move my blog to Wordpress.
33. Send a letter to Aussie John once a month.
34. Get personal calling cards with my name, cell and email on them.
35. Get personalized stationery.
36. Send out birthday cards every year of the 1001 days (2 years).
37. Send out Christmas cards every year of the 1001 days (2 years).
38. Create a budget.
39. Inventory my bank accounts.
Open an electronic savings account.[Link]
41. Build a 3-month cash reserve.
42. Eliminate credit card balance (carry no monthly balance).
Roll my balance to a lower-interest credit card.
44. Spend six months living like I did when I worked retail.
45. Create a joint checking and savings account with The Boy.
46. Save up money for an entire spa day.
47. Get in some “group debt” with The Boy.
48. Switch my Christmas lights to LEDs.
49. Make every new bulb I buy a CFL.
50. Make any/every new appliance purchase an energy efficient purchase.
51. Buy an energy efficient washer and dryer.
52. Create a recycling system.
53. Declutter: sell or give-away 101 material items I own.
Health and Fitness
54. Walk 500 miles in one year.
55. Walk 1001 miles by the end of 1001 days.
56. Take a yoga class.
57. Eat vegan for one week.
58. Buy a new pair of glasses.
59. Get Lasic surgery.
60. Begin work on my masters.
61. Purchase GMAT study books.
62. Join a study group for the GMAT.
63. Score 650 on the GMAT.
64. Enroll in a CFP foundations class.
65. Get my Series 7 license.
66. Obtain my Life and Health license.
Random Personal Goals
67. Move out of my parents’ house.
68. Collect all 50 state quarters.
69. Meet someone I've seen on TV.
70. Reorganize my music collection.
71. Buy the Harry Potter 7-book collection.
72. Learn to drive stick-shift.
73. Bookplate my book collection.
74. Create a wardrobe of pieces that fit with other pieces, not just “outfits”.
75. Create a seasonal wardrobe change system.
76. Create a closet organization system.
77. Get licensed for a firearm.
78. Buy a KitchenAid Mixer.
79. Host a dinner party.
80. Sell something on the internet.
81. Get properly fitted for a brassiere.
82. Purchase a bulk order of jerky from Beef Jerky Unlimited (Luna Pier, MI).
83. Read all of the books on a book list of my choosing.
84. Pack my lunch for an entire month.
85. Commit one productivity practice to habit.
86. Grow an herb garden.
87. Try a type of sushi I am normally too afraid to try.
88. Travel to Niagara Falls.
89. Travel to Chicago.
90. Take a train ride.
91. Travel to Washington DC.
92. Travel to the Grand Canyon.
93. Travel to NYC and have lunch with [AIS].
94. Go back to Mammoth Cave, KY.
95. Visit the Jim Beam factory.
96. Visit the Makers Mark factory.
97. Take The Boy to the Taylor Guitar factory.
98. See Mount Rushmore.
99. Visit Williamsburg, VA.
100. Bring flowers to Mr. Roger's grave.
101. Ride the Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh.