I was busy with work and play, and trying to be happy in my new job. I was starting to feel restless and nostalgic, thinking back on 2008 and all I was doing at the beginning of that year.
Work remained unsatisfying, yet very busy and I was unsettled as a result. I wanted to have everything I'd dreamed of having post wedding, and at this point it was unrealistic. On the upside, I started my path to faster race times. Mom received the Outstanding Business Woman of the Year award and Matt and I traveled up to NH for the night/day to surprise her. I started Tri training, kind of, and started my Tri Training Blog . I was cooking a lot too thanks to my New Years Resolution. We'd been home to NH a few times at this point, and it was nice getting so many visits in.
As the first quarter of the year closed, I remained in a state of opposites. Matt and I were so happy and in love, yet I was unhappy in my job and the feelings of loss and anxiety around my Dad's death were returning. I think I summed up the beginning of March well in this post. As March moved on some good things happened, I decided I would look for a new job, I helped organize and throw a fantastic Bridal Shower for one of my best friends and Spring started to come...
April was a turning point for my year. I got grounded with the help of Yoga, Spring came and brought with it a beautiful wedding, April was good.
I wrote a letter to Dad to start off the month- it still resonates really strongly with me as a reflection of where we are now and where we came from on this grief journey. I was happy and busy in May. I got offered a new job, I started my Tri season and Matt completed his first, with a wet and rainy one in MA.
June rocked. I went home for a week in between jobs and was totally blissed out. June was a great start to Summer. My running with running buddies was picking up too, it was great to be socializing and working out!
I don't remember many specifics of July, it flew by- filled with lots of plans and lots of fun. It was a good month.
Wow- what a busy month! A wonderful wedding in Boston kicked it off, then we headed to Squam for a lovely week on the lake filled with making new traditions and more widening of our family circle and the blending of families. I took my first train ride to go back up for the Granite Man. The end of August gave me some much needed down time.
The month started with a fabulous trip to Chicago for our one year anniversary! It went slightly down hill when we tried to head up to NH the next weekend for the Pumpkinman Tri and got stalled, literally, just leaving NYC. But then we settled in to fall's arrival and 1/2 marathon training. I had been kind of stuck on our wedding and obsessing about it, and comparing other weddings to it and told myself that I had to stop that after 1 year, and I'm proud to say I did without really being conscious of it. Maybe it helped that we started house hunting!
We pretty much spent this month house hunting, so our weekends were in the car on LI or up in Westchester. We found the house we wanted and then came the stress of figuring out the Mortgage. We got through it though and came out happy and moving forward in the end! I was running a lot and really loving and getting in to it. The end of the month I had a reunion with some high school friends and their kids, it was so fun!
I was settled in to my job, happy that we'd found a house and feeling good. Matt and I completed our 2nd 1/2 Marathon, me in record time. We spent Thanksgiving in NH and I went to my 10 year High School Reunion- crazy!
The winter plans began including a visit from Katie and Jen, dinners out and parties. I found out Jen is pregnant and I could not be more excited for her and Tim! We got a nice big snowfall while dogsitting and enjoyed getting to head out in to the snow with the dogs. It ended with a fantastic New Years Eve party and a very positive outlook for 2010!
As I look back through this on 2009 I see why I'm feeling somewhat, eh about the year overall. There were a lot of ups and a lot of downs. Maybe because the year started off on a down note I sense a sort of "downness" about the whole year. However, when I read through this post I can see a great spike up in the middle of the year and thinking back so many wonderful things have happened in the last part of the year which explains why I'm so optimistic about 2010. Bring it on!
Wednesday, December 30
Tuesday, December 29
So today I need to talk about my biggest and best belly laugh of the year. Hmmm. I laugh a lot, I love laughing, so it is hard to think back through a whole year (I don't have a great long term memory) and pin point my biggest and best.
There have been a few moments this year when I've laughed so hard I couldn't stop- you know those times- when you do something, or you see something and it hits you and the giggling begins. You chuckle, you may get a little high pitched. Then, it turns, your laughing, full on laughing. Your eyes start to close, your stomach starts to hurt and then the tears come. You're not crying, now way, you're still laughing but it is so hard and for so long that tears form. And you start to gasp for breath and slow down, but then you are reminded of it and start laughing again, harder even. This continues for a typical 5-10 minute stint, sometimes lasting as long as 15 minutes. And it feels so good. For about an hour, to two hours, after you think of the moment and giggle quietly to yourself and you can't stop smiling. I've had two of those moments this year, and they are both due to my Husband. Once, I'll admit, I was laughing at him (he did too) and another time it was fits of laughter together over nothing special, just something funny we shared. Those are definitely some of the best times.
Monday, December 28
How funny that today I am to detail my stationary find of the year, when last year I cut myself off from stationary and made a resolution to use up all that I'd amassed! So alas, I don't have a stationary find of the year- although I did get our holiday cards from this Etsy seller and they were/are lovely. She even sent me a holiday card! How sweet is that?
"Did you meet someone you used to only know from her blog? Did you discover Twitter? "
This year I did discover Twitter, and what a fun ride it has been! Sure I offer up some fairly mundane and boring tweets, but for me it is more in the following. Reading Ruth Reichl's tweets about fabulous food, seeing Martha's mispells and mistypes in tweet world, laughing at Kevin Nealon, connecting with some cast members of a new favorite show. And the trending topics, what fun! Watching the season finale of Top Chef and then watching the tweets fill in the trending topic search with reactions, you don't get much more real time than that. I'm loving this twitter wave and am very curious to see how and when it breaks.
As we near the end, a reminder of the Best of '09 exercise: Gwen Bell's Blog
I feel like I've talked about a lot of the same things over and over again during this best of December exercise.
Getting myself a great new job
Being open to new experiences in my life
Remaining confident in who I am and what I can do
Maybe my aha moment of 2009 is going to be looking back on these and realizing how much I can accomplish in a year, maybe this looking back exercise is going to provide it for me, maybe.
The prompt for Best of '09 on Christmas Day was: "What's a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving?"
I'm guessing that the way people approached this was probably split 50/50. Half of the bloggers probably focused on a physical gift- something they splurged on, maybe something simple they just had to have and bought themselves. I'm sure the other half are focusing on more intangiable gifts, things they rewarded themselves with, or a mindset they made sure to keep, or even changing a lifestyle for the better.
I could go both ways, but in the spirit of how I usually approach posts I'll take about the more intangible gift I gave myself this year, the best one.
That gift has been believing in myself. It isn't always easy to maintain a positive and confident approach to the world, In that past few years I haven't been a good role model at doing this for myself. I've always been good at encouraging others, but often failed to take my own advice. I beat myself up, I get frustrated, sometimes I give up. Worst of all, I just let myself stay or remain in situations where I'm not happy, and not fulfilled. You wouldn't know this looking at me, or interacting with me on the regular, but I know it.
When I look back on 2009 I don't think, "Wow that was a great year!" To be honest, I do think of it for 2008 even with the job loss and 3 months of unemployment, and that's because I had so many happy events to celebrate. However, when I think of 2009 I do see myself believing that I can do more, I can be more and I deserve more. I see myself getting out of a bad job situation, taking charge. I see myself believing I could compete in endurance events even when I didn't train as hard as I wanted, and doing it. I see myself as an adult, making adult decisions that are scary and exciting and take a lot of faith and belief in what I can accomplish and what I can handle. This year, I gifted myself the belief that I have a lot and will do a lot in my lifetime. Bring it on 2010, I'm ready.
A fun blog I read on the regular is here: Skrinkering Hearts I honestly don't remember how I stumbled across it, but I did about a year ago and have been enjoying it ever since. I'm pretty convinced if we knew each other outside the blog world we'd be friends... and I'd definitely be helping her and her friend Brandy with some scary health situations they're currently experiencing. Please read Brandy's post below and keep her in your thoughts, and if you're the praying type- pray for her and her man. Cancer fucking sucks, and whatever I can do to help others through the scary world it opens up to you, I will, but before we get there, let's all send some positive vibes Brandy's way- she needs them.
My name is brandy. And I have a blog.
And a plea.
I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.
He’s a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He’s the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He’s the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He’s a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He’s made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He’s listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.
The holidays have hit us hard. He’s recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He’s the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I’m overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.
As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren’t sure what’s happening. He’ll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what’s going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as ‘brandy’s hot awesome dude’). If you don’t pray, please keep him in your heart.This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.
I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven’t seen it, Google it. You. Are. Welcome).
I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I’m throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn’t a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It’s just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven’t already? Please tell someone you love them today.
Thursday, December 24
For 12/22 and 12/23 Gwen wants to know about a Start Up and about a Web Tool- for me in my job these kind of go hand in hand. I work for a start up that has created a fantastic web tool for in stream video advertising. I don't want to go in to much detail because I don't talk about my job on my blog, but that is definitely the best of '09 for me. Not only do I love my job, but I'm proud of my company and all it has done to become such a leader in the space.
This year I started 2 projects that I was pretty proud of- one being my tri-training blog, and the other being my cooking blog/resolution. Unfortunately I only kept up with one, the tri-training blog and even that has fallen to the wayside recently.
Nevertheless, I am so proud of the time I took to fill the blog with posts about my training, it is great to look back on it now and remember my experience. I look forward to keeping it full and valuable to all endurance athletes beginners or pros who come across it!
December 24th: What was a lesson you learned this year that changed you?
I think of myself as someone who is open to feedback, open to change and ready for the challenges that life brings. That isn't to say that I adapt well or shift my reactions, opinions and output quickly, I don't. For the past 2 years a lot has been changing in my life for the most part it has been very good, but it doesn't come without any challenges. I have had to bide my time, watch my reactions and constantly step back and reevaluate my snap judgments. Those aren't always easy to change. In fact, I would say that the judgments you make quickly are the ones that are hardest to reevaluate. So, the lesson I've learned this year, I hope, that has helped change me? Don't let yourself be driven by those snap decisions and judgments. Be open to all the information and gather it before you determine how you are going to approach a situation or person. In short, don't just be open, stay open.
Sunday, December 20
New person. She came into your life and turned it upside down. He went out of his way to provide incredible customer service. Who is your unsung hero of 2009?
Someone who turned my life upside down? Someone who is my unsung hero of 2009 that is new? I'm not sure I can actually answer this question. There have been many new people in my life this year, some that I know will be in my life forever, some I hope I'll keep forging a strong bond with but they haven't quite turned my life upside down and none of them are unsung heros. If I take the best angle, the best of '09 new person in my life is my new running buddy, she technically isn't new in my life because we knew of each other in college, we just weren't close then. We came back in to each other's lives at our friend Kate's wedding and someone, with my track record, after making a date to run together post wedding we actually did and kept it up consistently throughout the summer. We've even gone so far as to have lunch together, face to face! Some of the best times I've had this year has been when running with my various running buddies, husband included, so I'm so happy that one of them has grown in to a lasting friendship. And although I'll be moving out of the city just after she moved in, I have a feeling our running dates will remain intact and no doubt our friendship will.
Here's to lots more running with some great buddies in 2010.
I'll admit it, I'm getting overwhelmed as I keep missing days of Best '09. But, I must press on, I must stick to this!
On Friday, where did you spend most of your money this year- sadly I think the answer to that is on food- but darn we had some good food. What was the best? Hmm, I'm still dreaming about those Flex Mussel donuts...
On Saturday, we were supposed to explore the best car ride... where did we go? Who were we with, what did we see?
Sometime in the Spring, early Spring, because the air was still chilly and Starbucks was still serving London Fog's, Matt and I decided to head North to the Woodbury Common Fashion Outlet. We took to the car and were off. I was excited to head out for a shopping trip with my favorite person, and he was excited to have me distraction free in the car. (I'm just being honest here!). We stopped and loaded up on warm beverages somewhere in New Jersey. As I sipped my London Fog we talked about what we were looking for at the outlets, which stores we hit up first, and we talked of the future. We were both finally employed, we were excited about where life was going to take us next. I remember that drive so fondly. As we headed in to the hills north of New York City we talked about having children, buying a house and how excited we both were to start those journeys together. I saw my Husband growing up, becoming a man right in front of me and realized how much we were about to do together, that even though we had almost 9 years behind us there were so many more ahead.
Isn't it amazing with an hour car ride can do for you?
Thursday, December 17
And don't want to flake on this month of blogging, like I did on my cooking blog- I'm catching up (Post today's prompt) on the last few days:
December 14 Rush. When did you get your best rush of the year?
Finishing the 1/2 marathon in November, knowing I had run fast, knowing I had needed the release, knowing all I knew and all I had been carrying from the whole year. That felt damn good and I can't wait to do it again.
December 15 Best packaging. Did your headphones come in a sweet case? See a bottle of tea in another country that stood off the shelves?
I'll be honest, I don't know if I got these in 2008 or 2009, I'm 85% sure it was 2009. I ordered a couple of fun looking rings from this Etsy Seller and her packaging blew me away! I currently have a bunch of my cocktail rings stored in one of the boxes she sent her one ring in. I saw it and thought, this is how it should be done, because I've been heading back for more and more!
December 16 Tea of the year. I can taste my favorite tea right now. What's yours?
Easy- anything Yogi tea. I've been really in to the Slim Life Green tea, it is berry flavored and delicious. I want some right now! How could you not love their little tea tag quotes?
Monday, December 14
A busy weekend full of friends, fun and food left me lacking on the daily Best of '09 postings! Here are some more for you my lovely readers:
New Food: hmmm this is a hard one, I'm not sure I tried many new foods this year... I was briefly, well not so briefly, obsessed with the Chipotle Barbacoa Burrito Bowls- but I'm finding myself turned off by beef again so I feel like that isn't a fair Best of '09 answer. I did make my own granola for the first time this year and it was fabulous. Yum. I want to make more! Have you tried it? Check out a great recipe here (go easy on the cardamom!)
Best change to your current place: Well, next year this answer should be a lot more fun- this year it is easy- buying a Dyson! God I love that vacuum and our floors have never felt cleaner.
Today's will come in a separate post so I can give it some more thought and flair!
Friday, December 11
Since I've missed the last two days of Best of '09 posts- ya'll are getting a 3 fer today!
I can't talk that much about this, because I don't think it is that appropriate to outline some of my job struggles here. However, my biggest challenge of the year was most certainly being under utilized and very unhappy in the position I took in December of '08. In a recession I had to find a way out, while also exiting gracefully and still staying true to my work ethic. I learned some valuable lessons and found my way in the end, hence my great moment of peace the week after leaving. This situation pushed me to the edge and helped me find true balance in my life and reminded me that I shouldn't and couldn't let work bleed in to my personal life. It was the best, because it was the largest I dealt with this year, while also teaching me many, many lessons.
Album of the Year:
Ooh this is a really really hard one. As you know, I have trouble picking favorites, and so I'm not even going to answer the question. However, my joyful and best music moments of the year have been receiving my music newsletters from a friend of a friend with a lot of fabulous new music. That playlist is constantly on when I'm commuting and I've found some fantastic tunes.
The Best Place:
When I walk in the door to my apartment, and I see Matt sitting on the couch with a smile on his face, that brings me to my best place.
Wednesday, December 9
Inspired by the Lululemon email today:
2010 I Will List
I will run 2 1/2 Marathons
I will run at least 2 Triathlons
I will own a home
I will become a Weight Watchers lifetime member
I will catch up on the phone with friends instead of over email
I will travel to one place I've never been before
I will work hard and play harder
I will be creative 3 times a month
I will plant flowers, vegetables and herbs in my first Garden
I will retain my Yoga practice
What will you do in 2010?
Tuesday, December 8
"An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?"
After my last day at my post-unemployment job and my first day at my yes-this-is-what-I-should-be-doing-job I went to NH for a week.
I sat on the porch soaking up the June sun, I picked peonies everyday, I ate well and slept well and lived well. It was blissful and exactly what I needed.
I felt fresh and happy and ready for my next step. I was calm, at peace and excited. I got there by going after what I wanted, by seeking it out and reaching for it.
I was proud and satisfied and full on my accomplishment.
I look back on that week and just smile and let out a deep satisfying breath.
Monday, December 7
This year started with me rediscovering cook and the joy of it. Unfortunately it waned in the later part of the year, I'm not going to worry too much because I have a feeling it will pick back up. I remain very interested in recipes and cooking, I just have lost my desire to get up and do it. I'll get back there. In the meantime this is a segway in to a blogger I only discovered this year and who has helped to keep me excited about cooking and also reinvigorated my love of photography is The Pioneer Woman. Her love story drew me in, and I stayed for the food, photography and most of the time her odd personality and quirky style of writing. Who can complain about all her giveaways too?
Here's to reading her in to 2010 and cooking and clicking along the way!
Sunday, December 6
Today's Best of '09 is supposed to be about the best conference or workshop I attended this year. Unfortunately I didn't get to attend any, but hopefully I will in years to come. I did attend a few webinars when I was at my first job this year and after each one I felt energized and excited about all the possibilities there are in my line of work. The problem can be implementing. Change is never easy and many organizations are scared of the process. Until my recent job I've been in positions where I haven't truly been able to drive and push for changes. I'm not quite in that position yet currently, but I'm close and I need to remind myself that my voice is heard and my voice is desired. So while I didn't attend a best conference or workshop this year, this was a helpful reminder of what has inspired me in my work and that I should act on those inspirations.
note: I remembered while writing this post that I attended the SARK writing workshop over the summer. That was a fabulous experience, however I think the resonance of it is clear when it wasn't the first thing that popped in to my mind...
Saturday, December 5
So, I'm giving this a shot for December. I hope I can keep up with the daily posts, but I'm not going to commit to anything, no need for that disappointment!
Today's post: The Best Night Out
Wow, when you really start to think about these prompts you realize how difficult it can be to go back through an entire year, and by difficult I mean remember the entire year. I guess the point is that it should really stick out though, right?
This past year there were two fantastic weddings that I was in and thinking back it would have to be the nights out for those. Since I have to pick one- here goes.
My return to Boston
Since leaving in 2007, I admittedly haven't been very good about going back to visit Boston, my home of 3 years. I miss it. But enough about me, let's talk about the night. Kate and I rented a hotel room, which was plush and comfy and right near all the action. The restaurant had been booked, the supplies bought, and the bars scoped. The bachelorette bash in Beantown was looking good.
Helena (the bride to be), Kate, Robin, Jen, Laura and I all met in the room and put on our beads and penis paraphernalia. We were ready to go. After some Champagne in the hotel bar to loosen us up, we were a mixed group of friends, we headed to a funky new bar, Drink. We hunkered up in a spot that fit our group and watched the magic happen. The bartenders here just want to know what you enjoy and then they, using classic bar-tending skills, mix up something that's better than you'd ever imagine. They have many tricks up their sleeves and our minds were getting foggier and our laughs louder. After a few delicious beverages we headed to dinner at Joe's on the water. The waiter was young and funny, and we were getting more and more giggly. Perfect. It was time to break out the big guns.
We walked quickly to our next destination, the club. The penis pops came out, the penis necklaces were finally adorned. The bachelorette tiara went on. It was time to break this party wide open.
We found a great spot in the basement where the music was pumping and people dancing, to top it off there was a poll to dance on. This party was getting good! We danced, sweated, had some shots, and explored the 3 floors of the bar before deciding to call it a night, just in time. We'd done it up right in honor of our bachelorette.
We're not the 23 year olds we used to be, and we know when it is time to just cozy up in a feather bed and talk about the excitement of getting married, which is just how the night ended.
So why was this the best night out of '09? I was with my best friends, in a city i love, living it up in the perfect style. Fantastic.