What 2009 got me to thinking…

2010 is starting in just a couple short days. How did that happen? Weren't we JUST partying like it was 1999? I have a hard time remembering how long ago that really was and I barely recognize the naïve little 19 year old girl I was when that song was popular (in real time, NOT as a throwback ya whippersnappers!).

I do remember my last New Year's Eve though. NYE 2008! I remember going to the fancy American Airlines Center, standing in the cold, watching an 80's cover band with new friends, losing my keys AND my ID even though I wasn't drunk, and sitting at IHOP around 2am thinking 2009 had a new air about it that was going to make it…magnificent.

The review? 2009 happened.

Don't get me wrong, amazing things went down. I got to know myself better, I stood up for myself in ways I never thought I would, I watched a friend get married, I watched another move away, I watched divorces and break-ups happen around me, and I made/grew a few friendships that I'm not completely sure how I made it to 2009 without cultivating earlier.

But as I was eating my pasta with healthy alfredo sauce (yeah, you heard me..it's DELICIOUS) in my pj's last night, I realized the year wasn't "magnificent". It was peppered with a whole lot of great and may be the foundation for some yet to be seen OHMYGODCANYOUBELIEVETHATYEARHAPPENED ahead in 2010, but if it's not…I'm content.

Something about that word, content, always gets me to thinking. It seems like settling. Like the fact that all I mentioned was "2009 happened" is some sort of defeat. Questions arise like: Did I not smell the roses enough or put myself out there enough or change the world? It doesn't mean that to me at all anymore. Somehow out of the wreckage of the last few years, I had this really great year of completely content. Maybe that is what getting a little older (am I being too brave by saying wiser?) is about anyway. Contentment is the thing I'm constantly amazed by when looking at my grandparents. They have this ability to live year after year completely content with their lives and a collection of new memories. It doesn't take a major event to define them. The simplicity is beautiful.

On Christmas Eve I sat in my little apartment curled up with holiday movies. Christmas day, after watching the ADORB nephews and niece open their gifts, I had a blast watching movies and drinking heavily and playing WII cheer with OOWD, Shine, and Pretty Bitch. I didn't feel like my day was less because it wasn't some traditional life I thought I'd be living a year ago. That day, this year…my life finally fits me. Like a comfy sweatshirt or the PERFECT T-shirt you've finally worn enough times it just hugs your body when you slip into it or a Snuggie!

I'd love to think somehow I gained immeasurable wisdom in this last year, but I'd venture to guess I did not. I think the more we try to define our lives by grand events or milestones, the more disappointed we become. So without disappointment, I say 2009 happened. And without expectation, I'll welcome 2010 in downtown big D again with different perspective. I'll consider myself lucky if I get to say at the end of next year, 2010 happened and it was a good one…again!

Happy New Year!


What this ‘little’ blog thing is all about…

There are plenty of jokes about this "little" blog thing many of us write. I'm lucky to have friends that not only accept it, but push me to write more even when I think my writing can be crap. Today, I got a little reminder of why I started writing at all a few months ago and what this blog community means to so many of us. I don't know the young lady who wrote the post below, but I care about her. I've come across her posts from time to time. Today I was sent back to her site through other blog posts of e-friends I don't know well either, but it all connects. We all connect. Our suffering, our happiness, our laughs and our tears (whether they are on a blog or in the real world)…connect us. Sometimes we just need a little optimism. A thought that says we WILL make it through whatever "this" is and we will be okay on the other side. Some days I need the support, other days my friends do, and today it's a friend I've never met.

Please read her post below and lift up whatever thoughts or prayers you're willing to offer. If you know anything about what she is going through, the link to her blog will connect you to her in a click.

This is what this "little" world is all about. These amazing people put out their laughs and tears, in writing for the whole world to see, with courage. I hope you will read this and hug someone a little tighter today.



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.

I did.

A new layout, Nora Ephron nailing it, and finding inspiration in the strangest places.

If this is your first visit, welcome. Where the heck have you been? If not, maybe you noticed a change or twelve around here. I found a new layout I love (coffee and swirly décor? What's not to like!), even if there is a giant life sized pen. I decided a new layout needed a few refreshed perks, so I went all go-go gadget on my page and here's the new look. However, almost everything I do has a reason behind it. And sometimes it even makes sense! Last night, it was Nora Ephron.

I was watching an interview with Nora Ephron last night. She made this little side comment, "everything is copy*" and I ever so eloquently said, "huh?" As she explained I suddenly realized, she nailed it! Me. In three little words, she described how I think about almost everything. This (whatever your "this" is) all seems terrible right now, but someday it will make a very funny story. Not everyone thinks that way. I won't claim that it's always easy, but I can tell you it makes life easier. It's how I keep a positive attitude when I just shouldn't and how I can laugh the day after I get a pork chop rubbed on me. Because all this mess right now? It will pass. Time will heal. You will laugh again. Sometimes you'll get to laugh tomorrow and sometimes it will take much longer, but it will all be okay. The story telling part of those little words isn't for everyone. Natalie, Shine, and I have chatted about this many times over IM (or wine, or beer, or dancing). We all think in stories. Not that I know what that means or if it's even abnormal, but I never think "I went on this date and it didn't go well". I catalogue every detail. I sit back and watch, almost from an outside perspective. Words are my pictures, my memories, and my comfort when everything else seems to be falling apart.

So that's why I write this little blog. These stories are little insights into my world. It's the copy of my life. Thank you for reading these rambles and rants. Thank you for helping me remember that one day, this will all make for a great laugh. It makes the tears, the heart ache, and the randomness of it all seem so much more tolerable.

Until last night, I didn't have a drop of inspiration. Literally, nothing. I couldn't create a funny or creative line in my head for days. Then I popped in a DVD, watched the special features, and found a few little words that perked this little road I'm on right up. Thanks again Nora! So my point… yes, there IS a point. Open your eyes whenever you can and find the laughter going on around you. It's there no matter what you're going through or how crazy your life seems. Just take a minute to step back and see it, you might just find yourself... inspired.

*You can watch/read her explanation here. Who doesn't love an 80's flashback? Oh, the hair.

30 improvements before the big 3-0!

We've (me and the mouse in my pocket) covered this, but I am an extremist. I'm trying VERY hard to keep it in check, with the constant yelling help of a few great friends. However, to accomplish anything in my life… I need goals. I was a competitive ice skater for most of my life and working towards no "end" goal makes little sense to me. I admire those that can. I'm just not one of them. Goals, lists, and future accomplishments make me a very, very happy lady. The problem? I always set unrealistic goals that lead to failure. Lately I've read and discussed, ad nauseum, the benefits of small attainable goals in any life change. I've never set small goals because I don't see them as accomplishments. Also, I haven't had much success with change. These two things could be related, no. So last night, little miss Capricorn took control. A controlling Capricorn. Shocker. That ain't news no more.

You should also know, I'm a numbers GEEK. If I can get numbers to mold to my goals, we reached a version of nirvana in my little world.

Last night's internal dialogue:

"Gofahne, get a grip. You've already accomplished a lot in a short couple of weeks. How do you keep this going and NOT freak the eff out? Lifestyle change woman, lifestyle. NOT quick fix. You're about to be 29, so what if you took the next year to improve your life health wise? I like it! I've already made 6 small changes in the past couple of weeks, I'll list those (because who doesn't love to start a list with things ALREADY checked off?). That leaves 24 more. There are 55 weeks until I'm 30, minus the two Christmas weeks, one more TG week next year, and the week of my 29th birthday (because let's be real, I'm not doing ANYTHING healthy on those weeks) = 51 weeks. 51? Not prime, divisible by three, perfection. So for 17 of the remaining goals, I'll make one small change every 3 weeks (just enough time to create a habit – tell me this wasn't destiny). Each change will build on the other changes. Then that leaves me with 7 slightly bigger goals. What's a list without overall goals as well? Voila! You have the Gofahne list of 30 improvements before the big 3-0!!*"

I was planning to keep all of this to myself, but my awesome co-worker suggested posting my little list would make people laugh, possibly inspire, and be a super fun blog. Not a bad thought. So here it is… the starting list. Every time I make a new goal, I'll update the list and notate the accomplishment before it. Then we'll see where I end up in a year. Anyone else excited? No? Just me? That will work!
  1. Eat GH healthy soup a few times a week – habit formed 11/27
  2. Move my butt more – habit formed 11/27
  3. Drink more water – habit formed 11/27
  4. No alcohol for two weeks until Shine's birthday fiesta! - had 2.5 glasses of wine during the two week period (full disclosure: in one evening); good enough for me as of 12/10
  5. Workout 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week – started 11/30, goal date 12/12
  6. Bring my lunch to work 4/5 days during the week – started 11/30, goal date 12/12
  7. Add some form of resistance or non-cardio training into workouts, 3 times per week – started 12/13, goal date 01/16  
    23. Dec 5th, 2010- Dec 31st goal – TBD
    24-26. (3) other overall health improvement goals
    27. Complete P90X at some point throughout the year
    28. Complete a 10k run
    29. Lose 30 pounds by the big 3-0
    30. Wear "the" jeans on my 30th birthday

"The" jeans are my happy jeans. Every girl has them tucked away in her closet. So I thought… great 30th birthday present to myself!

Enjoy a laugh or twelve about my crazy and then "look forward" to my little journey over the next year. I am! I've left plenty of room for more time if a habit proves harder to form than just three weeks allows and I'm excited about what I could learn from this!

Anything you've wanted to change about you that a crazy fun list might help?

*Seriously, spend a day in my head and you'd be exhausted.