Tagged: life

Organizing my whole life

I think… nope, I know, that I’ve written about my obsessive list-making habit.

But while lists get me going and keep me going, I have found I have a few too many goal lists.

Here’s a run-down of my current goal lists:
The 28 by 28
The 12 Week Year
Diet reward point system
Daily goals
Running training program
Returning slowly to the Slow Carb Diet

So, for example, I’ll take the 12 Week Year (you already know about the 28 by 28).

The 12 Week Year is a great book I read about GETTING THINGS DONE. Consistently. Setting bench marks and DOING STUFF.
I loved the book. The general idea, and really you should just go check out the book, is that instead of focusing on making annual goals (who can see that far into the future?) make 12 week goals… and call it a year.
So every three months, it’s a year-end review. How did you do, honestly?
At the beginning of March, I started a 12 week year again, with two goals:
     1. Read six nonfiction books.
     2. Finish the knit labyrinth circle rug.
Then I broke down each of these goals into micro-steps. Sometimes it was ridiculously tiny steps. (Finish the current yarn ball, buy filler cord, buy clear thread, buy yarn needle…)
The books I just wrote down which I had read… and I knew I needed to average about one book for each two weeks. So far so good on that.
Another example? OK.

Daily goals…

In January, the goal was 100 push ups a day. In February it was sit ups.
In March it was lunges. This month it’s tricep dips.
So with all of those things floating around in my head and on my dining room table… I’m trying to find a way that organizes ALL OF THESE THINGS into one system.
I’m looking for suggestions.

But here’s my idea so far:

EVERNOTE. Evernote used to be my best friend. It kind of faded out, but now it’s my best friend again. It’s nice to have it around.
     Unfortunately, my phone isn’t the best for typing on and I don’t have a computer at home, but Evernote gets things recorded for me at least.
ONE SYSTEM TO RULE THEM ALL. I want EVERYTHING on one sheet of paper. Two at most. I can always make a back-to-back copy or something.
How can I have check mark boxes for some goals, lines for items I need to list and a rewards area to keep me motivated?
I want this one (maybe two) page thing to last for at least a month.

This system won’t be:

-a daily scheduler or calendar (my calendar will be based off of my goals)
-something I carry around with me everywhere (I wanted a printed system to hang on my fridge or near the door or on my mirror or all of those places to keep my goals on the top of my mind… Evernote can be my carry along tracking system)
-something I share with everyone (a lot of my goals (everyone’s goals) are incredibly personal and private, this isn’t something I want my coworkers to find)
-a way to put myself down (any progress is good progress, and I really believe that)
OK. If anyone has designs they’ve seen for something similar or suggestions on how I can make my own, let me know.
I’m heading over to InDesign right now to start laying out something for it.
Actually, scratch that. I’m going to sketch it out first. My mind works faster than my mouse skills in InDesign.
God bless! Stay organized.

On dating

If you’re been around this here blog for longer than a minute, you know about my previous attempt at a relationship that failed. If you want to re-live it, check out the post here.

If not, stay tuned for an update on my Catholic dating life.
First, let me tell you how I met this guy.
Online.

Shocking. Embarrassing. Crazy. Foolish.

Sure all of those things.
But also the only want I figured I could meet guys who were honestly Catholic … and in my age range. I love the old men I see at daily Mass, but they are not in my age range.
I thought online dating would be an OK way to find guys that fit my standards.
And after my last attempt at a relationship, I think it’s good to have standards. It’s good to know what I NEED a guy to have (be Catholic, be family orientated, be open to marriage and life), and it’s good to know what I’d LIKE a guy to have (college education, travel goals, limited debt or working on getting debt free).
The needs are non-negotiable. The likes are negotiable if the guy is good enough.

Contrary to what we like to tell ourselves, a lot of dating is superficial.

But that’s OK, too. We need to be physically attracted to our mates. It just makes sense.
So I set up an online dating profile on one of the free sites.
Which is scary itself. It’s free… what kind of guys are on it?
While, just like me. The guys that don’t think they should have to pay to meet people.
That’s where I was coming from, that’s how I look at it.
I screened potential candidates throughly. If they didn’t list their religion on their profile, I didn’t respond to a message they sent me.
If they answered one of the questions in a suspicious way, I wouldn’t return a message.
I also didn’t respond to people who called themselves Christian.

This may have been a too-high-standard, but I love being Catholic. I want to raise my kids Catholic.

I don’t want to have to pray for the conversion of my significant other’s soul for my whole life (or relationship like I did with my ex-boyfriend).
I know this can make a person very pious, and those prayers are heard.
BUT I want a family. A Catholic family, and so I want someone who has my back on those issues. (I’m looking at your Natural Family Planning and birth control.)
I also screened based on photos.
Guys can pick which photos they put on their profiles. Why would they choose photos of them half-naked in their bathroom? Why would they choose photos of them drunk?
I wanted photos of guys who looked like they were out doing things.
There are a surprising lot of selfies taken in cars. I don’t know why. I avoided those guys too.

How the guy answered questions was important as well.

Sex before marriage? No thanks.
Drugs? No way.
Smoking? Nope.
Why even bother? I want someone who is serious about dating to see if we’re right for marriage and then getting married.
After talking to a guy for about a week (well, texting), we met for coffee. I liked him!
He texted me the next day… and we met again for dinner Friday night.
He is all my NEEDS and LIKES: Catholic, family-orientated, open to marriage; college-educated, likes traveling, school’s getting paid for by employer).
While I haven’t gotten deep into all these topics with him, I know at least on the surface that we agree on these issues. The whole six years I was in my prior relationship, I knew that he and I didn’t not agree on these things. I thought I could pray it away. And I tried to.
News flash: it didn’t work.

So Friday night, you’re wondering, how did it go?

Well, first let me tell you that I was so nervous. And it’s not like me to get nervous. Yes, I’m shy, but I know how to handle myself in most situations.
I don’t know how to handle myself on dates because I never dated. It’s so weird. I have usually just “been in relationships.”
I thought about what I was going to wear for hours. I dreamed about the date. I didn’t stop thinking about the date.
…All things that aren’t that healthy.
But while I was doing that, I was also planning trips that I want to take, things I want to do, projects I need to finish up at home.
It’s like my whole life is re-starting right now. Which is weird.
I was also trolling dumb sites that profess how to snag a guy and have a successful second date and stressing myself out.
I can’t believe how many of those sites exist. It’s really startling to realize how much time we spend thinking about stuff like that.
I tired to put myself in the mindset that we’re just getting to know each other and see if we connect at all.
There’s already a physical connection there. No we didn’t kiss after we got coffee the prior weekend. But we hugged. Scandalous.

The date details

He made reservations for us. I was just blown away by this. Reservations.
And when he told me he made reservations the Thursday before the date, I freaked out a little bit. Reservations!? Yikes.
I honestly don’t even know if I’ve ever been to a restaurant with reservations…
So while I stressed about what I should wear, I really didn’t need to. The restaurant was pretty empty.
He was wearing jeans. Oh well. I had a summery dress on with a cardigan and boots. It’s not the worst thing to look nice.
So we ate. He told me he was a social liberal and fiscal conservative. What does that mean, I asked.
He said he was OK with gay marriage because he has gay friends.
Besides that being completely against Church teaching, I don’t really… care, honestly. Does that say more about me or him? I don’t know.
I agree with what the Church teaches: a marriage is a man and a woman united with Christ for life. It can’t be anything else.
But I also believe the government should be out of the “marriage game.” It makes a mockery of what should be a religious institution.

After eating, we went for a walk. It was nice out. It was nice to walk and talk.

We looped around somewhere, and then on the way back, we kissed.
After we kissed, he told me he had never kissed anyone before.
Part of me is thinking at that moment: OH NO! HE’S GOING TO BE ATTACHED TO ME FOREVER LIKE IN WEDDING CRASHERS.
The other part of me is thinking: Wow, that is so sweet. Here’s this nice, Catholic guy who does sweet things like hold doors and text me and ask nice questions and just act like a gentleman, and he’s never kissed anyone before? Wow. Lord, has he been waiting for me?
Those thoughts besides, we were not synced at all when we kissed. I don’t remember if my first kisses were like that, but I tried to help him out.
But really I just took the lead when I should have let him take the lead.
One time, we were kissing, and I reached up and grabbed his shirt. He jumped. Clear out jumped. I laughed.
I laughed a lot actually that night. He makes me want to laugh. I feel so light and happy when I’m around him.
I told him I wasn’t laughing at him. We kept kissing every block or so as we walked back to our cars. We started getting more synced.
It was great.
He walked me over to my car, where we kissed some more, just kissing, and then he asked to see me on Sunday.
Yes.

Sunday’s “date”

We talked on Saturday night (on the phone), and I asked him about abortion and birth control. Those are two issues that (among other things) came up in my last relationship.
He said he didn’t know.
OK. Then we just decided to see what we wanted to do on Sunday. It was nice having just “we’re going to do something” plans with him.
I called him after I dropped off one of my friends, around 4:30 and asked him to come over.
An hour later, he shows up at my apartment for the first time, and we leave for dinner. We eat, walk around my town for a while and go back to my apartment.
We were waiting for it to get dark so we could do some star gazing. Which I think is super romantic.
Anyway, we hung out on my couch for a while, reading my newspaper and talking. He met my cat which was nice.
We kissed a little bit, but not excessive. I don’t want it to get out of hand, and neither does he.
We went down to the lake. Looked at stars. Kissed a lot.
Found some constellations. Kissed some more. Then we went to the beach. It was nice there. So quiet.
Couldn’t really see stars because of the city lights. He started kissing me and I leaned back against a wall, and we just kept kissing… for a long time.

It was good.

He is a great kisser.
And the way we were angled, I could tell we were both… well. Turned on. So I pushed him a way a little bit and just laid my head on his chest. We were both breathing really hard.
I had no idea kissing could be like that. I told him, even though I wasn’t a virgin, I wanted to wait until I get married… and he wants to wait, too.
And he said he’d tell me if we move too fast. And he did. While I had my head on his chest, he said we should slow down a little bit.
Which is just great, that we’re on the same page.
I told him that we should end the night, and when he drove me home he couldn’t come inside again.

He still walked me to the door.

It was late, but I perused some blogs about chastity and dating, and I think I’m going to talk to him about it when we meet up next weekend.

I definitely don’t think we should be spending so much time kissing, even if it is just kissing. That doesn’t mean I think we should give it up entirely, but if we hug and kiss when we meet for the date, and then when we say goodbye, I think that will be OK.
On to more dating adventures… I’m not sure when we’re getting together again. He’s going to call this week. Can’t wait.
God bless.

28 by 28: See the eagles fly

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Oh, hey. We’re just three BALD EAGLES chilling in these trees over here. Don’t mind us.
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28 by 28: See the eagles fly

Mission accomplished.

Check one off of my list. Yesssss.

If you’re not following, don’t worry. I’ll become comprehensible in a minute.

In the meantime, here’s some more eagles.

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This is a little blurry… because the further you zoom, the more each shake is seen in the photo.

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Alright, now to make sense of all this.

Earlier, I published my 28 by 28 list, the 28 things I want to accomplish before I turn 28 in February 2015.

The list isn’t really in any order… but seeing the eagles fly was the first thing I thought of when I wrote down the list.

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I had already scheduled and booked the hotel room for the weekend in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, where they hold their annual Eagle Appreciation Day in late February.

I got there late Friday night, and barely found my hotel. I get no data service in Driftless Wisconsin, so I had to rely on smoke signals and whatever people used before GPS existed. It was a crazy three minutes in my car.

I woke up early Saturday morning, the day of the event, ready to get started. I drove into the city and immediately saw those first three birds.

They congregate on rivers and open water because they LOVE fish. (But also rabbits as I found out later.)

So I parked my car and walked back to the bridge where I first saw the eagles and took some photos.

The sky was clear, the weather was brisk, cold, freezing, but it was beautiful. And it was quiet. I was expecting a lot more people around for the event. Maybe the weather kept them away. I don’t know.

Murphys Law

It was just peaceful to be there. (I just liked the look of this bar… I didn’t go inside. It was 8 o’clock. The rest of the downtown is also gorgeous.)

Yes, I was alone. But not lonely. I had a really good time. I drove around for a while, spotted a few more eagles perched on trees, then went to a few of the speakers the city had scheduled.

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One of the speakers had a little tiny screech owl and some type of desert hawk.

The next speaker had a full grown bald eagle, and she fed him a hunk of rabbit while she talked to us.

It was so cool.

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After all that, I went over to Iowa.

Can you believe I’ve never been? Iowa is even more quiet and peaceful than Prairie du Chien was. I don’t know if it’s the frozen river or what keeps it so beautiful, but I loved it there.

I went to the Effigy National Monument… couldn’t tour because of the snow, but I will go back (it’s on a secondary bucket list) in the summer.

Then I went to Pike’s Peak state park. That’s where that tree was.

In Marquette, Iowa, there’s a stop over or something for the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and that was too cool to see.

I’m not fascinated by trains at all, but it was still interesting. I think I was just in the right place at the right time… at the right height.

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There are tons of scenic overlooks in the area. I guess people like to stop and look at the Mississippi River from up height.

Even frozen, it was beautiful.

DSCF3019When I got to work this morning, I had an email about my bucket list story… a company offering me zip lining for free. Awesome!

On to more adventures!

God bless!

28 by 28 update (already!)

Yikes, an update already.

That sounds bad, right?
In fact, it’s good.

Because of snow (surprise! It’s Wisconsin!), two of my meetings were canceled… meaning, two less stories.
So on deadline, my editor asked if I had any column ideas…

Sure, my 28 by 28 list. He said, “What?”
And that’s how my list ended up in the newspaper for all to read.
(Because it wasn’t already out there for all to read on the Internet? Right…)

Here’s a photo… look that’s me!

 

bucket list

Awesome-sauce.

Everything is awesome.

It’s even in the real paper, see?

bucket list paperPeace.

God bless.