2016 Resolutions

1. More letters. I’m aiming for a letter each week.

2. More books. 16 sounds like a nice round number. I’m on track to finish my first this weekend.

3. More miles. Barring injury, I’m aiming for 750 running and 2000 biking. I also really want this to be my marathon year, but I’ve said that before…

4. More movies. We saw a grand total of 6 last year. 12 seems possible.

5. Less meat. I’m not ready (or interested, really) in going back to being vegetarian, but I am interested in expanding my repertoire of meat-free meals, particularly since Nicolas has been pescatarian for nearly a year.

6. Less debt. We’re on track to pay off all of my debt by the end of the year. I really want to make that happen.

7. Less complaining. This might be the hardest resolution on this list.

8. Less guilt and regret. This one is hardest to quantify, but I’m pretty over beating myself up about things I can’t control, or things that aren’t mine to begin with.

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2013 in meme


Photo by Nicolas

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Went to the Bahamas, Traverse City, and an electronic music festival; attempted to integrate cats; biked over 1,000 miles; knit cables; tried miracle berries.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I’m most proud that I’ve kept up with the year of no pants. I think next year’s list is less aspirational, though it has some big ones.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yep, but many fewer friends than in previous years.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I lost one friend.

5. What countries (or new places) did you visit?
The Bahamas with Karen, new parts of Michigan with Nicolas, and Portland with Annette. I also saw a lot more of Chicago, Seattle, Indianapolis, and St Louis.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Certainty.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My divorce was finalized on June 5.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Trusting my gut; quitting smoking (again); back-to-back PRs.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Judgment.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was sick in January, February/March, August, and December. I had all manner of menstrual weirdness that seemed to resolve itself after tests in May. I’d like to think my insides were scared straight. A nagging hip thing started to flare badly in July, and was diagnosed in December as a hypermobile SI joint. I have done a terrible job at keeping up with my PT.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My Divvy membership, which made hacking my commute possible.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I’m really proud of a number of my friends for the awesome things they’ve made happen in the last year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Same as last year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food and drink; running and biking (race registrations, gear, travel, Gu)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Sand cats and biking in Chicago.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Happier

ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same, though my weight has shifted around a bit.

iii. richer or poorer?
Richer in lots of ways.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More time at the beach. More naps. More reading.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Driving.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family in Rockford

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope.

25. What was the best book you read?
Haruki Murakami: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Brad Kessler: Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese
Ryszard Kapuściński: Travels with Herodotus

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Another year of a lot of electronic music: Darkside, Moderat, Modeselektor, Four Tet, Trentemøller, Tensnake, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and FM Attack.

And oh yeah: Nicolas Jaar, Nicolas Jaar, Nicolas Jaar, Nicolas Jaar.

27. What did you want and get?
Love.

28. What did you want and not get?
A sand cat.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
In the theater: The East; Blancanieves; Upstream Color.
At home: Samsara; Baraka; Bill Cunningham New York.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Drove to work very early, stopping to pick up an absurdly foofy free coffee in my vintage dress and with my hair in rollers. Gave a presentation to the entire library at 9am. Got new passport photos taken. Quick post-work run before dressing up for dinner with my best girls at Karyn’s on Green. One solo drink at Neo. More celebrations over the weekend, which was spent with my (new) guy. Not a bad way to turn 33.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time – on the beach, in the water, on my bike, in the forest, with my loved ones, unplugged.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
No pants in public.

33. What kept you sane?
Running. My girls. Love.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I might have mentioned Nicolas Jaar.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I spent a lot of time thinking about urban planning than any specific political issue.

36. Who did you miss?
There are a number of people that I expected to see all the time since moving to Chicago that I just haven’t.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
This year was more about solidifying friendships with people I met previously. I met online friends Heidi and Patrick for the first time IRL, and I made friends at work.

Best non-person: the sand cat, which we visited often, and my sponge:

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
I’ve lived by this quote from my friend Susie: “Lead with your fractured heart. It can be broken more, yes, but it has practice — like bones and other things, we mend and move on. Use it or, well, what’s the point of having it in the first place?”

See also: 2011, 2012

2012 Resolutions In Review

Oh right, last year’s resolutions.

1. Running faster in at least two half marathons plus the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.
Done. I PR’d in the Illinois half in April, taking 6:40 off my Detroit time. I missed a PR in the Monster Dash by 4 seconds. I also took 4:59 off my Cherry Blossom time.

2. Learn more about [my] DSLR.
Done. I took a DSLR workshop in May and feel like I have a somewhat better grasp on how my camera works – and then I broke my arm and couldn’t hold it properly for a few weeks, and then it started taking spirit photographs and spent 3 months in the shop. Whoops.

3. See [no] fewer than 12 movies in the theater.
Done. I saw: The Adventures of TintinMy Week With MarilynTinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyThe ArtistThe Skin I Live InJoy Division with Le voyage dans le luneShameThe Cabin in the WoodsYour Sister’s SisterThe Hunger Games, Shut Up and Play the Hits, Moonrise Kingdom, Skyfall (x3), and Django Unchained.

4. Write at least one [letter] per week.
Done. I wrote 169 letters and postcards in 2012.

5. Find a job in Chicago.
Done! I’ve been at my job nine months, and while it isn’t my dream job, that has less to do with the job and more to do with my dreams.

6. [Bake] one pie per month.
I baked zero pies in 2012.

7. Master at least one new cocktail at home per month.
I mastered two cocktails: the manhattan, and the French gimlet.

8. More travel.
I didn’t leave the country despite my best attempts to walk to Mexico. I did leave the state more than a few times, though.
January: Carlsbad/San Diego, CA plus lots of back and forth to Chicago
February: back and forth to Chicago
March: Champaign for LEEP weekend, DC for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
April: southern Illinois with the GSLIS ladies, Champaign for the Illinois I-Challenge
May: Overnight to Indiana
June: weekend in A2, Anaheim/Imperial Beach, CA
July: nowhere because I had a goddamned broken arm
August: weekend in A2
September: nowhere
October: two weekends in Champaign, Charlottesville, VA for a conference
November: DC, Champaign
December: San Francisco, CA, weekend in A2

9. Read at least two books per month.
Nope. I read 17 books, quit one book club, and started another.

10. Learn to do alterations.
Nope. Maybe this year.

11. More feats of strength! More push-ups. More miles on Orange. And maybe, just maybe, a pull-up.
Done, sort of. Angie and Soy and I started the 100 pushups training program, and I was happy as long as I stayed ahead of the husbands. We had a push-up competition on our girls’ weekend (I won). And then I broke my arm. My strength is coming back, but a pull-up is still a long ways off.

I did, however, put a lot of dang miles on Orange, though I didn’t hit my arbitrary and late-established goal of 1,000 miles.

12. More time connecting with the important people in my life.
Done, though this looks dramatically different than it did last year.

Keep Saying Yes

St. Patrick’s Day was epic this year, but not in the ways that it tends to be epic, at least in a college town. My housemates had invited people over for brunch, but many of them didn’t come, and so we found ourselves with a number of bottles of champagne, a gallon of orange juice, and a whole lot of leftover bacon and waffles on a 75 degree day in the middle of March. I sat on the porch and wrote letters. Chris took a conference call. Rachel played video games. The two of them spun poi while I sat on the sidewalk and took photos. We drank all of the champagne, texted Kat to come home, ended up in a cuddle pile on the couch with the dog and the cat. The next day, Chris emailed me to say:

Seriously, you’re amazing. I’m glad you’re in our lives, regardless of how short the waltz. Keep saying yes, yes, yes to drunken nights and beautiful people.

I’ve taken that to heart in the months since, and have been saying an emphatic yes as often as possible. This has included:

  • Yes to a movie on an impossibly hot day. And so I saw The Cabin in the Woods, which I would’ve never seen otherwise but really enjoyed – and had the occasion to go to the gorgeous Logan Theater for the first time in very good company. The same thing would happen later in the summer with Your Sister’s Sister (at the State with Shana and Javan) and The Hunger Games (at the Logan with Carrie).
  • Yes to seeing the jellyfish at the Shedd with Karina and her adorable cousin, who later listed ‘meeting Elizabeth’ among her favorite parts of her weekend in Chicago.
  • Yes to fancy lady sleepovers where we lounge around in vintage slips with martinis and ridiculous movies. These weekends at the Uptown Beach House were some of the highlights of the summer.
  • Yes to biking around the city to meet friends for cocktails – and hopefully much more of this to come now that Orange and I are back together.
  • Yes to going to shows. I don’t care who it is. And so I saw Café Tacvba with Karina and had a great time even though I speak basically no Spanish and even though someone dropped a beer on my head. And I saw Cameron McGill with Carl for the first time in ages, and experienced an intense – and intensely wonderful – flashback to 2005. And I went to Lollapalooza as Karen’s +1 and we wandered the grounds and saw some music but mostly just enjoyed the free drinks and the beautiful day.
  • Yes to borrowing books and long bike rides and neighborhood walks and free ice cream from sympathetic vendors.
  • Yes to nights out when my bad mood made me inclined to stay in (thanks, Annette).
  • Yes to being Carl’s +1 for Leah’s wedding, which gave me the excuse to buy an exceptionally incredible dress.
  • Yes to last minute dinners in, to bánh mì sandwiches, to drinking my dinner around a table with random and exceptional people.
  • Yes to future travel: potentially Hawaii and Italy in the next year, as well as solo trip(s) to be determined. And to day trips on lazy rivers, and to visits with good friends.

So many amazing experiences in the last six months thanks to taking that advice. Chris Tom, I hope I’m making you proud.

2012 At the Movies

Logan Theater

After seeing only two movies in the theater last year, I resolved to see at least one movie per month in 2012. We’re halfway through the year, and I’ve seen ten, the majority of which were at gloriously restored or gloriously run down theaters like the Michigan or the Logan (pictured above and below). What have you seen?

  1. The Adventures of Tintin – I grew up reading the Tintin books, so I had high hopes and low expectations for the movie. The motion-capture was good enough that I forgot at times that I was watching an animated film.
  2. My Week With Marilyn – Jen and Phillipa and I saw this at a charmingly run-down theater in Encinitas. People were on the fence about Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, but I thought she was luminous.
  3. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – Convoluted and slow-moving, but I’ve watched enough British TV that this didn’t really bother me. I loved the suiting. Also: does it ever get less awkward to watch movies with sex scenes on the big screen with your parents?
  4. The Artist – Lovely, but it took a long time for me to get hooked, which is kind of a problem at a silent film. Honestly, I’m not sure why it won Best Picture.
  5. The Skin I Live In – It’s been several years since I saw an Almodóvar film. I forgot how fucked up they frequently are.
  6. Joy Division – Dharma and I went to a screening of this documentary at the Michigan even though you can actually watch the full movie on Hulu. I loved the way they talked about how Joy Division’s music captured the sonic experience of life in Manchester. The documentary was paired with a remarkable new hand-colored restoration of Le voyage dans le lune which features a new score by the band Air.
  7. Shame – In case you were wondering, a movie about sex addiction isn’t the most uplifting thing to watch when you’re going through a break up and are already very emotionally fragile.
  8. The Cabin in the Woods – I don’t like scary movies, so I definitely wouldn’t have seen this one if it hadn’t been the only appealing option on a day when Michael and Tim and I needed a break from the unrelenting heat. I’m sure I didn’t get half of the references, but I really enjoyed it.
  9. Your Sister’s Sister – I identified with a lot of this movie, particularly the scene when Mark Duplass’s character smashes the shit out of his bike. Problematic, but worth seeing.
  10. The Hunger Games – I haven’t read the books (even though basically every other librarian in the world has), so I had no expectations and was consequently surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie and continued to think about it after. Carrie and I rode our bikes to and from the Logan Theatre for the movie. It was a perfect evening.

Logan Theater

Logan Theater Marquee

Logan Theater

Mo-mo-more?

We’re in Rockford for the holiday, having moved the majority of our material possessions to Chicago three days ago. The last two days have been full of cookies and presents and traditions and relaxed family time. Max has been running around playing with trains and pointing at various delicious things and saying “mo-mo-more”, his voice lilting upward as he points at the object of his desire.

I mention this because as I look forward to 2012, what I want most is mo-mo-more. More time with friends and family. More travel. More flowers, more movies, and more amazing food. More miles. More love, more patience, and more connection in my relationships and with the world. So this post is me reaching my hands in the air and asking the universe for what I want in the next year:

  1. This year was about running further. 2012 will be about running faster in at least two half marathons plus the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.
  2. I want to take better photos of more than just food, though better food photos would also be progress. I want to take a class, read a book, participate in an online workshop – in general learn more about the fancy DSLR we bought almost three years ago. And then apply that knowledge for good, not for evil.
  3. I’m reasonably certain that the only movie I saw in the theater this year was the final Harry Potter installment. With two movie theaters within a mile of our new place, we should have no excuse – other than lousy offerings – to see fewer than 12 movies in the theater.
  4. I want to write more letters – at least one per week. Do you want to be my pen pal?
  5. I need to find a job in Chicago, as it will make many of these mores possible. More time with my family as they’ll be 75 minutes away instead of 5-7 hours. More time with many many Chicago friends (though less time with A2 friends). A new and exciting city life for the two of us. I’ve loved my MPub job, but I need to be in Chicago.
  6. I wanted to bake 24 unique loaves this year. We made significant changes in our diet over the summer, and I haven’t really baked since then. I think, however, that one pie per month is a reasonable goal.
  7. Bourbon and I got back together in 2012, but I need to have more in my cocktail repetoire than the trusty Manhattan. There will be many opportunities to drink fancy cocktails in our new ‘hood, but I want to master at least one new cocktail at home per month.
  8. We took a fun road trip vacation over the summer, and I took solo trips to Philly, DC, and New York for work, races, and fun. I would like more of the same this year, beginning with my birthday weekend in California and possibly including a trip to Europe after the semester wraps up.
  9. More books read: finish the 2/3 challenge, keep up with my book club, and hammer away at the To Read lists while reading at least two books per month.
  10. Step up my game and learn to do alterations so that I can finally finish all of the half projects in my closet.
  11. More feats of strength! More push-ups. More miles on Orange. And maybe, just maybe, a pull-up.
  12. And, most importantly, more time connecting with the important people in my life. I’m not sure how to quantify this other than to say that I want to fight my introvert nature and say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’ for lunches with friends, dates with my husband, or visits to my family.

What will you do in the new year?

Ten on Tuesday: Chick Flicks

My first Ten on Tuesday: Chick Flicks

I’m sure what exactly defines a “chick flick”, despite Wikipedia’s best attempts.  Most “chick flicks” are deliberately marketed to women and focus on stories of romantic love.  This site attempts to crowdsource whether or not a film meets the definition of “chick flick”.  I’ve seen seven of the top ten.

If you’ve ever glimpsed my Netflix queue, you’ll know that I don’t really watch chick flicks.  Or funny movies.  Or really anything other than gritty crime dramas, despite the fact that our queue is full of (very aspirational) Criterion editions and foreign films. That said, sometimes I just want to feel good – or cry – and not think for 90 minutes.

In no particular order, five “chick flicks” that I’ve enjoyed:

  1. Sliding Doors – My go to feeling bad/good about love movie from college.
  2. Love Actually – Reminds me of a fine Caturday Crafternoon with Jackie and Tina! Also just a fun ensemble comedy.
  3. The Thomas Crown Affair – I feel like I could watch this every week and not get tired of it.
  4. Strictly Ballroom – Love the movie, love the soundtrack, love that “Pam Short’s broken both her legs, and I wanna dance with you.”
  5. Beaches – If you were an adolescent girl in the early 90s and didn’t sob over this at least once, well, I’m not sure what to say.
  6. 10 Things I Hate About You – In college I had this roommate for whom time seemed to have stopped in 1995. Most of the movies that she watched could’ve been described as “chick flicks.” This is one of the few that I actually enjoyed watching with her.
  7. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this sweet romantic comedy.
  8. Garden State – If you were a 20-something in a messy relationship in the early 00s, I can almost guarantee you identified with aspects of this movie. I saw it two days before a devastating break-up.
  9. Amélie – Quirky, lovely, and optimistic.
  10. Shakespeare in Love – Oscar-worthy? Eh. But definitely nice to look at.