12 Things in 2012

I feel like 2012 has the potential to be a great year. I ended 2011 on an uptick, with my amazing new job and a great time with family for the holidays. That positivity at the end of the year makes me really look forward to accomplishing a lot and really enjoying life in 2012.

I don’t like to make resolutions as much as I like to set goals for myself. For 2012, there are 12 things that I want to do:

  • Get organized. One of the reasons I am so excited about moving to a house is that we will have PLENTY of space to organize our life and our possessions. I feel completely unorganized with everything at home these days, and I think that utilizing all our new space and taking the opportunity to get super organized will make my life so much better. It will make our house so much easier to keep clean, too.
  • Create things. I can’t wait to have my own dedicated space in our new house. I have a lot of craft supplies that I really want to use but don’t have the space for now. This year I want to take advantage of that. I want to knit more, start sewing again, and make more jewelry. If all things go to plan I might even make some handmade gifts for Christmas. I also want to start refinishing thrift store finds to furnish my home on the cheap.
  • Make a beautiful home. I have gone a little crazy on Pinterest saving pictures of the things I would like to do in the various rooms of our house. I am looking forward to choosing paint colors, buying new furniture, hanging the artwork I have been collecting, and making the place our own. I want our house to be a place I am proud of and enjoy coming home to every day.
  • Learn. When we went to France this year, I realized how much of my knowledge of the language I have lost over the last 10 years. I want to brush up on my French skills and possibly even start learning Italian. I am a member of the site Livemocha, which offers tons of different languages to learn, and they were running a special on their yearly Gold membership that I could not refuse. I also want to focus on learning at my job, because the constantly changing marketing world always has something new to offer me. Another thing I embraced in 2011 was the podcast, and I subscribe to some really interesting educational podcasts that teach me new things in every episode. My favorite is Stuff You Missed in History Class…check it out!
  • Read. I managed to meet my 2011 Goodreads reading goal of 100 books (I clocked in at 108 total) and I want to up the ante. I read a lot of fun books last year, and there are plenty out there that I am looking forward to tackling in 2012. But I also want to read more nonfiction…specifically history, biographies, and random subjects that interest me.
  • Cook more (and try new things). I love to cook but I haven’t expanded my cooking horizons in quite a while. I want to cook more, so that we spend less money on restaurants, and I want to master new recipes and cooking techniques. I know this will make my food-loving husband very happy!
  • Be more intentional and goal-focused with money. I want to start saving in earnest…for a down payment on our house should we decide to buy it in a few years, for a new laptop, for a vacation, for a new car for Shawn. We have been better with money in the last year, but I want to get us on an even stricter budget so that we can save as much as possible towards the things we need and want. However, I also want to leave us room to do things like have a date night once a week and go out to a really nice dinner once a month.
  • Make music. I miss singing on a regular basis. I want to pick the guitar back up, start recording with my awesome MIDI keyboard setup, and maybe even find a band to be in. I am also thinking about possibly auditioning for a local arts chorale, which means I will have to brush up on sight-reading and vocal work. Music was a huge part of my life for a long time, and I am starting to feel the void where it used to be.
  • Be more healthy. I feel best when I exercise on a regular basis. I am terrible about exercising on a regular basis. I walk more during the day, but that is only going to supplement an exercise routine. I have mapped out the routes to the new gyms (near the house and the office) and I intend to start making working out a habit. I also plan on taking my lunch to work as much as possible and, of course, riding my bike more!
  • Spend more time with my husband. It’s hard to get quality time in when he is in school in the mornings and working until late every night. We need to be intentional about taking time to be together. I want to try to have a date night once a week that is something more than sitting on the couch together.
  • Go somewhere new. I met my goal in 2011 of going to three places I had never been before. I went to France, a place I had dreamed of going for more than half my life. I went to Nashville for a business trip. I went to Round Top, Texas for the bi-annual antiques and junk fair. This year I want to go to at least one more place that I have never been before. Three seems like it is probably too much for this year, so I will leave it at one.
  • Write. Complete. I have already set specific writing goals for the year, but my overall goals are 1) creating a writing habit and 2) completing a project. I have a number of writing projects that I have been working on for quite some time, and I just want to finish them. The goal of building a habit will help me attain the goal of completion. My writing follow-through in 2011 sucked. Time to change that.

Ch-ch-changes and School Days

Mr. Velo starts his new work schedule tomorrow. It’s going to be a major change, though nothing we haven’t lived through before. He will work 1-9:30, enabling him to go to school in the morning. It hearkens back to our dating days, and the early days of our marriage, when he worked both his full-time job and a part-time job on top of all that. I am really proud of him for making the choice to go back to school and get a degree in something he is really passionate about, but I know I will probably be a little lonely from time to time.

I usually jealously guard my “alone time” because I lived alone for so long, sometimes being around someone else 24:7 can chafe at me, even when it is someone as awesome as my husband. When that hits, I will usually go in the bedroom and read a book, write, or watch some TV and knit. He gets in the same kind of mood where all he wants to do is play a video game, watch TV, or read. Even when he is home, he will be studying or trying to relax, so I will have probably more alone time on my hands than I know what to do with for a while. Regardless of how much I like doing my own thing, I am used to having him around and I like it.

I have decided to take the alone time I have and work on my own projects, plus devoting more time to making our home a nicer place to live. I will never be a doting housewife, but I think it is only fair that I pick up a little more slack so that he can devote time to his schoolwork. I may do something totally cheesy and make us a chore chart that will get us in the habit of doing certain things on certain days, who knows.

We are also about to put a strict budget into effect so that we can save money for his tuition and save towards things like retirement and a new couch while still covering all our bills. We have already changed around our Netflix and cell phone plans to save some money every month, and we are considering canceling our DirecTV plan as well. I know that will bum him out because he likes to watch live sports (as do I) but even live sports aren’t really worth what we are paying per month for our satellite.

I want to really use the time we spend apart to concentrate on my writing, which is something I want to translate to a full-time job someday. I have two in-progress fiction projects that are in need of some serious TLC. I have neglected them the past few months due to work craziness and feeling like my brain was too full. I am weird about writing when others are around, so hopefully Mr. Velo’s absence will translate into more work done on those stories. Besides that, I plan on revitalizing my workout routine (which is currently a giant dud), doing a LOT of knitting and a LOT of Netflix streaming. It really could be worse.

These life changes will also make us more intentional with the time we spend together. Our “us time” will be more precious, and hopefully we can make it more interesting. I love our marriage, and I think that we have a pretty amazing relationship most of the time, but we have fallen into quite the boring rut. We don’t really go do most of the fun, out-of-the-house things that we did when we were dating…even just going for coffee or going to browse the bookstore for a few hours. We have become pretty staid in our routines. I am hoping that with the limited time we will have, we can branch out a little. In the meantime, we will be going to Austin for Labor Day as a bit of a last hurrah until Christmas.

It has been a long time since I marked the passage of time in semesters. I guess I will be doing that for the next few years!

C’est la vie

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I took French for six years, spread out over high school and college. I knew I wanted to take French more than any other foreign language from about the age of 12 or so. Somewhere, something had given me the idea that French was the most beautiful, romantic language I could learn because Paris was the most beautiful, romantic location. I have to say, 12-year-old me was quite wise. Paris is both romantic and beautiful!

I loved studying the language. Speaking it, reading it, and understanding it came very easily to me. I rocked a great accent (thanks to my hyper yet amazing teacher Monsieur Hardy) and I was an officer in French Club. I went to a French competition and placed in both poetry reading and singing. I was hardcore and I adored it.

Before our trip to Paris, I reviewed some vocabulary and felt pretty comfortable with my basic skills. I really had no trouble when we were there. I was able to communicate clearly and get us around the city, order food, shop, and navigate the streets, train, and Metro. Even so, I found myself missing the fluency I used to have. I have forgotten more rules and more vocabulary than I remember at this point. When I would pause briefly to consider my response in French, people would automatically switch to English. I know they were trying to be accommodating, which I appreciate so much! We had an amazing experience as tourists and the only rude people we encountered were, sadly, other Americans. I just felt disappointed in myself…both for not visiting that magical place sooner in my life, and for letting my French muscles get so lax. My Parisian professor from SMU would be so disappointed in me. I was the only student in my class she ever praised.

All this has renewed my passion for continuing to learn the language. I have Rosetta Stone, and I was recently introduced to Livemocha, an online learning site. I also have a sweet new friend who is quite fluent in French who has offered to meet me for some conversation en fran├žais…the former owner of Esme, in fact! I can’t wait to relearn what I’ve forgotten, and maybe surpass my previous skill levels someday.