Tag Archives: lifestyle

High Hopes for the New Year

3 Jan

Anyone who has read my stuff or known me for any length of time know that I don’t do resolutions for the new year. I do resolutions, just not based around what month/day it is. About mid-December I decided to make one of these resolutions, but I haven’t quite had the ability to begin working toward my goals because of moving and finances and so on.

That goal is to buy an item to donate to homeless shelters/food banks every time I go shopping. I know firsthand that people donate more around the holidays. In fact, the Christmas season is enough to keep us stocked for most of the year in things like toys and treats, and we really don’t get too much the rest of the time. While that is great, this is something that we really should work on. Hunger and homelessness are something that are always an issue, not just when it’s cold out (though that is especially awful). Now, the next thing that I have to say might be a little on the unpopular side, but I really have a hard time getting on board for giving toys to kids for Christmas. I’ve also seen firsthand how some parents can afford several gifts, but not as many as they’d like to give so they ask for more. I’ve also seen children who get a “cheap” toy (think off-brand) and they scoff at it and don’t want it. Toys are important but I also think it is important to focus on something other than the commercial aspect of Christmas, and find better ways to teach them giving, caring, and family values.  That is why, when I heard about a program called “Gifts for Grands” I became so excited!

This program focuses on elderly people in nursing homes similar facilities. Think about how sad it can be when family stops coming for these people. The things they want aren’t extravagant, either, but every day necessities like soap and socks. I didn’t hear about it soon enough to be useful, but in the future I’m hoping to focus on giving in this manner.

I’m not here to preach, but I am here to share in knowledge, experience, and growth. I often ask my readers to join in with me on any challenges I do, and this one isn’t any different. I have a short list of things that I hear are really high in demand, so I’m not only buying food, but other daily necessities, too. Socks and tampons/pads are high up there (let that sink in for a moment). Non-perishable foods are always important, too. I have my eye on things like canned green beans and corn, but also things like beans, and even Craisins (just recently discovered and they are so delicious!).

Finally, before I’m finished, I don’t want to reflect back on 2015. I want to talk about 2016, and I have high hopes for this year. I woke up in a wonderful mood, and while I’m looking forward, I always have to give the disclaimer that this is how I feel now. That is the problem with resolutions. We make them with our best intentions, but times and people and situations change, so what is right January 1 might not be right June 1, or even January 2.

My hopes for the new year are to cut down on some debt that I’ve accumulated, and begin saving again. I have my sites set on a new car come the end of next year. I want to make my friendships a priority again (I started this a few months back) and see more of each of the people that I love so dearly. I also hope to finally get that significant other I’ve been pining for, and I think I’ve already taken some positive steps toward getting there. I also want to become more spiritual (for those of you who don’t know it, I’m actually a very spiritual person). I’d like to cook more (how many times have I said that) but I don’t foresee that changing in any less than 3 months. I’d also like to become more active. More hiking this summer, more yoga, and I’d like to pick up something fun like kick-boxing.

Those are my hopes. That is how I’m feeling now (and does it feel nice, indeed!). We’ll see where the year takes me!

Are you going to join me with my donations goals (we can totally co-blog about it!)? Any other ideas of hot commodities to buy? What are your hopes for the coming year? 

Choosing the Right Dog

18 Jan

Yet another question a friend of mine wanted me to write about: What is the right dog for me?

Rule 1: You don’t want a puppy. You may THINK you want a puppy, but really, you don’t.
Rule 2: The more purebred the dog, the less you want the dog. You think you want a purebred, but believe me when I say…you DON’T.
Rule 3: You love labs. They are like the coolest dog ever. And you’ll walk them 6 times a day! But no, really, you won’t. And they are okay, but you don’t want a lab.

What is the point that I am making?

Owning a pet seems like rainbows and butterflies, but it is a LOT of work, and if you don’t choose the right breed or mix for your lifestyle (as well as think realistically), you will feel overwhelmed and may regret your choice.

First of all, loving a specific breed of dog is usually equivalent to thinking a breed of dog is pretty. Pretty will get you nowhere. Any potential dog owner needs to assess their lifestyle to get any sort of idea what kind of dog they would like. Active folks can do really well with high-energy breeds, but if you aren’t planning on playing fetch for an hour, or taking you dog on 3 walks a day, you can’t keep up with a lab. That is when you see problem behaviors arise. I see a lot of Boxers, German Shepherds, and breeds like Aussies and Cattle Dogs come into the shelter for breed-typical behavior. German Shepherd eats cats and the Aussie is herding and nipping the children, and all I can think is you didn’t see this coming? Training and socialization can do wonders, but not if you aren’t anticipating your problems before they start.

Small dogs? Good for someone who doesn’t have small kids, and leads an active lifestyle. Big dogs? Well-suited to apartments, as long as your willing to give some play time. Labs, pitties, border collies? Only good for people willing to put in the time to stimulate mentally and physically. Like I said, pretty won’t get you anywhere if your dog needs to go for a walk, but you’re too lazy to give him one. As for me, I think Great Danes are gorgeous, but do I own one? No.  Because I don’t make enough money to feed one, or pay for end of life medical costs because purebred dogs always have major health problems. Which brings me to my second point…

Do you want your dog to live 7 years? Or would you rather have your companion for a ripe old 15? Purebred dogs typically live for a shorter length of time than mixes, and have many more health problems because of the inbreeding taken to keep the breed “pure”. Danes have leg problems, labs get cancer, pugs can’t breathe…and it keeps going. By simply diluting those genes a little you will have a much healthier dog.

And finally. The puppy. Most of the people I met don’t actually want to put in the time to properly potty train, socialize, and train manners to a puppy. It takes a lot of hours, and still then you might not get it right. They are high energy, they like to bite and bark and whine, they have to go out so often, and they pee and poop in your house if you don’t figure it out soon enough. What people really want is something small, fluffy, and adorable that they don’t have to put any work into.

What kind of dog do you want, and how does that fit into your lifestyle? Have you ever acquired a pet, and then regretted your decision?

Some Thoughts About Change [from an Expert]

6 Apr

Did I reel you in with my expert comment? Well, I hate to break it to you, but I’m no expert. I do have some experience with change, though, as you can probably figure out from the events of the last 6 months.

Remember in high school, when you got that senior yearbook, and half of the people who signed it wrote “Don’t ever change!”? I read an article recently (unfortunately I can’t seem to find what it was, or I’d link it) about how you need to change, and hopefully, you aren’t the same person you were in high school, because face it…you were just a little immature.

I understand what the author was getting at. We need to be adults and we need to adapt to our ever-changing priorities, but here’s where I disagree:

I don’t think you need to change, I think you need to grow.

I often hold to one principle: I don’t change. People will argue with me, based on the same reasoning as the author of that article. I’m obviously not the same shy girl who stuttered when boys talked to her in middle school (true story), right?

Well, sort of. I say that I did change in that middle to high school transition, but once I got to high school, it all stuck. Now the only thing left for me to do is grow. Some interests have expanded, and others have diminished, but they are all still interests.

Want to know some things that changed? Well, for starters, I used to be homophobic-ish. There was no hatred, but more of a fear of the unknown. I also used to be very shy, and now I’m not shy, just introverted.

The reason I write this, though, is that these last 6 months have been life changing. Not me changing, life changing.

Six years ago, when I was but a freshman in college, a girl named Kelsey told me about something called Chaco’s. She told me I should get a pair, and in that moment, I never, ever thought I’d buy something so…unattractive. Fast-forward some years, and I met a fellow with a really fun tan-line, that I couldn’t help but comment on. Even then, I still scoffed at the idea of owning a pair. And then fast-forward a few more months, and here I sit with a hydration pack in the mail, and frustration at how much a pair of sandals can cost.

What’s the moral of the story? Well, that it may sound like I changed, but I really just grew. I’ve always had a thirst for adventure and exploring, and believe you me…I love sandals. They finally all just grew enough to merge with one another, and came to a head when I realized I hate shoes, but flip-flops suck to hike in. 

And I kind of really want a cool tan-line.

I can’t really help it, can I? I live in the mountains, after all.

What do you think – change or growth? With my definition of both in mind, have you changed? Have you grown? How?

Living in the Mountains

31 Jan

I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t really experienced real “mountain living”, at least not yet.

The closest I’ve experienced is driving 25 mph up curvy canyon roads, just to get home and possibly be snowed in today. And that whole not sure if driving back into town is worth the money it costs in gas. Granted, if someone asked me right now, or even any night, to come hang out with them I would most likely head that way immediately.

I haven’t actually been snowed in yet, or had anything major happen, but my most recent move has brought about a few minor issues. First, there is the land line. Each time I pick up the phone I have to consciously think about if what I want to say to someone is worth calling them for. I can’t just send off a text. The phone that came with the apartment is a corded phone, to boot, but I might have to fix that sooner rather than later. And no one calls me. Ever. Really, its quite sad.

And then there is the water. It’s well water, and while I haven’t had it run out on me yet, each time I take a shower I worry that the water pressure won’t be enough to properly rinse my hair, so I end up towling my hair before I even finish the rest of my shower. I constantly think about what water-consuming tasks I need to do, and how much water I need for each, so that I don’t simultaneously run water for a load of dishes, put a load of laundry in, and then hop in the shower only to run out of water.

Speaking of dishes, that whole kitchen appliance thing is really kicking my butt. I have no dishwasher, and somehow my single existence seems to create just as many dishes as a family of 4. I’ve been keeping up, but damn! Then, just this morning, I found a whole new issue that I knew about, but when I realized what I was doing it was already too late.

Not only do I not have a dishwasher, but I don’t have a microwave or a toaster either (in my defense, my parents are storing them and I should have them next week). All morning I was looking forward to a nice bowl of Cream of Wheat, so when I got to the kitchen and realized I had to make it on the stove, I was exasperated. I’ve never had to do that before, and of course, I boiled over the milk, which I now have to go clean up. With every bowl of Cream of Wheat, I always make two pieces of toast. Toast. No toaster. That was another hard blow.

But I made my toast. On the stove. Kinda like grilled cheese.

So what would normally have taken a microwave-safe bowl, a plate to put toast on, a knife to put butter on the toast, and a spoon to eat my Cream of Wheat with took a pot, a skillet, two cooking spoons, a spatula, a bowl, a plate, a spoon, and a knife. And the cleaning supplies to clean up my boiled-over milk.

Yes, this entire post was about me whining about having to make Cream of Wheat on the stove.

What generally taken-for-granted items do you regularly go without? What’s the proper way to toast bread without a toaster? What was the last time you can remember not having something you rely on greatly, and how did you deal with it?

The Emphasis on Interests

31 May

Yesterday, while driving in the Poudre Canyon, I had some good quality girl time with a friend of mine. We discussed lots of different things, but one of them that kind of made me think deeper about it was lifestyle compatibility and the effect it has on dating.

When you first start dating (usually high school…right?), you like a person and they like you, so you enter into a relationship. I just had the realization last night that it isn’t conducive to do that for a relationship at this point in my life.

It doesn’t matter if I think guy A is attractive and has the personality of everything I’m looking for if our lifestyles don’t match. A super-into-nature kind of guy who goes out and backpacks for days at a time and “roughs it” regularly is going to be rather disappointed when I don’t want to partake.

Or the super-indoorsy kind of guy, who wholeheartedly refuses to go into nature with me will question when I start to get restless at not being able to enjoy him and nature simultaneously.

And I think therein lies a major problem for me. I’m often middle-of-the-road where my interests and lifestyle is concerned. I love being outside and I love video games and the interwebs, but I don’t like doing either thing exclusively. A couple hours on the computer…a couple hours sitting outside enjoying the weather and I’m set.

Those are just a couple of examples. I’m middle-of-the-road with a lot of things.

Do you think that lifestyle matching is an important part of having a successful, fulfilling relationship? What are some interests that you would need a significant other to have for your relationship to work? Would you consider yourself a middle-of-the-road person like me, or do you have very specific interests and lifestyle?