Twenty Twelve

I would like to take a moment to reflect on the past year. It’s been a particular wild one for me.

We experienced a lot of medical drama in the first half of the year.
The last half was a wild race from one event to the next. From Renaissance Faire to military events to Halloween to our (still here omg) Xmas houseguests.
It feels like it’s been a very long year but also, paradoxically, feels like it was just 2011.

I took on roles in our FRG, which I enjoy and find fulfilling, but also do add responsibilities and stress. I also started doing SEO writing, which has been enjoyable but also incredibly frustrating.

Because of all the stuff that’s been going on, we spent pretty much all of the year “behind” on chores. Mail opened but not filed. Suitcase from Faire has yet to be unpacked. We spent *literally* an entire week cleaning and organizing, before the holidays. It felt so good to dig out and be able to start the year fresh. (More trash and clutter has occurred due to guests, sadly.)

I fell woefully short of many personal goals this year. I feel rather dissatisfied with the year in general for that. I have written (for pleasure) rarely or not at all. My blogging has been neglected. My etsy shop… ugh. So discouraging.

My overwhelming feeling for the year is that time was wasted. Always wasted. Where does it go, how can I get it back. I don’t make resolutions but if I did, it would be to stop wasting time.

Among my feelings of disappointment, I have three specific bright points I want to mention.

One: I have been honored and privileged to be part of a close group of friends this year. We are a diverse bunch, but it is utterly beautiful to me to see us together. For the first time in my life, I feel honestly loved and accepted unconditionally by the people who I call “friend.” I’ve been betrayed in the past, but I know that, without fail, they will always have my back.

Two: this will sound so frivolous after that last one, but I am so happy to report that I kicked the habit of nail biting. I now have strong beautiful fingernails, and that’s another thing I never thought I would have. They are a source of confidence to me, as well as a reminder that I can be the master of my own anxieties and compulsions.

Three: quite out of the blue this summer, I received a phone call from a long-estranged cousin. She is close to my age (she is the older), and married a military man as well. But throughout our youth, we fought and disliked each other. Our last meeting, over 5 years ago, nearly resulted in a physical fight over a silly casual remark. We were both at fault for this. She has been making changes in her life, and found herself regretting our relationship and called me. That must have been incredibly difficult, but I am so glad she did. We have fully reconciled. I’ve never before had the experience of literally wiping the slate clean and starting fresh. It isn’t easy, and certainly could not be done until time has healed wounds. But, oh my gosh, I feel so immensely happy that she picked up the phone and that we both had it in our hearts to forgive and forget. We are still learning who each other are and what we have in common, and learning to trust each other, but its been so nice to take this path together. Few people in this life ever get the chance to rebuild a burned bridge, especially when both parties are still young. She and I may have wasted two decades of friendship, but we have many more ahead of us.

Overall, even with all the disappointment and discontentment I feel for this past year, I still feel that it has been a good one. I come into 2013 much richer in friendship and maybe even with a small store of self confidence, and those are worth more to me than all the treasure in Erebor.

And now, I leave you with this sentiment. Make it so, indeed.

Achievement Unlocked: Break a Bad Habit

Holy guacamole, has it been a week or what. This week has been super rough for me. I hope you’re having it better out there. Just popping in to share for a while again.

I took this photo for a Pin contest that Birchbox is doing because why not. The photo is supposed to show your favorite manicure and a Bandaid, for reasons unknown to me because I don’t really care. Lol.

I’m sharing here so I can explain it. My nails are bare. “That’s odd,” you say, perhaps thinking of the giant stash of fancy polishes I own. But, you see, my nails didn’t always look like this. Six months ago they were NUBS. I’d been a nail biter my entire life. I am not quite sure why I abruptly decided to quit, but I did.

My fellow biters out there are yelling, I can hear them. HOW? They ask. HOW do you stop biting your nails?! It’s an impossible nervous habit. Let me assure you, this was not the first time I’d tried it. And here’s how I did it.

First, I invested a lot of money in them. Haha. I dropped some bank on fancy polishes in colors that I liked (but that may scandalize my mom). I splurged on NerdLaqcuer and Butter London, and went wild with OPI and Zoya and China Glaze (Hunger Games shades, zomg). I had nubs of course, so I also got a big box of falsies and some glue (in fact you can see some in the background – I used it this morning to fix my glasses because I’m an idiot and stepped on them and broke the bridge of them, but I digress), along with all the other stuff – files and remover and cotton pads and who knows what else. I tried out some trends, too. I got some matte polish (love it) and some magnetic polish (love it, but it’s a bit tricky).

Then I invested TIME in them. I spent HOURS doing my nails – most nights, for weeks, I’d be filing or painting or gluing or whatever. Plastic nails are not impossible to chew through (done that), but they are more difficult. Painting them in ways that made me happy made me not want to mess them up, and if all else failed I could remind myself how expensive this experiment was if I quit, and that my husband would make fun of me if I gave up.

I soon found myself admiring rather than biting. It took a few months, but I finally got brave enough to go without the protective falsies. Underneath, my natural nails were thin and weak. I painted them with dozens of extra coats to beef them up a bit. They grew out, much stronger and thicker than I ever knew they could be. I haven’t worn plastic nails in months, and probably never will again.

A tip: getting professional manicures isn’t a fix that worked for me, although I’ve heard people recommend it. It’s definitely a financial investment, but there’s not a whole lot of time invested. And there won’t be bottles of lacquer all over your house laughing at you if you slip up. And I think the “weaning off” period may be harder that way. Your mileage may vary, of course.

My fingers now look like human fingers. Before the tips of my fingers were always red and weird looking, with gross jagged nails. Now, they’re all the same color, and I actually have the problem of needing to file them MORE often. The last few weeks, as you know, I’ve been insanely swamped and haven’t had much time for maintenance, much less polishing, which is a several-hour period where you can’t touch anything, lol. So my fingers have been bare. But that’s okay. Because I worked damn hard for these nails, and I am SO proud of them.

(Yes that’s Hello Kitty on the bandaid. My daughter calls her Baa-bo head in her adorable accent because she first met the Kitty as a bobblehead toy. It’s too adorable to correct. Also, fun fact – there actually is a small wound under there. I scratched my finger on something while doing dishes the other day. Just a glimpse into the glamourous life of a blogger.)

Do you have any bad habits? Ever manage to break one? We’re pretty good at that here – my husband quit smoking last year. Let’s chat about healthy habits and adorable preschooler accents.