2014 Goals: End of the Year Retrospective

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Pike Place Market, April 2014

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August 2014

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Green Lake, October 2014

Books: What a joy this resolution was! I set out to read 15 books and completed 22. A few others were started and abandoned, as always happens. The real gift of this resolution was a reminder that I am, in fact, a good reader. After years of struggling through dense political texts (which definitely, definitely have their own distinct merits) I began to forget how breezy reading fiction can be. I enjoyed remembering that in 2014 and was a richer person for it.

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En route to Mexico

Recommended books from my 2014 reading list

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Delancey by Molly Wizenberg

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen

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Solo happy hour

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Monkey Bar, Edinburgh

Exercise: The lesson of this resolution, for me, in 2014, was the importance of setting SMART goals. To be honest, at this time last year I was feeling overwhelmed by moving and my job and while I knew that building a new exercise routine would make me feel better it felt unpleasant and expensive. While I did manage to find a yoga studio I like and a swim workout that was focusing and challenging I allowed other areas of my life to crowd out what I had passively hoped to change. A longer commute and dating (oh dating, you glorious time suck!) contributed but these are not insurmountable obstacles. In a year of saying “yes!” to so many things, I struggled with saying yes to that inner voice reminding me that I would sleep better, feel less stiff, and generally not want to stab difficult faculty in the eye if I spent a little more time tiring myself out.

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Inspirational love notes

Shows: Music, beautiful, beautiful music. This resolution was all about embracing joy and leaning the eff into being the kind of person I didn’t think I was cool enough to be. Turns out you can show up and do exactly what you want. (Do other people know that?) As someone with precious little musical talent but a deep love of kick-ass jams this resolution got me out of the house and enjoying all the robust talent that too few folks are lucky enough to do full time.

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Neutral Milk Hotel, Seattle, April 2014

Stats: 38 shows at 14 different venues. February and August were my most robust months with five shows each. July had the largest concentration of bands since I cleaned up at the Capitol Hill Block Party. Far and away, I spent the most time at Neumos but the Showbox and, adorably, Zoo Tunes also had strong showings (pun intended).

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Hanging with Wiggities, Zoo Tunes, Summer 2014

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Zoo Tunes season kickoff, Summer 2014

Top five concerts of 2014 (unranked because impossible)

Deep Sea Diver

Neutral Milk Hotel 

Jungle (both shows)

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Slyvan Esso

Live and in the flesh 2014: A playlist of concerts attended in 2014 (I made you a thing)

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Beat Connection, Neumos, December 2014

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Guanajuato, Mexico

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Secretary of Education, Mexico City

Travel: DC. Mexico. London. Scotland. Lots of emoji thumbs up to well used vacation days!

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The Highlands, Scotland

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Accidental selfie, Isle of Skye, Scotland

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The Highlands, Scotland

Want to relive the magic? Read all the monthly recaps in the archives.

2014 Goals: December

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The reason for the season

Books: December is busy, did you know? I finished Delancey (and actually had dinner there!) and started my buddy Jesse Hagopian’s exceptional More Than a Score on resistance to standardized testing. As I own that book, it has been placed aside for books arriving from the library. I’ve started Rebecca Solnit’s engaging Wanderlust: A History of Walking though I’m not optimistic about finishing it in 2014. Annual total: 22/15

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More Than a Score, edited by Jesse Hagopian

Exercise: Let’s not discuss. I’ve spend a good portion of the last month considering how to refine this goal to make it more manageable and accountable in the new year. Thoughts, opinions, and lessons from the trenches welcome.

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Holiday party behind the scenes

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DIY Christmas card photo shoot

Shows: This month, true to form, has been a non-stop march of holiday parties and other frivolities. But we shall leave no stone unturned and I’m squeezing back to back Beat Connection shows into the last two nights of the month. See you at Neumo’s tonight!

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Meet Gertrude Pine

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Band photo

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Christmas, 1989

Travel: I went to work on Boxing Day and repeated the mantra “I am working today to have time for the traveling I want to do” over and over and over. Eyes on the 2015 prize.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a special best of 2014 recap! You know you love those.

 

2014 Goals: November

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Decorative gourd season

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Coffee with Lena

Books: I read Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl and rolled my eyes the entire time. I’m so over Lena. I’ve been over Lena. I suffered through so I could have something concrete to say. In much more pleasant news, I’ve been enjoying Delancey by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. Maybe I’ll finally be spurred to actually go to Delancey once I’m done reading all about it? Fingers crossed. Annual total thus far: 21/15

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Winter is coming

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Urban Light Studios, Seattle

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Marching for Mike Brown

Exercise: It snowed on Saturday so I’m officially looking for any and all exercise I can do indoors and with minimal back and forth from the comfort of my couch and slippers. I returned to the pool for the first time in months and had a great swim (and a great sauna) so we’ll be back soon. The time has finally come, I think, to join a gym. I’ve been weirdly avoiding it for the year since we moved but history shows that open gym hours are the best fit for my life. Time to stop being a cheap ass about it.

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The Dip, Tractor Tavern, Seattle

Shows: Hadar and Yoav invited me to see We Were Promised Jet Packs with The Twilight Sad at Neumos and then baby Alma was born five days later. Clearly she was ready for her own concert calendar! Welcome baby! Danced it up at the Dip single release party at the Tractor and then rang in the Thanksgiving holiday with a three hour Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme funk-a-thon at Barboza.

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Shopping for Thanksgiving

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Mondo beyondo thankful…

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…for this lovely human to call a friend.

Travel: (I really don’t want to talk about the fact that I still haven’t posted pictures from the Highlands. I’m sorry I’m lame and it’s taking forever.) I have some fun ideas for travel goals for 2015 but you’ll have to wait for the big reveal. *wiggles eyebrows*

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Scrapping away

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Hot toddy season

2014 Goals: October

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Early October (before the rain started), Green Lake, Seattle

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Seattle Whiskey Collective

Books: Plowed through Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen. Thanks so much for the recommendation, Carrie! I’m currently working my way through a stack of old New Yorkers that Reuben saved for me while we were both traveling. This article on the internet group Anonymous was extremely interesting. Annual total thus far: 20/15

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Round the campfire for Ratches’ birthday

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The 14 person feast

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Super cuddly Sunday morning at IKEA

Exercise: The rain is BACK, guys and it is not messing around. So I’m back to yoga full time and starting to think about folding some lap swim back in. I suspect the call of the sauna will become convincing quickly.

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Double header night two

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Lady date wine tasting for (other) Rachel’s birthday, Woodinville

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Wine tasting crew. Happy birthday, Rach!

Shows: October was the month of the double header. Why see one show in a night when you could see two? Sleep is for the dead….or something. The first night was an AMAZING combo: alt-J at the Paramount followed by Jungle at the Showbox. Both shows were incredible in their own way and I’m so glad I didn’t force myself to pick between them. Double header #2 was blissfully in the same building: Tangerine album release party at Barboza  followed by an ODESZA DJ set at Neumos. Siiri and I just caught the beginning of the DJ set since it started at 12:30am and we are OLD people. Got the stamp, that’s what counts.

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Touchdown for Tots fundraiser for Childrens Hospital

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Why aren’t my Huskies winning?

Travel: Major travel plans for 2014 have concluded. Sad trombone. I guess now we start looking forward to 2015?? Right? Right?

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That Halloween spirit, University District, Seattle

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Cruella deVille-ing it up at work | Halloween 2014

2014 Goals: September

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Social Eating Club, London

Books: I’ve joined a study group and started reading Marx’s Capital. This is a project I’ve wanted to accomplish for many years. We’ve laid out a rough map and it should take about a year to complete. Kat and I are posting instas with the hashtag #marxandme. There may be occasional updates here as I feel it necessary to share my hair pulling. Please feel free to remind me that this is both voluntary and something I want to do.

Before jetting off to the UK I stopped by the library for a plane book. I don’t typically browse the stacks, usually opting to swing in and pick up books I’ve previously reserved. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart caught my eye and I ended up bringing it across the pond with me. Finally, I picked up Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier at a used bookstore in Edinburgh and breezed through it in two days; great vacation read. Annual total thus far: 19/15

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It begins…..

Exercise: The best part of traveling is that you walk everywhere. The weather in London and Edinburgh was unseasonably warm and so I explored both cities nearly completely on foot.

Shows: Deep Sea Diver hosted an incredible EP release party at the Fremont Abbey. A two act set, the first half was all sweaty church basement rock out followed by a piano-driven second set in a converted sanctuary. Truly one of the top five shows of the year.

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The Harry Potter tribute wall in the bathrooms of the Elephant Cafe, Edinburgh

Travel: Two amazing weeks in the UK. London continues its run of amazingness and Scotland is…WOW. Crazy beautiful in a way I wholly unprepared to experience. So much more in the next few weeks.

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Bon Vivant’s Companion, Edinburgh

2014 Goals: August

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Dahlias, Green Lake, Seattle

Books: I read and was grilled on the fabulous Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit. Finally dove into The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which my mom loaned me months ago, and I was completely immersed. The letdown of the month was Love Illuminated by Daniel Jones. I lovelovelove the New York Times’ Modern Love column and picked up this book thinking it would be a collection of essays the paper never ran. Instead it’s part pop-pysch/part memoir and I just wasn’t feeling it. In more exciting news, I found out that Reuben has a subscription to the New Yorker and has agreed to pass them along to me when completed. I’m currently working through a small backlog (bring ’em on, R!). Annual total thus far: 17/15

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Take a New Yorker to bed

Exercise: My co-worker and I successfully rocking our All Stairs August challenge. I didn’t darken the threshold of the elevators in my office building at any point in the month of August! We took it super seriously and kept our tracking calendar near the coffee pot so accountability would be high. It was a great way to institute a fairly small change.

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Team Hello Kitty rocked All Stairs August

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Sylvan Esso, Neumos, Seattle

Shows: Saw The Dip twice: once while opening for The Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Neumos and then on my lunch break as part of the Out to Lunch concert series. I’m new to working within lunching distance of downtown and seeing live music in the middle of the workday is a great treat. Please make this happen more, universe. Kat and I also had a surprise Roommate Date night when she won tickets to Pink Martini at Zoo Tunes in her office raffle. We packed champagne and enjoyed a lovely evening in the park gratis. Rounded out the month with Galactic and Trombone Shorty at Zoo Tune and Sylvan Esso at Neumos.

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Everyday Music, Capitol Hill, Seattle

Travel: Polishing up my itinerary for the UK next month. London suggestions, anyone?

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Taking a break at Tina and Shon’s wedding

2014 Goals: July

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Preaching the truth at the Capitol Hill Block Party

What a month was July!

Books: I was feeling a little sheepish about my number at the end of June. Then BAM. Vacation. Cleared that right up. While in Mexico I finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. All three were great and I inhaled them like a marathoner chugs water. I have also been fully converted to the Kindle while traveling. Big thanks to loyal reader Donna, the super fab mom of my eternally hilarious co-worker Scott, who gifted me her retired Kindle touch as I could join the ranks of electronic device readers.

I went back to work and got right back into my bus commute reading schedule. Finished Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? in a week. What a delicious skewering of Seattle! Annual total thus far: 15/15

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Stencil in Mexico City

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Summer grocery store flowers

Exercise: Yoga in the studio! Yoga in the out of doors! My co-workers (apparently my office features prominently in this update) and I challenged each other to a All Stairs August, complete with an in office sticker chart because public shaming is real. Want to join in?

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Saturday morning yoga at the Sculpture Park

Shows: Killing it! Enjoyed a showcase at the Crocodile featuring Matt Bishop from Hey Marseilles, Trails and Ways, and PHOX at the beginning of the month. And in true form, I resisted the Capitol Hill Block Party for weeks before breaking down and buying a ticket to Saturday two days beforehand. Oh, what a block party it was! Saw an excellent set by The Dip (who are opening for Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Neumos next week), the end of Katie Kate, and kickass performances by Beat Connection, Star Slinger, and Chromeo. Music festival real talk: rompers are still my least favorite item of clothing.

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Hanging with Siiri at the Block Party

Travel: MEXICO. And done.

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Theater night with my parents

 

2014 Goal: June

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Jasmine on my walk home

Books: I read through Volume 1 of The Paris Review Interviews, digging into the authors I’ve read or what to know more, skimming past the authors I know little about. Conclusion? Dorothy Parker was a gem, Hemingway was a pompous ass, and I should really read more Vonnegut. Basically all things we already knew. But, this collection is a delight and I suspect I’ll browse through the subsequent volumes in the future. I’ve started Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch which I’m looking forward to discussing with all of you because I’m torn. Must…finish…first. Annual total thus far: 11/15

Midyear check-in: I’m extremely confident that I will meet, if not exceed, my goal. My pace of reading has gone down in the last few months but I think that’s seasonal variation more than anything else (aka it’s not cold and dark all the time now). I have decided that an electronic reader would be a good investment. Carrying large, hard bound books around all day has done a number on my elbow (and I love my purse too much to get a different one). I’ll be purchasing one shortly if anyone has one they want to rave about in the comments.

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The Paris Review Interviews Vol. 1

Exercise: The yoga studio closest to my house had a special so I finally checked it out and really like it. The instructors are great, the class times are reasonable, and it just seems like a solid studio.

Midyear check-in: I’m giving myself a B- here. We try (unevenly) and have mixed success. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to take the plunge on a buy a pass at the new studio once my intro period elapses. It’s still a little steep but real talk: my cheap ass likely needs the accountability of plunking down cash.

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Kat and Brothers (with a St Pauly Girl tribute to their momma)

Shows: Success! Outdoor concert season is upon us which is the most fun concert season of all. Kicked off the month with Jungle at Neumos, the most fun show I’ve been to in a while! Seattle boys Beat Connection opened for them and I’ve had The Palace Garden in rotation ever since. I saw Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood  and Mavis Staples at Zoo Tunes (separately though I feel like that could be a really fun show). And finally, got to experience the amazing Maceo Parker at Jazz Alley. He had such great stage presence after performing for fifty years. I’m always terrified the greats are going to die on me before I have a chance to see them. Was so fun to treat my oldest friend, Lindsay, at the last minute!

And sometimes you just have to skip shows. I had tickets to both Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme (yes, the third time I would have seen them this year year) and King Khan & the Shrines and work and life and red eye flights to Chicago got in the way. Such is life.

Midyear check-in: This continues to be my most fun goal. Seeing live music regularly is such a delightful break from my everyday life. I get to hang out with buddies in a different way and just soak up every little bit of being young and single. Highly recommended.

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Hanging with Wiggities at MSMW

Travel: Spent a quick three day weekend in Chicago for the annual Socialism conference. How a break-neck trip filled to the brim with political debate, discussion, theory, and history can be so restorative continues to baffle me. After missing the conference last year it was great to be back! Let’s getting organizing! (And the magical and beautiful Gen and Mariela drove out to the Chicago suburbs to hang out and it was the bestbestbest.)

Midyear check-in: My weekend jaunts to DC, Portland, and Chicago have all been fun. Looking forward to some serious vacation time in a few weeks. Mexico or bust!

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Vermouth cocktails with Siiri at the superb new Damn the Weather

Summer Honey-Do List

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Corfu, Greece | Summer 2013

Summer officially starts Saturday! After a touch of June-uary, the weather here has settled comfortably into it’s Northwest glory. While it makes Cube Life (TM) particularly painful, all that bountiful sun and sea makes Seattle the most beautiful city in the world. I spent most of last summer abroad so I can’t wait to have a classically Seattle summer.

  • Go sailing at least once a month in July, August, and September
  • Eat fro yo
  • Attend the Fremont Solstice Parade (this weekend!)
  • Perfect our house margarita recipe
  • Get out of the city and go on a hike
  • Go to an outdoor movie (or two)
  • Saturday morning outdoor yoga at the Sculpture Park
  • Take a beach day
  • Grill as much as possible
  • Have a blast in Mexico in July!
  • Tune up my bike and go for a ride
  • Attend my 10 year high school reunion (’04 sho!)
  • Watch the sunset at the beach

Who wants to come?

2014 Goals: May

 

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My parents’ magical backyard

Books: I finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood which I reviewed earlier this week. I’ve been making my way through Joyce Carol Oates’ The Accursed for Lauren’s book discussion over at Better in Real Life. My answers are due in two weeks and I still have…..a few hundred pages. *fingers crossed* Annual total thus far: 10/15

Exercise: Let’s call a spade a spade here. This was not a banner month for me. The weather has been GREAT but I still don’t feel like I’m in a routine where I can really groove. Maybe its a wonky schedule (of which I am totally responsible for) or whatever but it ain’t happening. What do you do to get back on the wagon?

Shows: As promised, Lindsay and I celebrated our birthdays with Seattle Symphony’s Spring Music Preview at Beneroya Hall. Rounded out the month with funk shows two weekends in a row: Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme at Neumos and Orgone at the Crocodile.

Travel: Tickets purchased! I’m going to Mexico for ten days in July! I’ll be joining my friend, Jorge, at the wedding of his sister and then we’re spending several days exploring Mexico City. Do you have suggestions? Hotels/restaurants/bars/neighborhoods? Please share them!