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New Year’s Reservations

11 Jan

New-Years-Resolution-629x395

I know, I know. It’s New Year’s resolutions.

I turned it into a play on words. Clever, don’t you think?

Late every December, right before January, the buzzing starts. Buzz buzz buzz. All the busy people looking foreword to slipping into their swimsuit bodies, getting out of debt, working on their portfolios, traveling abroad, etc. Of course, I am referencing the New Year’s resolution.

Well, this year, I am one of those people.

In the past I’ve been weary of the New Years resolution. To me, it’s like this bandwagon full of people dedicated to MORE stuff; more money, more admiration, more junk. They want “it” so badly they write it down and decide that finally this year they will be happy. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully.

If only.

I think it’s safe to say that most people do not follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. In fact, when I imagine myself making resolutions I am assuredly one of the ones who do not follow through. My life is cluttered enough without adding a list of borderline herculean tasks to the mix. The realist in me sort of chokes a little on the idea of trying to get six pack abs, achieving financial freedom, and sailing the seven seas. All in all, you could say that New Year’s resolutions strike me as a little cliché.

What happened to change my mind, you ask? Excellent question.

It goes back to all the clutter in my life. Here at The Colony (as I’ve deemed our little abode) we have a ton going on. Nathan is going back to school this spring, as am I. We both have full time jobs. We make every effort to get away when time and money allow, and we try new things and have new experience to enrich our lives. Really, we are extremely blessed. However, having too much of a good thing is bad for you.

I am making resolutions for 2013, despite my reservations, because I believe that less is more. This year, instead of making resolutions to gain extra stuff into our already disarrayed days, I want to cut the things that aren’t working in order to have more room for the things we already enjoy. No need to reinvent the proverbial wheel. I just want to tweak the design and make it better than it was before. By eliminating the things that aren’t working we’ll have time for the things we already know we enjoy, or have already been working toward. I think this will make the resolutions themselves more achievable, realistic, and timely given a year window.

Our 2013 “Less is More” New Year’s Resolutions

Less debt

by

  1. Affordably increasing payments towards money that has been spent before it was earned
  2. Adjusting our life style to be cognitive of wants versus needs
  3. Reviewing our current expenses and make reductions for unnecessary expenditures
  4. Avoiding adding any additional extras that will detract from the budget without adding to our quality of life (subscriptions, impulse purchases)

equals

  • More money for other financial goals (buying a home, paying cash for our next vehicle)
  • More opportunity to pursue other hobbies (photography, home brewing, adding to collections)
  • More opportunity for random acts of kindness and generosity
  • More credit worthiness
  • More peace of mind

Less stress

by

  1. Practicing better time management by keeping dedicated student and home/work calendars or agendas
  2. Asking for help when needed
  3. Letting go of the “small stuff”
  4. Giving ourselves plenty of time to complete a task
  5. Being prepared (make lists, set time limits)
  6. Being flexible
  7. Celebrating small victories

equals

  • More quality of life
  • More positive mental health
  • More health immunity
  • More energy

Less Food Junk

by

  1. Eating less foods from a box or a bag
  2. Shopping mainly in the produce section
  3. Buying less food in large quantities
  4. Drinking lots of water (something we are already very good at)
  5. Eating on a “schedule”

equals

  • More health conscious diets
  • More energy
  • More opportunities to save on dining out
  • More opportunities to skip on empty calories
  • More vitamins, minerals, and fiber

Less Physical Junk

by

  1. Not buying unnecessary goods
  2. Taking care of our current possessions
  3. Reusing, repurposing, and recycling the things we already own
  4. Looking to remove unnecessary stuff from our home and work spaces -perhaps donate or give away
  5. Passing on unnecessary items even though they may be a “steal”

equals

  • More room for things we really enjoy
  • More money toward things that are truly important
  • More time spent doing fun things instead of picking up clutter
  • More opportunities to creatively up cycle goods by doing crafts or projects
  • More space to breathe

There it is. My glorious list. My bandwagon ticket.

This is the first year I am really going to try to stick to New Year’s resolutions. I think that this method of adding to our lives by subtracting extras instead of adding them will really help me make our lives better in a meaningful and do-able way. Expect updates on how things are going. I need somebody to keep me on track!

Is anybody else out there doing New Year Resolutions, belated or otherwise? I bet yours don’t look so different that mine; generally speaking New Year’s resolutions tend to be predictable. I’m really curious if anyone has any weird or funny resolutions. If so, please share!

For those of you with resolutions, I’m right behind you. Good luck to us both.

Little Momma and Strawberry

28 Sep

6:00 came especially early this morning. There is something dissatisfying about having to get up that early when I don’t have to go to work, but it was definitely worth it. J Nathan and I have been looking forward to today for a very long time. A few months ago I bought a Groupon for a 3 hour trail ride and dinner. It was a bit of a splurge, but I knew that it was something that we would both enjoy, and I was right!

Our reservation wasn’t until 9:00 am, but it was an hour and a half drive to Sleepy Sheep Ranch where the festivities were to occur. The traffic wasn’t bad, but it turned out that Google Maps has the address wrong and we ended up at a Boy Scout camp/cemetery instead of the ranch, which was only about 2 miles down the road. We gave the ranch a quick phone call and they had us on the right path in no time at all.

I can’t say I minded the extra little stretch in the car. The whole drive there we listened to my iPhone (which is good, because I have strong feelings about some of Nathan’s choices in music.) I had a good time singing off key and embarrassing Nathan with my ridiculous car dancing. At one point I tried to get him to dance with me by grabbing his hand and moving it around with mine, but he pulled it away and told me I was “trying to break off his wrist.” 0.o! Oh, the casualties of my fun. The good news is that we both seemed to enjoy Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album KISS, which I didn’t see coming (for either of us!)

When we finally got to the ranch it was pretty much exactly what you would expect. There were horses, goats, sheep, and other barn yard creatures. Even our trail leader, Scott, was dressed up like a cowboy with the funny-looking leather pants and cliché western mustache. He was such a nice man, very friendly and knowledgeable. Everyone on the staff was amiable and patient with us. The first thing they did was assign us each our horse. I was a little intimidated because they expect you to be able to put your foot in the stirrup and just pull yourself over the horse like Clint Eastwood. I don’t know what I expected. A step-stool  maybe? Either way I managed to get on with very little assistance, which made me pretty proud of myself. Nathan had a little more trouble, with his bad knees and all, but it was still easier for him to get on than off, and he made it look easy regardless. 

Nathan’s horse was name Strawberry, and from what I saw she was a mostly kind-natured animal. She responded well to him, even when his rope-reigns sort of fell apart towards the beginning of the ride. My horse was Little Mama, which was slightly confusing because the ranch people would be talking to the horse, calling her “Little Mama,” and for some reason I kept thinking that they were talking to me. It was embarrassing when they would tell the horse to do something and I did it too. They were pretty nice about it though, at first they even pretended not to notice.

Little Mama was a seasoned vet, I think. She liked to be in the back and follow, which was fine by me. I yielded to her, not only because she was a great deal larger and well versed in horse business, but also because she didn’t much listen to me much anyway. We had a good relationship, I think. She would meander along behind the others, and then when she got too far back she’d trot to catch up. Trotting, it turns out, is scary. I had a hard time with the part where you have to kick and/or smack the horse to get it to move because I was afraid I would hurt her. Eventually I got over that though, and I would give her a little love tap whenever we got too far behind the group.

Another girl in our group, Selene, had a naughty horse. It kept stopping and eating everything. She would pull on its reigns to get it to come up, but it was fairly intent on snacking. She was a small person to be pulling at such a big horse. It would stop and hold up the horse line, which was actually a mixed blessing because it gave Little Mama and me a chance to catch up.

Little Mama was not without her own horse behaviors. I’m not sure if she got up to the suspected antics intentionally, but I have a sneaking suspicion she knew what she was up to. For instance, when there was a large thorny bush or a low hanging branch, Little Mama made sure I physically knew about it. My theory is that she was trying to scrape me off so she could go back to whatever it is that horses do. It didn’t work; I was on her pretty good. She made me laugh because she may have been just a wee bit…lazy? That’s such a harsh word. Perhaps it would be better to describe her as a “work economist.” If there was a short cut, Little Mama took it. If there was a corner to cut, Little Mama cut it. If there had been a way to sneak off and leave me in the woods somewhere, Little Mama may have been tempted.

Ah, now I’m just being dramatic. She was a good girl. I talked nicely to her, to build a good relationship, but she didn’t take much to that. Can’t say I blame her. I wouldn’t want to pack through the woods all day, staring at another horse’s butt, while some city dolt dug their heels into my sides and tried to balance the reigns while taking pictures with their iPhone in the other hand (guilty.) She was a pretty horse though, even tempered. Nathan’s horse had a feisty streak. At the beginning of the ride Strawberry was behind me and the guide and to come back and switch us, because Strawberry, apparently, is a biter. Nathan’s horse was going to bite my horse’s tail! For the record, my horse did not bite anybody and kept its teeth and other personals to itself. (“Good horse, no bite.” = Blank stare from horse.)

Because of the horse biting Nathan rode in front of me for most of the trip. He was the butterfly whisperer. They landed on him in multiples, at one point there were three on him. He didn’t seem to notice that much, which is a good thing, because he isn’t too fond of creepy crawly things. Actually, aside from dropping his sunglasses onto the forest floor (which one of the helpers was kind enough to retrieve) Nathan had a pretty good nature experience. Much better than the time we went camping and convinced ourselves there were werewolves hunting us.

The scenery was beautiful. The horse trail is on a 250 acre lot, and it did not disappoint. There wee pretty flowers and trees- the good knobby kind too, my favorite. I tried to soak it all in, but my horse ended up occupying most of my attention. I guess I just think large mammals are really cool or something…plus there was that whole staying in the saddle bit.

During the middle of the ride we stopped to eat. Now, I am a picky “outside eater,” but I can honestly say that everything was fairly delicious. And the presentation was nice too. They had decorated the picnic tables and even had the plates covered so the bugs couldn’t get at it. Really the only problem we had was bumble bees trying to drink Nathan’s Coke. The best part about the meal may have been the company. Our lovely cook, whose name I can’t remember, was a great conversationalist. It turns out that he and Nathan both lived in Idaho at some point. They talked about how hot and over populated it is here, and how they miss the autumn but not the snow. You know, the typical male bonding conversation. He was a real sweetheart, and he cooked my medium-well steak perfectly!

The highlight of this little adventure was feeding the fish. (I mean, aside from my love affair with Little Mama.) After we had a delicious steak dinner with wine and roasted corn (yum!), we took what we didn’t eat down to this large pond and fed it to some fish. These fish were crazy! They would swim up to you until practically their whole body was out of the water, and eat from your hands. Scott, our trail guide, told us we could “pet” them if we wanted to. I was oddly tempted, but every time I got near the fish it would scare me and I would shout, “Shit!” and jump away really fast…which happened about five times. Not my most becoming lady-like behavior, but I believe that there are situations where you are allowed to swear, like when being attacked by large, seemingly land swimming, hungry animals.

After lunch we got back on our horses and rode to the ranch where we started from. It was a great time. Now, my legs are sore and I think my dogs are convinced I’m cheating on them, but I would love to do it again someday. Nathan would like to maybe own horses when we grow up (not as much as goats, he loves goats) which would be alright too.

We drove home after getting some Dairy Queen and running a couple other errands and took a nap. It was an exhausting day! Our nap was pretty short lived because we both felt guilty for not spending enough time with our babies. They looked especially lonely while I sat out back on the patio and worked on things, but we tried to make it up to them by giving them walkies and an extra special dog treat we picked up last weekend when we got them their shots…and I may have given them a bite of the frozen pizza we had for dinner. Shhh! don’t tell Nathan, he has them on a very strict diet/exercise regime.

On another note, I made brownies from scratch, no box mix included. They were exceptionally delicious. I will save that for the next post, make it easy on myself. J