Tag Archives: goals

checking in

12 Jul

It’s July, which by my math and calendar* means we are more than halfway through the year. Which means that seven months ago we all lolled about on our couches in a fog of cheese and leftover cookies and made a bunch of promises to ourselves, the universe, and our dog that we vaguely intended to keep, though in the far corner of our brains knew would be packed away like so many boughs of holly by February 5.

So! How are those New Year’s Goals** working out for you? Has anybody actually tackled any? Have any actually lasted beyond Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday?

Ahem.

waves raised hand wildly

Yes, actually, I have. And yes, actually, they have.

And yes, I’m totally tooting my own horn.

(toot! toot!)

How can I not? It’s not every year—or any year, for that matter—that I can actually say I have successfully completed or am successfully in the process of completing my New Year’s Goals. Or completing anything, really. (What? Mine is a world of inspired intentions.) So I’m going to celebrate the shit out of these.

Goal 1: Make one new ice cream flavor a month

What’s the point of having an ice cream maker if you don’t actually use it? Ever since I received this kitchen appliance two Christmases ago, I’ve had a steady stream of homemade ice cream go through my kitchen, much to Swede’s happiness. But this year I felt like I needed to expand my ice cream horizons, and put some of my Pinterest pins to the test.

And now this poor ice cream maker doesn’t know what’s hit it. Entirely possible I may blow out the motor by August.

I’ve made seven new flavors so far this year (I made two in March, because it was my birthday month and…well, it was my birthday month is the best reasoning I can come up with) (then again, do I really need a reason to make two new ice cream flavors in one month?). Some were better than others, but even the ones that were only meh were still good.

January: Red velvet ice cream with a cream cheese swirl

February: Brown sugar bourbon ice cream

March: Creamsicle ice cream; lemon mascarpone ice cream

April: Baklava ice cream

May: Mint chocolate chip (such a classic flavor, yet one I’d never actually made)

June: White chocolate blackberry

Our favorite has been the brown sugar bourbon flavor, with the lemon mascarpone a very close second. Tell your friends.

 

Goal 2:

<crickets>

<twiddles thumbs>

Huh.

Totally thought I had accomplished one of the other goals on my list.

No?

Okay! Just the one goal then. But! That’s one more thing I’ve done/am doing. Let me just extend my Go Go Gadget arms and pat myself on the back again.

Well done, me.

 

So as to be completely transparent, you should know that for this one goal I can claim as successful (so far), there are at least 63 that have been failed somewhat and terribly.

Write how many words a month on the novel I’ve been thinking about for 10 years? Okay, I’ve written some. I’ll give myself partial credit.

Exercise how often? Huh. Not so much.

Make fresh pasta using the pasta maker we were given at our wedding shower two years ago? Actually, I attempted that one, only to have the motor on our KitchenAid mixer burn out. We have the parts to fix it, we just…have yet to fix it.

But that one! That one goal! I’m totally making it on my ice cream goal!

I encourage you all to look back at your own statements of intent, your New Year’s Goals, or whatever you want to call them. Did they fall by the wayside? Are they even valuable or interesting goals to you anymore? If they are, restart them. Give them a go. See how far you get. If they’re not, screw ‘em. Don’t waste your time busting your ass toward a goal you couldn’t give a hoot about. What’s the point in that? If there’s something more intriguing you want to work toward, why aren’t you doing it? Do it! Do it now! Because that’s the thing—no one says your yearly or monthly or daily goals have to start the first of the year. There are 365 days in a year, you guys,*** and any day, any day at all, is a good day to start.

*You may want to double-check me on that one. Math and calendars have never been my strong suit.

**I call them goals because resolutions are just asking to be broken.

***Seriously, check me on that one.

2017: wtf?

4 Jan

Ask five random people, and at least seven of them will tell you that 2016 fucking sucked.

And it did. There seemed to be an amped up number of shitstorms, celebrity deaths (of celebrities that we really, really liked) and political ire and just all-around awfulness from the beginning to the end of 2016. And those are just the things that we experienced collectively, in public. That’s not even diving into the shit year that a lot of people experienced in their personal lives.

It was not all bad—for me, at least. I had a beautiful, healthy baby, which pretty much eclipsed everything else. What’s more, eight close friends and family members also had beautiful, healthy babies. Eight! That’s nine total! Throughout all the bullshit, nine new lives came into this world, nine new little souls are here and bringing unconditional joy and love. When they sleep through the night, anyway.

2016 was such a roller coaster of a year, it’s hard to not let it bleed over into 2017. It’s hard to look at the 12 months stretched before you, completely blank and ready to be colored in, when you’re still wiping the paint off your hands from the previous year.

2017, WTF are we going to do with you?

We’re going to live, goddammit. We’re going to do what Danny Kaye said, and throw all the paint we can at it. Some of that paint may be from last year; so be it. It will mix with the new paint and create new colors, hopefully some original ones we’ve never seen before.

We’ll hopefully not forget the flagrant disregard for normalcy that 2016 showed us, and we’ll hopefully use that to rebuild 2017 into a monstrously extraordinary year.

Pick up a brush. Or a crayon. A marker. Colored pencil. Your choice.

It’s time.

2016: yeah, okay, use it

20 Jan

Something you should know about me: I’m not really a “yes” person.

Which is kind of confusing, I know, because I often have a hard time saying no to things.

But hear me out. Better yet, ask Swede, he’ll tell you—87 percent of the time when he’s all, “We should get pizza for dinner!” or “We should buy a farm in Michigan!” or “Let’s get another cat!” I’m immediately all, “NO.”

In essence, I can be a bit of a fun-sponge.

But often, about ten minutes later (sometimes more, sometimes less), after an idea is proposed, I come around to it.

YES! Let’s DO get pizza for dinner! Screw healthy eating for a night!

YES! Let’s BUY that farmland in Michigan because that actually sounds quite peaceful and bucolic and lovely!

YES! Let’s….wait, no. Still no. F no, we are not getting another g-d cat. And you know what? That’s something the current cats and I actually agree upon.

20160119_202403.jpg

Agrees that there is no more room in this home for another cat. More booze, yes. More cats, no. 

So I guess I’m not a total fun-sponge, just an initial one, might be a better way of putting it. It’s not a part of me that I really like about myself, but it’s also a part of me that I know probably won’t change, or at least won’t change easily. (Mainly because it stems from my dislike of change. Even though change is inevitable. And once I get used to it, I do tend to enjoy it. Mostly. I guess it depends.) (It’s really weird being in my head, you guys.)

ANYWAY, I was thinking about this characteristic of mine as I was thinking about the year ahead, and what did I want my word to be? Taking all of this into consideration, I concluded that a mantra function better than a word. And for 2016, my mantra is going to be:

Yeah, Okay.

Gripping!

While I may never be a yes-woman, I find that I can get cozy with hesitant agreement. I like it because it buys me time and space to think about whatever idea has been presented, and determine if it’s really the right thing for me before I write it off.

So 2016? Will be the year of Yeah, Okay. It’s stronger and more change-confronting than a “maybe” but not quite as scary as “HELLS YEAH, MOTHERF*&KERS!” And more important, it fits me just right at this point in my life, and still allows me to grow.

But Wait, There’s More

I wouldn’t be a McPolish if I only took on one mantra for the year, now would I?

(Can you have more than one mantra? Does having multiple mantras defeat the purpose of mantras?)

Inspired by this post I also decided to adopt “Use It!” to fuel my way through this year. This is also inspired by the fact that in the very recent past Swede and I lost out on a couple hundred bucks in gift cards, and are still pretty pissed about it. Why did we lose out? Because we’re (I am) dumb. And also because we (I) were (was) all, “Let’s save them for something special!”

And then we never used them because WTF even constitutes “special”?

Gaaaaahhhhh.

So all that shit I’ve been saving because it’s “special”? F–k it. I’m using the fancy lotion. On the daily. I’m spending that Amazon gift card. On shelf dividers for towels. And so help me, Mary Mother of God, Interwebers if you come over to my house we will use the f-ing Waterford crystal goblets we got for our wedding because they are beautiful and I don’t care if it’s a “just” a Tuesday and you want to drink a milk out of them.

Because you know what? This is life and it’s the only one you’ve got. And if that’s not special enough for you, then I don’t know what is.

Now That That’s All Settled

Do you have a word or a phrase you’d like to help shape your 2016? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

 

 

 

 

going for the goal 2013: how is it april, and this is only #2?

10 Apr

Back in like, September or something, when sunshine and warmer weather still existed on a consistent basis, I trekked out to the Morton Arboretum with Sister #1, my brother-in-law, and the Chicken Nugget and Ronnie Bass to take some family photos.

You know why?

Because Aunt Molly is awesome like that. And mildly better than Sears Portrait Studio.

A couple of months later, Sister #1 and brother-in-law very kindly took Swede and me out to dinner as a thank you for the photo shoot. Granted, Swede wasn’t there for the photo shoot, but he did later ooh and ahh appropriately over the photos, and that, as we all know, is an essential contribution to my photography process as an Artiste.

Or something.

Whatever.

Anyway, the point is they treated us to a marvy little spot in downtown Oak Park, that I just have to tell you about.

Going for the Goal 2013

Number Two: Marion Street Cheese Market

Pros:

The booze. Swede was stoked to learn that Marion Street Cheese Market (MSCM) had a good selection of beers on tap. When we were there, a few local breweries, like Revolution, were available, which made Swede happy, along with some others he wanted to try.

So many beers, so little time.

For me, I was stoked to see a variety of wine and champagne flights on the menu. I do love a good flight. Sister #1 and I chose the Sparkletown flight, because, Hi. It’s called Sparkletown.* And I want to live there forever.

 SAMSUNG

*And in my head (and mayhaps out loud) I kept saying, “This! Is! SPARKLETOWN!” in the voice of the guy who introduces Jeopardy.

Writing on the menus. It may be childish, but I love when restaurants encourage you to write and take notes on their menu. Especially a place like MSCM, where you’re trying multiple offerings and small plates, and the selection is big—you need to remember in some way, shape, or form which cheeses and/or pates and/or charcuteries you want to taste, amirite? Plus it makes me feel less bad about defacing property, which I’m wont to do whether you encourage me or not. Also, if you’re bored, you can always use the menus to play MASH. And that’s never a bad thing. (Not that I was bored at MSCM; I was in good company. But say you went with a person or people who sucked? See? Then the write upon menus would be your savior.)

Cons:

Camped seating. As with Gaetano’s, MSCM’s tables seemed really squashed together to me. Is this becoming a “thing” in restaurants? Where we all sit in each others’ laps to enjoy a meal? Because if so, I may have to call off this project and eat exclusively at home in my comparatively lusciously and exorbitantly spacious kitchen table chairs.

Lighting. There’s a very good chance that my overall vision issues in this place were due to my trip to Sparkletown. Nonetheless, MSCM is not the best-lit restaurant I’ve ever been in, which probably makes me sound like an old fogey when I’m all, “What’s that say? I can’t see so good.” I just want to be able to read the menu clearly, Interwebers, so I can properly decipher what kind of cheese I should order to shove down my gullet next. A little more wattage, if you would, please, MSCM. And hey you damn kids, get off my lawn!

On a scale of one to go? If you’re in the neighborhood, it’s a gouda place for a bite eat.

Two down, eleven to go.

SAMSUNG

productive goal-keeping, or, if you’d like fries with that

21 May

Swede and I spent a month in DC this winter, and the night before we were to head back to Chicago, we happened to be cruising up Connecticut Avenue, just short of my old ‘hood.

“Medium Rare,” I pointed out to him as we drove past a strip of restaurants. “I hear it’s supposed to be good.”

“Want to go?” Swede asked. “We can go for dinner tonight.”

You guys, it’s true. I DO have a type. I obviously have taken to dating geniuses.

And also, five bonus points for spontaneous dinner outings!

Amirite?

Is there anything better?

Maybe spontaneous popcorn popping and movie night.

It’s a toss up, really.

We called a couple of friends to meet us and our awesome friend The Republican responded with great enthusiasm, as it seems that Medium Rare is one of her new favorite restaurants.

And after our visit there, I can understand why.

Restaurant #2 of 12: Medium Rare 

Pros:

The Food. Now obviously, as I discussed with The Publican, I am wholly on board with meat. But unlike the Publican, Medium Rare specializes in one dish: Steak frites. And they do a superb job, simply superb. They butter you up with some crusty French bread, then serve up a lightly dressed mixed green salad, both of which are delicious, but then, then they get to the true highlight of the meal.

They’ll bring out your steak—cooked to order, of course—in two helpings, starting with one portion, drizzled with their secret sauce that is savory and smooth, slightly creamy, yes?, and essentially a tray of fries. (Which, of course, are made even better when dragged through the secret sauce.) And when you polish that off (And you will. It’s okay. Embrace it.) they bring you out the second portion of your steak. And then you can roll around in beefy ecstasy. (Again: you will. It’s okay. Embrace it.)

Whether or not you’ll be up for dessert, well, I can’t really say. We passed, but that’s not to say that the selection wasn’t tempting. I was just full of beef and didn’t want to ruin my steak high.

The Price. All that food I just mentioned? (Minus dessert.) $20. Yes, you read that correctly. Beverages not included. I’m not really sure you can find a better deal at such quality in DC.

Brick Walls. I’m a sucker for brick interior brick walls. There. I said it. And being that the restaurant is at ground level, the brick walls and open(ish) kitchen create an intimate environment.

Cons:

Seating. The tables themselves are fine (though a bit on top of each other). My con on this one is that they won’t let you sit until all members of your party are there, which I find incredibly annoying and off-putting. As a patron, it tells me that you either think I’m cheap and I’m going to sit there drinking water for an hour waiting for the final member of my party to arrive or you only want me to be in your restaurant for as little time as possible so you can turn as many tables as possible. Neither of these are feelings you want to blanket your patrons with, and both are insulting, leaving me feeling like more chattel rather than a welcomed diner.

Service. At least, our server, whose name I’ve forgotten. But what I remember is that he was mildly surly and had a vague air of annoyance any time he had to come over to our table.

Service can really make or break a restaurant for me, and if the food was not so scrumptious, I probably wouldn’t return to Medium Rare. But the food is that good, and well worth plunking down $30 (tax, tip, all that stuff), and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

On a scale of one to Go?

Go.

Right now, in fact.

You won’t be sorry.

Take me with you?

Or maybe I’ll just see you there.

it’s what’s for dinner

31 Jan

I find, when traveling, it’s always best to try and cross Life or New Years Goals off your list at the same time.

Okay, that’s pretty much a load of bullshit. Half the time when I travel it’s all I can do to figure out what g-d time zone I’m in and what currency I should be using. And considering my recent trip to Morocco was the first time I’ve been out of the country in 12 years, that’s really saying something. Nothing good, of course, but at least it’s something.

Or something.

Surprisingly, I managed to use the correct currency on this trip, though the time zone thing—and time in general—eluded me most of the time I was in Africa, seeing as how I don’t wear a watch, my cell phone wasn’t working, and it seems that Morocco is not really a country that is preoccupied with making sure clocks are readily visible.

But back to my point: I managed to cross off one of my goals for this year, which was to eat one new meat.

(Also, credit for placing this goal on the list in the first place goes to The Swede, because it was actually something on his list that I liked so much that I adopted it to my own list.)

After we’d toured a couple of places outside the Fes medina, we headed a short way through the winding, crowded streets to Café Clock, which I’d been told was THE place for camel burgers. The restaurant was down a dark, narrow alley, which I didn’t think would bode well in the end, but it, in fact, did. The restaurant stretched up, up, up, and we climbed to the top, picking a table on the roofdeck in the shade.

Turner wanted nothing to do with the camel burger except to take pictures of me eating it.

Which is good, because when you accomplish a goal there should always be photographic proof whenever possible.


And you should look happy while doing it too, dammit.

Truth: Camel burgers taste very similar to lamb, IMHO. And This Girl loves her some lamb. And now camel, apparently.

I ate the whole thing.

Though next time, I’d do without the “Taza ketchup” (the jam-looking dollop on top, which was sweet and made of…I have no idea what).

One new meat? Check.

listical

8 Dec

I love this time of year because it means all sorts of lists.

And damn do I love a good list. Christmas lists, book lists, grocery shopping lists, give me a list and I’m all the freak over it. I especially love the lists that magazines and newspapers and VH1 put together on the top events over the last 12 months, because I love remembering all the things that I’ve forgotten happened 11.8 months ago.

(And that is often a lot.)

(Hell, I’ve already forgotten what happened 11.8 seconds ago.)

(What?)

(Right.)

(Anyway.)

What I wonder is if these news/entertainment outlets keep track of these things throughout the year? Like maybe they have a pad of paper next to their computers, or a big bulletin board in the conference room where they jot down major events throughout the year, or funny sayings, or dumb quotes, or maybe just a Ziggy cartoon they found particularly inspirational. (Sadly, Ziggy does not often make any of these lists, does he? Poor Ziggy.) This, of course, would be the smart thing to do, but probably if I were in charge of putting one of these lists together, this time of year would be a flurried frenzy of research trying to remember what the shit happened in March.

Of course, I’m all about making my own lists this time of year. I just checked out the goal list I set for 2010, and I’m happy to report that I accomplished very few of my goals I’d stated before you all. That sprint-tri I was aiming for? Never happened. It vaguely crossed my mind on occasion, but I never put on my big girl chonies to try and make a play at that one, let’s be honest. Though on the other hand, of the 5, 8 and 10Ks I wanted to run this year, I did run the 8K, and this Sunday I’m running a 10K.

(I say two out of three ain’t bad.)

AND ALSO, I accomplished with flying colors my goal of visiting two new states: Delaware and Alaska.

WOOT!

Looking ahead to 2011, I don’t really have anything that most people would find all that interesting on my Goal List, unless you are a runner or a traveler, in which case I will tell you that I have a goal of running a half-marathon in 2011* (which of course is something I said I’d never do, that I’d only ever do as much as a 10K), and a goal of visiting two new states. But other than that it’s a lot of projects that require a lot of discipline, projects I want to throw myself into and projects which frankly aren’t interesting now but certainly could be at a later time.

Which is kind of depressing. I feel this list…this list lacks the fun.

And 2011 cannot lack the fun.

It goes against my nature.

So I’m opening up the floor to suggestions. What fun and adventurous things should I strive for in 2011? If I take your suggestion and actually follow through with it, there’s a batch of my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in it for you…..

 

*What the shit am I thinking?