Sunday, September 25, 2011

Summer 2011 Goals Recap

   Since this weekend we officially welcomed Fall 2011, I decided to grab a few minutes to review the goals and best intentions I set forth for myself at the onset of Summer 2011 and see how well things went.  

   Even before walking through the list and analyzing things, though, I feel like it was a pretty good season, all things considered.  Filled with lots of hard work and invigoration, tempered with romance, friendship, and a renewed spiritual appetite.  Yep.  I groove this summer.


   Item #1, Sun Protection:  Yes, I was in the sun a lot this summer, and in fact it was kind of hard for any breathing, moving person to avoid the hot sun in Oklahoma considering our freaky heat wave, but I was a good girl and wore SPF 15, 30, 45, and sometimes even 50.  Every day.  Even though it gave me weird skin.  And even hats and sunglasses.  Not a single dad-gum pink or red sunburn, and that says a lot for someone who falls asleep reading outside.  Regularly.  Success.  10/10 points

   Item #2, Carpe Diem:  Every week was different from the others.  Every day within those weeks was different from its peers.  I have to look back on my calendar, our extensive photo files, or this blog to really absorb all that happened between the end of May and right now, so I know that the summer was filled with variety.  And I am deliciously free of that horrible feeling of frustration that a person gets when the flow has not been went with, so Diems were most likely definitely Carpeied.  10/10 points

Here is our gorgeous youngest nephew visiting the farm in late June.
This was exactly his first taste in his whole life of watermelon.
Look at his clear blue eyes, gazing at nothing while he studies this new flavor.
His smooth pink skin, absorbing every vitamin from that sweet, crispy, mushy fruit.
Please note that Nephew, too, grooves sun protection.
Or at least his awesome mom does.
The glorious, mysterious tasting moment could not have been planned, 
and I am so grateful to have been there when it happened.
Carpe Diem.

   Item #3, Contact with My Chickens, Sans Pressure or Bitterness:  I could have done much better here.  I am deeply happy and grateful for every minute we shared in the flesh, over the phone, and electronically (texting with your teens is an unexpected pleasure).  I was able to reign in my plaguing questions and maternal expectations, leaving room (I think) for easier conversation and affectionate moments.  That much I can definitely celebrate.  And I have a stack of crafty mementos and a long list of memories from this summer with each of the girls that can fuel Handsome and me for a long time with out them.  I can only hope they feel as good or better.
   Where I could have done better (much better) was with gifts and spontaneity.  I know, I know, that sounds shallow on one hand, but it's not.  Something quiet and persistent is reminding me that it's just part of the teenager's language, especially when we're not under the same roof for those daily shows of love to pervade the atmosphere.
   I need to learn how to overcome my fear of buying the wrong styles or sizes, etc, and just try.  If the gifts are wrong, then at least I have tried.  More importantly, at least they know I have tried.  If anyone has experience in this weird arena, it is one area of life where I am happy to listen to suggestions.
   Perhaps the best news here is that my bitterness is beginning to fade.  A renewed spiritual appetite is bringing to the surface lots of forgotten lessons, old wisdom, and timeless strength.  I feel hope.  5//10 points

   Item #4, Family Not Taken for Granted:  I am broken hearted and ashamed to admit that I allowed the summer stay too busy and too farm-centered to go visiting far-flung family as much as I would have liked.  There were a few "reasons," of course. but in the hot light of honesty they boil down to excuses.  And compared to the intense love I feel for those I didn't see enough, the reasons and excuses are pitiful.  I hope to make up for this in the coming cooler months.  Cozy up our hearts with treasured family members.  Cozy up theirs with appreciation for their love and patience.   1/10 points.

My results for Item #3 and Item #4 have me singing 
that Harry Chapin song, Cat's in the Cradle.

   Item #5, Entertain Lushly Without Gaining Weight:  Umm, more or less...  I stayed the course.  I did not make any progress, which is weird considering how much time I spend on the elliptical machine and doing Pilates videos, but the farm was full full full of friends and loved ones nearly every week and weekend throughout the summer.  This means lots and lots and lots of amazing recipes and then indulgent leftovers for lunch several times a week.  Plus I kind of temporarily got myself hooked on heavy cream in my coffee instead of milk, so to end summer on a strong and healthy note is more than a small success.  9/10 points

From left to right, a fraction of one party's spread:
Melissa's Coconut-Lime Cake 
(under the plastic dome in this shot, which is a pity because it is BEAUTIFUL)
Tabbouleh Salad (addictive) and Tina's Mexican Casserole (WOW).

   Item #6, Tenth Wedding Anniversary:  It was amazing.  Just lovely, both in terms of worldly adventure and emotional, intimate celebration.  Handsome and I have weathered a lot of storms in our time as a couple, some of our own making and others definitely not, and I expect there will be many more in the future.  That's life.  But this milestone anniversary was one for the record books, and I was ready for our trip early.  EARLY.  I had the house clean, my bags packed, my phone calls made, and my hair washed and combed BEFORE time to go.  I was even wearing deodorant.  He nearly fainted from the shock.  10/10 points

You are so welcome, groom of mine, 
for beckoning that Mariachi band over to our seaside table
and then urging you with my eyebrows to tip him 
generously for their anniversary serenade,
knowing you had no small bills in your wallet.
And knowing how much you loathe Mariachi bands.
I love you so.

   Item #7, Writing Regularly:  If you are a writer of anything and you too feel the physical need to write, then you can identify with the cleansing sensation you enjoy when you abide that craving.  You can also appreciate the clogginess that comes from NOT writing.  I am happy to report that this summer I spent more time churning out words than I have in years.  The funny thing is that by writing I felt motvated to do everything else in life better and more passionately.  My mind was more alert; I had better ideas (some would call them GENIUS), and I could focus and spend time more joyfully,  having already satisfied that weird itch.  10/10 points

   Item #8, Farm Contributions:  This one is tricky to evaluate, but I am going to go with " marginal success" because of one very particular afternoon in July when Handsome got down-to-brass-tacks-confetti-worthy A-N-G-R-Y at me for lifting a truck bed full of horse grain into the feed bins.  It is NOT a difficult job; it sounds a lot harder than it actually is.  But let's just say that I could have done that one job and no other work all summer long and he STILL would have been chagrined.  9/10 points

For the record, Chunk-Hi and I are the only farm residents 
who fully appreciate the random joy of confetti.
It's always a party, but it's a quiet party.
Just the two of us, crusted in paper bits and enjoying life.

   Item #9, Not Cheating at Book Club:  Despite the fact that last-page glimpsing is a healthy life practice, I did not cheat and pre-read the end of any of our books.  Not even once.  I read them all in the normal front-to-back fashion, with the excepotion of The Shack, which I didn't finish at all.  
   The day of that particular Book Club discussion dinner, I was trying to skim and cram in the remaining pages as the ladies were arriving, setting out their beautiful sweets and savories and colorful bottled drinks.  But the material proved to be too rocky for me then.  Oh well.  Book Club is fantastic, and I am so glad to have these women and this practice in my life right now!  More on that soon!  8/10 points

   Item #10, Self Loathing:  UGH.  It's been a learning curve.  My life is amazing.  Truly.  Even the hardest parts are brimming with learning opportunities, mercy, and happy surprises.  I do not deserve all of these blessings, but I am working on making the most of it all and trying not to mess everything up.  Wish me some luck.  10/10 points

   So, overall, I am 82% to goal for Summer 2011.  
Funny, because my heart feels a lot better 
than just eighty-two percent full.  


  1. Aw, what a wonderful post! It looks like you've done well and those were nice goals. Is that a buffalo?! Do you have goats too?!? I get crazy around farm animals, love them!

  2. Handsome_Her words not mine...September 26, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    You feel better than 82% because you are 100% all day, every day. You are the best wife and friend a guy could ask for in this world. You KEEP your home open to family and never shy away from a party. Your friends, family, husband, and children are all lucky to have you, even if they dont know it yet!

  3. Oof, the computer ate my comment. One more try.
    A: You are worthy; stop with the non-groovy self loathing!!
    B: My summer has been more better with you in it!
    C: I dig the new page design.


  4. The photo of the little guy and his watermelon is the best! Those eyes as he discovers the sweetness!


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