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if you live next door to a graveyard

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If you are not reasonably happy and content now, what are you looking for?
I am reasonably happy and content! Actually I am saving up for a down payment on a small home or condo and working toward that goal. Seeing my savings account balance go up feels amazingly great.

When you are at the top of the world, what do you do to keep worry or fear from dragging you down?
Realizing that your highs don't last forever, but neither do your lows. The only time you need to worry is when that pendulum stops swinging.

When you are low and fighting a difficult fight (e.g. involved in a land war in Asia), what do you do to keep hanging in there until things get better or help arrives?
Keep my expenditure of energy as low as possible.

Where do we go after we die?
Depending on your traditions, you could end up buried underground, placed in a vault, thrown into the sea, burned to ashes and placed in an urn, burned to ashes and scattered somewhere meaningful, or cut up and placed on an open plain to have vultures eat you. Some of the lucky ones get shot into space.

If peace/perfection/tranquility could be placed on one spot in the world, where would you place it?
My bedroom.

What do you like about yourself?
I stay calm during a crisis.

Who's got your back?
I do.

Who was that one person that got away?
I used to have a couple of these, but now I realize that if they hadn't got away then I wouldn't be with who I'm with now. And since the guy I'm with now makes me deliriously happy, all those potentialities are irrelevant.

What trait(s) did you inherit from your parents?
Hard work, determination, good manners, a love of learning, enjoying a spontaneous road trip, not caring too much about others' opinions, seeing the goodness and beauty in everything that crosses my path.

What song(s) sum(s) you up best (not necessary today, but usually)?  Provide youtube/vimeo/etc link if possible.

I love this song, but I ADORE this song when it's sung by Peggy Lee.
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01. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
Moved to Colorado.

02. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I rarely make resolutions and didn't last year. I did set a goal to move to Denver by the end of summer and I did it!

03. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Some high school classmates did but nobody I'm particularly close to.

04. Did anyone close to you die?

05. What countries did you visit?
None this year.

06. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
More money. Maybe go back to school. I think the two of those are mutually exclusive though.

07. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?
August 16, 2013. That was my last day at Deloitte and everyone was so sweet to me. I still miss my coworkers there.

08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Landing a great job and leasing an apartment out of state. Seriously it was maddening but damn! I am unstoppable!

09. What was your biggest failure?
Spending more money than I really needed to.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope. I am very lucky in that regard.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A vintage formica table in excellent condition.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My friend Jackie. She is everything I aspire to be!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My former landlord. He still hasn't sent me my deposit back and I was a great tenant -- paid rent early, never had a complaint from the neighbors, kept my place clean. He won't return my phone calls or emails either and it's frustrating. I don't really wish death upon him, but I kinda wish death upon him. I could really use that money.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Moving. That shit's expensive!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Living in a new city, starting a new job, meeting new people.

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2013?
I have no idea. Probably that Royals song because it's constantly playing in the office.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. happier or sadder?

2. thinner or fatter?
About the same. My weight doesn't fluctuate much. I have clothes from high school that still fit me.

3. richer or poorer?
Richer. I got a raise and a Christmas bonus so right now I am flush. I STILL WANT MY SECURITY DEPOSIT BACK THOUGH, DAMMIT.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Saving money. Taken a few road trips before leaving Ohio.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Spending money on needless things.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
L and I had dinner at a great dim sum restaurant.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
My coworkers in Portland.

22. Did you fall in love in 2012?
I was already there.

23. How many one night stands in this last year?
As many as I've had my entire life -- none.

24. What was your favourite TV program?
Mad Men. L said it was addictive and he was right.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone because it's a waste of time. The one person who crossed a boundary with me last year is someone I will never have anything to do with again but I certainly don't hate him. I rarely even think about him these days.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?
I'm still reading it -- Voodoo in Haiti by Alfred Metraux

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Denver has the best classical and jazz radio stations I have ever heard anywhere.

28. What did you want and get?
A job and apartment in Denver.

29. What did you want and not get?
Nothing of any importance.

30. What were your favorite films of this year?
Spring Breakers.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I don't remember but I turned 41. Those things probably have a lot to do with each other.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Becoming independently wealthy. Traveling. Maid service.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Witchy Beatnik

34. What kept you sane?
Knowing that fucking up is not an option.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
No one really although I've been reading and watching a lot of Camille Paglia over the past several months.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
People getting fired for speaking their minds. Yes, it's not technically a First Amendment issue but it's still a freedom of speech issue. Just because the government doesn't punish you for unpopular beliefs doesn't mean special interest groups won't punish you instead. I can't stand the whole mentality of fomenting mass outrage at someone who doesn't toe the politically correct line and I think it flies in the face of what the First Amendment and the United States of America really stand for: I might disagree with what you say but I'll defend your right to say it. It's easy to regurgitate that platitude when you're in agreement with the masses, but the minute someone says something even remotely unpopular, out come the torches and pitchforks. Liberals and conservatives both do it in equal measure and it's disgusting to see how many people just follow along and don't think for themselves.

37. Who did you miss?
My coworkers at Deloitte. My friends in Columbus. My grandma.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
L's friend SP. I hope we get to hang out more this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Push forward. Keep pushing. Give yourself a little rest, then get back to it without whining or complaining. If you want something the only way to get it is to work for it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
my eyes burn and claws rush to fill them
but in the morning after the night
i fall in love with the light
it is so clear i realize
and now at last i have my eyes

41. Where were you when 2013 began?
In my apartment on West Tulane in Clintonville.

42. Who were you with?
Snuggled up with my cat and my guy.

43. Where will you be when 2013 ends?
In my studio in Capitol Hill.

44. Who will you be with when 2014 starts?
My cat and my guy.

45. How many different states did you travel to in 2012?
Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado.

46. How many concerts did you see in 2013?
Sleepy LaBeef and Cory McAbee with That 1 Guy. I don't really go for the rock 'n' roll shows so much anymore.

47. What are your plans for 2014?
Start a savings account. Become more proficient at my job. Make more friends in my new town.

48. How do you feel about 2013 ending?
My feelings won't change it. It's over and done with so onward and upward!
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I don't know why I get these awful mental blocks about things I HAVE to do. It doesn't matter how much I need to do some things, if I develop a mental block about doing it, I just can't bring myself to do it until it reaches the zero hour. Then I do it, it's not as bad/painful/tedious/time consuming as I envisioned it being, it gets taken care of and that's that. I don't really spend much time kicking myself for not taking care of business sooner because really these things I get mental blocks about are never anything dire (those things I take care of right away), but they usually have a timeline and a due date attached and I always wait until the last minute.

Maybe it's a way to be an adrenaline junkie if you're too scared to base jump or go cliff diving.

Yeah, I'm going to go with that.
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A year ago today I hopped on a plane to travel to a city I've never been to, to meet a guy I'd been emailing, texting, and chatting with off and on for seven years. Now we're back in Denver, I'm at a new job, we share a cute (as he describes it) "beatnik love pad", and tonight we're going to be celebrating our anniversary at Bastien's. How things have dramatically changed since I got that one little friend request on MySpace way back in 2006...
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The first time I ever heard about The Cheesecake Factory, I was in LA. I was on one of those "See the Homes of the Movie Stars" bus tours and as we drove through Beverly Hills, we passed by a Cheesecake Factory. The tour guide made it a point to tell us how good the food was and that we should eat there before we all went back to our god-forsaken hovels in fly-over country. (Not exactly his words, but more like the spirit behind them.)

So about nine months later a Cheesecake Factory opened in Columbus, Ohio and I went there to try it out. It was disgusting and I hated it and I hated the LA tour guide and I hated myself for listening to some dude who made his living driving people around to ogle the homes of the rich and famous.

The End
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My new lunchtime ritual while I'm at work involves me going out to my car, turning it on for a brief few seconds to roll down the windows, then turning it back off so I can read or push my seat back and relax for my allotted hour break. Usually I have the radio tuned to the comedy channel and in the two short times I turn on my car I'll catch a snippet of someone's routine. I take whatever I hear as haphazard wisdom some part of the universe wishes to bestow upon me at that particular conjunction of my personal space time continuum. Today as I turned the car on to roll down my windows, I heard "It's completely normal to think about killing yourself." When I turned the car back on to roll up my windows, it was "Ever notice doing the the stuff you think about doing is never as exciting or fun as you thought it would be?"
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I am officially a resident of Denver, Colorado! No, I don't have my driver license changed yet but I do have a Denver library card and that's what counts the most.

The drive across the country was pretty amazing. I've driven for 8 hour stretches before but never past St. Louis so this was something completely unfamiliar to me. On Saturday, August 17th, after packing up the Jeep, my guy, my cat and I headed west and kept driving until we hit Lawrence, Kansas. We stopped at a Motel 6, mostly because they allow kitties, but also because they are pretty cheap and relatively clean. We didn't see anything William S. Burroughs related like Naked Lunches or Soft Boys during our stay. The next morning we were up and at 'em around 8 and back on the road by 9. I had heard the stories of how agonizing the drive across Kansas is, and I was expecting feelings of oppression and horror vacui, but honestly Kansas was a beautiful sight the entire way. There were hundreds of wind turbines that jutted up from the green fields, looking like some kind of elegant, alien technology. Seeing the farmers in their fields tending the crops that help feed the world even stirred a small feeling of patriotism in me. And the acres of sunflowers! Now I know why Van Gogh painted them all the time. Everything was just so wholesome and clean and good and it made going West feel so much more real to me.

We crossed the Colorado border that afternoon. We planned to stay with a friend of L's until our apartment was ready but since he wasn't going to be home until the next day we decided to stay in the small town of Limon, about an hour outside of Denver. It is a charming little village, with diners and shops along the main drags. Apparently it sprung up when the railroad from Denver to Chicago was being built and just sort of stuck it out once the workers were done with their jobs. Limon was also the site of a pretty gruesome lynching over a hundred years ago.

Another night of sleep at a local motel, then back on the road! You could really see the difference in landscape now. The ground became rocky and the vegetation more sparse. The air does feel thinner and I noticed myself yawning a lot even though I wasn't at all sleepy. Still speeding westward on I-70 when over the endless horizon the city appeared. Denver is a lot larger and denser than I thought it would be and as we drove through the downtown I had to keep myself from being distracted from all the activity. We overshot our street and made an exit on the west side of the downtown, so we took Colfax all the way through town to our destination on the east. This guy greeted us as we passed by:

We finally made to to L's friend SP's place and settled in for the night. What a lovely, lovely man! I only met him briefly when I came to visit last October but I can already tell from his choice of art and the books on his shelf that we will get along splendidly. Oh! I almost forgot how much of a trooper Aleister was during our trip! L had rigged the cat carrier so it sat right between us and Aleister could see and smell his people through the whole ordeal. He did cry and meow a lot during the first three hours of being on the road, but then he settled down and slept or sulked a lot of the way. I am so lucky that L is a cat person. He really loves Aleister and it's so sweet to see those two interact. Honestly, not liking cats is a deal breaker for me. The first time I sent L a photo of Aleister and he immediately texted back "I love him!" I knew this guy was the one for me. Job-wise, I started my new role about three weeks ago now and even though I have a lot more responsibilities it's a much smaller office than my previous job. I actually know everyone's name who works with me! And they've all been really great in welcoming me to the office. We moved into our apartment on Labor Day weekend and finally, as of this week, we're all unpacked and set up. Things are still a little awkward and sometimes I can't find what I need but that'll all work out eventually. Now my next task is to change over my driver license and car plates, which hopefully will be as easy as finding a new job in another state, packing up, driving across the country, and starting a new life!
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