Monday, June 18, 2012

Tick.. Tick.. Tick...

It is amazing how quickly time passes us by.  Remember when we were children when the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation seemed to move like a snail?  And the time until the end of the school year always seems light-years away.  Now it seems as if I blink my eyes and days have passed.

I've already been in my new home now for over a month and it certainly does feel like home.  I've had some friends over for visits which has been a wonderful experience... having space to entertain and being able to have them come through my front door rather than through my parent's garage.

There is a peaceful quiet here - no one to start talking to me as soon as I walk through the door.  My thoughts are my own and things are done on my own time.  When I want company the telephone is always close at hand.

I can't help but still feel trapped though.. not in my parent's home (as wonderful and they were and continue to be I yearned for a place to call my own) but in the rut of a job.  While I do enjoy the work I do, there is always so much to be done - so few resources at my disposal - and very little pay.  Never would I have dreamed that at this stage in my life I'd be a low level cog in a retail machine - living pay check to pay check.

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for being able to have had the means to move out into the world on my own, but there is no such thing as really saving for the future.  There is no room for significant growth.  I lay in bed after the alarm goes off remembering all the many things that await me on the desk when I get to work, and leave knowing how much more will be awaiting my return the next day.  And for what?  To eek out an existence?

There are times it infuriates me to know I worked so hard in school and spent so much money (and more to spend since the loans are not fully paid) to be doing what any person off the street could be trained to do... making far less than I ever imagined I'd be making after all that hard work and effort.

I feel like I threw my time and money away on a teaching degree - all I have left after years of sacrifice is a piece of paper known as a diploma.  Don't even ask me where it currently resides.. I have no idea.  All I know is it is a certificate that yields nothing.

A friend of mine was over for dinner this weekend and she is in the same boat.  She too has her teaching degree and has no leads on any substantial possibility for a job.  She spent this year as a substitute teacher and summarized the experience perfectly: "demeaning".  Here she is, late 30s, a degree.. has raised a child of her own - was a dance teacher for years and the best she can do with her degree is play babysitter in a classroom setting.

She (like myself and so many other substitutes) know how it feels when some of the faculty and staff look down their noses at you or talk down to you as if you were no more knowledgeable than the students you are there to teach.  Not to mention how it feels to be in front of a classroom of strangers each day, many of whom have made it their personal quest to get you to break down into tears by the end of the period.  All for $80 a day.

There seems to be no end to district downsizing in sight and no better options for those of us on the outside dreaming of being on the inside.  And with each passing day that dream fades into a cloud of bitterness and contempt for the whole field itself.

While I am so thankful (Deo Gratias!) for the new home in my life and making that New Year's resolution come true.. the idea of being stuck in this rudimentary position any longer makes me want to cry.  As my 30th birthday approaches in less than a month - I have to wonder what lies ahead for me -- especially since my 20s were not filled with prosperous change, but stagnant repetition.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The new home

People keep asking me if it feels strange to be living in my own home.  I guess I haven't really had time to just sit back and enjoy it -- almost every day for the past two weeks all I have done is move things to the new place, unpack and clean.  I never knew I had so much stuff!!

Today is actually my fist day of not leaving the apartment at all.  I did this on purpose.  I'm so tired of running errands and being in my car, I decided it was time for me just to enjoy being "home". 

It does feel nice to have my own place - though the full impact has still to set in.  My mind is constantly planning and doesn't rest until everything is done.. which has yet to happen with this move.  Every time I turn around I remember needing to bring something else over - or am ordering something and waiting for it to be delivered so I can set it up.  I keep telling myself I am not going to officially invite friends over to see the place until "everything is just how I want it", but that may take a while.  hahaha! They may have to settle for the unfinished product.

I am indeed very happy here.  For some reason I just HAD to be out on my own by the time I was 30.  There was no real reason for this other than I didn't like the idea of still living at home at such an...ahem.. "advanced" age.  There is a strong social stigma for men who still live with their folks.. and I wanted to break that - and be able to say I moved out in my 20s.  And I'm proud to say I made that happen.  :)

It's one thing to be the spinster of the family.. it's another to be the spinster living in his parent's "basement". 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Moving on up!

That's right... I'm moving on up! Literally!  This week I will be signing a lease on a small one bedroom apartment on the third floor of a beautiful Victorian style home here in the area.  It's actually on a street where I have imagined living since I was a kid.  To say I'm excited would be an understatement!!

As I said the apartment is small.. but it's a good size for just me - and the rent is in the ball park I was looking for.  It's also very close to home (my parent's home) so I will have easy and free access to laundry facilities. hahaha!

I have already been busy packing my things and trying to plan this move which I'm anticipating will be happening Friday.  There is so much to consider!  I'm trying to remember the layout of the place so I can try to decide what I am bringing with me and what would go where.  I'm also finding out I will need some new furniture.. but will be "making do" for now.  I shudder to think of the ugly old white (now getting kind of yellow) chest of drawers I will be using until I can find an affordable replacement.  We can't all be Donald Trump,

My sister in law stopped by today and dropped of a basket of supplies as an apartment warming present.. a laundry basket that is.  It has a lot of little things I'll need to get started, some of which I hadn't even thought of!  It really made my day!

There has already been a slight glitch in my moving plan.  I was planning on moving all the boxes (there really aren't THAT many) myself as well as some of the smaller furniture.. then having my two brothers help get the big stuff up to the third floor.  Well.. my older brother who was to be the power house in all this had to have minor surgery on his arm - leaving him unable to lift for a few weeks.  Grrr!  So... that means my younger brother and I will be doing the heavy lifting.  And for those that know me know this may be a comical sight indeed. -- I'm not too worried.. most of the furniture will be manageable.  The only thing I will really need help with is a large television cabinet -- I'm not going to even attempt to move that sucker -- that's what relatives and friends are for.  There must be one I can sucker.. I mean convince... to move it for me.  :)

I have mixed emotions about this move (which came a lot quicker than my original plan).  Naturally I'm super excited and anxious - but there is also a part of me that laments leaving the place I have called home for my whole life (ok.. since I was age 2).  It'll be funny to use another address - see the sunrise and set through different windows.  I'm also worried about finances.. money always being an issue. People keep asking me what I need for the new place.. my answer is cash or gift cards!!! haha!

Last year at this time I never would have thought this move to be possible... and although I am not moving into some huge-fancy apartment, I am very thankful to have found the place I did... and so quickly.  The future, even uncertain.. seems some what brighter than it did before.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Prejudice and Discimination - Have we risen above it?

Ask any high school student what it means to be prejudice.  You may hear about the 20th century conflicts over African American equality.  You may even hear about gays and lesbians, immigrants and even unfair work place practices towards women.

So often discrimination and prejudice are thought of in very clear cut terms.  There is a danger in this.  What happens when the prejudice is not part of the established curriculum examples we studied in school?  How do we as a society react? How do we as individuals react?

These questions have been popping into my mind a lot lately.  This week is Holy Week for Roman Catholics - one of the most sacred times of the year... as well as one of the times we as individual Catholics have to endure all sorts of prejudice from those who dislike our Church as a whole.

I can bet any reader right now can rattle off a litany of examples of how they or someone they know has been mistreated (by any definition of the term) by a member of the Catholic Church.  Such feelings and examples are not to be disputed here in this post.  What I do ponder are OUR responses to what we feel are injustices.

Many of the great civil rights leaders of our History textbooks achieved great change and cultural awareness in their life times.  Did they do this by attacking those who attacked them?  Did they fight hatred with hatred?  Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr advocated non-violence and peaceful dialogue over mud slinging and slander.  How do we react when we are wronged today?

Since the start of Lent, my Facebook wall has been flooded with disturbing pictures and sayings aimed directly at insulting the Catholic faith - the pope - the clergy - fill in the blank.  These examples of Internet graffiti do little to help one's cause but do cause pain to those who might already be suffering because of the struggles they endure WITH their Churches. 

When one feels wronged a response is expected, but the style and integrity of that response is what makes the difference.  Mud slinging and hurtful rhetoric do little good to anyone or any cause. 

On any issue I have seen that all sides are responsible for the same acts of immaturity and all equality capable of sinking to a lower level.  Who will take the high road?  Who will act as an individual instead of hiding behind the "movement".  Who takes ownership of their own actions and attitudes rather than just being one of the many?

In addition to enduring the anti-Catholic slangs and pictures that inevitably come about any time there is a major religious observance or holiday, many of my friends and I have become the object of racial prejudice as well.

"Racist" has become the defense of many co-workers anytime a white manager/co-worker tries to reprimand a black co-worker for any work infraction(s).  I use the primitive terms of "white" and "black" not out of offense but because I never hear myself referred to as European American - and the term Caucasian relates back to the old concepts of racial hierarchy: Caucasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid.  So naturally, I don't like those terms.

In these work related cases I don't think the racist in the work place are the white employees whose jobs it is to make sure EVERYONE is doing their jobs properly.  I think the racism can be placed at the feet of those who use race and color as a shield to hide behind and excuse them from accepting blame for their own actions or lack of actions (relating to their work performance).

There is no such thing as "reverse discrimination" or "reverse prejudice".  Discrimination and prejudice are not just one way streets.  Blacks can be just as guilty as whites.  Sadly, there is a strong cultural taboo from anyone lamenting these instances.... at least not out loud.

This entry was not designed to give a thesis of answers - but to ask a list of questions.  In what way do we as individuals respond to racism, discrimination and prejudice?  What are our individual prejudices that we ALL do have?  And how do we let them affect how we interact with each other?  Where is the difference between pay back, getting even or causing harm?  Is there a difference?

Perhaps our previous examples of prejudice and discrimination stemming from the 1950s/60s Civil Rights movements and Women's Rights movements are no longer adequate to address the models of today.  Perhaps our teaching and examples need to be updated and expanded upon - beginning not in our textbooks, but in our own lives.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Article: SNAP's Defenders Show True Colors

Over the past year I have seen two priests I know suspended under accusations of abuse.  Both cases have shaky evidence at best, but both have resulted in the end of the public ministry of these two priests.  Even if (WHEN) it is decided they are innocent the initial charges were enough to ruin their roles as active priests and stain their reputations permanently.

Good priests are paying the price for the corrupt ones.  The media feeds on these stories - whether there is solid evidence to support them or not - like sharks to blood in the water.  These men are guilty until proven innocent.

Anyone now can make a claim against a local priest and his fate will be sealed before the case even makes it to court.

This does not excuse the horrible behavior of some, but does it excuse the treatment of so many others who have done nothing wrong?

People who thrive on these types of "scandal" stories make me sick - just as much as those who have done such terrible things.  These reports and media frenzies hurt the faithful who must endure even more contempt and public scrutiny towards the faith they still cling to - because they know the endless source of GOOD that faith has done throughout the centuries, despite the errors and mistakes of its members.

Below is an article from The Catholic League about the organization known as SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)... an organization that seems to spring to action every time a priest sneezes.  I find a lot of what this article has to say very interesting.

It is not my intention to excuse the actions of the guilty -- or to justify any positions Church officials take on any hot topic of the day - but I think people should take note that this anti-clergy movement is hateful and destructive.. not only to good priests, but to countless individuals in the pews.


March 21, 2012
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on those who continue to defend the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP):
Last week we released a report on SNAP that showed beyond a reasonable doubt what an utter fraud the organization is (click here to read it). It was not an essay; it was not an op-ed; it was not conjecture; it was not our opinion. It was the voice of David Clohessy, the director of SNAP. When coupled with our report last summer on the proceedings of its national convention (it offered irrefutable proof of its hate-filled agenda) it cannot be maintained by any serious observer what SNAP is all about.
The credibility of those who continue to defend this wholly discredited organization is on the line. That would include the editorial board of the New York Times and the Newark Star-Ledger (the latter offered a particularly vicious statement), as well as pundits such as Andrew Sullivan. That the near-moribund National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority should weigh in is not surprising: though SNAP has nothing to do with women’s rights, it has everything to do with attacking the Catholic Church, and that is music to the ear of radical feminists. But it is Frank Bruni, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, who needs to be answered more than anyone; he loves SNAP.
Bruni notes that “some Catholic leaders have contended” that what drives wide media coverage of the issue of priestly sexual abuse is “an anti-Catholic and anti-religious bias.” Wrong, he says, it’s because of the “magnitude of the violation of trust.” No, sir, it isn’t. If it were, then the Times would be covering the incredible explosion of child sexual abuse by rabbis (in Brooklyn alone, 85 arrests have taken place in the last two years, yet the Times has never reported on any of this). Moreover, the media treat with a yawn the alarming rate of child sexual abuse in the public schools. So what else, if not anti-Catholicism, would be driving the disproportionate coverage? I’m still waiting for the evidence that I am wrong.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Evening with Quentin Crisp....

When the movie Milk came out a few years ago, I had no intention of going to see it.  I really had no idea what it was about, and I certainly had no idea who Mr. Harvey Milk was.  I wasn't even aware it had anything to do with gay rights... I just knew it was a political movie starring Sean Penn... who looked anything but sexy in that role.

It wasn't until it was being released on DVD that I became aware of the story line and decided to watch the film.. which has since been added to my ever growing list of amazing movies.  Since then, I have also researched the life of Harvey Milk via the Internet to learn more about this amazing man and what he stood for.

Recently I discovered a man who was a famous - he would say INFAMOUS - gay icon of the twentieth century, Mr. Quentin Crisp.

If you're under the age of 35, you may not have ever heard his name before.  I know I hadn't.  Since I rarely watch television anymore... the Netflix database has become quite good at choosing movies and programs I would find interesting.  And so "it" decided I might like a movie called An Englishman in New York.

The image for the movie depicts a thin old man (British actor John Hurt) wearing an over-sized floppy fedora, with a scarf tied around his neck -- with makeup on.  "Ugh, another movie depicting gays as feminine." was my first reaction.  True, I love films such as "Too Wong Foo - Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar", but I'm kind of over the whole "gay = wants to be a woman" representation.  But hey, the Netflix database can't be wrong.  So I watched the film.

Within five minutes I was hooked.  It was one of those movies that pulled me in and I got lost in the storyline.  I didn't want it to end - in fact, I have re-watched it three times since.

An Englishman in New York is about the later years of the life of author and public speaker, Mr. Quentin Crisp.   I couldn't help but be captivated by the life of this simple man who lived life to be himself.

He spoke often about developing one's own "style" - the way in which we live our lives and present ourselves to the world.  For Mr. Crisp (at least by my interpretation), how we view ourselves and present ourselves to others is far more important than the opinions of "society".  Our "style" is our lifelong self development of image and personality.. and finding happiness in one's self rather than being so reliant on others.

Again, this is what I got out of it.

Mr. Crisp wrote an autobiography of his earlier life - growing up in extremely homophobic Great Britain - of the 1930s ... which was also made into a movie in the 1970s called, The Naked Civil Servant.  He presented himself openly as a homosexual - wearing makeup, coloring his hair and painting his nails in order to expose the world to the reality that homosexuals do exist and are active parts of the world at large.  For this, he was often beaten on the streets and even arrested for simply being himself - exhibiting his own style in a world where deviation from the norm was not only frowned upon, but even illegal.

For most such a life may have caused a person to retreat from the world and shut down... not Quentin Crisp.  He continued to live his life following his own sense of style and self worth.  He did not turn angry or bitter - but shared his experiences and insights with others.. with anyone who would listen.

Coming to the United States in the late 1970's, he fell in love with NYC and its sense of individuality.  He quickly felt right at home and developed a new life as a renowned public speaker - author - actor - and gay icon (though I'm sure he might cringe at the latter).  His interviews and talks are available on - and he still has quite a devoted audience, some 13 years after his death.

While I may not agree with his EVERY word, I think he had some keen insights on humanity - especially the value of ones own self and nurturing what makes one unique and happy - drawing identity from our personalities rather than only what we do for a living or the society in which we live. -- And naturally, I adore his whit and sarcasm.

His entire life, his telephone number and address were made public in the local telephone book - the latter portion of his life - the Manhattan Directory.  People were always welcomed to call him and chat - or send him letters to which he would generally reply with some sort of response.  He thrived on human interaction and kindness.  It's a shame he wasn't alive now... I would have definitely called him to say "hello"!

Some quotes from Mr. Crisp:

Fashion is what you adopt when you don't know who you are.

It's no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying, 'Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.' By then, pigs will be your style.

Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level.  It's cheaper.

The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency.

The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.

There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dust doesn't get any worse.

Never tell your mother anything; whatever you say will one day be used against you.

The curiosity of the neighbors about you, is a tribute to your individuality, and you should encourage it.

Of course I lie to people. But I lie altruistically - for our mutual good. The lie is the basic building block of good manners. That may seem mildly shocking to a moralist - but then what isn't?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Moving right along...

Plans are still under-way for my move in the up coming months.  I have been researching apartments in my area and have found that there are indeed positive options in my price range.  I do insist upon a place where utilities (at least most of them) will be included - I find it helps better with making a realistic budget... less surprises to worry about.

I'm excited and scared at the same time about this eventual move.  It's something I wanted for a very long time - but it can also be a bit overwhelming when I think of all the many things that come along with living on my own.  Thankfully, I do have a supportive network of family in the area who are there to help me out and assist me with the transition... not to mention my wonderful friends.

Right now I'm looking at June or July - depending on what apartments are on the market in my price range at that time. Ideally I would like to be out by my birthday which is in early July.  I just have this mental need to be out before my 30th birthday.  I know it really shouldn't matter but for some reason I always promised myself I'd be on my own by 30.  Even now on the eve of it actually happening it feels sad that I had to wait this long before being financially able to make the move.  It's like I need to make up for lost time.

While I am very grateful for the new position I have at my store - working in personnel as a training coordinator - the hourly pay raise was not very significant - which means I will still be living pay check to pay check.  The only difference is that the full time status will give me the opportunity to be living pay check to pay check in my own apartment.

I enjoy the work I do much more than when I was on the sales floor.  I have some great coworkers who can help the day sail by - and I don't have to deal with the attitudes of customers like I did before.

It does sadden me though to think I am STILL in a retail setting after all these years.  Last month I "celebrated" my 11 year anniversary.  In that time I earned two degrees and a teaching certification, yet I am not much better off than when I started.  - Though I DO make better money than if I was a substitute teacher full time, or even taught in a Catholic school full time.  (isn't that sad??)

It's pretty depressing to think of all the money and time I spent on my education.. and what little I have to show for it.  The economy is not picking up and things don't seem much more promising for teachers in the area.  In fact, I think I have mentally accepted the very real possibility that I may never be a teacher.  Not that I'm happy with that mind you.. but I have accepted it as a reality.

The stigma of working retail - albeit in a different capacity - still lingers.  I ran into an old friend today who asked if I was teaching.  I told him no, but that I was working in human resources now.  "The government?" was for some reason the first thing he thought of.  When I told him it was for the same company I've been with, he laughed and was surprised I was "still there".

Sigh.. yes, we are judged quite often by what we "do for a living".  That will never change.  And you know what?  It's not always easy to brush off.. not when it happens so often.

I'm not sure what's worse though.. the ones who look down on me because I don't have some fancy career or those that feel it is their duty to find me work as a teacher.  This gets annoying fast.  "Go down south! I have a friend who did that..." blah blah blah.  Everyone has a friend who did something wonderful.  Ever notice that?

I know myself and what I want from life.  While it's true I always wanted to be a teacher I was never one of those people who wanted to live for their career.  If I up and transplanted myself what would I be gaining? I'd have a job, but at the expense of my family and friends.  What good would having a better pay check and better place to live if the people I love and care about aren't there to share it with me?

I have an uncle who moved out of state for a similar reason.  He now has a very good career that he could not find in WNY, but he's miserable there away from his family and network of close friends - and he's been there for over a decade.  No thank you.  I won't sacrifice one for the other.

What I have learned over the past year is that things can change for the better in ways we never expected.  I have a new position that I enjoy - making going into work less torturous - and now thanks to full time status, am looking to get a place to call my own... something that was impossible last year when I was working retail part time and substitute teaching.

So I guess one never knows what will happen next.  What I do know though is the next person who snubs me for where I work or who feels it is their mission to point out how their friends succeeded where I haven't is going to end up with a black eye. - But after Easter.. I gave up inflicting bodily harm on others for Lent.  :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I have been trying SO hard to stay positive and make things work.  I have been so intent on moving forward, but the bubble ALWAYS bursts.  It may stay there for a little while, but it pops in the end.. and I'm left where I was before.

Everything is always out of reach.  You ever had that feeling?  You can almost touch it and grab it.. pull towards you what you've wanted and work for.  Then SNATCH.  Gone.

It's been happening for quite some time now.  I'm not over it yet.. nor am I used to it.

Sometimes you just want to stay down. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tea Time

My family are big coffee drinkers.  When I was growing up, I remember Dad taking out the big air tight can of coffee in the morning, opening the lid and letting us kids smell the coffee grounds.  I still love that smell - I love the smell of coffee.. I just hate the taste of it.  Isn't that odd?  To love the smell but dislike the taste?

Once in a while at large family dinners or when Mom had guests over, tea would be served.  I never remember her using a teapot - only a microwave and the pedestal tea cups that went with her Corelle dishes.  For some reason seeing them drink tea meant the occasion was something special - and in our house - having any company over was special (especially since Mom would go nuts cleaning in anticipation of a visit).

I tried tea when I was a kid but never cared for that either.  It was less bitter than coffee, so I think after giving it a try over and over again I became accustomed to it. When I was in college, I always sat at my desk or on campus with a cup of hot tea at my finger tips as I poured over the course work.  The subtle flavors were always soothing and had a calming and refining feel.

Since college, I found myself drinking gallons of tea a day.  Okay.. maybe not GALLONS, but a lot!  I have an electric kettle that always seems to be on - and I'm the only one who drinks the tea.  I imagine I average about 12 cups (8 oz cups) a day - perhaps more on my day off from work.

Just before Christmas I went with my mother to a local antique shop.  One thing my mother has come to appreciate about having a gay son is that she has someone to go antiquing with!  Anywho... there is a little "restaurant" next to the shop we go to called "The White Linen Tea Room".  They serve high tea there, run a catering business and make the best scones I've ever had.  Usually I never pay attention to the place as I don't know many people who would enjoy high tea - and I never saw the pull of loose tea.  Why get loose tea when I can get the tea bag stuff at the grocery store for a few bucks less?

We ventured in to pick up a present for a friend of ours (they sell some interesting little gifts in addition to tea) - and of course to have a free scone they always give to customers.  I decided to pick up a box of loose tea and give it a chance.

The sales lady was very friendly and started telling me all about how to make tea properly.  I kept thinking, "umm.. you boil the water, drop the tea bag in (or infuser in this case) and PRESTO - tea!".  I never knew that keeping the tea bag or tea infuser in the water too long will spoil the taste of the tea.  Some teas are only meant to steep for three minutes, some six minutes.  After that, they can become bitter and the taste change drastically.

Who would have thunk it?  All this time I was making tea the wrong way?

So I went home, followed the directions and brewed my new loose tea in my teapot (I like the formality that can go with the tea culture so I always used a teapot and cups and saucers).  I let the tea steep for the five minutes it called for.  MMMmm!  So good!  If you're a fan of tea, I highly recommend treating yourself to some loose tea!  The flavors are better than anything I've had from a box off the shelf from Tops.

Tonight for the first time, I even noticed there are directions for making the tea properly on the box of a brand I do buy from the stores (I can't afford to be a total tea snob).  It's only supposed to steep for five minutes versus just leaving the tea bags in the pot like I always have.  So.. I tried it tonight (yes, I'm drinking some now).  Again - what a difference!  It does taste so much better!

I'd share my findings with my Mom, but she now only serves coffee to company.  Shame.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year - New Game Plan

Happy New Year to all my friends and readers out there in cyber land!!!  I hope you rang in the New Year safely and with the ones you love.

It is traditional for people to make New Year's resolutions.. promises of change and improvement that they intend to keep as the new year unfolds -- a fresh start.  Usually however, these resolutions fall by the wayside by February.

I however have a battle plan for this year to make some positive changes.  I do want to focus on eating healthier -- though I'm not doing the typical drastic dieting that many people do at the start of the year.. which causes their momentum to burn out in a week or so.  It will have to be a very gradual change with small baby steps towards an overall change in my eating habits.  My biggest obstacle (right now) is getting rid if the Christmas cookies!!!  Ugh, home-made cookies are my weakness!!

My second goal, which I have already begun working on, is my financial situation.  For those who perhaps don't know, I still live with my parents at the ripe old age of 29.  While I do have a small section of the house to myself consisting of bedroom, bathroom and small living room (plus my own entrance and patio), I crave my own freedom and address - not to mention more SPACE to call my own.

As my folks will tell you, saving money was never my strong suit.  With my new job position at work which has given me full time status, I have begun to make better financial plans for my savings.  I have gradually cut back on my spending - something else that is being accomplished in baby steps - but showing positive improvements.  I have enough money saved up for a month's rent... which seems rather insignificant to most, but is a far cry from not having a savings account at all over the past few years.

I have allotted a chunk of my pay check to be directly deposited into my savings account - the equivalent of what I plan to spend on rent per month - to build up funds.  I hope to be in the situation to move into an apartment before Christmas season 2012... but if it takes a few more months of savings past that, that works too... it's a fluid time line depending on what I can set aside and what apartments in my price range and area I'm looking to live become available.

One positive aspect of my past spending is that I have most of the essentials for when I do move out.  I have a small sofa and living room furniture - lamps - a full set of dishes - kitchen utensils and silverware - pots and pans - hell, I even have a vacuum cleaner.  It's now a matter of saving up for the rent and utilities.

It seems like a daunting challenge at times, but one I am passionate about and know I will achieve.  I look forward with great enthusiasm to achieving and sustaining this goal in particular and know it will be a positive change and step forward in my life.

I'm ready for you, 2012.. this is going to be a great year!!