Monday, January 23, 2012

Confessions of a Closet Pack-Rat.

Remember that list of achievable ambitions that I so confidently listed for the entire blogosphere to read on the first day of 2012? Well, it just so happens that over the MLK, Jr. weekend, I decided that it was high time to make good on one of them. All of my closets have reached an unacceptable level of chaos. The worst one being the coat closet. Theoretically, the coat closet is the one closet in an entire home that should be kept somewhat orderly since that's the one guests are more likely to use and see. And it's all about putting up a good front and not letting visitors catch a true glimpse of the residents living in that home, now isn't it? Transparency was so early 2000s.

I am by no means in the closet about being a pack-rat. [I chose the term pack-rat over hoarder because hoarder sounded so negative, but referring to myself as a type of vermin doesn't exactly scream positive either.] I'm just at my best as a pack-rat when it comes to my closets.

I shamefully present to you Exhibit A:
I'm a little bit embarrassed that I just opened up my closet for the entire world [or my loyal 3 readers] to see. Welcome guests. It's a mess in here, but I'm sure if I try hard enough I can fit all of your worldly possessions into my closet for the duration of your visit.

Y'all. I don't really know what pushed me over the edge to where I reached the point of it finally being enough, but in true HP fashion it was probably something miniscule. You know, like I looked down to discover a safety pin or something on the floor. Who am I kidding? You can't even see the floor.

I am amazed at the stuff I found in there. Need an example or 12? Let's see, I found cough drops that expired in 2006. [For those of you keeping score: I didn't even live there in 2006 which means that I had obviously been lugging those jokers around from town to town with me for awhile. Especially considering cough drops have a shelf life of at least 32 years.] I found unsent greeting cards. One of which was a birthday card for my dad. [Let this be a lesson to you: when you buy a greeting card, mail it.] I found never given gifts. This included parts of a baby shower gift. [The intended recipient is now a toddler and also has a younger sibling.] Essentially, my coat closet was the place where my good intentions went to die. Until now.

I proudly present to you Exhibit B:
I feel like a whole new girl. Well, perhaps that's a bit dramatic, but at least I no longer have to battle inanimate objects each morning when I suit up to brave the cold outdoors. BTDubs, if you know of anyone who needs an umbrella, I have no less than a half dozen for sharing. See that pink tweed coat in the "before" picture? It's free to a good home if you're interested. It will be great for the nights that you hop into your Delorian and travel back to the time when tweed coats were cool.

My favorite discovery in the atrocity that was my pre-2012 coat closet? My long-last earbags. I misplaced them a couple of years ago, and to be honest, have mourned the loss of them each and every cold morning/afternoon/night that I've had to walk the pup. They are the most amazing and incredible ear warmers. Ever. And I'm not even getting paid for this endorsement. I was so very excited to find them that I immediately put them on and wore them around my apartment for a little while. Cash looked at me as if I had lost my mind which was really no different than any other Saturday afternoon.

The great coat closet clean-out has sparked some sort of reorganization firestorm in my life. I've declared 2012 the year of decluttering. I suspect that it will be such a success that in 2013, "decluttering" will be a new word added to the dictionary. Because the dictionary is something that needs no decluttering whatsoever.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chocolate Lab Tattoos.

George Orwell was really on to something back in 1984 when he wrote from The Animal Farm that Big Brother is watching.

You see, Al Gore's information super-highway is so super, that Blogger runs these reports and provides stats so I can see how many people read my blog, the cities and countries where my blog is being read, and the traffic sources of how folks stumble upon this little blog o' mine. News Flash: 2012 is the year of the nerd. It's going to be MY year.

Because I am not a regular blogger, some days I have 3 readers, other days no readers, and then other days like 60 or so. The numbers confirm what I've always known: I'm keeping my day job.

For the life of me I can't figure out why anyone from Australia, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Singapore, or Spain wants to read my blog. Yet, folks from those countries are reading it. And now a message for these visitors in particular: "Hello friends, please don't form your opinion of the United States and its citizens based on what you read here. Or see on TMZ. Sincerely, Just Me...HP." I get traffic from cities and states all across the US too. Primarily Georgia, which is not surprising given my own coordinates. But there's also New York and California and points in between. You know, I didn't even realize that the internet had made it to Kansas yet, but it seems that it finally did back in the summer.

Numbers and cities are fun, but what I find to be most interesting is the traffic sources. The most common link is Facebook. Next, from other blogs that have my blog linked to theirs. But it's the Google search results that I love. For example, just this week people found my blog after searching the following: Chocolate Labs with Crayons and Chocolate Lab Tattoos. I'm intrigued. Like, I wonder if the person was searching what happens when a Chocolate Lab eats crayons. My dog has eaten practically everything, but praise Jesus he's never tried crayons. They are the gateway drug to Sharpies, you know. And then what's with the Chocolate Lab Tattoos? Does this person want a tattoo of a Chocolate Lab? As much as I love my dog, the teeth marks in the legs of my dining room chair is permanent reminder enough of his presence in my life. To the person out there considering a tattoo of a Chocolate Lab: Proceed with caution because when the next canine companion comes into your life and it's a Poodle, she's going to be quite cranky when she is constantly eye-level with that big loyal Lab plastered on your calf that you look at too as a regular reminder of what you once had.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Way I See It.

Benjamin Franklin once said "three can keep a secret if two are dead." Ben was a wise man.

On Wednesday night, the media prematurely released information about a forthcoming vote by the Board of Regents that will consolidate eight University System of Georgia institutions into four. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday of next week.

This current event is of particular interest to me for the following reasons:
1. I am an alumna [what a weird word] of one of these institutions.
2. I am a former employee of the same institution.
3. I am a current employee of the institution that is proposed to be merged with the aforementioned institution.
4. I am a state of Georgia taxpayer.
5. I hold an advanced degree in HR & Organization Development.

So. The way I see it, I find myself in a very unique position. I'm not the only person in this position, mind you, but nonetheless it makes for an interesting perspective that the majority will not have. By the grace of our forefathers and the 1st Amendment, I am going to share my perspective because writing is one of my primary methods of learning and processing information.

When I put on my alumna hat, my initial thought was "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Nobody can mess my school, and anyone who tries needs to take a step back." You see, as far as I'm concerned, that institution is one of the greatest places in the world. It's a beautiful campus. It's the place where I met my best friends. Yes, I have the 6 (soon to be 7!) bridesmaids dresses hanging in my closet to prove it. It's the place where I gained confidence and became a leader. It's the place where I gained a deeper appreciation for some of the values and traditions that make this country we live in so great. It's the place that I made myself and my mama and daddy proud by being the first person in my family to graduate from college. It's the place where I attained my first ever real job. As an employee, it's the place where for the first time in my "adult life", I felt that I was making a difference in the lives of other people. This place provided me with multiple opportunities that I would have never had otherwise. Opportunities that have shaped and changed my life into what it is and is continuously becoming.

When I put on my current employee hat, my initial thought was "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Am I still going to have a job?". I'll get to my other thoughts momentarily, but I'll address this one first. It's human nature to immediately switch into flight or fight mode when our instincts sense potential threat or danger. [Yep, that quality education at institution #1 taught me that.] I'm a single girl with a single income. I enjoy and appreciate things like a roof over my head, cable television, and three meals a day. [I hope that's the only thing I ever have in common with prisoners.] I have always been blessed with the sense of security that comes with having a job. I just wrote about that earlier this week as a matter of fact. And you see, my job is not just a job that simply pays the bills. It's a profession. It's something that I enjoy because it enables me to help others see the opportunities that are potentially available to them when it comes to improving themselves and their own lives. Speaking of opportunity, allow me to share my other initial thought when wearing my current employee hat which was "What does this mean for my students?" The missions of these two institutions are different so I began to consider the potential impact that this merger would have on any current and future students at institution #2. Would they still be able to have access to higher education? Working at an access institution has changed my definition of "access". It's more than just the initial admissions requirements. It's an education at a more affordable cost. It's more course offerings at different times of day for those students who have to work or do not have the liberties of the "carefree college life" that I was afforded. It's an education closer to home for those students who aren't quite ready to leave mama and her amazing cooking and laundry skills. It's a place that I love because I have watched students transform and grow in ways that they themselves never thought possible. Much like my own transformation as a college student.

When I put on my state of Georgia taxpayer hat, my initial thought was "Well, I certainly am not the person to balance the budget nor do I want to be, but I do understand the importance of fiscally sound decisions. I hope that the people in charge know what they are doing." This has challenged me to become more informed on things like the budget and how it works and who we as a state elect into the position to make such decisions. The Technical College System of Georgia consolidated 15 institutions into 9 beginning in 2009 for the sake of the budget. Honestly, it should come as no surprise that the University System would consider the same measures.

When I put on my Master's in HR & Organization Development mortarboard (ha!), my initial thought was "Change is painful and uncomfortable, but change is inevitable." I will not bore you all with the science and psychology and business theories related to change within organizations, but at the risk of being stoned, I will go out on a limb and say that I absolutely understand that sometimes change is necessary. We may not always have a choice in the change that occurs, but we do always have a choice in our response to it. I am not suggesting we all become puppets and let "the man" dictate our actions. However, I am suggesting that we consider the change with an open mind from a perspective beyond ourselves and our own comfort zone.

The thing about a college campus or college experience or anything related to college is that it's very personal for each individual student. Sure, a student body appreciates and respects shared traditions. That's part of why students choose particular colleges in the first place. However, even those things change over time. While the institution that I graduated from in 2001 still sits in the same location and has some of the faculty and boasts the same great traditions, it's a different place. Old buildings have been torn down and replaced with new buildings. Different students fill the classrooms and residence halls. My college experience was so great for what it was and who I shared it with during that time. So while campuses may be added and merged and administrative costs may be cut, the memories of our own college experience cannot be impacted by the present actions and decisions. [I put on both my alumna and employee hat for this because it was my own college experience that enabled me to encourage and inform incoming college students that they are the ones who drive their own college experience.]

It seems that currently, the only definitive is that there is more unknown than known. It's during the times of unknown that anxiety is at its peak because we all love to play the game of "What if?". We don't like to wait and see. We want all the questions answered before we've even had time to think of and ask all the questions. But you know what they say about Rome and how it wasn't built in a day.

In the meantime, there is a resource on this topic for those who are interested in keeping up with the latest. It can be found here:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

12 Good Months.

Now that we're 5 days into the new year, I can hardly remember 2011 at all. Oh kidding. I remember what I wore to school in 1984. Of course I remember last year.

I will remember 2011 as being a good year. It was quiet. It was calm. After the roller coaster of 2009 and the chaos that was 2010, the quiet and calm was welcomed. I know that it sounds very trite to say that I am completely different person now than I was when this year began, but to some degree I am a changed person. I feel like that I have learned more this year than I can remember learning in several years combined during my adult life. The lessons have not been easy, but they have been good.

I'm a worrier by nature. I can slip into worry mode in about 4 seconds flat. I've tried to put some perspective on that worry. Did you know that the phone company will not stop your phone service if you forget to pay your phone bill for a couple of weeks? Two years ago I would have come unhinged if that had happened. When daddy died though, I realized that there are some things in life that we cannot control and there are some things in life that aren't worth the stress and lost sleep. Need another example? Being the girl who rushed puppy to the Emergency Vet when he fell asleep in his water bowl, naturally he always got his heartworm prevention on the 10th of each month come hail or high water. Always. Now? Eh, he gets it within a week or so of the 10th. I hesitate to say that I've completely mellowed out [hello, DNA is DNA], but compared to where I was at on the spectrum, I can say that I am more mellow.

There were times throughout the year when I had to purposely distance myself from my comfort zone. It was tough and a little lonely at times, but I learned that the cattiness and gossip and pessimism that we all by nature have the tendency to thrive on is really not worth it. It's always at the expense of someone else. And words, they really do hurt. I have by no means mastered this, but I hope that I'm doing better. Never fear, my trademark eyerolls are still an innate component of my sunny disposition.

This is the year that I finally began to understand what I've always known: this life, while it's mine to live, it's not all about me. Another huge step outside of my comfort zone included me beginning to volunteer at church. When it comes to church, I am a champ at holding down the pew. But gravity does that job well enough, so now I am a greeter. I didn't think I was quite up to the pressure of teaching big concepts to little minds [I mean elementary school kiddos, not narrow-minded adults], but I can certainly smile and hand out bulletins to folks. Except for that Sunday when I dropped a whole stack of them right in the doorway as the masses were piling into the auditorium. It's how I roll.

Until 2011, I would have been perfectly content completely erasing the two previous years from my memory. But this was the year that I began to make some meaning from the chaotic roller coaster ride. Parts of those years will never make sense, but I've discovered that meaning can still be made from senselessness. It is not always the circumstance that shapes up, but our response to the circumstance.

Speaking of making sense and meaning, one thing [of many things] that I know that I will never understand is how much God loves me. It doesn't make sense that he loves me because hello, have you been around me at 1:00 in the afternoon on the days when I didn't eat my mid-morning snack? Queen Cranky-Pants. But he loves me nonetheless. Even when I betray him, he still loves me. Once upon a time long ago when I had a single gray hair instead of the 3 that I have now, I still loved someone for a little while in the immediate aftermath of discovering I had been betrayed. From that experience, I was finally able to connect the dots many moons later and realize that daily I sin and betray God. Daily he loves me. Even when I'm at my crankiest. Truly, it makes no sense. It doesn't make sense to us because humans do not have the capacity to love as God does -even though we're commanded to do so. If catching even a small glimpse of God's love for me was the primary outcome of the event that over time has transformed from something so big to simply a blip in my life story, then I am glad that we do not have the ability to completely erase our memory or periods in life.

All years link together and our past is the foundation to our future. I really do look at 2011 as a critical link in the story that is Just Me...HP. It has helped me to see where I've been while shaping and preparing me for where I'm headed. While we are all different and we all have different lives, our lives are all very much the same. We have mountain top moments and experiences. We trudge through the pit of despair. We have calm in the middle. It's in the quiet that we hear most clearly. Don't fill these moments with empty noise. It's in the calm that we can see even the smallest movement. Keep your head up and your eyes open.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

11 Shows I Love.

Today's post was not my original idea for day 11. However, I decided that since I'm "recapping" 2011 in a sense, I would be remiss if I didn't include some television shows. It's a thousand wonders I maintain a 40-hour/week job with the intense reading, television viewing, and napping schedule that I keep. DVR is one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me. Yet at the same time, it's one of the worst thing that's ever happened to me because it serves as my enabler. If stranded on a desert island, one of my 5 items would definitely be television equipped with DVR. At least I have a clear perspective on my first-world problems.

So here's what I watched and loved last year:

1. Friday Night Lights. I miss Tim Riggins. And Coach and Tami Taylor. Single tear.

2. The Closer. When I grow up, I want to be like Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. And on a serious note, I hope my arms look like Kyra Sedgwick's do when I'm her age. I wonder if tone and definition comes with age? Hmm.

3. How I Met Your Mother. Oh for the love, Ted Mosby, meet your wife already.

4. Parks and Recreation. It is li-tri-ly the best show on television right now.

5. Modern Family. This one runs a close second to Parks & Rec. I giggle and giggle and giggle for 30 minutes every Wednesday.

6. Parenthood. Love the Braverman family. Love them. Except it's super weird for me that Lauren Graham and Peter Krause are dating in real life and are brother and sister on the show. Eww. Yuck. Grody.

7. Suits. I found this show on USA Network this year and I love it. I have an unrealistic crush on Harvey Specter. As in, I'm planning to marry him. Except he's a television character.

8. Castle. This show is kind of like Ed, but not really at all. Actually it's only like Ed in the sense that when Castle and Detective Beckett finally become an "item" [as my dear mama likes to say] the next scene will be of them jumping a shark together.

9.Happy Endings. Kind of like wine, this show gets better with age. It started out kind of Boone's Farm-sy and now it's totally up to Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck.

10. Blue Bloods. Donnie Wahlberg + Tom Selleck = Be still my heart.

11. SNL. This season's episode hosted by Jimmy Fallon was one of the best ones in a long time. I hope that when we all get to heaven that I live in the same cul-de-sac as Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

If stranded on a desert island, what shows would you have on your DVR? Or would you only read books and listen to classical music?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

10 Years with TRS.

Have I ever told the story of how I graduated from college on a Wednesday night and went to work bright and early the very next morning? Well, on December 19, 2001, I graduated from college. On the morning of Thursday, December 20, 2001, I reported for duty at my very first real job that was going to earn me real money. [You know, as opposed to the fake money that I had been earning at part-time jobs since the age of 15.] The end.

Why did I start working the very next day after graduation as opposed to setting off on some post-graduation European backpacking adventure? Primarily because all of my friends had been working for 6 months already or still had 6 months of school left so I was making my grand entrance into the "real world" a bit tardy or prematurely, I suppose. The other reason was because I worked for all of two days and then had two weeks PTO for the holidays. Pretty sweet gig because I never had to worry about things like gaps in insurance coverage or income or those other things that are completely incomprehensible until faced with the dead end that is inevitable along the road of college life freedom.

Also on that day a decade ago, a clock started ticking toward my retirement earnings. At the green age of 22, retirement was the absolute farthest thing from my mind. I learned that it would take TEN! WHOLE! YEARS! of working within the University System before I would even be vested in retirement. My plan certainly did not include me working for 10 years. I would surely be busy with things like car pool and cookie baking and lounging on the sofa watching daytime television by the time I reached the ancient old age of 30.

Oh I just love these subtle reminders that my plans are not always written in stone. Just as I never predicted the end of daytime soap operas (Ha!), I certainly never predicted that I would be vested in retirement. But I am. While I am thankful for this unplanned accomplishment now, I am sure that I will be even more thankful in my 50s when my future children continue to suck the life out of my bank account.

Unplanned accomplishments. Anybody else out there have them? I'm sure we all do. It's just a matter of recognizing them instead of focusing on all the other things that we planned on yet haven't quite completed. Glass half full, or half empty? The choice lies within each of us.

With endings like that, I think I have a future in retirement options with the DaySpring or Hallmark corporations.

Monday, January 2, 2012

9 Noteworthy Novels.

Let me start today's post by publicly acknowledging that not all of my picks are novels and the argument can even be made that they aren't exactly noteworthy, but some occasions call for alliteration over accuracy. I think most political campaigns are founded on this notion.

As long as I can remember, I have been a bookworm. I vividly remember one night when I was just a little bitty thing getting so frustrated that I could not read the words in a book myself that my dear old dad stayed up with me until I essentially memorized the words so that I could "read". I was 12. Oh, kidding. By the time I reached 12 I had progressed to that uber cool phase in life when I read books at the dinner table because I could not put the latest Sweet Valley High read down long enough to actually carry on a conversation with my family. I blame the tortoise shell glasses for ushering in that socially awkward stage of my life.

Sometimes I read because it forces me to think more deeply. For example, John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life. Other times I read because I need an outlet that requires minimal brain activity. For example, that two week period when I read all four books in the Twilight Saga. [I like to make sure that my low points in life are really low.]

I have read and read and read and then read some more this year. In fact, all of this guilt-free recreational reading has been one of the biggest perks of post-graduate school life. None of my selected reads that I am about to share with you will be found on the New York Times 100 Best Novels list, but I did just read the entire list so I'm sure that counts as something intellectual.

1. Plan B by Pete Wilson. No, this is not a book about an alternative and controversial form of contraception. I accidentally stumbled upon this book when the local Borders was going out of business. It's quite extreme to say that a book changed my life, but it certainly changed my attitude and perspective. We all have plans for our lives. Very rarely do those plans unfold exactly as we anticipate and expect. When those plans disintegrate and we are left living in our unwelcome reality, it can be a rude awakening. So this is about our response and coming to the realization that maybe, just maybe God's plan is actually much greater.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I read this book on Christmas night. As in started it around 6:00 and finished it around 2:30 in the morning. So the next day I read Catching Fire. Then I kind of lost steam because it took me from Tuesday until Friday to read Mockingjay. Reading this trilogy confirmed two things: I can read at a middle school reading level and I'm still about as cool as I was 20 years ago. However, these books were fantastic. Read them if you haven't already. Seriously.

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Nothing like showing up two years late to a party, huh? I am confident that I was the absolute last thirty-something female born and raised South of the Mason-Dixon and East of the Mississippi to read this book. I cried. I laughed. I cringed. "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." If only every little girl could grow up hearing this message from someone who loves them because maybe, just maybe, one day we all would believe it.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I decided to read this to see if it was worth all the hype. I fought heavy eyelids and sleep to get through the first 150 pages or so before I began to understand. Upon finishing it, I immediately went to my local bookseller and purchased The Girl Who Played with Fire which took me all of three days to finish. I haven't read the third one yet, but I'll get around to it when it's released in paperback. Pure smut? Eh, not really, but they certainly aren't Karen Kingsbury classics either. I read them the week that I had a double ear-infection, pink eye, and no voice. That was also the week that Prince William and Kate Middleton got married. In case you were wondering.

5. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. This is a must-read for any girl who has ever been in more weddings than she has the fingers to count them on or has navigated her mid-to-late 20s and early 30s feeling like everyone else has their acts together and somehow she missed the memo on how getting said act together actually happens. I read this upon the recommendation from a pal who I defer to for all political, food, music, and literary insight. I'm surprised she hasn't started billing me yet.

6. The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins. Another Borders going-out-of-business find, but I loved this book because in it I saw my own friendships with my own group of girls who I treasure so very much. Maybe I'll write a book one day and my friendships with them will be the topic. I'm sure they'll all just love that.

7. Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews. I read this at the beach back in the summer, and it is the perfect beach read. Especially if Savannah happens to be one of your favorite cities in your home state.

8. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. I've read a couple of her books, and while I do not categorize her as being another Danielle Steel or Jodi Picoult, she reminds me of them in the sense that just as it's a guarantee that a Danielle Steel book is going to be about some woman who lost everything and then with the help of a dashing gentleman rebuilds her life or that a Jodi Picoult book is going to be about some tragedy involving a child or teenager, Hannah's books are about the dynamic of family relationships. Specifically, the females in a family. Predictable and easy to read...a great cure for the television rerun season blahs.

9. John, Chapters 1-10 from The B-I-B-L-E. Confession: I am terrible at reading The Bible. BUT, lately I've discovered that the more you read it, the easier it becomes to understand. Also, I've learned that turning off the VH1 Top 20 countdown during reading time minimizes the opportunity for distractions. [It's appropriate to roll your eyes now because I would certainly roll my eyes at such a "realization".] Anywho, a couple of months ago, I discovered a series that Louie Giglio is in the middle of at his church called "Word". Essentially, he's going through the entire book of John one chapter at a time and sums up each chapter in one word. During the summer he did the first six chapters, and he just did four more last month. I like it because he offers clear explanations of the scripture while keeping my attention through his wit and humor. But you don't have to take my word for it. I recommend that you check it out for yourself from this link. [You'll have to scroll through the messages to get to them. Series: Word. First one is back in June.]

Enough with reading this blog of mine. Get out there and read some books! And let me know what you're reading because my "to-read" list is getting a little slim. Incidentally that's the only thing in my life that gets slim this time of year. Well, other than my checking account.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

8 Achievable Ambitions.

Happy New Year!

I like resolutions. However, I rarely make them unless I think that I can keep them pretty easily. Perhaps it's that component in my personality that causes me to never even attempt something unless I'm sure that I can achieve it. What? You think of me as a person who has had limited experiences due to my lack of attempt?

So in the spirit of the New Year, here are 8 things that I plan to do in 2012:

1. Run a half-marathon. I'm long overdue. The last one that I did was in November 2009.
2. Write more. In my journal. Here in the blogosphere. Notes and cards to my people.
3. Resume my multi-vitamin regiment. Why did I ever stop taking vitamins in the first place? No clue.
4. Eliminate using my debit card. I was cash only from January to April in 2011. It's time to make Dave proud again.
5. Plane trip to a place I've never been. [Duh.]
6. Work harder at work. Fact: I'm a taskmaster when I need to be. But there are some pretty big projects on my to-do list that I want to complete.
7. Clean out my coat closet. Y'all. This closet is so full and cluttered that the skeletons can't even fit in it.
8. Get a passport.

So. Who here makes resolutions or sets goals? What do you hope that 2012 brings? A new calendar is as exciting as new notebooks at the beginning of the school year. Clean, fresh, and waiting for us to leave marks on them. What kind of mark do you want to leave on 2012? Make it count just in case the Mayans are right. That way when they are proven wrong, we can all look back on the great memories that we made!