31 December 2015

New Year's Meme

It’s tradition! The New Years Meme!

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
We didn’t  go racing this year, which was strange but we really enjoyed the time at home.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did, sorta, kinda, sorta.   The appliance finally were replaced.  Now the stove is giving me the side-eye so I suspect it is next.  Microwave that is ten years old and never quite worked right? Totally still here.  It will be next.

CD’s are culled by me and only partially by Kevin, who is surprisingly nostalgic about them. 

Write daily…well, that was a big, fat Nope.  There’s always next year, which is bound to be better than the last few years.

My resolutions for 2015:
1.  I’m seeing some old habits creep in that I’m not enjoying.  I’m going to stick to a consistent work schedule, walk to the mailbox more, make an effort to read and write.
2. Write Daily...be it an email, a tweet, a post, something. 
3. Get off of milk entirely, which is riddling me with anxiety.  I have to find a cream substitute for my coffee! 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes!  A close friend had a baby boy named after a classmate (her brother-in-law) who passed in 1988.  Also, new nephew due any minute now!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not close to us, but we’ve reached the age where people are passing at a more regular rate.  I do not enjoy.

5. What countries did you visit?

"Oh Canada, our home and native land.."

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Healthy Family Members (a sad repeat from past years)

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
This is odd but it’s a repeat: My last day at my work at the job I hated.  I was using a cane but if I could have SKIPPED out of there, I totally would have.  I’m continually surprised at how unhappy I was there.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Walking, again.  After getting all my bionics removed, I was a little hesitant.  But now it’s almost like nothing happened.  I can jog a tiny bit even.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Yikes, I am unsure.  Not keeping in better touch with friends, I think.  I always have the best intentions and  the worst attention.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had the most horrible cold from November 22 to just before Christmas.  I can now go illness free through 2016.  I never, never, never get sick.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Oooh, without sounding all hair-flippy, new washer & dryer & dishwasher, new flooring through the entire house, new furniture, and now new kitchen lighting.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mother-in-law, the chick tried to die twice this year and is still here. I’m beginning to think she’s indestructible.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Two family members with untreated mental illness (two different branches of the families)  while I can recognize that it’s the mental illness, I can’t seem to justify their behavior or want to spend time with them.

14. Where did most of your money go?
As mentioned above, home improvements.  I’m surprised at how happy it has made me.

15. What did you get really excited about?
New, fantastic job that follows school districts schedules. Snow days and regular breaks!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Kick the Dust Up…Luke Bryan.  Riding in a big Dodge, with Kevin on our trip to Winthrop.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? I’m happier, for sure.
– thinner or fatter? Same-ish
– richer or poorer? About the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Write, I’m feeling the anxiety of not doing it.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Spend time in hospitals.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Eve - at my parents.
Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement and food

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I always have a difficult time choosing favorites. Doctor Who, Bones, Fixer Upper.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. I'm not a hater. It's a waste of time

24. What was the best book you read?
Humans of New York.  I’m a little obsessed.  I also have Stories of Humans of New York.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Amazon Prime Music. 

26. What did you want and get?
My dream job!

27. What did you want and not get?
I am pleased to say that I can’t think of anything.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Divergent.  I am surprised how much I liked it.  Also, not a 2015 film but I’m catching up.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
47.  I was still sick so I slept in, we went to breakfast and shopping then we crashed and watched Flip or Flop all evening.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More reading! 

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Hoodies. Cords.  Boots.  (because I can wear them now!)

32. What kept you sane?

Mochas. Kevin. Lucy. Television.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Trevor Noah, Jon Stewarts replacement.  Wicked smart and funny.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Legalization of gay marriage.

35. Who did you miss?

My former co-workers.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

There are two and they’re both co-workers.  Erin and Anne.  They’re both fantastic people who I hope to be friends with forever. 

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Just be patient.  (I’m never good at this.)

23 December 2015

Long, Winding, Christmas Post

It's almost Christmas and I came into the holding feeling unprepared.  I've been sick since our trip so I feel like I've missed the entire Christmas season.  Luckily for me, I'm now on Winter Break so I have days to get my stuff together.

I began at WallyWorld, not my favorite place, ranking lower than the dentist.  Of course, the first cart I chose was wobbly and loud.  I nearly just went home before I even began. It was 8:00 in the morning.

I had a semi-successful shopping trip.  I didn't bring my list because dumb.  I tried to run my card as a credit instead of debit so it was declined thus starting the panic/shame spiral until I figured out what I'd done wrong.  But on terms of WallyWorld shopping trips, successful.

Then I went to the grocery store and that went more smoothly.  For one, I could shop there blindfolded and for two, it was early enough that all the grandparents in the valley were there.  My list was done, except for one present for my grown niece.

Two stores down and I've still forgotten to buy stamps.  Then Kevin called while I was driving and I drove past my post office.  Finally, I get there and there was only a handful of people there. But the first lady in line was trying to figure out the easiest and cheapest way to send about ten over-sized envelopes.  We all wanted her dead, for five minutes, then she can be alive again because it is Christmas after all.

I buckled down as soon as I got home and wrote out about one million Christmas cards.  They're mostly going to be late, especially to our Canadian friends.  The border adds about a one week delay.  And East Coast friends, we'll see.  Sometimes the post office surprises me.  Because cards seem to be a lost art, I really want to continue to do them.  It's just nice getting something in the mail these days.

I will never understand why I feel like I could be a ballerina when I hear the Nutcracker music.  It will never make sense to me.  I'm the poster child of Not A Ballerina, short and curvy.  The other was I realized that I may have gestured stop to another driver while singing along to Frosty the Snowman.  Sorry, other driver, just busting a groove with Frosty.   On the flip side, Same Old Lange Syne by Dan Fogleberg and The River by Joni Mitchell wrecks me every time I hear them.

My family decided not to exchange gifts this year.  I am disappointed that I am at that time of my life, it's an unhappy milestone.  Instead, we are getting gifts for the toddler and my grown nieces.  I know, intellectually, I'm supposed to be understanding about this but emotionally, I'm feeling a little pouty and sad.

With Kevin's family, because there are so many of us, the adults draw names.  So each person gets two presents: one from the person who drew your name and one from their spouse/person.  Then the kids get eleventy billion presents, as it should be.  At least, though, it feels a little like Christmas still.

I got the craziest Christmas bonus at work the other day.  I don't say this to be all braggy but because it was funny.   As we know, I've had the plague since November 22.  When I came into work the other morning, there was a really pretty box of Kleenex with ribbon tied around it and a very nice card from my boss.  Like, with written sentiment and everything.

I've worked for non-profits my entire adult life so Christmas bonuses are few and far between, thus I had absolutely no expectations.  I saw the Kleenex and thought "Hahaha, I've had a cold for a month, it's a pretty box, hahahaha" and was totally happy with the card.

Hours went by when a co-worker came in and asked if I had used my kleenex.  I laughed, because what?  She laughed and said "Pull out a tissue, maybe two."   So, I did and there was one tissue then a whole bunch of $5 bills taped together in a chain.  How funny and cool was that?   Have I mentioned that I still have my dream job?

Oh, and the staff Christmas party.  I am not a party person, especially now that I don't drink.  This one was at  6:00 pm on a WEDNESDAY.  Who does that?  And, to up the difficulty level, it was at someone's house.  There was a gift exchange, which is always fun to watch.  I was the last person to pick so I had the choice of stealing any of the gifts.  Let me tell you, few things give me anxiety like anticipating having to choose a gift and I CAN'T EVEN with the thought of stealing someone elses gift.  I got a Very Cool paper lantern that I love very much.

The house decorations continue to be a challenge.  There is just something about this house that doesn't enjoy decorations.  I don't know what kind of grinch house we built but I'm slowly winning it over.  This year's challenge is that we changed the flooring so the colors of the house have changed.  (We had forest green carpet before. I know, I know, shut up) Now we have wood flooring and earth tone brownish carpet.

So, I got my pinterest on and have liberally scattered ornaments everywhere.  This seems to please the house.  Also, I have used pretty beaded rope and small string lights. Finally, Michaels (the craft store, not the former husband) has these overly glittered and shiny decorations that I love like I'm a small child.  They are very WhoVille.  (funny aside: Kevin took a bag to put a change of clothes into.  He grabbed the bag the decorations traveled home in and his clothes came out rather glittery.  Everyone wins there.)


For my birthday and unexpected riches, I went to the second hand store to browse.  I've become a Christmas ornament junkie and I wanted to see what they might have for Five, the new baby due any minute now.  Giant score!  I found a pleather jacket for him, cute jeans and onesies with heavy equipment and 4x4 trucks on them.  And, best score: a brand-new boppy pillow for mama and the baby.  $50 in the store and I bought it for $7.99. 

I also found old glass ornaments, like the ones I had as a child.  A Vegas photo album to help along my ongoing photo project, a purple track suit (they were actually separates but I have to imagine they just were separated in sorting, they match so well.  They're plum colored, that can't have been an accident)  A pillow that I don't need, I just wanted.  Two pairs of black corduroy pants.  A red fleece shirt to wear on Christmas.  My basket was full, an unusual thing for me.

I was approached by an elderly man who asked me if I had the discount today.  The store had just announced that seniors received an extra discount.  I told him no, laughed, and said "I'm not old enough yet, I'm not as cool as you."

He gave me his 30% off discount.  He said that he was looking around for someone to give it to and he chose me.  Me, the way non-hugger, hugged him and wished him a Merry Christmas.  He said "Now you can buy more things, put that discount to use!"  I  told him that we were waiting  for the arrival of my grand-nephew and he smiled.

Now, everything is wrapped, cards are sent, everything that is going to be bought/ordered has been, I dare to say that I'm ready.  So much work in just a few days.  Whew.  And it snowed yesterday and today.  Not a lot, but enough to make everything pretty.

Merry Christmas, Everyone.  I hope Santa brings you what you've wished for.  If not, there's always next year.  :)

02 December 2015

Let's Play Best Part/Worst Part

Whoa, where did November go?  I blinked and it's December.

My dream job was momentarily my nightmare job but now it's back in a more realistic category.  I still very much enjoy it, there was just a really steep learning curve (hill, more accurate perhaps) and a bigger than anticipated mess to deal with.  But I've conquered most of it and now am finding my new normal.

And then, because deadlines are fun!  We had our annual vacation at the end of the month.

So, let's talk about the trip.

Best part: hanging out with all of our friends in Vegas.  This year included one of our friend's mom, who is in her seventies.  She was so much fun, her son clearly got his sense of humor from him.  Because we didn't race this season, we also didn't get to hang out with our friends as much.  So this was a much needed time.

Worst part: the brother-in-law's untreated anxiety made me quite stabby by the end of the trip. One example of many examples of anxiety included shouting "turn left!" over the two people (other than the driver) who knew where they were going, resulting in a wrong turn.  From the back seat. With no apology.

Best/Worst part tie: I caught a nasty cold on the second-to-last night there.  I spent the last full day in the hotel room with a cough, fever, and stuffed up head.  I guess it could be worse, at least I was in a nice hotel room with a view of the Strip.  (fast forward one week & one day later: still have the cold) I watched We Are The Millers, Life as We Know It, and HGTV all day so it could have been worse.

Worst/Worst Part: the Starbucks was under construction in our hotel.  I had two $30 gift cards to use this year and now I still do.  On the last full day there, another guest told me where a regular Starbucks was and I could  see it from our room.  Sigh.

Best Part in the Worst Possible Way:  In the airport while we were waiting to return home, our friend Mike asked if I really had a cold or if it was the environment.  I croaked out "Nope, it's a cold."  

"I was just curious because I'm all stuffed up.  I hope I don't have your cold."

Without thinking at all, I reply:  "I keep telling you to stop licking me."

I think the entire airport went silent for about the beat of three.  Then all of our friends laughed long and loudly.

Oh, filter, you're so easily thwarted.  At least it gave them a good story to tell.