Here we go folks!
I don't have a very good memory for certain things. I freely admit it! In the past I have made resolutions for the new year, only to forget within the first two weeks that I had promised myself to drink less or exercise more. Let's face it, if something isn't enormously important to me, I put it out of my mind and move on, which is why I rarely make New Year's Resolutions. Resolutions, with a capital R, sound so final, so set in stone, and if you break (or even bend) a Resolution the flying monkeys will swoop down and castigate you and fling their poo and all sorts of awful things will happen! Not for me, nope, thanks for playing, take your Jiffy Pop and leave.
However a few years ago, a woman who's blog I read did a monthly resolution (note the lower case r, by the way, no flying monkeys here). Each month she would do something new to work on improving herself, her life, her marriage or her home. Being that I have a pretty good chance at remembering a resolution for thirty days, I have decided to give this a whirl. I just hope that in two months I will remember that need to change to the next resolution. I hope to blog at the beginning and end of each month about the designated action, once with a plan and once with the result. Wish me luck!
January: try a new food each week
February: no fast food
March: walking more, 20-60 minutes per day, 3-5 times per week
April: read to Melody at least 3 times per week
May: no TV 4 nights a week
June: make dinner 6 nights per week
July: migrate this website to Wordpress
August: no more than 1 soda per day
September: blog every day on all three sites (omg!)
October: no candy or cookies
November: write a short story
December: get to work on time
I figure a lot of these are stretch goals and there will of course be circumstances beyond my control that prevent me from being 100% perfect. Heck, 90% is still an A in college, so I will even allow myself to slip up from time to time. Besides, I am in no way close to perfect, I'm just a perfectionist. Frustrated much? Yes. I just want to try to improve my well being and happiness, and these seem like areas where I could use improvement, and also, areas where I feel like I can let go of old habits.
So, January's resolution is to try a new food each week. I chose this for January because in a bit of a cheat, I have already tried a new food this month. At my big family dinner last week, my cousin Diana brought roasted brussel sprouts. In the past, these miniature cabbages were either bitter, slimy or mushy, all of which are unappealing in food, so I thought I didn't like them. But, I took my "no thank you" helping and actually enjoyed them. Diana told me the secret is in roasting them with a bit of olive oil to bring out the deeper flavors. She claimed there is a sweet flavor but I don't buy that. Let us say that they were not bitter, slimy or mushy, and actually were quite good! I must figure out what my next three to four foods for January will be. I'm pretty much an omnivore when it comes to food with the exception of veggies, so the foods may all be produce. I also plan to consider "rerun" foods, e.g. foods I didn't like as a kid, as new foods since I'm the type that if I didn't like it when I was six, there's a good chance I never touched it again.
Wish me luck!
It was suggested to me that I might like to do an annual recap of 2011 for ths blog. I have done this in the past and it always felt like a canned post. A recap doesn't always tell you something new because of course it rehashes what has already happened (and was hopefully blogged about). But, I saw this post from Kristin at Rage Against the Mini Van and I liked the idea of questions leading me through the recap. They are someone else's questions, but my answers will be uniquely tailored to me and my life. Plus, I didn't blog as much as I would like in 2011 so there is a lot of new info (to you) going into the recap of 2011.
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Taken a ride in the back of an ambulence to an ER. No lights and sirens, but still, it is not something I want to do again. Looking out that back window kinda gave me vertigo.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
In 2011 I resolved to not make any resolutions, so in a way I kept my resolution. I am terrible with making resolutions because I rarely remember them six weeks later, let alone six months to a year later! However, I have a different idea for 2012 which might work: the monthly resolution. In the next few days I will post my 12 resolutions, one for each month of the year. I can probably stick with something for thirty days.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not a direct family member but several friends had babies in the past year.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness!
5. What countries did you visit?
Is Pittsburg a country? It sure felt foreign to me!
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A daughter who goes to bed without screaming, crying, making bargains and trying to blackmail us by withholding hugs and kisses.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 28th: I fell at work and tore three ligaments in my foot. This was the cause of the ambulence ride. And the surgery. And the long recovery.
October 28th: I was rear-ended on the freeway and my car was totaled. This was a surreal experience. One moment I was listening to my ipod and sitting in traffic; the next heartbeat I was looking up at the ceiling of my car and trying to figure out what the hell had happened!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Melody performed on stage in her first ever dance recital. That's not really my accomplishment, but I was so proud of her! She was not afraid to be on stage with everyone looking at her. Personally it took me years to stand up in front of a group without feeling light headed and tongue tied. So, somehow we have taught her confidence, and that perhaps is partly my accomplishment.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I lost my patience and yelled pretty often. The terrible 2s were fine and we didn't get more than one tantrum then. The Effing Fours have kicked my ass around the block and back again. Melody had a complete meltdown/tantrum over putting her shoes away that lasted more than 10 minutes and included her pounding her fists on the floor and bawling, shreaking, and kicking. There has been a lot of whining and complaining about going to bed, brushing teeth, putting dirty clothes in the hamper and taking showers. Basically, everything that is good for her she did not want to do. Conversely, everything bad for her she wanted to do in spades. Sigh. I felt like Mommy No No for a good portion of the year.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes, yes I did. The foot was a real problem. I wound up having surgery on July 1st, and then spending the summer on disability in various stages of hard cast, walking cast and brace. Although I am discharged from physical therapy (the worker's comp won't provide any more) I still have pain and discomfort quite often and my left foot is much weaker than my right. I will likely be in some stage of recovery for several more months.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A Ford Escape Limited
12. Where did most of your money go?
See #11. Or Target.
13. What did you get really excited about?
There were several highlights in 2011 even with the surgery and car wreck. In April, my reenacting group was named "Best Civilian Camp" at the Prado Civil War event. This is huge for us and I am very proud of our efforts to portray history as accurately as possible. In June/July our home construction/repair/remodel work was finally finished. After the water leak in September 2010, it took ages to first get the project started; then once started it took forever to finish! But, now that it's done I am very happy about it. In August, I went to Pittsburg to meet/see 15 of my closest friends who I had never before met in person. That was fabulous and then dovetailed into a too-short visit with my bestie in Tennesee. The end of the year brought a visit from my cousin and her family, plus a great family dinner with her parents and mine. We had our first kids table!
14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Tonight, Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? I feel happier somehow. Sort of like, "I got through all that so I can take on whatever comes my way in 2012." Plus Melody will turn 5 next month and I am looking forward to that.
– thinner or fatter? The same.
– richer or poorer? Richer I think but John is in charge of that.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleep. Read. Bake. Make friends. I have difficulty making friends, and I'm honestly not all that good at keeping the few friends I do have. So, add maintain friendships.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Saying no and shouting. I gave a spanking one night that made me cry more than Melody. I felt like an absolute jerk. Parents are not supposed to hurt their children right? But we have to provide discipline and punish them when they misbehave, otherwise we wind up with entitled little a-hole children who have no personal accountability for their actions. If I could go back and change things, I would not have given that spanking, lost my patience and my temper, or allowed things to get out of control in the first place.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
Wonderful morning with my little family, then my folks and sister came over for Christmas dinner. I do so love entertaining!
19. What was your favorite TV program?
I record nearly everything these days, but while I was on leave, I mowed through Netflix. I watched seven seasons of Emergency! I don't really know why. Dexter of course; True Blood OF COURSE; Criminal Minds. I try to make time for First 48 occasionally too.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
You can read my book reviews here on the site but I haven't written one about every book I read. I'd have to say my favorite book of the year, the one which sticks with me the most, was Saving CeCe Honeycutt. It was a lovely and fullfilling book with a happy ending.
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
I discovered Mumford & Sons and my guilty pleasure/secret love for Korean pop groups. I continued to enjoy old favorites like P!nk and Lady Gaga, Weezer and Robbie Fulks.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I don't think we made it to the theater more than two or three times. Once was for Cars 2 with Melody which was cute but not as good as the original. The other was for Twilight: Breaking Dawn, about which I will say no more. Oh, we might also have seen Tangled in the theater, which was super cute. Our most recent favorite (mine and Melody's) is the 2003 Peter Pan. It is very close to the original book Peter & Wendy by J. M. Barrie, at times verbatim. So far we have watched it six or seven times.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Oh, my birthday, yes thank yo for reminding me. I turned 43 on December 9th. We stayed home and had Italian, then a week later went out for brunch with the rest of my family.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Wow, this is difficult. I think a longer visit with Tara might have made my shitty summer more worth it. Two and a half days per year just isn't enough and we both cried after we said goodbye.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
American Middle Class Working Mom, e.g. slacks, blouses and sensible shoes.
26. What kept you sane?
I don't think I started out sane, so perhaps this isn't the best question for me. What kept me from losing the rest of my mind? John, Melody, getting the remodel in my house completed after 10 months of destruction, good insurance, my mom's group, Tara.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Be careful wearing new heels to walk on linoleum. There will surely be one wet spot on the floor for you to slip in.
When I was a little girl in grade school, one of my best girlfriends was named Denise S. We just hit it off and had a lot of fun together. She had beautiful, neat handwriting and she always counseled me to try to write neatly because my test answers would never fit onto those little lines due to my poor penmanship. Anyway, Denise was a good friend of mine, plus her birthday and mine were only two days apart. Somehow, when you almost share a birthday with someone it is like an extra little bond.
Funny thing about birthdays, they happen on whatever day the date falls on, whether you like it or not. There are people born on February 29th, December 25th, July 4th, September 11th, and Decembeer 7th. In some instances - such as Christmas babies - the person gets a little screwed in the birthday celebration because there are "Christmas/Birthday" gifts. These can be gifts a little more extravagant than a gift for a birthday or Christmas. I have gotten a couple gifts like that since my birthday is in December, but they were really nice gifts, thanks to understanding family members. When it's one crummy gift, though, and called a Christmas/Birthday present, then it's just that the giver was lazy. Meh.
Anyway, that is not what I'm thinking about today. When I was a girl, we talked about December 7th being Pearl Harbor day. I don't think I need to go into the history of Pearl Harbor, but if someone reading this doesn't know the significance of that name, here is a link to a Wiki on it. Needless to say, it is a day for reflection and memorial, appreciation for those who sacrificed all and those who survived hell.
December 7th is also my friend Denise's birthday and I remember a specific conversation we had about the fact that her birthday fell on Pearl Harbor day. Her parents always made sure to celebrate her birthday just as any normal kid would. It wasn't her fault she was born on such a day, so why punish her. It was then that I realized that birthdays fall on every day of the year, whether you like it or not. My own daughter was born the day before Valentine's Day. I will always celebrate her birthday AND celebrate Valentine's Day, but never one combined with the other.
I read a particularly sad Dear Abby column recently about a family that did not celebrate their daughter's birthday because it fell on September 11th. They felt it was disrespectful to our national tragedy just 10 short years ago. There was no consideration that their daughter might have felt slighted because all her brothers and sisters had normal birthday celebrations. There was not even a half birthday or early/late birthday celebration. They just ignored this girl's birthday completely. I find that disrespectful to the girl and pathetic on the part of the parents. It wasn't her fault, after all.
If your birthday is today, then I wish you happy birthday. I am capable of separately having a moment of reflection for one of our greatest losses in our national history. As I learned so early in life from my friend Denise, the two are not intertwined. Happy birthday, my old friend, wherever you are!
November 9th is our wedding anniversary, and even though it has been eight years, I still get a little giddy when I hear John refer to me as his wife. Silly? Maybe. So what. :-) Here are a few of my favorite photos from that happy, happy day.
These three surely got into lots of trouble as kids!
Before celebs were doing a sand ceremony, we blended our sand. As our minister said, you can spend eternity separating these grains of sand and never get it right; family is like that too.
At 83 years old, Grandma danced the jitterbug with her great grandson David Jr.
My favorite picture of the day, taken on Jon Davis' digital camera and not by either of the two photographers we had on hand. Know one reason why I love love love this photo?
Yep, that's my folks on their wedding day 50+ years ago. :-) Nothing beats the happy-leaving-the-church-smiles, does it.
I will try to keep this from becoming a rant because I honestly want answers. There are a number of things lately that have reminded me that people can be so very annoying and rude, and I just don't see a reason for it.
Example one: Melody's school has only 10 parking spaces because it is a converted front office of a former elementary school. The main, large parking lot for the school is around the corner and has upwards of 50 spaces. Each space at the preschool is clearly marked "preschool parking only." Right next to the small lot is a large field where youth soccer, baseball/softball, and football teams practice. Instead of parking in the large public lot around the corner, many sports parents will park in the preschool lot. This results in limited to no parking for the preschool parents on a regular basis. The preschool director has even placed fliers on the sports team cars, reminding them the preschool parking lot is for the preschool. These sports parents do not care that they are occupying the preschool parking. Why? Is it because they feel entitled to it for some reason? Is it because they were burned by some preschool parent in the past and this is their way of sticking it to preschool parents everywhere? I think the real answer is they are too lazy to walk from the large public lot because it's about 75 yards away from the preschool lot.
Example two: rush hour traffic is bad enough, but there are always "those drivers" who have to weave in and out, cutting people off, not letting others merge in, just so they can stay one car ahead of the other guy. You know who they are and they are annoying, right? Have you ever noticed that by the time traffic is moving a little better, these drivers are somehow behind you again? How is it possible when they spent the last 30 minutes cutting people off and zipping ahead car by car? My only guess is karmic (carmic?) payback. The other type of driver is the one who cuts in and out and tailgates in fast moving traffic. Again, so unnecessary and in faster traffic very unsafe. They get to their location maybe a couple minutes sooner than if they drove safely. But why is it necessary in the first place?
Those are just two examples but you know there are more out there, every day more and more. Why is that? Have we become such an egocentric society that getting to the offramp two seconds sooner than another driver somehow makes us feel better? I wonder at times if we have. Think about it. If a group of people were walking down the street, the likelihood is low that one person in the group would rudely push people out of the way, just to get to the crosswalk first. We say things on the internet we would never say to someone in person. Parents have become desensitized to courtesy because the so-called role models - celebrities and sports stars - don't often have any.
We work so hard to teach our children to say please and thank you, yet adults neglect this common courtesy on a regular basis. Have you ever noticed when you look into someone's eyes and say thank you, it really makes a difference? Just by acknowledging they exist through looking at them, you have made that person aware that you appreciate them. Doesn't matter if the person is the janitor of the building or an executive of the company. Saying please and thank you shows people that you value them. We all want to be valued. Just imagine if everyone took the one second necessary to say a sincere thank you to the person holding the door or letting them go ahead in the grocery store line. It might not be the tonic to cure the ills of America, but at least we would all be living the lessons we teach our children.