Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019: Checkpoint


Yadda and all.

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?

Driven Houston to Dallas between midnight and 5 AM. I'd like not to repeat that ever again.

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

Nah.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

None babies around here.  Wait, a cousin had a baby this fall and he's really cute.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Woo boy, this has been a year. Sabrina's teacher lost her dad in an accident the day before school ended for the summer, so we went to the rosary for him.  Then, we lost Chris's mom during the Weekend of Misery. My cousin, Chad, passed from leukemia that we didn't know he was enduring, and my friend, Kelly, passed after a very long battle with cancer - both far, far too young.  And this past week, a sweet 11 year old boy from just around the block died.  It's been a lot.

5. What places did you visit?

Houston, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina. Points along the way.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

As always: More surplus dollars.  A boatload of patience.  More and closer friendships.  Will power, fortitude, self discipline, and better ways to communicate.

7. What dates from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 23: the day of Sabrina's elementary school graduation ceremony and her being given an award by her peers.  May 24: Sammy's middle school graduation and watching my boy completely break down because he was leaving such a special place.  June 8-10 (AKA the Weekend of Misery): Sabrina gets sick on a Girl Scout trip to NASA in Houston, so we do the midnight ride home (she is fine upon return); Chris's mom passes away while he, Sammy, and my parents are in a car a few hundred miles from their destination of Las Vegas (Sabrina and my flight is mercifully cancelled due to weather); on the return drive, the road trippers stop in Amarillo for lunch, where my father suffers a heart attack (he is treated very quickly and is now doing very well; the boys drive my folks' car back and the folks fly back a few days later). Whew.  August 14: Sammy starts high school and Sabrina starts middle school.  

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Survival.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Evergreen: Letting frustration win, again and again and again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thankfully, no. Let's do that again.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A Ring doorbell.  A new hot water heater to replace the one that gave out but did not flood the house on its way out.  Disney +.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My niece for welcoming our foursome to stay in her house and upend her life for 5 days.   


13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Basically anyone who clings to arbitrary lines drawn in the sand for no other reason that they were on one side of the line when it was drawn.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Also evergreen: Day to day stuff.  Amazon Prime.  Taxes.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Game of Thrones.  Disney +.  Finding useful gifts for people I love.  Awesome bargains I found.  Watching my kids have a blast at the beach.

16. What song will always remind you of 2019?

I know nothing of music this year. Something about an old road?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Tough year, but I'm working on happier.

b) thinner or fatter? My mind tells me fatter every time i look in the mirror, but my clothes still fit, so meh.

c) richer or poorer? 'Bout same.

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

Smiling.  Finding the upside. 

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

Fretting.  Being annoyed.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2019?

Hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for my side of the family, then we went to Mass together and it was lovely.  Except that Chris said he wasn't feeling well.

We came home, cleaned up, somehow got the kids into bed, and let Santa do his business.  We finished much earlier than in the past, and Chris went to bed, and I followed (also earlier than in the past).

Christmas morning was happy.  The kids adored their gifts from Santa, we had donuts and pigs in a blanket.  We had trouble getting out the door to go to my parents' house because we kept forgetting things and having to turn around. More breakfast, then giftapalooza. We all watched Chris turn paler and quieter, then go sleep the entire afternoon and evening. I made him a clinic appointment for the next morning, then tried to enjoy the rest of the day. Epilogue: he had strep AND the flu.

21. Did you fall in love in 2019?

Um, pass.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

There was this little show called Game of Thrones. I watched the whole series the week before the final season started.  I'm glad I did it that way instead of having to wait years to see what would happen.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2019?

It was a Thursday?  Yeah, I don't remember.  I'm sure my family was nice to me, and that's all that matters.

24. What was the best book you read?

Evvie Drake Starts Over, and not just because the author is an internet friend.

25. What did you want and get?

My Wifi thermostat installed (I've been waiting on this for years).  A new computer desk (see next year's list for said desk assembled and put in place).  A good start to high school and middle school for my kids.

26. What did you want and not get?

Skinnier.  Peace on earth.  Children with consistent table manners.  And where is that rich benefactor?

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Probably Toy Story 4.  Although Captain Marvel was surprisingly fun.

28. Did you make some new friends this year?

I'm really hoping for a new or strengthened friendship in the future, particularly a local one.  I have lots of friends across the internet, but I'd really like someone close both figuratively and literally.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Inner peace.

Slightly modified from last year: the ability to communicate anything to my husband (and OK, children) and have him understand instantly and completely.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?

Ironing is clearly not a skill I possess.

31. What kept you sane?

Caffeine.  Naps.  TLI.  Long showers.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Still not fancy. I enjoy following the British royals more than ever, so we'll put that here.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Boy, that's a loaded question. Moving on.

34. Who did you miss?

Everyone I lost (which is too long a list this year) and everyone I don't see often enough (which is most everyone). As usual.  
 
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019.

Take a deep breath.  Take another.


Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: Checkpoint



Once more, with some semblance of feeling...

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Visited Colorado. I think this makes my 40th state (assuming I've counted correctly).

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

Not gonna happen.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No babies around here. Some far flung friends, but none infants I've met in person.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. Glad for this answer.

5. What places did you visit?

Las Vegas, Nevada.  Denver(ish), Colorado. Points in between,

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

As always: More surplus dollars.  A boatload of patience.  More and closer friendships, both in person and across the internet.  I need some buddies.  Will power, fortitude, self discipline, and better ways to communicate.

7. What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 20, Sabrina's birthday slumber party.  I'm still tired.  July 7, leaving on our road trip to Colorado.  December 12: taking 100 5th graders camping for 3 days.  In December.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Survival.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Evergreen: Letting frustration win, again and again and again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing significant, thank goodness. Let's hope for the same moving forward.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Netflix.  I'm super on top of things.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Sammy, for working so hard and being dedicated to school, even if he's not feeling tip top.  Sabrina, for her kind heart toward her friends and (most of the time) her brother.  My parents, for many things including loading us all into a car for a road trip to Vegas, again.  The Ladies Internet continues to be compassionate, insightful, and kind in so many ways.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

A vast majority of people with titles won through election, and the people who put them there.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Also evergreen: Day to day stuff.  Amazon Prime.  Taxes.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Summer.  Christmas.  Netflix.  Awesome bargains I found.

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?

Since I can't think of one, I'll go with Sabrina's selection of Ariana Grande's "Thank You, Next."

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? A period of sadder, a period of happier. Ending on an up note.

b) thinner or fatter? My sister said I've lost weight, but who knows? I don't have a scale for this very reason.

c) richer or poorer? No exact numbers, but probably a little bit one way or the other.

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

Smiling.  Not worrying about things way out of my control.  

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

Stressing.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2018?

Hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for my side of the family, which Chris managed to make despite working long hours that day.  We went to Mass together and it was lovely.

We came home, cleaned up, somehow got the kids into bed, and let Santa do his business.  I watched the NORAD Santa Tracker a little too late and finally went to bed.

Christmas morning was delightful.  The kids adored their gifts from Santa, we had donuts and pigs in a blanket.  We managed to get dressed and over to my folks' pretty much on time for breakfast. Lots of gift opening and pickle hunting.  General slothlike behavior. I dealt with a headache in the afternoon, but thankfully, it faded by the evening.

21. Did you fall in love in 2018?

Um, pass.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I finally got to watch The Crown and One Day at a Time.  I like New Amsterdam and I think I like Manifest.  

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2018?

Heck if I can remember. I think I got a pedicure and went out to lunch with my parents.

24. What was the best book you read?

Crazy Rich Asians and the second one were fun.  I'm waiting for the 3rd from the library.  I didn't know there was a 4th Peculiar Children book until last week, so I'm diving into that one right now.

25. What did you want and get?

Netflix.  Hulu.  New drawer handles for the kitchen, installed by someone other than me.  A way to manage all of Sabrina's extracurricular activities.  

26. What did you want and not get?

Skinnier.  Peace on earth.  Children with consistent table manners.

And where is that rich benefactor?

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Ralph Wrecks the Internet.  Thanks, @Pamie.

28. Did you make some new friends this year?

Yes!  I went to Nashville and met a lovely new section of TLI.  I roomed with Jen (@jayesel) and drank (or at least tried to) a bottle of wine with Joanna (@ofgoodfamily).  Those were the nights I laughed the most all year.  I need to do a better job keeping in touch. 

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A jet pack.

Always, always, always: the ability to communicate anything to my children and have them understand instantly.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

Yes, I shop at Kohls, why do you ask?

31. What kept you sane?

Caffiene.  TLI.  Sending my kids to school and husband to work and returning to a quiet house.  

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I'm not too fancy this year.  I still want to hang out with Lin Manuel Miranda.  And he should bring his wife and Weird Al along with him.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

The Supreme Court.

34. Who did you miss?

Everyone I lost and everyone I don't see often enough (which is most everyone).

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

Don't open your mouth if you don't want an answer.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017: Checkpoint



I'm sorry if this comes off a little grey this year.  I'm hoping for more rainbows & glitter in 2018.  I put Sabrina in charge of that...

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Visited my brother's family & stayed in his house.  Went on vacation via airplane for which I had to shell out $$$ for many tickets.  Got completely verklempt over my son receiving numerous middle school awards.

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

Pish.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A couple of cousins added to their broods.  But I haven't held a squishy newborn in some time.  Bummer.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, not this year.  Whew.

5. What places did you visit?

San Antonio, Texas.  Portland, Oregon.  Vancouver, Washington.  The Oregon coast/Pacific Ocean.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

We'll just double down, OK?

More surplus dollars.  A boatload of patience.  More and closer friendships, both in person and across the internet.  I need some buddies. Will power, fortitude, self discipline, and better ways to communicate.

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Hmm.  May 30, the middle school awards ceremony.  Some day in October when Sabrina was elected to student council (the date is not significant but the memory is because I tried my darnedest to be on student council my whole academic career and never succeeded).  Not a lot of specific dates this year, but nice moments for sure.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Making it through?  Keeping my cool (mostly)?  Eh.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Once more with feeling: Letting frustration win, again and again and again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Strep plus a nasty virus at the end of spring break and over my birthday.  That's about it, thank everything.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My husband will say his new car, but I don't believe we needed one, so not that.  We finally finished replacing all the windows (except the weird one in the bathroom which can stay because it's weird), so perhaps I shall go with that.  Suuuuuper boring.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Last year's answer just carries straight over: as we wind up this year, it feels like nobody behaved very well, at least at large.  The Ladies Internet continues to be compassionate, insightful, and kind in so many ways.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Anybody fighting and yelling because differences exist.  That's a vague but direct answer.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Still - and more - true: Amazon Prime.  Taxes.  Also, new car.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Any time Amazon showed up at my door?  It didn't take much this year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?

I have been noodling over this question for days, and I have no answer.  I didn't even know Despacito was a thing until I heard it on a 2017 review show.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?  Honestly, a bit sadder, but hopeful for 2018.
b) thinner or fatter?  My rings are looser on my fingers, so I must be headed in the right direction.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer.  Stupid taxes.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

This remains ever the same: Catching myself before I get annoyed with the kids, particularly for interrupting me.  Spending time with lady friends.  It bears repeating, I need more friend time.

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

Worrying.  Now and forever.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2017?

Christmas Eve dinner at our house, just us, the kids, and the folks this time.  Lots of leftovers.  Mass in a very warm chapel with not the best selection of music, but that's OK.  

Santa business.  Terror over a big present that could not be made to work.  Much fretting.

Christmas morning nailbiting.  Kid delighted by Santa's last minute apology for a reindeer stepping on an important gift.  Parental relief.  Giddiness over other kid finding a gift she was sure she wouldn't get.

Family togetherness at the folks'.  Pickle hunt that went on far, far too long.  Much eating.  Much revelry.  Much tired.

21. Did you fall in love in 2017?

With my Ninja coffee maker.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Didn't watch all that much.  I saw quite a bit of this season of Outlander and that was fun, especially after reading the first book.  Now I want to read the rest.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2017?

Tried to recover from multiple germs.  Got a pedicure to help that along.

24. What was the best book you read?

I finally got a copy of The Royal We, and it is much fun in the light of Harry & Megan's engagement.

25. What did you want and get?

The right teacher fit for 4th grade for Sabrina.  A continued smooth journey through middle school for Sammy.  

26. What did you want and not get?

Lessened tension.

Netflix.

And that rich benefactor must be crawling here.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

I took myself to see La La Land, which was a treat.  Just this week, Sabrina and I saw The Greatest Showman.  So, musicals.

28. Did you make some new friends this year?

Not really.  I'd like to change that.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Teleportation.

Always, always, always: the ability to communicate anything to my children and have them understand instantly.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?

No holes, no lint, not falling off, not skin tight, no visible underpinnings.  Let's go.

31. What kept you sane?

Laughter.  Texting.  The Ladies Internet, for sure.  Caffeine.  Prayer.  Same, same, same.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

No fanciness to speak of.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Blergh.

34. Who did you miss?

Anybody I didn't get to spend much time with.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

Growth is good. Relax your grip.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Holidays, Matrix Style

I'm in this weird spot where I'm both ahead of the game and running to catch up.  I managed to mostly organize and even wrap the Christmas gifts I have, but it feels like I have so much more to figure out and buy.  My cards arrived today (after much dithering about doing them at all and spending way too much time trying (and failing) to get a decent family shot), but who knows when they'll actually get addressed?  And I have no idea how to be in 3 places at once Saturday morning.

It feels like I have so much to do and I'm woefully behind, but then, it's only the start of December tomorrow.  How is that even possible?  Such a time warp, the holidays. 

I don't really have a point here, except to say we all need to take a breath and go one step at a time.  It feels like a sprint, but it's more like a marathon.  But hopefully not as sweaty or physically destructive.  Hopefully.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Companion for the Next Month

This is our Christmas tree. A few years back, I bought a new tree when I couldn't take the annoyances of the previous one (which of course I can't remember now, but they were sufficiently annoying). I purposely got an unlit tree so I could string it with as many lights as I wanted. LED this time, so hopefully they wouldn't burn out too quickly.  I spent a long afternoon weaving lights in and out of branches on each section, keeping each section separate so I could easily take apart the tree and store it with the lights still on it. Several hours (and many, many expletives) later, we had our own prelit tree. It's been 4 years, I think (this being the 4th) and it's still going. I'm sure I just jinxed myself.

I did too good a job because my parents bought a 9 foot tree (!) and asked me to light it.  Sorry for all those cuss words, Mom.

My favorite part is that every ornament has a story. Maybe it's something we bought on clearance after Christmas because one of the kids liked the character. Maybe we got it on a vacation. Maybe it commemorates a birth, a new house, a hobby, a shared interest.  Maybe my dad made it from scratch in his garage. I know every one. (I'll share if you ask, but never force a story on someone.) There is even a whole separate tree for the kids' creations (and some of mine!) over the years.

It makes me so happy. History on a tree.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Regal and Gentile

We took pictures for Christmas cards this weekend.  This works, yes?


Monday, November 27, 2017

This Always Happens at Least Once

Whoops, almost forgot about this today... almost.