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?


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.


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?


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?


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.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Now it's Chris's turn to holiday up the house. The outside, specifically.  He's not too pleased that one of the strands of lights he put on the roof already went out, but I think he likes doing this overall. At least we have some new friends this holiday.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


19 1/2 pound turkey roasted.  20 people fed.  Merriment achieved.

My mother in law was under the weather and couldn't make it to the in-law Thanksgiving, which was a bummer but for the best.  Hopefully, she can make it to Christmas, which thankfully is not at my house (thank you, Cousins, for offering to host another year).  It was extra warm, so people (especially of the kid variety) could mill about outside and not pack inside the house like sardines.  There was plenty of wine and other spirits, a good selection of appetizers (I could have eaten the entire bowl of what I would call baked brie dip, but really who cares what it was really called because melty cheese), and even a variety of green things mixed in with the carbs (including the poor tossed salad that never gets eaten).  I didn't take enough pictures again because I was busy making sure all the food was warm, available, and not accidentally dropped on the carpet.  Everyone seemed happy and even a bit reluctant to leave.  Good day.

Now, turkey stock is simmering on the stove, the house is almost back in order (get busy, Kids), I am in my jammies, and I just have to wrap this up before I go sit between my husband and the TV so he knows I want a should rub.  Good on ya, Thanksgiving 2017.  How about we do this again next year?

The Bird