Year in Review 2017

My yearly wrap-up post.

And what a year it was. I spent the first half pregnant with a baby I had no idea what I was going to do with. And the second half parenting a newborn, and dealing with drama in both boys’ schools. And then there’s all these THINGS that are HAPPENING around us, and it’s enough to make you want to hole up in a panic room for the rest of your life. But, we’ve made it. And a new year awaits.

1. What did you this year that you’d never done before?

Had a third baby. Had a daughter! Had a pet run away. Homeschooled. Was pregnant in 100+ degree heat. Bought my own washer and dryer. Ran an Airbnb. Went to the gem show. Saw the Grand Canyon. Camped with a newborn.

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

I never remember my resolutions at the end of the year. I suppose I resolved to save money, get rid of junk, the usual.

This year my resolutions read like a to do list:

Get my wedding ring fixed. I noticed one of the prongs was broken. This happened to me about 5 or 6 years ago, and the diamond fell out in the bathroom at a museum, and thankfully I retrieved it. Anyway, I took the ring off so that wouldn’t happen again, put it in a drawer and promptly forgot about it.

Get my recalled airbag fixed. They send a card in the mail every so often. They harass my husband over the phone about it. I called once and a guy was supposed to call me back and never did. I made the call, checked it off my to do list, and moved on with my life. I hate when you can’t rely on people. Anyway, I need to call back.

Get to the dentist. It’s been…a while.

Lose weight. Last January I was pregnant, and the January before that I’m sure I needed to gain weight. But this year I’m quite a bit heavier than I’m used to being. Lots of leftover pregnancy weight and combining my breastfeeding appetite with the unhealthy treats that seem to multiply in my house at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I could stand to eat a smoothie once in a while, instead of peanut butter M&Ms.

I need to get my Etsy shop up and running again. I’ve got oodles of candles just sitting around, and they sell at shows, so I’m hoping they’ll sell online too.

I should blog more often.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

A good family friend passed away suddenly.

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

More life balance. Less anxiety. Patience. Confidence. Free time.

5. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory?

Finley’s birthday. Inauguration day. Labor Day weekend (I got to see the Grand Canyon!)

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Having another baby. The whole thing was wrought with stress and uncertainty. And the delivery was stressful. In the end she came and everything was fine, and it can thankfully all be a distant memory. It was hard work, and I made it. I did it. We did it.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Letting my anxiety get the best of me. When I don’t actively work on it, life lags. Feelings slump. I fall back into old patterns. It’s not hard to manage, but sometimes I let less important things take center stage. After a few years of doing really well, even through the big move, and an unplanned pregnancy, I sailed. Then, I crumbled. Sometimes I don’t even know why I do that, and I’m learning that it’s ok not to know, but you still need to fix yourself.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Having the baby, and having my tubes tied after. And several mole biopsies, as per the usual.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

The baby. Haha! Just kidding. I mean yes, she was the best thing. But as for material goods: my new freezer. We JUST got it, so I don’t know if I can say it’s the best, but it’s a game changer. I can’t jam enough stuff into this freezer. Crock pot meals, ready-to-eat meals, treats for the boys. Baby food at some point. And I save a lot of stuff in the freezer, basically anything you can freeze. It’s going to work out VERY well.

10. Where did most of your money go?

The baby. More plumbing woes. The husband’s Jeep.

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

Not being pregnant anymore! (Ever!)

12. What song will always remind you of 2017?

Halleluja by Leonard Cohen. Not because of its recent rise in popularity because of his death in 2016. Though that rise in popularity brought the song back to the forefront of my mind, and I remembered how much I always loved it. It’s hauntingly sweet and heartbreaking and fits perfectly with my mood sometimes.

Wild World by Cat Stevens. As I mentioned before, it makes me think of my cat Coco and how she ran away, unexpectedly. Understandably, but still unexpectedly. I had hopes she would return when the temperature dropped, but we have had temps as low as 29 degrees and she has not shown her face. I can only hope she has found a new, warm home and is being loved and cared for in her senior years.

I am Woman by Helen Reddy. It has been empowering watching women around the world take of the gloves and fight bare-fisted for things to change. Women coming forward against powerful men, and the #metoo movement. For my daughter’s sake, I hope I am witnessing the downfall of the patriarchy. Or I hope at least we’ve knocked it down a few notches.

We Will Rock You by Queen. It is Ferris’ absolute favorite jam, and he is constantly asking me to play it in my car. He has also learned how to ask our Amazon Echo to play it. I hear it a lot. But hey, things could be worse. I will always think of him at age 5 when I hear that song.

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

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

a) Sadder, I think. Maybe roughly the same. This time of year is always hard for me, so maybe that’s contributing. I have not been happy with the way things are going for our nation, that is definitely not as good as last year. It’s a strange thing, depression. I feel loved, and blessed, and lucky, and comfortable. Just not happy.

b) Oh man, so much fatter. I was a pant size bigger after I had the baby, and that weight has gone NOWHERE. I’m not eating well, that’s the number one contributing factor. And who has time for real exercise anymore?

c) Richer. In that we are paying much less toward our mortgage than we paid for rent in San Francisco. And the Airbnb rental brings in a substantial amount of money. Not a lot richer, but richer.

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

Enjoying pregnancy. It was my last, after all. I let the stress cloud all the enjoyment. I am enjoying her as a tiny baby though. I know all too well how fast that goes. As I write this, she is just over the 5 month mark, and she is eating solids and starting to sit up on her own. She’s in size 2 diapers already, and already outgrown some clothes. Just, like, slow down, time!

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

Stressing. Eating. Stress eating.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

My in-laws were in town (house shopping!). They came over early and we opened gifts and watched the boys play with all their new stuff. It was 75 degrees out, so Brien and Grandpa took the boys to the park to shoot their new cap guns. (Yes they still make cap guns, and yes my husband bought some.) My mother-in-law gave me the inside scoop on these turkeys you cook from frozen in the oven, and they’re all seasoned and ready to go and everything. So we stuck one of those in the oven. And then I was supposed to make mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts, but I went to lay down with the baby so she would nap, and ended up falling asleep myself. Y’all, I got a NAP for Christmas. And my wonderful mother-in-law had made the rest of the food and set the table, and I will forever be grateful. It was a good day.

17. What was your favorite TV program?

I rewatched Gilmore Girls. And Friends. I’ve also enjoyed The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce (a mid-season cancellation BOO), Flaked. Lots of baseball.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old are you?

I turned 38 this year. It came and went quietly, as most 30-something birthdays do. I was pregnant, and I think the boys were on Spring Break. Not notable. I will try to make the answer to this question more interesting next year.

Happy new year! Let’s hope 2018 is an upswing.

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Happy New Year

So. 2016. What can I say? It was long, it was complicated, and it more or less sucked.

“But you bought a house!”

Yes, we did. Which is pretty cool. But I’m full of all kinds of feelings about that one. We have a mortgage now, which is indeed better than paying rent, and our monthly payment is far less than our rent was. But having a mortgage feels heavy. Important. So adult.

And in order to buy this house, we had to leave my beloved San Francisco. Tucson is perfectly lovely, but it’s very different. I’m still getting used to it. And I don’t think I’ll ever feel so fulfilled in any other city ever. San Francisco was just so me, so wonderful. I fit in, and it was home.

Alas.

Like I said, Tucson is perfectly lovely. We have met some great people. And the cost of living just can’t be beat. There’s so much to do and see in the desert. And coyotes! In our front yard! The wildlife here is amazing, and it’s at your front door, sometimes literally. It’s good here. And someday, when I see a nice sunset or look down on a lovely cactus-dotted valley and smile, maybe my brain will stop saying, “But it’s not San Francisco.”

And you know what else? This house started falling apart on us almost immediately after we moved in. The plumbing needed a complete redo. There are leaks in the roof, there’s tons of water damage in the walls of the master bathroom. The fridge is probably 20 years old and it leaks. The weeds in the yard are out of control in the summer. Some itty bitty piece on the heating system broke on the coldest weekend of the whole year. Home ownership has its pluses, but damn it’s hard too.

“You celebrated a full year sober in 2016!”

Yes, yes I did. In April I celebrated one year sober. But again, mixed feelings. Sobriety is hard. Not super hard, and not hard all the time. There are peaks and valleys. But after going through all the difficult stuff I did this year, it has become painfully obvious to me that it’s a wet piece of paper towel between sobriety and falling off the wagon. It’s so tough. In a way that I won’t ever expect a non-addict to understand. I’m confident in my sobriety, and so happy to be sober, but, as a woman once said at an AA meeting, “Some days I feel 51% like not drinking and 49% like drinking.” And I think that sums it up perfectly. It’s a tightrope we walk as sober addicts. It’s a difficult existence. I’m not still riding on that one-year glee train, because I’m too focused on making it to two years and beyond. And “living life on life’s terms,” a common AA phrase. It just means confronting all of your problems, coupled with anxiety and depression and any other baggage you may carry, and just facing it head on. Taking a big bite out of it. Kicking its ass. It’s difficult all of the time, damn near impossible most of the time, and painful. So painful.

Ok. I’m bumming you out. I don’t mean to do that, ugh, sorry. So, 2016 wasn’t all bad, right?

Good stuff that happened in 2016:

  1. We got a kitten. And he’s adorable. He’s a handful, but he’s adorable.
  2. I grew stuff in my garden. I’m still figuring out the climate here, but I had some peppers, tomatoes, herbs, a cantaloupe and an acorn squash.
  3. The Cubs won the World Series! THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!
  4. My brother-in-law got married. And it was a wonderful celebration. And his new wife is just the best.
  5. We have made some new friends in Tucson, friends I think we will have for a long time.
  6. We participated in some fun neighborhood events. The 4th of July parade and picnic was really fun. Halloween is a very big deal in our neighborhood. And I made about $100 at the craft fair!
  7. Both boys love their schools and are doing very well. I was very worried about how they would transition, what the schools here would be like, and how Ferris would feel about mom and dad not working at school. But, things have been even better than my most optimistic thoughts.
  8. I’ve had a bunch of nothing-to-report dermatologist appointments. In March, I will be 4 years post-op, making it just one more year until the magical 5 year mark, when you can finally declare yourself “cancer-free.”
  9. No one in my family died this year. I know there are a whole bunch of folks out there, some I know personally, who can’t say the same thing. I need to remind myself more often that this is an amazing gift to be given: more days with people I love, more time to make sure they know I care about them. This cannot be taken for granted. The older I get, the more I’m realizing this.
  10. We had a great Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had family visiting for both, and celebrated with friends too. We hosted a big meal for both holidays, and it helped make this house feel just a smidge more like a home for me. As one of those weirdos who generally doesn’t enjoy that time of the year, I enjoyed this year’s festivities more than usual. Quite a bit.

Let’s make 2017 the best year yet. Hug your loved ones. Spend more time doing what you love. We’ll go through it together. Come what may, we have each other.

The Holidays, Anxiety, and Me

This time of year makes me crazy. No, scratch that, I’m pretty crazy all the time. But, this time of year really brings it out in me.

All the lights and trees and adorable snowmen make me happy. I like Christmas, I like the winter season and everything it brings. I like celebrating with family and friends. I like getting gifts, and even more, I like giving them.

But, there’s something about a year drawing to a close that gets me down. There’s a lot of pressure to make the next year better. To become a better version of yourself. And, I like to think every year will be a better year. Except…what’s coming my way? Will it be good or bad? Will it be scary? Will I be able to handle it?

Having recently been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), it all makes complete sense to me now. All those unexplained Christmas crying spells when I was a kid, sitting alone in the living room with only the Christmas tree lighting the room. All that holing myself up in my room all winter as a teen, instead of being with friends. All that relief I felt when school would start again in January, and I had less time on my hands to think. I get myself in trouble when I think.

As a part of my GAD, I also have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A disorder that affects people specifically during this time of year. It is attributed to the lack of sunlight and shorter, darker days. So, it’s like adding fuel to already very raging fire. I’ve been told that “SAD is a bunch of crap.” I say, tell that to someone who suffers from it.

It helps to have kids. There’s nothing more magical than a kid at Christmastime. The wonder and excitement in their eyes as they dream about what Santa will bring. My kids don’t know the beauty of snow, and truthfully I never really liked the stuff. But, every year when the first flakes fly, it’s very magical and exciting. And the pure, unfettered happiness when they see a house all decorated with lights and wreaths and a big, shiny tree. With their help, I can see beauty in this time of year.

This year, armed with the knowledge that all my sadness and anxiety are due to chemical imbalances in my brain, I can relax and enjoy life a little more. When I start getting sad or panicky, I can recognize it for what it is and calm down. I have found ways to make life easier on myself–minimizing Christmas shopping, keeping the decorations at a minimum, keeping the gifts simple and heartfelt, keeping get-togethers small.

There’s also the fact that 2015 was about as low of a year as one can have for me. While my anxiety still has me on edge about what 2016 has in store for me, I’m also very happy to welcome it with open arms. A whole new year, a whole new, blank slate for me to fill with happy things, new challenges, new adventures. 2015 is in the past, and that feels good.

I feel like holding hands with all of you, in one giant circle, and stepping into 2016 together. We can do this together. It feels less scary when I allow other people in, and work together to make things happen.

So, have a wonderful holiday season, and come with me to 2016. May it be the best year any of us have seen yet. No pressure though.

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Year in Review 2013

2013 was a big one. Full of twists and turns, ups and downs, surprises and losses. I’d use the old cliche about emotional roller coasters, but truth be told, I stayed pretty much at the same sad, anxious, emotional level all year. I held things together by using my family and my bloggy community as duct tape. It was really hard to write this Year in Review, which is why it’s being posted so late. Lots of inward observation and reflection. Which gets a little exhausting. I’m hopeful for a happy, healthy, well-adjusted 2014.

1. What did you this year that you’d never done before?

Had to have a pet put down. Had melanoma. Had a lymph node removed. Sent a kid off to elementary school. Appeared on national television.

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

I’m sure I resolved to lose weight, as I always do. I didn’t lose any, I actually gained a small amount, but the gain has leveled off. I’m also sure I resolved to save money. We’re trying. *cough* MEDICAL BILLS CAN BITE ME *cough cough*. More realistically, I’d like just overall stop and smell the roses when it comes to my boys. And I’ll resolve to save money *this* year, because the aforementioned medical bills were recently PAID IN FULL (woooot!). Barring any injury or illness this year, we should do all right.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

My sweet, sweet kitty, Nashua Bean. I’ve had a hard time grieving for him because he was, after all, just a cat. But, also a good, sweet friend for nearly 20 years. He brought so much joy to my life, with nothing expected in return but love, food and scooped poo. He had such a kind soul, and I know he’s somewhere, watching over me.

I also lost a dear friend and favorite high school teacher to breast cancer. She was something really special, and she will be missed by many.

4. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Money. A therapist. More time to myself. My new Etsy shop up and running. More blog posts. A lot less in the cancer department.

5. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

My melanoma diagnosis. The day Nashua died. The day Bowie started Kindergarten. Ferris’ first birthday. My brother’s wedding.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finally getting to the dermatologist and getting the cancer before it got me.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Not properly processing my cancer emotionally, and not allowing myself to fully grieve for my cat, and thusly letting myself fall apart emotionally.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Surgery. It was a beast. And I had some nerve damage, so my leg still hurts a bit.

I somehow managed to avoid the norovirus (knock on wood) which Bowie had three times, two of those times within a week of each other.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

My surgery.

10. Where did most of your money go?

Bills still from having Ferris. Cancer bills. Pants for the boys. (They grew SO FAST.) Milk. Rent.

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

Being cancer free! After spending a week thinking the cancer had spread, it was the hugest feeling of relief I’ve ever experienced.

12. What song will always remind you of 2013?

The song “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab For Cutie for some strange reason always did, and always will, remind me of Nashua. I think from now on it will make me remember when he died.

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

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

a) Sadder, I think. But, it was a hard year, so I’ll cut myself some slack.

b) About the same.

c) Poorer. Still. We’ll get there someday.

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

Traveling, spending time with family, hugging my boys, exercising, crafting, reading. Writing.

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

Yelling at Bowie. Leaving Ferris to play by himself. Worrying.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day a few hours away at my in-laws’ house. All of my husband’s brothers were there from their many scattered locations, and it was the first time in a long time we’d all gotten together, so it was a lot of fun.

It was also the first year Bowie really got into the Santa thing, and we all had a ton of fun with that.

17. What was your favorite TV program?

Mad Men. Parenthood. Orange is the New Black. Downton Abbey.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old are you?

I turned 34. I honestly can’t remember what we did. It was right after the cancer thing. Right before Nashua died. Sandwiched in between two major events. I think we might have gone out for dinner? Anyway, most days I can’t even remember if I’m 33 or 34, so I’m sure my birthday was as insignificant as my age.

Happy 2014 to everyone, and may it treat us all a little better than 2013 did.

The One Where I Kinda Bum You Out

I suppose if I’m going to hog this domain name, that I could actually blog once in a while. Thing is, along with all the hubbub and running around and preparations we make for the holidays, I’ve also got this looming dark cloud over me lately.

I am really out of sorts right now because recently, one of my favorite teachers from high school passed away at age 52 from breast cancer. I was a student of hers for many years, and she was a warm, wonderful woman and a great mentor. I had always meant to pop into the school and visit her, but never did. Something beat me to it: CANCER.

I think her death reopened something inside of me about my own cancer that I had locked up and buried deep, deep below layers and layers of myself. All of a sudden it hit me like a brick to the forehead: I have had cancer.

Living in the online world, cancer touches you from far and wide. I was reading that a blogger that I follow who was treated for stage 3 melanoma only to find out she had stage 4 ovarian cancer, has had her ovarian cancer return for the third time. And her story now has me really worried about the BRCA gene mutations. These mutations are commonly known as increasing a person’s likelihood to develop breast cancer, but can also mean increased likelihood of other cancers, including malignant melanoma. I don’t know if I’ve been tested for this mutation or not, I plan to ask my dermatologist if this was part of the blood work I had done in March. But, I would make it my (uneducated hypochondriac) guess that if you get cancer under the age of 35 then you might have the mutation.

So cancer has been on my mind lately. REALLY been on my mind. Not just because of these things, but also because I’m looking back at the last 10 years of my life and thinking of all the abuse I put my body through. I didn’t really take care of myself at all. Junk food, diet soda, alcohol, no regular exercise, heavy anxiety, all of this takes its toll. And only NOW am I realizing this.

I’m afraid I’ve done things to my body that I can’t take back, and can’t fix. Because my lymph node came back clear last spring, they ended up not giving me a full body scan. I did have a chest X-ray, so I know my lungs are clear. Which is a good thing. I also had a physical with my gynecologist over the summer, who said everything looked and felt fine to her. But I have the nagging, nagging, NAGGING feeling that they’ve missed something, overlooked something. Because I’m so young, they’re not looking hard enough, not taking things seriously. Of course, I’m way too chicken to go in and ask for the scan. Not only can we not afford it, with $3,000 left from our $15,000 owed out of pocket from the past 2 years, but also I’m afraid they will find something. Which, yes, of course, it’s better to be informed. But being informed means not living in ignorant bliss. Though I would not call my current state of being “bliss” either.

I think when they told me I had cancer, even though they had caught it in time, and it hadn’t spread, I’ve been treating that diagnosis as the beginning of the end. I am now headed to the end of my life. Rather than treating it as the new beginning that it should be. I know that kind of thinking isn’t normal, but I can’t really help it. I need to figure out how to change how I view life and death.

After the cancer diagnosis, there was the actual surgery, which was pretty much the beginning of the end of me breastfeeding Ferris (which if you’ll recall, I had to stop doing when he was 8 months, because he was confusing me with the bottle and biting me until I bled). And there was the false alarm, where the surgeon told me the melanoma had spread to the lymph node, only to call me a week later to say, “No, whoops, sorry about that. You’re good.” That was very difficult. And I’m still wondering, “Are you sure? ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY SURE?!”

I’m trying to focus on 2014. A new year brings new hope, new promise, new life. But, for a person with anxiety issues, a new year also brings new challenges, new problems, new struggles. I barely made it through this year. What if next year is worse?!

I have some changes in mind for 2014, things I can do to better myself and my life, and hopefully help the year not be worse than this one was. I’m trying to be optimistic, and I’m trying to dig myself out of the dumps, if only to not be such a bummer. I want to get the anxiety under control, I want to change the diet a LOT, I want to get past this depression, or whatever funk I’m in, so I can enjoy every day. Every hour. Every minute.

I knew a blogger that found out she had melanoma, and died just months later. I’ve been given a longer time than she was given. Knowing that I need to do more with my time is obvious, but actually following through without feeling so down and so sorry for myself is another game. A game I plan to OWN.

Thanks for sticking with me, folks.

 

 

 

Year in Review 2012

My yearly wrap-up post. You can see my answers for years past here, here and here.

1. What did you this year that you’d never done before?

Natural childbirth. Parented two sons! Monitored my blood sugar. Lost 30 pounds. Toured elementary schools.

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

I didn’t make any last year. I feel like they put too much pressure on us. But, if I can make some really general ones: try to keep the house cleaner, work on being a better mom.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

Not this year, thank goodness.

4. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

Savings. A good dermatologist.

5. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The day our sweet Ferris joined the bunch, of course!

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Giving birth. With no pain meds. That was amazingly empowering.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Letting all of Bowie’s hard work at the OT go to hell when his little brother was born. I didn’t keep up my end of the bargain and he fell apart. We’re back on the right path, but I really set us back.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major. Not even having the baby! That was actually pretty easy.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

The replacement stroller for the travel system we had used for Bowie. The old stroller was usable, but really beat up, and I tossed and turned at night trying to decide whether or not to spend the $150, and I finally did and I’M SO GLAD.

10. Where did most of your money go?

Two nights in the hospital. Oy vey.

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

The new year. Being pregnant. Having the baby. Bowie’s improved behavior.

12. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Any K Ishibashi, specifically Bright Whites. Apparently, I found out later, that’s what Brien had playing on his iPad when Ferris was born. I didn’t know that, and after the fact I was like, “I really like this music! Why do I really like this music?”

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

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

a) SO MUCH HAPPIER. Little Ferris was already with us when we welcomed in 2012, but we didn’t know that yet. And I was really a wreck. 2011 had dealt me a horrible hand, and I was so ready for a new start. Little did I know, a few days later I’d get the ultimate fresh start!

b) SO MUCH THINNER! Gestational diabetes is like, the best diet. Now for the task of actually keeping it off.

c) Poorer. For a few reasons. It sucks.

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

Saving money (see above). Talking to family.

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

Losing my temper with Bowie. I try really, really hard, but I always end up cracking once in a while.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

With friends and family, huddled inside out of the pouring rain. There was much wine, many laughs and great gifts.

17. What was your favorite TV program?

Mad Men. Parenthood. The New Girl. How I Met Your Mother. 30 Rock.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old are you?

I turned 33 this year. I had a quiet, uneventful birthday at home. But, it was a good one.

And winner for most exciting moment of 2012:

I’m 33, yo (Year in Review 2011)

Here’s the questionnaire I usually do for New Year’s but just didn’t feel like doing it this year. I figured it works for birthdays too?

I think I’m totally ok with turning a year older for the first time since turning 29.

1. What did you this year that you’d never done before?

Hmmm…tough one right out of the gate. It was a rough year. I had a miscarriage, battled depression, found out I have a zillion awesome Internet besties and then I got pregnant again. And unfortunately, anything new I did outside of that sphere has just plain escaped my memory. I’m hoping for a much better, more memorable year.

OH! And I took a glass blowing class. Which was such hard work, but also so amazing. I haven’t challenged myself like that in years. It’s a lot of taxing, physical work, so I will have to put it on hold for a bit, but will likely continue later.

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

I don’t remember what I resolved to do last year. We were trying to get pregnant last January, so I suppose having a baby was tops on that list. Also, getting more involved in preschool, which I did. We kept up with dentist appointments, which is a big deal for us. I think I also semi-resolved to lose weight, but stayed pretty much the same. I didn’t make resolutions this year, I think I’m giving them up. They tend to put a lot of undue pressure on people. I say just try to do your best and be at your best 365 days a year.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

Not anyone else this year. Thank goodness, I don’t know if I could have handled it. A lot of people I know experienced a loss though, and I want to let them all know I’m very sorry and I hope they’re healing.

4. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

A happy, healthy baby. More money in savings. A trip to see family members in the Midwest that I haven’t seen in a while. A better sense of purpose.

5. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The miscarriage, obviously. And Thanksgiving and Christmas. They were both so wonderful this year, and gave me a much-needed something else to focus on.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Honestly? Just surviving. There were a lot of days I truly thought I wouldn’t. I’m proud of myself for finding the strength to pick up and move forward. I moved slowly, but I moved forward.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Losing myself. I just didn’t know who I was going to be or what I was going to do. I really let it all go. Now I’m trying to figure it all out again. I have just changed so much. Which really isn’t a failure in and of itself, but the way I just let things fall apart is. I’m thankful for the love and support I had from family and friends to hold it together in the small ways I still could.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Depression. Which is a beast. And it’s real, very, very real. Don’t ever belittle someone for it, we all fight our own battles and you have no idea how hard someone else has it.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

My iPad. God, I love that thing, haha.

10. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, preschool tuition, food, travel.

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

The holidays. As I said, they were such a bright light in my (at the time) very dark world. It was so uplifting to see family, and celebrate. Also, our trip to Hawaii. We always have such an amazing time.

12. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I have no idea. I don’t really listen to popular music. Probably something by Fitz and the Tantrums, they are my new ob-sesh.

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

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

a) I am as happy as I was last year at this time, but a little more muted. I was still pregnant on my birthday last year, and I was completely blissed out. I am really very happy again this year, just a little more cautiously. Which I really wish I wasn’t, but I can’t help it.

b) About the same. But about to get fatter!

c) Same. We’re working on paying off my student loans, and working on saving. We’re not rich, just comfortable. And I’m ok with that.

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

Living in the moment. I was so fixated on my future and getting pregnant again, I missed out on a lot. I even knew back then that I was missing out, and still couldn’t get myself to focus on the time at hand. One of these days I hope the clouds clear away and I can remember more of 2011.

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

Beating myself up. I was pretty vocal about my pregnancy from just 7 weeks, and I was really hard on myself for that. I think I just felt humiliated. And I don’t enjoy pity, which I kind of felt from people (but now I don’t think they pitied me, they just felt bad and wanted to help). I also spent a lot of time wondering why I should be so sad, when other women have had it a lot worse than me. But the truth is, we all have to grieve until the pain is gone, no matter how “big” or how “small” our sadness is.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

At home, sitting around a fire in our PJs, watching Bowie play with his new Hot Wheels track and tons of new cars. It was a simple one, but perfect.

17. What was your favorite TV program?

This year I started watching Mad Men from the beginning on Netflix and I am COMPLETELY OBSESSED. I love that show to bits. And guess what? Season 5 starts tonight. Happy birthday to me.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old are you?

I’m 33 this year. Over 30, but not 35 yet, haha.

Here’s to the next year of my life!

Group Therapy: The Self-Deprecation

The first few weeks of 2012 have not been kind to some of my friends, family and acquaintances. But, they’ve been going swimmingly for me, and my little corner of the universe.

Which has really taught me a lesson about myself lately: I find it hard to be happy when others are not.

There’s a Woody Allen joke, “I can’t enjoy anything unless everybody is. If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening.” And, I think that’s what I’m trying to say. I can’t be happy if everyone’s not happy.

Which is just ridiculous because, take a look around. It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever live to see a day when everyone is happy.

So, I’m trying to by happy for myself, even if I can’t be happy for everyone in my life. I can still be there to support them, I can still be there to love them. It’s not as if I’m showing up on their doorstep saying, “My life is so much better than yours right now!”

I’m sure there were times in those people’s lives when they were happy, and I wasn’t. In fact, I can think of several examples to that effect. But, I never resented anyone for it. I told myself, “It’s not their fault that I’m not happy.”

So, then why would I also say to myself, “Why should I be happy when they are not?” Doesn’t make any sense.

I’m not huge on resolutions, I find them hard to make and harder to keep. But, I suppose this can be mine for 2012: Don’t be afraid to give myself credit and allow myself to be happy.

Resolutions

I didn’t really take the whole New Year’s resolution thing seriously this year, and now I’m reading all these posts about them and feeling guilty. So, here you go. A peer-pressure inspired list of my resolutions for 2011.

1. Stop drinking bottled water. We hardly ever did anyway, because of the waste factor, but last night we watched this documentary, and I’m too afraid and too disgusted and too pissed off to ever touch another bottle of water.

2. Take more pictures. I have this kickin’ rad camera, and a son who lives thousands of miles from his grandparents, and yet I take so few pictures. I try, I really do. I’ve just never been a picture taker. I strive to become one.

3. Eat better. Generally, I do okay. But I indulge quite often in food I probably should not indulge in. I’m known for my penchant for fast food, but there’s also soda and candy and cheese and butter and…well, you get the idea. NOT a diet. Just, eating right. All the time. Most of the time.

4. To go with that, exercise. My knee sucks and my foot sucks, but most of the time I can power through. Our fancy new treadmill will help me a lot, because I’m also hung up on people watching me run or work out (don’t ask me why, there is no logical reason). So, I can get a decent workout, in the privacy of my own home, every day. I resolve to do just that.

5. Do more reading, writing, crafting, blogging, etc. I’m going to have a lot more free time this year than I have for a long time, and I should use it wisely.

What are your resolutions? What resolutions do you suggest for me? Haha.

Year in Review 2010

A questionnaire that I filled out last year, and I think serves as a great way to sum up the year in one small-ish post.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Interviewed at preschools, started potty training someone, collected unemployment checks, had my dad visit in San Francisco, enjoyed Brussels sprouts (who knew?)

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

Hubbs and I resolved to pay off the car, which we successfully did. We also resolved to move into a cheaper house, which we did. I, however, was not all that successful at losing weight (though I have recently dropped 5 pounds). I had also resolved to sort of come to terms with being laid off and…I don’t think I’m quite there yet.

Oh! We went to the dentist, all of us! That was a big one for me.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

Fortunately, no. Though, my Great Great Aunt Frannie passed away this year at the ripe old age of 100, and though we were not “close”, she will surely be missed.

4. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

More money in savings, maybe another kiddo, Bowie in a preschool, more writing work. A pedicure would be nice.

5. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Bowie’s second birthday, because we were visiting in Wisconsin, and a lot of family and friends joined us to celebrate. It was a lot of fun. Also, the week we moved, because it was really dramatic for a lot of reasons. And Christmas Eve, that was sooooo fun.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting Bowie into preschool! I was such a nervous wreck about the whole process, and felt like I was a bad parent that had put it off too long. And I was all, “he’ll get in later, it’s no problem.” But, secretly I was longing for the free time.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Weight loss. I expected a lot from myself. And I could have done it, I really could have. But, I had a lot of hurdles: depression, chronic pain, time. Maybe next year. But I’m done being so hard on myself.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing outside the normal stuff.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

Bowie’s drum set. And his tricycle. And my G2 haha.

10. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, car payments, diapers, milk, fixing my phone, fixing my camera.

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

Moving. We found an awesome house, cheaper rent and a great neighborhood. It was a good move for us.

Edit: My good pal Dawn reminded me of our trip to Paris. DUH. We certainly got excited about that, and had an amazing time.

12. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Pretty much anything by the Avett Brothers. For better or worse.

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

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

a) Much, much happier. Getting laid off was such a blow to the ego. But, as time moves on, so do I.

b) About the same, honestly. I’ve been down a bit, up a bit, but I think I’m pretty much the same right now.

c) Richer. Paid off medical bills that were haunting us. Paid off our car. Found a cheaper house. It’s been so great.

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

Spending more one-on-one time with Bowie. He’s starting preschool soon, and then he’ll be grown up before I know it. Also, spending time with family far away. It’s so difficult to get out there, be we really should try more often.

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

Worrying. I lay awake many nights worrying about things that either I can’t do a damn thing about, or will eventually resolve themselves anyway. I need to stop “sweating the small stuff”. And procrastinating. It’s true, I do work best under deadline, but not all things in life work this way.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

The night before, Brien put together Bowie’s flashy new tricycle, and on Christmas he woke up early and we urged him to go look in the living room. He stood there and stared at it in a daze for a moment, and didn’t leave it alone for the rest of the day. We were so NOT going to do this Santa Claus thing, but it was so damn fun.

17. What was your favorite TV program?

We were so happy to see the Apprentice come back this year. We were also dedicated LOST fans again, but now that show is over *sniff*. New shows I am hooked on this year: Parenthood, Modern Family, Raising Hope. And, as always, How I Met Your Mother.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

This year I turned 31, and it was so uneventful that I can’t for the life of me remember what we did. I probably made dinner.

Happy 2011 everyone, hope it’s a winner!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Interviewed at preschools, started potty training someone, collected unemployment checks, had my dad visit in San Francisco, enjoyed Brussels sprouts (who knew?)

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

Hubbs and I resolved to pay off the car, which we successfully did. We also resolved to move into a cheaper house, which we did. I, however, was not all that successful at losing weight (though I have recently dropped 5 pounds). I had also resolved to sort of come to terms with being laid off and…I don’t think I’m quite there yet.

Oh! We went to the dentist, all of us! That was a big one for me.
3. Did anyone close to you die?
Fortunately, no. Though, my Great Great Aunt Frannie passed away this year at the ripe old age of 100, and though we were not “close”, she will surely be missed.

4. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More money in savings, maybe another kiddo, Bowie in a preschool, more writing work. A pedicure would be nice.

5. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Bowie’s second birthday, because we were visiting in Wisconsin, and a lot of family and friends joined us to celebrate. It was a lot of fun. Also, the week we moved, because it was really dramatic for a lot of reasons. And Christmas Eve, that was sooooo fun.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting Bowie into preschool! I was such a nervous wreck about the whole process, and felt like I was a bad parent that had put it off too long. And I was all, “he’ll get in later, it’s no problem.” But, secretly I was longing for the free time.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Weight loss. I expected a lot from myself. And I could have done it, I really could have. But, I had a lot of hurdles: depression, chronic pain, time. Maybe next year. But I’m done being so hard on myself.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing outside the normal stuff.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

Bowie’s drum set. And his tricycle. And my G2 haha.

10. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, car payments, diapers, milk, fixing my phone, fixing my camera.

11. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Moving. We found an awesome house, cheaper rent and a great neighborhood. It was a good move for us.

12. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Pretty much anything by the Avett Brothers. For better or worse.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

a) Much, much happier. Getting laid off was such a blow to the ego. But, as time moves on, so do I.

b) About the same, honestly. I’ve been down a bit, up a bit, but I think I’m pretty much the same right now.

c) Richer. Paid off medical bills that were haunting us. Paid off our car. Found a cheaper house. It’s been so great.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spending more one-on-one time with Bowie. He’s starting preschool soon, and then he’ll be grown up before I know it. Also, spending time with family far away. It’s so difficult to get out there, be we really should try more often.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. I lay awake many nights worrying about things that either I can’t do a damn thing about, or will eventually resolve themselves anyway. I need to stop “sweating the small stuff”. And procrastinating. It’s true, I do work best under deadline, but not all things in life work this way.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

The night before, Brien put together Bowie’s flashy new tricycle, and on Christmas he woke up early and we urged him to go look in the living room. He stood there and stared at it in a daze for a moment, and didn’t leave it alone for the rest of the day. We were so NOT going to do this Santa Claus thing, but it was so damn fun.

17. What was your favorite TV program?
We were so happy to see the Apprentice come back this year. We were also dedicated LOST fans again, but now that show is over *sniff*. New shows I am hooked on this year: Parenthood, Modern Family, Raising Hope. And, as always, How I Met Your Mother.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
This year I turned 31, and it was so uneventful that I can’t for the life of me remember what we did. I probably made dinner.