Posted in etcetera, meme

a year in review – 2014

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
ate poached fish, attended an ash scattering, battled an infestation of pantry moths, been dining at a restaurant where our waitress quit, bought coffee beans and had them ground, had cake for breakfast, put audio books on my mp3 player, saw a movie at Carmike Valley Bend Theatre, touched a meteorite, tried computer glasses, was rear-ended in traffic

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2014, I wanted to continue to make nutritious food choices and read the Old Testament.
For 2015, I plan to work on #19 and #39 below, and to dwell on the truth: “God’s plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of your day.”

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. My aunt passed away in May.

5. Where did you travel?
only to local cities that I’ve visited before

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2015, that would be awesome.

7. What date or event from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
One of my co-workers was retiring, and I collected money to compile a “retirement survival kit.” He was planning to travel, so I selected items such as a road atlas, car care kit, travel pillow, etc. Anyway, in my head I added up the cost of each item, loosely allowing for tax. When I got to the register to pay, I had $62 to spend – and the total was $61.99!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
In June, I began an almost weekly effort to de-clutter both in real life and in my computer files, and I’d say it has been a success, although there’s still work to be done.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Twice I had what I’ll call “a catastrophic failure of imagination.”

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes! I suffered from eye strain most of the year. My mysterious right side pain had several flare-ups, including the worst one yet that started last month and branched out into a host of other aches and weirdness that lingers still; as ever, the doctor couldn’t find anything. I also had an extreme case of vertigo – and several minor ones – back in March.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
the Bible on CD
Runner-up: a large bubba (brand) mug on clearance, to hold my coffee

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Three different neighbors who went above and beyond in being good neighbors

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A certain co-worker’s. Sometimes this guy is really nice… but more often he seems argumentative in what should be a casual exchange. Plus, he’ll be right next to my desk and invite others to lunch, and yet he doesn’t invite me, even to the Happy Retirement lunch for my favorite ex-employee – and I know Appalling Co-worker knew I wanted to go.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Probably to #15.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Taking the first “real” steps toward getting my own home – and planning to take even more next year!

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
“Brave” by Sara Bareilles, because I finally worked up the courage to tell Jeff how I (don’t) feel.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? this year has been a roller-coaster of emotion
Older or wiser? definitely older, thanks to my “ailments”
Thinner or fatter? About the same
Richer or poorer? About the same

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

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
freaked out over not feeling better

20. Did your heart break?
Yes. I cried for a week when one of our cats was crippled by a car.

21. How did you spend Christmas?
My mom, sister and I opened our gifts around nine, after I set up our low-frills video camera. (It seems that the sound worked (for a change), so no “silent night” this year!) I fixed lunch and, later, supper, and took pictures of our gifts. I checked out Facebook and worked on a few small computer projects, including these Year End Questions. I had two cups of hot tea and an OJ/yogurt “smoothie,” plus one piece of dark Ghirardelli chocolate with caramel. I also used a pretty notebook I received last year to start a “prayer journal” for collecting musings from devotionals, sermons, Bible verses, etc.

22. How will you spend New Year’s Eve?
I’ll be holding down the fort at work along with the 2 or 3 other people who are not on vacation. Later at home, the fam and I will probably watch some DVDs, and then ring the new year in as we typically do: sleeping.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I still don’t watch any current programs, opting instead for DVDs. This year, I expanded my collection to include two “classics” that I’d never seen: Joan of Arcadia and thirtysomething.

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
Key Lime flavored frozen Greek yogurt, homemade dark chocolate ice cream, roasted red pepper tapenade, roasted okra, baked pears, corn chex cereal with almond slivers

25. What was the best book you read?
I cut way back on reading because of recurring eye strain. But I purchased the entire Bible on CDs, and I’ve been listening my way through the Old Testament. (Currently, I’m in Judges.)

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
LOTS of happy musical discoveries this year, because of frequenting new-to-me radio stations. Three songs that immediately come to mind are “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and “Smile” by Kirk Franklin.

27. What did you want and get?
My sister got a better job.

28. What did you want and not get?
For my doctor to do more than a cursory check when I went last month with a new ailment cluster that I find disturbing.

29. What was your favorite film?
Films Seen This Year and Really Liked: Captain America: Winter Soldier and Home Fries

30. What did you do on your birthday?
I took the day off of work. I purchased some mp3s and checked Facebook. I made lunch including a new recipe: Pineapple Pudding Cake. (LOVE IT!) My sister was off from work, too, so we went with my mother to a nearby city where we revisited the mall where we used to back-to-school shop and a small museum that we hadn’t been to since the 1980s. I took some pictures to commemorate the day. Later, I walked around in the yard, enjoying the beautiful sunny day and unseasonable warmness. Plus, I had earlier decided that my birthday was a good day to launch a “serious” inquiry into building a home, and so I called a bank to ask some questions.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If the people I’m around the most would join in my effort – at times, yes, struggle – to be positive. Failing that, if they could just silence the rampant NEGativity…!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Largely unchanged: casual, with many days of wearing jeans… and continuing in my perpetual quest to style my hair in a way that doesn’t make me want to cry

33. What kept you sane?
This year has been a challenge. I’m learning what it means to “wait (trust, hope) in the Lord and find new strength.” (Isaiah 40:31)

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
No one, really. I was too distracted by real life.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Again this year, the fiasco that is Obamacare. My sister attempted to sign up back in January, only to discover that her “affordable” coverage would cost one-third(!) of her meager income. Needless to say, that price made insurance out of the question, and she joined the increasing number of people opting to pay the penalty, aka “the tax on being alive.”

36. Who did you miss?
The two ladies from my previous job. There’s no one at my current job that I can relate to.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
No one stands out.

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
Jeff and I decided to take a break.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
The saying goes that “if you hold a flower in your hand and really look at it, for that moment it is your world.” Well, I don’t want my focus – my world – to be my problems.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“I see the world through my jaded eyes. I get frustrated when there is no why… I press on when I still don’t get it.” “Wrecking Ball (Press On)” ~ Building 429 with Blanca Callahan of Group 1 Crew

Posted in etcetera

decide it!

I wrote this today for my inspirational site.

some rain, some shine

I recently heard this quote:

“In life, you’re going to be left out, talked about, lied to and used. But you have to decide who is worth your tears.” – Unknown

I considered other ways Unknown could’ve phrased it.

“… But you have to decide who will bring you down.”

Or,

“… But you have to decide who is worth losing sleep over.”

Or even,

“But you have to decide who is worth sacrificing one more moment of your precious life allowing their thoughtlessness to negatively impact your health and peace of mind.”

Although more could’ve been said, the anonymous writer opted to leave the thought fairly open-ended, perhaps because the outcome *is* open-ended. People will let us down – as will other things in life – and then we have to decide where we take it from there.

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Posted in blurbs, etcetera, feelings, work

Now, where did THAT come from?

Earlier this week, I was having lunch at my desk, as I often do. Boss #2 stopped by to contribute some work-related info (which is, of course, the downside in lunching at one’s desk), but as he turned to go, he spied my sandwich. He asked, “Is that ciabatta bread? Did you bake that?” Yes, it was ciabatta bread, but no, I definitely didn’t bake it… and even now, I’m curious as to what inspired that question. While I can cook, I’m far from being a culinary legend, and I consider bread-baking something done by unearthly people like Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart. In any event, I decided to take it as a compliment.

The day after the previous incident, I was at Wal-Mart (looking for more ciabatta bread for which I could take baking credit). A fellow customer gets my attention and queries, “Do you have any idea where I would find anchovy paste?” Something about the phrase “anchovy paste” really turns my stomach, but I rose above it and thought for a moment, trying to be helpful. “Might it be with the canned meats?” The lady responded that she hadn’t thought of that, and off she went. I was left to wrap my head around the fact that I – apparently – I look like someone familiar with disgustingly-named fish products.

Also this week, the water cooler at work would not dispense cold water, so I called our water-cooler-unit supplier. It would be the next day before the service guy could come out, but the office lady suggested that I “unplug it, wait an hour and plug it back in.” So… just so I’m understanding the situation here: I need to reboot the water cooler?! (FYI, I was desperate, so I tried it. Didn’t work.)

Last Sunday at church, everyone was meeting and greeting after the evening service. I stopped to shake hands with our newest deacon. After our hellos, he proceeds, “Now, your husband – does he go to church here?” I admit, that question took me so by surprise that I was completely at a loss for how to respond. Fortunately the pastor’s wife was one step away, and she informed the deacon that I don’t have a husband. Recovering, I agreed: nope, no husband. The deacon was all, “Oh, well, we’ll have to work on that,” and turned to speak to someone else. Was he embarrassed and trying to change the subject? I hope not. I don’t feel insulted; I just wonder what led him to think that I’m married, since he’s been attending church there for several years. I had recently posted a message at Facebook, welcoming my boyfriend to the site, and I tried to recall if that deacon was a friend there… but I don’t think he is, actually. :shrug:

Speaking of Jeff joining Facebook, it’s just another sentence in the story of a guy and a girl… in the age of social media. He joins FB back in April of 2011, finally tells me about it two years later, and then his dad sends me a friend request…? His dad’s a nice guy, and I don’t write anything at FB (or on-line, really, knowing that a FB friend with time on his hands could follow what I’ve posted there and wind up here :waves to FB friends:) that’s not fit for public viewing, so I accepted the request. But nagging thoughts emerged. “Did I take too long to respond to the request?” “Will he critique what I’ve written?” “What happens to our friendship status if Jeff and I break up??” Sigh. I’m not sure I’m cut out for the nuances of modern-day relationships…

In other news, I’m busy, busy, busy, as I keep finding things to do. Now that the growing season is here, yard chores constantly beckon, so I’ll have even less time for my fun computer hobbies. (:frowny face:) Plus, I’ve been trying to get organized around the house, because my severe case of “stuff-itis” is starting to stress me out. And at work, the projects keep piling up, so much so that I’m starting to identify strongly with one of my colleagues; she had accepted a position with more responsibility, and after being asked if she was starting to get caught up, she said with resignation, “I have the feeling I’ll never be caught up on anything ever again.” Sigh, again.

Posted in etcetera

lesson learned from misadventures with a mystery ailment

I penned these earlier this year after several hospital/doctor visits. (You know me: always trying to help as either a good example or, failing that, a horrible warning. 😉

– It is creepy as all get out when your nurse wears black scrubs.
– You never want to hear a trainee nurse say, “Uh oh” when she’s trying to insert an IV.
– If you want to be ignored, summarize your problem to your doctor as “it feels funny.”
– Don’t be afraid to ask a hospital staff member to repeat him or her self.
– When you receive your bills – and there will be more than one – sit down before you open them. It might be a good idea to have a paper bag on hand to breathe into.

Posted in etcetera

I wrote this today for my “inspirational” blog, and I decided to share it here.

some rain, some shine

Our fourth grade spelling bee had begun, and I was excited because, while I was awkward in many areas, I considered myself an above average speller. Finally, here was an activity where I could shine.

My first turn came, and the teacher announced my word, including it in a sentence for clarity. “Its. As in, ‘The car dropped its transmission.'”

Alright, an easy one! I thought. I spelled the word with confidence. “I-T-apostrophe-S.” Without another look at me, the teacher turned to the next person on the other team and repeated the word, indicating that I was incorrect.

Eliminated from that round, I took my seat, stunned to discover that I was wrong and embarrassed at having missed such a seemingly simple word.

That loss made such an impression on me that to this day I remember *clearly* that its, when possessive, does NOT have an apostrophe. (I’ve come…

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Posted in 2long2twitter, etcetera, feelings

not just the facts, please

This morning, the radio morning show team was discussing noticing details, as in, men noticing little details like women want them to. One guy said that he knows to comment to ladies, “Did you get a haircut?” The other guy DJ replied that when people say that to him, he’s thinking, “Obviously, I did,” so he’d prefer they not say it. The first guy insisted that women like that, though.

I feel compelled to weigh in on this critical matter. I don’t claim to speak for all women, but personally, I *don’t* want to hear some generic statement of fact such as, “Oh, you got a haircut.” (I compare it to pointlessness of telling someone, “Oh, you’re wearing a blue shirt.”) Simply stating the fact that a haircut has occurred is what you say when you know they know that you know they got a cut and are looking for approval – but you don’t approve.

What I would prefer is, if you notice a change and like it, please say something along the lines of, “New haircut? I like it!” If you don’t approve, just don’t say anything… and try not to stare in horror at the ‘do for too long.

Posted in etcetera, feelings

Is it any wonder?

I’m working on my year-in-review questions (to post at the end of the month) but in the mean time, here are some of the things currently occupying my thoughts.

  • My sore throat. It started having that about-to-be-sore feeling yesterday, and today, yep, it’s sore. Plus, I’ve got the chills – they’re multiplyin’ 😉 – so I’m pretty sure I’ll have this crud for at least a few more days. I’ve got several theories on where it came from but the one I lean toward the most is that I caught a cold a few days as I stood in a misty rain at 41 degrees while waiting for a certain airline to return my carry-on bag. :glares in that city’s direction:
  • My job situation. We’ve been having a lot of (unpaid) time off for the last month or so, sometime for a whole week. The boss hasn’t said anything definite about the future, but I don’t think it’s looking good. He’s supposed to meet with a bigwig next week to discuss the upcoming schedule, and if he can get a straight answer, I figure he’ll let us know something then. The thing is, today I found a good job opportunity, and I’m thinking of going ahead and applying. But what if the new place wanted to hire me, and the boss is all, “We still need you”? But what if I wait, and next week the boss is all, “We don’t need you,” but I’ve missed the only opportunity I’ll find for weeks?
  • “Too much time on my hands.” As noted above, I have no work to do for weeks at a time. However, I’ve discovered that my part-time website hobby does *not* make for a good full-time diversion. Although I now have time to accomplish some major overhauls, most of the “ambitious” website projects that I had on my To Do list are already done, and I’m just not interested in working on the other ones that I can currently think of. Just to have something to do, I’ve been volunteering to write short episode recaps for another site… but then I get slightly annoyed when I see that the webmistress there is not posting them as quickly as I’d like. I try to tell myself, “Hey, not everyone has as much time off as you do,” but then I pout, “Well, it’s not like it’s that hard to post.” Sigh. I’m wondering, even if I don’t apply for the job posting mentioned above, if I should seek out some part-time work, just to have something to do. But that idea leads only to a string of questions: What should I apply for? What would I want to do? Would they even hire me? “Is it any wonder I’m not a criminal?”
  • Other. My sister’s job search is frustratingly fruitless – as are my mother’s repeated visits to clinics and doctors to find the cause behind the consistent pain in her side. I’m seriously thinking of telling Jeff that we should see each other less. Why do my Facebook friends hate mirror shots so much, when that’s the only way I can look halfway decent? In much better news, our church choir was invited to sing at our city’s Christmas tree lighting at the court house square; we went last night, and although we had only about twenty of our members show up, I thought it went very well.