Category: meme

a year in review – 2016

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
We opened our Christmas gifts on December 26. Also, I used “cloud” storage, although technically, I’ve done this for years with my email accounts.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2016, I said that I would try to “bloom where planted.” My success rate was maybe seventy percent.
For 2017, I made an effort late in 2016 to focus on the positive; I achieved that largely through getting lost in a favorite song, movie or TV show, probably because, when I look at my real world, I don’t see much worth focusing on. But, knowing that we see what we seek, I plan to look for something positive in my real life situations.

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

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no… but we sure lost a lot of celebrities

5. Where did you travel?
one day trip, to tour the Rosenbaum House by Frank Lloyd Wright

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2017, that would be awesome. (This year, I did have the slightest inkling toward a plan/direction; hopefully this is the start of “getting closer”!)

7. What date or event from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
my boss’s frequent tirades, including an episode that occurred one hour before our company Thanksgiving lunch

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
finishing a website project that I’ve been working on for over three years

9. What was your biggest failure?
being a basket case for months when yet another new ailment — arguably the most disturbing one so far — appeared

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Oh, yes! In addition to the aforementioned disturbing new ailment, the worst cold/sinus/crud (plague?) I’ve had in years that started last December lingered well into 2016.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
hired someone to clear our large, overgrown yard

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The yard workers’. They labored almost eleven hours in one day, even cleared up a big mess left by a previous worker. The yard looked amazing, and my faith in hiring people was restored.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
again this year, my boss’s, whose antics — I realized — often border on “bullying”

14. Where did most of your money go?
household expenses

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
my mother’s release from the hospital

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
probably “Smoke Break” by Carrie Underwood, because work was often *just* that bad

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? … I honestly can’t decide.
Older or wiser? both?
Thinner or fatter? about the same
Richer or poorer? about the same

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

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

20. Did your heart break?
yes, when my latest ailment felt like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back

21. How did you spend Christmas?
Two days before, my mother’s routine doctor visit revealed that her heart was out of rhythm, and I took her to be admitted to the hospital. She was still there on Christmas, so the day was definitely not our traditional holiday. Fortunately, she was released the next day, and we had our celebration then.

22. How are you spending New Year’s Eve?
Working on these questions. Later, the fam and I will probably watch DVDs, and then ring the new year in as we typically do: sleeping. (At least, we’ll attempt to sleep, because the neighbors usually go overboard with fireworks.)

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I still don’t watch any broadcast shows, opting instead for DVDs. This year, I expanded my collection to include two “newer” series: Chuck and Once Upon a Time.

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
Bird’s Eye’s “Flavor Full – Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper Brussels Sprouts.” No longer can I say that I hate Brussels sprouts!

25. What was the best book you read?
Again this year, IIRC, I only read Christian periodicals. However, listening through the Bible on mp3, I’m almost finished with the Old Testament… and hearing it read is highly recommended, unless you have a degree in pronouncing long, Hebrew names. 😉

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I rediscovered The Sound of Madness by Shinedown.

27. What did you want and get?
job opportunities worth applying for

28. What did you want and not get?
a new job

29. What was your favorite film?
Captain America: Civil War

30. What did you do on your birthday?
My mother and I took a trip that I’ve talked about for years: visiting the Rosenbaum House, by Frank Lloyd Wright. Following the tour, we beat the lunch crowd at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina to enjoy the mahi mahi tacos (tacos). We stopped at the Florence Mall, where Bath and Body Works saved me some $$ by not having a single one of the fragranced lotions that I was looking for. Back home, I adjusted a few settings, and for the first time since a Windows 10 update that took two-and-a-half days(!!), I was able to use my computer again. In the evening, Mom and I watched the movie Home Fries.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if, while I’m having to be strong for everyone, someone could be strong for me

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Lazy. With all the stress at work, most of the time my attitude was, “Eh, who is there to impress??”

33. What kept you sane?
To see, perhaps as never before, some pieces falling into place, and to understand that even the bad things are playing their part. (As Garth Brooks sings, “I guess the Lord knows what He’s doin’ after all…”)

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Sebastian Stan as both the Winter Solder in the Captain America film series and as Jefferson on Once Upon a Time

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election. I cannot recall two candidates for whom I’ve been less inclined to vote. As small consolation, it was gratifying that the media was inescapably confronted by how out-of-touch and one-sided their reports have become.

36. Who did you miss?
Speedy, our cat, has been MIA for several weeks. 😦

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Brittney, the hairdresser, who asks questions instead of accepting my brief, general requests

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
I’ve got the shortest hair since first grade.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
“Just because you feel it doesn’t make it real. Feelings aren’t a satellite dish receiving signals of eternal truth. Feelings come from beliefs. Change the beliefs and the feelings change.” Eric Barker, observer dot com (This is a lesson I heard and believe… but I hope I’ve truly learned it.)

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“If you opened my heart, you’d see I don’t have it all together.
If you took me apart, you’d see the worst of me wants to get better.
But You’re changing me, piece by piece
Into who You’re really callin’ me to be.”
~ “A Little Closer” by Group 1 Crew

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a year in review – 2015

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
tried hot tea with cream, got caught in a termite cloud, had a tooth “crowned,” developed stopped-up ears during a cold

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2015, I said that I didn’t “want my focus – my world – to be my problems.” Sadly, I let them be my world way too often. Also, I wanted to dwell on the truth that “God’s plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of your day;” I made it ’til maybe March then moved on to other truths as the year progressed.
For 2016, in light of my lesson learned (see #39) I will try to bloom where planted. Hopefully in ways that don’t feel like settling and giving up my dreams.

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

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No – thankfully!

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

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2016, that would be awesome.

7. What date or event from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
learning that my personal data was stolen in one of the umpteen recent computer/network security breaches

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
getting some medical checks that I’ve been putting off

9. What was your biggest failure?
continuing to take setbacks too hard

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I did indeed, and at the same time! In mid-November, I told my dentist about my slight pain in chewing, and he found a crack in a molar. Two weeks later I went to get a temporary crown, and the following week I developed the worst cold/sinus/crud (plague?) that I’ve had in years. Four weeks since it started as I write this, and it’s much improved but it still lingers.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A shopping basket. I frequent Aldi grocery store, where they don’t give bags, plus the Walmarts in this area never have baskets available.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mother’s and my sister’s. We have our rough moments, but we always hang in there. I’m ashamed to say it took someone else giving me a glimpse of the way it could be to make me appreciate what I’ve got.
Runner-up: The electrical contractor at work who told me, “You look nice today.” No one ever tells me that, certainly not attractive, buff guys: Mister, you made my year!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My boss’s. To say the least, he often shows a lack of respect.

14. Where did most of your money go?
household expenses

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
my time away from work (see #13)

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
“Colder Weather” by the Zac Brown Band. When it looked as if getting a house was going to happen, the “can’t wait” lines in the song made me positively giddy. When that dream crashed, I was back in the “winter season” where I’ve been for quite a while… “stuck in colder weather” as the song says.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? sadder
Older or wiser? older
Thinner or fatter? about the same
Richer or poorer? about the same

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

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
had to fight the same battles, namely having to repeatedly call contractors, repairmen, and others – for both work and home – to ask when they will do what they’ve repeatedly said they will

20. Did your heart break?
Yes, when I tried to achieve my dream of owning a home only to find it painfully out of reach.

21. How did you spend Christmas?
My mom, sister and I opened our gifts around nine-thirty, after I set up our low-frills video camera. I took pictures of our unwrapped gifts, and we cleaned up. We had a light, early lunch and headed over to spend the afternoon with my cousin and his family. I drove back – and there, for that matter – in the pouring rain. (Hello, tropically wet and warm Christmas!) Mom and I finished the day watching Sleepless in Seattle.

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 DVDs, and then ring the new year in as we typically do: sleeping. (At least, we’ll attempt to sleep, because the neighbors usually go overboard with fireworks.)

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 three “classics” that I’d never seen:
The Rockford Files, Hart to Hart, and Felicity.

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
cornbread salad

25. What was the best book you read?
IIRC, this year I only read Christian periodicals; most of my reading time was spent on the computer, usually working out an inspiration I’m having for a certain website project.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The local jazz radio station, Clint Black’s greatest hits CD (5 bucks at Big Lots!), and several great songs from the free offerings at Amazon.com, including “Not Coming By” by Emma Lee

27. What did you want and get?
I’m closing in on a decent way to wear my hair. The mileage varies at this point, but there is a thread of consistency, so I’m encouraged.

28. What did you want and not get?
My own home. I attempted to go forward with this long-time dream by consulting with a builder and a bank; it seemed as if it was going to happen, but it didn’t. I was heartbroken for quite a while, but I’ve come to accept that this simply wasn’t the right time.

29. What was your favorite film?
Films Seen This Year and Really Liked: Avengers: Age of Ultron and Mission Impossible 5

30. What did you do on your birthday?
Took the day off of work – my gift to myself. (Seriously.) Checked Facebook and thanked the well-wishers. Watched a few videos on-line. Made lunch. Enjoyed the delicious chocolate cobbler that my mother made. Shopped a little and took some pictures for a project I was working on. Moved my comfy desk chair so that I can watch TV in it.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If certain people hadn’t seemed so determined to hone in on the worst in me. (News flash, “certain people,” if you look for the worst – in anything – you *will* find it… as will I. The challenge for us is to work past that and find common ground.)

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Inspired by my recent advances in styling my hair, I’ve been pairing my jeans with nicer tops for work. Maybe a slightly better outfit will boost my okay hair to slightly-better-than-okay…?

33. What kept you sane?
Faith. I admit, I continue to struggle to live it out. But as Peter said to Jesus, “Where else can we go?” So, I press on. And I continue to find that the struggle is worth it!

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
The closest would be, while watching The Rockford Files, I study Jim Rockford and drool, “Sakes alive, a MAN!”

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
As I heard it said a few weeks ago, “Football playoffs *and* an election year? It’s almost enough to make you quit Facebook.”

36. Who did you miss?
my former boss

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Sateria, the cleaning lady at work, who is so personable and a hard worker
My cousin’s neighbor also stands out because of her exceptional conversational skills. She contributed to the discussions without monopolizing them and – what really impressed me – recognized when others were being left out and tried to include them.

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
My previous boss retired in January, and we moved to a new office in February.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
“The comparison game is a losing proposition. God has something for you, but you’re never going to find it in someone else’s backyard.” (heard on the Carlos and Joy radio program, WAY-FM) It’s becoming clear to me that I also won’t find it in my fantasies, or in the way I think things should be.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Your world’s not fallin’ apart: it’s fallin’ into place.” “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns

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

a year in review – 2013

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Sat in an interview as one of the interviewers, waited three years to wear a coat I bought, made crock-pot green bean casserole, discovered I get body aches when I chew sugar-free gum regularly, used a rebate credit card, wore a wrist brace at work, used reading glasses, made an online purchase on “cyber Monday,” used the shuttle service during a car repair, had a bird poop in my coffee cup, and learned to use caution while walking under trees with an open coffee cup.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2013, I wanted to make more nutritious food choices and walk more; I’d say I accomplished the first but could’ve done much better on the second.
For 2014, I want to continue to make nutritious food choices and read the Old Testament.

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

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. Loki, the last of the batch of kittens that I took over feeding when their mom disappeared. Wow, I loved that cat.

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

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2014, that would be awesome.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Perhaps Black Friday, because quite a few things happened, such as, I found #11, and the power button popped off of our TV.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I organized the Thanksgiving pot-luck lunch for my office, and I thought it turned out really well.

9. What was your biggest failure?
At work I made at least 3 *completely* boneheaded mistakes.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My left eye eye began (and continues, sigh) to show strong signs of eye strain, making this the third time in a row that I’ll end the year with a new “ailment.”

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Captain America: The First Avenger. I’d been waiting for a good sale (because rare is the movie I like well enough to pay more than $10 for), and I found it for $6! (Needless to say that was a previously-viewed version, but it plays perfectly.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
the people at my church

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Let’s just say that someone close to me made a decision that I disagreed with. Very much.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Well, it seemed as if I was always at the gas station. Gotta love commuting. :\

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The fact that I *do* seem closer – close! – to getting my own home!

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Maybe #26?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Happier
Older or wiser? Wiser
Thinner or fatter? Maybe a little fatter
Richer or poorer? Richer, because – unlike in 2012 – I was employed for the whole year

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
responded appropriately to situations I find myself in and to other people

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
been annoyed at my family

20. Did your heart break?
Yes. See #4. :*(

21. How did you spend Christmas?
My mom, sister and I opened our gifts around nine, after I set up our two low-frills video cameras to capture the festivities. Again this year, the new camera had “low battery” issues, even with new batteries. Then, I made lunch, including crock-pot green bean casserole and our traditional Yum Yum Muffins. I took pictures of our opened gifts, then computered on two smallish projects. We ended the day with Mom and me watching the videotape of our 2012 Christmas while I recorded it to DVD, and (again this year) we enjoyed the cheese-tastic Babes in Toyland, 1986 version.

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?
Thanks to DVDs, I’m enjoying getting reacquainted with that 80’s classic, Square Pegs.

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
I re-found the mega-delicious Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash frozen entrée that I used to get years ago.

25. What was the best book you read?
The New Testament (in the Bible, in case that’s not clear)

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Arguably, my favorite of the new songs I’ve heard this year is “Every Good Thing” by The Afters.

27. What did you want and get?
There were several biggies, with one of those being that my “mystery” side pain from 2011 continues to show much improvement.

28. What did you want and not get?
For my eye issues to clear up… although they are improving. I think. I hope!

29. What was your favorite film?
Films Seen This Year and Really Liked: Thor: The Dark World
Films Seen This Year and Liked: Argo, Iron Man 3
Films Seen This Year That Weren’t Quite What I Expected: Red 2

30. What did you do on your birthday?
I took off of work. I started the day “computering” on a few small projects. I ate my favorite lunch, watched some of my favorite music videos, and listened to some of my favorite songs. I made a fruitless attempt at shopping; fortunately I’d already purchased some things in the weeks before. I downloaded a song that I had forgotten how much I liked. I tried a few artsy shots with the camera, although the end results did not work for what I had in mind.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if I had heard “thank you” more at work

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
I made one change to my look: I decided to grow my hair out a bit, because I still don’t recognize myself in pictures with shorter hair. As far as clothes go, basically the same as last year: casual, with many days of wearing jeans and “girly” tops when the weather’s warm. 🙂

33. What kept you sane?
Faith – and the music of WAY-FM to remind me of what matters

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I remain enamored with (the character) Loki, from The Avengers and the Thor movie series.
Runner-up: Steven Weber’s character on the TV show Wings, because I can’t look at him without being reminded of Loki…albeit a smarmy and much less violent version.
Third Place: Bruce Davison’s character on the TV show Hunter also caught my eye.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Obamacare. While I concur that changes to the healthcare system were/are in order, THIS is so(!) not(!) what was needed – and I think its disastrous rollout proves that.

36. Who did you miss?
our sweet kitties, Loki and Thora

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Bonnie, the hairstylist who gives me the kind of cut I need, while including the features I want

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
I found out that I’m related to my best friend from third grade! Her grandfather and my great-grandfather were brothers.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
I don’t have to keep a lot of material things in order to hold on to the memories.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“This is the stuff that gets under my skin, but I’ve gotta trust You know exactly what You’re doing. Might not be what I would choose, but this the stuff You use.” ~ “This Is The Stuff” by Francesca Battistelli

a year in review – 2012

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Visited Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, received a security deposit back from an apartment, added cinnamon while brewing a pot of coffee, ate at Cheddar’s and Zaxby’s, saw a film 4 times in the theatre (3 at non-dollar shows), saw a film at the theatre while I had the DVD of it at home, walked laps on a rubber(?)-coated track, attended an outdoor wedding, changed the flapper on a toilet, and fed kittens who lost their momma. 😦
Health firsts: was diagnosed with mild Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, took a fake (“PE”) sudafed, got an EKG, had an IV, took Tums, then took Tums regularly, and had a strange “aura” headache in which my right eye was filled with light for about 15 minutes.
Food firsts: made – from scratch! – vegetable soup, chicken salad, chicken broth, and salmon loaf.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2012, I planned to work at not being so sensitive and to try to stay positive while looking for a new job. I’d say that overall, I succeeded at both.
For 2013, I want to make more nutritious food choices and walk more.

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

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No – thankfully!

5. Where did you travel?
I took an overnight trip to the east side of Mississippi.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2013, that would be awesome. (It seems like I write that every year, and the lack of progress on it is starting to get depressing…)

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 21st, because of all the hype and hysteria

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I started early moving things out of my apartment, which gave me ample time to work them in to the stuff already at mom’s, in a reasonably organized way.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Twice I did nothing when I should’ve done something, and I will regret both for a very long time.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Both! The mystery ailment that started last year continued, though it finally showed signs of improving. Plus, in March I had the worst broken nail I’ve ever had; no details, but it was bad.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I found one shirt that I really like, and it was on clearance. Woo hoo!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The people who hired me and my sister!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The so-called medical professionals who repeatedly failed to diagnose both me and my mother

14. Where did most of your money go?
A new roof, with medical bills second

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The Avengers movie

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Maybe Train’s “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” because one of my first real-person crushes in a long time ended badly.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Content
Older or wiser? Wiser
Thinner or fatter? Thinner. I changed my diet because of my “mystery ailment,” and I’m down to the smallest weight of my adult life.
Richer or poorer? Poorer, because I was unemployed for half of the year

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Avoid fatty food and sweets, because my “mystery ailment” seems to calm down when I do

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Been affected by others’ rampant negativity

20. Did your heart break?
Nearly every time I watched the news 😦

21. How did you spend Christmas?
First, Mom and I watched our 2010 Christmas videotape while I recorded it to DVD. Then I set up our two video cameras – one old, one new, both really cheap – to capture the opening of the presents. Alas, the new cameras batteries died after 10 minutes, and the old camera was being temperamental, doing that thing it does where it records video with no sound. Anyway, we had a delicious lunch that included Yum Yum Muffins made with a banana supreme cake mix. I computered a bit and visited some blogs that I hadn’t been to in a long while. In the evening, we watched the cheesy classic Babes in Toyland, the 1986 version.

22. How will you spend New Year’s Eve?
I have to work, but it’ll be pretty slow because nearly everyone else is taking 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?
Thanks to hulu and DVDs, I enjoyed getting reacquainted with Gilligan’s Island, Hunter, Designing Women, My Two Dads and The Greatest American Hero.

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
Vegetable tacos from a local Mexican restaurant. Fish tacos at Ruby Tuesday. Aloo Mutter from the Indian restaurant. Chocolate cheesecake with chocolate cookie crust from a certain grocery store.

25. What was the best book you read?
“Be Anxious For Nothing” by Joyce Meyer. I can’t say enough good things about that book!

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The first time I heard “Drive By” by Train, I was pretty much obsessed with it. I couldn’t get enough of it. I’d replay the vid over and over at YouTube. My “fever” finally calmed down… but I still like it. A lot.

27. What did you want and get?
Jobs for me and my sister!

28. What did you want and not get?
For my sister’s job to be as fantastic a fit as mine is for me

29. What was your favorite film of the year?
Films Seen This Year and Really, Really Liked: The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,
Films Seen This Year and Liked: The Dark Knight Rises, Men in Black 3
Films Seen This Year That Weren’t Quite What I Expected: Puss in Boots, Madagascar 3

30. What did you do on your birthday?
I got up very early and headed off to work in the rain. For lunch, I went to Cracker Barrel and treated myself to two helpings of their yummy macaroni and cheese. I ate supper with the fam. Since I knew work would take up most of the day, I opted to skip my usual b-day shopping trip. Instead, I started shopping weeks earlier, casually looking for things. As I found them, I tucked them away in my closet and then “opened” them after supper, to show the fam.
FYI, I made a slide show to commemorate the day; the first picture (in a series of nine) is here:
chezannegallery.shutterfly.com/1084

31. What would have made your year more satisfying?
If our mini-garden had produced more vegetables. After months of watering, weeding, mulching, etc. I don’t think we got ten tomatoes – and we only had one green pepper the whole year.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
For the first time since way back when I was a student-trainee person, I’m able to wear jeans regularly at work. So I get to be comfortable while wearing what I think is most flattering on me. Yay!

33. What kept you sane?
“Be Anxious For Nothing” by Joyce Meyer was SUCH a help!

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
A movie character: Loki, from The Avengers

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election… reminded me why I diligently avoid talking/thinking/caring about political matters.

36. Who did you miss?
Caren, from my old job

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Having started a new job, I met a lot of people, and really, they’re all a great bunch of guys. (I’m very diplomatically avoiding picking any one as the best, in case they ever read this. 😉

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
My job, and so far it’s change for the better. I can’t recall a job before that’s been such a great fit with both what I can do and what I like to do.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Whatever problems you’re facing, a negative, fast-forwarding-to-the-bitter-end attitude only makes it worse. Try to find some perspective.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“It takes a little time, sometimes, to get your feet back on the ground. It takes a little time, sometimes, to turn the Titanic around.” ~ Takes a Little Time, Amy Grant

a year in review — 2011

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Tried orange roughy, got scanned in a body scanner at the airport, ate at Red Lobster, used a treadmill, transcribed a whole TV show episode (twice), ate a waffle shaped like Texas, ate oatmeal without sugar, chopped cilantro, walked across the Tennessee River, changed the oil and filter on a riding lawnmower, hosted the fam for a night at my apartment, worked from home, been expected to check my company email after I was let go from a job, and visited Colorado, Maryland, and Oklahoma.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2011, my goal was to try to not be so sensitive. Well… I tried! Seriously, though, I think I did well with the effort overall.
For 2012, I plan to again work at not being so sensitive, and try to stay positive while I’m looking for a new job.

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

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No — thankfully!

5. Where did you travel?
I took 11 business trips: to Virginia, Louisiana, Texas (twice), Colorado, Missouri (twice), Maryland, Oklahoma, and Georgia (twice).

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2012, that would be awesome.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 8, because that’s the day I was let go from my job

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
“Achievement” seems too grand a word, but I accomplished some things on my To Do list, such as converting all of our home videotapes to DVD and saving a backup of notable emails that are in my Yahoo accounts.

9. What was your biggest failure?
There is one area of my life where, just when I think I’ve got it, something happens and I feel I have to start back at square one. Repeatedly.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes, a mild yet lingering mystery ailment that started the week before Thanksgiving and is still with me as I write this.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
a new desk chair

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
our community, who came together and worked hard not once but twice after storms toppled trees in my mom’s yard

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
the store manager who fired my sister over seven spare cents

14. Where did most of your money go?
to paying for my apartment

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
fish tacos, added to the menu at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Probably “Rollin’ in the Deep,” because I first heard a *fantastic* version of the song by one of the entrants in a talent show as part of the WC Handy Festival in Florence, Alabama.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? about the same
Older or wiser? wiser… I like to think so, anyway
Thinner or fatter? about the same… I like to think so, anyway
Richer or poorer? poorer thanks to weeks of down-time (read “no pay”) at work

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
appreciated people for who they are and not what I think they should be

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
been a raving hypochondriac

20. How did you spend Christmas?
The fam and I went to the service at church. Back at mom’s, we ate a fairly simple lunch that included Yum Yum Muffins made with a spice cake mix instead of devil’s food. We then opened our gifts, and I videoed the openings with the cheap videocam that I bought the day after Thanksgiving. We ended the day watching some non-Christmasy shows on DVD. (My sister wasn’t interested in the Christmasy offerings we had to watch.) In the background of our festivities, I did a load of laundry

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
No

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Thanks to DVDs, I continue to get reacquainted with my old favorites, such as Caroline in the City, and I remain enamored with Simon and Simon, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, The Young Riders, and Booker.

23. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
my (now former) boss

24. What was the best book you read?
Aside from Christian periodicals, the only book I read this year was Dan Hyland Police Reporter by Norton Jonathan.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Near the start of the year I discovered the wonder of fan (music) videos at YouTube, and thanks to those I’ve been exposed to some great songs that I’d missed before such as “Touch My Hand” by David Archuleta, “Creepin’ Up on You” by Darren Hayes, and “Big Bad Handsome Man” by Imelda May.

26. What did you want and get?
My mystery ailment finally started showing signs of improvement. Runner-up: the neighbor’s dog finally stopped coming into my mom’s yard.

27. What did you want and not get?
Seems like there was a lot this year that fits in this category; without a doubt the biggest was a diagnosis of and medicine for my mystery ailment. Runner-up: I wanted very much to see U2 in concert – literally the only concert I’ve wanted to see (and no doubt, WILL want to see) for many years – but thanks to a weird work schedule and my nearest venue being sold out, I didn’t get to go.

28. What was your favorite film of the year?
Films Released This Year and Really Liked: Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean 4
Films Released This Year and Liked: Tangled, Source Code, Moneyball
Films Released This Year That Weren’t Quite What I Expected: Green Lantern, Captain America, Cars 2

29. What did you do on your birthday?
I computered first thing: downloaded several mp3’s and watched U2’s video for “The Sweetest Thing” for the first time. Then I went shopping with Jeff, and I was thrilled to find most of the things on my list – on sale, even. Unfortunately, after looking forward to dinner at the Indian restaurant, I was disappointed to find that they took my favorite dish off of the menu, and then I was further disappointed that I didn’t like the dish I ordered.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
This is so shallow… but true… If I had felt pretty.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Since I started working from home in June, I’d sum up my “personal fashion concept” for the year in one word. Lazy! Some days I didn’t even change out of my pajamas.

32. What kept you sane?
Faith, especially repeating this Bible verse: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and brave. Do not be terrified. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go.” Joshua 1:9

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Bono (from U2)

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
the inability of both sides in Congress to put aside party differences and actually accomplish something

35. Who did you miss?
Caren, from work

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I met a lot of people while on business trips, but the only one who kinda stands out (for not being obnoxious) was the grandfatherly gentleman that was our main contact in Virginia. He was such a hoot!

37. What changed the most in your life this year?
Here as the year ends, I’m unemployed again, so I’ll be starting over in my career yet(!) again(!).

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
Life doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect to be pretty dang good!

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“When the waves are takin’ you under, hold on just a little bit longer. He knows that this is gonna make you stronger.” ~ “Stronger” by Mandesa

40. How will you spend New Year’s Eve?
I’m supposed to drive over in the afternoon to see my long-distance (okay, one hour away) boyfriend; we’ll probably part ways by 8:00 and then I’ll hang out with my mom and sister. We will not stay up to see the new year in.

a year in review – 2010

Year End Review – 40 Questions

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Saw the most movies in the theatre (9) of any previous year (thanks to a new dollar theatre), saw the same movie three times at the theatre (twice!), saw a movie where it was just me in the theatre, saw an armadillo in my mom’s yard, changed the oil in a mower, and traveled the most of any previous year (see question 5), all to places I’ve never been before.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2010, I only wanted to know my job better, and I’d say I’ve done that.
For 2011, my goal is to try not to be so sensitive.

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

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No – thankfully!

5. Where did you travel?
I took six business trips: to Washington (state), New Orleans, Kentucky, Arizona, Georgia, and Missouri.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2011, that would be awesome.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
No one date really stands out…

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I accomplished at least three of the more ambitious projects on my To Do list.

9. What was your biggest failure?
At least twice, people asked me a Very Important Question, and I *totally* blew it on the answers.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Minor illness (“sinus business,” as I call it), and recurring travel sickness when I fly before noon

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A (refurbished) DVR/VCR that was less than $100 at BestBuy.com. I’ve been planning for years to move some of our home video recordings to DVD, and I’ve actually been able to put a dent in that task.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Caren, at work. She’s so positive, and we’re really like-minded on a lot of things. Both of those things are so refreshing when sometimes it seems as if everyone else I know has issues and lives to disagree.
(Runner-up: my mom’s neighbor who helped us with the huge task of spreading truckloads of gravel.)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Maybe not “appalled and depressed,” but there were several contenders for “behavior repeatedly disappointed you,” and the most disappointing had to be my boyfriend, who let me down in a big way.

14. Where did most of your money go?
To paying for my apartment

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting to work reduced hours for a few weeks during the summer at my job

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Possibly Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi,” because I heard it at the height of my latest celebrity obsession (see question 33).

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? happier… I’m happy to report 🙂
Older or wiser? alternately both
Thinner or fatter? fatter. That inch I can pinch seems to be growing. :sigh:
Richer or poorer? richer, but then again I was unemployed for 9 months in 2009

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Connected with other people

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Dwelling on bad feelings

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Since we woke to a rare Alabama white Christmas, I took pictures first thing. My mom, sister and I opened our gifts, then ate lunch and hung out, which is what we usually do.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
No

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I’ve enjoyed re-discovering Scarecrow and Mrs. King on DVD and on-line.

23. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Probably the boss

24. What was the best book you read?
I read 4 books and liked them all: “Cherry Ames, Camp Nurse” by Helen Wells, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, “The Lure of the Mask,” by Harold MacGrath, and I re-read “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
At work we re-lived the classics for a few weeks and listened to songs from the ’50s and early ’60s. (Every time “The Twist” came on, we invariably twisted in our chairs. It was great!)

26. What did you want and get?
I wanted the problem with our VCR to be only that the heads needed cleaning — and that was it!

27. What did you want and not get?
Feedback from the boss on my job performance.

28. What was your favorite film of the year?
Films Released This Year and Really Liked: How To Train Your Dragon, Iron Man 2, Knight and Day, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Red (saw the last two three times)
Films Released This Year and Liked: Date Night, Shrek Forever After, The Bounty Hunter
Films Seen This Year For The First Time and Really Liked: Rocky, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Iron Man

29. What did you do on your birthday?
I took the day off of work. I had my favorite lunch with my mother and my sister, which included cherry pie. I went shopping and found a few little things. I ended the day watching Iron Man for the first time. Oh, and I had almost 30 happy b-day wishes from my Facebook friends. (I love you guys!)

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If it hadn’t felt as if so many aspects of my life are stuck at Square One.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
A work in progress. I’m still trying to find “my look.”

32. What kept you sane?
Faith… and when that seemed strained, brief mental “escapes” through TV shows or website work

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Would you believe Sylvester Stallone?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The elections

35. Who did you miss?
Brown Eyes, one of our cats, disappeared back in August. 😦

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Dan, from work

37. What changed the most in your life this year?
My hair. I got a ‘do that I’ve never tried before, and it’s silly but it kinda does make me feel like a different person. In a good way!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“I do believe it’s gonna be another red letter day. I do believe it’s gonna be another chance for me to take His Word and walk by faith.” ~ Red Letter Day, by Newsong