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Having a birthday on Facebook and Twitter and a blog is pretty much the best thing ever.

It was a nice day. Low key and pretty mellow (well, as mellow as it can be with a 3.5  year old and a 10 month old), which is exactly what I wanted. John picked up an amazingly delicious cake at a bakery downtown, and Luna actually took a morning nap just when I wanted her to. So. Winning all around.

A while ago I told my mom that what I really want is to go shopping for ME and only buy myself things that *I* want, so when I get to Alabama, and when my brother’s wedding is all done, we are going to go shopping. I’m quite excited. I’ve been pretty good at cleaning out things that either don’t fit or I don’t care for any more, but I have NOT been “good” about replacing items, so my wardrobe is pretty limited these days. I really want to keep building up things that are cute but casual, that I can wear to teach and look like a grownup but not like a misplaced executive.  (I basically want to wear leggings and tunics all the time, but maybe fancy ones?)

Speaking of my brother’s wedding. I bought this dress to wear, and I am thinking leopard print shoes and… I don’t know what else. A necklace? Dangly or short? I’m terrible at this.

Today was the final day of my in person class at the local college and I brought donuts in to congratulate my students on completing their first semester of college. I’m quite pleased with how the term went and am really looking forward to next semester.  I’m also looking forward to this break, though, and having more adults to children when we take our trip.

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Dress Me, Please

I missed my post yesterday! There goes my perfect NaBloWriMo record. Drat.

Anyway. I’m sick. So. I think that excuses me, yes?  I’m on a giant horse pill of an antibiotic and I’m praying to anything/anyone who will listen that the baby and I don’t get thrush.

So I am going to outsource some things that I am looking for, OK? Ok. Thanks.

  • I need a dress for my brother’s wedding. It’s right after Christmas,  during the day. I’m not in the wedding, but I will probably be in a few pictures. The official color for the wedding party is a jewel tone/sapphire blue. I was thinking of something purple-y, perhaps? Anyway, my midsection is still rather squishy, so I would like something with more of an IMPLIED shape, rather than an actual thing (i.e.: elastic or tie waist? Not so much.).  Does this look wedding-y enough?
  • A more casual, but still cute, dress for the rehearsal dinner. Comfy. And maybe with a nursing accessible neckline.
  • Also shoes.
  • In fact, does anyone want to just come and dress me, please?
  • I’ve always gotten Xander new Christmas jammies each year, and want to continue the tradition. Where are your favorite ones coming from lately? And Hannah Anderson, while darling, is not really in our budget right now.

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A Day in the Life

On her Disney Baby Blog, Jansen did a photo an hour of a “typical” day home with her kids. I thought this was a fun idea, so I decide to attempt the same. Now, the caveat being, John and I are both college teachers, so our hours vary day to day and there is no real “typical.” I chose a Thursday, because it was easiest for me; neither John nor I have classes on Thursdays, so I was able to keep up…for the most part. It falls apart at the end.

6:15AM – Luna wakes up for the day. It’s been a whole 3 hours since her last night waking (haa womp womb), so I’m dragging a bit. But she’s rather smiley and adorable, so I rally with a cup of coffee. We play on the living room floor until everyone else is up.

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7:15AM – Xander is awake. He watches a TiVo’d episode of WordWorld while eating his Kashi Cereal Bar for breakfast…the same breakfast he’s had for at least a year.

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8:15AM – I take Xander to preschool while John stays home with the baby. In a stark contrast to last year, Xander runs in the door without a single backwards glance at me. On the way home, I stop at a restaurant/bakery for some coffee and a treat to bring home and share with John.

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9:15AM – While the baby naps, John and I enjoy our second breakfast in SILENCE. Afterwards, I tackle the many (many) piles of laundry and finish off the kitchen, which John started while I was out.

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10:15AM – Luna is still sleeping. I fold diapers and catch up on Nashville.

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11:15AM – I nurse Luna after she wakes up from her nap, then it’s time to get Xander from preschool. We make a quick stop at the store on the way home, and he charms the checkout workers with his chatter.  John stays home with the baby again (sometimes he does the drop off/pick up while I stay home, but he hasn’t had much Luna time, so he wanted to hang with her some).

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12:15PM – Lunch time! PBJs all around (well, Luna has some puffs), and then Xander goes into quiet time while Luna has some more play time on the floor.

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1:30PM – Luna goes down for a nap and Xander comes out of quiet time and gets a snack (yogurt pretzels). John plays with Xander downstairs while I attempt to finish off folding the laundry.

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2:30PM – I join the boys in the basement for a dance party to Wheels on theBus.

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3:30 PM – I work on my blog post for the day and do some reading for a writing workshop I’m going to that night. Luna wakes up the second I get productive, so I go up to nurse her.

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4:30PM – Because I’m leaving for the evening, I start working on dinner early and try to fit in a few extra nursing sessions to tank the baby up. She’s more interested in playing with the Nose Frieda than eating.

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4:45PM – Everything goes to hell in a hand basket until 5:30 when I head out the door and crank up the Christmas music in the car to drown out the echoes of Xander’s tantrum over dinner.

9:30PM – I’m home from the writing class, and John and I watch some Covert Affairs before I collapse into bed.

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Love/Hate

I forgot that, since today is a weekend, I hadn’t scheduled my post for today before bed last night, so I ran downstairs mid-dishwasher unloading to do it.

The things I do for you!

Here’s a fun and pretty easy list:

List things you love and despise.

LOVE

  • Babies with finger dimples
  • Xander’s belly laugh
  • Christmas
  • Thanksgiving
  • Sunsets
  • The ocean
  • John (Uh, needless to say this list is NOT in order of importance, mmmkay?)
  • My Twitter friends
  • A good book
  • Fire in the fireplace
  • Those rare mornings when I get a cup of coffee before anyone wakes up
  • Clean sheets
  • Putting on socks from the dryer
  • Having a glass of wine with a friend
  • S’mores
  • Leeks
  • Soup
  • TV
  • Chocolate
  • Colorful leaves

DESPISE

  • A bad book (and I’m incapable of stopping a book once I’ve reached a certain point)
  • Passive agressive Facebook posts
  • White chocolate
  • Violent/Graphic TV or movies
  • Spiders
  • Mosquitos
  • Messy kitchens
  • Too much noise all at once
  • Yelling
  • Baby corn
  • Generic Advil
  • White chocolate (It really does deserve mentioning twice)

I wrote these down very quickly, and by no means are my lists complete.

What about you? Which things would go first on your lists?

 

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Songs List

Yeah, another list.

(So, the thing is, John comes back tomorrow. That’s Monday-Thursday of solo parenting, which is NOTHING, I know. I do. I know that I am beyond spoiled. But it is what it is. I’m not a military wife; he’s not a traveling sales man.  Both of us being teachers means we’ll never be raking in the dough, but we do get oodles of time together.)

Anyway, so . The list.

List Your Favorite Songs

  • Brand New Day by Joshua Radin. This song will always remind me of the end of my pregnancy with Xander. I would take the dog for a long walk around our neighborhood, and as we went up the final (steep) hill, I’d play this song. “For the first time, in such a long, long time, I know I’ll be OK.”
  • Labor of Love by Sweet Talk Radio. This was one of those songs that, for a long time, I thought said something other than what they said, but even now that I know the real lyrics, I still love the song.
  • Come Talk To Me by Peter Gabriel. I mean, it’s Peter Gabriel. I feel that this is explanation enough.
  • Gratitude by Nicole Nordeman. It may seem somewhat odd that I have a Christian song on here, but I lived almost soley on Christian music for most of my life, so I think it makes sense. This song is really pretty, and I also like the concept that prayer isn’t about getting something, but just being changed by the process of asking.
  • Takes a Little Time by Amy Grant. Another Christian one, yes. In the year that I was crazy, when I was still at school but attending a treatment program, my mom came up from Alabama and stayed at a nearby hotel. She drove me there and back, and to lunch, every day, and we listed to this album in the car nonstop. It seemed an apt theme for that time in my life. “It takes a little more than you’ve got right now, give it time.”
  • The Treblemakers Final on the Pitch Perfect Soundtrack. What? It’s catchy.
  • Hallelujah by Damien Rice. I’m a walking cliché.
  • Looking at the Sun by Gramercy Arms. So peppy!
  • Song for You Far Away by James Taylor. I’d listen to this when I was homesick for my family.
  • If I had $1,00,00 by the Barenaked Ladies. Unoriginal. But fantastic.
  • Last Friday Night, the Glee Version. Ok, only because I find it insanely hilarious when Xander sings it and does the “DAMN!” complete with a headshake.

There are so many others that I can’t include them all, so I’m arbitrarily deciding to cut the list off here.

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Gifts

I’m picking another prompt form my List Book for today’s post. List the best gifts you’ve ever received. 

  1. When I was 10, or so, my neighbor and BFF Marisa had a dollhouse, probably a Fischer Price or similar one. I coveted it much. For Christmas, I begged my parents/Santa (I’m not sure where I fell on that at the time) for that dollhouse. My dad, being who he is, didn’t want to buy me a plastic version of something he could make, so he got a kit to build me a dollhouse. For WEEKS he was sequestered in the den after dinner, glue gunning individual shingles into the roof of my three storied dollhouse. It had a SPIRE. That thing kicked serious ass.
  2. My first bike was pretty memorable. I’m a middle child, and the only girl, so I was used to using my older brothers things when he outgrew them (which I’m actually grateful for, really, especially now that I’m a parent!). But when I was young, probably around 5, I got my own bike. A Strawberry Shortcake one with pink handlebars and a pink basket and a pink banana seat.
  3. John got me, one year, the entire Harry Potter hardback collection. I loves it. Of course.
  4. The Kindle has been a gift I have certainly gotten a lot of use out of. When Xander was an infant I read SO many books thanks to it. I still love it.
  5. Same with my iPhone. I know it’s boring, but it was such a fun gift (I got one when they first came out. I mean, for my birthday, which was a few months later, but the first round). And I love having everything right there at my finger tips, especially all the relationships it’s helped form.
  6. For my birthday last year John printed out 4 pictures I’d taken of Xander and hung them in our hallway in a sort of gallery set up. He put a big sheet of wrapping paper over it that he then pulled down to reveal and I cried. It was so sweet and lovely.

This was a surprisingly hard list to make!  Which makes me feel  guilty, somehow. Like I’m not grateful for the gifts I’ve received. But that’s not the case, at all.  I’ve gotten many gifts throughout my life that have been really awesome and fun. I’m just not thinking of them all right now.

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Jobs List

There is no guarantee that this plan won’t fizzle out by Sunday night and I’ll go back to posting once every 6-8 weeks, or so, but since it’s NaMoBloPo (or whatever, look, that’s what it sounds like but I’m feeling too lazy to open a new tab and confirm, it’s that thing where you blog every day for a month and this is that month) I’m going to start with good intentions.

But those intentions also include the disclaimer that I consider lists and single photos to be acceptable blog entries for the entire month. And beyond.

Speaking of lists, I got this great book of list prompts in one of my CDP’s a while back, and I may every well use this book as my idea source. The list I picked tonight is: List Your Past Jobs

  1. My first non-babysitting job was in Colorado at Discover Zone, which is basically like Chuck E Cheese without the liscensed characters. It had a ball pit, and tunnels to climb on, and pizza parties and all that stuff. I started there my…junior year, I think? And I didn’t drive, so I had to be dropped off and picked up by my family or my friend Jenni (who really should be sainted for putting up with me for so long). I mostly did weekends, obviously, and a lot of birthday parties. I was good at them.  For a while I was working these crazy long shifts on Saturdays until the manager realized that he was violating child labor laws and made me clock out, but that basically meant that I had to sit outside for a few hours until my ride came.
  2. In college I worked at the on campus cafe, The Stoop, slicing bagels and scooping ice-cream and “making” soup by putting it in the big warmers in the back and remembering to stir it so the bottom didn’t burn.  I spent a good amount of time giving the stink eye to the junior high kids who came through and stole the tips out of the tip cup. I mean, I worked HARD for that extra $0.78.
  3. I also worked as the copy editor for the yearbook my….junior year. We didn’t really have a lot of staff writers, though, so I ended up writing and editing most of the copy. I got pretty snarky towards the end.
  4. During the summers of college I worked at…Space Camp! Yeah. I know. Oh, wait, before Space Camp I was a lifeguard and swim teacher at a day camp. I was the most tan I’ve ever been, and that was still pretty damn white. Anyway, Space Camp! It was my go-to job for summer breaks and Christmas break and, really, any time I was not on campus. I also worked there once I graduated for…well, way longer than I should have worked at a temporary college job with no full-time status and/or benefits. I was a camp counselor and it really was quite fun. What’s the most fun, looking back, is how DRAMATIC we all were. Ha! So young.  The best part is that I got to meet Apollo Astronaut Dave Scott.
  5. My senior year of college, first semester, I went to LA to study film and interned for a studio on the Warner Brother’s lot. This was a fantastic time. It wasn’t really a “job,” since I didn’t get paid, but I did have to show up and do stuff (namely: read scripts and write a report that explained why it sucked).  I met some celebrities (Brad Pitt), went to some openings, and had a wonderful time.
  6. After I graduated, I got a job (thanks to that internship) with Touched by an Angel. It was their final season, so the job didn’t last long, but, again, it was fun. I was the executive producer’s assistant, but since the shooting was primarily in Utah, it wasn’t as stressful as a lot of people might think. I handled schedules, took calls, babysat agents and stuff like that, and also a few other things like arrange the Christmas gifts and travel, etc…(This is the time frame I went to the Emmy’s and Tom Hanks touched me.)  When this job was done I went back to Space Camp.
  7. After a few years of staying at Camp and realizing that I was not going anywhere, fast, I packed up my Saturn and hauled ass to California. I got a job at a university as an assistant, but by the time I ended I was also a producer for training/educational videos. This was my first “grown up” job, and I really liked it. It gave me a lot of good experience, I got my MFA for free (mostly), and I met John.
  8. I was jobless for a while (I quit to finish my MFA, then had a hard time finding work again, then got married, then had a baby…and you get the picture). When we moved to VT 2+ years ago, I got my first online teaching job, and have been doing that off and on since. It’s a great way to get some teaching experience, but it’s not a great career. Adjuncts get paid for crap. BUT, I have to say, I do like being able to teach, using my degree, and also stay home with the kids.  I now also teach (adjunct) for a local college – one class now, two classes next semester, and who knows from there.  I like it because it’s flexible, it’s using my brain, but it’s not full-time, which I’m not quite ready for.  When Luna is older and I do want to work FT, I hope I’ll have enough experience in the classroom to get a full time teaching job. (Although, sometimes I wonder if this is REALLY what I want, because I still do want to write, I just haven’t written and don’t see it happening any time soon so…well, me and 90% of us, right?)

Anyway, Day One: DONE. I win at blogging.

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Segue

Well! *clap clap*

Let’s move on, shall we? It’s always weird to write something somewhat….dramatic, and then let it linger. It’s not like things have been consistently that DIRE, it’s just…I don’t know. What else do I write about?

(That being said, thanks, all, for the comments and tweets and general love and support.)

I’m doing OK. Better, even. My parents just visited, briefly, but it was nice. My dad had not met Luna yet! Crazy, huh? It was casual and low key and just…nice. Also the sun has been out. That’s always good. And I had a good work evaluation.

So.

Let’s use some bullets, shall we?

  • I made the easiest recipe tonight. I’m talking, along the lines of that taquito post in terms of “why didn’t I think of this sooner?” Bacon, scrambled eggs, and cheese, rolled up in a wreath of crescent roll dough. Ta-DAH! It was awesome.
  • Glee. OMG. Glee. Did you watch the Farewell to Finn episode? It was so sad. I don’t know what the general buzz about it was, but I thought it was well done. I liked that they didn’t get into how the character died, but rather focused on the aftermath. I thought that was classy. (Though the parent/adult in me also appreciated that they did, at least, address the drug issue afterwards.)
  • I bought and read the Elizabeth Smart book in the span of…less than 24 hours, I’d say. It was really amazing.  I loved that she didn’t sugar coat her experiences, but she didn’t … I don’t know. It wasn’t yucky and graphic and wallow-y, which makes me sound like an asshole, because really, if ANYONE deserves to wallow…but do you get what I mean? I hope you do. It felt sincere and honest, not like a Pollyanna version of abduction and torture.
  • Last week(ish), Xander was telling John and I some complex story before bedtime when he started screaming “what is it? what is it?” He’s three, so I thought that he was scratching at a rogue tag or hair itching his face. But no. It was a big ass SPIDER. On his FACE. HIS. FACE. It bit him on his throat. I hate spiders. And maybe all of nature.  (Uh, he was OK. I had nightmares. Seriously. Woke up sweating nightmares.)
  • I have been thinking about my Internet friends, lately, and how it’s pretty awesome that there is this community, right there, at my fingertips, in my pocket, whenever I need it. And, obviously, it’s more than that. I love that I have been challenged and changed by people I haven’t actually MET (some of you I have, some of you not), but are still my friends. Like, a few years ago, it would have been easy for me to make some  comment about this or that (politics, parenting, whatever) without thinking about it too much because most of my friends had/have similar thoughts. It was easy to distinguish between myself and “other” people. But now? Not so much, and I LOVE it. I love that I will now almost always (hopefully) stop and think, “hey, I know someone who thinks differently than I do about X issue and I still like her and think that she’s smart/valuable/etc…” and maybe rephrase it, or even not say it. I like that I’m not done growing as a person, and that my “virtual” relationships are such a big part of that.
  • Luna is going to be a kitty cat for Halloween. Xander is on the fence about wearing a costume, but decidedly wants candy, so I think we’ll work something out.

That’s all I got. Happy Wednesday.

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Autumnal

There’s just something about fall, isn’t there? The incandescent light, filtering through multi-hughed leaves.  The ubiquitous pumpkin flavored bakery goods (though, if you’re at all in the market for a good recipe, these are pretty fan-damn-tastic).  The smell of woodsmoke, the return of good TV. The slowly creeping darkness. It’s wonderful and terrifying. It’s hopeful and melancholy.

***

It was early October, Homecoming Weekend, when I “voluntarily” withdrew from college for “health” reasons (meaning I was batshit insane and no one knew what to do with me; I don’t fault them, exactly, it wasn’t THEIR job to fix me). I remember the impossibly  colored leaves on the gingko trees around campus. The yellow lights glowing from the living room windows of nearby houses. I remember the smell of the cool air. I remember  the darkness.

***

Dooce once posted, in one of her many posts about her struggle with depression, that the spring and autumnal equinoxes are often the hardest times from those who suffer from depression (the broken brain chemistry type of depression) (I’m not sure why that parenthetical needed to be written, maybe to justify my feelings to myself). The changing of seasons, the shifting light.

I’m not on medication now. I haven’t been for many years. I’ve been on a lot, though. Antidepressants. Antianxieties. Antipsychotics. If there was a condition available, I was on the anti drug for it. I slowly weaned myself off last time, after I was put back on them following a particular traumatic event.  I didn’t want to be dependent on a pill. I wanted to find my own way. I was seeing a counselor, I was making friends. I was doing OK.

I never looked back.

Every now and then I get this feeling, this brain-zap, or electric shock feeling that runs up my spine and wraps around my brain. Turns out this is a symptom of withdrawal from many of these psychiatric medications. Even now, years later, I get them. I’ve begun to wonder if it’s at all related to the seasons. To this idea that my once damaged synapsis are just having a harder time firing than usual.  I wonder if, once the connection between the serotonin receptors and uptakers and whatever else they are called, is broken, do they ever really and truly get better?

I was talking to John about this the other night, when, after putting the kids to bed I was just sitting on the couch, unable or unwilling to move, not sure why I was feeling so terribly, but feeling quite terribly. He called it the “constant knocking.” That depression is this annoying solicitor, seeking a way in. Knock knock knocking all the time. And it’s my job to say “no.” Go away.  I don’t want what you’re selling. Not today. Not ever. No no no no no.

It’s exhausting.

But, of course, it’s worth it.

Is it?  I could be using that brain power on so many other things. But what choice is there?  I let it in once, and it was near impossible to get rid of – if, in fact, I did get rid of it. Maybe instead of a “knocker” I should say that depression is like a vampire, once you let it in, however briefly, it has access to swoop in through the windows and suck the life right out of you. (And you know that THIS vampire doesn’t sparkle.)

***

Maybe the other thing about fall is what it signifies. The advent of winter. Longer nights. Less light. Cold. Lots of sickness. (Christmas!). And more metaphorically, too. The season of really shitty anniversaries. Assaults and hospitalizations and psych wards and pumped stomachs.  Fall is knowing that it’s all right around the corner.

***

I feel a little weird writing about this. Again. Or, I guess, at all. Look at me and my Really Big Problems.

Except, not really.

I’m OK. I’m not, you know, in “danger.” (It feels so silly to even write that;  I’m hoping that everyone would know that about me, but just in case). But it’s true.  I am OK.  I’m happy with my life, I am. My family is the best ever, I am finally teaching in a real college with real students and getting the experience I’ve been wanting for years, everyone is healthy, we’re not in any real financial straights. 

It’s just. 

I’m having a hard time.

I’m sad and anxious and there’s this twisty knot in my stomach and my thoughts won’t settle and what I want, oh so badly, is to hide under the covers with my Kindle and to read the scene where Beth dies so I can cry and cry and just mope a bit, you know?

I know that part of it is being exhausted. I am so tired, you guys. Luna’s sleep is a whole other post or novel or whatever but it’s not good, and my levels of sleep deprivation are reaching 11.  Sleep and wonky brain chemistry are a rather potent combo.

***

Anyway, this is the state of things. I know posting is light, and has been for a while.  It will likely continue to be light because really, who wants to read a blog full of random whining? I’ll try to get back to posting lots of cute baby pictures and indulgent cookie recipes soon.

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2012: Words & Pictures

2011, 2010

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Traveled outside of the US, got pregnant with a girl variety human, went to The Blathering

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

Here are the “goals” I made last year (I don’t call the resolutions, but still, same idea). (Original post here.) For this year they’ll be much of the same: get back into shape post baby (combination of working out (I’m thinking pilates) and eating well), more writing and photography, more attitude adjustments as needed.

  • Start running again: Yes. I joined a RunClub with some other moms and ran, typically, once a week. Sometimes on my own (though not often).
  • Do some creative writing: Yes. A friend and I started a “writing group,” just the two of us, and while it sporadic and what not, I did do some writing for it. Mostly early on in the year. I’ve fizzled out since then.
  • Keep trying out new recipes: Yes. I still really love to cook. I rely heavily on recipes (online or books), but have enough confidence to do some minor to moderate tweaking.
  • Positivity: I give myself a medium on this. I still feel like I’m too hard on myself, and too whiney in general. But I am improving, I think, and want to keep working on it.
  • Read More: Impossible to say. I’ve read a lot, as I always do, but I did not keep good track of it like I did last year, so I have no idea what my book count was.
  • Photography: Another medium: I’ve used the new camera some, but still mostly use my iPhone.
  • Keep working on the house: Medium. My office is now a nursery (!) and we’ve done some cleaning out and rearranging, but there’s still (and always will be) work to be done. We toy with the idea of slightly remodeling the bathrooms/kitchen, but are doubtful it would be worth the cost.
  • Garden: Yes! It didn’t ALL pan out, but we had a lovely patio flower garden, and I joined a community vegetable garden. The vegetable garden had to be scrapped because of contaminated compost, but I did it!
  • Keep Teaching: I’m about to keep this one. I don’t think I’ve taught anything since last year, but I have two classes scheduled for next month. Hurray!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A local friend of mine had a little girl last spring, and a CA friend just had her baby girl last month (I think!).

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes and no – how’s that for a solid answer?  A family member died, but we were not close and have not been in years.

5What countries did you visit?

Mexico! Oh, that was lovely.

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

This answer will be much the same as last year. I want to maintain some sense of self that isn’t tied in to being a mom. I no longer feel like “just” a mom (can we all say AMEN), but I still don’t do a lot of stuff that reflects who I am apart from my child (soon to be children). I want to hold on to that internal, creative life, no matter how small it becomes with the new responsibilities of another newborn. I want to maintain relationships with MY friends, as women, not just as parents to Xander’s friends.

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

June 9 (ish): getting a positive pregnancy test.
July 1-9: My good friend Paula and her girl came to visit
September 27: Finding out JS and I will be having a daughter
December 14: SandyHook (as if it won’t be in everyone’s memory)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I think that going to The Blathering was a big deal for me. I was so nervous, and felt nervous about how I “did” even after getting home, but I am so very glad I went. It really widened my circle of friends, and brought “internet” relationships to life. I got Christmas cards from these ladies!

9. What was your biggest failure?

In general, my lack of patience on those monotonous days home with Xander where everything he does grates on my nerves. I forget that he’s just two, and not really grown up, no matter how verbal he’s become, and I let myself expect more from him than he’s capable of doing.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I feel like pregnancy is one big illness/injury. But, really, no. I mean, this abscessed tooth hurts like a…well, badly, but it’s not anything SERIOUS.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A trip to Mexico with just me and JS.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Traveling. We went to Mexico, Alabama, Florida, a cabin in the mountains, I went to NOLA.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Learning I was pregnant. Xander starting preschool (cheesy, I know, but I was – and am – so proud of him).

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Labor of Love – the song I picked for the photo slide show. It’s not from this year, but I listened to it a lot while driving around and it just…fits.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you: – happier or sadder? Happier. I’m more at home in Vermont than I was last year, I’ve made more friends and really “put myself out there,” so to speak. Same with my Internet life. This will forever be the year, in my mind, that my Internet friends became REAL friends, and that has been so awesome. – thinner or fatter? HA! I’m 33 weeks pregnant. Fatter. – richer or poorer? Financially poorer.

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

Gone exploring locally – more walks, more outside adventures, less staying inside.

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

Less worrying about how others see me, less being such a homebody.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

(Same as last year) With my small family in our home. It was so, so great.

19. What was your favorite TV program? Favorite new shows: Person of Interest, Elemental

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I read all of Tana French’s books this year, and I loved them all (with the VERY noteable exception of Broken Harbor – HATE); Let’s Pretend This Never Happened; Storybound; The Fault in our Stars.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I have not been good at keeping up with music, but I discovered Kathleen Edwards this year and have enjoyed her a lot.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I don’t even know what I saw this year: The Hobbit, The Hunger Games

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

This was a fun birthday year; I turned 33 on 12-12-12. I had a girl’s night out with some good friends, and then JS and I celebrated that weekend with dinner and going to The Hobbit.

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

(Same as last year) Having a personal project (or sticking with the one I’d picked) that I’d have worked on throughout the year.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

This is a lame question.

26. What kept you sane? My family. Reading. Facebook.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

This has been a good year for accepting who I am, something they try to teach all of us before puberty. But, it seems, this is a lesson that needs relearning. I am introverted, yes, and I don’t have to change that to make new friends. I don’t have to be someone I’m not to reach out and take personal risks. In a somewhat meta and dorky way, this also means that I accept that a large part of my life is lived online. I care about the people I know on Twitter, and sure, it may seem silly, but it’s true. And having virtual (and now virtual turned real) friends is something that makes me happy, so I don’t really care if it’s silly or not.

And now for the slide show! A lot of these pictures end up being repeats, because I make a slide show for Xander’s birthday each year, so I’m thinking of only doing one of these a year, either year end or Birthday. Thoughts?  (2011 in Pictures; 2010).

(Music: Labor of Love by Sweet Talk Radio)

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