Ok ok, I’ll do the recap

Thanks to the ever amazing Sundry, I will do this once again. Here are 2010, 2008, and 2007, because I apparently skipped ’09.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
That would be… run a half-marathon. Actually, I ran two: one in February and one in October. The training was the thing that was the biggest accomplishment; running every other day for increasingly longer distances is HARD!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year, I wrote thirteen goals and I would say I stuck to about half. Funny though, I just wrote my previous post without looking at that one and I am sad to say some are the same and I didn’t even realize it.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend, Courtney, had a baby in February but no one else. I do know a lot of pregnant ladies though.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. We did surprisingly little travelling this year.

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

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I’ll say February 3rd and October 30th (my races) but really, this was an uneventful year all in all.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Besides the races, I asked for a raise and got one and then I was also awarded a year end bonus (chosen over other co-workers) so I would say those are big accomplishments.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I’ll have to agree here: fails are always related to my parenting. I have got to be more patient!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing memorable. I know I was sick during the year but nothing awful. And thankfully, no injuries!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

That one time yard clean up! No, really. And other than that, my new phone is pretty awesome but I really tried not to focus on things.

12. Where did most of your money go?
The mortgage, daycare payment, and food. We eat a lot.

13. What did you get really excited about?
I’ll say our July trip to Daytona. Sure, it was just the beach I have seen a million times and a not so great hotel but it was exactly what Ash and I needed.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Hmm, I will say Luke Bryan’s “Do I?” because it was the song that got me back into into Country and I played it a TON.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Hmmm, probably about the same.
– thinner or fatter? I’ve got to be thinner.
– richer or poorer? I would say we seem to have less but it’s about to change.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More outings with the kids.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time when work was slow. I could have been writing.

18. How did you spend Christmas?
With family; it was wonderful.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
This doesn’t change: BONES. There’s not a lot of quality programming out there.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I read nothing “real”; all romance. And they were all good!

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Basically from about April to October, everything that came out on the Country circuit was amazing.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
We saw a movie every other Friday and yet, I can’t think of any that were amazing. Immortals was good. We got Adjustment Bureau on Netflix and that was memorable. Nothing blew me away.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 32 and had carpal tunnel surgery. I spent it feeling like crap but my mom was here to help.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I guess I should say that having more money would be the solution but only I can make that happen, you know? Granted, towards the end of the year, I was getting on track.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
“How many tops can be paired with jeans?”

26. What kept you sane?
Ash. Running. Romance novels.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today. And the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Nostalgia knocks again

Like I have mentioned before, Fall and the approach of the Holiday Season tends to spring me into a very nostalgic state of mind. I oftentimes find myself daydreaming of “home” (my old home) and having flashes of images of places I used to visit this time of year.  Though it makes me yearn to take a vacation, I also feel a lot more serene when I get this way.

This morning, the kind of weather we have (granted, it’s because we’re about to get pounded by tropical storm Ida) reminds me of cold Thanksgiving days spent in Dothan, Alabama. They don’t get much colder than here but they’re significantly less humid. Traveling up there from South Florida always felt like such a culture shock when I was little. From Tally to Dothan is little change. Anyway, I get pretty sad thinking that I have no more reason to visit there. I still have a lot of family but the hub of it all were my grandparents and they’ve been gone a few years now. Sometimes I think about driving there by myself, to look at the old places and take pictures so that I can always remember. Even though I have my memories, there’ a fear that those may begin to fade the longer I stay away. I just don’t want to forget.

Where do you remembere and not want to forget?

The post that took me all week

Why is it that I can have this seemingly awesome idea for a blog post and then when it’s time to actually write it, it doesn’t seem so great anymore? I guess ideas tend to be like that. Has something to do with that brief moment you discover them. Like when I suddenly realized that when Batman died, his sons (except Damian) all became orphans for the *second* time. Messed up! But then, of course, I realized how many other people have probably already realized that and it’s not even that cool.

But I guess I’ll proceed with the post I was thinking about last night, for the hell of it. I had just finished watching Teen Titans and the episode of JLU didn’t look interesting so I flipped it to the music stations. On DirecTV you get XM radio as well. I landed on the Chill station, where they play artists like: Moby, Eno, Thievery Corporation, Zero 7, Chemical Brothers, and Air. It’s laid back and great for taking a nap by. Or, as I was thinking last night, it’d be great to have on while you’re getting high.

Now, I would not consider myself highly experienced when it comes to drugs. Like any teenager, I took the chances when I had them. I knew some people in high school who were dropping acid all the time. I was a lightweight and kind of a wuss when it came to getting in trouble for things so the extent of my substance usage was limited to getting kinda drunk with my friends watching old Pee Wee’s Playhouse episodes. Sure, we smoked cloves in mass quantities when we drank coffee at Denny’s but other than that, I didn’t even mess around with stuff until college.

The first time I smoked pot, I was sitting in a car with a couple guys I’d known in high school and some other random people – I don’t recall it now. I was nervous but had jumped at the chance because – and this is sad – I knew it would piss off my goody-goody roommates. As they passed the joint around, all I remember feeling was hungry. The guy to my left was sniffing a deck of cards – I remember this clearly – and he kept saying how great they smelled.

There were a few other times but the time I remember with the most fondness was in 2005. We were having some people over; maybe just seven or eight, and we had been playing Circle of Death and drinking beer. Somehow, this turned into that Never Have I Ever game and our friend, Kelly, said he’d never smoked pot. Of course, our friend, Chris, jumped on that opportunity, made a quick trip, and was back before we knew it. Some people had passed out already so me, Ash, Chris, Kelly, Randy and this other girl went to our back porch to light up.

I recall now the feeling of drifting away. Being aware I was still on said porch in a circle of friends and hazey cloud hanging over us. But I felt far away, removed from the actual reality. At times I worried – briefly – that we were going to get in trouble. But with whom?  I don’t know. Then someone said something funny – I guess – and someone else replied. “Mmm hmm.” And then we kept saying that over and over and laughing hysterically. These were good times. When I was 24. And didn’t have a kid or a full-time job.

And I don’t know what the point of all this was except I look back on my past with fondness. And I don’t miss those days. But I sure like that chill music. It definitely suits my weekend naps a lot better than smoking a joint.

And yes, it really did take me all week to write that. I kept opening wordpress and then closing it and writing something else, you know, actually working. The week was busy and I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend, if it could ever be so with a toddler around. So peace out, folks. Feel free to share any memories you have that you look back on with only fondness and warm fuzziness.

There is what is, and what we would like it to be

Yesterday was billed – in my head – as “The Day of Me.” Now, you know what they say about “the best laid plans…” but honest to God, I didn’t have some master plan all set for weeks or anything. So why my day turned out to be about 180 degrees from what I wanted it to be… well, I must have done something wrong, for I was being punished.

I needed some time for myself and the plans included, but were not limited to: leisurely coffee, a stroll around Target, a pedicure, comic shop, Fresh Market OR Bradley’s Country Store for lunch (which would have led to some nice strolls through pastures and some photo-taking), working out, laying in the sun, and reading. I got a few of those accomplished though, the day began on the wrong foot.

Our switch is giving out so internet was sketchy at best and I had to plug the old shitty laptop directly into the modem and answer email on the floor of the workout room. Sigh. But I did get ready and go to Target. My plan was to shop for summer clothes while sipping my latte. Instead, I felt uncompelled to even try on clothes so I bought diapers. DIAPERS. How… boring. From there, I went to the salon where I did get my pedicure. There’s one girl there amongst all the men and she’s very nice. We speak of our children; she gave me a pedicure when I was pregnant and has remembered me ever since. But truth be told, she’s not the best at the foot massage. The guys may be rather effeminate but they give damn good massages. She just doesn’t use enough pressure. BUT, that was the highlight of my day as it gradually spiraled into blah from there.

At 11, I went to the comic shop for Batman and Robin #1, and I was not disappointed.  Though, my Robin had not come in so that made my kind of sad. At this point, my day was going along swimmingly and I was then on my way to Fresh Market for some sushi or other delicious treats from their deli. I’m about to turn into the parking lot and my phone rings: it’s daycare. SIGH. Apparently, Elliot had an unidentifiable rash and since it could be contagious, I had to go pick him up. Boy, was I mad. Not at him but at the turn of events. For right as I was on my way there, it started to POUR.  I did manage to get some food though I was rushed so it was only a sandwich.

He napped for a mere hour – we lost power so it was hot and still – and then we trudged to the doctor for walk-in hours. One of the low points in our career as mother and son – hands down. In the small room, while waiting for the doctor, Elliot had a million and one break-downs. He cried, he flopped, he begged to be picked up and then swatted me in the face because God forbid I pick him up! The thirty minutes we were in there was like hell times five. Dramatic, I know, but OMG. It was awful. And when we finally walked out of there – clean bill of health, mind you; it’s just a viral rash – I was DONE with that kid and feeling so sorry for myself, it was basically pathetic.

And I made the decisions to get his damn hair cut because although little baby curls are “cute” and “precious”, etc, I was sick of them making his head look oddly shaped and he always looked kind of sweaty. So off to the Supercuts we went (classy, I know) and he was an absolute angel for the hairdresser. OF COURSE.haircut

Compare that to this photo where you can see how long and unruly it was. I am so glad we got that done.

Since nothing really happened as I wished (save those 2-3 hours in the AM, and YES, I realize how bratty I sound by complaining about this all), I certainly didn’t want to follow through on my promise to make lasagna for dinner: the LONG way. Ash says he really liked it when I used the NOT oven-ready noodles so I figured I could boil the regular ones with all that TIME I’d have to myself. NOPE. By the time it was 5:30, I was whiny and hungry and feeling so down that I cried out in anger: “I want food brought to my face!” And being the wonderful husband that he is, Ash went out and got us Boston Market.

And now, I am going to admit something that may make you think I am either a.) 80 or b.) a loser. But, Ash and I got into bed at eight freaking thirty last night. And we slept all night long. I can’t tell you the last time I got near ten hours. Today feels like a new… year. Like something totally opposite from the life I was living on Tuesday. So even though the Day of Me was a /Fail, I benefitted from it. Sometimes life works that way. Mysterious…

Friday time capsule

After two relatively in-depth posts this week, I feel bereft of ideas. This could be due to the fact that it’s been raining almost non-stop since… forever. And I am highly affected by it; I get depressed. Pile on some anxiety over my parents coming into town and I feel pulled in many directions, stretched to my limits.  So, for lack of anything better with which to entertain you, let’s jump into our way-back machine and see some old pictures. For fun.

October 15, 2005:

wedding photo

October 21, 2005:

hawaiian sun

April 3, 2006:

3 doggies

September 4, 2006:labor day fam

December 26, 2006:

AZ Xmas

May 6, 2007:

20 weeks

August 29, 2007:

newborn

March 22, 2008:

6 months

August 23, 2008:

Fay tree

August 29, 2008:

1 year

October 9, 2008:

Chicago

February 8, 2009:

18 months

March 28, 2009:

New York

May6, 2009:

not sick

There’s my life for the past 4 years. Kind of crazy how simply it can be summed up, huh? I feel like I have done so much. It’s crazy how quickly time passes.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Way back machine/shhhh

Rude Cactus’s post today got me thinking about a lot of things. One being high school, which I could get nostalgic about all day but not because they were “the best years of my life.”  Two being secrets I don’t tell anyone. The two, I shall synthesize into one long ramble.

For starters, I moved from Hollywood, Florida to Orlando, Florida (specifically, Longwood) halfway through my freshman year of high school. This was rough for me because  I had gone to school with a lot of the same people ever since about 3rd grade. And Orlando was an entirely different world, though only four hours north. It was farther from the beach than Hollywood yet everyone was into surfing. And my high school, Lake Brantley, was ridiculously cliquey and snobbish. The majority of the kids were from well-to-do families and had easy access to cars and drugs. (I’d never even laid eyes on any kind of illegal substance until maybe junior year even.) I found some friends – Rachel, Kami, “Geppeto” (to protect the innocent asshole ), Jesse, and Mike – but I never felt “cool”. And I always wondered if the kids I thought were so cool – Myk, Jay, Jimmy, Marissa – did indeed feel as cool as they looked.

What did it mean to be the cool kid? Did you have to be a part of a particular group? I was definitely friends with people in different cliques. I knew the band geeks, the kids into the Mock UN, the emo kids in Environmental club… I knew them all. But I didn’t “belong” to any one gang. I thought if the skaters took me in, then I’d be a part of something. Hence how I met P, we shall call him. He lived down the street from me and we rode the bus together. At some point in 10th or 11th grade, I found myself sitting in the back of my car with him, doing things I had only ever dreamed about (No, I wasn’t THAT cool – I didn’t get laid until much later) and thinking how dreadfully wrong it all was. And yet, being young, I didn’t stop. This is one of those things I don’t eagerly speak of. I don’t brag about awkward fumblings on leather seats. But I felt compelled today.  I thought it might feel nice to just say it.

The question I kept asking myself after the breif stint with P was, “Did that make me cool?” Was I going to be more popular if I hooked up with some guy? The answer, of course, was no. So I floated along; joined clubs, made it into the Art Honors Society, played intramural softball. I was even in a band at one point with two of the Mikes I had idolized. The bad boys, the ones with guitars slung over their (well-formed) shoulder and a cigarette at the corner of their mouths, a hint of defiance gleaming in their eyes. Oh yeah, this was living. This was being someone. And then I fell for one of the other kids in the group – J. We stumbled our way through a phone conversation in which I admitted this to him and he then said back to me similar feelings. He once sang “Brown Eyed Girl” to me in my garage, right before borrowing my Chemistry notes. It was short lived and we didn’t do anything all that intimate but I still hold a special place in my heart for him.

By the end of Senior year, I had met D, a freshmen (hey I liked ‘em young) who was on the football team (not really my type) but who was all about me. At first I was flattered and then sort of worried he was serious and being completely not confident in myself, I pulled away, then gave in because hey, I had some pretty low self-esteem back then. We fooled around in his room where he still had a Space Jam poster, right around the corner from his parents watching Jeopardy in the living room. No longer did I feel guilty, I sort of felt rebellious. Wait, wasn’t this what high school was about? Wasn’t this kind of cool? For a brief time, I definitely felt that I had achieved said goal.

Years later, I don’t really care that much about being “cool”. Now I’m a mom, a full-time employee and I hold a Masters degree. These are bigger achievements than I could have ever imagined way back when, in a time when I longed to be Angela from My So-Called Life. When I ached to be like them, like the ones who looked like they felt comfortable in their skin. And I wonder where they are now. I know that P married and recently his wife had twins. D is probably still working on computers somewhere and J, well, last I heard he was single and had been a crystal meth addict. It’s funny how people end up. But me? I think I turned out OK.

Visions from the past OR what I call my Friday blog entry

When I was 11, we went to Western New York. My mom’s side of the family owns a house, named Hungry Hollow, way out in the rural mountains and hills. It’s near Salamanca and Killbuck and Great Valley. The house itself is over one hundred years old and originally only had a kitchen, one room downstairs, a cellar, and two rooms crammed into the upstairs, under a very steeply slanted roof. My grandfather’s kin added onto it a dining room with a long table made out of chestnut, before all the chestnut trees got the blight. In that room was a piano and a curio cabinet in which there sat a bunch if different small animal skulls, like a gray fox and a chipmunk. Off the dining room was a large open living room with mismatched old furniture that was so saggy that it ate you when you sat. Off of there, they had installed a bathroom, mudroom, one more bedroom and another small bathroom where the lightbulb was always so dim it made me feel dirty even when I was in the tub.

I had been to Hungry Hollow many times before 11 but that’s the one I seem to remember the clearest. I remember the cool October water in the creek that ran alongside the edge of the property… how it swept over my feet, jeans rolled up to my knees, and how the smooth stones kept wearing down, rounder, smoother, as time passed.

I remember hiking up Hale road with my grandpa and dad, going to the beaver pond and watching those busy little creatures hastily building their damn. And we went inside this little old shack that looked like it burned. There were broken mason jars and papers and agricultural type tools strewn about. And the emptiness spooked me.

We ate this stuff called salt rising bread that my grandmother loved and could only buy in upstate New York. It smelled kind of gross while toasting but had a nutty sort of potato-y flavor.

That year, I shot a gun for the very first time. Off the mudroom is a small platform with stairs leading to the yard. From it, my grandfather stood behind me to steady the .22 against my shoulder. Aim for the cans, not too low. About 50 feet away, hanging from a tree, dangled old beer cans, riddled with small holes from past shooting attempts. I remember my heart racing and the heaviness of the gun leaning back into my small frame. Easing the trigger back, I was scared by the recoil but I didn’t show it. I Having always been a tom boy, I had to keep up the tough exterior, show strength and confidence at all times. I hit the can and it swayed from the intrusion of metal. I felt proud.

We drove into town to get supplies – town being Salamanca or Killbuck, where my grandpa grew up during the Depression. He let me get out at a little general store where I bought more ammo for the gun. As I walked out, I noticed there was a vending machine so i was going to buy a soda with my change. Except it was live bait!

Days like today when the air is cool and Fall is creeping up slowly make me think of these good times I had as a kid. What are some places you remember from your childhood? What made them special?

ETA: Brian’s website. I knew I had a relative who posted photos. The place has been updated, obviously, since I was last there but now you get a visual.

One from the vaults…

Heh heh, yeah that was a vague Rocky Horror reference. Sigh, those were the days… ::poof: That was my little nostalgia memory cloud bursting. ANYway, I felt like dredging up some old photos, since I was going through the archives and doing some organizing. So without further ado, some pictures that will probably reveal more of me than I was ever willing to share. (But you love it.)

This was me in 2003, fat and unattractive:archival-blog1.jpg

This was me and my family at my grandmother’s funeral, Sept. 2003:archival-blog-6.jpg

This was me December of 2004, skiing and hating it:archival-blog-5.jpg

This was me in March 2004, at Disney: archival-blog-4.jpg

This was me at my bachelorette party with sister and friend:archival-3.jpg

This was me in Hawaii, October 2005:  archival-blog-2.jpg

Ok, that’s enough sharing for one day. I’m off to watch football ALL DAY LONG.

Old me vs. new me

I started out the morning feeling old – for reasons I shall go into momentarily – and I am feeling older still as the late afternoon back pain sets in, right where my spinal cord meets my tail bone, which might actually be where baby Elliot is resting, ever so peacefully I am sure, according to my doctor’s nurse on the phone. I called to ask what they typically tell women with lower back pain and no other weird symptoms. Of course, take Tylenol, use a heating pad, etc. Or just try to stand up more – ugh.

So yes, this morning, as I walked past the inoperable Westcott fountain, I was thinking about how much I just paid for a bagel with cream cheese. It was roughly $1.79. I remembered that when I was a junior I could go across the street from my high school to a little place called Danny’s bagels and get the softest, tastiest bagel with cream cheese for 95 cents flat. And then I realized that the year was 1996 and that’s more than a decade ago. It didn’t seem all that long ago… I don’t remember it being so distant.

The same holds true for gas prices. In 1997, I could pay 98 cents a gallon for regular. Last week, I paid $2.95. Again, the difference a decade makes. I sometimes like to think back to the changes I have made in the past decade and honestly, some of them are pretty amazing. When I was a junior at lake Brantley high, I was an interesting individual. I was still very much into the idea of bucking all trends (to a certain extent) and trying to express myself in whatever way possible. I listened to punk music and hung out with the skateboarders. I wore boyish clothes and tried to be cool without being popular. I reflect on my fashion, my choices, and don’t regret the things I did. Maybe I was silly and maybe people made fun of me but I was still me. I came into my own sometime early in college but it took a little while for me to stop wearing baggy pants and t-shirts all the time. I still don’t dress up and I still listen to whatever music I want, hardly anything popular. This time it’s not out of spite or to be different. Now it’s just because this is who I am and where I am; I pay almost 3 bucks for gas and almost 2 bucks for a bagel but I’m happy.

I think one of the keys to happiness is to not let yourself have regrets – come to terms with the truth. That’s some sage advice.