Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: Lessons Learned

new year 2011 (21)I have been really down on 2011. I feel I have a good reasons. With the curtain coming down on the year, I’m realizing it is easier for me to blame external circumstances for the ‘stuff’ in life. It’s my “Default Position” if you will. I want to blame the stuff in life for disappointments. I want to point at someone and say it’s his/her fault that I suffered this misfortune. My “default position” became just that because It’s easier to be the victim. It’s easier to have people feel sorry for you and it’s certainly easier to let others to come to the rescue.

A friend recently told me that we make our own mojo. If I continue to move through life with a default position of negativity, then that’s where my mojo will be. In 2011, I survived the long overdue death of my first post-divorce relationship. Just like my marriage, I can point to an event long before the plug was finally pulled when the relationship died. I made excuses for why he was never home or able to make it to social events. Oh I am certainly not blameless; I did some things that I am not proud of. Yet, it took me almost two years of making excuses and waiting for some promise that was never going to occur before I grew a set and said no more.

I learned many lessons from the failure this relationship.

  1. Value – I felt that I am damaged goods like the ugly shirt at Walmart that keeps getting marked down. I felt that I should feel lucky that he was giving me the time of day at all. I felt I should just keep marking down my standards because who else would want me? I learned that I have value. There is someone out there who will cherish me for who I am.
  2. Money – Let me give you a bit of advice, don’t mix money. No matter how much that person says they love you and are committed to you forever and ever. I signed papers on a nice SUV while he batted his eyes at me in the dealership showroom and said he wasn’t going anywhere. That SUV was repossessed in 2011. I finally had to declare bankruptcy in 2011. I have spent a good chunk of 2011 without transportation because of the words “TRUST ME”. The lesson learned is this… What’s yours is yours... and mine is mine. We split living expenses, but don't share checking accounts or credit cards. I will never again allow someone else to have unfettered access to my bank account. If he doesn’t pay his share of the expenses, I will assume he has found someplace else to live. I will even help him out by placing his belongings out on the sidewalk… just like I did with his stuff in 2011.
  3. Trust – I wasn’t only burned by misplaced trust in a significant other, I was burned badly by misplaced trust in people who told me they were helping me out in my time of need. The lesson learned here is quite simple, if someone is offering you a kindness… why? What is in it for them? My goal for 2012 is to do things myself. Self-sufficiency will be the hallmark for the new year.

In just over 24 hours a shiny happy new year will be ours… a blank page waiting to receive the marks which will make it memorable. One of my goals for 2012 is simple… Don’t Fuck it Up!

2012_happy_new_year-wide

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Inspired by The Daily Post

This time of year we begin to analyze the events of the past 12 months to determine what went right, and what went wrong. I am planning on using the last week of 2011 to do just that. To those of you who follow my posts on Facebook, you know I can sum up 2011 in two words… IT SUCKED! It would be easy to leave it at that. It would be easy to simply call the last 12 months a wash, but that would be a waste of the human experience. Humans are supposed to learn from their mistakes and try not to commit them again. I am working to identify five things I’ve learned from my mistakes this year beginning Monday… stay tuned.

The challenge asked me to post a picture that represents the position we find ourselves in during this time of year when we are reflecting on what is past and what is to come.

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For the last month I’ve been carrying two calendars. One chronicling the year past both personally and professionally. 2011 holds many highlights, notes, scribbles, and arrows that signify the good, the bad and the ugly. 2012 is starting to see some of those on the first pages; but for the most part it is pristine… and filled with promise.

Right now we are between the old & ragged and the fresh & pristine.

I’ll try not to fuck it up.

Blogging Challenge: 10, 11 & 12

The Challenge continues. See the tab above for links to previous posts and the inspiration of the Challenge.

Something I don’t leave the house without

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Bible Verse

Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.

Matthew 25:41-46 (NLT)

Dream House

lake-union-houseboat1

My dream home is a houseboat on Lake Union in Seattle. A great house in a great city with great views to share with great friends over a great bottle of wine.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Time Is Here

**Wantonly stolen from Tony at West of Mayberry

IMG_0098I love Christmas-time. The decorations, the music, and my family. Like with many other things in my life, I know I am trying to make up for the dystopian nightmare that was my childhood.

  1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? I’m partial to Hot Chocolate, stirred with a peppermint stick to give it that holiday spirit.
  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa has a tremendous workforce who are able to wrap just about anything expedience allows. This means things like bicycles or scooters aren’t wrapped, but their giftedness is signified by an XL bow.
  3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I’ve been using a set of pastel lights on the tree for the past three years. I want to move back to colored lights, but I’ve been resistant because I’m not that thrilled with the brilliant colors of the new fangled LED lights. I’ll see what the post-Christmas sales have to offer, I may make the leap. Outside, is predominantly colored lights as well.
  4. Do you hang mistletoe? I have, when I’ve had someone to fulfill the implied contract.
  5. When do you put your decorations up? The tree and other interior decorations go up Thanksgiving weekend. The outdoor festivities are installed the 2nd weekend of December. I don’t feel like giving the electric company more money that absolutely necessary.
  6. What is your favorite Christmas dish? I love HAM at Christmas with a side of scalloped potatoes.  
  7. Favorite Christmas memory as a child? We were at my Grammy & Papa’s house one Christmas my sister and I slept on cots in the living room which made the threats “Santa won’t come until you’re asleep” so much harder to accomplish. That is, until I heard the sleigh bells outside… then Grammy came in and said, “Santa just passed us by”. There was much weeping and wailing. But sleep eventually came… and so did Santa.
  8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I still believe. I believe that Santa is the personification of the joy, family and giving of the season. So long as you get joy in that feeling that comes from seeing someone truly enjoy the gift they have received… Santa lives.  
  9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope. The joy of Christmas morning… seeing what Santa left in the stockings… is all worth the wait.
  10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? Nothing says “holiday” like sugar cookies… and Jack, Santa likes a shot of Jack.  
  11. Snow! Love it or hate it? I love “looking” at the snow, but I hate going out into it… mainly because of the way snow makes other drivers lose their ever loving minds.
  12. Can you ice skate? Good Lord! Can you imagine this body on rails?
  13. Do you remember your favorite present? A Radio Flyer wagon
  14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas to you? Building memories & traditions with my kids that they will share with their kids.
  15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Russian Tea Cakes
  16. Favorite tradition? Pizza and board games on Christmas Eve, Santa loads the stockings, watching Christmas movies (Muppet Christmas Carol, The Grinch, Christmas Vacation and The Christmas Story)
  17. What tops your tree? A star.
  18. Which do you prefer – giving or receiving? Giving (see #8) 
  19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? I love Christmas music. I have over 300 Christmas songs on my iTunes. I love Michael Buble, Harry Connick and of course Bing Crosby.
  20. Candy Canes? meh… I use them to stir my hot chocolate.

Blogging Challenge–Favorite TV Shows

I think I’ve proven that this is not a “daily” blogging challenge. ‘Tis the season to make plans for what you want to accomplish when the calendar is replaced. Hope springs eternal…
I try to delude myself into believing that I don’t watch too much TV, but then I’m faced with the reality that I have a TV viewing routine and definite opinions on the shows I like and dislike. This is most apparent when the kids are here. While there are two other TV’s in the house, they seem to commandeer the main TV rather quickly… and that seems to annoy me.

Comedy

  • 2 Broke Girls – Two women from different worlds come together in a moment of need. The awesomely sarcastic Max and the terminally blonde Caroline are the latest incarnation of Lucy & Ethel. Caroline's character is the daughter of a Bernie Madoff-esque crook who has lost everything, she befriends Max becomes her roommate and hilarity ensues. BONUS – Classic SNL actor Garrett Morris provides many LOL moments.
  • Big Bang Theory – Two uber-geeks live across the hall from a beautiful waitress. Two additional uber-geeks stop by frequently… hilarity ensues.

Drama

  • Criminal Minds – The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit helps local law enforcement solve crimes committed by sociopaths and psychopaths.
  • CSI – I love the original best. I wasn’t sure I would continue watching after William Peterson left; it faltered a bit with Laurence Fishburne, but it has really picked up this season with the addition of Ted Danson. I don’t care much for CSI: Miami, but CSI: New York is good, just because Gary Sinise is SO cool.
  • Blue Bloods – I started watching this for one reason… Tom Selleck. I keep watching because the stories are good.

Reality

  • Crasher Shows on DIY – I love the idea that a hunky contractor is lurking around the aisles of Lowes looking for people who innocently came to the store looking for new tile or a hose. Josh Temple on House Crashers is my favorite. He’s nice to look at, funny and he’s a “guy”. That means he leans toward giving the husband what he wants as opposed to the wife. Matt Meunster on Bath Crashers is a close second. He’s scruffy cute and he makes amazing bathrooms.
  • Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives – Guy Fieri can be irritating, but that doesn’t change the fact that the establishments he spotlights are pretty awesome. I don’t travel much (as I want), but I have eaten at two of the places he’s visited in Portland. I highly recommend the Byways CafĂ© in The Pearl.
  • Brad Meltzer’s Decoded – It is the ONLY History Channel “conspiracy” show that I can handle; mainly because it is intelligent. It relies on research and finding first-person accounts from people who don’t appear to own a Tin Foil Hat.

Classic

  • M*A*S*H – I catch this show on TV Land from time to time and it never fails.
  • The West Wing – I’m geeky when it comes to history and politics. I actually own Seasons 1-5 on DVD. When GW was president, I wished Jed Bartlet was… and now that Obama is President… I still wish Bartlet was.