Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 didn't suck.

The year in review. Not a bad year at all. Nobody i love got sick or died. That alone is pretty freaking awesome. I have no idea what i am going to remember about this past year but i'll just randomly think of some stuff, big and small and put it up here. Please come and add your year in review!

photo taken with my new Coolpix on the way to East. Wash for Xmas

1. I'm still blogging and in spite of my love/hate relationship with Facebook, i am also still on Facebook, (though i did take a hiatus late July through early November). Weird that i didn't miss it either. But dumping 75 'friends' helps me like it more now.

2. I ran a half-marathon at age 55 and did better than i expected to do. I plan to sign up and run again this year. It was a great way to get through the gray winter months and it forced me to be outside in the light, which cut down on the Seasonal Affective Disorder issues. And if i wanted to over-carb because of that, it at least went to some good.

3. I quit being a blonde. It took some doing to get the right brunette/reddish tone, but it's all good now, though i still don't like my haircut.

4. I quit birth control pills (which is used as HRT) and had terrible issues with it those first 4 months. But nowadays i am actually sometimes even sleeping through the night, more so in the past two months than in the past 5 years.

5. Barack Obama was re-elected!  i never thought he would lose in the last months before the campaign and blogged about him 'handily' winning in the weeks before he did just that. (And at the time i never even heard of Nate Silver. ) And we elected Jay Inslee as our governor, which i worked hard on because i had to because of how unions are being attacked. So we have some breathing room for unions now for the time being. But i don't know for how much longer it will be.

6. My husband's new band Blues Oasis is one he can be proud of.

7. We found ....maybe....another house to buy around the corner on Emerald. The owner is interested in a swap possibly. But she took it off the market when she got an offer from someone else. We'll see how this works out. She says she plans to list it again in a year. She says she will keep our number.

8. My favorite nephew Brian (Troy's son) married his girlfriend of 9 years and a very nice wedding in Sept.

9. I read my favorite book Cutting for Stone which bumps something out of my Top Five list. Though i can't say which one right now.  Lonesome Dove, East of Eden and Prayer for Owen Meany still rank there. I think i would also add The Art of Fielding.

10. The horrible shootings in Connecticut. Worse than Columbine. That's all i can say about that.

11. The end of the world didn't happen. But i worry about other stuff that could happen. After seeing the movie Lincoln my husband and i both had the same thought about Obama. I'm worried some uber rich nutcase will assassinate him over the fiscal cliff stuff.

I will think of more.

Notes to Self: 

Sunset: check this out! we're headed the other way now..... 4:29 pm
High temp today: 41 degrees
All time blog views: 37,939

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Non-Apocalypse Y'all!

So the Mayans got it wrong. This is like Deja vu with Y2K.

Personal Service Announcement: 
This is my 52nd post for the year 2012. I have successfully reached my goal of an average of one blog post a week. I like reaching goals, no surprise to those who know me well!

This one is pretty easy because i need an outlet for writing. This blog was a Christmas present from my husband in December 2008. On one of our Friday night 'date nights' in late fall over wine and dinner and music he asked me what i would call a blog if I had one and without even thinking i said 'Let me tell you what i think' and though i doubt he really needed to buy the URL to secure that (who else would have a blog titled like that?) he got it for me. I'm not sure i would have started it otherwise. 

Many people sadly, have quit blogging and you already know i blame the wicked Facebook for that. But i'm grateful to those of you who still check in, even if only a few of you do. 

I was reading some old blog posts today, and really there are some pretty hysterical posts back when Kylee/Modern Hippie (my kindred spirit niece) and Island Pearl and when louie first came on board and back then more Gumbo yayas weighed in. 

Two blog posts that come to mind are ones because they had nothing to do with my original subject. They took a turn because of the participation: One was a lengthly one that for some reason turned into a good grammar post which went on, i think, for 47 comments. Another one was louielouie/Sarah and Modern Hippie going back and forth about the glass blown snowman and who gets them in my will. (It's probably because getting a will is always my new year's resolution... ) I think that got 80 comments. 

So thank you all for contributing and reading.  On with the Menu. And honestly, i have no idea what to add after this. I'm winging it. 

Menu of the Day: 

1. In My Glass:
Molly Dooker's Two Left Feet. It's an Austrailian red blend that cost $25 and it's such a big red i almost need to do jumping jacks in between each glass. I just wrapped my last presents for Christmas. 

2. I have no idea why i said that. I would never do jumping jacks. Too hard on the knees. 

3. Music: 
I love Mark Knopfler's new cd Privateering. That's what's playing. It's a two cd set and there is not one bad song. 

4. On TV: 
A marathon of Snapped was on Oxygen channel today. (Nothing says Christmas like sociopathic wives murdering their husbands!) I have to admit to loving Snapped. And what about that woman's voice who narrates? I want that voice. Wouldn't that be cool to wow your friends at parties with a voice like that? You would be the life of the party!

5. The Best Thing:
This is my third day of vacation but my first day unencumbered. Nothing is finer to me than an unencumbered day. And by that, i mean i didn't have to even go for a run today. Or get in my car. In fact i refused to even check my mail. 

6. Book:
I barely started it yesterday but finished it today. It's from that movie, Silver Linings Playbook. Really good book and with Bradley Cooper in the movie, i imagine the movie is as good as the reviews say it is. Let me know if you have seen this movie! 

7. Christmas Day Plans: 
We are going to see Lincoln on Christmas Day. Troy and my relocated Morgan City, LA cousin Todd who arrives on Christmas Eve may come with us. We are also going to walk Chambers golf course in the morning after presents and breakfast. And probably go out for a drink at a bar on the water and then to Kylee's grandma's house for her annual open house. She lives so close we can walk there. We head out over the mountains for Brian's family Christmas the next day.

8. Shout Out: 
Amanda, i wrote you responding on the previous blog post, (maybe two back). I will loan you the Augusten Burroughs How To book. I LOVE this book. It's the best no-nonsense self-help book ever. I wish i had written this book. I feel like i could have because i agree with him and it's not your regular kind of self help book. The only other self help book that make sense to me nowadays is that He's Just Not That Into You. I bought that and gave it to Kylee when she was pretty young. I think it's part of why she is so grounded about guys to this day. I wish she still blogged here so she could weigh in. 

9. Ummagumma
 if you are still reading this is for you. (i don't forget.  Number 9 will always be YOUR number.) For those of you who don't know, ummagumma was a Gumbo Yaya friend. Her real name is Robin. 

I'll be back with comments before the holiday so this is not the final post. But i do celebrate with you all that we are still here on Earth living the high life.

By the way. To this day, we still don't have that will. But for sure, this year... we will!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Ho Ho Ho

Behave is up all year long, but if you think about it, it is a Christmas decoration!
I just bought some more of these glass lights for my kitchen. These hang over the sink. 
Christmas tradition: loved ones who have died have a photo in my tree. This is the Famous Dorothy. 
Christmas Tree 2012. Looks like Christmas Tree 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. I think in 2007 i had colored lights. 

Let's Talk About the Holidays! I know some of these questions will be redundant, but if you are like me, you forget that you asked and answered, (plus sometimes your answers change), so then it won't matter.

1. What is your favorite Christmas carol?

2. How old were you when you knew there was no Santa Claus?

3. And what made you think there was no Santa?

4. What are some of your favorite traditions?

5. How many Christmas cards do you send out?

6. What's the best present that you have ever received?

7. What's the goofiest?

8. Do you put up a real tree or a fake tree or none at all?

9. What irritates you about the holidays?

10. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

11. What do you dread?

12. What's the best thing you cook for the dinner?

Add whatever Christmas/holiday thingie you want to add!

Notest to Self: 
Sunset: 4:22 pm
High temp: 37
Low temp: 32 (with light snow!)
All time views: 37,415
Views this month: 1251
Views yesterday: 65 ... Who are you people??????

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Maybe the Mayans have it right.

The end of the world is supposed to be Dec. 21st. (Though there are contradictions to what they really meant if you read online.)

 But after Friday you have to wonder if maybe they didn't get it right.

I finally had to turn off the news. I watched The Thorn Birds Today. Yesterday i turned on The Big Lebowski on Encore and laughed my ass off. So if there is new Breaking News, i haven't heard it yet.

When the stories of these teachers and the principal and psychologist and little kids unfold with all those sweet little details about who they are and what they loved... it's too much .

What i keep coming back to is wondering what i would do if i were in the same position. Would i freeze? Would i panic and run? Would I..... oh i hate to even think of this.... but would i only save myself?  How could you know until you are in it? The teachers and the principal stories are amazing about how they put the kids first. At the very least i hope that the bashing of teachers and public schools might be put aside. The folks educating our kids in schools indeed really do put kids first. It's not just a platitude.

We've been down this road before. I remember watching obsessively the Columbine news for days. And i read the book  in one sitting when it came out. The pundit talk on the news is the same today so many years later.

So no, i don't think we will really see any meaningful gun control over this. We have short memories about this stuff, until anniversaries. We talk alot, but it goes away after awhile.

But then again....  maybe something will happen because of the age of these little kids.

These guns were legal and we do know that anyone who wants one will still find a way to get automatic weapons and that will be the argument. And maybe the argument against that thinking is not the one to be made.

I believe what's needs to be addressed is less about gun control and more about the mentally ill and the cuts in social services. So i have hope that that might be a place where Congress gets some courage.

And just as we did with 9-11....something needs to change. We have all these new rules about flying with no more than 3 ounces of liquid and taking shoes off and invasive body scans and we also have federal marshalls and The Patriot Act...lots of stuff happened to protect us from another 9-11. Maybe we need something similar in the schools. Deputize the right teacher who could pull this out (and the principal too maybe) where nobody knows that they are the marshall of the school, not even the teachers. One in each hall. Maybe that's the answer. More guns. (Isn't that weird? I can't even believe i'm saying it.)

Somewhere in all this news I heard or read a stupid story about someone believing we should arming ALL teachers with guns and i have to say, working in the union office, knowing some of these folks in the schools, that is so dumb and incredibly dangerous.  Most people are not equipped to carry out any mission that would be required in these situations. In fact, i have been afraid of some of our own members doing something similar to us in the office. Maybe i should not even add this because right now we are focusing on teachers who are the heroes. But having gun proponents offer this up as a solution make me crazy.

Here is what i thought too. I have long had a fear of flying. But i think now I might be more afraid of entering an elementary school.

I don't usually do this on the blog and i will change it soon. But i wanted to put it here for history sake. In hopes that one day i will come back and re-read it and remember how i was cynical that anything could really be done. And maybe, this time i will be wrong. Plus i thought some of y'all might want to talk about it too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Things We Want to Do When We Retire

Let's just get to this. I don't want to talk about another mall shooting (this one in Portland). I don't want to talk about politics. I don't want to talk about Christmas (for now). But i do have a goal to hit 52 blog posts before January 1st and i will not miss that goal. so here go.

Things I want to do when i retire:

1. Stress no more about not sleeping!  I can adjust my sleeping schedule to my body clock and not my work clock. I don't mind my internal alarm clock that wakes me up at 3:00 am and again at 6:00 am (which is approximately 30 minutes after i feel asleep finally after 3:00 am)....i will get up both times and do stuff i like to do. I might read a book, watch TV, do some online shopping. But then i can go back to bed and get up when i want.

2. Tutor again. I haven't done this for a couple of years. It got too hard when our office moved. I have a couple of librarians who i really like (Joan B. is one of them louie!) and i want to help out in the library with kids. My career in education/unions started in the school libraries when i was 19 years old. I love the idea of going back to it.

3. Take some cooking classes. Or do the restaurant cooking classes (the kind where you get to drink wine!).

4. If louielouie retires this year with me, i think we might even think of doing something together like taking yoga! hahahaha. i hate yoga.... but maybe when i am retired my personality will be more in tune to that sort of thing.

5. Read more books. AND start posting on book blogs. I read more than almost anyone i know, yet i am not inclined to join a book club, mainly because i know that someone is going to pick a really stupid book by Nicholas Sparks, or even worse, something really pretentious with a lot of history or some damn intelligent shit that will force me to take notes on the characters so i can keep them straight. I hated when my English classes made me read A Separate Peace, My Antonia, Cry the Beloved Country. I don't like being told what to read. But i like sharing opinions on characters of books i do love.

I need to organize a Jo the Despot Bookclub....where I get to choose ALL of the books that we read. Who's in?

(On a sidenote, since we are talking about books. I am reading, quite possibly, the best Self-Help book ever. what i mean by that is if you know me well you know i HATE self-help books. But Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors) wrote one that blows the doors off self help books in a way that i would want to. It's called This is How.)

6. Write my own Self-Help Book. hahahaha.

7. Run more and run earlier.

8. And if that doesn't work, maybe i will join the YMCA again for the camaradarie. (How is that spelled anyway?).... anyway NOT that i have that at work right now, cause i don't. But i would love to get some of that in my retirement years.

9. Hang around more people i really like and who like me  - it will be key to my retirement success and my physical and mental health.

Notes to Self:
All time blog posts: 37,127.
Blog posts this month: 1234.... (cool number!)
Sunset: 4:20 pm.
Highest temperature today: 47 degrees

Monday, December 3, 2012

More Ways I Drive Myself Crazy....

But first....let's start with Menu of the Day:

Last purchase on iTunes: O Susannah by Neil Young.

Last Book Read: This is weird, but i can't remember. I think it's because i'm reading three different ones right now and haven't finished one since The Middlesteins. One I'm still reading is Ann Patchett's Run.

Mission Accomplished: Christmas tree and house decorated! It's so early this year it seems, but everyone everywhere seems to be done. It's why i feel behind in my shopping again.

The Best Thing this Week:   Today louielouie and I went to a reunion lunch with some really great people that we both worked with at Mann Junior High back in the early to mid 1980's. And nearly everyone looked pretty good! Though I think louie and i looked the best, (but then we were two of the youngest staff members back then). You know what? .... i think louie and I actually look better NOW than we did back then. That would be partly due to our terrible 1980's hair. (Ask louie about her Rosanne Rosanna Dana perm.... hahaha... And I had a terrible variation of that short perm that the Let's Get Physical chick wore, only mine was worse -  i never wore the headband though!...but it might have been an improvement.)

What a great time - louie and i took a half day of vacation to do this and it was so worth it!

Shout Out: Jennifer.... Are you still around? And Amanda, where you be?

On with the Ways......

1. Have i mentioned this before? Stop me if i did.... i keep all of these recyclable grocery bags in the trunk of my car with good intentions. But I still keep forgetting to grab them before going to the store. So i moved them out of the trunk of my car to the backseat. And i STILL forget them. (I am a terrible environmentalist!)

2. I keep moving ornaments around on my tree when i see two of the same colored balls too close to each other. While i did break records for finding my tree AND for putting on the lights, i still obsess over the ornaments. They have to perfectly spaced. I can't stop noticing them once i do.

3. I am trying to grow out my eyebrows, but i can't seem to leave them alone. i need to put away that 7x magnifying mirror- you can see the hair on a flea with that thing! No woman over 30 should own one.  I  think i am addicted to tweezing! (It's why i am trying to grow them out!)

4. Back to grocery shopping for a moment. I get these great receipts that are coupons from Albertson's that give you $10 off or $20 off on your next visit to the store if you spend more than $70 and i ALWAYS forget to use that damn coupon. I think when i am retired i might try to be more vigilant to shop with coupons and venture out to sales. I hate big advertised sales. Because i hate crowds as much as i hate shopping. But when i have less money i may need to change my attitude. And i will have more time!

5. I am very assertive about my wants and needs and opinions. However i have a hard time telling my hair stylist when i don't like my haircut. (I had no problem telling her about that too dark color she did because that was too much and too obvious and definitely needed a fix.)  But normally I get in her chair and i let her be the boss all over me when it comes to my hair. I don't even do that with my REAL boss! Sometimes i find myself doing it with my doctors too. I become this passive person i don't even recognize.

6. For the life of me i keep trying to edit myself and stop writing such lengthy blogs, emails, letters, etc.  I can't seem to do it. (I call it the Ferocity of my Verbosity. or Verocity of the same.) I want to enter that Reader Writer Columnist thingie the News Tribune has lately been requesting, they put it up each year about this time and each year i think I want to go for it and try to get picked. However,  aside from even having an appropriate topic that is readable by the general public, the real problem lies more with the   word limit of the column. Maybe when i'm retired I'll work on it.

hmmm... maybe calling it a 'thingie' disqualifies me already.

7. Speaking of retirement. (I know, i know, y'all are probably rolling your eyes, there she goes again, talking about her retirement.....!)  But yeah, I drive myself crazy thinking/worrying about what i'm going to do or not do next year. I am somewhat mollified by the news that louie may be able to join me. I think our next blog post should be Things We Will Do When We Retire. (Everyone has something to add even if it's a few years down the road.)

8. A way i drive myself crazy is not being sure of my vocabulary. For example after i typed the above i had to look up the word mollified to see if that's what i meant. (I did.)

Notes to Self: 
All time blog views: 36,800
Blog views last month: 1202
Today's high temperature: 50 degrees
Sunset: 4:21 pm (doesn't this start going the other way on Dec. 21?)