Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Has Ended And It's Time To Breathe Again

I can't say 2016 has been my best year.  Actually, I think I'd rank it as the worst year I've ever had.  There was too much fighting, hurt feelings, family discord, no traveling, too much time spent in Arizona, not enough time over the road, and several other things. Just waaaaay more bullshit than I like to deal with. Not all of it was bad, of course, but I can say I hope to never have another year like it.  And because of how crappy last year was, I'm going to work extra hard to make sure 2017 is markedly different.

That said, let's get to the good stuff - my year-end meme.


1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Bought a house.  Operated a 3-ton vibratory roller. Spatchcocked a chicken. Participated in a 5K.  Got a 10-year safe driving award and as a result of all those safe miles, was awarded a cruise for it.  Ate real sushi.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 
I didn't make any last year and I probably won't make any this year either.  I think I'm giving up on the New Year's Resolution thing.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.  All of my friends are waaaay past baby birthin' age.  Although, I saw on Facebook that a girl I went to high school with had a baby. At 49 years old!!  WTF was she thinking??

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not really anyone close to me, but Ed's aunt passed away, my mother's good friend Pamela unexpectedly died before Thanksgiving, and then in the beginning of the month my mother's cat died. Other than those three, no one else I know was called home.  But holy shit, who didn't die this year?  David Bowie, Alan Rickman (loved him!), Abe Vigoda (Barney Miller, anyone?), author Harper Lee, Nancy Reagan, Garry Shandling, Christina Grimmie (one of my favorite American Idol contestants, gone, at 22 years old), Merle Haggard, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Elie Wiesel, Garry Marshall (amazing films!), Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer (this I only took notice of because I once dated an avid golfer), Leonard Cohen, Florence Henderson (Carol Brady!), Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor (Dahlink), George Freakin' Michael, and then Carrie Fisher AND her mother, Debbie Reynolds!  What the fuck, 2016??  Yet the Short-Fingered Vulgarian is still with us.  Life is cruel.

5. What countries did you visit?
None.  Sadly, I barely left Arizona.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? 
Less body aches, less aggravation within my family, more exclusive "me" time (manicures and pedicures, Heavenly Feet visits for foot massages, salon days, etc.), a hobby, vacations, time with my friend Vicki, a trip to New York, a trip to Canada, and although Ed will never go for it, I'd love to have a kitten.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day we bought our house.  My birthday dinner - Ed surprised me with dinner and great gifts.  The horrible presidential election season and its outcome.  And the time we spent helping my mother officially moved into her new townhouse (lots of work, great result!).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Buying a house and getting through my mother's townhouse renovation without having a mental breakdown. It was maddening.  I can't even imagine what our renovation is going to be like.  I'm going to need a vacation immediately following its completion.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not doing a damn thing to improve my health or lose weight.  I totally and completely dropped the ball on my plan.  In fact, I weigh more now than I did last year at this time, which is just total bullshit.  I seriously don't know what the hell happened.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 
I was feeling a bit under the weather in the beginning of the year so I made chicken soup to help me out.  And then, on December 31, 2015 (late enough in the day that I'm counting it as January 1, 2016) I injured my leg in the grocery store by walking full force into a display case. It took more than six months to heal and still doesn't look right.  Two things.  Not so bad.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
New bras. How sad is that?  Ed bought a brand new pickup truck.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Ed, for his dedication to exercise and commitment to riding his bike on a regular basis - improving his time and distance - in preparation for his participation in the 34th Annual El Tour de Tucson.  What an accomplishment! 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 
I think everyone in America knows the answer to this.  The president-elect.  He has shown himself to be an absolutely disgusting human being. Actually, even using the word human is too good for him.  I will hope for impeachment or some other reason to get him out of office, but if that doesn't happen, the next four years are going to suck politics-wise. What I find even more appalling and depressing are the people who supported him.  I can't even fathom how a person can listen to the garbage he spewed and say to themselves, "That's my guy."  Especially those who call themselves "Christians".  I can't even.  In the words of the orange buffoon....SAD.

14. Where did most of your money go? 
New house, new car, new house-related items, retirement fund.  Ed bought a pellet smoker, an air compressor, a table saw, and various other tools and items.  I bought a few gifts, new sneakers, and those bras.  The rest is being squirreled away into my I-don't-want-to-eat-catfood-when-I'm-old fund.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The DNC, for one.  Winning an election, two.  Obviously, the winning part didn't happen, even though - aside from Barack Obama's 2008 win - Hillary Clinton got more votes than any other U.S. presidential candidate in history.  How do you get more votes and not win??  Damn the electoral college!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
"Rise Up" by Andra Day.  It was the song used by Hillary Clinton's campaign, played at many of her rallies, and Andra Day performed it live at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.  I heard it a lot.  It's a great song with an inspiring message.  

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
I think I'm a little sadder than last year, definitely fatter, and happily richer.  Because you know, even when you're sad and fat, you can still make money.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read.  I already have a short stack of books waiting to be read this year.  They include "How Not To Die", "Fire Shut Up In My Bones" by New York Times columnist Charles Blow,  "Stolen Lives:  Twenty Years in a Desert Jail", "The Space Between Us", and the story of my favorite HGTV couple, Chip and JoAnna Gaines, called "The Magnolia Story".

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

20. How did you spend Christmas? 
In Arizona, at our house. I cooked for twelve of us.  Ed made a delicious Santa Maria Tri-Tip on the grill, and I made mashed potatoes, brown-sugar-glazed carrots, and this cauliflower dish on the side.  I also made another cheesecake - the first one, for Thanksgiving, was a huge hit, so I did it again.  Everything was delicious.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
I fell in love with the cheesecake I made, that's for damn sure.  I also fell in love with the gorgeous jewelry Ed gave me for Christmas.  It's AMAZING.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Hands down, This Is Us.  If you haven't seen it, you absolutely must. You'll have to watch it from the first episode, since it will be difficult to follow if you don't.  And if I were you, I'd binge watch.  Find it online, stream it, pay for it if you have to, and then hole up in the house or a hotel room or the sleeper of your big rig and enjoy.  Totally worth your time.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? 
Not really, but don't push me.

24. What was the best book you read? 
I didn't read any books but I did finish listening to an audio book, so I guess that counts.  It was called "The Long Way Home" by Louise Penny. 

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? 
This song by Clean Bandit.  I LOVE it.

26. What did you want and get?
I wanted new sneakers, so I guess that's covered.  

27. What did you want and not get?
A new iPad. I've been dragging my feet on getting one because I'm not really sure I need it.  I haven't been using the iPad I have very often so can't seem to justify buying a new one yet.  I also wanted to lose weight, but I blew that as you've already read.  I really don't think I have many real wants, so I'm not often disappointed.  I want things like snowy vacations (didn't get that), trip to Europe (didn't get that), a new car, Ashley Graham's body.  You know, things that don't just happen, or are flat out impossible to have on demand.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
This was my 49th year on earth.  Ed, my mother, and my best friend conspired to surprise me with a dinner at Vivace, a surprise cake, and a balloon-laden apartment full of gifts.  It was a great low-key way to spend the evening.  Next year is fifty, folks.  Ed better start planning from now.  I have high expectations for my half-century birthday!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If our house plans didn't turn into a fiasco.  And if the architect finished the drawings for the renovation, which he couldn't do because of the house fiasco.  Conundrum. 

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Black.  Pants, tops, shoes, purse.  I can't seem to branch out from that color this year, although I did buy some new shoes and a couple of pairs of wide-legged pants that I love (and which aren't black).  But I'm kind of getting into the black thing.  It makes getting dressed a whole lot easier and my accessories go with everything.  When I'm not wearing black, I seem to be in pajamas.  It's gotten so bad, I wear them out.   

32. What kept you sane?
My incredible ability to cope with anything, and my friend Kim.  I get annoyed at things (like, almost everything), but I am able to weather most situations without falling apart.  Even when others around me are falling apart.  But there were many times this year when the only thing that got me through the drama, was venting.  And Kim listened to every single word.  I totally owe her.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I am completely enamored by the most amazing First Lady in my lifetime, Michelle Obama.  Her speech at the Democratic National Convention, in support of Hillary Clinton, was incredible.  Emotional.  On point.  She said what so many of us were thinking, and expressed how so many of us felt.  It's been called the best speech by any first lady - ever. I agree.  Then, a few months later she issued another powerful speech, this time rebuking a disgraceful pussy-grabbing man-child.  It was remarkable.  Everything she is, is remarkable.  Beautiful, poised, intelligent, funny, empathetic, entertaining, authentic. She's the real deal.  I look forward to her last speech as First Lady.  It's sure to be emotional.  She will most certainly go down as one of the best First Ladies in history.  She's truly beloved and deserves every ounce of admiration and praise that's been heaped upon her.  I'm sad to see her go.  And I don't look forward to what's ahead for the next four years.  But we'll have to remember what the Obama Family motto is - "When they go low, we go high."  Although I'm not sure I'll be able to be as charitable as she's been with that.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Immigration.  I'm so tired of hearing about "that fucking wall".  And I'm disgusted with all of the people who disguise their hatred for immigrants as patriotism.  These people don't give a shit about keeping our country safe, they just want a way to keep Mexicans, refugees, or Muslims out because of who those people are, what they look like, and where they come from.  I'm pretty sure if we had a rush of blond female beach volleyball players from foreign countries crossing our borders, not one male GOP supporter would give a shit.  What many people seem to forget is that forty percent of undocumented workers in this country didn't sneak over the border to "take our jobs".  They arrived legally, by plane, and then just never left. Tell me exactly how a wall is going to fix that?  Does the orange wonder plan to build one high enough to stop aircraft?

35. Who did you miss?
It's not who I missed this year, but what I missed.  Since we've been working two-and-a-half days a week on a dedicated run, we haven't been all over the country in our usual over-the-road fashion.  And I miss it.  I miss seeing different states, being in different weather, meeting up with friends in different places.  It's a trade-off, for sure, and being home does have benefits, but I miss the real trucking lifestyle.   

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Can you believe I didn't meet any new people this year?  Ed's right - we need to get out more often.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Don't work with family.  Don't tell anyone how much you make.  Don't tip your hand.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
This is from one of my favorite songs, called "Breathe (2 AM)" by Anna Nalick:


'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass glued to the table

No one can find the rewind button, girl
So cradle your head in your hands

And breathe, just breathe
Oh, breathe, just breathe

Here are the full song lyrics.


And my slogan for the New Year...SURVIVAL THROUGH SERENITY! 
Last year's slogan - BLISS - was a complete bust.  So this year it's going to be all about just getting through.  Surviving whatever comes my way and trying to do it serenely.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: The Sun Sets On 2015
2014: Thanks, 2014. For Everything.
2013: I Am Gonna OWN You, 2014!
2012: Wrapping Up A Year Of Making My Own Sunshine
2011: Later, 2011!
2010: That’s A Wrap!
2009: Out With The Old
2008: Another Year, Another 365 Days
2007: All Good Things Come To An End
2006: The Symphony Of A Thousand Saws
2005: Suicidal Firewood

Friday, December 30, 2016

One More Day

Blue is the only one getting any sleep these days.  Oh, how I long for the life of a kitten.

We've been off since December 22nd, and I haven't had ONE day to myself.  NOT one.  I am behind on my blog, haven't gotten my nails done, haven't finished Christmas shopping yet (I have a few who will be late), and haven't had a nap since November.

I still have my Year End Meme to complete - which I know I won't get done before the end of the year - and by that time, I'll have three more posts to catch up on.  Argghhh.

My mother is almost moved in to her new place, so once that's done a lot of the running around will be eliminated, but we still have so much to do for our house.

I've been complaining for days. Months, really.  Not so much here on the blog, but to almost everyone around. I'm pretty sure luck is on my side since I've made it this far without waking up with duct tape on my mouth.  I have one more day.

I sure hope 2017 is better than this year has been.  But then again, there's that whole new president thing.

Oh my God.  We are so screwed.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: I Hope You Feel Small When You Stand Beside The Ocean
2014: Palm Print
2013: Give Me Ten Minutes, I'll Give You A Year

2012: Doesn't Look So Bad From A Distance

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Get Real

I've never read The Velveteen Rabbit, a classic children's book written in 1922.  I think I'll have to tackle that in 2017.  I hear it's a quick read.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this passage from the book.  I kinda like it.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: 
The Swiss Grill Does It Up Alambre Style

2014: Another Day Gone
2013: No Snow For Winter AND Stupid Syfy Movies
2012: Winter Rest 
2011: Happy 5005!
2010: It Really Doesn’t Need Any Help
2009: The Day The Music Lived
2008: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
2007: He Raises A Valid Point
2006: Eddie In Stripes Friday
2005: Customer Service Vigilante

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Enjoy The Ride

Today is my oldest nephew's 18th birthday. 

EIGHTEEN!  Oh my God, I'm so old.

I remember the day this amazing little human, my godson, was born. I saw him shortly after he came into this world and have loved watching him grow through the years.

He was such a kind, loving, smart little boy and he's exactly the same way as an adult. He's polite, respectful, social, handsome, even smarter than ever.  He's even chosen a wonderful girlfriend - she comes from a great family, has impeccable manners, is smart and kind and beautiful, and complements him wonderfully.

This year he'll graduate from high school (with honors).  He's applied to several colleges and has his sights set on becoming a doctor.  How exciting is that?  He's got that hyper-intelligence thing going on - even though he's similar in many ways to a regular 'ol teenager, you can tell his interests are more advanced than his years.  He always seems to know obscure facts, or zones out in that Einstein-Columbo sort of way before uttering something genius.  He must get that from me.  LOL

I look forward to watching him achieve all the goals he sets and I hope to be able to share any experiences I've had with him to help him along the way.  I'm already planting the travel seed.

I recently found this online and plan to share it with him.  I wish I wrote it.  It's great advice.

Enjoy the ride, my sweet nephew.  It's going to be magnificent!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: Wavin' Howdy As We Pass Through
2014: It's Got To Be Under This Tree Somewhere
2013: We Don't Even Charge For Parking
2012: Somewhere In Eastern Oregon
2011: Lighting Up The Night Griswold Style
2010: Why Fall In Love With A Gingerbread Man When You Can Have His Cake And Eat it Too?
2009: You WILL Think Of God
2008: The Queen Of Copper
2007: Eddie Wears His Christmas Present Friday
2006: The Only Way I Can Tolerate Arizona
2005: I’ve Got Lips

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Freedom!


I haven't listened to George Michael in years.  I don't even know if he even has new music out.  He's just not someone I've kept up with. 

But when I was younger, he was the shit.  Wham! was cool, he was cute, his music was catchy and it seemed everyone was listening to it.

I like a lot of his stuff from that time in my life.  They were good years with lots of memories.  So many good tunes.  But Freedom! '90 is probably one of my favorites.  It was a great song, and it showcased the top supermodels of the day - Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz - all of whom I followed religiously.  In this video, those women are HOT!

We all know his songs.  From when he was with Wham! to his solo career.  Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Faith, Careless Whisper, I Want Your Sex.  I want your sex!  Whoa.

And now he's gone, taking a little piece of my twenties with him.


2016 has been cruel.  Hopefully we can make it a few more days without anything else happening.

I mean, who's next, Madonna??



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015:  
Whatcha Doin'?

2014:  Until We Meet Again
2013:  Remember The Christmas When...
2012:  Blame It On Weed
2011:  The Plum Is Missing
2010:  The Voodoo That You Do
2009:  Meet Me In St. Louis…If You Can Find It
2008:  We Don’t Eat Gefilte Fish But We Do Like The Multi-Cultural Birthdays
2007:  How To Picnic Like An Italian
2006:  Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant….
2005:  The Cactus King

Saturday, December 24, 2016

My Christmas Presents Are Safe

I made and served dinner - meat lasagna, spinach lasagna, salad, and bread - for me, my mother, Ed, Ed's parents, and my friend Kim - in our little temporary apartment.  After dinner was over and my guests left, I made a cheesecake for Christmas Day.

There was an NCIS marathon on which kept me company during the entire process.  And that's Agent Gibbs up there keeping an eye on our presents.

Not a bad way to spend a Christmas Eve.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: 
O Christmas Plant, O Christmas Plant

2014: In The Shadow Of Friends
2013: Christmas Eve Big Ass Surf And Turf
2012: This Sled Is Being Pulled By Rudolph The Bucking Red Nosed Reindeer 
2011: Call Me For A Good Time – I’m ALWAYS Happy
2010: Blue Plates And Books For Christmas Eve
2009: Holiday Theft Is On The Rise…Right In Your Own Neighborhood!!
2008: The Team Finally Takes A Rest
2007: The Night Before Christmas And All Through The House
2006: The Only Visible Flames Came From The Candles On The Altar
2005: Tonight’s The Night, People

Friday, December 23, 2016

It's Never Too Late

Photo:  MarthaStewart.com
You have two days left until Christmas.  If you're a procrastinator like me, you're probably still shopping.  Don't fret, there's still time to get some great gifts.  Here are some things I love (any of which you should feel free to send me) that you might want to consider adding to your last minute shopping list.

First, let's not knock drugstores - Walgreen's, CVS, Duane Reade.  They have a surprisingly good selection of stuff everyone needs, and most of them are open 24-hours.  Some are even open on Christmas Day! Can't get more last minute than that.  My favorite is Walgreen's, and it just happens to be the one closest to my house.  If I were to cruise their aisles in the next day or two, I'd buy these cute lip balmsthis super shiny top coat, my favorite powder blush, the best makeup remover towelettes on earth, the cleanser I use every day (dermatologist recommended!), and at least ten boxes of coffee flavored Nips.

But if you have a little more time to research, and don't plan on shopping Christmas Eve, take a look at these options:

APPS
One of my favorite apps the
Audible app. I LOVE it!  If you know someone who enjoys reading, this free app gives subscribers offline access to its audiobooks.  Each month the subscriber receives a credit they can use toward downloading a new audiobook of any monetary value. The subscription also allows members a 30 percent discount off purchasing additional audiobooks from the website’s 180,000-plus titles.  Gift cards are available for three-month, six-month and 12-month subscriptions at $45, $90 and $150, respectively. Gift cards are also available for individual books.  I would love you for this.

There are tons of apps out there, and of course it may be hard to choose if you don't know the person well, but you can buy iTunes gift card if they have an iPhone, or a Google Play gift card if they're using an Android device.  You should be able to find both cards a local store that has one of those gift card displays.

SUBCRIPTION SERVICES
I love subscription services.  You can buy a one-time gift or if you really like the person, a recurring delivery of treats - edible and otherwise.  Check these out.

Harry and David - I haven't received this personally, but an old boss of mine used to get boxes delivered every month.  It was fantastic!

Blue Apron - I'd like to try one of these food delivery services.  I've seen so many commercials, I'm intrigued.

ArtSnacks - If I were to buy this one, I know exactly who the recipient would be.  What a great idea!


RunnerBox, CycleBox, and TriBox - These sound great.  Ed might just be getting one in the
future.

Birchbox - I'm totally putting this on my list.  Ed, are you reading this?

There are TONS of subscription services to choose from.  There's Beer of the Month Club for brew fanatics, ManCrates for guys, BarkBox for dog lovers, and many more. Start Googling, you're sure to find one that fits!  



MOVIES AND MORE
My first pick is Amazon Prime.  Not only do you get access to free movies, books, and music, but you get free shipping on tens of thousands off items found on their website. They have everything.  It may be a little pricey, but it's totally worth it.

Netflix - you can buy a gift card at Amazon, Target online, and Walmart online.  They'll be delivered to the recipient via email.

RedBox - Who doesn't love RedBox?  A movie for less than two bucks?  Give me this now!

Magazine subscriptions.  One of my favorite gifts EVER.  I love getting something in the mail every month.  This is the gift that you give once but can be enjoyed for a year or more (some two-year subscriptions are cheaper than buying lunch).  You can buy a magazine in a store, wrap it in a box and give it to the recipient.  You can buy a subscription online through Magazines.com or Amazon, or you can buy access to the Texture app, where they can access their magazines on their tablet or phone.

See?  There's hope for last minute shoppers.  If all else fails, and you're really pinched for time, you can always find a gift card to a local store.  I love getting ULTA, Barnes & Noble, Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks, and others.  It allows me to get something I love - usually more than once - and it always fits.

Happy Last Minute Shopping!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: 
Pug Life
2014: The Capital Wheel Blur
2013: Shopping, Wrapping And Eating Is Exhausting
2012: This Space Available
2011: The Road To Laramie
2010: Muscling Christ Back Into Christmas
2009: Holiday Gift Suggestions
2008: Weighing In
2007: When You Need Maternity Clothes And You’re Not Pregnant, You Know It’s Time For A Diet
2006: It’s The Real Thing!
2005: Spiraling Out Of Control

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Easy To Find

Hotel Santo Tomas is located in the main area of downtown Ensenada, Mexico.  Close to many attractions, if you decide to stay (we haven't), you won't be able to miss its bright exterior.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: Silver Level Safety
2014: Climbing Snoqualmie With Ease
2013: In Lieu Of Snow
2012: Money Vs. Meatballs
2011: A Window To The Past
2010: A Killer Rest Area
2009: The Barn Man
2008: Text Me
2007: Eddie Gets Impatient Friday
2006: If You Have A Note, Then It’s Perfectly Okay To Commit Credit Card Fraud
2005: Limo Scene

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nut Vendor

I'm busy and have no new stuff to tell you about, so I'm posting a few pictures from years past.  New to the blog, but not necessarily current.  This photo of a girl selling nuts in the main square in León, Nicaragua, was taken by Ed.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: 
Western Blaze

2014: Where The Boys Are
2013: Trimming The Family Tree
2012: Waking Up With A Fat Man
2011: The King Lived Here
2010: Love
2009: Over The Hill And Over The Top
2008: Mr. & Mrs. Javelina And The Carb Encounter
2007: Disk This
2006: Ghostly Landmark
2005: Shopping In Hell