Saturday, December 31, 2022

Ending The Year Intentionally Unemployed

Intentionally unemployed.  That kind of sums up 2022 for us.  

This year, we barely worked.  We did a few loads at the beginning of the year, but then on July 4th we came home from our last load and haven't gone back to work yet.  Looks like it'll be February 2023 before we get behind the wheel again.  I hope I remember how to drive the rig!

We spent a lot of time with our parents - Ed's mom and dad, and my mother.  We took them to dinner and doctor appointments and visited them in their homes often.  We had our hands full for several months with a few of their health issues.  I was joking with anyone who would listen, about how Ed and I don't have children but now we have three kids over the age of eighty.  Parenthood is exhausting.

I didn't keep up with much news this year, so other than the famous people who died -  a Pope, PelĂ©, Barbara Walters (Baba Wawa if you're old enough to remember), Angela Lansbury, Bob Saget, Gallagher, Vivienne Westwood, the Queen, Meatloaf, Loretta Lynn, Naomi Judd, James Caan, and many others - I really didn't know what was going on in the world outside of what Ed would fill me in on.  

So, it's the end of the year and although we've had six months off, I kinda feel as if we've squandered some time.  We did get to spend quality time with our parents and that's a plus, and we got a few things done on the house that we needed to take care of, so that can get checked off our list, but in typical American fashion, I always feel like I should have done more.  Oh, well.  It's now time to start a new year.  Gotta get on with it.

So here's what happened in 2022: 

1. What did you do in 2022 that you’d never done before?

I shot a gun at a shooting range.  Boy oh boy.  It was way harder than it looks on TV.  You see them whipping around guns, waving them in the air, shooting at people who are running and speeding away in cars.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  First, guns are heavy.  Did you know that?  And it's hard enough to just stand there and aim at shit, let alone run while you're doing it.  And, really, they're not all that fun.  I totally don't get the appeal - especially standing in the dirt shooting at a paper target.  I'll probably never touch another gun in my life.  Not my thing.

We got Covid.  We made it through the worst, with everyone around us getting it, and we thought we'd just keep skating through without getting it.  But got us!

I turned fifty-five and feel pretty good about it.  I mean, it's not like I have a choice as time is just marching on but I've never had a problem with aging.  And according to well, everyone, I don't look fifty-five. So that makes me feel a lot better.

Detroit Style Pizza from Transplant Pizza in Tucson, Arizona

We had Detroit Style Pizza.  I've never heard of such a thing, not even when I was in Detroit.  I guess because I didn't know it existed, I didn't go looking for it.  But there's a place that opened here in Tucson that serves only this style of pizza.  It's good, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.  

I did a free trial with a hearing aid company because I'm finding it hard to hear certain words people say, especially Ed because of the tone of his voice, so I thought I'd test them out.  It did improve my hearing so that might be a thing for the future.

We went to Palm Springs for the first time.  We were invited to see our neighbor's son play at the local casino there - he's a drummer in a band (that's him in the photo!)  that specializes in music from the twenties, thirties, and forties. His girlfriend, Natalie Hanna Mendoza, is the lead singer.   She's beautiful and talented and put on a fabulous show.

I really loved Palm Springs.  I always wondered why people would go there, to a town in the middle of a blistering hot desert, but the Mid-Century Modern architecture alone is worth a visit.  We've passed the exit many, many times - there's a truck stop right where you'd get off I-10 to go into Palm Springs - and we never ventured the five miles to check it out.  I'm glad we did and I love forward to going back.  Oh, and we took my mom.  She loved it so much she's still talking about it!

We moved Ed's parents again - from one assisted living facility to another.  I have not packed and unpacked so much in my entire life.  It's really inspired me to start looking at what I've accumulated in my house and think about getting rid of it now.  Before I have to pack it.

I had the pleasure of watching my husband receive the most prestigious award given out by the company we are leased to - the Landstar Roadstar Award.  He was nominated in 2021 but they were unable to have the ceremony because of Covid, so they got everyone together in 2022 at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Florida to honor the award winners.  I was so proud watching him accept the award, knowing what it meant to him and knowing what it said to the other drivers in that room - that he's the best of the best. 

The resort was tremendous.  It was at least a mile from our room to the wing with the meeting rooms, so we thought we'd save time just putting him in the white shirt, tie, and jacket for the meeting and then he'd be ready to get his headshot done afterward.  For the headshot, he only needed to look professional from the waist up.  He did get a few looks as he walked the halls, with one guy hollering out, "Business on top, fun on the bottom!"  He was also a big hit at the meeting for the Roadstar inductees, where the Vice President of Operations called him out and asked him to stand, telling the room when he did, "Now this is how you do resort casual!"  Overall, it was a really great event.

Another first this year was when we were approached by a photographer at a rest area in Kansas who asked if he could take our photo.  He was doing a series on truck drivers.  Of course, we obliged.  You'll see one of the photos in that link and another further down in this post.  

We went to the miniature museum in Tucson - something I've always wanted to do and thought it would be fun to take Ed for his birthday.  Turns out it was essentially a dollhouse museum.  He was not amused.  

I made Maple Walnut Scones that were amaaaazing.  I like scones because they're not super sweet.  And they're a little on the dry side, which I like.  These were delicious and I loved the maple flavor and the addition of nuts.  Nuts make so many baked goods so much better!

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

I make multiple mid-year resolutions, not just at the start of the new year. I make ‘em and break ‘em. I should just eliminate this question and replace it with “Did you have any new aches or pains this year?”  That question will always have an answer!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not close to me, but two distant cousins had babies - one had a boy and one had a girl, whose name is Wren.  Cool little baby bird name.  

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Sadly, yes. My mother-in-law, Dixie,  Dixie passed away on December 10th.  

5. What countries did you visit?

Canada.  Three times!  Twice to Victoria, British Columbia, and once to Nova Scotia.  I love the Eastern side of Canada. 

6. What would you like to have in 2023 that you lacked in 2022? 

More travel!  We will be starting the year with a 3-week trip to Spain, and later in the year hope to do England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  In between, I'd like to hit a beach to get a tan and do some weekend trips somewhere around the country.  

7. What dates from 2022 will remain etched in your memory, and why?

Well, for sure December 10, 2022 - the day my mother-in-law died.  It was heartbreaking seeing my husband, my father-in-law, and my sister-in-law absorb the news.  My sister-in-law was visiting Tucson at the time my mother-in-law died because we had just moved Ed's parents to a new assisted living facility and she wanted to visit with her mom.  I'm glad I was there with them - having gone through losing my father and my stepfather, I had an idea of what they were feeling and I hope I was able to offer some support and understanding.  

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Working out with a trainer. It's SO hard.

Years and years ago, when I was in my late twenties, my brother's friend owned a gym and hooked me up with a "trainer".  I don't remember much about that short-lived experience, because nothing he did really kicked my ass.  The only thing I came away with was his Counting Crows August and Everything After cassette.  Yes, cassette tape.  The "training" didn't stick, but that album is still one of my favorites. 

But this new trainer guy... Hol.  Eee.  Crap.  I committed to working out with him three times a week for an hour each session, and let me tell you - he uses every single MINUTE of that hour.  On my first day, I could barely walk down the stairs to my car.  He made me do body weight squats - squatting with my own body weight.  If you're not aware, I'm fat.  I weigh a lot.  And it's a lot to squat that shit.  I purchased twelve more sessions.  I hope I can stay alive until to use all of them.  Keep your fingers crossed.  

This photo of Ed and I was taken by Jason Dailey

9. What was your biggest failure?

This is such a job interview question.  And I never knew how to answer it in job interviews, either.  I just Googled failure and read, "Failure is defined as a lack of success or the inability to meet an expectation."  I think part of the problem why I can't recognize failures is because I don't really set goals.  I've never been good at that.  I guess I think about what I want and try to achieve it, but if I don't, I don't consider it a failure.  I just try again or change course.  I guess the only thing I consider a failure, is my lifelong inability to lose weight - mostly big amounts of weight.  Even when I think I'm all gung-ho and ready to forge ahead and have a "this time it's going to work!" attitude, it never has.  I can't do it.  So that's probably always going to be on my "failure" list if I had to make one.  And again, this year, even though I had months and months and months at home, off from work, I didn't do a damn thing to work toward that goal.  WTF?  Time to try again I guess.  

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing serious, but I did smash my big toe and tore half of the nail off. That hurt like hell. Then, last month I sliced into the tip of my finger with the super sharp ceramic knives my brother bought me for my birthday. In all of my 55 years, I’ve never almost cut off the tip of a finger while cooking. Never. I still don't have any feeling in the tip of my finger.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I didn’t buy anything really significant, but the things I did buy I am really lovin’ - this nude lipgloss (which happens to be on sale now!  I'm going to have to stock up!), this robe (in the Navy floral), these Rockport sandals (the comfiest sandal I’ve ever owned!), and these Bose headphones

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine. Completely worthy of being selected Time's Person of the Year.  I've watched a few interviews with him and I totally love this guy.  Truly a man looking out for his people.  More leaders should follow his example.

And on a lighter note, the corn kid.  How can you not celebrate this happy little kid?  "And when I tried it with butter, everything changed."  Same.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 

The United States Supreme Court when they revoked a woman's constitutional right to abortion, giving the power back to the states to make decisions for women's reproductive rights.  Do you know how many states are just reveling in having this power?  How many states are run by backward assholes who want to take women's rights back to the time when we didn't have any?  We've gotta keep the power out of those hands. 

14. Where did most of your money go? 

Outside of regular expenses….Amazon. WTF?  Jeff Bezos has turned me into an addict.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our trip to Spain.  I've been researching for months and once the tickets were booked, I was stoked!  I'm excited to add another country to my list and am looking forward to visiting Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, and locales in between!

16. What song will always remind you of 2022?

A song one of The Voice contestants did - Bodie’s rendition of I'm Gonna Be (500 miles) originally done by The Proclaimers. I despise that song. Have always hated it. But Bodie Man, Bodie did that song in such an amazing way, changing the arrangement, and making it sound like a beautiful new song. Wonderful. No longer an earworm. And really, every song Bodie sang on The Voice was.  Spend some time on YouTube getting to know him.  He's amazing.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
Generally happy, still fat, and doing well with the money. 

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read.  I actually picked up a book this year and started to read it but never finished.  I really get so sucked into the internet that I have completely shunned books.  But I want to be a reader again, I really do, even if it's an e-reader.  Although, nothing beats the feeling of a real book in your hands, amiright?  

Ed's new cooking technique is sous vide. These are the steaks
he prepped with garlic, fresh rosemary, salt, and pepper. 

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

Eat.  Oh my lord, we did a lot of eating this year.  Cooking at home, yes, but also a lot of restaurants.  And we always overeat at restaurants.  This year I'd like to spend less time going out to bullshit restaurants and save the nights out for special places that serve really great food.  In Tucson, that'll definitely limit our dining-out options.    

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Well, since we were in Texas for the funeral of Ed's mother, we stayed to spend the holiday with his family.  Ed's mother's ex-husband's wife (figure that out!) hosted the Christmas Day meal.  We were ten in all, had a really great meal together, opened presents (they bought us GREAT gifts!), and played games.  It was a lot of fun and we had some real laughs.  It was a very enjoyable day and lifted all of our spirits. 

We spent two weeks in Texas and Oklahoma, visiting Ed's family and old friends of his Dad's.  We had a great time and made some wonderful memories.  I'm glad I was able to be part of it.

The lobby of the Philtower Building in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

21. Did you fall in love in 2022?

Yes. With this guy.  Oh, and more realistically, with Sugar Bowl Bakery's Mini Palmiers.  That trainer is going to have to up his game. 

22. What was your favorite TV program?

It's impossible to pick just one, so here are my favorites: Yellowstone, again.  The third season of Emily in Paris, and the third volume of Taco Chronicles.  Oh, how I love Taco Chronicles.  And, Stanley Tucci in Stanley Tucci:  Searching For Italy.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No one I can think of.

24. What was the best book you read?

The biography of my neighbor's Welsh father.  He wrote a small book for his children, to pass on to his two boys and he allowed us to read it.  It was so well written and interesting, and it really gave me insight as to why my neighbor is the way he is - his father instilled so many good qualities in him and it shows.  It was surprisingly enjoyable.

Mural in Tucson, Arizona

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Well, it's not really a discovery, but while cooking I've been listening to a lot of opera.  Some of my favorites right now are Nessun Dorma - I've heard several versions, but I love this one by Paul Potts because of how he stuns them during the audition, L'amour est un oiseau rebelle,and Con Te Partirò.  I'm a total newbie in this genre, so I'll be listening to more to see if it's a fit for me.  It's certainly inspiring while cooking!

26. What did you want and get?

I can't think of anything.

27. What did you want and not get?

I wanted to get through another year without getting Covid, but that didn't happen.  At the end of August, my father-in-law tested positive for Covid.  Ed got it next, and finally, me.  Because we're vaxxed and boosted, the symptoms were very mild but I was hoping we'd skate by without ever getting it.  Damn!   I also wanted a pair of silver ballerina flats but didn't get them.  No biggie, there's always next year.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Really good movies are hard to find.  There's a lot of crap out there, I know, I watch quite a bit of it.  I should add "favorite series" to this question because now with Netflix and Amazon Prime, everyone is into watching them.  Here are a few I watched this year and liked:  The Swimmers, The Outlaws, The Outfit, and my favorite of the year, The Empress.

Marilyn Monroe's former home in Palm Springs, California

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

I went to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with family and friends and I turned 55 this year.  Double nickel, baby!

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

If I had organized my family room and worked on refinishing my dining room table.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2022?

Black.  I mean, really, that's it.  I have veered slightly from all-black in the past few years - very slightly - but I think I'm going back to it.  I need a uniform.  I need to wear basically the same, comfortable thing, every day.  I follow this woman on Instagram and I'm kinda digging her fashion vibe.  I'm not about the minimalist rubber jewelry and bangles she wears, but I definitely like the floaty, lightweight, avant-garde dresses she wears.  Everything is comfortable.  She's petite (unlike me), and smaller than me, so some of the stuff she wears does not come in my size.  But I'm going to start looking for voluminous dresses that have some interesting detail to them and maybe go with that look in the new year.  And of course, there will be a lot of black. 

32. What kept you sane?


33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Dylan Mulvaney - funny, smart, upbeat.  We need more people like Dylan in the world. 

And, Blake Lively - really just for this dress. She wore this dress to the Met Gala dress was to invoke the patina on the Statue of Liberty.  It was spectacular.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I haven't really been involved in politics this year as I have in past years.  I think being home so much kept me isolated as I don't like to watch the news on TV when I'm home.  I used to listen to the news a lot when I was driving but we hardly drove this year, so no barrage of news stories in my ears.  I still have my issues that I support and which are important to me, but this year I didn't get too hot about anything.  

35. Who did you miss?

The 20-year-old me.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

My neighbor's cousin Tara and her husband, Al.  SUCH fun people!   

The Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2022.

Develop healthy habits when you're young.  Well, I used to have healthy habits growing up.  My mother never allowed junk food in the house, no soda, no Kool-Aid like the other kids, no packaged snacks, no sugary cereal, no Twinkies or snack foods. No potato chips.  Dinners made from whole foods - often from our garden - and never a jarred pasta sauce or soup.  If you were thirsty, drink water.  If you were hungry, eat an apple. 

But somewhere along the way I drastically veered from that.  Once I started driving, I could go to fast food places with my friends.  I ate the snacks I was never allowed to have.  I indulged in foods that made rare appearances in our house.  And although I do cook from scratch and eat a lot of vegetables and lean meats and things that are good for me, I also eat out at restaurants and have my fair share of fast food.  Now that I'm getting older and not only unable to lose weight but feeling kinda shitty on some days, I realize that I probably need to get back to the healthy habits I had when I was a kid.  

Author Michael Pollan said, "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."  That's pretty good advice.  I will once again try to follow that advice.  Who knows, 2023 might just be the year I get this shit right.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 

"Lovin' him a little more each day...."

He's the kind of guy that would say

"Hey baby let's get away, let's go someplace, huh"Well, I don't care
He's the kind of guy that you give your everythingAnd trust your heart, share all of your love 'til death do you partI wanna be what he wants when he wants itAnd whenever he needs itAnd when he's lonesome and feelin' love starvedI'll be there to feed him
I'm lovin' him a little bit more each dayHe turns me right on when I hear him say(Hey, baby, let's get away, let's go somewhere far)(Baby, can we?)Well, I don't care(Hey, baby, let's get away, let's go somewhere far)(Baby, can we?)Well, I don't care
I wanna be what he wants when he wants itAnd whenever he needs itAnd when he's lonesome and feelin' love-starvedI'll be there to feed himLovin' him a little bit more each dayIt turns me right on when I hear him say
Well, I don't care(Hey, baby, let's get away, let's go somewhere far)(Baby, can we?)Well, I don't care
Look at my heart floating away(Daydreaming) Thinking of you (daydreaming)Thinking of you (daydreaming, daydreaming)

And my slogan for the New Year...

Taken from CoreBarreFit Co-Founder, Fred DeVito:

If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.

I'll be looking for some challenges this year!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2021: Change Often In 2022

2020: The Miserable Hike
2019: How 2019 Fell Through The Cracks
2018: Galloping Into 2019
2017: 2017 Saw A Snowstorm, A Penitentiary, And A Wedding
2016: 2016 Has Ended And It's Time To Breathe Again
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

1 comment:

Sunflower Sally said...

I'm so glad to see your blog again! Where did those questions come from? So many!

It was wonderful to finally connect with you and my little brother again. I hope we can have more group meet-ups. Family is so, so important!

Love ya, Little Sis... Sally