Friday, December 31, 2021

Change Often In 2022

The Grand Canyon, May 2021

So let's see....what newsworthy items did 2021 open with?

Oh yeah, that's right - an insurrection at the Capitol.  What a way to start the year!  Exciting, no?

But then the year ended with the death of Betty White on December 31st, just seventeen days shy of her 100th birthday.  How's that for Pandemic Year Two bullshit?

We lost quite a few other celebrities - some who I won't miss and who should have gone sooner.  I didn't realize until I saw that article, but among the people who died in 2021 was Jessica McClintock.  Remember that floral, floaty, lacy, puffy-sleeved romantic Gunne Sax dress we all wanted for prom, special occasions, and weddings?  She was behind that.  I know many people have no idea who she was, but she was a big deal in the eighties.  Go ahead and pull out prom pictures from that time.  She was there.  

We worked quite a bit that first month, just a lot of driving and sleeping, as there were lots of team loads for us.  We eventually made it home by the end of the month just in time for my yearly mammogram and several trips to our favorite taco joint.  I guess the work in January made up for the time we were off in February.  That's trucking for you. 

March was busy, April we were home again - found out Ed had been chosen to be a Landstar Roadstar, got our vaccines (finally!), and had some work done on the truck. We went back to work until the end of August and then we were off again until the end of the year. 

Ed, in his Landstar Roadstar Award jacket

1. What did you do in 2021 that you’d never done before?
The most out-of-my-comfort-zone thing that stands out?  Going camping in the Grand Canyon.  Me.  Camping.  When my friends saw my post on Instagram they called, texted, and wrote - "Who are you?" and "You?  Camping??"   

Have you ever met me?
  And if you haven't, have you read this blog?  I don't camp.  I don't even like to be outdoors.  Sitting around the backyard with friends is about as "outside" as I can tolerate. 

Let's see...what else did I do?  Well, since I got my rock painting supplies for Christmas last year, I painted a few rocks. 

I celebrated a four-year wedding anniversary.
208 weeks of bliss.

I flew on an airplane wearing a face mask.  Very odd being covered up every minute of the trip - I felt like a bank robber that couldn't breathe.    

My in-laws moved in with us for 6 weeks (more on that later). 

I went to a Cantaloupe Festival in Fallon, Nevada.  Mostly against my will.

Farm equipment at the Cantaloupe Festival in Fallon, NV

I visited The Silos in Waco, Texas, after having watched Chip and JoJo fixing up houses for years on TV. 

I discovered I was misdiagnosed with a life-threatening illness, after having gone for a second and third opinion.

I went to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle - something I didn't even do when I lived there.

And I made Tomato Jam, which was deeeelicious!

My delicious Tomato Jam

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 
No and no.  I did once again resolve to diet and exercise and I did once again, fail miserably.  I'm just not into it.  Just not.  I find no joy being outside unless the weather is at or below 65 degrees (which is almost never in Tucson), my neighborhood is so ugly that going for a bike ride to look at dirt and cactus is not any kind of motivation, and hiking?  Up a hill?  On purpose?  No. I can't even say I'd hike up a hill if I were being chased by a bear.  I'd probably just give up and let him maul me.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin and her new husband had a baby boy - Gianni Luis - in November. Half Italian, half Mexican, 100% gorgeous!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My Tucson bestie’s mom died at the beginning of the year. She was devastated and has been having a very hard time with the loss.
The Magnolia Silos in Waco, TX

5. What countries did you visit?

Nada. Nunca. Absolutely none. And I’m getting really upset about it. I’m actually craving Europe. Can one crave a continent?

6. What would you like to have in 2022 that you lacked in 2021? 
Follow through.  I'd like to actually follow through, to the end, many of the things I start.  I've always had many balls in the air, and I kinda like it.  And I don't feel bad when I abandon something.  But I do realize that sometimes things I WANT can only be obtained by following through.  So, I'm going to try to get on that.

7. What dates from 2021 will remain etched in your memory, and why?
January 6 - Insurrection Day. I could not BELIEVE what I was seeing. What a disappointing day for the people of our country to have resorted to that kind of behavior. Absolutely unacceptable.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Moving Ed's parents from New Mexico to Arizona.  It was quite the undertaking.

Ed's dad had a TIA at the end of June so he went out in July and August to see his dad, each visit for a week.  Then, at the end of August, we decided to go get them and have them stay with us for a while, just to be able to spend some time with them and keep an eye on his dad.  Instead, we wound up packing their ENTIRE house in four days, got a realtor, got a landscaper, had a yard sale, donated things to Goodwill, and then eventually got on the road.  Between the four of us, we moved a U-Haul truck, an RV, two cars, a trailer, a golf cart, and two dogs, out of Carlsbad to Tucson. In one week.
Ed's dad, looking cool on the trip from New Mexico to Arizona.

We moved all of their stuff - from their 1,700 square foot house - into our family room.  It was JAM PACKED with boxes, furniture, appliances.  Just tons of STUFF.  His parents are 80 and 87, so there was NO WAY they were going to be able to handle any of this on their own.  

They stayed with us for about six weeks while we looked for a place for them to live and we found a lovely Independent Living facility for them just 4 miles from our house.  We went through all of their things and had them decide what they were keeping and what they'd be giving away because the apartment they were moving into was only 600 square feet with a small storage area.
The in-laws' new living room.

We set up their entire apartment - mixing old furniture with new - hung their pictures on the walls, set up their cabinets, bathroom, pantry, etc., and then moved them in.  We didn't want them to do a thing.  We wanted them to feel comfortable and be free of stress.

So for months, we were completely consumed.  I did ALL their medical stuff - set up appointments, filled out new patient paperwork with medical histories (holy shit - that's a lot of information when you're dealing with people who have lived 80 and 87 years!), and we both took them to their appointments.  We showed them where everything was.  Got them comfortable in the town and the immediate area in which they'd be doing most of their shopping and medical stuff.  We even took the dogs to the groomers!  

So I think successfully getting my in-laws settled in Tucson, has been my (and Ed's) biggest achievement for the year.  It's worked out so well and I'm so happy they're happy!

9. What was your biggest failure?
I must have had a pretty decent year because I can't recall any failures.  

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had debilitating back pain that kept me out of work for a month - it’s a recurring pain from a crash I was in and I never know when it’s going to hit. I couldn’t move, stand or sit comfortably, sleep without waking, or even take a deep breath without sharp pain.
Me, shattered by a filter.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

This lipstick and foundation from KIKO Milano (the #1 cosmetic brand in Italy), this coat, and these twinkle lights.  

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The citizens in the country who stepped up and wore masks, got vaccinated, got boosted, and continue to practice behavior that shows they care about themselves and others.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 
Those who refuse to get vaccinated. It’s selfish, disrespectful to friends and family, and irresponsible. Do you want to be a citizen of this country? Do you like living here? Then you should do everything in your power to make sure the people you live with and among are safe from harm.  It's your responsibility as a citizen to contribute to the success of this country, whether you like it or not.

14. Where did most of your money go? 
Bills, retirement, Verizon.  

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The All-Clad cookware my friends handed down to me.  They didn’t have a use for them anymore and thought I would appreciate the quality and make good use of them.  Hells, yeah, I will!  If you know, you know - this collection includes hundreds of dollars worth of pots and pans.  I can't think of a better hand-me-down.  Thanks, M & G…I love them!  
All-Clad Pots from M & G

16. What song will always remind you of 2021?
I couldn’t name a song from 2021 if you had a gun to my head. But, there were two songs in the series “Emily in Paris” that I absolutely loved: Mon Soleil and Dynamite.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
Happy, fat, and breaking even.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Bake bread. Generally, I don't think it’s worth the effort when you can buy an artisan boule loaf for $7, but nothing really beats fresh-baked bread with butter.
                                                          This guy brings me flowers - don't argue with this guy.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Argue with my husband. I really have to learn to keep my mouth shut. Every little thing annoys me so I just have to learn to let things go. “Not argue with my husband” might have to go into the number two slot as a new year’s resolution.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
A small gathering of family and friends. Only six of us. Since we still have some vaccination hold-outs, I couldn’t include everyone this year. Such a shame. But I still cooked as if they were in attendance.  We had very non-traditional Christmas food:  

Christmas Eve, we made Brisket, scalloped potatoes that were TO DIE FOR, candied yams (my MIL’s request), corn niblets, baked beans, cucumber salad, and coleslaw. I made my Aunt Ronni’s famous rice pudding for dessert.

On Christmas Day I made chicken cutlets (at my mother’s request), mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and sautéed broccoli. Simple. Chocolate cake, cheesecake, and leftover rice pudding for dessert. Now you can understand why I’m always “fat” in question number seventeen.
This year's very pared-down Christmas table

21. Did you fall in love in 2021?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Hands down, Yellowstone. If you are not watching this show, I don't even want to know you.  I cannot get enough of this show.  The hour flies by and always leaves me wanting more.

In addition to Yellowstone, because I guess I have to balance out the rugged cowboys and the badass force of nature that is Beth, my other favorite is This Is Us.  I absolutely love this show.  I love the writing, the characters, and the feelings I have when I watch it.  Sadly, this season is the last one.  I'm preparing to cry a lot and be emotionally devastated by the time it's over.  I fear I may not recover.  I need to immediately start looking for a show to take its place.  Any suggestions?
Storm in South Tucson

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Well, I’m going to quote my nephew’s girlfriend with the answer she gave to my question, “So, how do you like your job?”

She said, thoughtfully and gracefully, “Well….I am grateful for the experience, but I hate people.”

I agree 100%. People are horrible.

24. What was the best book you read?
I didn't read at all this year - mostly listened to podcasts.  Oh!  And guess what?  There's a Yellowstone podcast!  Yes!!  I should probably do another "favorite podcasts" post since I've started to listen to so many new ones.  Yeah, that's an idea.  Look for it in 2022.  

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Probably BTS (a Korean boy band) because of their song Dynamite, the one I heard in the Emily in Paris show. I knew of BTS, I just never really knew any of their music. Now I do.

From the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle, WA

26. What did you want and get?
Well, I finally got a pedicure after going all of 2020 without one! And Ed bought me an Italian language learning app to go along with the free ones I already practice on.  I can read and say sentences now.  Pretty cool.   

27. What did you want and not get?
I really wanted side diamonds for my engagement ring but it just didn't happen - mostly because I can't decide on the shape I want (baguette? trillion? oval?).  I'm still combing Instagram for ideas.  Damn being an indecisive Libra!

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I watch so many movies it's hard to make a choice.  And it's hard to remember what I even watched!  The two that stand out right now as ones I liked - The Starling and 12 Mighty Orphans.  

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

My 54th birthday was spent in Elko, Nevada. We were on the road. It was less than exciting.  But I did get a few trinkets from Ed that he picked up at the truck stop - a tiny etch-a-sketch and mini Lite-Brite.  Then, once we got back home, Ed ordered the Cheeses of The World collection from Murray's Cheese in New York City.  So delish.
My quote of a quote in Real Simple magazine.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Writing something.  Like a book.  Or a compilation of short stories.  Or poetry.  Or even more blog posts.  I was a total slug and thought about writing, but didn't.  I did have a quote I like published in Real Simple magazine (see photo above).  That was kinda cool.  But I didn't write it.  So, yeah, I should probably start.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2021?
I did a lot of leggings and tee-shirts in 2021, and I even ventured away from my signature black into wearing some crazy-colored leggings (see photo below).  I also liked floaty dresses and capri leggings with ballerinas.  I'm considering paring down my closet this year to maybe ten outfits.  I always wear the same thing anyway so really,  I only need about five outfits in regular rotation.  
My cool tropical leggings.

32. What kept you sane?
Genetics.  I come from a very sane line of Italians, believe it or not.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Stanley Tucci.  I think I've always loved him but I really enjoyed him in the CNN special, "Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy".  He's handsome, classy, charismatic, and Italian.  You can even get the recipes for the meals he ate in each episode.  Check them out here - the Spaghetti Alla Nerano is at the top of my list.  I can't wait for the second season!

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Voting rights.  I'm sick of the ways politicians are making it harder, not easier, for people to vote.  And the others I'm always very passionate about - are healthcare, immigration, and equality (race/gender/etc).
New York-style bagels in Tucson.

35. Who did you miss?
My best friend. She's in Nashville and I haven’t spent quality time with her in YEARS. I need a girls' weekend, just her and I, to talk about old times and laugh until the wee hours of the morning. 

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Since I rarely left the house, meeting new people was challenging.  I can't say I met anyone that stands out as a "best new person".  Maybe next year. 

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2021.
Always be prepared.  I can't say I necessarily learned that life lesson in 2021, but there was a very important event I was part of where preparation meant everything.  I'm a nerd.  I make notes, I document in detail, I take pictures, I remember who I spoke to, and I put dates on things.  I'm always prepared.  And it usually pays off.  Yay for me!
A tree in our yard.

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

"Life is dynamite"

It comes from the BTS song I discovered this year - Dynamite:  

'Cause I-I-I'm in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight
Shoes on, get up in the morn'
Cup of milk, let's rock and roll
King Kong, kick the drum, rolling on like a Rolling Stone
Sing song when I'm walking home
Jump up to the top, LeBron
Ding dong, call me on my phone
Ice tea and a game of ping pong, huh
This is getting heavy
Can you hear the bass boom? I'm ready (woo hoo)
Life is sweet as honey
Yeah, this beat cha-ching like money, huh
Disco overload, I'm into that, I'm good to go
I'm diamond, you know I glow up
Hey, so let's go
'Cause I-I-I'm in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight (hey)
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I'ma light it up like dynamite, whoa oh oh
Bring a friend, join the crowd
Whoever wanna come along
Word up, talk the talk
Just move like we off the wall
Day or night, the sky's alight
So we dance to the break of dawn
Ladies and gentlemen, I got the medicine
So you should keep ya eyes on the ball, huh
This is getting heavy
Can you hear the bass boom? I'm ready (woo hoo)
Life is sweet as honey
Yeah, this beat cha-ching like money
Disco overload, I'm into that, I'm good to go
I'm diamond, you know I glow up
Let's go
'Cause I-I-I'm in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight (hey)
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I'ma light it up like dynamite, whoa oh oh
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na, life is dynamite
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na, life is dynamite
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I'ma light it up like dynamite, whoa oh oh
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Light it up like dynamite
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Light it up like dynamite
'Cause I-I-I'm in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I'ma light it up like dynamite (this is ah)
'Cause I-I-I'm in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight (alight, oh)
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I'ma light it up like dynamite, whoa (light it up like dynamite)
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na, life is dynamite
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na, life is dynamite
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I'ma light it up like dynamite, whoa oh oh

And my slogan for the New Year...

Change often.

Winston Churchill (who I know nothing about) said, "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."  I am not afraid of change and I like the idea of perfection, although I know it's impossible to achieve.  But I think getting as close to your version of perfect is a good goal.  So, change often.  

Downtown Port Huron in Michigan.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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:

Ron Walker said...

Your blog improves my life. Thanks for your observations and humor, and have a great 2022!