New Year, Old Me

I like the clarity a new year promotes – an opportunity to look ahead and say “here’s what I would like this year to look like.” (For me) it’s difficult to separate everyday happenings from my perspective and have that kind of regular foresight into my future. So I enjoy the opportunity to think about resolutions but more generally, I like the chance to consider what part I might play in shaping the next year of my life.

2015 resolution | from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com

Since this blog has been around for a while, I thought I’d review previous years’ posts.

2014 –  “rules” for 2014, which are interesting to look back on now that I’ve quit my job and wholly embraced my introvert tendencies

2013 – I listed three “classical” resolutions then four things that were realistic accomplishments for the year. Interestingly, the four “realistic” things really happened.

2012 – all about school. It was the year of the Comp Exam and my mind was firmly fixed on getting that degree done.

2011 – No real post. I think that year was just kind of a “survive” kinda year.

2010 – difficult to review because it was a recap of 2009 and ended up being almost a letter to my future self. We had a rough year in 2009.

2009 – I might actually recycle most of 2009’s resolution list. I kind of love reading posts from this time. It was before the Ectopic (note the capital E) which, in retrospect, significantly changed my outlook on my entire life. Interesting that it’s taken six years to get back to the same kind of mental space…

I’ve got a one-word resolution for 2015. I plan on using it as my north star, as a way to make decisions, overcome obstacles, and let go of the things that plague me in the wee hours of the morning.

parent | from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com

The word is PARENT.

I want to see the close of 2015 with Hubs and I as parents. Whether we are parenting foster kids, adopted kids, or miracle babies, PARENT is the name of the game this year. It’s been a terrible long road and I expect it will continue to be incredibly difficult. But that’s my goal, that’s my guiding principle, and that’s the thing I’m going to spend emotion on. I’m going positive, full-bore, meaningful.

Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted.

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Odds ‘n’ Ends

First and foremost, these ladies have suddenly fallen into some good fortune in the form of a book deal and then a Kindle appeared at their doorstep. I guess they figured they’d share the wealth, because they’re giving the Kindle away. You should probably check it out. Follow their blog and you’re entered. Comment and you get another entry. So easy!

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I’m shocked at the lack of riotous rejoicing by NY Yankees fans after winning a World Series against “arch-rivals” Phillies. I guess after 27 WS wins the trash talking is more interesting than the actual victory?

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I love this. I wish I was six years old and had hair bows so I could use it. I would, of course, make the lady who hand-fashions these change the theme from Cowboys (puke) to Eagles. But it’s super-cute EVEN WITH THE COWBOYS LOGO. That’s hard to do, trust me.

Those loops in the middle are for headbands. Almost makes me regret my tomboy childhood.

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Saw this with my Ma in San Antonio, as we emerged from Whole Foods:

A little over the top, no? I’m tempted to affix a Dwight Shrute bobble-head to the front of my hood in passive-aggressive retaliation.

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Kitty has (quite suddenly) adopted a host of new behaviors and preferences, including but not limited to:

  • sleeping on my head
  • hanging out inside cabinets (nesting)
  • sitting between my bedroom curtains and the wall
  • sitting in the bathtub
  • ignoring fresh water and drinking exclusively from water found in the bathroom
  • being “patted,” which is different from “petted”
  • jumping three and a half vertical feet onto the countertop and camping out among cooking utensils

The last one is freaking me out the most. She’s never EVER been interested in the counters. When I joked earlier that I must be driving the cat crazy from talking at her so much while Hubs is gone I might have jinxed myself.

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I’m keeping up on NaNoWriMo, which is unexpected. What’s been helpful is an unexpected word-count rivalry with an old college buddy. Thank goodness. I would be 5,000 words behind by now if I didn’t have the motivation gained from possibly beating someone. The best part is that, even if I ultimately get spanked, I’ll still probably make it to 50,000 words (which is the goal of NaNoWriMo) by the end of November. That’s a pretty freakin’ sweet consolation prize.

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Found out that my contract (faculty? staff? No one knows, and I like it that way.) will almost definitely be renewed next semester. AND I might be in new, swanky digs. And grad school apps are pending committee review. AND I can take undergrad classes here (auto-repair is tempting) completely gratis. All of which is very exciting.  I love school. So much.

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My mom is in town! And she likes my house. Also, she likes watching TV.

I love when people visit me, especially people who like my house and watching TV. And who raised me.

I’m pretty sure my mother looks younger than I do in this picture. Which is how it should be. Hopefully I got the “age backwards” gene.

AN AWARD!

AHHHHHH! I won a blog-award. This one is, I think, especially fitting. It was bestowed upon me by DawnTreader over at Island of the Voices. Here are her exact words explaining why I am so mightily deserving of this award:

This not just as retaliation but because she’s a clever writer who really knows how to make excellent use of “over-the-top”…

My suspicion is that she took a look at my Halloween post and decided that cake could not go unanswered.

The following is a list of time-consuming status updates which I will complete, but cutting out any I don’t like or want to answer, thus furthering DawnTreader’s “let’s buck the blog-award system” rallying call. If you want to know which questions I skipped you can go check DawnTreader’s blog because she actually answered them all.

1. Where is your cell phone? My phone is about four inches from my right hand. The volume is set at 3/4, and it’s on vibrate as well, in case the ring gets muffled somehow. I am currently hyper-aware of my phone because I’ve been waiting for a phone call from Hubs for WEEKS. I don’t know when or where he can call, so the phone has become an extra limb, just in case.

2. Your hair? Is a new, FABULOUS color, a rich chocolaty brown, and totally worth the arm + leg I paid for it. BUT I am also freaking out because my hairdresser commented (very offhand) that it looks like my hair is thinning. Now I compulsively check my hair in the mirror. Every time I find a “thinning spot” I get nauseous and a rush of adrenaline. MAYBE I’M DYING. Then I go to bed, and the thinning spot is gone the next morning.

3. Your mother? My mom is the kind of person who has spent her entire life embodying one of the central tenets of Christianity: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Even to her personal detriment, she works tirelessly to make life better for those around her. As I’ve aged (gracefully) I’ve become more aware of just how much of her own humanness she overcomes to serve others. When I see a picture of Mother Teresa, I think of my mother. ALSO, she is DIY guru, teacher of all things handy, diagnostic whiz, nutritionist, and arriving in Tejas on THURSDAY!

4. Your father? My dad was one of the few who got a nickname by my friends when I was in high school even though none of my classmates ever interacted with him on any real level. You know what his nickname was? Atticus. As in, Atticus Finch, the father in To Kill a Mockingbird. You can read a description of Atticus (uncannily double-timing as a description of my father) right here. I was insanely proud of that nickname.

7. Your favorite drink? I am a huge fan of Diet Coke. I drink multiple cans a day, and I have been known to waylay entire trips because I had insufficient DC funds. On the alcoholic front (best war ever fought…) I also like beer from local/regional microbreweries. I am a very big fan of interesting beers.

8. Your dream/goal?
Dream is to travel to and around Europe and Asia with Hubs, beginning soon.
Goal is to complete a graduate degree in Literature.
Super-goal is to go ahead and snag a Ph.D.

10. Your hobby? “Blogging,” but really just tweaking stories about my life so that they sound incredibly interesting. This is how I stay positive, by convincing others that my life is amazing. Then, when they validate my stories (because that’s what motivates me, validation), they are awesome/epic stories and my life is, therefore, awesome and epic.

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Independently wealthy, crafting and writing ridiculous fiction and making my husband delicious dinners from scratch every night, on our privately owned island in the South Pacific.

14. Something that you aren’t? Shy.

17. Where did you grow up? I was born in New Jersey and lived there for almost a decade before we moved out, but I would say I grew up in the Blue Ridge region of Virginia. We lived there from mid-primary school to mid-high school. Despite 10 years in the area, I never learned to enjoy either Nascar or country music, although I did become enamored with bluegrass, hand-turned wooden bowls, and quilts. When we moved back to South Jersey my sarcasm and obsessive love for pasta suddenly made sense.

20. Your TV? Is not HD, which is a real challenge when my DVR spontaneously records HD versions of my favorite shows. The screen freaks out, and I can’t escape from it because absolutely nothing is visible, not even the on-screen options for “exit.” So sometimes I just have to turn it off until it’s done recording. And how can I get anything accomplished without a TV on, I ask you? (On a related note, I just found a forgotten collection of Righteous Brothers vinyl. So good.)

26. Vehicle? 2001 Honda Element, which is ALMOST as good as my Honda Fit, which was tragically crushed to death in the winter of 2007. The Element is almost as good as the Fit, certainly more appropriate for Tejas, where everything is at least an hour away and truck-bed sized trunks are necessary. But I am not able to use the word “zippy” to describe the current vehicle. And “zippy” was a defining characteristic of the Fit. I miss the zip.

28. Your favorite store? Urban Outfitters is the coolest, funnest store on the face of the planet. It’s like a Barnes and Noble, where you can wander and experience, but with about a million things other than books. Their website doesn’t do them justice. If there is one near you, you should go. Something for everyone, the way a good store should be.

29. Your favorite color? Yellow. It used to be blue, but I changed it. I can’t wear it unless I am ridiculously tanned, which is why (I think) I always avoided calling it my favorite color. But really, I like warm colors much more than cool colors, and yellow is the happiest. T/F: YELLOW.

30. When was the last time you laughed? My sister Zee called me last night and we traded stories about our Halloween weekend. Her story culminated with a drunken party-goer smacked in the face with a shoe by someone’s girlfriend, because he had been drawing on the boyfriend’s sleeping face with a Sharpie. That made me laugh pretty hard.

32. Your best friend? Hubs, of course. Any married person who doesn’t answer this question with the name of their spouse is instantly on my blacklist.

33. One place that you go to over and over? WalMart. It’s got everything I need. And it’s the ONLY place that’s got some of the stuff I need. They’re insidious, but they really are a one-stop shop. On a lighter note, that sushi restaurant in San Antonio is somewhere we return to on EVERY TRIP to the city. If you had told me, when I was in my mid-teens, that I would enjoy sushi as much as I do, I would have called you a big fat liar. Good thing you didn’t say that back then, because it would be very weird for me now, considering how much I crave and adore sushi.

35. Favorite place to eat? My parent’s house is always filled with stories, jokes, laughter, banter, and TONS of food. It’s my favorite table to sit down at, bar none.