Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year 2014

Happy New Year!! I remember a time when I couldn't even begin to fathom 2014. When I thought I would never be this old or that 2014 was some too distant thing I didn't need to think about. Now, here it is and I am thinking about it, and I'm hopeful that it will be an amazing year.

All things considered, 2013 wasn't a bad year. I got a job that I love, working as an adjunct instructor. After almost 15 years of pain, I finally met my threshold and had my wisdom teeth taken out--and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I had the opportunity to go to California not once, but twice, and was able to spend my 35th birthday with my family. I've lost 20 lbs in the last four months. Matt started graduate school and has done really well. He also got a promotion at the beginning of December. It was a good year.

Now, looking forward, I'm hoping for one that's equally so, if not better. This year will change a lot of things for me. I go back to work on January 14th. Then, within the first few months of the year I should find out whether a leap I took will pan out. If yes, then I have to decide whether to take it. If no, then a door is closed to me and I don't have to think about it anymore. Matt will graduate in December with his MS in Management and Leadership. He's hoping to move up at the company he's been working for for the last two years, and I hope he does too, because he likes the company he works for. My fingers are crossed for him. No matter what happens this year, 2014 will change our lives in some major ways.

With that in mind, my 2014 New Year's Resolution is to take chances when they present themselves, even when I'm afraid, to try to dwell less on things that I cannot control, and to accept the possibility that when things don't work out it could be a blessing in disguise.

Happy New Year. I hope yours is filled with every possible blessing!

Monday, December 30, 2013

a new tradition?

On Christmas Eve, while at HEB on Christmas Eve looking for wine to take to Melanie and Joey's, Matt proposed we start a new Christmas tradition this year. Here's how it will go. We each buy for the other a book we went them to read. Not a book we think they'll like, but one we want for them to read. It took me a while to consider it. I thought about it that night and all through Christmas before I came to the decision that I liked the idea. Because, honestly, this has the potential to be the worst idea in the history of ideas. This idea has the potential to crash, and burn, and cause an inferno of hurt feelings. Have I mentioned this was Matt's idea? Yeah, you probably got that from my reluctance to agree.

Here's the thing, I tend to be the kind of reader that wants to read what I want, when I want, and not on someone else's schedule--which made going to college an interesting exercise in tricking myself into thinking I had created the timeline for finishing a book, rather than having it dictated by the class schedule. Matt, on the other hand, tends to ignore a book he's not interested in. I'm still trying to get the man to read The Great Gatsby, for crying out loud! I also don't go anywhere near anything sad because I'm pretty sensitive and once I'm sad I can't get happy again, which means a work like, say, Frankenstien isn't high on my list, while Matt considers it an absolutely genius work of literature. I don't read a whole lot of non-fiction that doesn't pertain to my direct areas of interest (women's history and studies, things related to literature, etc.), nor do I go anywhere near political biographies, while Matt has taken a hard and fast liking to all things non-fiction. He's devoured close to everything Malcom Gladwell has written and he read I am Malala,while I have no interest whatsoever in reading about Pakistan.

So, this should be interesting. I think we'll start it this year, but we're both still thinking about what we want to get for the other to read. Maybe I'll try to talk him into it being not a Christmas tradition, but a New Year's tradition, that way Christmas won't be attached to this potentially painful new tradition. Which, I should give him credit where it's due, could turn out to be awesome. Assuming he doesn't make me start my year by being mopy about one sad story or another.

Friday, December 27, 2013

our christmas holiday...

How was your Christmas holiday? Did you get what you wanted this year? Are you glad it's almost over just in time for stores to start stocking the shelves for Valentine's Day?! ;)

Our Christmas was nice and quiet. Of course, we had some unexpected things come up, so we're not quite done celebrating Christmas and probably won't be until the middle of January. We haven't even seen my in-laws yet. So, our tree will stay up until then, which means I may be taking it down just in time for Valentine's Day. At this rate, we're going to be putting Valentine's Day presents under the Christmas tree--suppose I should be glad my tree has a predominantly pink & silver theme. Heh. But, I put it up late this year (during the second week of December rather than at Thanksgiving), so I'm not quite sick of it yet. I'm sure I will be by the time we're done with it, then down it goes until next year.

For the holiday we spent Christmas Eve with our friends. Melanie and Joey had a last minute get together, so we went to that. There was delicious, fattening, I-so-shouldn't-eat-that kinda food (frito pie, chili dogs, s'mores) and some friends came around. We spent most of the visit eating food and chatting with people we haven't seen in a long time, and in one case with a gal we hadn't previously met. We got along famously, of course. Because everyone knows I'm the absolute easiest person around to get alone with. Eh hem. Yeah. But in all seriousness, we did get along beautifully. We all made plans to get together again on January 5th to play 2e AD&D which should be a lot of fun. Definitely looking forward to it.

For Christmas day, Matt and I just hung out. My parents got us Amazon gift cards and my sister got me a recipe card tin with Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipes (all of which look deliciously fattening!!), a really pretty peacock ornament for the tree, and cross stitched me a book mark with a lighthouse and the caption "Books Light Our Way to Knowledge." Matt and I haven't gotten one another gifts yet (but will soon), so we spent the day just sort of being together. Which is, really, what Christmas is about--among other things. We watched some Christmas movies, spent a little while playing 7th Sea, and then went out for Chinese food--Matt was supposed to work but got an early de-crew. A lot of people had the same idea because by the time we got around to eating, the Chinese buffet was quite the popular spot. Lots of people were around. Huge families with kids, couples, even a cop who was having dinner alone... oh man, now that I think about it, that's kind of sad. Except he didn't look at all unhappy, so I suppose it's okay.

We also rode around town some and took in the Christmas lights. Some of the houses were absolutely beautiful, while others were less interesting, and many were completely dark. Matt and I merrily spent the trip "grading" the houses on an academic scale from A+ to F-. Houses with the Christmas tree showing through the windows made an automatic B+, while others made a failing grade for having "no thesis statement." It was really quite fun and something I think we might do every year. My favorite house was one that didn't have traditional lights at all, but that placed a filter on a light in the center of their lawn creating a green sparkly affect, like a thousand emeralds shining in the dark. I wish I could have taken a picture of it. I actually made Matt stop, in the middle of the street in this residential neighborhood, so I could gawk at the house. It was absolutely beautiful.

After that we spent a quiet evening together. Oh, well, there was this moment...

I had posted a picture of me and Chewbi earlier in the day. A friend gave me a hard time about not seeing Matt, so I talked Matt into letting me take a selfie of us. I took several, but this is the one that came out the most clear (he wouldn't sit still long enough for my lens to focus) and that had the most character. So that's our Christmas picture and, sadly, the only picture of the both of us from the entire year. That will change in 2014. There will be pictures of us!

In short (ha!), our holiday has been really lovely. I hope yours was, too! I had some more to talk about, like some pretty big things going on around here right now, but there's no way I can fit them into this already overly long (eh hem, 1200+ word) post. Trying would make this one big christmas-year-end-braindump kinda post. Definitely going to avoid that. Good night!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas...

I told Matt that in February, for our anniversary, we're having pictures made. Not those go to a photo studio and sit type pictures, but with a real photographer. The kind of photographer that takes you places and takes great photos. Because when I sat down to make our Christmas card this year, there were no pictures of us. There're pictures of me, of our dogs, of Galileo, maybe even one or two of Matt, but nothing of us together. It made me sad, then, as I tried to make it work with what we have, I got mad. Finally, I gave up on trying to include us. Instead, I used a picture of the Christmas tree (from the tree lighting) in Hesperia Civic Plaza Park that I took while I was in California this year.

Next year, there will be pictures for our Christmas card. I don't generally mail out cards, but like to have something for my blog. Maybe this coming year, I'll mail out a physical card with our faces on it. Maybe I'll include one of those smug letters about how awesome we were during the year and how jealous everyone should be... heh. No, really, though, maybe there'll be physical cards and maybe not. But there will be recent pictures of us!

And now that you've heard the story of my Christmas card (kind of), I hope you have a lovely Christmas and, if I'm not back here before then, I hope your new year starts out wonderful!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

a guilty pleasure...

You know it's officially the end of the year when your social media sites start offering to show you a snapshot of your year. You don't even need a calendar, just wait for Facebook and GoodReads to offer you a recap. Facebook was the usual fare, but when I took a peak at GoodReads, I realized two things: First, I don't keep up with it well enough and, second, I'm addicted to romance novels.

It's only showing 19 books for the whole year, which is hilarious, since I read several times that. Maybe my new year's resolution should be to better track my reading? Even if I had, though, it would look just like this... only longer. Because I can't stop reading them. I don't even want to. Historical romance, with it's wonderfully-formulaic reliability, has stolen my heart. And if you're looking for top notch historical romance, I highly recommend Sarah MacLean (start with Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, and Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart). Her books are wonderful! I should know, I've read all but one of them.

Or maybe my new year's resolution should be to see help for my romance addiction, because it's not just books. Not even close. I find I'm also addicted to those sappy Christmas romance flicks. You know, the ones on the Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, and ABC Family? I never watched them, but this year while I was visiting family in California, my sister got me watching them. Now, I can't stop. I even DVR'd them, though Matt is lodging a protest and refuses to watch. Still, since it's almost Christmas I may press the issue. Just a few more days and he won't have to see them until next year... probably.

And when it's not Christmas, I'm watching rom-coms on Netflixs, the movie channels, or Lifetime. Seriously, if Netflix gave me a year-in-review thing, it would look something like my GoodReads re-cap, only much, much more obsessive. Matt even occasionally records them for me because he knows I love them. Oh, and have I mentioned that I've stopped watching TV shows when they string me along too long? NCIS is a good example. They took way too long to get Tony and Ziva together, then when they did it didn't last long. Or, House, which I stopped watching after he and Cuddy broke up.

It's an obsession. But, at least it's a fairly innocuous obsession. Even if it is a little bit embarrassing. I mean, shouldn't I be reading something with substance? Maybe so, and I do some of that, too, but I've decided that embarrassing or not, I'll stop reading romance (and watching it, too) when I'm dead. Life's too short not to give into this small guilty pleasure. Now, I'm going to read a novel I just got, and yes, it's romance. Good night.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Week in Pictures...

I'm back in Texas. I got home from California late last night. One day later than expected, but I'll get to that. I had a nice visit and I miss my family already, but I'm happy to be able to hug Matt and cuddle my babies again. The boys went absolutely crazy when I got in, kissing and jumping on me. That's exactly the sort of welcome home I needed, even if I would have liked to be able to jump on and kiss Matt, too. Unfortunately, he was at work, so I had to settle (ha!) for the sweet furry cuddles of my furbabies.

My trip was really nice. Though my mom was supposed to have surgery, she was sick so her surgery was delayed until January 2. With that, this turned out to just be a visit, which is fine, too. It's always nice to spend a week with my parents and little sister. We mostly just hung out, had thanksgiving dinner together, trimmed two Christmas trees and put out all the decorations, went to see Christmas lights, and went to the tree lighting ceremony in Hesperia. Other than the anxiety of flying, it was a nice trip. The only thing missing was Matt (and having food with Jodi and Shannon).

So, rather than being wordy about the whole thing, I thought I might share some of the pictures I took during my trip...

The Second day I was there we had a thanksgiving dinner together. A turkey (yum!) and all the trimmings. Then we ate turkey, in it's various incarnations (bbq sandwiches, turkey tacos, etc), all week long.

After that we decorated the christmas tree and had a little selfie fun...

A few days after that, we went to the tree lighting at the Civic Plaza Park in Hesperia.

I really like these lighted fixtures on the posts...

And, while I was there, an ice storm hit Stephenville and left everything frozen over. Several inches of solid ice formed over everything, schools closed for days (and were still closed as of the day I came home), and right now as I type this there's still a thick sheet of ice over our entire front yard.

This is out where Matt works, he sent me this picture while I was in CA. He had a tough time getting home. This is the storm that delayed my flight for one day. DFW was covered in ice, which made conditions too poor for flight.

But, as you can see, eventually the airport reopened and I took an afternoon/evening flight home. The views were beautiful. I love flying into darkness and I especially love how cities look from the air when it's dark, like thousands of golden sparkles. It's the best part of flying.

Today, I put up my Christmas tree and spent some time with my husband. It's pretty cold here still, but it's pretty and, in Matt's words, it "feels like Christmas."

All in all, the last week has been pretty nice. And, when I got home I found out Matt got a promotion that he's been working toward and that he's most likely made all A's this semester (carrying nine graduate hours while working a full time job). I'm so, so proud of him. You can't imagine how just how proud--there's just not words to describe how I feel.

And with that, bed. I'm exhausted and still trying to adjust to the time change. The older I get, the harder it is for me. I swear, I'm like a 70 year old sometimes! Good night!

PS. Clearly, I took the lazy route and embedded these pics from Instagram. If you want to see more pics, you can click the name link at the top of all the pictures. I am super, super lazy tonight. :P