Monthly Archives: December 2013

Ten Things Tuesday

The obligatory goals post:


1. I’m going to continue to be mindful of my diet and exercise habits. I managed to lose about 25 pounds this year; I intend to keep it off (and to make what’s left much leaner and healthier).

2. I’m going to read a whole hell of a lot more than I did this year (which shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, given that I didn’t read much at all this year). I’ve already read three books over break; I’m going to keep that up.

3. I’m going to focus on finishing my post-grad certificate and maybe look into taking some online law classes.

4. I’d really like to see Dingo and Mrs. Dingo in person this year. I’d also love to meet CVRick in real life. I’m going to try to spend more time with Carson this year, and with Marc. I’d like to lay eyes (and wrap my arms around) Gerry this year, too.

5. I’m going to try to get more focused about at-home dinners. I’ve gotten better at that, but I’m still not quite where I’d like to be in terms of having a plan more often than I don’t.

6. I may take a gymnastics class. I’d like to be able to do a handstand and a split.

7. We’re hoping to take the girls to England this coming summer, so travel is definitely on my to-do list.

8. I’ve lately begun a habit of simplifying. A few weeks ago, Mr. Chili and I made our way through most of the kitchen cabinets, cleaning out things we don’t use and organizing what’s left. I went through my earrings the other day. I’ve done an almost complete recycle of my wardrobe (losing 25 pounds made it necessary). I sorted through a bunch of holiday decorations that I don’t use. I’ll continue to make my way through various parts of the house until I’ve managed to streamline myself down to the things I love, want, and/or need and donate what’s left.

9. I’m going to spend less time on Facebook. While I love the connectedness (that’s where I get to see Dingo and Mrs. Dingo and Rick and Gerry, after all), I find that I can lose whole days (and get overly worked up about some of the things I read). I’m going to work on allotting myself a specific time window for goofing off online; I’ll even set an alarm.

10. This is going to be my year, professionally. I’ve had shit luck for the last two, so I figure I’m due. I’m going to put a lot of intention and focused effort into finding a job that resonates with my energy (in fact, I may make the project for my post-grad work finding out how one goes about organizing and preparing to open a private school). I have no intention of being an adjunct for the rest of my career, and I have found that I need work that is in synch with my need for social justice and activism. I’m ready.

Happy New Year to you. May the coming year be the perfect balance of comfort and challenge!


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Monday (End-of-Year) Meme

Boosted, with love and admiration, from Kizz:

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
I can’t think of a single “I’ve never done this before” thing that happened this year.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I promised to get some post-grad work done (I did: I’ll likely finish the program this spring), to keep up with housework (I mostly did), to focus more on my yoga practice (I kinda didn’t; I kept up, but didn’t improve much) and to read more (totally failed on that one).  I promised to put a lot of energy into finding a really great job – and I did put the energy in, but I didn’t find a really great job; I’m going to keep working on that.  I DID manage to lose about 25 pounds over the course of the year, and I intend to keep up with that.  I’m already making plans for minor (but significant) course corrections in 2014.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
At least one Facebook friend had a baby, but I’ve never actually met her.  Another friend (whom I HAVE met in real life, but who lives way far away) is expecting TWINS sometime soon, and a former student is expecting her second daughter in about a month.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, but I won’t be able to say this next year.

5. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
A good, secure, well-paying job that utilizes my passion and talent. 

6. What countries did you visit?
I stayed here in the US this year; the farthest we went was D.C.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 15th – Boston Marathon Day.  I was terribly worried about Carson, though I needn’t have been; as an elite runner, he was already at the airport by the time the bombs went off.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Losing 25 pounds and being fit enough to actually start running.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not finding that job.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was remarkably healthy this year.  I didn’t even have a shingles outbreak which, given how much frustration and stress the job hunt was causing, is kind of a big deal.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I didn’t buy it (it was bought for me), but I kind of loved my Cuisinart mini-blender.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Every state which passed marriage equality, Kid President,

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The list is almost too long to even begin.  Pretty much every republican member of Congress.  Putin.  Anyone who defended that idiot from Duck Dynasty.  Several members of the Supreme Court.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food, the mortgage, and marching band-related expenses.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Carson’s move north.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?  Happier
ii. thinner or fatter?  Thinner!
iii. richer or poorer?  Not richer, but not poorer, either.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Reading, activism.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastinating, and stressing about things I can’t control.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent Christmas with my family.  It was a good, quiet holiday, as I’d been hoping; it’s likely Father Chili’s last, and I wanted it to be nice.  It was.

21. There was no #21. I don’t know why there was no 21.

22. Did you fall in love in 2013?
I remain ridiculously, actively in love with my husband.

23. How many one-night stands?
None.   See above.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Sons of Anarchy and Rescue Me (which I’m rewatching as I work out) were my favorites.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I try really hard not to hate, though I harbor some ill-will toward a few folks.

26. What was the best book you read?
I didn’t really read very much this year, much to my shame. I just finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which I enjoyed. CVRick sent me Old Man’s War, which I didn’t think I’d like but I read it – because Rick sent it to me and I trust his judgement about such things – and enjoyed it quite a lot. I also read The Racketeer by John Grisham, which was a fun bit of nothingness. I have a pile for the coming year, likely starting with a re-visit to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye with Carson (and possibly Dingo?).

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I like listening to Pandora in the car with my teenage daughters. It turns out that we like a lot of the same kind of music; The Fray, Maroon 5, Train, that sort of thing.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I watched a bunch of films this year, and liked pretty much all of them.  Despicable Me 2 was a lot of fun, as was the new Star Trek film.  The second in the Hunger Games trilogy – Catching Fire – was impressive (having taught the books, I had high expectations of the films and, so far, have not been disappointed).  I really wanted to see The Book Thief, but I missed its lightning-fast run through our theatre, so I’ll be watching the DVD shelves to snap that up as soon as it comes out.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 44 on my birthday.  I don’t recall doing anything special on the day.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A job that resonates with my energy.  Really; that was the one thing that kind of cratered the year for me.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
There was a lot less of me this year, which meant having to literally replace nearly my entire wardrobe.  That gave me the opportunity to branch out a bit.  I bought a lot more skirts (now that my knees aren’t fat anymore).  I bought some really nice professional clothes (button down shirts and the like).  I added a lot more color to my wardrobe, too; still autumnal shades, but a lot more purple and blue than I normally wear.

34. What kept you sane?
My husband.  My friends (Marc, Rick, Dingo, and Eddie, in particular).  Exercise.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I’m kind of geeking on Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
You want a LIST?!  Women’s rights, voting rights, equality of every kind (educational, financial, political, marriage).  Really; I need to find work in activism.

37. Who did you miss?
Gerry. Every damned day.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I met a couple of great people on facebook, and a few students were kind of fun, but that’s about it.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
I learned that a lot more of my self-esteem is wrapped up in my professional life than I first thought. It’s astonishing to me how much my professional frustration spills into the rest of my life.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I really can’t think of a song lyric. It would have to be something about holding out hope and being disappointed, though.

This is my hope for next year:6df5fc8f7e13598dd5dc61672f64bbfc

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Quick Hit: Taking Care

Apparently, Father Chili has been falling out of bed.

This is a bad thing all the way around, though it’s made slightly less bad by the fact that he sleeps in a very low, almost Japanese-style bed and, as a consequence, hasn’t done himself any real damage.  He’s not able to get back into bed, though, despite its being low, and Mother Chili isn’t much help (and we’re worried about her doing damage to herself in the effort).

We were sitting around with the hospice nurse this evening, and I came up with the idea of putting body pillows on either side of the bed, under the bottom sheet, to try to keep him in bed.  My husband and I headed out into the cold, fat rain to procure the pillows, and we made up a very funny-looking bed before we left them for the evening.

Here’s hoping they act sufficiently as bumpers to keep the man in his bed.

I’ll report back.


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Six Word Saturday

Our annual snow tubing trip.  Wheee!

(I’m working on uploading a video; check back.)

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Be Gentle With Yourself


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by | December 27, 2013 · 6:44 pm

Thought for Thursday

Alternately titled; Dad’s Last Christmas

Yesterday was perfectly lovely.  The fact that it was perfectly lovely was made even more so by the fact that, since this is likely Father Chili’s last Christmas, I wanted everything to be as nice as possible, and it was.

We weren’t sure he’d make it – he wasn’t feeling very well yesterday – but Mother AND Father arrived in time for a yummy dinner (prime rib for us, turkey for them, with a lot of scrumptious sides).  Dad seemed tired but, I think, happy to be out.  It was a small gathering this year; just the four of us, Bruder, Mother and Father, and Marc, so it was never overwhelming for the oldsters.

After dinner and dessert (and a little wine all around), we retired to the great room where presents were exchanged.  Again, nothing overwhelming (which was good; Dad had a tendency to go WAY overboard with Mum’s presents, but everyone finished up at about the same time).  From there, folks sort of melted into a nice, peaceful quiet; Mr. Chili and Bruder went off to figure out the fancy hovercraft that Bruder bought (which seems to have some sort of electrical problem the two engineers are still in the process of trying to remedy).  The girls were busy with their new headphones, Marc and I spent some companionable time cleaning up (which doesn’t sound like much fun, but not having done it would have completely stressed me out) and Mum and Dad settled in with tea and books.

All of this followed an equally lovely Christmas Eve, which found us at Mum and Dad’s with lasagne and the traditional reading of passages from A Christmas Carol.  I think that both Bean and Punk got some video of Dad reading his usual part (the bit where Scrooge wakes up a changed man); it will be nice to be able to watch that next year.

All in all, it was a lovey holiday, and I’m glad of it.


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Let There be Peace on Earth

… and let it begin with me.

Screen Shot 2013-12-24 at 1.33.25 PM

image credit.


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