Friday, September 27, 2013

It's All About Priorities....

You may find this hard to believe, but there are actually people who enjoy housework. I am not one of those people. This fact is usually evident at any given time in our house.

Oh it's not filthy or anything... we DO keep it relatively sanitary... but clutter and dust bunnies tend to pile up. This is due, in part, to the fact that our house was built in 1955, and we have exactly four and half closets if you include the unfinished closet in the add-on bathroom in the den that used to part of a garage. And in 1955, closets were small. I don't know where people kept their junk in 1955... I'm guessing they just didn't accumulate as much stuff as folks do now. And I'll be the first to admit, I have way too much stuff.

I've been intending to "spring clean" for approximately two and half years now. The Love Shack definitely needs to be purged of excess ephemera. When I became a freelancer in late February of this year, I thought to myself, "Great.... I'll finally have time to do that spring cleaning I've been meaning to get around to, and maybe get my office set up." Well, it's almost October now (how the hell did THAT happen?), and the big spring cleaning still hasn't been done. Which is good and bad.

It's good, because I've honestly been to busy to get to it. Thanks to a wonderfully steady flow of work, I haven't had much time to do anything else. (I love my clients!!) My office is still just my Mac set up on my old drawing table in the spare bedroom, with an old office chair and a plastic file box from the Container Store. It is NOT ideal, but so far has served its purpose adequately.

It's bad, because I've honestly been too busy to get to it. I really haven't had much downtime since February. I'm not complaining... I'm grateful for the work, and my modus operandi is that work comes first. (It gets the bills paid, yo!) But that work ethic means that housework takes a back seat. Therefore, our little abode gets mighty cluttered, y'all! And that clutter starts driving me crazy after a while. (The steady and sometimes crazy work flow is also the reason this blog hasn't had a new post since July. I'm still trying to balance my time, and often failing miserably!)

Don't get me wrong... I've managed to make time to hang out at the beach or have lunch with pals occasionally, but that usually means I'll be working very late the day before or the day after to catch up. One recent Sunday, I actually declined an invitation to join some pals at a movie in order to get some freelance work done AND some housework done. These are the choices a worker bee like me has to make every now and then... go have fun, or engage in some intense domestic chores. As previously stated, I'm not a fan of domestic chores, but sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

And so I skipped the movie and resigned myself to the task at hand... a good scrubdown of the common areas of the Love Shack. I saved the bathroom for last. I don't mind cleaning the kitchen. That gets done regularly, although the deep-cleaning kitchen chores like mopping floors and re-organizing the plasticware cabinet happen only periodically, as it did that Sunday. And though the clutter of mail and other stuff often obliterates table surfaces, I don't mind so much tidying that up when it gets out of control. Dusting is not my strong suit either, but I can deal with it.

But cleaning the bathroom... I hate every single thing about cleaning the bathroom (aside from the end result). Maybe it's just me, but I absolutely hate the smell of the tub cleaner mingled with soap residue. I hate wiping other people's pee (yes, you, Mr. Remarkable Monkey) off the toilet seat (though thankfully he has good aim so that's not much of an issue). I hate long hairs getting tangled in the sponge and wrapped around my fingers, even though I know it's my own stupid hair. I hate trying to scrub down the shower curtain. And the smell of the mildew remover makes me absolutely nauseous. But I DO love a clean bathroom. So I took one for the team. And that bathroom sparkled!

I'm still hoping to find time to do that spring cleaning and purging before the end of the year... my mom is coming to visit in November, so that could be a good motivator. And with summer over and one of my beach pals enrolled in college, maybe I'll have fewer distractions in the coming cooler moths. We'll see. I might even find time to post an entry every now and then. Hmmmmm.....

Monday, July 22, 2013

Continuing Adventures in Breast Health

Last year was the first year in several that when I had my annual mammogram, the radiologist didn't request an additional sonogram while I was there. Nevertheless, my breast specialist wanted me to go ahead and get the MRI six months later just to keep an eye on things (because I'm officially a high-risk candidate to develop breast cancer, donchyaknow).

I had the MRI done in February, which was a couple months late thanks the delayed arrival of "Aunt Flo" during that period of time (no pun intended). That was all clear too, although I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the round and round with my former employer's crappy insurance company trying to get the claim submitted properly. (Side note: thanks to the recent change in my employment status and Mr. Remarkable Monkey's as well, we are now once again covered by a decent BCBS plan through his employer. Thank heavens!)

So last week, I went for my annual mammogram. I wondered if my luck would hold or if I would need a sonogram as well. The tech said no... the Rx was written for just a normal screening mammogram, so they wouldn't be doing any additional imaging. This was the first time in several years that the Rx was for a "screening" mammogram and not a "diagnostic" mammogram. I believe when it's written as diagnostic, they can go ahead and do any additional imaging if needed right then, such as sonograms. "Screening" vs. "diagnostic" can also make a big difference to some insurance companies when it comes to covering it 100% as an annual mammo. I learned that the hard way.

Well yay for me then, right? I figured maybe they're now familiar enough with all my usual lumps and dense tissue that they don't need all the extra imaging they've done for the past several years. I bounced out of the breast center confident that the results would be nothing other than "Yep... all good," and maybe I could even skip the MRI this December.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when the breast center called. "The radiologist saw a suspicious asymmetry in your right breast. We need to do more imaging." Oh joy. So basically, I have to go back in for them to squash my right boob some more to investigate said asymmetry. "We may also need to do a sonogram. Your breast tissue is very dense."

Ya don't say! Duuuuuh! This has been a known fact for years. Now, if the Rx had just been written as a diagnostic mammogram to start with, they could have done all this while I was there last week. Maybe they didn't because my current plan doesn't cover diagnostic? I thought BCBS covered it as annual either way, but maybe they don't? Who knows. All I know is now I have go to another appointment at the breast center. **siiiigh***

It's not so bad. As I've said before, the place has been remodeled and it's gorgeous! It looks like a high-end boutique hotel lobby. Check out these pictures....

I think this is actually the lobby of the NICU unit, but the breast center's lobby looks pretty much like this too.

This is one corner of the large inner waiting area... the one where you get to hang out with the other ladies in your lovely pink hospital gown top while waiting for them to call you back for the actual boob squashing.
A view of the other side of the large inner waiting area. There's also an INNER inner area with changing rooms and lockers, and a bathroom, and a small alcove with a sink, water cooler, and teas... and sometimes crackers.

Yes! It was this issue!
I am not making this up!
Pretty, isn't it? But ya know what those photos don't show? The old, beat up magazines available to help you kill time while you're waiting. They're not all old... some are from the past year or two. But get this: when I was there last week, I enjoyed flipping through an issue of Vanity Fair.... FROM SEPTEMBER OF 1997! I kid you not... Renee Zellweger was on the cover, with an article about how she's Hollywood's next big thing since she had recently appeared in "Jerry Maguire". (Yeah...THAT prediction was dead on... Not.) Seriously?? You spend a lot of time and money creating this beautiful, lush space for the patients, but you can't spring a few extra bucks for some magazines that aren't 15 years old? Really???

I found it hilarious. But maybe that's just me. I'm actually sort of looking forward to my additional appointment next week, despite the inconvenience of having to make a second trip... I think I saw a 1999 issue of People somewhere in the stacks of magazines. I need to catch up some celebrity gossip.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What the Heck Is Wrong With People?

Yeah... it's been over two months since the last post. Wow! Time flies, kiddies! Quick update: workflow has been steady, interspersed with periods of craziness, so the freelancing is still going swimmingly... knock wood and big thanks to my regular clients who have kept the work coming! (But usually I'm too dang frazzled to sit down and compose a blog post on the rare occasion that I actually have the time to do it! Guess I need to work on that.)

So, in the past couple months, it seems like there's been a lot of stupid racial stuff and intolerance going on in the news. Why is it that skin color is still such an issue in this country? First it was the Cheerios commercial. I cannot believe that some people were upset that the spot featured a family who happened to be biracial. Now, I'm not naive. I know that there are still a lot of racist idiots in this country, but I guess I didn't think that having a mixed-race couple in a TV spot would generate such an outpouring of hatred. Kudos to General Mills for not pulling the ad, and for their stance against the bigots and malicious small-minded clods.

I have hope for the future though. Check out this short from the Fine Bros., where they asked kids what they thought about the commercial and about the racist backlash it generated. Warmed my heart.

Then there's the Paula Deen N-word controversy. She admitted in a deposition on another matter that she had used the N-word in the past. (You can read the whole deposition here if you want.) It was very small part of the deposition, and she also said that she used the word when she worked in a bank (so it was DECADES ago) in reference to a bank robber who had held a gun to her head, and possibly other times but not in a hateful, directed way.

I don't condone her use of the N-word, but I kinda think the whole thing was blown out of proportion. She wasn't spewing the same kind of hatred that the commenters on the Cheerios youtube page were. She just used a word ages ago that was commonly used back then in the deep south. It doesn't excuse it, but at least she was honest about it. And while I think there should be repercussions (because she IS a public figure after all), the corporate reaction may have been just a little too harsh. But maybe not... the N-word is such a hot-button issue that her corporate partners may have felt they had no other choice but to sever all ties like they did.

Why IS the N-word still such a hot-button issue? Why is it that the N-word has so much negative power when a white person says it, but not when a black person does? If it's such a negative word, shouldn't everyone avoid using it? And why is it that slurs for other races and ethnicities don't seem to cause such a media uproar? Aren't they just as bad as the N-word? Again... it just seems stupid that something as random as skin color can cause people to hate each other. Wouldn't it be great if nobody would ever used those words? Or if they didn't carry such hurtful connotations? In a perfect world, friends.

Most recently, there's the George Zimmerman trial. I'm not sure how much of that tragedy stemmed from racism, or how much of the not guilty verdict did either. Maybe none. And while I don't think Zimmerman should have been found guilty of murder (because it didn't appear to be premeditated), I do think he should have been convicted of manslaughter or negligent homicide. After all, the confrontation -  no matter who started it - never would have happened if Zimmerman had obeyed the police 911 operator's instructions not to get out of his truck and follow Trayvon Martin. In that way, he's responsible for the death that occurred. That may be the basis of the Martin family's civil suit, should they elect to bring one.

But news involving intolerance isn't just race-related lately. Why are people so opposed to same-sex marriage? Just like with skin color, why should gender matter to anyone else other than the two people involved in the marriage or relationship? What's it to YOU, Bub? Seriously. A group called the "Alliance Defending Freedom" tried to block the legalization of same-sex marriage. Did you get that? The group is called the Alliance Defending Freedom... and yet they don't want gay couples to be free to marry. Ironic, isn't it?  Just more small-minded bigotry. They say they're defending freedom, but only if it's THEIR brand of "freedom". What are they afraid of? Opponents have said that allowing same sex marriage would undermine the sanctity of "traditional" marriage between a man and a women. I don't see how it possibly could, but maybe it's just me.

I hope someday we can all see people for who they really are instead of seeing their skin color or their sexual preference, or their financial status, or their political affiliation or their religion. I just don't understand why some people have such a problem accepting others solely because they're different in some way. One of the kids in the Fine Bros. video said right... people should be judged on their character and their personality, and nothing else.

I know it's not just me, but I wish there were more of us.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

So Far, So Good!

How did another month go by without a post from me? I know you've been waiting breathlessly! (Yes, I DO hear those crickets chirping.)

How am I supposed to get any work done
with THIS under my desk?
Freelance work has continued to keep me busy. I'm happy to report that I've actually been able to earn a living (so far) as an independent freelancer. Don't get me wrong... I'm still stressing about earning enough to pay the bills, but I'm starting to relax a little because I've got a couple good clients who have sent me a fairly steady workflow. In fact, I've so busy I still haven't had a chance to finish updating my portfolio and get my self employment biz stuff in order, other than filing my self employment tax a few days before the April 15th deadline. (Oh joy... I get to write that big fat check to the US treasury three more times this year! Ouch!). And I haven't yet had the time or wherewithal to put together a comfortable workspace... I set up the "Big Mac" on my old drawing table in the spare bedroom. Not exactly comfortable, but at least it's functional for now.

Every time I think it's slowing down and I try to take a day to catch my breath and catch up on domestic chores, things get busy again! The house is usually a bit of a mess, as I've only had time to keep up with the necessary tasks like doing the dishes, laundry and grocery shopping when we run out of something.

A recent Tuesday afternoon with a pal.... Lingering over
chips & guacamole and an ice cold cerveza. Lovely.
But I've also enjoyed some of the perks of being my own boss. Though I've had to pull some late nights to do it, I've been able to take an afternoon off here and there to enjoy with pals, and I even took the whole day off (well, most of it anyway) and spent it with Mr. Remarkable Monkey on our recent 10-year anniversary. Even if it's just an extended lunch hour with a friend, it's been great not having to stick to office hours.

My "assistant", taking his duties seriously.
It's hard work making sure the futon doesn't float away
in case there's an interruption in gravity service!
Plus, I have an excellent assistant. He's not very productive and doesn't get much done other than making sure the floor doesn't move, but he helps keep the stress levels down. We both enjoy our afternoon "board meetings" in the park.

Ya know, I think this freelance thing might suit me! Fingers crossed I can continue to find enough work to get the bills paid.

So far, so good!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

You Ain't the Boss of Me!

"Where the hcck have you been for six weeks, Remarkable Monkey?" I just know that's what you're asking... all three followers of this blog! (Hi, Mom!) So for those who don't know already, I'll tell you where I've been.

Remember a couple posts back when I told y'all about the uncertainty of my work situation? Well, the inevitable happened. I was placed on a "freelance as-needed" basis, effective February 25th. Truthfully, I fully expected that to happen, but it came much sooner than I expected. The good news? I've logged a lot of freelance hours with my now-former employer so far, and have also had the good fortune to land some other freelance projects as well!

When the change first happened, I was really anxious about whether or not I could find enough work to make a go of being self-employed. But March has been a very good month, and I'm beyond grateful to my new clients! I've been so busy for the past few weeks that I haven't had time READ any blogs, let alone write any posts for this one. I've been working nearly my regular (though shortened) schedule for my former employer, and then coming home to anywhere from 2-6 hours of work for other folks most nights. I'm tired, but an overload of work is a good problem to have right now! Gotta make hay while the sun shines. Especially since it looks like the workload at my former employer's will be drying up quickly.

They're down to a handful of employees now, and there doesn't seem to be much new biz coming in. I'm not sure why... but I honestly think it may just be that they're having trouble adjusting to the "real" world of advertising/marketing, now that they've been forced out of the niche they'd been in for 20-some-odd years. I really hope they figure it out and get business rolling again. They're good people. Plus, if they're successful, that could mean more freelance work for me. A girl's gotta earn a living! They've said I'll always have an office there and that I'm also welcome to use the color copier from time to time, which is very much appreciated. Things aren't pretty there right now though. Everyone is stressed, naturally. I'm really not sure they'll survive, but I hope so.

Ya know what really sucks? I would have celebrated my 10th anniversary with the company a week after my change to freelance status. A year ago, that would have meant a nice cash bonus. Since that perk evaporated (wouldn't have gotten one even if I had still been staff), at my suggestion the president of the company agreed to give me my Mac workstation as a token of appreciation for 10 years of loyal service. I had been negotiating to purchase it anyway... it's five years old and was in need of a few hundred dollars in upgrades, which I got done last week.

So now I have a nice big iMac on which to work as I embark on my self-employment path, which will be much easier than squinting at this MacBook Pro screen. Don't get me wrong... I LOVE my MacBook! It served me well when it was the only functioning Mac I had at home and the freelance work started rolling in, and it will continue to serve me well as a portable workstation when I feel like working out on the patio. But it's a whole lot easier to work when you can see your entire page layout on a project without it being microscopically small! Now I just need to find a comfortable workspace to set up the "Big Mac" in. As soon as I have time to do that spring cleaning and reorganize the house.......

So.... it's been a very turbulent and hectic few weeks, but overall pretty damn positive for me! Again, I can't thank my freelance clients enough for helping to make this such an auspicious start to my new independent endeavors! Is it too early to start singing the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" (season 1) theme song?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Celestial Reasonings?

We drink a fair amount of tea here in the monkey cage, and quite a bit of it is herbal. We usually have several boxes of Celestial Seasonings teas in the house. Are you familiar with that brand? It's pretty tasty tea. Honey Vanilla Chamomile is one of my favorites, along with Sleepytime and Sleepytime Vanilla.

Now, Celestial claims, on every box of tea bags mind you, that they save 3.5 million pounds of waste every year by not having a string, tag, staple and wrapper on their tea bags.

But they also make their tea available in K-cups, which are NOT easily recyclable, and therefore must be contributing to waste. (Only two-thirds of each K-cup is recyclable.)
So... is it just me, or does it seem kind of hypocritical for them to brag about not having strings, tags, staples and wrappers on their tea bags when they also provide their tea in non-recyclable K-cups?  How can they have it both ways?

Mr. Remarkable Monkey says they're still saving waste, but I think if they're now creating more waste with K-cups, they should stop making statements about how much waste they're saving on the tea bag boxes. But maybe it's just me.

Don't get me wrong... I'll still drink their tea. Just not in K-cups. (We don't have a Keurig anyway.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Monkey at the Theater: Billy Elliot The Musical

Our stereo looked something like this, except my mom
painted it green at some point. I don't know where it ended up,
but I'm sure today's hipsters would probably drool over it.
My mom is a big Broadway musical fan. I can't tell you the number of times she'd play a soundtrack record on the turntable of our big green console stereo cabinet when I was a kid. She'd also sing the songs or play the cassettes in the car on long trips. I grew up on the songs from Camelot, Oklahoma, The Music Man, Man of LaMancha... my brother and I even snuck a listen to Hair when she wasn't home once. She rarely played that one when we were little because of the "adult" content. Later, when we kids had left home, she and a friend or two would get the Broadway season ticket packages at her city's performing arts center. 

Now that she lives in a small coastal NC town, she has to travel all the way to Raleigh to see a broadway show... or she comes to visit me in big city Florida, where we have a couple of great places to see Broadway shows when the touring companies come around. She's come down to see a few shows here, including Legally Blonde, Wicked and A Chorus Line. Mr. Remarkable Monkey and I also try to catch a Broadway show on our own now and then. (Cuz we’re classy like that, y'all.)

This year, she decided to skip a trip down since she and her wonderful husband just went on a nice long cruise. But she wanted to make sure Mr. Remarkable Monkey and I went to see a show this year, and so for Christmas she gifted us with tickets to see Billy Elliot the Musical, in part because she knows the original movie is one of our most favorites. (Do check it out if you haven't seen it.) So went to see the musical version when it was in town last week.

My opinion? It was good, but I didn't like it as much as the movie. I felt like you didn't really get to know Billy as well. Another difference: in the Broadway version, they spent a lot more time on the miners' strike situation, which they probably needed to do to provide more drama and background for the story. But it also made the story a little more political, which some could argue drew focus away from Billy's conflict and struggles with entering the world of dance. Some of the musical numbers also seemed a little... disjointed and unconnected. Like Grandma's only song... it was funny and interesting, and I guess it was meant to explain her love of dancing, but her involvement in the story kind of dead-ended there. Mr. Braithwaite is also pretty much a background character for the whole show, except for one number that he pretty much steals! But then he's relegated back to the background again.

The boy who played Billy for the performance we saw was pretty good, but the boy who played Michael seemed to be a student of the James Brolin School of Acting Junior Academy... really bad over the top overacting. The girl who played Debbie was a little better, but also apparently a fellow JBSA-JA alumna. The other ballet girls, as a group, were hys
terical! Scene stealers, they were.

I also thought the staging was pretty cool. The way the sets were designed and used was simple but efficient and visually effective. And the closing number was a ton of fun. So overall, not the best show I've
seen, but pretty good. Unless you're a big fan of Broadway musicals, you might want to stick to the movie. (Which has a fabulous T-Rex-heavy soundtrack, by the way!)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Is it the Beginning of the End, or Just the Beginning?

I debated whether or not to write this post... in part because nobody really wants to read about whatever personal drama is happening in the monkey cage at the moment, and also because my employer may not be comfortable with it. But since this blog is still fairly anonymous, I think I can give you the gist without divulging too many details that might upset my employer.

I've mentioned previously that my once-secure job is no longer very secure. The dynamics of the company I work for have fundamentally changed due to a major budget restructuring by our clients' parent company, effective as of January 1st of this year. We've known it was coming since August, and efforts have been underway to generate new business since then, but after over 20 years with a unique and cushy niche it's been difficult to attain momentum in a new direction.

About a quarter of the 24 employees on staff left the company on their own before the end of 2012. Since the beginning of this year, another 5 have been laid off and the rest of us have had our hours and pay cut by 20%. Office morale is pretty low right now, and things are looking fairly grim.

It's not all doom and gloom though... While it's slow going, we have made some encouraging progress on the new business front. I'm not sure how much work will result from it, but it's a start. Will the company be able to survive? I really don't know. We're all trying to be optimistic, but I have a feeling that things may get worse before they get better.

I feel very fortunate that my current situation enables me to better ride this wave of uncertainty than some of my coworkers. Things are going to be extremely tight, but with Mr. Remarkable Monkey employed and our house six months away from being paid off, we SHOULD be okay... barring any unforseen financial calamities. As the only remaining employee in the art department, the company will probably need me to handle whatever creative work trickles in, so hopefully I'll be employed for at least a little while longer. I'm also slowly trying to get my portfolio updated in the hopes that I can pick up some freelance work soon. (Yes, I'm a graphic designer if you haven't guessed that already. "Really? Then why the hell haven't you customized the design of this blog, Remarkable Monkey?" Because it hasn't been a priority, pal! This blog is mostly a writing exercise for me, but now that I have extra time on my hands........)

Truth be told, I was already considering cutting back to part time work when the house is paid for so I can go back to school and get my bachelor's degree. I don't know if I actually WILL do that, but this may be the last best chance I have to do it. So maybe fate is trying to tell me something. Either way, while it's a little scary, this shake-up could turn out to be a good thing. All I can do is try to make sure that it DOES turn out that way. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Either Way, It's a Catchy Hook...

Is it just me, or does the hook in the song in the current Kia Soul hamsters-in-space commercial ("In My Mind" - Axwell Mix) sound a lot like the hook in Wreckless Eric's "Whole Wide World"?

 (Couldn't find the short version of the current Kia Soul spot, but this has the song. You can watch the full original "Opera" version here.)

You be the judge. (Love that Wreckless Eric song!)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Truth" in Advertising?

The other night, Mr. Remarkable Monkey and I were watching Top Gear on BBC America (is it just me, or is the British version of Top Gear the only one worth watching?) when one of those wonderful cable-only commercials came on. You know the kind... low-budget production, excitable voice-over announcer, overly obvious acting, etc. The ad was for a certain lightning implement.

Now, I was playing around on my new MacBook Pro and only half paying attention when the commercial started. But the over-emphatic announcer caught my attention. Without looking up from my laptop, I commented to Mr. RM about the "James Brolin School of Acting" quality of the voiceover. (The James Brolin School of Acting tag is a fond moniker we've given to any example of tin pan alley, obvious or just plain bad thespianism. No offense intended to James Brolin, but it was based on a few poor examples of his acting that we've witnessed in the past, but that's just our opinion.)

The ad was full of enthusiastic declarations about the amazing features of the product, delivered with such gusto that one would believe this item is the be-all and end-all of the lighting world! The greatest thing since the electric lightbulb! Truly, this spot could almost be mistaken for a parody of those "seen on TV" ads, but it's for real. And then, without warning, the announcer made the astounding declaration that this particular lantern was made with "genuine metal".  GENUINE METAL! WTF? Mr. RM and I immediately stopped and looked at each other, and then burst out laughing. Genuine metal? Seriously? What other kind of metal is there?

In defense of the copywriter, I'll grant that there probably are many products made from plastic embellished to look like metal, but the exuberance with which the statement was made was completely over the top and comedically ridiculous. Or maybe it was just us. I don't know. Here's a link to the spot... I'll let you be the judge. (The metal magic happens at 1:17.)

On top of the genuine metal claim, the lantern also features an "authentic antique dome"... whatever that is. Have they recycled the dome part from old lanterns? Other versions of this spot say "authentic shatterproof dome" instead of "authentic antique dome"... I wonder which version is the the "legally approved claim" version? The mind boggles.

Apparently, this ad has been around since last summer, but somehow we'd never seen it in the monkey cage. At any rate, we might be late to the party, but we got a solid chuckle out of it! Maybe you will too. I think they may carry these at some big box retailers now too, so feel free to run out and buy yourself one! Be sure to let me know if it lights up the night for ya, and lasts 10,000 hours.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Let's Get This Year Started...

I can honestly say I wasn't sorry to see last year end. 2012 was not very kind to me... it was a year marked by loss: I lost my grandma, then my father, I lost the bulk of my job security and Mr. Remarkable Monkey lost his job altogether, and we lost a dear friend just before Thanksgiving. We've also had to deal with Hobey's diagnosis of Cushing's (along with the expensive testing and ongoing treatment), and watch him struggle with arthritis issues as he gets older. All in all, as I sat here on New Year's Eve, I mostly just felt like bidding 2012 goodbye and good riddance.

But it wasn't all bad.... Mr. RM and I are both reasonably healthy, and I even managed to lose 15 pounds in the past year (ten more and I'll really be a skinny bitch). And although my employment status is a bit shaky, I DO still have my job for now, and Mr. RM started his new job last month so we both have paychecks coming in at the moment. Our mortgage is really close to being paid off, so I'm hoping our employment situation will remain stable for at least another few months until we get that knocked out. But if not, we'll be fine. We'll figure it out.

We also enjoyed some fun with friends and family last year. We saw some good movies and one rockin' Broadway show. We had some great meals and tried a couple new restaurants. We got to paddle down the river in a dragon boat, a truly cool experience. I got to visit with some family I haven't seen in years, which was fun despite of purpose of the trip being to spread my grandparents' ashes. And I was able to find that lost puppy a good home last month. We got an update from her new mommy last week... she named the pup Zoey, and she's adjusting to her new home well and getting lots of love.

In the grand scheme of things 2012 could have been much worse, and it was for a lot of folks. I mean, I wasn't shot at while at the movies, and none of my friends' kids were shot at while at school. My nephew is in Afghanistan and may or may not have been shot at, but so far remains safe and uninjured. Our home wasn't flattened by a superstorm, or by fire or flood. None of our friends and loved ones were mangled or worse in a car/train/plane crash. We haven't gone hungry and have all the necessities, most creature comforts and even a few small luxuries. So I'm trying to focus on the positive as we move into the new year. Lucky 13? Maybe. I'm just hoping it will be a better year for all of us.

Happy New Year, y'all.