Year in Review

NYE has never been a big holiday for me, and this year is no different.  Probably because my friends and I don’t really drink.  But, despite being a drag for many people, 2011 was pretty decent for me.

Albert grew from this:

 

to this:

I started the year at  Disney World, went to Chicago in July, NYC in September, and San Francisco in October:

Disney also marked the point when Marc sent the infamous “there are so many things I want to say to you” text which kick started our quick 3 month decline from him being one of my best friends to be someone I never want to talk to again, but I’m over that.

I was unemployed for 3 months (not long at all in comparison to many others), and even though I dislike my work schedule, it could be a lot worse, and I least I don’t hate my job and dread going to work every morning.  I make good money  and it’s a good interim position for the space between undergrad and grad.

Exactly one month after my start date I moved out of my parents house and into my very own apartment for the first time (let me tell you, life without roommates is heaven):

At work I made two new best guy friends- one’s engaged and the other is not my type (and I’m not his), so it’s all good. And I reconnected with my old roommate from Stony Brook who I’d had a falling out with a few years ago.

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2011 had a lot of changes; 2012, by contrast, should be fairly quiet.  Brian’s getting married in October, I’m going to Japan in November, but other than that there’s not a lot planned (aside from the world ending, but that’s all the way in December). Then again, you never know what could happen…..

Happy New Year!

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Scrapbook Fever

Despite not being very crafty or artistic in general, I enjoy scrapbooking.  I don’t make them all intricate and cutesy, but I like having my pictures put together in a way that facilitates story telling (or a way that just jogs my own fond memories).  I made my first scrapbook shortly after graduating high school.  It was rather small as I didn’t take many pictures during the first 18 years of my life. My next scrapbook came after my first year in NY (I completed it last summer by adding about 15 more pages from the 2+ years I lived in the City).  My biggest project was after I came back from Russia.  St Petersburg and Moscow each have their own book.  But last week I suddenly realized that I hadn’t scrapbooked any of my 2010 or 2011 trips.  Turns out, I missed eight: Cocoa Beach, Montreal, Portland, Philly, Boston, Disney, Chicago, and San Francisco (tellingly, six of these were from 2010 and only two were from 2011….no wonder I feel like an addict going through withdrawal…).  I went though all my pics from these trips (and I take a lot of pics when I travel….) and picked out 248 worthy of going into a scrapbook.  Yesterday I completed 5 of the trips, today I have to finish Boston, Philly, and Chicago. I would have finished them all yesterday except I had to go home for the dreaded family holiday photo (followed by delicious dinner at Imos, so I suppose it was worth it).  A normal person might do one or two trips a day and stretch out the project, but I’ve never claimed to be “normal” when it comes to my hobbies.  It was all I could do to force myself to leave the rest for today rather than staying up until midnight finishing it all yesterday…

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone is having an amazing Christmas!  I read the post I put up last year and am happy to report that I am in a much better place this time around (last year was an emotional rollercoaster what with graduating college, quitting my job, moving 1500 miles back home and just upending my life in general, and that’s not even counting the personal drama…).  Last night was the traditional Christmas Eve dinner with my dad’s side of the family.  Uncle Carl and Aunt Linda showed up for the first time in literally years. They left right at the beginning, but it was still good to see them. I saw my 8 month old baby cousin for the first time, and next year there will be another.  That side of the family just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  Oh well, the more the merrier, though Grandma’s house was already too small about 3 cousins ago 🙂

 

This morning was present time with just my immediate family.  Syd and Jake get soooo excited this time of year, it’s hilarious.  And contagious.  They both still believe in Santa Claus and we all had a serious discussion about how the reindeer keep us from hearing them (Jake thinks they hover over the roof, Syd thinks their hooves are magical).  Ah, to be that young and carefree again….

 

This afternoon we’re having Christmas lunch with my mom’s side of the family.  I can’t wait to see little cousin Z.  She’s so precious, and so delicate-looking, like a little doll (oddly enough the rest of her family is rather big-boned…).  Then tonight my parents and I are going to see Sherlock Holmes 2.  I’ve heard both good and bad things about it (more bad than good) but at least it’ll keep us entertained for a couple of hours.  After that it’s back home to Creve Coeur so I can go into work and get overloaded with claims tomorrow before getting 2 days off, working three days, and then having 4 days off.  Gotta love the holidays 🙂

Anywhere but here

“Where would we be without our passions to drive us?”

“Happy.”

This was the exchange between two characters in a book I recently read, and I find it ringing somewhat true for me.  My passion (one of them, anyway) is traveling.  I have this insatiable wanderlust that always makes me want to be wherever I’m not, and not want to be wherever I am.  That’s not to say I’m miserable, but I am always dreaming of greener pastures somewhere else, especially when I’m stuck in a place like STL with little to do, especially in the winter.  Even NYC couldn’t corral my dreaming.

 

Next November I’m going to Japan.  I decided this a few months ago.  I planned it so far in advance to give me time to save up both vacation days and money.  But now I’m finding myself more and more excited about my late summer 2013 trip to London, Paris, and Rome.  So excited that I’m tempted to switch the timing of the two.  But then my head reminds my heart that the timing is better the way it is.  But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about my trip in 20 months much more than my one in 11.  In fact, I’m so in love with the idea of a European holiday that if someone offered me the chance to move to London or Paris tomorrow, I don’t think I’d hesitate.

 

I’m also finding it hard to reconcile myself to no trips between now and next November.  My heart is telling my head that I need to go somewhere.  If not somewhere new then at least back to NY.  But my head is telling my heart that the $500 or so that would be spent on such a trip would be better off saved for the Japan trip.  Then my heart tells my head I have enough money for both, and my head tells my heart that it doesn’t matter and I should save up for a better experience overseas anyway, etc.  Sigh. It’s endless, and it makes me  wonder, is the first sign of insanity having long, drawn out arguments with yourself? If so, I’m on my way over the edge 😉

Back again….for now

I haven’t been regularly active on facebook since December 2009….until today, that is. For some reason I just got this urge to reactivate for more than 5 seconds at a time.  But I knew that if I was going to make it for the long haul, I had to make some massive changes to my profile.  It started with unfriending, slash and burn style….. High school acquaintances I hadn’t talked to since 2007 (many of whom I’d rarely spoken to even when we were in the same building 8 hours a day 5 days a week…) – Gone.  Almost all of my K12 coworkers – Gone.   Some were harder than others – I was fb friends with some interesting people, but, you know what, I’d made it 2 years without knowing the details of their daily lives, there was no need to get into it again.

 

One of my main issues with fb was the information overload, but that should be much less of a problem now that my friends list has plummeted from 80ish to 31 or so.  And I’ve “unliked” any pages having to do with politics, religion, or other controversial things like that that could subconsciously stress me out.  I’ve also blocked 20 questions, farmville, and other spamming games.  I want to use fb how it was originally supposed to be used – as a tool for connecting with your friends.  My actual friends.  Not my friend’s friend’s friend’s brother.  Now let’s see how it works out….

 

PS:  I’d forgotten how bad LJB was. I was editing the pics that show up at the top of my profile, and one was a sticky note I’d been tagged in that said “No Phone Sex at Work,” one was a pic EK had tagged me of with a big truck that said “Lube” on the back, and one was a pic of the folders for our clients “PMS, Inc. and Big Willie, Inc…..”

It takes all kinds

When I go to Starbucks I usually want to get away from the world and just relax somewhere that’s not my apartment. It often annoys me when inconsiderate people practically scream into their cell phones or to the people standing/sitting eighteen inches away from them or when stay-at-home mothers bring in their children who would love to be anywhere but here, but sometimes I can’t help but be amused by all the different types of people Starbucks plays host to. Such as:

1.  The three people who inspired this post- the soon to be divorced couple and their therapist going over their assignments for the week.  Very loudly.  So much for patient-doctor confidentiality…..

2.  The regular Gerry (who incidentally lives in the building across from me in my apartment complex) who seems perpetually drunk, belligerent, and ignorant…but who is a favorite here none-the-less.  Luckily we sit on opposite sides of the store.

3.  The pastor and the pupil.  For about a month in the summer a pastor/priest/something would have loud bible study with a 40 year old new convert.  I alternated between annoyed and amused.  Mostly annoyed.

4.  On that same note, a pastor and his “gifted” congregant.  About three weeks ago some woman had about an hour long conversation with her new religious leader about how she felt he and the church were abusing her special connection with god and weren’t showing appropriate appreciation for her gifts.  She kept alluding to be abused even more at the church she left, and how she was hoping his would be different. Oy….

5.  The interviewer/interviewee.  I’m sure they’re trying to keep it casual and help the person relax, but interviews are nerve-wracking enough without all the distractions of a Starbucks, imo…

6.  The hotshot business people.  It changes every week, but there’s always some group of businessmen/women loudly discussing their latest important project, as if the rest of us will not only care, but be impressed.  Hey, whatever gets you through the day and makes you feel you make a difference with what you do…. but I personally prefer to let my actions and work speak for themselves.

Writer’s block

I remember when I used to post on here every day or two (no idea what exactly I wrote about since my life has never been what others would consider exciting…). Lately my habit has been to post only on Wednesdays while I’m chilling at Starbucks, but somehow I find myself with even less to write about.  Perhaps it’s because waiting gives me a chance to either forget about or think better of things I would have written about previously….

Really, there were only a few things of note that happened this past week:

1)  I quit my job at the theater. The extra money was nice, but it wasn’t worth the time I was giving up and I didn’t like most of the managers and several of the coworkers, so I didn’t see what I was really gaining from the insanity of two jobs (plus it was messing with my hockey viewing schedule)…. I gave my 2 weeks on November 27th, telling them that my last day would be Sunday, December 11th.  Surprisingly the last day they scheduled me was December 9th, and I can’t say I’m complaining. I felt a little bad that I didn’t tell anyone it was my last shift (except for the scheduling manager of course, who apparently didn’t tell any of the other managers because they were talking as if I would be back the next week and I didn’t bother to correct them…), but I’ll likely never see them again (especially as I prefer the other movie theater down the road), so whatev.

2) Sydney had her Kindergarten Christmas concert last night.  I generally dislike those kinds of events, but she wanted me to be there, and it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  I felt really old when I saw that my high school bio teacher’s twins, who were born my junior year, were in the program too….can’t believe that in May it’ll be 5 years since I graduated.  Scary.

3) The annual employee meeting was on Monday.  Even though we lost $90 million because of the catastrophes (Joplin and Huntsville tornadoes, hail storms all over the Midwest, etc), we’re all still getting bonuses in March.  Sweet.  And our managers are being forced to reevaluate our holiday work schedule and revise it so we stop getting screwed because the holidays happen to fall on the weekend.  Even sweeter.

4) I read a 520 page book in 3 days because I had two books waiting for pickup at the library, and rather than being rational, turning in the book unread, and checking it out at a later date, I went on a marathon reading spree.  Incidentally, The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley is an amazing book that wouldn’t have let me put it down anyway 🙂