Friday, December 28, 2012

2012: My (rapid fire) Year in Review

Once again, Divulge with Dani has outdone herself by coming up with the idea of a year-in-review blog post. And, to make it nice and straight forward for us all, she's even assembled a smattering of questions to help us along.

Here is my summary of the year 2012:

1) What did you do in 2012 that you have never done before?

There were plenty of "firsts" for me, not all of them positive, so I'll try and list some of the more pleasant experiences:

- I attended a Major League Spring Training baseball game in Phoenix this Spring and also traveled to the Dominican, Turks & Caicos, Curacao, and Aruba for the first time this Fall.

- I was the maid-of-honor in my BFF's wedding and had the pleasure of organizing a bridal shower and stagette for her.

- I joined Pinterest and learned how to make my own soap. LOL.... okay, well, the soap part is a lie, but I really did join Pinterest.


2) Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions and will you make more next year?

No, and of course.

3) Any major life events happen in your life?

Sadly, our little dog Mickey passed away in March.

4) Where did you travel?

Oops, I should have read the list of questions before I started replying because I've already given part of this away in #1. Nonetheless, I was lucky enough to travel to the following locales this year: Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, Texas, Florida, Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos, Curacao, Aruba, plus various small towns throughout Alberta. (Including Drumheller, which is one of my favourite places in this province.)

5) What did you lack in 2012 that you would like more of in 2013?

The willpower to stick to a healthy lifestyle and the patience required when raising a two year old.

6) What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory?

March 28 - this was the day our little Mickey left us.

7) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Hands down, it was getting my daughter to overcome her extreme fear of strangers. That, and getting her potty trained. I can't tell you how many sleepless nights I spent worrying about these two things, and I'm infinitely relieved to have helped her overcome these hurdles. (Sure, she's still terrified of public washrooms.... but aren't we all?)

8) What was your biggest failure?

Again, lacking the willpower to stick to a healthy lifestyle. 

9) Did you suffer injury or illness?

No real injuries here (knock on wood), but I did seem to be sick at least once monthly. I'm sure it has something to do with kids being disease carriers, plus my lack of natural immunity..... you know, thanks to that unhealthy lifestyle I mentioned.

10) What was the best purchase you made?

Portable DVD player that kept my daughter entertained and potentially saved us from being kicked off one of our many international flights.

11)  What things/people inspired you the most?

I can't think of any one person or thing at the moment.... but, generally speaking, I admire people who somehow manage to remain happy and optimistic in even the worst of times. This is something to which I aspire.

12) What things/people disappointed you the most?

Truthfully, I'm disappointed most in myself. I am my own worst enemy, and I need to start taking care of myself again so that I can create a happy, healthy home for my family.

13) Where did most of your money go?

1. Mortgage    2. Daycare     3. Travel       4. Our new fence

14) What did you get really excited about?

My daughter's Christmas Concert in the school gym of her daycare. I was beyond excited to be there that night, despite the fact that she all of a sudden turned people-shy and refused to perform, haha.

15) What song will always remind you of 2012?

Rolling In The Deep - by Adele ....simply because it's great to work out to, and it was on repeat on my iPod for many sessions on the treadmill.

16) Compared to this time last year, are you....?
       - Happier or hardened? (A little of both, depending on the subject matter.)
       - Thinner or fatter? (Fatter, sadly.)
·         -  Richer or poorer? (If we're strictly speaking in a financial sense, then poorer, LOL.)

17) What do you wish you'd done more of?

Exercising and spending QUALITY time with my family.

18) What do you wish you'd done less of?


19) What was your favourite TV program? Least favourite?

Favourite show on TV this year was Flashpoint, and I'm so saddened that the series has come to an end.

Least favourite show? Wow, I don't know. Probably that Toddlers and Tiaras show on TLC. I've never actually seen it, so it's not fair of me to judge.... but the commercials alone really anger me.

20) What was the best book you read? Worst book?

The best book I read was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I brought it with me everywhere I went, simply because I didn't want to set it down.

In terms of the worst book I read, it would probably be Unsweetined by Jodie Sweetin, the actress who played Stephanie Tanner on Full House.

Now, please don't misunderstand me here -- this book was an incredible read, and I enjoyed it very much. But it also painted a very ugly picture for me involving drug and alcohol addiction, and it just boggles my mind to know everything Sweetin has been through.

21) What was your favourite song/album/artist? Least favourite song/album/artist?

Even though I listen to CFCW country radio, my favourite song was Rolling In The Deep by Adele..... and a close second would be Springsteen by Eric Church.

I don't have a favourite album of the year, but Eric Church was probably my favourite artist for 2012.

Least favourite song.....? Well, there's this tune (if you can call it that) by a local Canadian country artist, and it's titled Train Wreck. In my opinion, the song is a train wreck unto itself. I have to mute the radio every time it comes on at work.

22) Favourite film of this year? Least favourite?

I only visited a movie theatre once this year, on Mother's Day (my ONE evening off, LOL). We saw The Lucky One, which was the film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book. Naturally, I preferred the book, but given that I didn't see any other films this year, that one has to be my favourite by default.

23) What is one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

To have been healthier. Full stop.

24) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

Fashion? That's funny. Basically, if it fit, I wore it.

25) What kept you sane? 

My family. (Even though they're also often the source of my stress, I would have fallen apart without them!)

26) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Fancy the least?

There's no denying I have a celebrity crush on Sergio Di Zio. His smile is infectious!

And, although I'm still a big fan of Brad Sherwood, I admit some of his Twitter comments regarding religion have been a big turn-off for me. (It's his account, and he can say what he wants, so such is life.....)

27) What political issue stirred you the most? Stirred you the least?

Admittedly, I've really shied away from watching the news this year and have turned a blind eye to many of the issues that made headlines. Is that an ideal way to live? Of course not, and I need to do better to become more informed in this next year.

So, in terms of the political issues that stirred me the least? Umm, it would have been ALL OF THEM. 

(haha, I made a funny there at my own expense....)

28) What news story did you like the most? Hate the most?

Oh, wow, again, I didn't really watch the news this year...... but I'd have to have been living in a hole to not hear about the shootings at the Connecticut elementary school a few weeks ago. That was a devastating event, and yet it brought to light that many of those teachers were heroes that day.

29) What sports moment did you like the most? Hate the most?

Pretty much everything from the London Olympics made for wonderful sports moments this year.

My least favourite moment came recently when the New York Mets traded away their Cy Young winner, R.A. Dickey. Foolish, foolish, foolish.

30) Favourite Blog (other than yours)? Blog Post (other than yours)?

Hmmm, I believe this was summarized in one of my previous entries here.

In terms of a favourite post, a friend of mine sent me a link to Rachel Martin's blog, and my favourite entry was this one in which she wrote a letter to her fellow moms who feel like they're failing. This blog post made me cry, as I could relate to it 100%.

I printed it out, and it now sits laminated on my dresser at home.

31) Favourite Blog Post (of yours)?

Ahh, my love affair with Nintendo and Super Mario Bros. still makes me laugh, even though it highlights the fact that I'm a bad parent. (See my post entitled: Super.)

32) Who is your 2012 Person of the Year?

That would be my husband. He works two jobs, volunteers at our church, and is out of the home for an average of 60 hours/week.... yet he still manages to remain upbeat and take it all in stride. (Most of the time anyway, haha.)

33) Who do you miss?

Plenty of relatives and friends have passed away over the years, so I guess I just miss the moments that could have been.

34) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

If you're fortunate to have everything you need and a few of the things you want, then you're better off than most other people in this world. Take nothing for granted.

35) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun - please shine down on me."

- as sung by my daughter during our daily drive to daycare. :)

All right, head over to Divulge with Dani to read about her year in review.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Friday's Top Five - Things for which I am grateful

I tend to be a bit of a Debbie Downer. It's true, I know this about myself, and it's something I need to work on constantly.

So when Divulge with Dani suggested we share our thoughts about what we're grateful for this Christmas, I thought it was a brilliant idea. If nothing else, it should at least give my thousands hundreds tens five readers a break from my chronic complaining.

Friday's Top Five - Things for which I am grateful:

5) Holiday Classics

Like most everyone else, I love and look forward to the timeless Christmas shows featured on TV year after year, and it has extra meaning for me now that I can share them with my daughter. It just boggles my mind to know that she can watch the same Charlie Brown Christmas special as I did when I was a kid.

But my favourite 'classics' don't just involve television: Candy Cane Lane, which features several city blocks all lit up in festive holiday lights each year, is another staple for which I am grateful.

We're lucky enough to live near this neighbourhood, and though it's only been open for a week this season, we've already been through it four times so far. My daughter has a new-found fascination with Christmas lights, and it's just so much more enjoyable seeing these displays with her in tote. (Which is why we keep going back again and again and again....).

4)  Free Healthcare

While it's true that nothing in life is truly free, I do feel completely blessed to live in a nation where healthcare is considered our birthright.

By no means is our system flawless, but we're all guilty of taking it for granted.

I don't want to get into any political debates -- this isn't the time or place for that -- but I simply can't imagine having to pay out of pocket for something as basic as seeing a doctor when I'm sick.

As mentioned, I have a young daughter who brings home all sorts of maladies from day care, and I also have an aging mother who is requiring increased time and attention from health care professionals. And, quite frankly, I believe that if we were living anywhere else, we simply wouldn't be able to afford the care they require and deserve.

3) My Job

For all the complaining I do (and, yes, I know it's a lot), I am utterly grateful for the fact that I'm employed.

Don't get me wrong, if we won a super-sized mega jackpot lottery, I would eventually stop working (full-time anyway) and would devote my time to just living, but I know there are thousands of qualified, skilled workers who would give anything to take my place in the workforce.

And, as an added bonus, I do actually like my job.

Well, on most days anyway. But don't tell anyone that I admitted to this out loud. Ahem.

2) My Health

Oh boy, where to begin? I am probably at the unhealthiest I have ever been in my life, and yet I'm so grateful that things aren't worse.

In my teens and twenties, it was all about vanity for me. Of course I wanted to look good and maybe, just maybe, meet someone with whom I could share my life.

But these days, my focus has turned to my health, mostly because it isn't just about me anymore. I don't know if I mentioned it before (ha!), but I have a young daughter who needs her Mommy to be healthy.

What would happen to her if I wasn't here? The mere thought scares the crap out of me, which is why I need to stop taking my health for granted.

1) My Family

It's been a week now since the horrific and senseless shootings took place in a Connecticut elementary school, and it will only be a matter of time before the media attention dies down and the victims' families are left to mourn on their own...... but the agonizing pain and the void they're feeling now will always remain. And, sadly, Christmas will probably always be a reminder of this tragedy for them.

I think we've all tried to put ourselves in those people's shoes, wondering how we would react or deal with the fact that our loved ones are never coming home..... and it's just so devastating to even think about.

One of the few positives that immediately surfaces out of tragedies such as this is that the rest of us outsiders are reminded of just how lucky we are.

We still have our families.

Regardless of how horrible things can sometimes feel for me, I am truly blessed to me able to come home each night to a family that loves me unconditionally, flaws and all.

That's it for this week. Leave some comments and head on over to see what Divulge With Dani is grateful for this week.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday's Top Five - Least Favourite Christmas Carols

Let the Christmas Crazy continue!

At first I thought choosing my top five favourite Christmas carols was difficult, but this week's task of selecting the five I hate the most is proving to be almost as impossible.


Yes, much to Divulge with Dani's chagrin, I'm one of those dorks who loves the fact that certain radio stations do nothing but play Christmas music for several weeks leading up to the big day.

In fact, in my office at work, I have the luxury of tapping into one of the many un-interuppted holiday radio stations online so that I can listen to the joys of the season during my full work day. All day, every day.

(And, yes, I'm sure that everyone who enters my office is mortified. But, frankly, that's how I roll.)

So, as I was saying, given that I love this music so much, it was fairly difficult for me to come up with five songs that I hate...... but here goes!

Friday's Top Five - Least Favourite Christmas Carols:

5) Sleigh Ride (by SheDaisy)

Let me clarify: I do actually really love this song. But I loathe the SheDaisy version.

I'm sorry, ladies, I know you are talented and have great vocals, but you've ruined all that is good and warm about this tune.

To put it into perspective, I would prefer listening to the Disney Sing-A-Long version of Sleigh Ride with Mickey Mouse and Scrooge McDuck over the awful SheDaisy version any day.

4) Santa Baby (by Madonna)

I'm torn over this song. I don't really hate it, per se. I actually kind of like it.... except for the fact that Madonna's done a cover.

I can't really put my finger on why I dislike having her sing this song, but I think it has to do with the fact that I find her to be more smutty than sexy, and this tune just perpetuates that notion.

It makes me feel icky when I hear it, and for that reason I simply cannot tolerate it among the gems of holiday radio.

3) Wonderful Christmastime (by Paul McCartney)

Paul McCarney recently played a couple of concerts here last week and, the way the media was telling it, this was the second coming of Christ.

To which I, of course, stood up and said to my husband, "I don't really get what's so great about him. Or The Beatles for that matter."

(Okay, okay, I get that I'm in the minority here, but please don't send me hate mail. I do like some songs by The Beatles, but for the most part I'm certain they were high on LSD during a lot of their writing sessions.)

Ahem, anyway, back to this Christmas song: I just don't like it.

It gets stuck in my head to the point where I just want Christmas to be over already so that I can go another year without being subjected to this tune. (If you can even call it that.)

2) Please Daddy, Don't Get Drunk This Christmas (by Alan Jackson)

I don't even know where to start with this song.

It is so incredibly sad, and I know it's a story that needs to be told because there are undoubtedly multiple families that will endure this same situation over Christmas, but still. That doesn't mean I have to enjoy listening to it on the radio.

If anything good could come from this horrible song, I hope it's that someone who is a chronic drinker will hear it and decide that the booze just isn't worth it.

(That's really the only reason I can think of as to why Alan Jackson would choose to remake this John Denver "classic".) Ugh.

1) Last Christmas (by any and all artists who dared to record this irritating display of "music")

So, it should come as no surprise that I hate this song. With a passion.

Both Divulge with Dani and I have REPEATEDLY expressed our dislike for this Wham! song and all versions thereafter.

There are, like, only 15 words in the entire song, and it's so horrible that it's almost funny. (Almost, but not quite.)

I get that this song is about heartbreak, and, believe me, I've been there and have drowned my sorrows in more than my share of break-up songs..... but this one just has no place among the beloved Christmas carols of the season.

I mean, really? We go from Anne Murray's "O Come All Ye Faithful" to THIS disgrace of a song?!?

It has NOTHING to do with Christmas.

It just repeats the same line over and over again.

And it sucks.

To make matters worse, Taylor Swift has a version out on radio, which means that this song will continue to live on for years to come on both pop and country radio.

Thanks a lot, Taylor. Thanks a lot.

...... Somebody please pass me the holiday nog .......


All right, that's it for this week. Head on over to see what Divulge with Dani has come up with as well. (I'm pretty sure we'll have the same #1 pick, haha.)