January 1 - December 30, 2011


January 1, 2011
» a year in review -- 2010

Year End Review -- 40 Questions

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Saw the most movies in the theatre (9) of any previous year (thanks to a new dollar theatre), saw the same movie three times at the theatre (twice!), saw a movie where it was just me in the theatre, saw an armadillo in my mom's yard, changed the oil in a mower, and traveled the most of any previous year (see question 5), all to places I've never been before.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2010, I only wanted to know my job better, and I'd say I've done that.

For 2011, my goal is to try not to be so sensitive.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No -- thankfully!

5. Where did you travel?
I took six business trips: to Washington (state), New Orleans, Kentucky, Arizona, Georgia, and Missouri.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2011, that would be awesome.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
No one date really stands out...

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I accomplished at least three of the more ambitious projects on my To Do list.

9. What was your biggest failure?
At least twice, people asked me a Very Important Question, and I *totally* blew it on the answers.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Minor illness ("sinus business," as I call it), and recurring travel sickness when I fly before noon

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A (refurbished) DVR/VCR that was less than $100 at BestBuy.com. I've been planning for years to move some of our home video recordings to DVD, and I've actually been able to put a dent in that task.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Caren, at work. She's so positive, and we're really like-minded on a lot of things. Both of those things are so refreshing when sometimes it seems as if everyone else I know has issues and lives to disagree.
(Runner-up: my mom's neighbor who helped us with the huge task of spreading truckloads of gravel.)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Maybe not "appalled and depressed," but there were several contenders for "behavior repeatedly disappointed you," and the most disappointing had to be my boyfriend, who let me down in a big way. [See the October 15, 2010 entry.]

14. Where did most of your money go?
To paying for my apartment

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting to work reduced hours for a few weeks during the summer at my job

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Possibly Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi," because I heard it at the height of my latest celebrity obsession (see question 33).

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? happier... I'm happy to report :)
Older or wiser? alternately both
Thinner or fatter? fatter. That inch I can pinch seems to be growing. :sigh:
Richer or poorer? richer, but then again I was unemployed for 9 months in 2009

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Connected with other people

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Dwelling on bad feelings

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Since we woke to a rare Alabama white Christmas, I took pictures first thing. My mom, sister and I opened our gifts, then ate lunch and hung out, which is what we usually do.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
No

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I've enjoyed re-discovering Scarecrow and Mrs. King on DVD and on-line.

23. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Probably the boss

24. What was the best book you read?
I read 4 books and liked them all: "Cherry Ames, Camp Nurse" by Helen Wells, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, "The Lure of the Mask," by Harold MacGrath, and I re-read "Pride and Prejudice," by Jane Austen.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
At work we re-lived the classics for a few weeks and listened to songs from the '50s and early '60s. (Every time "The Twist" came on, we invariably twisted in our chairs. It was great!)

26. What did you want and get?
I wanted the problem with our VCR to be only that the heads needed cleaning -- and that was it!

27. What did you want and not get?
Feedback from the boss on my job performance.

28. What was your favorite film of the year?
Films Released This Year and Really Liked: How To Train Your Dragon, Iron Man 2, Knight and Day, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Red (saw the last two three times)
Films Released This Year and Liked: Date Night, Shrek Forever After, The Bounty Hunter
Films Seen This Year For The First Time and Really Liked: Rocky, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Iron Man

29. What did you do on your birthday?
I took the day off of work. I had my favorite lunch with my mother and my sister, which included cherry pie. I went shopping and found a few little things. I ended the day watching Iron Man for the first time. Oh, and I had almost 30 happy b-day wishes from my Facebook friends. (I love you guys!)

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If it hadn't felt as if so many aspects of my life are stuck at Square One.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
A work in progress. I'm still trying to find "my look."

32. What kept you sane?
Faith... and when that seemed strained, brief mental "escapes" through TV shows or website work

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Would you believe Sylvester Stallone?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The elections

35. Who did you miss?
Brown Eyes, one of our cats, disappeared back in August. :(

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Dan, from work

37. What changed the most in your life this year?
My hair. I got a 'do that I've never tried before, and it's silly but it kinda does make me feel like a different person. In a good way!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"I do believe it's gonna be another red letter day. I do believe it's gonna be another chance for me to take His Word and walk by faith." ~ Red Letter Day, by Newsong


February 24, 2011
» let the punishment *so* not fit the crime

My sister was sent home on Monday from her job at the grocery store. Apparently someone had seen her take the seven(!) spare(!) pennies(!) that were left on her cash register. When they asked her about it, she was caught off guard, I guess, because she denied doing it.

At that, the manager switched into super-righteous mode and was all, "I didn't expect that you'd LIE about it! This changes everything!" He told her to call back to see if she still had a job. She called Monday evening; the manager said that he hadn't decided, and she should call back the next morning. So she did, and he *still* hadn't decided. (We're thinking, "Now, Bruce, don't hurt yourself with all of this Deep Pondering." :rollseyes:)

So this was Tuesday, and he said that he'd call her back that evening. But he didn't. That's right: HE lied... but I suspect that the irony was lost on him. When my sister tried to call on Wednesday, she learned that he was off. He would be in at noon today, so she went to the store to ask him face to face.

She's fired.

I really can't believe it. She's been with them since 2002 and has an exemplary record. To be let go over something like this is really out-of-the-blue. And for that manager to drag it out like that -- when I'd previously thought him to be so professional -- well, now I can only see him as a childish game player.

My mom had worked for the same place (although, do you still call it "work" when they go for weeks at a time without putting her on the schedule?), but she quit over the way they did my sister. Mom insists that they've been trying to get rid of them both for a while now, and I can no longer tell her she's just being paranoid. Needless to say we'll no longer be shopping at... Rhymes-With-Schmublix. If they're one of the nation's top 100 employers, I'd sure hate to see the worst!


March 21, 2011
» six billion people to choose from, and he calls me again!

Ray, The Ex Who Will Not Go Away, tried to call me again yesterday. And having said that, I can save a lot of time in this post by pointing you to the July 25, 2010 entry with the similar title and the same situation, because it all still applies. I'm still absolutely boggled as to what makes this guy keep calling me.

The only difference is that the last time, he sounded friendly and upbeat, as if him calling me was the most natural thing in the world -- and not a notion so inexplicable, so completely far-fetched that even the most Insane Troll Logic would stop and say, "Wait, maybe this is a bad idea..." This time he sounded a bit forlorn in his brief, quiet, "Anne, this is Ray. Call me." Um, yeah, he had a better chance with upbeat, because sad and moody I had *more* than enough of in the year before we parted ways.

And at this point it's been over ten years that we broke up. Over! Ten! Years! Some people may think, "Oh, you should be flattered! You still have a hold on him after all this time!" Believe me, the *only* thing that has a hold on him is that he wants what he doesn't have. True to form, when he had me, he didn't want me.

Obviously, he still doesn't have even the tiniest clue how positively miserable I was during the last part of our so-called relationship, or he would understand what a waste of time it is for him to even think about me, much less call.

I made a note of his number, and I'm actually thinking of calling and telling him in no uncertain terms to forget about me. I'd love to say the line I thought up after he called whenever-it-was years ago, "You didn't call me all those times I wanted you to, so stop calling me now." I could explain that all those tears I cried must've washed him right out of my heart, and I could finish with, "I'm still dating that guy I told you about five years ago, but even if I wasn't -- even if you were the Last Man on Earth! -- I still would not be with you."

Then again, this is a guy who just doesn't seem to get what I'm trying to convey. With his track record, I suspect that if I did call him, even if just to tell him not to call, he'd somehow be encouraged by that. :boggles, yet again:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see whether my mom's phone bundle includes the call blocking service.


May 4, 2011
» way too close for comfort

As you may have heard by now, last Wednesday Alabama was hit with several tornadoes. The area my apartment is in didn't have any damage, so Thursday morning, I had no idea how bad things were in some places. I got up as usual, got ready, and went on to work. When I arrived at work I found that our phone and internet weren't working. So, I turned on my cell phone (um, yeah, I don't leave it on all the time, because it's rare that anyone calls) and found a message from the boss that we wouldn't be working that day.

I locked up the office and headed on toward Mom's. Traffic was backing up big time on the highway, and I noticed that every gas station I passed had people lining up at the pumps. Still clueless as to the extent of the damage, I wondered if everyone had heard of an impending price increase, or something.

When I got to Mom's place, I saw that she had nine big trees down, but praise the Lord none of them hit anything, except for one that leaned over onto the barn. (If one of the biggest ones had fallen five feet to the right it would've crushed our best storage shed.) Also at Mom's, the power and the phones were out and had been since 4:30 pm the day before. Power was also out in the city of Huntsville: hence gas stations couldn't pump, so people were scrambling into neighboring areas to buy gas.

The fam visited my apartment for meals from Thursday to Sunday. They tried sleeping over on Friday night, but I don't think any of us got much sleep. We're not used to people being in the same room, plus the foam mattress they'd brought to sleep on wasn't too comfortable.

Saturday morning we all rode over to Mom's to feed the cats. We planned to work in the yard picking up some of the bed of twigs that had fallen in the storm. When we got to Mom's, there were five or six pickup trucks in the drive and 10-15 people standing around! We pulled in and someone in a truck pointed us to Mom's next door neighbor. They were volunteers there to help clean up and they'd already cut up the tree that had been blocking our driveway, and were asking about cutting up the others. We were like, "Whatever you want to do is fine with us!" (They had been concerned about making tracks in the yard with their tractors.) Those guys stayed about three hours, cutting up the trees and moving the logs into a pile. I helped two ladies drag some of the lighter branches into the piles.

Oh, and one of the guys that was working in the yard said that the tornado destroyed a house and a church that are CLOSE to mom's place, I mean, maybe as close as 1/4 of a mile! That same tornado left a trail of destruction several miles long and nearly half a mile wide in some places. They say that chunks of several different cities look like war zones. The destruction is so bad in places south of here that even long-time residents of the area can't recognize what street they're on! With that in mind, we're not at all complaining about losing just a few trees and being slightly inconvenienced by the loss of power.

When the workers were done, I was just so awed and grateful that all of those people took their time to come and help us. Some of them worked for our neighbor's son (he has a construction business), but some of them were just members of a large church from the next county who decided to get together and go out and volunteer to help cleanup. We actually felt kinda bad that they did so much. It would've been more than enough if they'd only cleared the trees that affected our drive, and then they could've left the ones that were just out in the yard and went on to help somebody that really needed it. Still, every time I think of it, I'm just so thankful, and I'm so proud of the people who share my community. Say what you want about the South: I truly wouldn't live anywhere else.


July 12, 2011
» foreshadowing

For the past few weeks the boss has been dropping hints that he's concerned about whether we'll have more work after our current amount runs out in September. Knowing how tight-lipped he is about such matters, the fact that he's mentioning it at all makes me think that things are more dire than he's letting on. But then yesterday, he dropped the strongest hint to date that things are not looking good, if not for the business as a whole then certainly for their continued need of my services.

I find myself surprisingly calm about this. Maybe it helps that it's not unexpected. Plus, how could I be angry about it? Well, I guess I *could,* but if they don't have work for me to do, I certainly don't expect them to pay me to do nothing! If they have to let me go, I'll always appreciate the time that I've spent with them. They gave me a chance when I had no other options. With this experience on my résumé, I can hopefully take my career in a new direction -- and :crosses fingers: continue in a path away from that oh-so-frustrating world of engineering.

I'm trying to think of finding new opportunities as an adventure... but I admit that when my mood swings out, I find the whole thing quite disheartening. To say that I dread another job search is an understatement, and even more than that the thought of having to start all over again truly makes me want to cry.

But moping will get me nowhere, and it ensures that I'll be miserable on the way. In an effort to be proactive, I've already started thinking of places I could apply. Several times today while working on some of the less-fun parts of my job, I've found myself happily thinking, "Hey, maybe I won't have to do this when I get a new job." Then again, I'd best not trash-talk my current job too much; I could have to stay and be disappointed about it!


September 3, 2011
» those things I do, 2011 edition

Because the last four posts are all about badness which is *happily* not representative of my day-to-day, I'd like to share some of the other things that have been keeping me busy. I...

am still employed. Right after the last post, I found a great opportunity. Out of respect, before applying, I went ahead and casually but directly asked my boss, "You keep pointing out how we don't have much work; should I go ahead and be putting out feelers for other jobs?" He basically said that things weren't quite that dire, and that if I left they'd have to replace me. So, although our outlook past September 30 is uncertain, I decided to stick with them. I mean, they gave me a chance when no one else would; the least I can do is hang around as long as they need me.

encourage/nag my sister to continue her job hunt. She had her first real interview last week, and it sounds like it went well, although the lady said she had ten to fifteen other people to talk to. A decision was supposed to be made "in two weeks." :crosses fingers:

sweltered in the heat working in my mom's yard. With the tree damage from the tornadoes, our yard work was already impacted, but then we lost another month trying in vain to get our old riding lawn mower repaired. Plus, for weeks at a time it was either raining or it felt like 100 degrees outside. Thankfully, the rain finally eased off (and slowed the growing) and we got another mower last week. Considering all the challenges, I'd say the yard already looks pretty good. If the weather would cooperate, it would look great.

spend a lot of time making sure the neighbor's dog is not in my mother's yard. Yes, she's just a puppy (a big puppy), but after seeing a little dog kill one of our kittens two years ago, you'll excuse me if I'd rather keep the canines at bay.

remain in a very neutral place with my so-called boyfriend. Yeah, nothing really new to say about that. August 5 was the six-year anniversary of our first date. I don't think we're going to make it another six.

transcribed a couple of episodes of my favorite old TV shows. After that huge transcript site suddenly shut down, some of the other Scarecrow and Mrs. King fans and I decided to pool our efforts and replace the scripts. I plan to finish my second episode this month, and I've discovered that transcribing is right up my alley. When I like a show, I can watch it over and over. Plus, I like to think of the process -- listening to a line of dialogue and then attempting to type it -- as a good mental exercise.

continue to work on updating my websites. I recently finished the last of my "really ambitious" layout overhauls, and now I hope to move on to the less ambitious but more numerous content updates.


November 11, 2011
» too long for twitter

From a conversation earlier this week, where my mother and I were mulling our options for spiced tea recipes.

Mom: I have one recipe called "Russian Spiced Tea."
Me: Hmm... sounds political.


December 2, 2011
» Is it any wonder?

I'm working on my year-in-review questions (to post at the end of the month) but in the mean time, here are some of the things currently occupying my thoughts.


December 30, 2011
» a year in review -- 2011

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
Tried orange roughy, got scanned in a body scanner at the airport, ate at Red Lobster, used a treadmill, transcribed a whole TV show episode (twice), ate a waffle shaped like Texas, ate oatmeal without sugar, chopped cilantro, walked across the Tennessee River, changed the oil and filter on a riding lawnmower, hosted the fam for a night at my apartment, worked from home, been expected to check my company email after I was let go from a job, and visited Colorado, Maryland, and Oklahoma.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2011, my goal was to try to not be so sensitive. Well... I tried! Seriously, though, I think I did well with the effort overall.

For 2012, I plan to again work at not being so sensitive, and try to stay positive while I'm looking for a new job.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No -- thankfully!

5. Where did you travel?
I took 11 business trips: to Virginia, Louisiana, Texas (twice), Colorado, Missouri (twice), Maryland, Oklahoma, and Georgia (twice).

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2012, that would be awesome.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 8, because that's the day I was let go from my job

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
"Achievement" seems too grand a word, but I accomplished some things on my To Do list, such as converting all of our home videotapes to DVD and saving a backup of notable emails that are in my Yahoo accounts.

9. What was your biggest failure?
There is one area of my life where, just when I think I've got it, something happens and I feel I have to start back at square one. Repeatedly.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes, a mild yet lingering mystery ailment that started the week before Thanksgiving and is still with me as I write this.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
a new desk chair

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
our community, who came together and worked hard not once but twice after storms toppled trees in my mom's yard

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
the store manager who fired my sister over seven spare cents

14. Where did most of your money go?
to paying for my apartment

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
fish tacos, added to the menu at Rosie's Mexican Cantina

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Probably "Rollin' in the Deep," because I first heard a *fantastic* version of the song by one of the entrants in a talent show as part of the WC Handy Festival in Florence, Alabama.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? about the same
Older or wiser? wiser... I like to think so, anyway
Thinner or fatter? about the same... I like to think so, anyway
Richer or poorer? poorer thanks to weeks of down-time (read "no pay") at work

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
appreciated people for who they are and not what I think they should be

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
been a raving hypochondriac

20. How did you spend Christmas?
The fam and I went to the service at church. Back at mom's, we ate a fairly simple lunch that included Yum Yum Muffins made with a spice cake mix instead of devil's food. We then opened our gifts, and I videoed the openings with the cheap videocam that I bought the day after Thanksgiving. We ended the day watching some non-Christmasy shows on DVD. (My sister wasn't interested in the Christmasy offerings we had to watch.) In the background of our festivities, I did a load of laundry

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
No

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Thanks to DVDs, I continue to get reacquainted with my old favorites, such as Caroline in the City, and I remain enamored with Simon and Simon, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, The Young Riders, and Booker.

23. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
my (now former) boss

24. What was the best book you read?
Aside from Christian periodicals, the only book I read this year was Dan Hyland Police Reporter by Norton Jonathan.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Near the start of the year I discovered the wonder of fan (music) videos at YouTube, and thanks to those I've been exposed to some great songs that I'd missed before such as "Touch My Hand" by David Archuleta, "Creepin' Up on You" by Darren Hayes, and "Big Bad Handsome Man" by Imelda May.

26. What did you want and get?
My mystery ailment finally started showing signs of improvement. Runner-up: the neighbor's dog finally stopped coming into my mom's yard.

27. What did you want and not get?
Seems like there was a lot this year that fits in this category; without a doubt the biggest was a diagnosis of and medicine for my mystery ailment. Runner-up: I wanted very much to see U2 in concert - literally the only concert I've wanted to see (and no doubt, WILL want to see) for many years - but thanks to a weird work schedule and my nearest venue being sold out, I didn't get to go.

28. What was your favorite film of the year?
Films Released This Year and Really Liked: Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean 4
Films Released This Year and Liked: Tangled, Source Code, Moneyball
Films Released This Year That Weren't Quite What I Expected: Green Lantern, Captain America, Cars 2

29. What did you do on your birthday?
I computered first thing: downloaded several mp3's and watched U2's video for "The Sweetest Thing" for the first time. Then I went shopping with Jeff, and I was thrilled to find most of the things on my list - on sale, even. Unfortunately, after looking forward to dinner at the Indian restaurant, I was disappointed to find that they took my favorite dish off of the menu, and then I was further disappointed that I didn't like the dish I ordered.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
This is so shallow... but true... If I had felt pretty.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Since I started working from home in June, I'd sum up my "personal fashion concept" for the year in one word. Lazy! Some days I didn't even change out of my pajamas.

32. What kept you sane?
Faith, especially repeating this Bible verse: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and brave. Do not be terrified. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go." Joshua 1:9

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Bono (from U2)

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
the inability of both sides in Congress to put aside party differences and actually accomplish something

35. Who did you miss?
Caren, from work

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I met a lot of people while on business trips, but the only one who kinda stands out (for not being obnoxious) was the grandfatherly gentleman that was our main contact in Virginia. He was such a hoot!

37. What changed the most in your life this year?
Here as the year ends, I'm unemployed again, so I'll be starting over in my career yet(!) again(!).

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
Life doesn't have to be absolutely perfect to be pretty dang good!

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"When the waves are takin' you under, hold on just a little bit longer. He knows that this is gonna make you stronger." ~ "Stronger" by Mandesa

40. How will you spend New Year's Eve?
I'm supposed to drive over in the afternoon to see my long-distance (okay, one hour away) boyfriend; we'll probably part ways by 8:00 and then I'll hang out with my mom and sister. We will not stay up to see the new year in.

N A V I G A T E

< Previous Entries

List of Entries Journal Index

Next Entries >

F O O T · N O T E D