Quirky: The Recap

This is just a quick post to tell you that the Reader Favorites have been added to the sidebar. See right over there to the left just below the "About Me" section? Yep. That's them. Ya'll let me know if you think that I've missed a good one, or if I put one over there that you're all like, "What? That one's crap!" (Well, maybe phrase it a little nicer...)

Anyway, if any of you happen to be newbies to the site (or really really dedicated long time readers), you can certainly go through the archives for the full Quirky experience, or if you're short on time, hit the Reader Favs as the crib notes.

Flashback Friday: High School Hair

It's Flashback Friday over at My Tiny Kingdom, and I figure nothing says flashback like pulling out the old high school yearbooks. These are scanned straight out of my yearbooks, so ya'll excuse the poor quality.

You'll notice each photo has a single common denominator, and that is my giant, all-encompassing hair. Nobody does big hair like I do. I'd like to claim that it was the 80's and that I was trying to go for the big hair look, but alas, this was the late 90's and my fluffy yearbook 'do was AFTER flat ironing and roughly 6 gallons of anti-frizz serum. And still the hair could not be tamed.

Puberty was not my friend, ya'll. Here I am as a freshman in high school, fresh-faced and eager to begin my journey. It was natural to be optimistic; Up until this point, the hair had slept, dormant.

By the time I was a sophomore, I had put away my child-like wonder and enthusiasm and adopted a more worldly outlook. The hair also exerted itself by taking over my shoulders.

By the time I was a junior, my hair was completely out of control and was actually breaking the boundaries of the photo and creeping into neighboring frames. This was the year that the guys who sat behind me in English stuck pens and pencils into my hair to see how many they could get to stay. I think the record was something like 16 pencils and a TI-85 graphing calculator. (I'm serious).

At last, senior year. I have completely surrendered and relinquished all control to the hair, and it has, in its infinite hair wisdom, become curly. Together, it and I have come to somewhat of a compromise. I quit trying to beat it into straight submission and let it embrace it's natural curliness and, in turn, it has quit frizzing out and eating other classmates. And they say you don't learn anything useful in high school.

***Flashback Friday Bonus picture! While digging around for my senior class photo, I came across a picture of the hubby back when he was in high school. So as a special treat...behold! The hubby! Isn't he a total hottie?

You Gotta Dance Like Nobody's Watching

I tried a new class at the gym today. I was feeling a little too predictable in the old workout routine, so I popped in for a new class. Officially, the class description says it combines "movements and concepts from yoga, tae-kwon do, aikido, Jazz, and modern dance". Sounded like something that might be fun, so I gave it a try.

If you'll recall from my last dance class attempt(s), I am completely unable to remember even the simplest of steps. They exit my short term memory approximately one nanosecond after the instructor finishes demonstrating them. The class goes right, I go left. Every. single. time. I compensate for this complete lack of talent by breaking out of confines of these traditional routines and instead expressing myself through my own uniquely inspired movements. (Or as it is also sometimes known, faking a seizure).

I was afraid it was going to be the same way in this class, but it turns out that this class was heavy on the "modern dance" part of the program, and it was ALL interpretive. The instructor shouted out basic ideas and steps, but it was up to us to "make it our own". I pretended to sway like seaweed, float like a balloon, reach for the sun, shoot an arrow, rock a baby, claw like a large cat, jump through the bushes like a hunter, and bound around like a gazelle.

And let me tell you, you haven't seen true dancing until you've seen me bust out my gazelle move. It was unique to say the least.

The teacher would throw turns and sways in there every so often which would make her part look more like actual dance and less like flailing against invisible attackers, but I stayed pretty true to my form, even going as far as to incorporate facial expressions and realistic growling.

What can I say? I'm a slave to the art.

Actually, once you get past the little voice in your head that keeps informing you how incredibly stupid you look with all the spinning and jumping and growling, it was really pretty fun. Not to mention a good workout. I broke a pretty decent sweat somewhere between the sacrificial volcano dance and being a jungle cat. The music stayed pretty lively, and it was easy (even for me!) to follow the beat. It was just the thing I needed to break out of the workout monotony. I think I'll add it to my regular gym repertoire.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go practice being seaweed.

The Joys and Pitfalls of 8:43 Bathroom Time

The batteries died in the clock in my bathroom.

I just want you to know that fact first thing so that the rest of what I am about to say makes sense. Because the batteries died, and I used the last two three days ago for the Wii controller so that I could continue stomping Tony's rear in Mario Cart, and that is why there weren't any left for the clock, and why it has been stuck at 8:43 for the past month or so.

And even though the clock said 8:43, it was actually almost 10pm when Tony went to bed and I sat around feeling completely awake and alert and with waaaay too much energy to go to bed. (Sadly, this is par for the course when you're a night owl and the rest of the world runs on "morning person" time). And since I hate hate HATE just lying there, staring up at the ceiling, listening to everyone else snore and waiting for the ever elusive sleep to finish mocking me and just get on with it already, I decided that a nice warm bath would be just the thing to relax me enough to board the train for Sleepyville.

So at precisely 8:43 bathroom time, I grabbed a book and got into the bathtub to read and soak. (The book, if you are curious, is Dragon Weather by Lawrence Watt-Evans. It was surprisingly good, and I ended up reading the first half pretty quickly). The water got cold, but it was only 8:43 bathroom time, so I ran more hot water and started in on the second half.

By 8:43 bathroom time, I was seriously pruney. The California Raisins had nothing on me. Plus the water was cold again, but I only had 100 or so more pages to go, so I took another hot water hit, and settled in to read the rest.

I finished the book at (you guessed it) 8:43 bathroom time, and while I was just as awake as when I started, the water was cold again and more importantly, I was out of book. So I hauled my pruney self out of the tub, toweled off (I had wrinkles on top of wrinkles!), and figured that I could maybe watch a little tv or something until I was tired. There has to be something decent on tv at 8:43 bathroom time.

The only problem with this is that the rest of the world does not stop for a dead clock, and while it may have been 8:43 in the bathroom, it was 5:30am in the bedroom. I read all night long. (For those of you keeping score at home, that's seven and a half hours that I was in the tub...that's a new tub world record for me). And while I've pulled all nighters before, I usually know it when I do. Even worse, I was just as awake as when I started.

Tony wakes up to go to work at 6am, so I just hung out until he got up. He's used to my insomnia, but spending the equivalent of a workday in the bath tub was a new one for him. I did nap for about four hours while he was at work, but I didn't want to sleep too long or else I'd be stuck on the all-night tub-athon cycle for who knows how long. Tonight I'm shooting for bedtime between 10 and midnight. No books, no tv, and definitely no tub.

And tomorrow I'm going out to buy more batteries.

Home, Home On The Range

Check out what I did today! Mom and I headed down to the range to do some shooting. While I'm not normally a range-rat, Mom got a Bersa Thunder 380 pistol for Christmas, and if you're going to own one, you need to know how to shoot it. So she invited me along for the fun, and we did a little target practice.

Mom's been going just about every week since Christmas, but my previous shooting experiences were with a rifle, so the pistol was new for me. But it's a nice little thing...not to heavy, not to light. (I sound like Goldilocks and the three bears here, but I can guarantee you that if Momma Bear had had one of these, Goldilocks would not have broken in to eat all their porridge and sleep in their beds).

Anyway, despite my lack of previous practice, I thought I did a pretty good job. Mom shot at the top target and the one on the left, whereas I mostly concentrated on the one in the middle. And it turns out that I'm a good shot. I even managed to hit a couple of bulls eyes. (This is at 7 yards). Even the guys next to us at the range stopped to clap after I shot. (Of course, they may have just been being nice. They were there to shoot this REALLY LOUD elephant gun, and even through our ear protection, every time it went off the building would shake and Mom would yell a not-nice word. So it's possible the clapping was to make up for the sonic booms they caused).

While I'm not a gun owner myself (I figured given my track record, it probably wasn't a good idea) I did really enjoy the target practice. And I'm definitely on board the next time Mom heads back out there.

Fair warning to you, Goldilocks.

Reader Favorites

I came across a blog the other day that had "Reader Favorites" on the sidebar. Underneath was a list of five or ten posts from the blog that regular readers had really enjoyed. I was like, "Hmmm, great idea!" I thought it might be a nice way to introduce new readers to a crash course on the Best of Quirky (come to think of it, that may be a good name for it), without having to slog through years of posts.

Now, I certainly have my favorites, but I wanted to see if anyone else remembered any posts that managed to stick out. Let me know and I'll add them to the list.

These Are The Questions For the Ages

Here's a question for you: How come when I had a job and went to work, it was my fondest wish to be one of those people who stayed home all day, but now when I stay home all day, all I really want is to get out of the house and work again? Is it just one of those "grass is always greener" cases?

Because the boredom? It has definitely set in.

And while at first I thought that nothing would be more fun than lounging around the house all day, reading cheesy romance novels and stuffing my face with Oreos diligently searching for a job, the truth is that I am lost without a purpose. A boat without a rudder. A tourist without a map. Richard Simmons without a group of fat people.

I loathe to admit to you just how bad the boredom has gotten, but yesterday? I reorganized my closet. AND ENJOYED IT. Not because I like organizing closets (far, far from it) but because it gave me something to do for an hour.

I then spent a second hour pondering what is says about me when I discovered that 99% of my shirts are ribbed solids. See what I mean?
The bottom shelf contains ribbed (or cable knit) solid colored sweaters. The second shelf is ribbed solid long sleeved shirts, including (but not limited to) approximately 4,000 turtlenecks. The third shelf contains ribbed solid tops with three-quarter length sleeves, and the top shelf contained solid ribbed short-sleeved and sleeveless tops. Oh, and if you look very closely at the top shelf, there are two shirts that have swirly prints.

Obviously, I've fallen into a bit of a clothing rut. I had no idea that I was basically buying the same tops over and over. I must remedy this immediately. After all, what kind of person needs TWO swirly print shirts?

Feeling Red, White, and Blue

So Anne over at My Tiny Kingdom is hosting a blog carnival called Flashback Fridays, and today's theme is Feeling Red, White, and Blue. And since I loooooove blog carnivals, and not to mention am in desperate need of something to write about today, I am all over that like bird poo on a freshly washed car.

I'll be honest with ya'll, I wasn't really sure what all "Feeling Red, White, and Blue" would entail, so before writing this, I totally cheated and snuck a peek at what the other carnival-goers had posted that made them feel so patriotic.

Apparently, it is wearing bizarre, star-spangled outfits circa 1973. I kid you not.

Sadly, I was not around in the 70's, and while I have a cornucopia of pictures with unfortunate wardrobe choices, I couldn't come across any that were red, white, and blue. So instead, I'm offering up a fourth of July memory of my own, albeit without pictorial hilarity. You'll just have to use your imagination for my outfit:

We moved from Georgia to Tennessee the summer that I turned 10 years old. A move is about as life-altering as you can get for someone with only a decade under her belt, and I was sure that the whole thing was specifically orchestrated by my parents just to make me a social pariah. I mean, c'mon! Tennessee? Could there have been a less cool state to move to? (The answer, as I discovered much later in life, is yes, and that is Arkansas. Sorry Arkansans). Anyway, we had been in Tennessee about a month. It was July, it was hot, and we were living in an apartment while we had a house built on a wooded lot. And every day, Mom would drag us over to the lot to start clearing out weeds and underbrush in an effort to tame the wilderness into something that resembled a backyard. She called it family togetherness. I called it child slave labor.

So far, what I had seen of Tennessee had not been met with any particular approval. With school being out for the summer, it was hard to meet anyone my age, and I missed my friends from Georgia. I was also feeling less than benevolent towards my family, the uprooters of my tender social existence. So it really didn't matter to me what day it was when the sun finally started to sink towards the horizon and Mom packed up all of the garden supplies that she had hauled over. We were sweaty and dirty and exhausted, and I was wallowing in the kind of self-indulgent, mopey mood that only ten year old girl with no hope of future happiness EVER can generate. We were in the car on the way home when the first of the fireworks went off. It was so incredibly sudden, from darkness to exploding light right there in the sky in front of us, without warning. It seemed that our new town had an annual fireworks show to celebrate the Fourth of July, and we had just stumbled across it by accident.

There's something to be said for spontaneity. We were caked with dirt and sweat and fatigue, but here was an opportunity that couldn't be missed. There was a Little Caesar's pizza place right down the road, so we swung in to grab a few pizzas to go, and parked in a field on the side of the road to sit on the hood of the car and watch the show. The grass in the field was tall, and there were lightening bugs all over the place, providing their own light show in concert with the fireworks. It was all so simplistically pretty. I could have watched them all night. And then, somewhere between Sousa's march playing from someone's radio in the distance, and fireworks exploding in brilliant pyrotechnic colors overhead, and the cool metal of the car hood beneath me, and the taste of extra cheesy pepperoni pizza, I forgot to be mad. I forgot, for a moment, to be the lonely, sullen girl who had lost life as she knew it. I had pizza, I had my family, and I had fireworks. Perhaps stupid Tennessee wasn't the veritable wasteland that I had first imagined it to be.

That particular night wasn't so much about patriotism for me, or even about trusting in the future in an unknown place. It didn't even make it easier to make new friends and fit in, like a cheesy Hallmark card ending. It was just about finding an unexpected joy somewhere. A gift. A simple gladness that popped up out of nowhere and lit up the night sky for a second.

That is how I feel red, white, and blue.

Up To My Eyeballs In Warm Fuzzies

Have I mentioned lately that I love you guys? Because I do. You're sweet and thoughtful and filled to the brim with encouragement, and you make me feel like I can do anything. You're the Snoopy to my Woodstock, the Bonnie to my Clyde, the Batman to my Robbin.

(Okay, maybe not Batman and Robbin, because I'm not completely sure that a grown man and a teen aged boy running around the city wearing tights really constitutes a healthy relationship, but you get the idea).

I'm still not positive that a living can be made as a "professional" blogger, but your kind words at least gave me the courage to think about it. Maybe it'll work. Maybe it won't. But like you said, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I thank you for your positivity (a word I made up) towards my blogability (another word I made up) as a career option.

And if you are rethinking your encouragement after a sentence like that, I don't blame you.

For anyone else who is kicking around the idea of freelance corporate blogging (which, seriously, would be the coolest job IN. THE. WORLD), I recommend reading The Corporate Blogging Book by Debbie Weil. Mucho awesome book. I am learning so much that I may just read it a second and third time. And then we'll see what happens.

When Is "Good" Good Enough?

This is not a post about unemployment, or my job hunt, or aptitude tests, or what I want to be when I grow up. I am sick to death of thinking of nothing but all of that for the past week, and if I'm sick of it, I know you are too. So, to recap...not a post about the job (or lack thereof).

Well, okay, maybe a little.

But only to set the stage.

My transition coordinator thinks that I should be a corporate blogger. He says there is a need for companies to have people write their blogs because, 1) they don't have time to do it themselves, and 2) they do it badly when they try. So he thinks that because I write this here blog, those "skills" (and I use the term lightly...very lightly) should translate over.

Problem solved. Never mind the man has never read a single word that I've written.

On the one hand, part of me thinks this is a compliment. I mean, this guy has no proof that I'm ANY good whatsoever, but he seems to think that I could at least squeak out a living doing it. On the other hand, this guy has no proof that I'm any good whatsoever, so who is he to decide that this would be anything other than unmitigated disaster?

So my question to you, dear readers, (and this is really the point of the entire post...not the job or even blogging in general) is how good do you have to be at something to make a living out of it?* How do you know what is a career and what should just remain a hobby? Because I have no official training as a writer. And other than a bazillion case studies for school and the mindless dribbling you see here, I have no experience. And while part of me would LOVE to get paid to blog all day (Hello? Who wouldn't?), part of me quakes at the idea of just not being good enough.

So what's the cutoff between selling everything you own and heading to Hollywood to follow your dreams, and being content to sing karaoke in your basement?

(*By the way, while I love the comments where you encourage me and tell me I'm wonderful and you love me, you really really love me, please don't see this post as an attempt to have you stroke my fragile ego. I'm asking on a more universal sense. How do any of us know that we're good enough to do anything? Of course, if you insist on a teeny bit of ego stroking, who am I to stop you?)

Rainy Day Entertainment

When I was in college, I had a friend who was Indian (as in, from India, not Native American), and every now and then she would pull out her henna dyes and we would all mehndi ourselves. (For those of you who are all "meh-huh?", Mehndi is the art of applying a paste made from the henna plant to the skin, traditionally on the hands and feet, to create an orangey-red temporary tattoo-like design. You see it most often in countries such as India, Morocco, and Pakistan, and usually on wedding parties to celebrate the occasion...or in my case, bored college students who have lots of free time and a wide array of body parts).

Anyway, a few days ago, I happened to come across a home henna kit and thought, what the hey! I'll get it for old times sake.
And so I did.

True Mehndi designs are usually quite intricate, and like I said, on the hands and feet, but 1) I am not that good at intricate designs, and 2) I really shouldn't have orange tattoos on my hands in the off chance I get called in for an interview sometime soon. Plus I have ticklish feet.

So I did the next best thing, which is totally strip any kind of meaning and significance from the art by creating my own mehndi designs around my arm, leg, and belly button.

The dark, melted chocolaty-looking stuff is actually the henna paste. Once it dries and flakes off, it leaves a design-shaped stain...not unlike if you had drawn on yourself with an orange marker. (Ideally, the color shows up darker on paler skin, but my olive complexion keeps it looking pretty orange). **


I find that with my skin tone, the design sticks around for 5-7 days before fading away. I've heard that some of them can last for weeks though. It's really simple to mix up, and applies easily to the skin. Just be warned: It's really addicting. You'll start with one design, and then before you know it, you'll have little patterns drawn in all over yourself. (Tony came downstairs while I was busy piping henna paste onto my stomach with a cake decorating cone. He doesn't even ask anymore. He just rolls his eyes and goes on). I highly recommend it for parties (if for no other reason because your buddy can decorate that hard to reach spot on the back of your arm), entertaining kids, and rainy days.

Or if, you know, you just find yourself with some free time and unadorned skin.

*Keep in mind there's no possible way to take a close-up picture of your own belly button and have it look halfway decent. Ya'll just pretend that you don't realize how bizarre this is.

**It is my belief that oomplaloompas are really extreme mehndi addicts.

*** Ya'll don't hate me for my killer six-pack abs of steel. (What do you mean, "what abs"? They're there! I've just hidden them so you wouldn't be jealous).

Ye Ol Company Bites The Dust

Okay, this is the last thing I'm saying about the job stuff for at least the next 20 minutes. Apparently having to let me go crushed Ye Ol Company's will to live, because they have just announced that they are closing their doors forever. I just read about it on the news.

All joking aside, I'm actually more upset about that than when they let me go. It may not have been my dream job, but it was a good company to work for, and I'm extremely sad that it is closing down. Not to mention the 450 people who are now out of jobs. These are my friends and coworkers, and in this case, misery did not love company.

I'm sorry guys. Here's hoping we all find new jobs soon. Good luck out there.

Aptitude Tests and Flextime For Serial Killers

I know you guys are absolutely drooling in anticipation of the next installment of "As my unemployed world turns", and want to hear all about my marathon sessions of reading things like What color is your parachute? and Do what you love, the money will follow, right?

I mean, what could be more enthralling than knowing that I spent most of the day today scouring the Internet, reading job search articles and taking free aptitude tests (some of which appear to be much better than others, let me tell you). Like that Career Explorer on is okay, even if they do make you fill out a profile and sneak in offers of online education programs before your results. Others, such as, ask you to choose which career you would enjoy most and least out of a groups of three. That wouldn't be bad except that the choices are things like "Raise chickens, serial killer, or IRS auditor". Now, certainly no offense to chicken farmers and serial killers, and especially no offense to the IRS auditors (whom I hold in the highest regard possible so no need to even think about auditing me, thank you very much) but I don't really want to do any of those things. So you can see how difficult it is to mark one as most enjoyable.

Although now that I think about it, at least serial killer offers flexible hours. You can't underestimate these things.

Ignoring the chicken-raising-serial-killer-auditor option, most of the tests tend to agree that I should be in either marketing or some form of writing (most often journalism or technical writing). So off I went to the library to pick up roughly a bajillion titillating, edge-of-your-seat thrillers with titles like Careers in Marketing and So You Think You Want To Be A Technical Writer. (I also picked up So You Think You Can Write A Novel, because sure, part of me would love to write a book even though everybody wants to write a novel, and really, how many of us really ever do it, much less make a living out of it?) But I am not deterred, because somewhere out there is my dream job, and I'm going to find it. It may be marketing, it may be blogging, it may even be instruction manual writer for toaster ovens. I'm just not sure yet. But I'll find it, because life it too short to be stuck doing something you hate. I will find my passion.

Even if it turns out to be a chicken-raising-serial-killer-IRS auditor.

Blogger For Hire

So it's my first full day being unemployed. (Or as I like to say, "between jobs"...I think it lends a more positive attitude to the whole thing.) While some things have taken some getting used to (I keep looking for my ID badge everywhere) most things (like realizing that I finally have time to finish that project, or go to lunch with my Mom, or take that mid-day exercise class) have been pleasant surprises. There's something to be said for not being in your traditional 9 to 5er.

According to my official book provided to me by the transition coordinator, I should be going through stages of denial, grief, anger, guilt, and depression. Nowhere does it mention the general sense of anticipation that I have, so I'm assuming that it's part of my very well disguised denial. If that's the case, I'm so in denial that I seem to be unaware of it. I'm really hoping that I can hold on to this new, happy denial until a new job shows up and before I transition into the next phases. They sound decidedly less happy.

Anyway, I met with my transition coordinator today, and apparently job hunting is no longer about going to careerbuilder or and finding a job opening. Nononononono. No one really gets a job that way anymore. Today's job hunter is supposed to decide on what value you bring to potential companies, and then tell the companies how much better off they would be if they had access to those values. The companies realize that suddenly they can't live without you, and they hire you. (At least that's according to the transition coordinator). I seem to be waffling back and forth between "that is awesome!" and "that's too good to be true". I really really really want to believe that someone will want to hire me to do something I love. But if that was the case, wouldn't everyone have jobs they love? I'm having trouble visualizing myself walking into an office building and being like, "I like to blog. Please pay me to blog."* If that worked, there'd be a bazillion bloggers and no accountants. So I don't know. The jury is still out on that one.

*Unless of course, you actually work for a company that would pay me to write stuff, in which case contact me right now! I'll write about anything you want me to write about. Will blog for food and all that.

Opportunity, Present Thyself For Knocking

Well, I was "downsized" today.

The economy has hit Ye Ol Company pretty hard, so I guess it wasn't a surprise. (Well, the reduction in force wasn't a surprise...I was a little surprised that I was part of it). But don't cry for me Argentina, because I'm actually looking at this as a good thing. It is completely and without a doubt, a God thing.

Don't get me wrong, the last five years at Ye Ol Company have taught me a lot. I have job skills that will help me anywhere. My coworkers were nice, and overall it was a good company to work for.

But it wasn't my passion.

And for the past 6 or 8 months, I've really wanted to do something that I was passionate about. (As a matter of fact, that was one of my New Year's Resolutions for this year...find something to do that I'm passionate about. Funny how that worked out, isn't it?). I've felt this growing...restlessness...for a while now, but I didn't know what I needed to do about it. And with a steady, if unfulfilling job to fall back on, I admit that I didn't really have the courage to look too deeply.

Guess that all changes now.

When they told me, the overwhelming feeling was...relief. (So much so that I laughed out loud, which was definitely not the reaction that they were looking for). Relief that I was finally going to get to find something that I loved. Relief that this degree would be put to use. Relief that it is all completely in God's hands. And Ye Ol Company was really good about it. They gave me a severance package and set me up with a "job transition coordinator" who will help me polish up my resume and find something new. And we've got enough saved up for a rainy day that it won't hurt us financially. So it's all good. As good as things could possibly get. I am not sad at all. I am excited. The word that keeps circling through my head is "finally!"

I'm actually a little concerned that I'm not more upset. You would think that losing your job would create a fair amount of stress and uncertainty, but I'm not the least bit stressed or uncertain. It's really weird. It occurs to me that God has been preparing me mentally for this for a while. All the restlessness, all the desire to to something more, all the...twitchiness from being unfulfilled. I can't say that I was really expecting this, but now that I look at it, things have fallen into place so perfectly that I know it couldn't just be coincidence. And that makes all the difference.

So what will I do now? I'm not sure. I'll meet with the transition coordinator tomorrow and we'll pick out a new direction for me. This time around, I want something that makes me excited about getting up in the morning. This time around, I want to make a difference. This time around, anything is possible.

Thus begins my new adventure.

Not Even Dick Clark Parties Like We Do

Well happy 2009 Interpeeps! Here’s hoping you made it through your New Year’s Eve celebrations intact. Tony and I had a roaring good time ringing in the New Year. He went to bed at 9:30 and snored his way into 2009. I stayed awake by watching about 50 DVR’ed episodes of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. (Did you know that bamboo can grow through a person!?! Or at least ballistics gel dummies that have the same consistency of a person. Either way, it takes about 4 days and looks extremely painful).

I did haul myself out of bed and over to the window to watch the fireworks that went off all around the neighborhood at midnight. That was nice. Very festive. Tony woke up right as the last ones were fading, so I jumped on the bed to wish him a Happy New Year. He, in turn, wished me a happy “murph-yearm” as he rolled over and recommenced snoring.

We are such party animals.


It turns out that its hallowed blogger law that everyone must recap their previous year’s highlights on December 31. Every blogger. Every year. Cause it’s the Bloggy law. Go ahead. Check some other blogs. If they’ve written today, chances are that it will be a year in review post. And I was all set to do it too because it’s an easy post that doesn’t require much thought.

But then I hesitated, and I found that I wasn’t really interested in just listing out a list of things that I did last year. Mostly because it’s an easy post that doesn’t require much thought. And because I have the entire year’s archive list over here to the right so if you’re into recaps, you should feel free to wander over there and run through your favorites. So this time, I’m ignoring bloggy law and scrapping the recap. (I know. I’m such a rebel). You can’t totally ignore December 31st introspection though, so instead of an easy year in review recap list, I’m going to share the New Year’s Resolutions that I made on New Year’s Day last year. Recappy, but still a little different. We’ll see how I did:

My New Year’s Goals, as written on December 31st, 2007:
Keep to my thesis schedule and don’t leave it all to the last minute- This time last year, I was just beginning my graduate thesis for school. It was long, it was boring (even for me), and it required lots and lots of slogging through less than perfect data. And I know how I love to procrastinate with stuff like that. But I’m happy to report that I did a pretty good job of staying on scheduled as I wrote it. It took 5 months to do, and while I tinkered with it all the way up until the very end, I hit just about every milestone deadline that I had set for myself. And got an A on the thesis. So this one was a check, and although I didn’t share this answer with the professor when he asked, the biggest lesson I learned from doing this thesis is that I don’t have to be intimidated by major, long term projects.

Finish school- this one was actually pretty easy, since I was in the home stretch by the time December 31st rolled around. I only had 9 more hours to complete for my degree, but I was also getting a pretty bad case of senior-itis, which is probably why that made the list. The good news is that I made it though. And while I love the free time, a little part of me misses going to class. I’m a student at heart. This probably won’t be the last time I’m enrolled in classes.

Exercise regularly- Doesn’t everybody have this on their New Year’s list? I admit it’s been on more than a few years for me. Actually, I did well enough that I feel like I can count this one as a win this year. I joined a gym at the beginning of April and have managed to get into the habit of going three times a week on a regular basis. (I also have my twice a week walking group at lunch, although the cold weather has put a bit of a damper on that lately). The trick for me was 1) scheduling gym time on my calendar, which only threat of death can remove and 2) going straight to the gym from work, because if I go home I’m not leaving again. I also joined some classes, which keep me motivated and on task and don’t let me slack off. The result is that I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve missed a workout. I’ll keep this goal going for 2009.

Learn another language- I was thinking Spanish. Unfortunately, I didn’t hit this goal. No hablo espaƱol. Knoxville isn’t really known for its Spanish-speaking population (at least, none that I’ve come across anyway), so I don’t actually know anyone that I can speak it with, even if I did learn it. And it’s pretty hard to learn a language that you don’t practice on a daily basis. I’d still like to learn it though. I’ll put this on my list again at some point.

Do something I love- You know those few lucky people who really love what they do? I’m not one of them. Sure, I have a good enough job that isn’t difficult and pays the bills, but it isn’t my passion. I’d really find something where I would look forward to going into work in the mornings. For some reason, I thought that once I achieved the MBA, that would just magically happen. Like someone would knock on my door and be like, “Now that you have a graduate degree, we’d like to offer you your dream job!” Except that I don’t really know what my dream job would look like. (I haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up). And then the economy got shaky and all the jobs dried up, dream or otherwise. So I’m still doing the same thing that I’ve been doing for the past five years, and for the moment, I’ll count myself lucky that I have it, even if it isn’t a passion.

All in all, not too bad. I hit some. I missed some. I accomplished some stuff that wasn’t on the list (which still counts in my book). I’d tell you what this year’s goals would be, but I haven’t finished thinking of them yet, so that’ll have to be another post. How about you? Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Did you accomplish any from last year? I’m curious.