new year’s eve

2014: Kilroy Was Here

In prior years, I felt very sentimental on New Year’s Eve and spent time plumbing the depths of the year to acknowledge the good and bad, come to terms with my feelings and (often tearily) say, “godspeed” to the year, recognizing this year would never occur again.  More recently, I can barely be bothered to shrug and raise a glass. Heaven knows I don’t see midnight very often any longer.  The shrug isn’t meant to denote antipathy; it is more of a “holy shit. The year is ending already?  How is that possible? It feels like it just started!” Life has become a blur, and I’m not sure I could sift through it comprehensively if I wanted to.

But our year deserves something on its way out, doesn’t it? A virtual “Kilroy was Here.”

I don’t think I’d describe 2014 as a great year, but it wasn’t bad.  It was stressful and full of worry and anxiety, especially about Daniel’s school situation.  Full of change. I went through another re-org at work, got yet another new boss (who is amazing by the way) and moved offices twice but packed three times. When I return to work on January 5, I will be in a(nother) new space in a new building.  We’re up-ending systems and technology, and there are so many new faces at work that I have trouble keeping them straight. Jimmy went through a lot of the same although he is now able to work from home, which brings its own highs and lows.

2014 brought lots of snow; snow is different as an adult with school-age children, especially living in an area which still shuts down at the threat of snow.  We had two months of sickness, and I wore glasses for 6 weeks thanks to episcleritis.  No, I don’t think I would classify the first half, definitely the first third, of the year as good.

Our second year of Listen to Your Mother was a success with two nearly sold-out shows, and I can add another dozen wonderful women to those I met in 2013 during our first production year.

Daniel is thriving at his school, and his kindergarten year is going well. He is reading and doing simple math. He is sassy, funny, bossy and sweet.

It sounds so positive, yet why do I feel so down? Part of it may be my own over-sentimentality when it comes to change and endings. Part of it may be due to the holidays.  They were stressful, as they tend to be when you the adult in charge of making magic.  It didn’t help that it rained on Christmas Eve, as well as several days before and several days after.  The back yard is soggy, and little boys need to expend energy they haven’t been able to.  I think we all have a touch of cabin fever, and I feel precious vacation time seeping away faster and faster, making me fret: “have we made memories? Have we done good stuff this year? Can we point to any accomplishments or successes? Are we happy???”

Two beach trips.  Lego Fest. A house over-run with Legos built by a little boy who has become an amazingly proficient Lego builder. Snow. Maybe too much snow. Good food. Lots of books. Lots of good shows watched on TV.  A $250,000 grant awarded at work. Rewatching The Office. Making friends. Defending loved ones and standing up to people when they need it. Laughter. Love.

Not too shabby.

I have stopped making resolutions, and I’ve realized that years are seldom good or bad but usually a mix, especially as we age. So I’ll say this:  goodbye, 2014.  Welcome, 2015. It’s a blank slate, and may it be kind to us all.


Where’d You Go, 2013???

I’m in my last full week of vacation before returning to work. I have coworkers who will return to work on Thursday. I still have several days left to go but at the same time, my time off has passed in a blur.  Each day filled with a hum of activity, yet a lot of nothing out of the ordinary as well. I’m not even sure I could tell you how we spent each day, mundane though they might have been. It’s just a blur of meals, cooking show reruns, and whatever we had scheduled that day.

And that perfectly describes 2013. Somehow we’ve made it through 365 days and, to put it colloquially, shit happened, but at the same time, it happened so quickly that I barely had time to lift my head up and reflect.

2013 was a roller coaster of work drama (low), Listen to Your Mother (high), and Daniel starting Pre-K at his new school (one of those sickening highs that thrills you and leaves you with your stomach in your throat). We went to the beach twice, which was much needed and some of my favorite memories of the year. And I spent way too much time in meetings, a major low. Overall, though, the pace of the year was so fast that I don’t even know if I could describe it as bad or good. It just was.

So, yeah, this is my obligatory 2013 farewell post only I’m not sure exactly what I’m saying farewell to. I don’t want to make any resolutions because that seems destined to fail. I’d like to set goals but we’ll see. I honestly haven’t had a chance to reflect upon any but hey, I’ll give it a try.

What I’d like for 2014 is calm. I know I cannot control my environment but I can control how I react to it, so this is a personal goal I suppose. I want to figure out how to obtain a more zen-like focus. There’s a lot of shit in my day-to-day life that just. doesn’t. matter. Truly. I need more teflon and less fly paper.

I need meaningful change. I can think of a few areas in which change would be a good thing, and I want to pursue it.

I want more books! I think I read more books this year than I’ve read since Daniel was born. Probably at least 30. I honestly cannot remember. I want to read more in 2014, and I plan to keep track of my “to-read” list as well as my “completed” list here. I’m an eclectic reader, so consider yourself warned 😉

I want more family activities. Daniel is at a great age, and it’s wonderful to be able to do so many things that were…challenging…when he was younger. We made a good start with Friday Family Fun Night (pizza and a movie), but I want us to to more places and get out of the house. There are so many places and activities that he can appreciate and participate in now. Along with that, Jimmy and I need to leave the house more when we have a child-free night as well as look into babysitters. A few hours apart is good for sanity, no?

2013 wasn’t bad. We have our health, jobs, housing, spoiled kitties and frankly whatever we need or want. There were a few dark nights of the soul related to work, which in some ways is pathetic when you think about it. Shouldn’t existential crises be saved for more important matters?

So 2014, be kind. I’m 36 years old. I’d like to think I have a measure of control over my life, but I know that might be an illusion.  My little boy will start kindergarten in 2014. My little boy. No matter what each year since 2009 has brought, I’m so blessed and grateful to be able to include him in my thoughts and plans for each upcoming year.

So maybe, maybe, 2014, help me make this year be a great one for him. Because then it will be a great one for us.

Happy New Year and Happy 2014. I’ll raise a glass although I seriously doubt it will be anywhere near midnight 😉


2011, You Sucked. Oh, How You Sucked

As the current year hobbles frailly to whatever afterlife years have, it’s time for me to join billions of others in the annual rite of passage of being introspective and musing over the highs and lows of the past year and trying to decipher what, if anything, they mean.

Without further ado, I give you my verdict on 2011:  It sucked.

I don’t mean to be so dark and cynical; I had optimism this time last year that 2011 would be better than 2010, but the universe laughed and proved me wrong literally on January 1 when Jimmy and I woke up with colds/flu that kept us home from work the first two working days of the year.  And it went downhill from there with a speed that would be fascinating if it weren’t happening to you.

2011: Craptastic

  • Jimmy’s father was diagnosed with Stage 4 gastric cancer and died suddenly a month later
  • Colds and illness for all three of us throughout the year including croup for Daniel and the two month flu/sinus infection/bronchitis hell that was our Autumn
  • The beginning of job uncertainty for Jimmy as his employer “merges” with another company
  • Friends moving on (no longer my coworker) and away (to Florida)
  • Preschool woes and the beginning of worry about what’s normal for my toddler
  • Worrisome and expensive pet illnesses
  • A speeding ticket
  • An infestation of carpet beetles and/or moths that have eaten several suits and sweaters in our closet
  • Jimmy’s grandmother being diagnosed with a gall bladder blockage, then pancreatic cancer.  Chemo before and after successful surgery to remove the cancer.  Then the discovery of a bladder polyp which is likely cancerous because they usually are.  Sudden bouts of extreme confusion, lethargy and unconsciousness and several hospitalizations.  This is where we are now.  She was taken to the hospital two days after we celebrated Christmas, comatose and is still there.  It might be a stroke.  It might be a heart attack. 

2011: A Few Bright Spots

  • I graduated from grad school after 5 years!
  • I still have a job
  • I started blogging again
  • I had a conference proposal accepted and will be heading to Florida in May 2012
  • Seeing Daniel’s face light up on Christmas morning when he saw the train table Santa brought him
  • Jimmy and I celebrating our 10th anniversary in December
  • The stunning and awe-inspiring strength displayed by Jimmy’s tiny grandmother over and over as she encountered another hurdle in her recovery

I think it is safe for me to declare 2011 an awful year despite some wonderful things that happened, but I wouldn’t change anything about 2011.  I believe that life happens how it happens and no one is owed or promised sunshine and roses; it is how you respond to it that matters.  I can acknowledge that it was a really bad year with a lot of terrible events, but I hope that each one has acted as a crucible to make us stronger.

I started this post yesterday, and it would have been a lot darker, but I feel more at peace and with a tiny glimmer of hope for 2012.  Jimmy’s grandmother is now breathing on her own and awake.  We’ve been down this road before, but for now, maybe it’s enough.

I make no resolutions other than to be mindful and kiss my guys. We know too well how quickly things can turn to crap, and I want us to enjoy each other and each moment.

Good bye, 2011.  Perhaps 2012 will be peaceful after all.

Happy Boy on Christmas Morning