Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm liking 2009 already.....

Tonight, as I was working on the buffalo chicken to take over to our neighbor's house for their New Year's Eve party, Mare called me. She wanted to let me know that the two of us have tickets to the swearing in of Barack Obama as president of the United States of America on January 20, 2009.


GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! happy happy happy dance dance dance fist pump fist pump Whoot whoot whoot!!!!!!!!

(end pause)

It's gonna be tough. We'll have to drive up to DC the day before to pick up the tickets. On MLK day. With inauguration activities going on. And knowing that we'll have to be in Richmond by 5 am the next morning to catch the Amtrack train into DC. And we're a lot older now than we used to be...meaning creakier.

But I feel like I have been waiting for this to happen for so long. Aretha Franklin will be performing. And Barack Obama will be sworn in as president. And I'll be there. With Mare.

Things are looking up. So far, 2009, I love you.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Being a self-professed and totally-accepting-of-myself type-A anal extraordinaire, there should be no surprise from anyone who knows me that my favorite holiday is New Year's. What's not to love about the ending of an old chapter, and then the beginning of a new one? ...about neatly tying up loose ends and packaging the old year into the box labeled "the past?" ...about a pure, clean, unblemished fresh new slate lying before me as I balance precariously up on the very left tip-top of the New Year's calendar on January 1? As much as I love the anticipation of the yet-to-come, I also love the wrap-up of the past year. I'll be the one parked on the sofa watching CNN's montage (to cheesy music) of the big stories from 2008, and I'll even shed tears for parts of it. (For what it's worth, I actually used to grade my years as well, and select songs for them. Haven't done that recently....Maybe I should return to this?)

So bear with me in this completely indulgent post as I reminisce over my past 12 months.

Without hesitation, 2008 will always and forever be to me the year that my country pulled its head out of its ass and finally made an intelligent decision by electing Barack Obama as our president. I've been wishing for this for 8 years, and anticipating it (with a name to my wish) for four years. I can't tell you why I instantaneously felt as strongly as I did in July of 2004, and I fully admit that then, it was purely a gut feeling that I knew he was destined to be my president. However, it ended up that my gut feeling was spot on and was only strengthened as I was able to shore it up with information, learning more about him through the years. This is a man with intelligence and integrity. This is a man of MY generation (I say with pride). This is someone who respects humanity, respects science and has ears to hear. He is the real deal (thank GOD). I wasn't sure exactly when he would become president, but the fact that it happened in 2008 will endear this year to me forever, despite the rest of the crap that happened worldwide.

So other than that obvious, my year-in-a-nutshell consists of the following:

This year I finally went into the field (Fairbanks, Alaska and Cold Lake, Canada) during our aircraft campaign. I am enormously glad I went, and documented some of my personal thoughts on the Discovery Channel science blog. For anyone who's interested, here are my entries. There weren't as many as I would have liked - I was sick for a significant part of my time in Fairbanks (99% sure I had Rubella, oddly enough - a mild but exhausting illness for a middle-aged gal).
and here4.

We added a gorgeous sunroom onto the back of our house.

We had a fantastic vacation this summer in Boston and Maine - were able to see not only my boys play in Fenway, but got to spend time with not-often-seen-friends in the Boston area.

I learned this year that I was able to survive Jamie and Jamie and their beautiful children being located in Austria for the year. It's been hard, and I could not go for longer than a year without them, but I have survived (so far). But hurry home please. I need that honesty and acceptance and pure love from your family. Plus, my kids are a million times happier when their best friends are nearby.

We saw the Counting Crows and Maroon 5 and Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew."
I finished up a year of being PTA president and embarked upon a year of taking it easy in the volunteer department (am loving that, I tell you).

The Red Sox made the playoffs. I saw baseball-boyfriend Mikey play in person a couple of times.

Q and E were busy with soccer and baseball and Odyssey of the Mind and Girl Scouts and piano lessons and African Dance classes and science/math camps and cooking and art classes and Model UN and band and making excellent grades and playing with friends. I could not have imagined kids more fun, more awe-inspiring, more loving, or more all-around wonderful than the ones I ended up with.

As for my blogging life, it's interesting that I have been so consistent for the past several years with my blogging. I wrote 115 posts this year (111 in 2007 and 110 in 2006). October was my heaviest month, with 19 posts (pre-election build-up to be sure) and April and December were my slowest with 4 each (though this one makes 5 for December).

It's not been such a good year for a lot of people I know, though, or for most of the US or world. We have global warming issues to grapple with. We have an economic disaster on hand. There are many people I love who are now without a job. We have wars continuing to rage and the associated deaths of servicemen/women and civilians. Overall, 2008 has not been good to this little blue dot in the universe (from the human perspective, that is). However, since that perspective is the one I hold most dear, I'm going to throw all my wishes into improvement on that front during 2009.

A grade? I'm gonna give the world a C-. Only the election of Barack Obama kept us from failing. For myself personally, this was a B or B+ kind of year.

Year's theme song? What else? I didn't even have to think about it. This is what I played ALL NIGHT LONG on November 4 as I downed a bottle of wine and a bottle of champaign and cried and cried with joy as I emailed several of my friends through the night with cries of "WE'VE GOT PENNSYLVANIA!!!!" and "LOOKS LIKE OHIO!!!" as I told them to hang on and don't give up on VIRGINIA.... What a night to remember.

It goes along with my slogan for 2008:

"It was about f*cking time."

from the last week...

Me, my mom and dad, and sisters with my grandmother on her 100th birthday.

Watching Stephen Colbert's Christmas special DVD on Christmas morning.

Son Q with his granny and pawpaw.

E with granny

E with her grandfather (pawpaw).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

more sundry

I know!! I'm doing a perfectly lousy job on keeping up with a steady supply of interesting and entertaining posts here. I'm the proverbial mom on the hamster wheel these days, running my little feet so fast that I tumble head over heels and crash into a heap into the wood shavings. (Speaking of which, we found E's hamster in the linen closet Thursday, after she pulled out all the bristles from the brush we use to clean the ceiling fans. Mmmm. OK.)

So here are some random thoughts/and/or/observations from the last few days.

As I leave work through the security gates, I have noticed they have recently installed what the signs say are "Speed Humps." Humps? Is there a difference between a speed BUMP and a speed HUMP? Who calls them "humps" other than the government?

My son would like to be Stephen Colbert and I am totally in support of that

I think the pressure on folks to buy gifts for each other on Christmas is not a good thing, and I would love to move beyond that. But of course I can't because it's not the "right" thing to do. I wonder if I would be more tempted to give random gifts throughout the year to those I love if I didn't know that it was "required" at Christmastime? Despite all that, I love the rituals from Christmas.

My grandmother is about to turn 100. I only now realized that her birthday is on the winter solstice. I think that's a really neat day to be born. I also wonder how it would feel to know you've been alive for a full century.

It's not much, but I've got to get back into the habit of writing slowly. I've got a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my overly stimulated mind....just haven't been patient enough to sit down and think them completely through.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

holiday fun

Today ended up being the offical start to the winter holiday season for my family. Although we do not consider ourselves christian, we embrace the spirit of this holiday season wholeheartedly. I love the warmth and the focus on family and togetherness and tradition. In the words of Martha, "It's a good thing." Indeed.

We started the day out by helping friends with their llamas in our local holiday parade:

(There are more pictures on my facebook page).

It was a lot of fun! I have to admit that the introverted portion of my nature (which is substantial, even if held in check most of the time) kicked into high gear when I realized that hundreds of parade-goers were watching me. If *I* felt a bit uncomfortable, I can only imagine what ultra-shy son Q was feeling. He put his llama between him and the crowd, and pulled his hat down over his eyes and was fine, however. Good coping skills. I was proud that he wanted to do it.

Next on the agenda was our annual christmas tree hunt.

The hunt:

The catch:

The dressing down:

And the final result:

And in case anyone is wondering what middle school aged boys do during all this:

And the obligatory eating of the christmas village...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the big ten

E reminded me last night around 8 pm that I'd promised her I'd send cupcakes into school today for her class. And I pulled it off. Moms Rock.

Happy birthday, my sweet girl!!