thirty-eight

Thursday was my 38th birthday. I tend to think that past, say, age 21, any birthday that doesn’t end in a zero feels pretty unremarkable. And really, I spent way more time planning Catie’s birthday party than even thinking about my own. I guess that’s what happens when your child’s birthday is 11 days after yours.

But my birthday was good. The kids were with Dave, but Chris brought me flowers, and we went out for dinner.


He remembered tulips are my favorite. Points for that.

It was really nice just to have a little grown-up night off, where I got to dress up a little and not worry about whether or not the restaurant would have crayons or if I should bring our own from home.

After work on Friday, I picked the kids up and went to my parents’ house for dinner. My mom had gotten some fancy cupcakes from a little bakery here, and the girls blew out my candles with me. It was nice.

(And yeah, I’ll admit that I gave up on the detox diet long before the 3 week point, because I totally ate the hell out of those cupcakes. I’m still working on more “mindful eating” and I’m back to running at least 2 miles a day, and I guess I’ll just take it from there.)

Today, Catie and I dropped Lucy with my folks and went to see “Frozen.” After trying to take Lucy to the movies twice now (for “Despicable Me 2” and “Walking with Dinosaurs”), I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s really just not old enough to sit through a movie in the theater, because both times she got antsy and I ended up walking her around in the hall for a good 15-20 minutes to keep her from having a meltdown. So I think I’m going to add “movies” to the list of thing to reserve until she’s a little bit older and has a longer attention span.

Plus it was nice to have some alone time with my big girl, because that doesn’t happen often. And Frozen was a really, really good movie, so I”m glad we went.

So really? Yeah, ok, I’m one step closer to 40 and yadda yadda, aging, crows feet, whatever. But so far, 38 is off to a pretty good start. No complaints here.

New Year’s Meme for 2013

Since I seem to do these every year, let’s sum up 2013!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
* Became the mom of a first grader.
* Got new boobs.
* Said the f-word in front of my dad. (I was quoting something, so it was appropriate in that context, but it was one of those, “Whoa, I guess I’m really an adult now because I didn’t get in trouble for saying that” moments.)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, I generally don’t make new year’s resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A few friends had babies. My college roommate had her second little girl, and another friend just recently adopted a baby after years of infertility problems, and I am so happy for her.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Well, the world lost Dawn, and that sucked. Nobody in my immediate family passed away this year, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
No other countries. I did go to Texas twice, though. (Once in May for my sister’s bridal shower/bachelorette party, and again in November for her wedding.)

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
This has been my answer since 2011…

Stability. Calmness. Serenity. Less drama. Two kids who sleep through the night in their own damn beds. Little things.

Yeah. That. I would still like that, please and thank you.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
* May 1st – Chris and I got back together. It’s notable because it’s turned out to be the best risk I’ve ever taken.
* July 18th – boob job day.
* November 9th – my sister’s wedding.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I worked really hard on a lot of things – fitness, mental health, communication skills, being better at my job – and I made a lot more progress with all of them than I ever had before.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Sinking to someone else’s level and reacting when they were obviously only trying to antagonize me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Normal stuff. Sinus infections, tweaked muscles, nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
There’s a few gadgets I could list here (upgraded phone, second iPad to make the kids stop fighting over the one, etc.), but I was trying to think of something a little more creative.

Actually, one of the best things I got was the armoire that I bought off craigslist and put in my office. So much storage space! So much easier to tidy things up!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My sister. She pulled off planning a wedding for over 200 guests and never once turned into a Bridezilla about any of it. And it was gorgeous, and everything was perfect.

I mean, COME ON.

wedding_party1

Let’s face it, she wins the whole year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Without naming names or being specific at all: people who spend their lives so consumed in anger and bitterness that they try to take down everyone else around them. I suppose I knew these people existed prior to the past year, but I had never had firsthand exposure to just how horribly some grown-ass adults actually behave. And it is pathetic and sad to see, let me tell you.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare, rent, bills, same ol’.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I got stuck on this question because there are just so many things.
* Seeing my sister get married.
* Watching my kids as they grow and evolve into their own personalities, and just reveling in each of them.
* Getting back together with Chris.
* Seeing how much my kids love Chris, and getting to know his kids, who are delightful and fantastic.
* Introducing Chris to my family and having them completely embrace him and love him, because they see how happy I am with him. And that makes me realize how much they love me, because they all want me to be happy, and oh man, it’s just a big ball of ooey gooey love over here and sorry I’ll shut up now.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
I was going to say “Blurred Lines,” because that song was everywhere this year, but I’m not particularly a fan of it. I mean, it’s a catchy tune, I’m just tired of it now. Same with that “Royals” song by Lorde. Or “What Does the Fox Say,” because Catie has played that one approximately 10 bajillion times.

So I’ll pick “I Love It” by Icona Pop, because it’s Lucy’s favorite song (well, I guess it’s toss-up between this and anything by Katy Perry), and we listened to her sing “I don’t care, I love it” more times than I can possibly count.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier x 10000% x infinity.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner by about 35 pounds (yay!).
c) richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleeping.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Losing my temper with the kids over stupid, trivial things. Some days I’m too short-tempered and yell too much. Happens to the best of us.

(I also say I’m sorry and give hugs & kisses afterward. And I’m pretty sure nobody’s going to therapy because they were fighting over a toy and Mommy yelled, “KNOCK IT OFF OR EVERYONE IS GOING TO BED RIGHT NOW!!” But I still feel bad when I’m irritable with them.)

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Surrounded by my favorite people, as well as some really fantastic food. I am very lucky and I have zero complaints.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Technically I fell in love with Chris last year, but I fell in love with him again – and so much harder – this year. So I guess he’s my answer. And hopefully he’ll keep being my answer every year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Breaking Bad.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hmmmm…. define “hate”? There are a couple of people who I genuinely dislike now, but I try not to waste my energy on hate.

24. What was the best book you read?
This is terrible, but I cannot think of a single book that I started and finished this year. I started a lot of books and didn’t finish a single one. I apparently have literary ADD.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Lots of stuff on the radio that I liked this year. Imagine Dragons, One Republic, that “Cups” song, pretty much most of the stuff that my kids sing because I think it’s adorable.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
An upgraded iPhone. (Finally retired my 3 1/2 year-old iPhone 4 and got the 5S. Or rather, it was given to me as a Christmas gift. Best gift ever, too, since I use it daily.)

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
For Lucy to sleep in her own bed at night. Seriously, we’re up to 31 months now, and she’s still crawling up in my bed every single night. WHEN DOES IT STOP?

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I think it came out last year, but we watched Super 8 on Netflix, and I thought it was fantastic.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37, and I had dinner with my kids at my parents’ house. Not that exciting, but it was nice.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’ve got nothing. I am incredibly fortunate.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
I’d call it “still trying to figure out what works on my differently-shaped body now that I’ve lost weight and gotten boobs.” It’s pretty hit-or-miss.

32. What kept you sane?
Not a “what” as much as a “who,” and it was undoubtedly Chris.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I admit, I developed a little bit of a crush on Aaron Paul/Jesse Pinkman. I know he’s too young and I could probably snap him like a twig, but… yeah. Go figure.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Oh, gun control, abortion rights, marriage equality, all the typical things us hardcore liberals get amped up about.

35. Who did you miss?
The first 4-5-ish months of the year, I missed Chris a lot. Now I just miss all of my friends and family who live far away.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I met lots of people this year, not sure if I can single out one as the “best.”

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
See #9. I’m learning that if someone comes after you and their only intent is to provoke a reaction or make you angry, the worst thing you can do is let them.

As one of my very dear friends back in Mississippi says, “You just gotta be like a duck, darlin’. Just let it roll right off you.”

So there’s my life lesson: be more duck-like.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Not my favorite song of the year, but it always reminds me of Chris:

“It’s not a walk in the park
To love each other.
But when our fingers interlock,
Can’t deny, can’t deny you’re worth it
Cause after all this time.
I’m still into you.”

Yep, that about sums it up.

Happy new year, y’all!

post-holiday stream of consciousness

Today feels like the official end of the holiday season. My sister is flying home this afternoon (her husband – and man, it still feels weird to call him that since they’ve only been married a little over a month – flew home yesterday because he had to be at work today). The kids are back at daycare today, and after a week off, they were both excited to go see their friends. And I’m back at work too, although apparently my work laptop has other ideas, because it’s been on the fritz all morning. Which is probably a sign for me to just can it and give up, but I’m trying to fix it.

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I hurt my back last week, and I have no idea how. It could be from helping Dave move stuff, could be because I’m constantly hauling around a 30-pound toddler on my hip, could be because that same toddler climbs in bed with me every night and sleeps with her feet poking me in the ribs. But whatever the case, I’ve been hobbling around like an arthritic 90 year-old for the past few days, popping ibuprofen like M&Ms, and I feel terrible. I called around this morning and found an acupuncturist with an open appointment today, so I’m going to give it a try.

I have sort of mixed feelings about “alternative” medical treatments – my mom has a lot of chronic pain issues and she swears by acupuncture, it really helps her a lot. On the other hand, I saw a chiropractor for a shoulder injury earlier this year, and while it did help a lot, the injury flared up again as soon as I stopped going. And I don’t really want to have to go get adjustments twice a week, every week, for the rest of my life. So, I’m hoping that a couple of sessions with needles in my back will clear this up and I’ll be done. Maybe this acupuncturist can even fix this stupid shoulder thing that I’ve had for well over a year now. We’ll see.

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Catie’s 7th birthday is a month from now, and I found out that the place where she wanted to have her birthday party (Pump It Up) is already booked the day I was planning to have her party, as are a few other places. It’s frustrating and I’m trying to call around to find her a fun party place.

This whole kids’ party thing is kind of a racket, but since she has a January birthday, having a backyard party isn’t an option, and I am not nearly zen enough to deal with having 8-10 kids in my house at one time. So, I’m a big fan of farming out the birthday party. I just have to figure out the location and how we’re going to manage it. And I didn’t realize that apparently I should’ve started figuring it out weeks ago.

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One last holiday thing: New Year’s Eve, tomorrow night. I’m planning on taking the girls to First Night to see the early fireworks show. Downtown Raleigh has a countdown & fireworks at 7 p.m. for the little kids, so they can be home and in bed long before midnight. My brother and I took them last year, and it was a lot of fun, Catie talked about it for ages. I think it’ll be even better this year, since Lucy is old enough to understand what’s going on. (Last year, she was mostly just confused by all of it.)

Plus, my cousin and her kids are planning to meet up with us, which should make it even more fun for the girls, because they love getting to hang out with their cousins.

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No reason for posting this picture, except that I love it.

My dad and Lucy. Those two have a really special little bond between the two of them. My brother-in-law got that picture on his phone, and I think it’s just perfect.

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I need to do my end of the year meme. Maybe tomorrow. Right now I gotta go get some needles shoved in my back. Good times.

random rants

I gave up Diet Coke about 8 or 9 months ago (I forget exactly when), and I think breaking that habit has been a big part of the reason I’ve been able to lose weight. Based on what I’ve read about the effects that diet sodas have on the metabolism and your brain, and the fact that I’ve lost 35 pounds since I gave it up, I think it’s safe to say there’s probably a connection there.

(Well, that and the running. I run an average of 12-15 miles a week now. I think that makes a difference too.)

I had some Diet Coke a couple of months ago, because I was at a party and there were two-liter bottles of soda, with cups and a cooler of ice, set up on a picnic table. I was tired and figured the caffeine hit would help.

The crazy thing: it made me totally sick. It tasted terrible, it burned my throat, and I felt burpy and bloated and sick for the rest of the day.

sick-2

So, what do you know. Apparently that stuff really isn’t good for you after all. I knew it wasn’t healthy, of course, I just didn’t realize quite how much damage I might’ve been doing to my body until I gave it up.

I don’t want to turn into one of those anti-soda people, because I generally find those people to be annoying and tedious, but that’s my personal story of Why I’m Glad I Don’t Drink Diet Coke Anymore. You’re welcome, and I promise that I’ll try to never get preachy about it.

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Of course, giving up the soda means finding a different source of caffeine, and generally I’ve become a big fan of iced tea. Unsweetened with a little sweet ‘n’ low is my new favorite thing – and it HAS to be the pink stuff, do not try to give me Splenda or Equal or I will smash your face.

First thing in the morning, since I always feel like death when I wake up, I’ve started drinking coffee. I’ve never liked coffee, but I’ve managed to adapt to it. My problem is that I really don’t like hot drinks, but if I make iced coffee, I’m fine.

And a few times, I’ve gotten an iced coffee at Starbucks – which, for the record, I still cannot walk into a Starbucks without feeling like some terrible suburban mom stereotype.

Mean-Girls-GIF-Reginas-Mom-Amy-Poehler-Im-Not-A-Regular-Mom-Im-A-Cool-Mom

I couldn’t figure out why the Starbucks iced coffee tasted a million times better than the stuff I made at home.

Then it dawned on me that at Starbucks, the milk I put in is half-and-half. At home, I was using skim milk. So apparently that’s the key. As with so many other things in life: once you add a little fat to it, suddenly it’s MMMM, TASTY!

Cake-GIF

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Totally unrelated to all things beverage: I’m normally a Kelly Clarkson fan. She’s cute and feisty, seems like she’d be fun to hang out with, and I generally like most of her music.

But I hate-hate-HATE this new “Unconditionally” song. Because you know what? There is no such thing as unconditional romantic love. Everyone has conditions. They vary per person – some people’s conditions may be far more extreme than others – but your partner can always do SOMETHING that would alienate your love.

So, really, what she means is more like, “I love you unconditionally… until you cheat on me/hit me/start cooking meth in an RV out in the desert/what-have-you.” But those are all conditions. So the entire premise of the song is bullshit.

Also, she puts her inflection on the wrong syllables and that just bugs me.

Try again, Ms. Clarkson.

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I read this post by Helga yesterday, and it got me thinking about bullies/mean people in general.

I’m not sure why, but it inspired me to google a guy I dated in college, who was without a doubt the worst boyfriend of my entire dating history. I’m not even going to get into all of the details, because I’m still embarrassed to admit the amount of abuse and mistreatment I took from this jackass, even though it’s almost 18 years later.

And I remember very clearly, driving home after our break-up, thinking to myself, “Ok. Chalk this one up as a learning experience. Now you know how you will never let a man treat you, ever again.” And it stuck. So I guess I ought to be thankful for that, I learned my lesson early, and I haven’t dated anyone even remotely like that since then.

Turns out? Abusive JerkFace Guy is now on the national sex offender registry. And it was weird, but recognizing his face in the mugshot I saw online, I wasn’t even the slightest bit surprised to see that he had been in prison for sexual battery. In fact, it sort of felt… oddly gratifying. Not for whoever was his victim, of course, because I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But I had a moment of “good, I hope you learned your lesson.”

takei_douchebag

I mean, it’s doubtful. Assholes usually stay assholes for life. But I can hope.

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There’s really no point to anything in this post, just a bunch of random stuff that’s been jumbling around in my head, and it was all too long for Twitter and/or Facebook. So here it is. Hopefully my abuse of animated GIFs made it more interesting.

If not? Well.

no1currr
(I could watch those dudes all day.)

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Edited to add: It was pointed out to me on Twitter that “Unconditionally” is actually sung by Katy Perry and not Kelly Clarkson. Which explains why I hate it. Ok then, nevermind! Carry on!

In which I nearly get hauled off to the pokey

(This title is such a tease. You know I’m WAY too boring to go to jail for anything interesting, right?)

Sometime back in June, I got pulled over on my way to a doctor’s appointment. I was running late, the left turn arrow was already on yellow, and I tailed someone through the intersection even though I knew it’d be red before I could clear the intersection.

Of course, a cop just happened to be there. And he pulled me over.

He was going to let me off with a warning, but then he ran my license, and he found a notice that I had no car insurance, and that he was supposed to take the plates off of my car.

Important side note: I did have insurance. What happened was an overlap with my car insurance when I changed over from a joint policy with my ex-husband to a solo policy by myself. So I was basically double-insured for a while. Then I figured it out, my old joint policy was canceled, and the new policy was in effect. But, hey! Boring-but-critically-important detail: my new insurance company never informed the DMV that they were covering me. Whoops.

Apparently the DMV sends you notices about these types of things when they happen. But the address that they had on file was my old house, not the one I moved into after my separation. And even though I had a forwarding address, for whatever reason, those letters didn’t get forwarded to my new house.

So, yeah, it was basically a giant clusterf**k of miscommunication that led to that Wednesday in June when the cop got a screwdriver out of his trunk and took the license plates off of my car.

I called my insurance company in a panic, they apologized profusely and immediately faxed a letter to the DMV, I drove my plate-less car to the DMV, paid for my new tags, and that was that.

Or so I thought.

I sort of missed one important detail there: the ticket that the cop wrote for my lapsed insurance? Apparently the ticket didn’t disappear once I straightened things out with the DMV. Court system & DMV are two totally different systems. Which I guess I knew, but never really thought about?

There was a court date a couple of weeks ago. Which I missed, because I assumed that there was no reason for me to be there. You know, since I’d paid my fees with the DMV, proven to them that I was sufficiently insured (and always had been), and gotten new license plates.

And all of that boring backstory is what led to this tweet tonight.

ticket

I had gotten home with the kids, heated up dinner, and I was in the bathroom taking a much-needed pee break when my doorbell rang. I saw the cop car outside, and… well, my general rule is that I don’t answer the door for strangers, but if a uniformed cop rings your doorbell, YOU ANSWER IT.

He told me that I’d missed my court date and that because of that, there’s a warrant that’s been issued for my arrest. When I started to freak out that I was home alone with my two kids because I’m a single mom, he shook his head and said, “Don’t worry, I’m not taking you anywhere.” (He really was very nice about the whole thing.)

He gave me a card with the number for the district attorney’s office, and told me that I need to call and set up a new court date. He said that if I have proof that my insurance never lapsed & that everything is ok with the DMV, it’ll likely all get dismissed.

Moral of the story: I’m apparently an idiot and need to pay closer attention to fine print. But it’s fine. I’m fine. Not in jail. All is well. Just… that was not exactly what I was expecting for a typical boring Tuesday night in the suburbs.

beach weekend

One of the cool things about living in the Raleigh area is that you can get to the beach in about two hours or so. The downside, of course, is that we typically only make it out there once a year. But we’ve gone in 2009, 2010 – skipped 2011, because, you know, I had a baby and my marriage was disintegrating and all that stuff – but went again last year. It’s always fun.

This year, my parents and I took the girls to the beach and met up with my brother there. Of course, traveling with kids is exhausting, but overall it was a fun trip. And the kids were amazingly well-behaved. I was expecting the drive there and back to be far worse than it was, but they did great. Catie shared her iPad with Lucy and they listened to music together.

(Side note: Catie is obsessed with “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, and has been for months. She plays it on repeat until you’re ready to rip out your ears. On a two-hour road trip, it gets old FAST. But, Lucy now loves it too and says, “Play da pop some tags song?” which is basically the cutest damn thing ever. So, fine, let’s hear it one more time, and Mommy will thank the stars that she remembered to double-check that she was downloading the bleeped version.)

As for the trip, I didn’t go as crazy with my camera as I normally do, but I did get a few good pictures while we were there.

Pop-Pop & Lucy check out the ocean
This was one of the few seconds that Lucy was smiling when she was close to the water. Unlike last year, she was not a fan of either the water or the wet sand. She kept saying, “No down! No down! I no like the water!”

my girls in the sand together
On the upside, Catie and Lucy did play together really nicely in the sand, during the few brief moments that Catie wasn’t out jumping waves in the ocean. (This picture makes me laugh only because man, that is a LOT of blonde hair right there.)

Exploring the beach

me, Lucy & my mom on the beach

Lucy’s favorite place was lying on the blankets where the sand and water couldn’t touch her. She did a lot of lounging around, pretending to nap and then laughing when she came up.

"I tired. I go night-night on da blanket."

Lucy on the beach
“Suh-pise! I not go night-night!” Oh, Luce. Good one. You almost had me thinking you were taking an unprompted nap for a second there. Right.

My dad, my brother, and I took turns holding Catie’s hands in the water while she jumped the waves. She went farther out into the ocean than she’s ever gone in her life, and she had a blast. At one point when I was with her, she screamed, “I COULD DO THIS ALL DAY!!!” Which is awesome. Except I can only jump waves for like, an hour, tops, before I’m completely worn out.

One of my favorite pictures I got of Catie was this shot of her walking to the water. And it reminded me of a picture I took of her almost four years ago. In 2009, when she was 2 years old, we were on the northern coast of Scotland, and I took a photo of her walking toward the ocean there. It’s one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken – I have an 8×10 of it framed in my living room.

Same girl. Same ocean. Opposite coasts. Opposite seasons. Four years apart.

Four years later, I got a similar picture of her on the opposite side of the same ocean. I love the contrasts and similarities – how she’s stepping forward on the same foot, but in a swimsuit instead of bundled up for winter. I may have to frame this one just to put it next to the picture from 2009.

We got home on Sunday, and my parents went back to their house to collapse. Chris came over, and he and I took the kids to a playground, and to a lake to catch some minnows. Both kids were completely exhausted and sound asleep by 8:15 on Sunday night, which has got to be some kind of personal record.

It’s probably a bad sign that I’m already craving more fried oysters, huh? Hmm.

New Year’s Meme for 2012

Ok, hopefully this one will be less depressing than last year’s. Here goes!

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Got divorced. It was a bit anti-climactic.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any last year, and I doubt I will this year. I mean, sure, lose 20 pounds and win the lottery, right? Same as everyone else in the world. Ho hum.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A whole mess of bloggy friends had babies this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
The dad of the family that lived next door to me when I was little. That one tore me up.

One of my dad’s cousins passed away as well, but he and I weren’t close at all.

5. What countries did you visit?
I can think of exactly 3 trips I took this year. None of them involved leaving the US. Two didn’t even leave the state of North Carolina.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
This was my answer last year…

Stability. Calmness. Serenity. Less drama. Two kids who sleep through the night in their own damn beds. Little things.

Yeah. That. I would still like that, please and thank you.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
* March 18th – My first “real” date with The Guy.
* October 12th – My divorce was finalized.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I ran 2 miles without stopping. I can’t think of anything else I could file as an “achievement” per se.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I feel like I spent too much of my life zoned out in my own head, rather than interacting with my girls. I need to make a more conscious effort to close the laptop, put down my phone, get down on the floor, and play.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Two trips to the ER, but both for things that were relatively minor. (Thankfully.)

And one stupid injury: back when we went to the beach in August, a wave knocked me down while I was holding Lucy, and something about the way I twisted when I fell (trying to keep her out of the water), I ended up pinching a nerve in my shoulder. It’s one of those things that will get better and then start hurting again for no reason, and it is VERY. ANNOYING. (I’ve already tried acupuncture and it didn’t help. I suppose I should also see a chiropractor.)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Technically, I didn’t buy it, but I did convince my parents to trade in their 9 year-old desktop for a new PC, and the lack of tech support I have to provide on a daily basis now is FANTASTIC.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Both of my girls have proven to be so resilient and adaptable to new situations, and they just astound me every day with whatever new thing they’ve just learned. Lucy is suddenly speaking in short phrases/sentences (“Get book,” “Want eat,” etc.), and Catie will rattle off some random science fact that I have to google to verify that, in fact, she’s right and I’m basically an idiot.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I can think of a few Facebook friends who would fall in this category. Like those who joked about hiring an assassin after Obama won the election. Thankfully, nobody close to me fits in that category.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare. Rent. Nothing fun. Sadface.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Catie started kindergarten.
Lucy started walking.
I fulfilled a dream from 30 years ago and finally saw Duran Duran in concert.
A few other things I got all spazzy and excited about, but which escape my memory right now.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Oddly enough, probably “Eye of the Tiger,” because Catie became obsessed with it and played it over and over again until I thought I was going to lose my mind.

Also, I know it’s overplayed, but “Home” by Phillip Phillips. I will never forget the first time I heard both of my girls singing the “oooh-oooh-oooh” part from the backseat at the same time. It just made my heart happy.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier. THANK GOD.
b) thinner or fatter? Same.
c) richer or poorer? Same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Same answer as last year: Traveling. Reading books. Doing fun stuff with my girls.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Same answer as last year: Moping. Yelling. Crying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In the ER. Boo. I want a refund.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Yeah. I did. Hard.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Other than The Daily Show and random stuff like that, I have zero TV shows that I’m into right now. By the time the kids go to sleep, I just want SILENCE, not TV. It’s like my ears are exhausted and I can’t process anymore.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No.

24. What was the best book you read?
Most of the books I read fall under the category of “romance/smut,” and I am far too embarrassed to link to any of it. (In my defense, I need to read things that aren’t too plot-heavy, since I have almost zero attention span due to extreme sleep deprivation. So basically, let’s all blame my children for the fact that my reading tastes have deteriorated to crap.)

So instead I’ll say Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I’ve picked up on a whole bunch of new music by listening to other people’s Spotify playlists. I think my favorites so far are either the Civil Wars or Fleet Foxes.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
… I have absolutely no idea…

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
… And again, no idea…

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I think the only movie I saw in the theater was The Hunger Games, which was good. I really loved Beginners. I finally saw The King’s Speech and loved it.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 36. Greis was here. We went out for dinner, and then I got a sinus infection. Because of course.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my friends lived closer and I got to see them more often.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
I’m trying SO hard to fight The Frump and to feel cute and stylish. I bought jeans that look good on my butt. I got cuter shoes. I wouldn’t exactly call myself fashionable, but I’m working on it.

32. What kept you sane?
Oh, my friends who let me text them to vent about whatever random stuff that’s driving me crazy. There’s only a couple of y’all. And you rock.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I can’t really think of anyone. I mean, Channing Tatum’s abs are pretty amazing, but I can’t think of anyone else who was particularly drool-worthy.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election was pretty major. Currently, I’d say the whole gun control thing is driving me insane. I’ve had to “hide” a few people on Facebook because I just can’t even deal.

35. Who did you miss?
The last month or so, I’ve missed The Guy. A lot.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
The Guy. No matter how things may have ended up. No doubt, it was him.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Self-discovery hurts but is generally worth it.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“Now I gotta get a move on
Fit for the sun,
I hear my baby calling my name
and I know she’s the only one.
And if I die in Raleigh,
at least I will die free.”
— “Wagon Wheel,” Old Crow Medicine Show

Happy new year, y’all.