Ghost Story

My mom is from New Orleans, she grew up in a big Catholic family, one of 7 kids. Which I suppose isn’t THAT big because my grandfather was one of 16 kids. Three died in childhood, which honestly, for back then (late 1800s to early 1900s)? I think that having 13 kids survive to adulthood was considered better-than-average odds. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate what an unbelievable badass my great-grandmother must have been to survive SIXTEEN pregnancies?? Just two nearly killed me.

Anyway, there’s this house my mom grew up in, and she and her siblings all talk about it fondly. When I was a kid and we’d visit my grandparents and other relatives in New Orleans, we drove past their old house many times. At some point, and I’m guessing it must have been in the 1980s (because my grandmother died in 1994), the old family home went up for sale, and they were having an open house. My grandmother wanted to go see their old house, so two of my mom’s siblings took her to visit it.

When they got there, the current owners of the house were also there. My aunt and uncle explained how this was their old house, and they were just visiting because they were curious to see it after so many years. The current owners asked if when they lived there, they’d ever experienced anything supernatural or seen a ghost. My aunt and uncle reacted as if these people were bonkers, and they were basically like, “uh… no???” Meanwhile, my very quiet and soft-spoken grandmother said, “Well, what does the ghost look like?”

The owners said they sometimes saw an old man in the kitchen, he wore glasses and was usually drinking coffee or looking over some papers. My grandmother said, “Oh, that’s Judge [French name*]. He was the original owner of the house.”

(* I’m not typing out this man’s actual name because it’s somewhat unusual and I don’t want to potentially upset any of his family members who might come across this.)

My aunt and uncle stared at my grandmother, both of them stunned. They asked my grandmother why she never told anyone about this ghost?? She said, “Because you all would have been scared to death and none of you would have been able to sleep again! Besides, he was harmless, I only ever saw him in the kitchen.”

Flash-forward about 40 years, give or take, and my aunt and uncle just told the rest of their siblings about this ghost a few months ago when they had a family reunion in New Orleans. The other 5 siblings (including my mom) are reeling because they had no idea they grew up in a haunted house.

After doing some research, one of my uncles found out that my grandparents bought the house from this judge’s widow. They also found his obituary, which indicates that he died in his chambers at work, not in the house that my mom grew up in. But I guess your ghost can hang out at home instead of at work? I’m not sure of the rules there.

But guess what? The obituary included a photo.

So that’s the ghost that lived in my mom’s childhood home. The home that she only found out was haunted when she was 75 years old. My mom said she has never really believed in ghosts, but if her devoutly Catholic mother just quietly accepted his presence, “then I guess I believe in ghosts now.”

And to be honest, just based on the photo alone, the guy looks pretty ghost-y.

How bananas is that?


This post probably gets filed under “nobody wants to hear about your exercise routine,” which is a philosophy I generally agree with. But I promise there’s a payoff here.

I’ve had trouble with my knees forever, but after I did the half-marathon in 2015, they really started bothering me. I’ve been to physical therapy and an ortho doctor, and there isn’t much they can do for arthritis in both knees, which is what I have. I get injections a couple of times a year that help. But basically, I can’t run anymore. I can do sort of a slow-motion jog. Chris calls it “wogging,” since it’s halfway between a walk and a jog. It’s enough to get my heart rate up so I feel like I’m getting a workout (more than just regular walking), which is the main thing I want. But I feel like I’m just doing a little “shuffle-hop-shuffle-hop” down the road. And that’s enough, honestly.

Since Ada died, Roxie has been extra clingy with me, and follows me wherever I go. She used to run with me when she was a puppy, but she stopped wanting to go as she got older. But she’s also put on some weight, which is not great for a Yorkie like her. Tiny dogs have tiny joints and can’t really handle a lot of excess weight. So I need her to get more exercise. But over time, she’s decided that she HATED going for walks, and she would try to stop and pull me the other direction, back toward the house.

So, I was browsing on (this blog post isn’t sponsored by them or anything, I’m just giving them a shout-out because they’re my favorite website for pet supplies) and I found a dog carrier that looks sort of like a baby carrier. I figured that maybe if Roxie didn’t want to go for walks, I could coerce her into going for rides? I bought it on a whim, and well…

It’s basically the cutest thing ever. I couldn’t stop cracking up and laughing when I first got it.

Roxie was initially a little confused and unsure about the whole thing, but after a few times? She LOVES her doggie carrier now. If she sees me in my workout clothes, she starts dancing around me on her hind legs while I lace up my sneakers until I get the carrier and put her in it. The kids call it “The Roxie Bag,” which I find hilarious.

So we’ve got a new workout routine now: I power-walk with Roxie in the dog carrier for the first half of our route. I’ve tried jogging, but I worry I jostle her around too much doing that. Still, power-walking with the extra weight of a dog strapped to my torso really amps up my heart rate quickly! It’s like a cardio/strength training combo.

When I get to the halfway point and turn around, Roxie will kind of sit up and stick one of her front paws out of the carrier. That’s her signal that she knows we’re going home and she wants to get down. That’s when I take her out of the carrier, and I jog/she runs the rest of the way home. She used to run 4-5 miles with me when she was a puppy, but now it seems like 1-2 miles is around her limit. That’s still a lot for a tiny dog with tiny little legs! And I can tell she’s losing some of the excess weight she’s put on, I’ve had to tighten her collar a couple of times already.

On Sundays, I usually do a long jog by myself. It’s a little routine I set up for myself, I kind of zone out with just my music in my earbuds, and it helps amp me up for the upcoming week if I feel like I’m starting off strong. This past Sunday, I was getting ready to go for my long jog, and as soon as I got my sneakers out, Roxie started dancing around me on her hind legs, all excited to go out, until I felt guilty and took her with me.

I don’t mind it so much, honestly. It’s a pretty great little routine that we’ve got going now.

Who can resist a face like hers, anyway?

Ray of Light

Lucy is going to be ten years old next month, which is both mind-blowing (a decade of Lucy!) and also completely un-shocking because she’s been calling herself “almost 10” for quite a while now. It’s weird to think that pretty soon, I won’t have any kids in single-digit ages, but I tend not to get too wistful or sad about them growing up, because I’m always excited to see what they’ll do next. Every phase they go through, I think, “oh man, this is the best! I want to freeze them at this point right here!” Then they inevitably outgrow that, and I think, “oh no, nevermind, THIS! This is the best yet!”

I don’t typically dig through the archives of this blog; maybe I’ll search for a recipe I once posted, but that’s about it. I especially don’t dig through the posts I wrote in 2010-2011, during my pregnancy with Lucy and around the time she was born. I’m afraid I’ll stumble across something that still hurts to read, or I’ll see something I wrote that was a blatant lie about how great Dave and I were doing, when the truth was anything but. Our marriage was falling apart pretty early into my pregnancy with Lucy, and probably started unraveling before I even got pregnant, if I’m being totally honest.

I always thought that Lucy was the luckier one of my kids, because she would never have any memory of Dave and me together, so she wouldn’t feel sad about it like Catie. Of course, nothing is ever that simple, is it?

Last night, Lucy and Jack got into an argument that was one of those stupid typical sibling fights that started over who had which spot on the couch. These types of things are thankfully getting more and more rare as they get older, but last night was one of the exceptions. I was in the kitchen so I didn’t see who did what, but it escalated to the point where Jack said that Lucy kicked him, and Lucy said that Jack tried to sit on her and bent her fingers backward. Jack got really angry, Lucy cried — like I said, typical sibling fight. I broke it up by sending them both upstairs to shower and get ready for bed. I’m not sure if it was the fact that they were physically separated (Lucy in the master bathroom, Jack in the hall bath), or if it was the magic powers of warm water on their heads (which seems to work like a mood reset button, for whatever reason), or some combination of both, but they were both fine after that.

(I feel like I need to caveat that last paragraph, but truly, Lucy and Jack are buddies more often than not these days. And Jack is often the bridge that helps Catie and Lucy get along with each other! I am incredibly grateful to have him here with us for so many reasons, he’s such a great kid. Last night was just one of those weird outliers where they got on each other’s nerves. Most likely they were both just over-tired.)

When I was getting Lucy tucked into bed, she said she’d been having some “bad thoughts,” and I asked what she meant. I honestly thought she was going to bring up the argument with Jack; I thought she was going to tell me that she was still mad at him or something silly like that. Instead, she said, “Sometimes I think you and Dad got divorced because of me.”

**Record-scratch noise** WHOA. Wait, what now??

She said that she thought that she must be the reason why we separated, because it happened right after she was born. Which: OF COURSE she would think that. She was only 2 months old when Dave moved out. If anything, I should be surprised that it took her nearly 10 years to make that connection and say it out loud to me.

I reassured her that her dad and I split up because of stuff between him and me, and no other reasons. I said that if anything, she was the one who made our lives better once she arrived. We have a recurring joke that her name, Lucille, means “light,” so I often call her my little light. But it’s so accurate, because she really is just this little beam of sunshine in our lives. She’s whip-smart and she’s got an amazing sense of humor, she can brighten up even my most depressed days. So I reminded her again that she’s my little light, and I would be so sad without her.

I mean, just look at that face. Even when she’s posing for a photo, she still has one of the most infectious smiles of anyone I know.

I also said that the divorce wasn’t all bad, because if her dad and I hadn’t split up, we wouldn’t have Chris, Olivia, or Jack in our lives, and we love all three of them so much. There are often days that I think Lucy prefers Chris over me, and even if she might get annoyed with Jack sometimes, she always thinks Olivia is the coolest thing on two legs.

I also told her how lucky she is to have divorced parents who get along really well with each other, because not all kids have that. She said, “yeah, you guys text each other a lot.” Which is true, we do! We talk kid logistics, sure, but we also joke around a lot. If I see a funny meme or tweet, there are decent odds that I might send it to Dave before I send it to anyone else. I have sometimes had the fleeting thought that Dave and I might have been better off if we never got married, but just stayed friends instead. But then I think of all the things I wouldn’t have: I probably never would have moved to North Carolina, I never would have met Chris… hell, I wouldn’t even have my current job (that I love!), because Dave pulled some strings to get me the job interview. Most importantly, though, I could never, not in a million years, regret any path I chose that brought Catie and Lucy into my life. I cannot imagine my world without those two glorious, delightful little weirdos.

Finally, I talked a lot to Lucy about how even though her dad and I are not married to each other anymore, we both always want what’s best for her and Catie, and we almost always agree on what those things are. (I didn’t tell her this, but it’s true: our rare disagreements have historically always come to a quick and easy resolution. We haven’t needed a mediator or use of the family court system since our divorce was finalized, and I know we’re very lucky in that regard.)

She was quiet for a lot of our talk, clearly mulling things over, but she seemed fine afterward. I checked on her about 15 minutes later, and she was sound asleep. She was back to her usual upbeat, funny little self this morning.

So, I guess I was lucky to avoid that conversation for as long as I did, but I’m also glad that I had ten years to come up with a decent response when it did finally pop up.


I guess 2021 is the year when I start blogging again, which I never would have guessed.

I just wrote the story in my last post about how we ended up with Ada, our beagle. She’s been happily living with us for so long, I guess I took for granted how much time she had left. A few days ago, she took a sudden turn for the worse. She couldn’t seem to get comfortable, she was pacing around the house and didn’t want to eat any treats I offered her, which is completely abnormal behavior for her. Normally when I tell her “go to bed,” she immediately flops in one of the dog beds, but instead she’d put one paw in her bed, then change her mind and go back to pacing.

The thing about congestive heart failure is that it’s slow. But her heart is now surrounded by so much fluid that she’s having a hard time catching her breath. She’s panting even when she hasn’t exerted herself at all.

Ada the Wonder Beagle

Chris and I took Ada to the vet on Saturday morning, who confirmed what we suspected. They gave us some pain medication to try to keep her comfortable. But it isn’t really working, and she’s suffering. One of the hardest parts of having a pet is figuring out when it’s time to say goodbye to them. It’s even harder when you have kids who bond to your pets. Jack is particularly attached to Ada, more than any of his sisters, and this is really hard for him. It’s devastating and heart-breaking, not only to lose a pet, but also to watch your child grieve that loss. But it’s up to us, as the adults, to make the awful decision of putting our pets down so they don’t suffer anymore. And so, we’re going to have Ada put to sleep sometime this week.

It’s not really a secret that Ada has never been my favorite of our pets. She’s absolutely the most sweet-natured dog I’ve ever met, but she also never got the hang of being house-broken, despite my best efforts, and she ruined all of my area rugs with her messes. She’s the reason my house always smells vaguely of Stinky Dog, no matter how much I clean or how often I bathe her and brush her teeth. And I never really wanted a second dog, but Olivia brought her over and it was like: well, I guess she’s ours now.

But despite my best efforts to not bond with this dog, for whatever reason, she decided that I was her person. She follows me everywhere. She wants to be with me and only me, most of the time. I somehow inexplicably became the Alpha Dog of a pack that includes Ada and Roxie, which is a weird place for a cat person to find themselves.

So I’m really sad, and I’m really going to miss her.

A friend (who might read this, and if so, hey K!) told me this story: when they knew they were putting their dog down, they stopped at a fast food place and got him his own burger and fries on the drive to the vet. He died with half a Twinkie in his mouth, and if ever there was a better send-off for a dog, I’m sure I don’t know it. I told that story to the kids, and they want to do the same for Ada. I told them that we will absolutely do that too.

After all, it’s the least we can do for a dog who has done nothing but love all of us for the final two years of her life.

Pandemic 2021 Updates

I got an invoice this week to renew the registration of my blog, and I realized that I haven’t written anything here in… uh… *checks notes*… over 3 years. So, hello! Here’s what’s been going on over in my little corner of the world.

We’ve been living through a pandemic for over a year now! If you’re reading this in 2021, you already know that! And it has sucked so much! You probably know that too! Ok, let’s move on!

There are a lot of things that have happened in the last few years that I never blogged about, like: we bought a house! The kids all have their own bedrooms, the backyard is fenced for the dogs (yes, dogs plural, more on that in a minute), I have an office with doors I can close, it’s in a beautiful neighborhood close to a community park and the schools here are great. It ticked every box of everything I wanted in a house. It’s also come with challenges, like finding that we suddenly have to buy a new water heater or some other major expense, but overall it’s been great and I love it here.

Dave also bought a house less than 2 miles away, so we have a super easy commute getting Catie and Lucy back and forth between our houses, which has been really nice. He and I are still amicable as ever – honestly, we probably get along better now than we did when we were married. I like that we can get along and have an easy relationship with each other; I think it really reduces any stress or tension that the girls might pick up on.

Work has been awesome. I was moved to a different team, but the move makes more sense for me, and I really like my manager. I’ve now been with this company for over 10 years, and I can’t imagine that I could ever find a job that’s a better fit for me than this one. I’m really happy on that front.

The pet switch-ups: I think when I last blogged, we had adopted Fifi and Sunny as kittens, and we also had Roxie (the Yorkie). Sunny unfortunately passed away from a disease called FIP that’s 100% fatal in cats. We were devastated to lose her when she was only 2 years old. We’ve since adopted another cat, Toby, who is just about the greatest thing on four legs. He’s so sweet and cuddly and just a hilarious goofball of a cat. I mean, look at this face.

We got him from the same rescue where we adopted Fifi and Sunny. They got him from a kill shelter where he’d been dropped off when he was 2 years old. I cannot fathom how anyone can interact with this cat and not immediately fall in love with him, so I don’t understand why anyone would ever surrender him to a shelter like that. I wish I knew more about his backstory, but the most important thing to know is that he’s ours now, and I absolutely adore him. I’d adopt 5 more cats if they were all like him.

As for the second dog: my stepdaughter, Olivia, found a beagle who’d been dumped on the side of the road, she was skin and bones at the time. Olivia brought her to us, and we thought that since she was so old, nobody else would ever adopt her, so we’d just keep her, take care of her, and give her a happy end to her life. We thought that maybe she’d live a few months at most. That was 2 years ago.

So that’s how we got Ada. She and Roxie get along great, which is surprising because until Ada came along, Roxie hated all other dogs. Ada is as dumb as a bag of hair, but she’s very sweet and just wants love and treats. We have no idea how old she is – she only has a few teeth left, she has cataracts and arthritis, she coughs all the time because she’s got congestive heart failure, but she keeps trucking along. She’s the age where the vet just shrugs and says, “Your guess is as good as mine.” We have a lot of jokes about how old Ada is – like: before us, her previous owner was a guy from the Old Testament named Methuselah. Or that she used to hang out with dinosaurs. And at the rate she’s going, she just might out-live us all. She’ll be hanging out with Wall-E after all the humans have vanished off Earth.

Because of her arthritis, she can walk around the house and to the backyard to do her business, but she can’t walk long distances on a leash. The pandemic meant that walking was our only escape from the house, so that’s how I justified making an insane purchase like a dog stroller.

My logic is that maybe she can’t walk very far, but she still likes to be included when I walk Roxie? She genuinely does seem to enjoy her little rides. I’m sure that I’m now known as the Crazy Dog Stroller Lady to all my neighbors, but all little kids we pass seem excited to see her. I figure the fresh air is good for her, and pushing a stroller with a 22-pound dog in it adds a little bit of an upper body workout to my walks, especially when we go up hills. (And our neighborhood has a LOT of hills!)

So that’s four pets we have now: two dogs and two cats. I think we’re good with that. It feels like we’re maxed out.

As for the four kids, there have been some pretty huge changes on that front. I’ll go from youngest to oldest:

  • Lucy is now in 4th grade, she’ll be 10 years old in May. And she’s still a hilarious little firecracker just like she has been since the day she was born. As she gets older, her sense of humor is maturing and she’s just an absolute riot. I don’t even have words to sum up how fun and awesome she is. I enjoy her a lot.
  • My stepson, Jack, has been living with us full-time for 2 or 3 years now. He’s 13, and he’s in the same grade/school as Catie. He’s had a huge growth spurt during this pandemic, he’s suddenly as tall as me and he’s needed all new clothes and shoes. He’s also matured a lot in the last year or so, and getting to be his “bonus mom” is turning out to be one of the great honors of my life. I always figured I was lucky to have two girls because I wouldn’t have known what to do if I had a boy. Raising Jack these last few years has taught me that being a mom to a boy is just as fun and wonderful, albeit in different ways that I find equally delightful.
  • Catie is 14(!) now. She’s artistic and sensitive and funny and lovely. She and Jack are starting their last quarter of 8th grade, then they’ll be off to high school in the fall, which is BANANAS. I still think of Catie as my tiny little blonde toddler, and it knocks me sideways to think that she’s going to be taking Driver’s Ed soon. Neither of us are ready for that. (Catie especially. She hasn’t changed much, she still hates trying new things, poor bug.)
  • Olivia, my stepdaughter, is 16, and she’s just a pure delight to be around. She’s so mature and easy to talk to. I always thought teenage girls would be a struggle, but it’s really not with Olivia at all. She’s also very private about her business, so that’s all I’m going to say about her. I don’t know if she’ll ever read this or not, but I want to be respectful of her feelings regardless.

In other news, Chris and I had our 9th anniversary a couple of weeks ago (of dating, not marriage – it took us over 5 years to decide to get married). I still think he’s the greatest guy in the world for me, and he seems to still like me despite the fact that I do things like impulse-buy a stroller for one of our dogs. So we’re pretty great.

It’s starting to look like there’s a light at the end of this pandemic. Chris got his second COVID vaccine today; I’ve had my first dose & I get my second in a couple of weeks. Our parents are all fully vaccinated now. It’s starting to feel, dare I say it, almost hopeful? There are so many things I want to do when this is over: host sleepovers for the kids, go on road trips, take honest-to-God/leavin’-on-a-jet-plane vacations, down to simple things like having my parents over for family dinners. Hopefully we’ll be able to do all of that really soon. Fingers crossed.

patiently waiting for the teenage uprising

Catie was in first grade when the shooting at Sandy Hook happened. It gutted me at the time, all those babies who were lost, the same age that my little girl was. A friend’s nephew was one of the children killed; his twin sister was in another first grade classroom and survived. I can’t imagine what those families have endured.

This most recent shooting in Florida has been devastating in its own way, especially seeing cell phone videos and the screenshots of texts the kids sent to their parents and siblings because they thought they’d never see them again. I can’t imagine getting a text like that from one of my kids. It makes me sick to think about it.

Last night, Chris and I were watching the news, and saw one of the Newtown children’s moms being interviewed on TV.

I said, “Her son should be Catie’s age.”
Chris said, “Yeah, her son was the same age Lucy is now.”

Since Lucy was just a baby when Sandy Hook happened, I never thought of it that way. It just hit me hard, this awful feeling that none of our babies are ever safe in this world.

This morning, I asked the girls when was the last time they had a lockdown drill at school. Neither of them could remember, it’s such a common occurrence. They used to trigger Catie’s anxiety; the night after every lockdown drill, she would panic and cry, and I would have to lie in bed with her and rub her back until she could settle down enough to fall asleep. Now she doesn’t even really register it.

Since Lucy is only 6, I wasn’t sure how the school explained the whole lockdown drill process to them. I asked her if she knew why they did them.

She said, “It’s in case a bad guy comes in with a gun and tries to shoot us.”

And that, folks, is the story of how I ended up hugging both of my daughters and sobbing my eyes out at 7:30 this morning. (Until Lucy told me that I was hugging her too tight and she couldn’t breathe.)

I don’t know what else to say about this. I just hate that this is the world my kids have to grow up in. I’m watching these teenagers protesting, and I’m scared to feel anything like optimism, but I really and truly hope these kids can fix this mess, where all of the adults have failed them.

New Year’s Meme for 2017

The end of 2016 was so depressing and bleak that I didn’t bother to do one of these recap posts, but so much has happened lately that I haven’t blogged about, that I feel like I should pick it back up.

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
* Chris and I got married!
* Related to the previous point: I officially became a stepmom!

Family Pics 2017

Honestly, this little blended family we’ve created is just about the greatest thing ever. We are so damn lucky.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No and no. I tend to think resolutions are just something you give up by sometime in mid-January. Changes don’t always happen on a set calendar timeline.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several friends had babies this year, and my cousin & his wife had a baby girl.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
It feels weird to mention a cat here, but Beaumont dying back in February really knocked all of us for a loop. I’m pretty sure I cried more for that cat than I cried over my own divorce.

5. What countries did you visit?
Jeez, this question is always so depressing. I don’t think I even left North Carolina in 2017.

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
A home of our own. I moved into this house with Catie and Lucy in 2011, after Dave and I split up, and it’s been a great landing place for us for the past 6+ years. But it’s a rental house, so we can’t change things like the ugly wallpaper, pastel blue siding, etc. I want to buy a house that we can really make ours. One where the kids have their own bedrooms, a fenced backyard for Roxie, and where I have a home office with a door I can close (I currently work in the dining room, and it’s really hard to work when the kids are home because I have no sound barrier anywhere).

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
* January 21st – Participating in the Women’s March the day after Trump was inaugurated.
* February 15th – The day we brought home our new kittens, Fifi & Sunny.
* November 22nd – The day Chris & I got married.

Chris & Cindy's Wedding

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I’ve  been kicking ass at my job, and I’m really proud of a lot of my work there.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I’ve been more short-tempered than usual, and that’s been weird, because it makes me feel unlike myself. I know a lot of it has been related to my health (see below), but it kind of sucks when I have to keep apologizing for being irritable and cranky.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I hurt my knee, which kept me from being able to run for a while. That was not fun. I’ve also been having a problem with recurring headaches, but my doctor referred me to a neurologist, and I’m cautiously optimistic that it might be getting better.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I don’t know if you can say that I “bought” it, but we paid for a marriage license. That was pretty great.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Good journalists.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Until the day I die, I don’t think I will ever stop being angry that Donald freaking Trump somehow became president of this country. “Appalled and depressed” is an understatement.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, groceries, kids. The usual.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
It feels weird to keep mentioning my own wedding, but: that. Also my kids’ birthday parties. Adopting 2 tiny kittens. The new Star Wars movie. The new season of Game of Thrones. Lots of stuff, I guess.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?
I’m going to say “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran – not because it’s a great love song (although it is). The real reason is because listening to my daughters sing it is one of the sweetest, loveliest things I’ve ever heard, and gets filed under that category of “man, I hope I still remember this when I’m old and senile.”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? I don’t know that I have an either/or answer for this. Can I say angrier? Because I am. I’m so angry at the shitshow my country has become. All of the feminist ideals that my parents raised me with have just bubbled over into this endless internal rage-fire that I’m not sure exactly what to do with.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner by maybe 5 pounds, but not much. (Not complaining.)
c) richer or poorer? Well, I got a raise, and my company’s stock price is doing so well that I’m about to use some of my stock options to buy a house. So definitely richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Being productive around the house. I did the “40 Bags in 40 Days” challenge during Lent, and I’ll likely do it again this year, because we really need to declutter if we’re going to move sometime this year.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Same answer as the past years, worrying about things that I have no control over.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
The usual. Christmas Eve church service with my family. My kids were with me for Christmas morning, then went to their dad’s to do Christmas with him. I took a nap and went for a long run with Roxie. My sister and brother-in-law flew in for a few days. We’ve had all 4 kids here since December 26th, which has been great, and I’m already sad that it’s going to end on Wednesday.

21. Did you fall in love in 2017?
Nah, the same guy. He’s still pretty aces.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Do political figures count?

24. What was the best book you read?
I’m going to plug a children’s book that a friend wrote: Bernadette the Brave by the amazing, lovely Allison Zapata. You should buy it for your kids. It’s really, really good. I’m not just saying that.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
He’s not new, but my kids got me into Ed Sheeran this year. It’s been a long time since I’ve had an album that I play on repeat. But pretty much everything on his last 2 albums has been my jam lately. (And yes, I’m probably too old to be an Ed Sheeran fan. Whatever.)

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
I feel like Chris and I have been a good team for years, and I feel like our kids have been a blended family for a very long time, but having everything legal makes it all feel a little more solid.

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
A house. I wanted to buy a house last year, but it didn’t work out for a bunch of reasons. Chris & I decided to put off house-hunting until after Christmas, so we’re about to start searching again.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I want to say “The Last Jedi,” but I also really loved “Wonder Woman,” and I have to admit that “Thor: Ragnorak” was great fun.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 41. I don’t think I did anything particularly special? I think I just had dinner with my parents and my kids. The usual.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Athleisure. I own more yoga pants than any reasonable person needs. But I mean, I work from home, so it’s not like I have to dress up on a daily basis to impress anyone.

32. What kept you sane?
* Running.
* Having a partner who listens to me when I need to vent.
* A lot of various prescription medications. God bless medical science.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Hemsworth as Thor, after his haircut. If you don’t get it, do a Google image search for pictures of Chris Hemsworth carrying his babies. You’re welcome.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
There is no way I can answer this succinctly. I’ll just gesture broadly at the world in general and say: all that stuff.

35. Who did you miss?
There are a few friends who live far away who I really wish I could’ve seen this year.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
This feels unfair to try to single someone out. There are too many people I like.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. (*hyperventilates with rage*)

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Not a song lyric, just a quote that I think sums up my year pretty well:

“Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”
–Oscar Wilde

And since I always finish these posts with a song, here’s an acoustic version of “Take on Me” by A-Ha, which I’ve listened to probably over 20 times, and I could easily listen to it 20 more.

Happy 2018, everyone! Let’s go kick some butt.