Yearly Recap: 2010

This questionnaire was posted by Linda over at All & Sundry. I’ve been reading her blog for a few years now and she’s always made me laugh and sometimes think a little bit.

I’m going to try (again) to be more attentive to my blog this year and figured this would be a really good jumping off point.

Happy New Year!!!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Took a for real road trip (NJ to TX with stops in Memphis, New Orleans and Washington, DC on the way home). Started (and successfully completed) fertility treatments. This, obviously, leads to – got pregnant!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t really make resolutions. I like to take things as they come, but if I had to set a few goals for 2011:

  • Get our shit together – at least in terms of fixing up the second bedroom in time for the baby
  • Have a successful and healthy remainder of this pregnancy
  • Have a relatively uneventful birth

That’s about all I can think about right now. I’ve pretty much got a one track mind these days.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, a few friends lost a parent, and that was really sad.

5. What countries did you visit?

I guess Texas isn’t its own country anymore.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

A job for Hubby. He graduated in May and the job market just sucks so much ass! For the security of our family and for his sanity I really hope something happens soon.

And I really really really want to be attentive to my blog. In preparation for this I looked at my page for the first time in MONTHS and saw that my last post was about blogging (again) and it was in JULY! That’s just shameful. I hope to do much much better this year.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Columbus Day was our egg retrieval and Christmas week was when we hit the 12 week safety zone and officially started telling people (well, those who didn’t already know). I initially thought our due date was July 4th (it’s the 5th) so we’ve been calling it our holiday baby.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I’d have to go with the pregnancy again. It’s pretty huge and otherwise I don’t think I accomplished very much this year.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I really hoped to get a little healthier this past year, but I didn’t get very far. I’ve started eating healthier, but with pre-conception surgery and the IVF process limiting my exercise abilities, I wasn’t really able to accomplish much.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I discovered I had Endometriosis and had surgery for that. I also developed tendonitis in my right hand. It hurts like hell, but I’m being treated and hope it goes away without too much medical intervention.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

With our extremely limited finances neither of us bought much this year. Our big splurge was the road trip. We rented a nice vehicle and stayed in nice hotels in NOLA, Memphis and DC.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, bills, bills. The road trip was all paid with our tax refund. Pretty much every penny earned went to living expenses.

13. What did you get really excited about?

We tried for about a year to get pregnant. It was pretty hard to find out I had to have surgery to confirm and remove Endometriosis, but it gave us hope. And now, after only one round of IVF, we did it! So I’m really excited to become a mom this year!

14. What song will always remind you of 2010?

I bought that Arcade Fire album because Twitter told me to. I liked it for about 3 days and then I just couldn’t listen to one more verse of one more song. So it wasn’t just one song, but the whole album that started making me twitch and had to be deleted.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier
– thinner or fatter? Surprisingly, only a little fatter, but I wish I were thinner before the pregnancy
– richer or poorer? About the same. It’s been four years since Hubby quit his job for school. This is the year we turn it around!

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Nothing really, but if I had to say something it would be that I wish I’d been more physically active.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Eating junk. I’m better, but not as much as I’d like to be

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Running around. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at my mother’s which doesn’t sound like that much, but it’s about an hour of travel each way and that’s if we take cabs to the train. Had we waited for the bus it would have been 1 ½ to 2 hours each way, two days in a row.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

The only thing I can clearly remember reading is the first few chapters of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I don’t listen to a lot of new stuff. Other than Arcade Fire (see above) the only thing I remember buying was the Cee-Lo song, F**k You because I LOVED it.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I hate going to the movies in NYC (because of the people and potential bed bugs – ewww!) and there are no nearby theaters in our area. I think the only new movie I even saw was Alice in Wonderland which I enjoyed, but it was 3D and IMAX and we were late and had to sit in the front row. So all I really remember is leaving with a sore neck and splitting headache.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

My birthday is in January and I honestly can’t remember exactly what we did. I think we went out for dinner and I know I took the day off because I always do.

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

Having two incomes

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

“Fashion concept?” do jeans and a decent looking top really count as a “fashion concept?” Especially when paired with Dansko clogs, I’m going to say no.

26. What kept you sane?

My husband…well, he at least tried, even if he didn’t always succeed.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

To be happy with less. We have enough stuff; not being able to buy more of it is no reason to be miserable.

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I’m doing it again…

Blogging about blogging. I can’t help it; the one and only Bossy from iambossy.com left a comment on my last post (from forever ago) today and it hit me again that no one is going to read this crap if there isn’t new crap to read!

Many many moons ago the very first blog I ever read was iambossy. My friend (who is now a blogger herself) had been poking around the blogosphere and found a bunch of smart, funny (mostly women) bloggers and clued me in. And that was the beginning of the end for me. I was bored and a little bit miserable at my current job so I started reading Bossy’s blog. She had a blogroll and I got all click-happy. I found dadgonemad, Dooce and so many others since then. Let’s just say I found plenty of reading material to occupy my time at that boring-ass job (I’m no longer there and in a much happier place now albeit with much less free time for reading).

To say these writers have been an inspiration is an understatement. Reading about their lives I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and I really felt like I’ve gotten to know them. For all these years I’ve wanted to start a blog. Not for anyone in particular – my family doesn’t even have my URL – just for me and for any strangers and potential future web friends out there that feel like reading my ramblings.

I’m not in this to be the next Dooce or Pioneer Woman. Really, who could ever dream of such success on these here interwebs? I just want to share and to feel like I’ve connected to people like A Little Pregnant who keeps my mind from spinning too fast while Hubby and I try to start a family. Or Linda at All & Sundry who tells about her life with two wild boys with such honesty and humor that she makes the scary a little less scary.

I’ve never put up a blogroll because I always feel like I’m leaving someone out. Someone whose writing I love. And there are so many blogs in my bookmarks that I could never ever list all of them. Those linked here are just the very tip of the awesome iceberg. So check ’em out and if any of them have blogrolls on their sites click away. You won’t be sorry. I haven’t been.

Happy Monday Interwebs. I’ll try to post more about everything and less about blogging.

xoxo,

-s

Update: I felt so bad when I looked at my bookmarks after writing this post that I went ahead and started a dang blogroll. It is by no means complete, but it’s a start. If you’d like to be added to my blogroll, just leave a comment with a link to your blog.

Delivering Happiness

My first book review!  Tony Hsieh and the Delivering Happiness team offered me a review copy of his first book and I jumped at the opportunity. I’m glad I did…

From his first attempt at worm farming as a young boy to the billion dollar sale of Zappos to Amazon in 2009 Tony Hsieh has been an entrepreneur for most of his life. Tech savvy and naturally hard working Tony (failed worm farm notwithstanding) has a sense for what worked in business.

Delivering Happiness – A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose is part autobiography (with a narrow focus) and part business manual. Hsieh talks about his early businesses selling burgers and pizza in college, his small business investments and attempts leading up to investing in and becoming CEO of Zappos.com.

It seems the biggest success at Zappos is the company culture. Zappos would hire the second or third most qualified candidate (though still highly qualified for sure) if they were a better personality fit into the Zappos culture (to many employees it seems to be a way of life). This book made me want to work for Zappos.com – too bad they’re in Las Vegas!

This is not a “how to make money” manual by any means, but any business owner could learn a lot from the story of how Zappos went from the brink of failure to their billion dollar sale to Amazon by focusing on making both customers and employees HAPPY. It’s a “bottom-up” not a “top-down” culture that really believes every employee is as important as the next.

A great, quick read for anyone – you don’t need to consider yourself an entrepreneur to get something out of this book. It contains not just business lessons but life lessons as well. It’s no wonder that both Tony Hsieh and Zappos have become as hugely successful as they are. It’s about people, not profits; a lesson 99% of business owners could learn a lot from.

To learn more about Delivering Happiness please click here:

http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com

Or to purchase your own copy go to Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/deliveringhappiness

I also have one extra copy available for my very first blog giveaway! To enter just leave a comment on this post. Admittedly I don’t have a lot of readers so I will leave entries open for a while.

ROAD TRIP!


Hubby graduated from college a couple of weeks ago. He was fortunate enough to have help with tuition and went full time while I worked to support both of us. It was an exhausting and trying few years, but we’ve made it through (now he just needs to find a job…).

To celebrate his achievement (and my saintly patience) we decided to go visit his friends in Texas. Only problem was getting there since neither of us has any desire to fly. I thought about taking Amtrak, but with sleeper cars and still having to rent a car once we got to Texas cost was an issue. I budgeted renting a car from New Jersey with gas and hotels. Adding a few fun “let’s see America” stops along the way we were just able to make it work with our income tax refund. Since we’re trying to have a kid this was likely to be the last year we’d be able to blow our money like this so why the hell not go for it?!?

The original plan was to stop in Memphis on the way down and Washington, DC on the way home. In looking at the maps, I noticed that one of the options for driving from Austin to Memphis took us right through New Orleans. I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans so we added another detour.  We also decided to hit Texas first then make all of our stops on the way home. I’ll write more about each stop later.

The guy at Enterprise hooked us up with an almost brand new Hyundai Santa Fe (only 7,000 miles on it and XM satellite radio!). We hit the road at 4:30am the day after graduation planning to stop for the night in Nashville (right off the highway – no time for sightseeing). Hubby did 90-95% of the driving (thank goodness! I’m not a bad driver, I just prefer not to) so I sat in the passenger seat with my camera.

We saw a lot of this:

lots and lots of highway

And some of this:

cows!

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But mostly this:

Crop Duster

Nothingness

I tried to get the welcome sign for each state we entered (there was so much construction in Texas that there was no sign, so I got the Texarkana water tower)…


More details to come; I just wanted to let my zero readers know where I’ve been for the last two weeks. Sorry for the lack of updates…hard to find a hotel that doesn’t charge eleventy-million dollars for really slow internet.

Happy to be home

-s

ps: McDonald’s for breakfast almost 2 week straight is a very bad thing

Happy Mother’s Day

My siblings and I took mom out for a late brunch after a quick gift fest at her house. And it was, um, not too painful. The restaurant was nice, but the food was pretty bad (crispy bacon does not mean burnt bacon and banana pancakes should actually have bananas IN them). The siblings and I bickered as much as we usually do which is a lot, but we love each other so it’s all good – really. Still, I couldn’t help but think that if we get pregnant this month we’d have a 2-3 month old next year and a wonderful excuse to NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH THEIR CRAZINESS.

But seriously, here’s hoping this is the last Mother’s Day that I’m not a mom. The evil two week wait has managed to fall smack dab on top of my vacation. I really thought we would be “trying” on the road and would end up with a magical vacation baby, but I guess my count was off by a week and gah! Yippee, I guess!  Call me a bad not-yet-mother, but I’ve decided for the sake of my sanity – and the fact that it’s been over 6 years since my last vacation – that I’m not going to be quite so careful during the trip.

We’re going on a road trip.  We’re driving down to Lake Travis (yes, we’re insane and driving from New Jersey to Texas) to play with Hubby’s friends for a few days then making a few fun stops on the way home.  The last time we went to visit Hubby’s friends I drank a little bit of water and a whole lot of beer for the duration of the trip. I won’t go that insane, but I’m  not going to stop myself from enjoying a couple of cold ones by the lake or walking down Bourbon Street with a  frozen Hurricane (I’ve been told it’s a must).

I’ve also decided not to bring any pregnancy tests with me. At the end of our trip in DC I’ll be within the testing range, but I’m not going to let myself be crazy this month. This is the last try before I talk to a doctor about having a good thorough look under the hood for both of us. While I know I should continue to be as extra cautious as I have been I can’t help but wonder if maybe I haven’t been a wee bit too strict with myself. Could I have been worrying so much that I’m stressing my body out as much as my mind?  Who really knows? Besides, if you think about it, for the first 10 days or so the little bundle of joyful cells is running on its own steam and not absorbing anything from mama just yet. If this is my last hurrah for a year or two I may as well live it up, right?

Happy Mother’s Day to all and to all a good night.

-s

I Should Post More Often

…I really should. I have a lot to say that i’m not yet comfortable posting in a public forum. Not that anyone’s reading this stuff, but they could!

Until I come up with something mildly entertaining for my weekly post (hey, at least I’m keeping to my minimum posting rule!) here’s what I’m reading:

http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com

Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos.com (who doesn’t love Zappos!?!?) and this is his first book. It’s about “different business lessons he learned in life, from a lemonade stand and pizza business through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Ultimately, he shows how using happiness as a framework can produce profits, passion, and purpose both in business and in life.” (via Amazon.com)

You can pre-order it here: http://www.amazon.com/deliveringhappiness

And they have an advance copy giveaway program for bloggers here: http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/contact/apply-for-an-advance-copy/

A while back Tony posted an offer on Twitter (@zappos) for a free advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest blog review. I’m thoroughly enjoying the read. Even if you have zero entrepreneurial tendencies, I think you will too. So on or around the book’s release date (June 7th) I’ll be posting my first book reivew and more than likely my first giveaway! Exciting stuff!

Peace!

-s

BTW today is the first summery day in my area and I’m tucked in my bedroom with the new A/C cranking away. I should be riding my bike or something, but it got too hot too fast and I’m not a fan of summer – spring and fall are my seasons.  I really need a pool! I’d stay outside all day if I had a pool!

Happy Anniversary!

Today is me and Hubby’s 6th wedding anniversary. We’ve never been super romantic, so we don’t make a huge deal about it. We went out for brunch with our friends (one of whom officiated our wedding!). Continued drinking away the afternoon which was fun; then we ordered some pizza and came home for dessert. I always make a cake with blue frosting just like our wedding cake.

Yes that is Marge & Homer Simpson

I loved our wedding cake! The day after the wedding when we were about an hour away from the hotel on our way home I realized that I had left the top of the cake in the fridge in our hotel room. I called to see if maybe they found and saved it, but they had already cleaned out the room. To this day I hope that someone on the staff enjoyed the cake (and 12 pack of beer) that we left behind, but they probably just tossed it. It surely would have been awful a year later anyway so I started the tradition of making something similar for us to enjoy every year.

I suppose this is a good time to mention that I had so much fun that I really can’t provide much detail about the day. I remember it had rained cats and dogs the night before during our rehearsal dinner/pre-party, but when I walked outside to go get my hair done the sun was shining and it was a perfect spring day.

Held at a Doubletree hotel about 90 minutes from where we live we had almost 90 guests. All of Hubby’s friends came from Texas and all of our local family and friends made the trip. Even one of my best friends who had moved out west made the journey to be with us.  I know we had a really good time and many of our guests mentioned it was the most fun wedding they’d ever been to.

Best day of my life so far.

Happy Anniversary Sweets!  I love you!

-s

ps: If this reads like a 6th grader wrote it, it’s probably because I drank almost a whole bottle of Prosecco this afternoon. I haven’t been drinking a lot lately so it really hit me!

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