What a year for a new year...

So, 2009 is just over 10 hours from its completion, and in what seems to be a growing consensus, I will not be sad to see it go.

Truthfully, there was a lot of good in my life this year. It's easy to look past that when I think about all the rough things I've dealt/am dealing with, but I can't honestly say that everything that happened in the last year of the decade was awful.

Overall, it was an incredibly challenging year for me - personally, professionally, scholastically.

By far, the biggest change in my life this year was returning to school after several years of working fulltime. In January, I dove into a full credit load schedule, not having any idea how I was going to do it, but planning on giving it my all. I ended my first semester back with a 3.57, and made the Dean's List. I also was awarded a scholarship from my college that will last until I graduate, and take at least a little bit of student loans off my back. This past semester I ended up dropping classes after an unrelated event caused me to completely lose focus, but I still pulled it out, and I finish the year as a college junior (9 years after starting college courses) and with a 3.42 GPA. Next year I plan on returning to two full semesters, and 2 courses over the spring and summer, and I am fully planning on kicking ass and taking names.

At work, I think I did a good job of staying focused and getting things done. Because of my school schedule, I ended up working quite a lot of nights and weekends over the last year, and spending many days close to ripping my hair out. My team has been shorthanded all year, and my desk showed the extra jobs I was taking on. It was stressful, it was crazy, but in the end, I know my work is appreciated, and I feel confident in knowing that I'm not only getting by, I'm building a career.

Personally, there were far more downs than ups. That's all I'm saying about that, other than at times, I'm surprised I made it through without having a full-fledged breakdown. Also, I have learned more about myself and what I'm capable of handling in the last three months than maybe the last two decades. And I've grown up more in the last three months than I ever would have thought possible.

So, 2009. Goodbye, good ridance. Thanks for the lessons, thanks for the memories, wish you woulda skipped over the shit luck. Won't miss you. At all.

2010, let's hear it for a fresh start and second chances. Try to not screw us all over too bad, k?

Happy New Year lovies! Tomorrow, resolutions? We'll see...


A Secret Santa surprise for one of my favorite bloggers!

As a happy participator in The Spin Cycle, I was pumped when Jen gave us our new assignment: Pick your five favorite blogs, she'd narrow it down to one, and you post about why the chosen blogger kicks forty-five kinds of ass. So, my chosen one, I hope you enjoy!!


I first found the amazing Sal of Already Pretty courtesy of Blogtations. There was a quote on there from one of her posts that I identified with:

"As a teen, I dreamed of being a bodiless brain in a jar. A smart, artistically inclined, physically awkward young woman, I shied away from anything that made me think about myself in terms of body. I hid in my loose, formless clothes, refused makeup, and let my hair remain unruly. I looked a little like a hobo, albeit one with excellent oral hygiene."

Well, if that wasn't enough to get me hooked, the entirety of her post certainly did. If you've never read Sal before, that's a great one to get started with.


I love that Sal's tagline is "Helping you recognize your own beauty, one post at a time." There are a million style blogs out there, and a million beauty blogs, but to me, Sal's stands out because she focuses so much on inner beauty and self-confidence as well. By posting a poll every couple of weeks, she forcesencourages readers to look into themselves to find something that makes them unique/makes them beautiful/makes them feel amazing/makes them who they are. I cannot tell you how much my self-image has gone up in the last year and a half of actually having to think about my body and what I love about it. One of my favorites was deciding on my five best. I loved the idea so much I stoleborrowed it on my own blog. Having to really evaluate what I love about myself? It's a lovely boost of confidence.


Without Sal, I wouldn't have any idea how to dress professional but also personal for an interview, wear belts without looking like a fool, fit the business casual requirement at work in a more interesting way than my usual black pants/boring sweater, or a million other tips and ideas I've picked up from her.


Besides all this, Sal is a truly great person, always leaving an encouraging comment, passing on information to readers that would be helpful, giving advice to a desperate girl trying to find a dress....She's fantastic and adorable, and I can't wait for her next Already Prettypoll so I can be discover just how much I rock, and also, how great she is at reminding me!

Happy holidays, Sal!! You're a treasure!


And happy holidays to everyone else who is enjoys The Spin Cycle every week! Thanks for this fabulous idea, Jen!


i'm not bitter, but i've seen better days

Oh, Christmas.

A time of magic. A time of peace. A time of cheer.

A time to be with the people you love.

This year I have none of those things, and if I seem bitter, maybe that's why.

This whole year has been one thing after another.

I start to think I've dug myself out of a hole, when in reality, I've just been digging the same one deeper.

Lately I've been withdrawing from the world and trying to re-evaluate my life. I need to see what's wrong, what's right, and what I can cut out.

I'm not sure if I've discovered any answers yet.

I know I can't take another year like this. I can't let myself make the same mistakes again, I can't let myself fall for the same tired lines again.

To be honest, if I really look at my life, if I really take the time to make an inventory of the good and the bad, there is far more wonderful than worrisome. I know this. I'm self-aware enough to realize that this mood I've been in the last couple months will pass, and I'll be better for it. I know I'm being foolish and I know I'm letting my emotions get the best of me. And I know in a few months this awful, terrible time will be over and I'll wonder why it drove me this far down.

I know all that.

So why does breathing in and out seem like the hardest thing to do? Why can't I drag myself out of bed in the morning? Why do I find myself breaking down over the smallest little thing?

More importantly, when will it stop?


It just needs a little love...(Holiday Homes Tour '09)

Jen on the Edge is hosting the 2009 Holiday Homes Tour today yesterday (yes, it is quite possible that I no longer have any idea what time or day it is.)

Here is my little piece of holiday spirit...

Yes, that is my desk at work. Yes, that is the only Christmas decoration I'll have up this year. Yes, I do essentially consider my job home. Last week I called my cubicle 'home' without realizing it. I spend more time there than anywhere else.


Dear Santa (A Perennial Fuck-up's Christmas Wish)

Dear Santa -

I'm supposed to tell you what I want for Christmas this year.

This might be a bit unconventional, but I'll just run with it, and you let me know if you can help out.

You see, Santa, I've made some choices recently that I'm not proud of. And true, I used to be of the mindset, good or bad, they're still my choices, but lately? Lately I'm not so sure. Lately I've been having regrets. A LOT of regrets.

You know what I'm talking about, right? All of them? I don't really need to go into detail, do I?

Do I need to relive all the things I've done to disappoint people? All the ways I've hurt people? All the ways I've hurt and disappointed myself? Do I need to dig up long-buried memories and clouded glimpses of nights I barely remember myself? Do I need to look back at all the mistakes I've made? Because I can, if that'll put me back in your good graces. If I need to admit what I've done wrong, I'll do it. I'll do anything if I can just get those years back.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't miss what I've found along the way...and I'm not saying that every speed bump has sent me off-course. I've found a lot of good and learned a lot about myself and who I want to be the last several years. I'm just scared, Santa...because the girl I am is nowhere close to the woman I'd like to be. And I don't know if I'll ever get there. I've screwed up too much, I've gotten too far down the wrong path to make it back to good again.

I know you're probably thinking that running away from problems doesn't solve anything...and you're right, I can't argue with that. But I think even you'll admit that I haven't exactly been getting the easiest cards dealt to me lately. And I think you know that a lot of what I did was completely out of character. I'm not claiming temporary insanity here, but you know as well as I do that a lot of this just isn't me.

So here's my idea: Let me take it all back.

I'd really like a do-over on the last few years.

That's right. If I could go to sleep on Christmas Eve, and wake up on...oh, say New Year's Day, 2004, that would be fantastic. I think that's about the time my life started to really go off the rails. If I could just wake up that morning, and get a fresh start, I know I could get it together.

I could avoid some of those heartaches. And salvage some of those friendships. I could finish what I started instead of giving up when things got rough. I could make a choice and stick to it. I could be smarter, and stronger, and better. I could turn into the person I want to be. I could be someone that other people could count on. Someone with heart, and compassion, and motivation, instead of this cynical girl I barely recognize. I could do everything differently, and be happier now, and a better person.

Is that too much to ask, Santa? Is this possible? Could you do this for me? Because it's been too many months of just barely holding it together, and I don't know if I can take another year of this.

I'm pretty sure I've been on your 'naughty' list for a while now, but if you could do me this one favor, I promise, I'll be good. I'll make the smart decisions and avoid the bad ones. I swear, Santa, I really will. Just let me forget the last several years ever happened, and go back to being twenty-one, and naive, and optimistic, and ready to take on the world.

I know I can get it right this time.


Introducing the lovely, the talented, the amazing....MELISSAAAAAAA!

My favorite thing about the Great Interview Experiment?
Getting to discover a blogger that I otherwise would probably never read. Melissa, aka Lollipop Goldstein, aka Town Criers, is one such blogger, and I am happy that I got her, as she is pretty darn awesome....but don't trust me - read it for yourself!

(You can visit yet another fantastic blog and blogger, Velvet Verbosity to read her interview with me and check out her 100-word writing prompt challenge! I am excited to start participating in that!)

How did I not know about ‘Show and Tell’?! This is a fantastic idea – how did you come up with it? What is your favorite thing you’ve shared? And what is the most interesting thing someone has posted?

I really missed that excitement from grade school that came before Show and Tell day at school, when you combed your house for stuff to bring in so you could tell a story. My favourite share was a picture I found of my daughter in the NICU (link) when I was working on their scrapbooks (which are still unfinished!). Probably the most moving one that anyone posted (and I'm sure if I sat reading through the archives I'd add 20 more), but this post (link) from The Road Less Travelled. I cried reading it.

Even the most open people have some secrets - Is there anything you absolutely would not share on your blog?

I have some pretty strict boundaries for myself--my story ends where another person begins unless I have (1) their permission to tell the story or (2) there is no chance they would recognize themselves in the story or be able to be identified.

You talk about traveling and trips you’ve taken – where was your favorite place, and why? Have any interesting or crazy stories about people you’ve met along the way? (By the way, I REALLY wish you had asked the random American woman how she lost all her underwear...I’m sure that would make a good story!)

It could have made a good story, but we had so much fun with her regardless and there are many additional stories of the two or three nights we hung out with her. My two favourite place that I've visited since starting the blog (since I've been to too many countries to rank them) are Smith Island and Shepherdstown, WV. My husband calls me the freak magnet because somehow, he can go for weeks never having a strange encounter on his way to and from work, and then the one day that I go down to his office, we meet up with all of these wonderfully crazy people. So we do meet a lot of interesting people along the way but our favourite was a boy we met in a hostel in Canada. We ended up taking him out for breakfast and interviewing him with a tape recorder. I'm not sure where the tape is and how much of his story was bullshit, but one day I'll have to tell the story of the Canadian hitchhiker.

Your post ‘Funeral Song’ had me in tears (at work, no less), and ‘My Grandmother’ had me in stitches – your grandma sounds like she was incredible (and not that different from my gramma who I lost almost 5 years ago now). What about her do you see in yourself? And did she have any traits that you wish you had more of?

Her large bum--all of us inherited it except one sister-cousin, lucky thing. I am probably most like her in that I care a lot about the people around me (and my husband just called across the room that I'm most like her in that I'm not afraid to tell him that he's stupid). I wish I had inherited her brashness. She said whatever was in her mind, and sometimes, it was exactly what the person needed to hear.

What has been the most rewarding part of blogging about your experiences in the ALI community? What is the most challenging thing about it?

I have to admit that I feel badly for people who are not in our corner of the blogosphere because there is an enormous love here. There is fighting too, and hurt feelings and lashing out at one another from time to time, but that is tempered with this enormous love. I have seen people come together to help a person build their family numerous times, whether it was donating money, gametes, or a womb. How many people can say that through blogging, they have added life to this world? The challenging thing is finding the stopping point. It is too easy to read more blogs, write more comments, and leave other stuff undone. And it's hard to set that limit when you receive so much love back for the good thoughts you give.
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