Monday, August 03, 2015

On Befriending the Awkward Kid...

With my own children deep into the drama-fest that is middle school, I've been thinking a lot about my own middle school (grades 5-8) experiences.  For the most part I think we can all agree that middle school is a form of torture for most kids (although Skyler seems to be kicking its ass).  I mostly have memories of being shy and awkward and not fitting in.  The more these thoughts crossed my mind, the more I thought about one person who absolutely made a difference in my life. Someone who did the thing I always beg my kids to do...she talked to me.  She invited me to sit with her at lunch.  She didn't see a reason to consider me the awkward weird kid that I felt that I was.  We're both 41 years old now and I still remember her kindness as transformative.

I've mentioned here before how shy I was as a child.  I always had a book in my face, a. because books are awesome, and 2. because it was a defense implemented to set a wall between me and other people.   In seventh grade, I had English class with Mrs. Maguire (everyone loved her - where is she now?), and was seated behind Melanie.  She was smart and pretty and all the boys loved her.  But the best part was that she'd turn around in her seat and talk to me.  My immediate defense was to think "is she making a joke of me?  Can I  really just sit and chat with her?"  I was cautious for a long time.  I wasn't quite sure what to think but loved the idea that I could be one of her friends. Then one day, as I was coming out of the line in the cafeteria, she waved to me and asked me to sit with her and her friends.  I adopted the deer-in-headlights stance and wanted so badly for her to mean it although I was terrified of being made fun of in some way.  But I did it, I sat at her table.  I became friends with her and her friends.  I finished off my middle school years a lot less awkward and ready to tackle high school, a bit of confidence and a group of friends you are comfortable with can do that for a kid.

Though Melanie moved away at the end of eighth grade (or before?), I have always remembered her for this kindness.  I give her credit for the teen I became, who had a lot more confidence and much more armor against the idea that "you aren't good enough" and when those didn't work I was able to fake it.  I have never thanked her for this although I have thought of it often, mostly when I'm telling my kids that they should always befriend the new kid, ask a quiet loner to sit with them at lunch, and just know that everyone has something going on and none of us are ever as confident and "cool" as we are perceived to be and that you will be remembered for your kindness and the fact that you made a difference in another kid's life.

Thanks to the wonders of facebook I am friends with Melanie and I enjoy watching her raise her beautiful daughter and laugh with her at the stupid things we all post to our pages.

I'm going to post this and send the link to Melanie and you know what?  I still feel a tiny bit like I'm emailing one of the cool kids.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Turning Twelve...

My all time favorite thing in February is of course Skyler.  There were big happenings for us this week.  Yesterday she, my baby child, turned 12.  And then I became the know-nothing-irritating mother that all teens complain about.  It was almost magical how I transformed overnight.

Knowing she was scheduled to have a half-day of school on her birthday, Skyler asked if I would take her and her bestie to the mall when I got home.   She vehemently did not want her brother to be in the same mall that she was in.  I vetoed that explaining that she would just have to breath the same air and get over it.  We got to the mall, had lunch, she and her friend consulted their magical network of friends and discovered that two other besties were IN THA HOUSE (they probably didn't say that, I'm so old and lame).  I agreed that they could go off together if they agreed to check in.  And just like that poof, they were gone. I'm so glad Zack did come with us because I had someone to hang with.  I wasn't just the pathetic teen-taxi-driver my daughter thought that I was.

You see only a blur they were off that fast.

The last picture is when I said it was time to go, she turned her back to me to consult her friends as though theirs was the final say.  Oy.

We discovered this day, that she is of equal height to me and not even close to done growing.  I'm the short one in the family, further diminishing my weight as an authority.  It's a different experience telling your taller-than-you child that they will do as you say "or else".  We all have this air of "we'll do it because you're Mom, but 'or else' what?"  As though, if they were to challenge me, what would I do?  My primary currency is the iPhone.  Threaten to take that away and they might just offer up a limb in trade.

After the phone call that made mothers all over our city grown with pain at the fact that school was closed again on Friday making this an entire unplanned week of "vacation" Matt spontaneously suggested that Skyler invite her friends to sleep over.  This one and that one?  Yes sure.  And this one and that one?  Yes sure.  He assured me that he was in control, he had this, I need not worry.  He speaks Skyler better than I do these days.   Not a minute after they arrive, Matt was struck sick with stomach pain so fierce he was writhing on the floor.  It's something I might have pulled myself if I had been left in charge of five little eye-rollers but I think he might not have been faking.

As the girls were settling down for a movie marathon, they began with their nightly rituals of tooth brushing and face washing and they all came into my room to show me the special lotion and face wash that H had.  I said "oh yes, I've told you to wash your face every night using..."  "MOM - I want this one.  The same one that H has.  Here take our picture with it."

So, although every teen I've known for the past 30 years has been using Neutrogena and I have suggested it to Skyler before, now that this particular formulation in this particular bottle has been best friend approved, she will wash her face with it nightly.  I'm going to have to start manipulating the friend influence somehow.

The good thing is that my dear thinks-she's-grown-girl has the very best of friends.  I know this because four of them slept on my living room floor last night and just as when they were tiny babes  and we looked over them thinking how adorable they were when they slept, this morning I too looked at these creatures who had given me a thousand eye rolls just yesterday and thought "awww aren't they sweet".

Happy Birthday dear Skyler.  I hope we both make it to the other side of the teen years with our sanity in tact.

yeah that's my kid licking her friend

#favoritethingsfebruary #skyler #twelve #birthday #sleepover #mall

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Walking...and Shame...

Meghan Trainor.  I shouldn't have to say anything else to explain why she's a favorite in February but...I like to hear myself talk.  I'm sure you've heard her song All About That Bass on the radio thingy or iTunes or everywhere, it's everywhere.  I looked up her wiki page and I like that she's a young (21) female entertainer who actually started her career writing songs for other artists before she decided to record her own album.  You go on with your bad self Meghan.

I am LOVING her album titled Title (is that right? I think so).

I particularly like (all the songs but) Walk of Shame.

What?  You're telling me you've never?  Liar!

#favoritethingsfebruary #meghantrainor #mtrain #title

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stay Weird New Hampshire...

I am NOT doing a lovey dovey Feb 14 post because Hallmark is not a favorite thing of February.

I'm missing home lately (although I wouldn't want to visit at the moment as my mother reports that there is snow right up to her windows). New Hampshire comedy is a favorite thing this month. Winter in New England is accurately described here:

I find the following clip particularly funny (in a dark way) because I happen to come from one of those hardy New England families that have the stubborn kind of drunk that managed to get himself arrested for a DUI TWICE in ONE day.  Lovely huh?  Yeah that was on the front page of the newspaper.  No one recognized the family name <---that all="" e="" got="" nbsp="" ousins.="" p="" right="" s="" sarcasm.="" them="" ve="">

If you're from New England you will heartily appreciate this music video and will likely recognize every single reference:

Crazy New Hampshire,  you're the Florida of the north.

#favoritethingsfriday  #newhampshire #justinmckinney #jayzparody 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Notorious RBG...

I so love this Ruth Bader Ginsburg headline on Jezebel today:

I 'Wasn't 100% Sober' During State of the Union

Ha!  How can you not love her?  My friend Rachael said "SCOTUS, they're just like us" and I couldn't agree more.  RBG rocks all kinds of things including having the balls to say "Hey, I'm 81 and I can't be expected to stay awake after my bedtime and a glass of wine so suck it"

Thanks for fighting the good fight, RGB!  I can't wait to hear all you have to say this spring!

#favoritethingsfebruary #rbg #scotus #ruthbaderginsburg #jezebel #stateoftheunionwine

Thursday, February 12, 2015

This Makes Up for a TINY Fraction of my JS Sadness...

Last year John Oliver, a contributor to The Daily Show, announced that he was leaving to start his own show on HBO called Last Week Tonight.  I immediately thought "you're nuts...good luck buddy" and I was wrong (see Matt I can admit when I'm wrong).  It turns out John Oliver on his own show is funny as shit.

Now I didn't start "borrowing" HBO until recently so I was watching John clips via HBO's YouTube channel and it was an awesome awesome thing.  You know what happens when you have no sponsors or advertisers to worry about?  You say whatever the fuck you want!!! (see what I did there?)

I became like any dad in the 80s with a camera and a slideshow projector; any time someone was captive in my living room I turned on Roku and told them they just HAD to watch this.  One of the best rants John went on aired right before the start of the World Cup, which was, you know, the most important thing in the world to my family last spring.

This past Sunday, Last Week Tonight came back for season two.  John tackled the controversial subject of Big Pharma marketing directly to the doctors that write your scripts.

The quote that almost made soup come out of my nose was:

If you get HBO or are borrowing it from a friend, definitely watch the full show there but if you aren't a slave to cable tv like I am, YouTube will do just fine.  Find the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel here.

#favoritethingsfebruary #lastweektonight #johnoliver #fifa #hbo #hbogo

Favorite Things February Just Got Shitty...

I hate that I'm even writing this post.  GAH!  One of my favorite things in the whole wide world, Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, is going away and I'm in full blown mourning mode.  He hasn't even said when he's leaving and I feel like one of my favorite people in the world just got the diagnosis of a fatal cancer.  I actually cried upon watching this:

If you aren't familiar with Jon Stewart, I question your decisions in life.  Seriously, take this coming weekend and go watch the past fifteen years of awesome.  I'm not kidding.

I was going to post a plethora of my favorite JS quotes but after searching the google and falling down that rabbit hole of awesome, I realized that ALL of JS' quotes are my favorites.  I can't choose just twenty.  At random then...

Will we never meet at Camera Three again?
I really hope this link works

Will there never be another Rally for Reason and to Restore Sanity?

Link above to all my pics from the Rally in 2010

I can't further summarize what Jon Stewart and The Daily Show have meant to me so I'm just going to say that one of my all time favorite things announced it was going away.  I watch it online every morning while I'm updating my boring blah blah spreadsheets. I suppose I'll have to go back and start at the beginning.  Hopefully I can make it last another fifteen years.

Edited:  Jon's response to the internet's reaction to the loss of the great JS

Edit:  Breaking News!  I made a deal with god.

#favoritethingsfebruary #tookabadturn #thedailyshow

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Me & Coke...A Love Affair...

Once again I am attempting to give up one of the true loves of my life, Coca-Cola.  This doesn't mean that it isn't still one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.

I had a coke on December 31st and then went the longest stretch in the ever of not having coke, 31 days.  On January 31st I decided I could have one.  Matt mocked me falling off of the wagon and said that alcoholics can't have "just one".  I chose not to listen.  While out to dinner, I ordered a coke. The waiter thought I was nuts when he brought it to the table and I practically dunked my face in the glass and then let out the most satisfied of sighs.  I had one refill and haven't had another coke in eleven days.  There have been some rough patches but I'm doing it.  Everything in moderation.  I can't tell myself never or I'll lose the whole match.

#favoritethingsfebruary #cokeismybae #coke #cokeaholicsanonymous

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Do you watch any YouTube channels?  I have so many that I love.  I'll share a few with you this month.

My current favorite channel is Flula, by Flula Borg.  He says:
My name is Flula Borg, and I am a musician from Erlangen in Germany. Many things Inspire to me, and I show those to you here!

Flula just cracks my shit up.  He's hilarious without meaning to be and has some great colab music videos that he calls Auto Tunes.

I got off on a Flula tangent recently and watched all his videos and then uh listened to all the podcasts he's been on.  I just find him to be a happy part of the day.  Enjoy!

What is your favorite YouTube channel?

Edit: oh looky what came out today! A new trailer for Pitch Perfect 2. Recognize anyone?


Monday, February 09, 2015

Where I Give You Something for Free...GrooveBook

Last month Matt got on a huge Shark Tank binge kick.  The show's described premise is:
  1. "Budding entrepreneurs get the chance to bring their dreams to fruition in this reality show from executive producer Mark Burnett. They present their ideas to the sharks in the tank - five titans of industry, who made their own dreams a reality and turned their ideas into lucrative empires.The contestants try to convince any one of the sharks to invest money in their idea. When more than one of the sharks decide they want a piece of the action, a bidding war can erupt, driving up the price of the investment."
I don't love this show because more often than not the entrepreneur makes an embarrassing display while trying to pitch their product to the investors, but I did happen to be watching one night when the developers of GrooveBook, the Whitemans, presented.

Their idea answers the question of what to do with the thousands of photos on your cell phone.  Their app lets you upload 100 pics per month and they mail you photo print quality pics on perforated pages of a book for $2.99 per month. I immediately loved the idea and wondered where it stood at the time.  So I googled the episode and found that by the time we were watching, the Whitemans and their investors had sold the app to Shutterfly (my favorite photo printing online store) for $14.5 million.  ZOINK!

Shutterfly’s $14.5 million acquisition of GrooveBook is more than 19 times the amount that Kevin O’Leary offered for the whole company. GrooveBook is now the first idea pitched on Shark Tank that has been acquired by a public company.

I immediately downloaded the app and was excited to try it.  Then I read the app reviews on iTunes and wasn't as excited.  So I did some more digging before I tried the product.  I entered #groovebook into Instagram and was immediately shown all the GrooveBook love.  I quickly realized that the poor reviews were mostly before Shutterfly bought the app and that most people were thrilled with what they got for the price.

I uploaded the 100 most recent pics hanging out on my phone and waited.  Now.  I will admit that in terms of immediate satisfaction, they are a slow.  BUT I totally don't care because I was thrilled with what I got for $3.  I'm excited to continue using GrooveBook to have my favorite 100 candid pics printed each month.

Now, here is where I give you something free.  We all love free.  The other cool thing about GrooveBook is that they send first time customers a coupon code to give to all their friends so they can order a book for free.  I do not receive anything for this.  I'm just passing along the awesome.  So get the GrooveBook app at iTunes or GooglePlay and use the coupon code MOLNAR130 for a free book.  There is no obligation to get a second one, you can cancel the monthly subscription any time, and you should just trust me that you want this.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Subscription Boxes and Me...

At some point in 2014, I discovered the concept of monthly product boxes.  I signed up for several and then stuck with my favorites.

Companies like Glossybox and BirchBox and LootCrate and NerdBlock offer a subscription where you pay a monthly fee and you receive a box of goodies each month.

My absolute favorite favorite favorite is Glossybox
I pay $21 each month and I get five awesome luxury skin/hair/makeup products.  In every case, the value of the items has been far greater than the $21 I paid.  I have never been disappointed.  In May of last year I believe the box was worth over $200.  I have received so many delicious products that I otherwise would never have found.  You can gift a box subscription to someone else or keep all the awesome for yourself.

I also tried the BirchBox beauty box and while I really like the company and they offered some great products, I just felt that Glossybox was better.  BirchBox is a bit less expensive at I think $15/month, but the products are slightly less luxurious.   I discontinued my subscription.

After discovering beauty boxes, I discovered nerd boxes.  I ordered both the Loot Crate and the Nerd Block for Zack for Christmas.  We liked both boxes but we decided to keep the Loot Crate subscription.  Nerd Block is more expensive at I think $29 plus shipping (comes with a t-shirt every month though) and comes from Canada so the shipping takes forever.  Loot Crate is under $20 per month including shipping.  Zack loves getting nerdy goodies each month.  October was particularly fun because we were right in the middle of a Firefly obsession.  What I've done since discovering these is have his grandparents gift him a subscription for Christmas each year.  He gets a little reminder of their love every month.

Continuing on the idea of grandparent gifting, Skyler was gifted a subscription to iBbeautiful for teens.  I did quite a bit of research and really liked this girl power company.  This is what their boxes look like.  She's very excited to get something new in the mail each month.

I was going to say that Matt was left out of the monthly gift box sitch but remembered that I enrolled him in the Dollar Shave Club.
Matt was complaining that replacement blades are so flipping expensive.  FB recommended this to me based on a few friends liking it and so after several weeks of adding the subscription to the cart and then not checking out, they offered to give me the first month free.  We got the box quickly and were very impressed.  We chose the $6/month option and received one handle and 4 new blades.  I can assure you we never change blades that often.  Next month I'm going to order a second handle and then the whole house will be good to go with this subscription.  

After all of these excellent experiences, I'm eyeballing The Book Riot Quarterly subscription for book lovers.  The only thing keeping me from hitting subscribe is that it's $50.  Which is technically less than the other ones I pay for but...I don't know.  I'm nervous.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it though.  You can't talk me out of book goodies.  I lurve me some books.

Do you subscribe to any goody boxes?  Which are your favorites?  Have I convinced you to try one?  If you go down the rabbit hole, you can find a box for any interest.  Just ask, I love shopping with other people's money.  I'll find it for you ;)


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2014 Book Review...

end of year/review of year tomayto/tomahto
Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner is hosting her fifth annual book survey.  Check that and links to other's here.

Number Of Books You Read:  101
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: memoir

(book links below are processed through my affiliate relationship with amazon)

1.  Best Book you Read in 2014?
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Edge of Eternity (Century Trilogy #3) by Ken Follett

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
Honor Among Thieves (The Honorables, #1) by Elizabeth Boyce

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
Best Series:  The Honorables by Elizabeth Boyce
Best Sequel:  Silkworm by JK Rowling (winner by default)
Best Series Ender:  Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett (also by default)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
New to me - Mary Roach.  I quickly gobbled up all of her funny quirky books.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn maybe or The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I rarely reread.  Too many books not enough time.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
Honor Among Thieves by Elizabeth Boyce

11. Most memorable character of 2014?
Malala Yousafzai from I Am Malala

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell because sometimes you just want a sweet book with no characters you dislike. This was a sweet book.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
“Proximity has taught me some basic and humbling truths, including this vital lesson: Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.” 
― Bryan StevensonJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
“Faced with the Divine, people took refuge in the banal, as though answering a cosmic multiple-choice question: If you saw a burning bush, would you (a) call 911, (b) get the hot dogs, or (c) recognize God? A vanishingly small number of people would recognize God, Anne had decided years before, and most of them had simply missed a dose of Thorazine.” 
― Mary Doria RussellThe Sparrow  
“I do what I do without hope of reward or fear of punishment. I do not require Heaven or Hell to bribe or scare me into acting decently.” ― Mary Doria RussellThe Sparrow  
“The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right.” ― Christopher HitchensMortality 
“Or to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It's a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I'd say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.” 
― George SaundersCongratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?
Longest:  Edge of Eternity at 1,098 pages
Shortest: The Five Orange Pips at 40 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Less shocked and more just in awe of the ways in which women are treated around the world, and that those ways have been determined acceptable:  The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
From Veronica Mars #1, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, Veronica and Logan 4EVA!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
The Paris Architect, Lucien's relationship with his conscience. 

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Mortality, by Christopher Hitchens. I love his wit and sarcasm.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Just Mercy - Jon Stewart had the author on and just based on their short discussion I wanted to read the book.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Brandon Dewhurst from Honor Among Thieves

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
The Honorables Series

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I have a thing for WWII books because the setting of Europe in that era just goes beyond my understanding no matter how much I read.  I read The Dream, Slaughterhouse-Five, The All-Girls Filling Station's Last Reunion, The Paris Architect, Letters From Skye, Life After Life, and War Brides.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell was adorable.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
Just Mercy

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Just Mercy

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
Seconds: A Graphic Novel - I don't read or have not read many graphic novels so this was different for me.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

2014 End of Year Questionnaire...

Farewell 2014

1.  What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Where to start?  I had two kids in middle school at the same time.  I read 101 books.  I worked the beer tent at several outside concerts so my kid could play soccer.  I started following my tween on Instagram.  I cleaned a meth lab.  I wrote a letter to someone in jail.  I climbed a ropes course not made by drunk dads with power tools.  I celebrated 15 years of married bliss.  Woopsie... I just got lost in a rabbit hole of facebook memories...

2.  Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I am trying to kick drinking coke.  I haven't had one in 2015 (yet).  I have honest to god cravings like I want a cigarette.  I miss it, I love it, I want to drink all the cokes.

3.  Did anyone close to you give birth?
YES!  ZOMG I'm so in love.

This gorgeous little bug is Caroline.  She came into the world full of sass in November and hasn't stopped hollering about it since.  This picture you see here is after three hours of the baby dance while simultaneously patting her butt.  I got to sit for 30 seconds before she started fussing.  It's like Zack has been reborn as a feisty little redhead.  I knew the look in my cousin Montana's eye when she was talking to me and her eyelids were drooping so I did all the gymnastics and she got a nice nap (on the floor under the Christmas tree where she dropped).  It's great that she is the most chill first-time Mom I've ever come across.  I was in tears while also sweating buckets when I was in this place.

My cousin Amie also had a darling little feist-monger named Crosby in March.  Am has also become an expert at the baby dance, bouncing, never leaving her house, and wearing ear plugs.  I've met Crosby twice and each time got only a perfunctory baby sniffing in before he told me who had top billing in his world, MOM.

They make the feisty ones extra cute.

4.  Did anyone close to you die?
Mmmm.  Yes.  One of my very best friends lost her father in 2014.  It was hard to watch her go through because her dad died slowly of cancer,whereas my experience with my own dad dying was like ripping off a bandage.  I felt all the feels for her whole family and all the ways that words fail me in helping someone through this stage we all go through in life.  The thing is, nothing we say will make it better.  Our experience won't change another's.  We just have to be present for each other and jump in to lend a hand when we can.

And then there was the death of Robin Williams which hit me really hard.  I've wanted to write about it but haven't been able to.  It might seem slightly ridiculous to be hit hard by a celebrity death.  I certainly didn't expect to be.  But... Robin Williams was sort of this amazing person that lead the fight that so many of us with depression and anxiety do.  His death taught us that no matter your station in life, depression can hit you and hit you hard.  What was difficult for me to get over was that he seemed to be in a good place, not using drugs or alcohol, having a new hit show, a happy family, yet depression and the feeling that it's easier to just end it all still got him.  He had all the resources that the average person with a mental illness might not have and it didn't matter.  It felt like a huge blow. It felt like this is inescapable. It felt like every good day has a dark day lurking ahead.  Blah.  I'm doing better today.

5.  What countries did you visit?
Fat-town and Anxiety-ville.  :)

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Peace of mind.  Combobulation of "the schedule" (aka The Book of Molnar).  To have written more.  To have practiced yoga frequently.

7.  Which dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'd like to preface my comments with "None because I can't remember shit, forget dates.  I can remember moments."  Well of course there was ALL the soccer with the World Cup to boot.  There were the births of two babies into the family which is always exciting.  I started to feel that Zack is finding his groove in life.  In all honesty, I don't have specific 2014 moments that were specifically different.  Just lots of living life which is the peace I like, slow and steady...  Oh shit, see I forgot one... I TURNED 40! I think this is a pretty clear example of how that went.

8.  What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I've got a nerdy personal achievement - I read over 100 books this year.  I LOVE reading.  I love making lists of books to read, reading blogs about books, and listening to podcasts about books.  When Skyler got a concussion this year and was given the instruction "no reading" I became convicted to never do anything that will result in a concussion ever.   I think it's best if I stay inside, where there are books.

9.  What was your biggest failure?
My weight/health, why hello there 200lbs nice to meet you now fuck off.  The lovely combination of connective tissue disease/steroids/shitty diet has kicked my genetic predisposition for diabetes into action.  Yay me.  I am working on this one so that it doesn't become an even bigger failure this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I'd like to quote myself from January 2013's post about 2012:
Oh of course I did.  If you've been around longer than three minutes you know I'm a hot mess.  In addition to the two bouts of pneumonia and the broken nose, there was the ever present arthritis and anxiety and I'm sure more than a few cold viruses to keep things nicely rounded out.
 This year I didn't break anything and didn't get full-fledged pneumonia but I distinctly remember a breathing treatment, the usual aches and pains, and the diabetes shit.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
It's so hard to narrow down.  I lurve me some retail therapy.  Right now I'm loving my lucky brand blue leather tote bag something fierce.  I love good skin care products (shout out to Glossy Box.  We can talk about this later).  Oh and xanax is an insane bargain at $2 for a month's supply.  Sanity in a little red Target bottle for $2.00.  I don't think anyone could argue that that is the best.

12.  Whose behavior merited celebration?
My dear husband received his college diploma this year and I would like to celebrate that behavior.

Also, Jon Stewart's behavior makes me celebrate on the daily and John Oliver is coming along quite nicely in the snarky Brit category, let's celebrate that.

13. Whose behavior appalled you?
Mmm.  Let's go with North Korea.  Oh oh.  Nope.  Nope.  It was someone else.  See question 1.

14.  Where did most of your money go?
Soccer and video games.

15.  What did you get really, really, really, excited about?
I'm pretty hard to excite.  Snark and stoicism are my bailiwick.

16.  Fav song of the year?
As discussed in previous blog posts, I have little knowledge or taste in music and so I feel comfortable sharing that I loved Taylor Swift's new album 1989.

17.  Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder
b) thinner or fatter
c) richer or poorer - I'm not entirely sure.  No big leaps in either direction, we can say that.

18.  What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I would have followed through more.  Edited: I wish I'd read more of the blogs I used to love so much.  I especially miss Swistle.  Google reader basically killed blogging.  Damn Google and your awesome power.  I'm going to read all of Swistle's back posts!!  Squirrel!!

19.  What do you wish you'd done less of?
Sweat.  Are summers getting hotter or am I just starting my dream job of crotchety old lady early?

20.  How did you spend Christmas?
The four of us opened gifts in the morning and then Matt made breakfast.  I took a nap (duh) while the kids made use of their new electronic babysitters.  Then we got up and went to enjoy dinner with our besties Mike, Amy, Nate and Claire.  They employ a strict pajamas only Christmas gathering which is only one of the reasons we love them.

21.  Did you fall in love in 2014?
Mmmm.  Not in the traditional sense.  I fall in love with my family every day (even if I don't always like them).  I just knew I would love new babies so that wasn't so much falling.

22.  What was your favorite TV show?
Okay, confession time.  I am a television whore (like you didn't know that).  I love nothing better than a rainy Saturday spent bingeing on an entire season of one show.  HBO, Netflix,  and BBC-A are in the lead for best series this year.  Have you seen Orphan Black?  Give Tatiana Maslany all of the awards right this minute.  All of them.  She plays what...ten characters in the first season alone?

23.  Do you hate strongly dislike anyone/thing now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Mmmm.  No.  I'm sticking with the same grudges as usual I think.

24.  What was the best book you read?
Oh you want me to choose between my children huh?   Well don't tell them I said so but checking my goodreads feed, I had several 5 star level loves.  Truth Within Dreams, Attachments, The Means of Reproduction, Honor Among Thieves, Lean In, Just Mercy (oooh this one might be the winner.  tears produced is usually a good sign), I Am Malala, Life After Life...  Clearly I like a good memoir.

Just for kicks - worst books might be... Green Girl which I actively disliked and The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green (mostly because I cannot remember what this book was about at.all)

25.  What was your greatest musical discovery?
It's safe to say I make no musical discoveries.  Can we count audio books?  I love a good audio book.

26.  What did you want and get?
More naps.

27.  What did you want and not get?
World peace continues to evade me.

28.  What was your favorite film of this year?
I'm becoming more open or perhaps better impressed with books that have been turned into movies.  I really enjoyed Gone Girl and The Fault in Our Stars.  Our family most watched movie of the year was Pitch Perfect.  We all watched that one over and over.

29.  What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 40.  We traveled to New England and I think on that day, my Mom had a big BBQ and I got to visit with friends and family that I don't always have time to see when we're flying through.

30.  Who did you miss?
Mom although we managed to get together several times last year.  Hopefully she'll have moved down here by the end of 2015.

31.  Who was the best new person you met?
Skyler started middle school and I've enjoyed getting to know her new friends.

32.  Tell a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?
Apparently the answer to life (besides 42) is diet and exercise, diet and exercise.  When you begin to doubt that, the answer is diet and exercise.

Monday, January 05, 2015

A Classic Example of my lack of follow through...(2013 End of Year Questionnaire...(I'm late. What of it?))

Answers to previous years are here: 20082009, 2010 (did I miss a year?), 2011, 2012

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
I "ran" a 5k.  It was a blast!  In June I had planned to go with friends and take pictures while they ran the Dirty Girl 5k in the Pokonos.  The night before the event we might have imbibed a bit too much and one of the ladies did not find herself well enough to participate the next morning.  Since I was wearing the t-shirt to show support and I had sneakers with me, I had the ridiculous idea of just being her for the event.  I had an absolutely wonderful time.  There wasn't much running, I hurt my knee, and there was mud in places that should never be muddy but I was so so proud of myself.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I still don't make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My dear friend Lisa had a beautiful baby girl in November.  I only wish that I was closer so that I could hold that little bundle of cuteness.  My cousin Holly also had a baby girl.  I haven't seen Holly in many years so it's nice that FB keeps us in contact.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
I would like to not have any anxiety attacks - I think this one will happen.  I finally found a life changing medication that is working.

I would like to have better eating habits - this one isn't looking good if you use January as an example.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

9. What was your biggest failure?


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

14. Where did most of your money go?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

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

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

20. How did you spend Christmas?

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?

22. What was your favorite tv show?

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

24. What was the best book you read in 2013?

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

26. What did you want and get?

27. What did you want and not get?

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

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

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

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

32. What kept you sane?

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

35. Who did you miss?
My Mom

36. Who was the best new person you met?

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013?

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

Happy 2014 - I think it's going to be awesome!

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