2010 - The Year that was...


It's not a New Year without the annual, Running of the Suitcase!  What a great way to start off New Year's Eve.  

And then there's the annual look-back at the previous year.  When in doubt about what to write, do a flashback episode to recap the past year.  Sort of like a yearly episode of the Golden Girls.  You know, the ladies are sitting around the kitchen table, eating cheesecake and ice cream and one of them mentions something from their past and suddenly there is a screen wipe and we are catapulted back in time to a previous episode of some hilarity or mayhem in which they were engaged.  Yep, the infamous flashback show, a good way to take up time and make something out of nothing.  That's sort of how I feel about the past month of not blogging or recipe writing.  I'm reaching into my bag of tricks cause I feel that I've been in a fix and a cat's gotta have something to get herself outta a sticky situation.  Borrowing from Aimee P, who in turned borrowed this idea from All and Sundry, aka SundryMouring, I am revisiting my annual recap of the year, I bring you, 2010, The Year that was..? 
1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?  Adopted and raised a son, it's been a continuous adventure.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Not a one! I think I've given up on resolutions, though I hardly ever really make them.  I had hopes that I'd be a better person, not lose my temper so much, not be so reactionary in stressful situations.  Yeah, that was a great idea that went no-where.  
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, a bunch of our friends had new editions to their families.  Our Village is growing and Nate's playmate pool is growing ever deeper.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Sadly, way too many people passed on this year.  The main people were Liz's grandmother, Lib Braden; my co-worker's husband, Jack Kramer, passed away too, after a long battle with cancer; our friend, Angel Oramas. When Jack Kramer died, the world lost a great man of character, charm, business acumen and a passion for life.  Lib Braden was an amazing woman who lived to see her 90th birthday and the birth of her two great grandsons.  She was a vivacious, gracious and compassionate woman who left a long legacy in her children's lives.  Angel was a complicated man, who left this world way too soon.  There were many other deaths this year too, people with whom I was acquainted or friends of friends.  It was a hard year when it came to death.
5. What countries did you visit? Who has time for travel?  We hit the beach in Cape May Point and saw the entire Island of Staten Island.  The furthest we traveled was to the end of the Jersey Shore and we didn't even see Snookie or have any Situations!
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? Sleep? Money? More time to get stuff done. Less of a temper.
7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? February 7th, Nate's Christening DayThe Great Snow Storms of  Winter 2010;   March 23rd - the date of my adoption of Nate - when I became his "Official" co-parent and other mother in the eyes of the State of PA.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Swimming in the Schuylkill River and actually enjoying it.  It was part of my sprint triathlon and I was dreading it for the past 2 years.  I was a mentor to over 20 women this year for the SheRox Triathlon; part of my mentoring included attending and running work-out clinics.  A swim clinic in July kept me in the river for over 2 hours, treading water and swimming with other mentees.  After that much time in the water, I realized that there wasn't anything to fear about the Schuylkill River.  On race day, I swam, slowly but successfully on the course and felt elated that I conquered my fear of swimming in open waters.
9. What was your biggest failure? On a shallow level, not keeping in shape, getting to the gym and doing as well in the 2010 Triathlon as I did in 2009.  On a personal level, not being a good enough partner to Liz and not being able to recognize how selfish I was all year.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Yes! Way too many colds/flu (and to think I even get the flu shot each year); pulled sciatic nerve, sever back pains.  My age is catching up with me.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Our new car - bigger, stronger, more of a mom-mobile! And as a second best expenditure of our hard-earned dollars, hiring a cleaning service to clean the house.  Thanks Dos Funny Frogs!
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? The Lame Duck Congress during the last months of the year - for passing several key plans in Congress.  Yeah on repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell; Yeah for passing Health Care Reform. YEAH for passing the SALT Plan and Nuclear Treaty with Russia.  And a small woot woot for some of the tax cuts, but mostly for keeping unemployment benefits going for the 9% of the population.  And oh yeah - YIPPEE to the Phillies for adding the Royal Flush to the Deck in re-acquiring Cliff Lee.  R2C2!
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? As usual, the media, politicians (from both sides of the aisle); The Arizona Governor; my mother  - she's been completely M.I.A. in my life and refused to acknowledge our son, her grandson.  Yeah, mom - you're 62, a grandmother and you have a daughter in her 40's.  Get over yourself already.
14. Where did most of your money go? Phillies tickets; diapers, formula, and other baby necessities.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The Phillies not only had 3 of the best pitchers in all of baseball, but then they made that line up even great by adding Cliff Lee for the 2011 Season.
16. What song will always remind you of 2010? Tonight's gonna be a good night - Black Eyed Peas
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Sadder - it's that seasonal depression, not getting to the gym thing
b) thinner or fatter? a bit fatter - see above Though honestly, while my weight number hasn't changed significantly, I've stayed in same 165-169 range for over a year, my physique has changed from not working out.  At least I'm still wearing the same clothes and looking mostly okay in them.

c) richer or poorer? poorer - I'm earning a wee bit less and paying more for insurance (yeah, thank's for the health care breaks America!)
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Personal and altruistic: spent more time with Nate and Liz; selfish: slept, worked out more, biked; had fun more fun - in that I wish I could have enjoyed the every day moments instead of lamenting silently to myself about what I might be missing.  Shades of my mother! YIKES!
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? been selfish, temperamental and moody, and watched less tv.
20. How did you spend Christmas? Christmas eve - at Church for Liz's marathon night of services. Spent the evening in the nursery, in the cool, dark night with Nate.  I put him to sleep around 8:15.  I found a lantern and sat in the nursery with him.  I could hear the Choir rehearsing and then at 9 pm, I could hear some of the singing from the Church sanctuary. After the 9 pm service, I heard the choir rehearse again and by 11 pm, I heard the trumpet solo and singing again.  In between I sat and read by lantern light and huddled under a coat to keep warm.  It was the most peaceful night I've had in years, unconnected to media, tv, or computer.  I read, listened and just took in the night.  Bliss.
Christmas day was busy! the morning I was at home with Liz and Nate. Then I went to visit my 90 year old grandmother; picked up friends from the airport.  Dinner at home with our friend, Dana.  Good friends, Donald and Steven came by for a late night drink.  
We spent the day after Christmas visiting our family.  The whole family came together at Liz's dad's house.  The two boys, Liz's siblings, her parents and their spouses.  Managed chaos and lot's of toys for the boys, great food and wonderful company.
21. Did you fall in love in 2010? Feh. No, I actually fell more in love with being a parent and with my darling boy Nate.
22. What was your favorite TV program? Boardwalk Empire on HBO.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Oh boy, what a loaded question! Of course I do! But the answer I'll share is, once again, I'm really disappointed by the behavior of some people who should be close to me, like my family (of which I have so little of my own); I hate most politicians.  I'm trying hard to forgive and move on from the hurts that I feel have befallen me by others.  I read a blog post on ZerotoSixty, written by an acquaintance I know named, Barbara. She wrote about her mother, forgiveness and letting go of grudges.  I heard a similar essay by Ben Stein, letting go of psychic hurts and baggage, to free yourself and move on in life.  I'm no good at either.  I can hold a grudge for a lifetime and I NEVER FORGET a hurt, a snarky comment or an insult.  I'm trying to let them go and forgive but as for forgetting, that's a tall order. 


24. What was the best book you read? Books, those are those paper things that have a lot of words inside that don't move?  How is it that I read so little this past year that I can't even think of any book I picked up let alone opened?  I barely read magazines this year.  I blame it on the first year with a new baby.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Shelby Lynn.  Not really a new discovery, but a rediscovery of this amazing soulful talent.
26. What did you want and get? Adoption papers for Nate! A new cellphone.  A new car. 
27. What did you want and not get? Validation.  
28. What was your favorite film of this year? Haven't been to a movie in over a year and a half.  As for rentals, nothing stands out.  Bought Sex and the City 2 - because I love the series, but the movie was awful, in that I can't believe I'm watching this and I paid to keep it!  We watched The Kids are Alright.  I didn't like or love it, but I've thought about it for weeks.  I found it to be contrived, harsh and stereotypical.  But still there were some kernels of truth in it that just got under my skin.  The only movie I really liked this year that I saw, and it's last year's movie, was The Blind Side.  Perfect movie for Sandra Bullock, I thought she was lovely and amazing, funny and strong.  I want Nate to grow up to be like the little boy, SJ,  and I'd like to foster several youngsters and see them grow into determined, stable and well-cared for people.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Turned 43. We hired the baby sitter to stay with our now 5 month old son and we went to James - a very good nouvelle cuisine for the Millennium restaurant near the Italian Market. It was our first big night out, with spirits, great food and a lovely dining atmosphere. 
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Knowing for real what it takes to raise a baby, work full-time, be a loving partner and trusting your instincts.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? Whatever didn't have spit-up or formula on it, and didn't need to be ironed, easy carefree and just this side of not being frumpy.
32. What kept you sane? Morning bike rides from April to September. Nate's smile.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Enough already with the stupid questions.  I barely like myself at times.  I did see Jennifer Hudson on tv, shilling for Weight Watchers. She looks good, damn good.  So maybe her?
34. What political issue stirred you the most? Health care reform.  I'm for it, but I'm not convinced it's going to work, last, or be helpful. 
35. Who did you miss? Our friends who live in other states; Rachel, Steven, Donald, Jenny (even though we see her at least once a month); our family who we don't see often enough.
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010: Housework doesn't matter, don't worry about the dishes.  Try not to let your diet get the better of you (as a matter of fact, don't diet, just eat better and move more).  Live for the day because that's all we have.
37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I was about to list a playlist soundtrack I made for Nate's 1st year video and cd, but then I found a funny song I just loved this year, one that became a viral video sensation by Antoine Dodson.  "He's climbing in your windows so Hide your kids, hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband too..."

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