Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thine Hawse is Wicked Retahded

As Matt and I were on our way back from the grocery store this afternoon we almost got hit while traveling through a rotary. Sometimes referred to as traffic circles or roundabouts, rotaries in the northeast are a special test of any motorist’s skills.

The rules of the road, at least here in Boston, indicate to ‘yield to the traffic in the rotary’ but unfortunately most people take that as a loose term and unless you are smack dab in front of them when they are approaching the circle, it is anyone’s guess as to just what ‘in the rotary’ even means.

I personally take it to mean if a person is more than half way around and on an approach to cross the place I am entering from, then I yield. If someone has just entered the circle from the next counterclockwise approach and not going to impact my entrance, I enter. To me this seems logical and has saved me from multiple accidents over the years.

The problem of course is that logic seems to escape most motorists, so when I am already in the circle I have to be on guard because their definition of yield may be just slightly different than mine. A good example of this is someone who not only does not yield but doesn’t even look to their left as they approach but rather, simply blasts on through because, well, clearly they should always have the right of way.

That is what almost happened today but the SUV came to an almost brake screeching halt just in time and we proceeded to exit the rotary, shaking our heads, with their front bumper mere feet from my door.

After it happened, we sparked up a conversation about how rotaries might have been a little more challenging back in the days of the horse drawn buggy. Picture one horse T-boning another as their carriage careens out of control toward the circle. With so much power the accidentee would never know what hit him. Poor horse.

Of course just like in today’s times -- ‘It wasn’t my fault, the brakes didn’t stop me fast enough’ -- we both imagined that the out of control buggy driver would surely blame the accident on part of the vehicle itself, saying to the guy with the broken wooden wheel and grain spilling from the back of the wagon --

“Yaw hawse is wicked retahded!”

Of course I had to correct Matt and remind him this was back in the old days when people still spoke in proper English here in Boston; I assured him the crazy driver would have more likely said --

Thine hawse is wicked retahded!”

As we approached home and pulled into the driveway we started to consider some of the other road rage phrases that might be yelled out from the bench of one wagon to another back in the day. Stuff like --

“Stop chiselin’ that lettah ta ya Motha and drive!”
“Hey fuckah, how about puttin’ both hands awn tha reigns!”

One of my personal favorite things that I frequently utter to myself or whoever else happens to be in the car with me when I am behind someone weaving all over the road is “Go back to the baah!” Of course, in the old days they were more likely yelling “Take thyself back to Ye Old Tavehn!”

Thanks for the screen shot Google Maps.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just Like Old Times

Last week I received news that an extremely dear friend of mine is moving back to the Boston area. This is the kind of news that makes me want to jump up and down while clapping my hands and squealing. Seriously. Probably because the last time we both lived in Boston we were in our mid twenties, still acting like complete freak shows. Then again maybe it was just me doing the squealing and jumping back then, she was never much of a jump up and down while clapping type. Well, not if you didn’t know her. Once you get to know the girl, all bets are most definitely off.

Di and I met in 1996, very typical to the way I met most of my closest friends, I just approached her, said ‘hi’, and struck up a conversation. I’ve never really been known as shy. We both worked for Victoria’s Secret at the time; I had started in the Burlington location while she worked on the north shore. I was being promoted to Manager of the Saugus shop so to get trained they sent me off to an A+ shop, Peabody. Dianna was the Stock Room Manager there and we met my first day.

As the week went on we got to talking and laughing and had a great time while I was learning the ins and outs of running a bigger store like Saugus. For those who don’t remember (and are local) the Burlington Vicky’s, although exceptionally high volume, used to be teeninesy; think a shop the size of Lids but twice as deep, then stuff it with just as much merchandise as the store carries today and you’ve got yourself a truly unique working environment, especially during the Christmas season. Both Peabody and Saugus were large square footage shops but the volume level in Saugus left a lot to be desired so I just enjoyed my time in a busy place, learning the ropes from the Managers of Peabody.

Late in the week sometime Di and I were chatting about who knows what and somehow the conversation took a turn to the fact that she needed a ride home. ‘No problem’ I said ‘Lynn is totally on the way to Everett.’ Um, yeah not so much. But I hooked her home anyway and that was that, we were making plans to hang out sometime.

There was no way I was inviting her over to my place considering my boyfriend’s propensity for constructing acrylic bongs had taken over our entire kitchen and there was at least a pound of weed just sitting on the floor of our closet. I didn’t smoke at the time and I didn’t know if she did so I certainly wasn’t about to force his lifestyle down her throat. Unbeknownst to me there was a similar situation going on over at her place, so we made plans to meet at the Revere movie theater to see Mission Impossible.

I got there a little early and bought our tickets, got into the theater and did a quick scan to see if she had arrived before me. She hadn’t made it yet so I got a seat near the back in order to catch her when she arrived. The previews started and because I was a poor retail worker I decided to go and return the other ticket. They took it back and I went to watch the movie. At the end of the show I sat for a few to watch the credits like I always do and the theater cleared out pretty quickly.

When the credits were over I walked down to the exit door and stepped right out into the parking lot. All I heard was ‘Hey!’. There was Dianna on the side of the door. Apparently she had arrived late and convinced the ticket taker that I had bought her ticket, they let her in and she sat in the back so she could scan the theater to find me. I had worn my hair different than usual so she didn’t recognize me from the back but she sat exactly two rows behind me, where she had gotten in for free. We both laughed and she bought me a Dunkin’s coffee to pay back the other half of my ticket then we sat in the parking lot listening to music, drinking coffee and chain smoking cigarettes for a couple hours, laughing and having a great time.

We were instant friends.

As the next two years passed we both went through major job changes, major life changes and, as is typical for me, lots of different apartments. We both got out of the world of retail hell but landed in the same company again at DMR Mortgage Services where at least the new hell was only nine to five Monday through Friday. I was selling loans and she was working in wholesale processing as a Liaison. In 1998 the industry had some seriously historic low rates and business was booming. So much so that some other company decided to buy us out. I had just gone through a similar situation in another corporate merger about a year prior and was not at all ready to go through it again, so I left.

Turned out everyone else did as well when the entire staff was let go so they could bring in all of their own people. It was quite an interesting time as everyone scattered to the wind either going to other mortgage companies or getting out of the business completely. This was in April of 1999.

Back in December of 1998 Dianna decided to go down to visit with her cousin in North Carolina for New Year’s eve; her aunt and uncle were there as well and her mom went just about every year too. She needed some geographic space from the guy she was living with at the time who, although a nice guy, was definitely not right for her. While in NC she met her cousin’s roommate, a guy who was amazingly kind and generous, liked to party and quickly fell head over heels for her. She did too and come the time of the DMR layoff Dianna announced, in typical fashion for her, that she was packing up and moving to North Carolina to live with this guy.

Holy shit.

I couldn’t have been happier for her to have found someone so sweet but selfishly I was hoping that the engine on every rental truck in the city spontaneously caught fire on the same day so she couldn’t leave. Her new man came up so we could all meet him and since she had moved into her mom’s for a while, and her mom was out of town for the weekend, we had the most raucous going away party to ever last forty eight hours. Her little sisters came over, their friends, her cousins, our friends we had both met at various companies and goodness knows who else because we were all hammered for two straight days.

When the morning came that she was leaving we all hugged goodbye but I immediately started looking up prices of tickets to go and visit as soon as possible on my measly little Administrative Assistant salary. There were so many great weekends spent down there from Ozzfest to clubbing but when I split with my boyfriend in late fall 1999 I planned to go and hang out for two straight weeks over New Year’s. This was the Y2K event referred to previously. She was psyched to have me down and constantly tried to convince me that I should move there. For a brief while after getting together with Matt he and I actually considered doing so as we were looking to do home flipping for a living back then.

Instead, Matt and I pursued the Labor of Love and, well, most of us know how that situation turned out.

Needless to say Dianna was in NC for a whole bunch of years and Matt and I ended up moving to Springfield. Once we bought the house, frequently referred to as the money pit, our trips to visit friends pretty much ceased and during that time Di was having some major life changes. Her marriage ended and she even moved back to the northeast where she lived with us for a while but commuted the two and a half hours each way to Long Island every day for her job. She eventually moved into a place on Staten Island and met a guy who was also fun and funny but a little older with a bit more direction and career ambition; they both worked in the mortgage industry.

Eventually Matt and I moved to Long Island as well where he got a job at a big boy mortgage company and we moved into my cousin’s basement apartment for a brief time until her boyfriend, who had moved in with her, offered to let us rent his little ranch house. Di and her boyfriend had moved out about a half hour east on the island and it was great to have friends so close by that we hung out all the time.

And then the mortgage industry imploded.

The company that both she and her boyfriend worked for not only closed, but in doing so laid off upwards of 5,000 people on the island (close to 6,500 nationwide). In addition to that there were companies shutting down by the hour, Matt’s included, and the once prosperous industry flooded the little island with unemployment claims and thousands fighting for the same job openings (if any). Matt found some per diem work but was living on borrowed time. Dianna and her boyfriend decided instead of fighting with all of those people for jobs they were going to just move back to his hometown of Dallas, Texas.

Holy shit.

This time I cried and unceremoniously freaked out. I cried like a little sissy girl because I knew that things were going to be much different than the North Carolina move; I knew we were going to be hard pressed to actually see each other much, if at all. With me doing faux finishing and Matt basically unemployed we were having a difficult enough time paying the bills in LINY plus carrying the albatross of a money pit in Springfield (which we had been trying to sell for, oh, about five years at this point) let alone buying plane tickets and taking time away from job hunting to fly off and visit friends. Mostly I just freaked out because now I had no one in New York and I was really going to miss my friend.

Their company closed in early August of 2007 and they left for Texas within just a couple weeks. Matt’s borrowed time was coming to a close so we too made a move, right back to the one place I swore I would never live again, Boston. He worked for some family and I started pursuing a career as a full time finisher and started my company, Chucka Stone Designs, in October of 2007.

With the move back came a 70% pay cut. We lived rent free but paying the bills in a family house until April of 2008 when we moved back to the other place I swore I would never live again, my hometown of Arlington. During our first year back in Massachusetts, I was at an extremely low point in my head, so was Matt, and the two of us suffered a lot because of it. Our house got foreclosed on in July of 2008, every credit card went to collection, we were eating chicken soup literally every night because we couldn’t afford to go grocery shopping, we considered getting divorced, I actually considered leaving the living world. It was quite a sucky time.

In early 2009 Matt went back to the mortgage industry and we decided that the only way to really fix any of our past messiness would be to file bankruptcy. It was not a decision we came to lightly but no matter how many times either of us worked out the numbers and figured in salary increases or me taking on more paint jobs, we still came to the conclusion that we would literally never be able to pay off the debt. We weren’t exactly happy about it but knew that we were in the same boat with a large portion of the country and knew it was the one thing that could get our lives back on track again.

We found a lawyer and started the process in the spring. Sometime over the summer Dianna and I talked about us coming down to Texas for Thanksgiving and Matt and I couldn’t have been more excited. I was finally going to see my friend and she was just going to have to deal with the fact that I was going to hug her until she lost circulation. I was painting over the summer, making good money, Matt was back in the saddle again as a Senior level Processor and we were actually managing like adults for the first time in years.

Then we had our 341 meeting and our lawyer advised us that we should not only have little to nothing in the bank until the discharge was complete, but that we also shouldn’t go out and spend the money on anything extravagant or extraneous.

Like $1600 vacations to Texas.

My heart sank.

I was conflicted because on the one hand I couldn’t believe I had to tell my friend that I wasn’t going to be able to see her until after the holidays but on the other my financial life was going to finally be in the best shape it had been in for almost seven years. Dianna understood and I was happy about that but I was still sad to watch another year go by without getting to spend any time together.

Then last week I got an email from her that she was moving back home.

Holy shit!

Apparently things in her relationship were not going right and after all else was said and done she was just tired of living in the south. She was already talking to her dad to see if it would be possible to settle into the apartment he has above his garage for a bit and because her job is portable she will likely be working from home but still based out of the location in Texas. I was blown away, it was nothing I ever expected to happen, not in a million years.

Who knows how long we’ll have to be in the same geographic region this time around, who knows which one of us will be the one to move first, but I fully intend to make the most of our time together this time around. And I fully intend to jump up and down, clapping and squealing as soon as she gets back here and I’m going to bet she joins in. Seriously.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sometimes I Just Suck

In the world of infinite choices it seems that I have become lost, floating out into a deep sea of too many of them and I end up disconnecting almost completely from certain things simply because I start to feel too overwhelmed. I find it’s too hard to keep up, so I just stop trying.

After adding in an hour walk on the treadmill everyday, something else had to give, considering there are, sadly, still only twenty four hours in a day. I found what I ended up completely letting go of was technological correspondence via computer. Well not all of it, Facebook remained because that is quick and takes far less effort, but everything else simply came to a screeching halt just inches from the brick wall of proverbialness.

Blogs, email, tweets, they all fell right off my virtual radar in the past week. It wasn’t that I never entered by blog, sure I did. In fact I even wrote a piece just a few days ago. But then once it was posted, I clicked back to my dashboard to check out everyone else’s work, saw the time and thought ‘gee I better get a walk in before lunch or else I won’t have time to edit’.

And so it went. Every day.

So I have sat here contemplating how I want to handle this situation and what do I do? Well of course I completely update my blog template as well as write a new post. I mean, duh? Its not like those 45 minutes would have been better spent reading other blogs, no, no. I have come to the conclusion that online correspondence will just have to happen twice a week during the work week when I’m not walking.

But then again I hate to be so rigid and formal, bleh.

So that’s something else that’s really been bugging me lately. I have completely lost my sense of humor. I have not a clue where I put it, though I know it must be on a shelf around here somewhere. This happens to me sometimes, my wit just dies, and it scares the freaking bejeezus out of me because it’s kind of part of my overall personality so I don't want to let the early onset take it away forever.

Witty, snappy, quick comebacks used to be my specialty. I think maybe I’ve been working on this book for too long, I have become my analytical female lead character. Damn it. Well at least I know what’s happened and that means sometime within the next couple months the old me will be back again.

At least she better be. I’m kind of tired of sucking at being me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New to Me, New to You, Old Concept -- BTPTh

So a few nights ago, think it was Sunday, I had a very strange dream. I was being shown an x-ray of my own skull and the doctor or whoever it was pointed out a small spot on the film. I was squinting to see it so they further explained that they would be removing it and this is how…and then this crazy machine with an enormous drywall screw attached to the end bored a hole into the forehead of a dummy across the room and as I was fainting in the office, I woke up in my bed with my heart racing.

I didn’t look this one up in my dream book because there is no entry for lobotomy. At least I don’t think there is, I’m really not sure and frankly I just don’t want to know. I know that to dream about a brain is roughly translated into the actual act of thinking so perhaps I was trying to convince myself to turn off my brain for a while or something.

Regardless it freaked me the fuck out.

I guess this is what comes from releasing toxins from my body. The new treadmill is here and let me just say it is my favorite thing to do, despite the wacky night visions. I pull up a good short Netflix movie, something in the ballpark of 75 - 90 minutes, hop on the old spinning belt to nowhere and walk my literal and figurative ass off. With all the water I’m drinking on top of the exercise I’ll be back into my usual size in no time.

Not only that but eating healthier again has been such good motivation. I have not consumed as much beef in the past five years as I did while we were in California, oddly enough. Prime rib for Christmas dinner, burgers and everything in between it was no wonder I felt like a slug for a week after getting back home. Only one meal with meat in the past ten days has made a huge difference in my energy level, its weird.

In the spirit of even more newness, I also ordered us up two new phones. Our old flip phones were dying -- not holding battery life and the buttons were literally beginning to peel off mine not to mention I had painted mine more times than I care to mention while working -- so since Verizon does that whole ‘new every 2’ thing I explored our options and picked up a couple snazzy new LG enV3 devices in a shiny blue. Aren’t they pretty? As a heavy texter it is going to be so much nicer to have a QWERTY keyboard too.

Learned a little jazz in my drum lesson today. That was fun but, oh, how can I put it? Awkward. I can already tell I’ll be more comfortable as a rock drummer but it was super cool to play the tat-ta-tat-ta-tat-ta-tat-ta, albeit very slowly. I love listening to jazz so it was nice to try, and I’ll keep trying because my homework is to work on playing a few measures over & over so I can speed up. I seriously can’t wait to pick up some equipment for real, it will be so much more fun to practice when I’m playing an actual instrument as opposed to an electronic kit.

I’ve managed to get a little over a third of the first round of edits of my novel complete so far which I’m very happy with. Figuring by the end of this week I should be halfway done, if not further. My goal is to have the hand written edits done by the 25th and then complete typing them up by the end of the month. That way I can make it through the second and third round by the end of February. It likely won’t be perfect to the critical eye of an Editor but it will at least be to my personal standards and I’m thinking that’s where an agent will come in.

An opportunity to pursue a job as a Social Media Marketing and PR Rep has cropped up and I’m seriously considering doing it. Because I will be able to still work from home and the company is offering me the flexibility to select my client load it allows me the opportunity to make some money at something I’m already good at, but to still have plenty of time for the book and blogs. It’s a big step because I haven’t worked for a company in almost five years so I really want to weigh the pros and cons before agreeing to an eight week training and management of a real life client.

After getting back from the west coast and seeing photos of myself with this drawn look I realized it was time to cut my hair off again. My new hair dresser was recommended to me by S and she could not be more awesome. She gave me the last cut too and though the cut itself was fantastic, I had to admit to myself that I’m just a short hair kind of chic. This time around she did two and a half inch layers all over my head which is more girly length than I’ve had it in the past and with the slight curl I have it creates these cute little flippy bits that I really like.

Sadly our little Green Group died out. With only about 5-6 of us showing up every month and about half of us being from out of town, Melissa decided it was no longer environmentally a sound option to cook all the food, buy the wine and run her electricity (not to mention our car!) every month, so for now we’re getting updates in a newsletter and its nice to read the latest even if I don’t belong to her community. Perhaps it is something we’ll start in our own to bounce ideas around come the spring. We shall see.

Created a couple new recipes this past week, some with very positive results, others, yeah not so much. The sundried tomato and basil hummus from soaked garbanzo beans came out amazing. The fried tofu with avocado, walnuts and grapes in whole wheat wraps with lettuce? Well let’s just say that meal will from now on be referred to as ‘tubular shaped bland goo’. Won’t be trying that one again. Sometimes tofu just is not a good substitute for chicken. So to make myself feel better I made some chocomole. And feel better I did. Especially right now as I eat it before I have my dinner. I'm a rebel so I can.

OK that’s enough now. Later friends.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Collection of Positivity Twenty Years in the Making

Fortune cookies completely fascinate me. To think ‘if I had grabbed for that one instead my little jolt of positive reflection would have completely changed’ is something I relish in. Call it fated destiny or whatever blah, blah you like but I love to open up those little sweet treats to find the inspiration inside. I have been collecting some of my favorites for apparently much longer than I remembered as I discovered a whole slew of them yesterday.

Wait a minute, let me back up and share the full story.

The day we got back from Cali I ordered a treadmill. For the past few months I have been weighing (pun very much intended) the options between the gym or a treadmill for my home. The treadmill won because I considered that when I used to go to the gym that was typically the only thing I used anyway. For just slightly more than an annual membership fee for just one of us, now Matt and I have that gym right here in our home (wow, how infomercial does that sound?).

Well, not yet exactly.

It should be arriving this week so for the past few days I’ve been doing what I do best -- de-cluttering my environment to make room for this extra large item that is coming in.

There are a few boxes we have yet to unpack as I knew that they were things we couldn’t do much with. Framed photos we don’t really have wall space for here, fabric for OPP (other people’s projects) and a final box that I have been carrying around with me for what feels like forever -- “Memorabilia”.

Within that box is another smaller box I labeled “Box of Memories”, this is the one in the photo above. I created it out of corrugated cardboard that I fashioned into a base and sides which are scotch taped together, then a top that is “hinged” on one of the longest sides. The cover and opposing long side have holes punched near the edge and the whole thing is held together by a fluorescent orange shoe lace. It was quite an ingenious bit of MacGyver-ness if I do say so myself!

Every so many years I go through this box and I’m always re-surprised by some of the items that I find: a mug received for graduation that has every class member’s name printed on the back, my bible and diploma from graduating CCD, a 6” railroad nail I salvaged when they took the line out in the early 80’s, the lyrics to both The Rose and Amazing Grace (for Holly ♥), a postcard from a pen pal who visited Astoria, Oregon where The Goonies was filmed, the program and ticket stub from when Dane Cook starred as Danny in our high school production of Grease (and a stub from his very early years act at the now defunct Catch A Rising Star in Harvard Square), Svetlana Boginskaya’s autograph, and all 4 years worth of my varsity letters for gymnastics.

Sorting through the box instead of just bringing it to the basement was just too tempting as I considered how long it had been since I had last done so. Ticket stubs and programs from productions and sporting events, postcards from other places, my HS diploma and then at the bottom of the box, plus taped all along the inside of the cover, were tons of fortunes from cookies that I had been collecting for I’d guess more than the past twenty years.

As a self proclaimed clutter free kind of gal it mystified me that I would keep such a thing as tiny little scraps of paper but then I started to read them:

“If you continually give you will continually have.”
“Serious trouble will bypass you.”
“He who knows he has enough is rich.”
“You should be able to undertake and complete anything.”
“Your life will be happy and peaceful.”
“Every man is a volume if you know how to read him.”
“Trust your intuition. The Universe is guiding your life.”
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
“You are going to have a very comfortable old age.”
“You are a person of another time.”

All of a sudden it hit me. All of these awesome self improvement gurus are just doing what I’ve been doing all of these years, collecting their fortunes and following the advice inside as a way of daily life!

My older ones were definitely uplifting and they all remained inside the box but as of now I am living my life by one of the more recent ones I have taped to my computer monitor:

“Love is a present that can be given every single day you live.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

State of Mind

I am a total sucker for New Year’s Eve. As a night person, it’s the one holiday where I am strongly encouraged to be myself and with the shopping over and done with, a belly still full of yummy holiday goodness and a focus on love and friendship, it really is a night that’s tough to beat. It is a firm belief of mine that the following year will be loosely shaped by what is going on at midnight.

As a young kid, grammar school age, my mom used to throw a pretty rockin New Year’s Eve party every year. Her friends and some family would come over and celebrate with food and champagne. There was always a slurry rendition of Auld Lang Sine as the clock ticked over, though no one really knew more than the first verse, and most years my sister and I were allowed to stay up to midnight if we made it that late. I recall one year that landed on a Saturday and SNL was on. This parody commercial came on where kids in snowman sweaters were calling home to tell their parents they loved them while sitting on grandpa’s lap beside the Christmas tree, when suddenly grandpa grabbed the phone and demanded a ransom and I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s pretty likely that is the year my warped sense of humor was shaped.

When I was a teenager I used to cry just about every year when the clock turned over. I guess I found it hard to say goodbye and my friends would laugh as it occurred every single year. One year a small group of us got all dressed up and went out for a nice Italian dinner in Lexington center. I was experiencing my typical melancholy and picked up the grated cheese to shake onto my ravioli. The entire top came with it onto my plate, sauce splashed all over my white sweater and the four of us didn’t stop laughing all night. I figure that’s the year I learned that I would never be one of those women who can wear a white outfit and not spill something on it.

As I grew and my mom stopped having her party I began venturing out to spend the night with friends in the city. Quite a few years were spent downtown watching drunken vagrants wander the icy cold streets as we made our way to the edge of the Harbor to check out midnight fireworks. That was a lot more fun the year S brought a couple of her cutest college boys back home and we all drank champagne in the middle of the street to keep warm. I had no idea one of them had brought a bottle in his backpack but as the fireworks began he popped the cork and if I do recall we swilled right out of the bottle. That was the year I stopped crying at midnight.

A whole bunch of years later, after a particularly life altering break up, I decided to spend the holiday in a completely different state with a friend that I rarely saw on that night. I headed off for North Carolina just after the Christmas holiday and planned to spend close to fourteen days there before a new job began in January. It was the famed Y2K and none of us could have cared less if the power went out at midnight. We spent the early part of the night drinking at what I affectionately called the senior center watching all the 55+ peeps dance with each other as my friend’s aunt sang. Collectively we decided to watch the ball drop so we raced back to a friend’s apartment, sparked a bowl, held our breath for one second at midnight and laughed off the silly tech fear as nothing happened. Regardless of the mind altering drugs, that was the year I gained a whole bunch of life perspective.

Almost every year since, with the exception of one year we were at my sister’s through the holidays, we have spent with S&B. Most years we head out for dinner, have a great meal, a couple drinks and laughs big enough to fill an entire room. Then we end up back at one or the other of our places, pop champagne, watch the ball drop, hug and kiss our respective other half, knock back the glass full of bubbly and end up asleep well before 12:30. When Matt and I were living in New York we still made our way back to the Boston area to see them on New Year’s because to us it was really important to spend the holiday with people we care about, and to follow with tradition as well. Those were the years I learned what real, true friendship is and how it can grow stronger over time into a bond more like family.

For many reasons, those friendships included, I have remained in the northeast my entire life, but anyone who knows me understands that my heart belongs in southern California. My soul too, so I left both of them behind in order to collect them when I end up there for good. Soon. This was an entirely new experience for me as we spent the holidays in the Palm Springs area with Matt’s dad and step mom, who we rarely see as it is, and as long as I have been around, never on Christmas or New Year’s. S-MIL was pushing hardcore for us to move out there, we even toured a couple model homes and explored neighborhoods we might consider living in. There are past mistakes, messiness and issues that need to be addressed and fixed before we could go, not to mention a couple building blocks that need to be securely mortared in for us to build a life on out there, but we are both ready to make the change.

This was the year I learned how excited I am to watch our lives become everything we want them to be and more.