Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 has been an interesting year.  It seems to be so uneventful at face value, but when I peel back the layers I can tell you it was a year that included...
- Two friends like me, who were sure they'd never find their perfect match, settling into forever:  one got married, the other got engaged and set the date
- Quite a few coworkers leaving the company (some the area), some by their choice some not.  This includes several of the offices that sit empty around me, and 4 people I called friends.
- Friends welcoming new members of their family (fuzzy and non) or the early years with their non-fuzzies.
- Mom turned 80 in January.
- Vixen turned 13 in February.
- The fuzzies have made huge strides this year, with the aid of medication for Vix, in getting along and playing.

A nice mix of good and bad, but if you focus on the people who were truly effected by these changes, none of it about me, which is what this blog is suppose to be about - me.  For me... 2012 is a list of bullet points that aren't suppose to be talked about to the general public, some that are downers and some that I am quite proud of and plan on sharing anyhow because I need something to say about the year that is relevant to me other than going to work and sitting on the couch with fuzzy butts.

Warning:  If you're going to read this and accuse me of bragging then don't read the next little portion.  I've worked hard on some of this and I want to be able to tell someone other than my dog and document when it happened for myself - otherwise it doesn't feel like I've accomplished anything (ahh... back to that no one to share my achievements and joys with feeling).  Besides, you'll be happy to know (if you're of the 'she is bragging' faction) that I'm still miserable with my current state of existence, so if that's what you live for - enjoy.

I'm proud to say that I achieved a few of my personal goals and desires including:
- Being able to cover a trip for me and my beloved niece to Europe when she graduated from high school (see my posts from the end of June).  I think it's safe to say WE had the best time and I'm so happy to have those memories.  She's moved off to college now, and I'm proud to say kicking my butt on grades (at least my undergrad grades).
- Maxing my yearly retirement contributions for the first time ever.  I was excited to realize a few months ago that I'd be able to do it in 2013 then recognized if I pushed a bit I could do it this year, so I did!
- In tandem with the contributions at the end of the year I was also able to celebrate seeing my retirement accrue to a level that I was aiming for by the time I turned 40.
- Early in the year I met another by 40 goal, crossing a threshold in my salary (and with a few years to spare darnit).

I didn't cross the other big one off yet that is on the by 40 list... but I've finally aligned my monthly payments on the mortgage to get VERY close to finishing it before I turn 40 as well.  (That is if I stay here and continue to have work and pay at the pace I'm presently at.)  I'll admit, seeing two households of friends achieve this in 2012 has inspired me to push harder, so I thank them for their inspiration!

The fact is I am obsessive... sometimes, to my own benefit that forces me to get ahead and try to achieve obscene goals that I assign to myself.  But at least I get ahead - so if bad things happen I'm a few months ahead on mortgage payments.

I guess I should mention the downers, if only abstractly.  One happened in February (the 'sickest' I've ever been and the most physical pain I've experienced in my life) but it's definitely remained an ongoing reminder of how precarious what I've grown accustom to could be and how catastrophic (maybe not catastrophic - just completely 180) things could have been.  Another other celebrates a 10 year anniversary that just reopens old wounds and brings me to tears (you know - the worst emotional pain of my life).

I frown a wee bit to think that my dad would have turned 95 late this year, and the 25 year anniversary of his death is just around the corner in June.  But the good from being a bit more mature and able to reflect on those memories has inspired me in new ways.  For example, he kept every 50 cent piece and wheat penny he came across, which has inspired a small coin collection.  On the other hand, he worked for Conrail, so I've been eyeballing some PRR items that I want to pull together as a bit of an homage.

So, here I sit, a few hours before new years, watching CNN (of all things) to see if we should gather our barrels and head to Niagra Falls to head over the cliff with our country.  It could be another nail in the coffin of some (or many) of my goals for 2013 (especially if budget cuts take the toll that takes me from teetering on the edge of no work to take my own tumble over a cliff).  I don't really make resolutions, but there is a lot I'd like to see different in 2013.  Some things are on the docket, which I'll report on as they 'go live'.  Suffice it to say, for those that have known me for a long time, there may be some surprises.

It has a 13 in it.  It's mine, I've claimed it.  Now bring on the good stuff... and Lord help let me just follow the path you lay out instead of fighting to do things on my own and inadvertently circumventing the awesome calm right out of my world.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bless the Internet.  I realized that a few things that I was planning to run and shop for had free shipping, one being light and easy to deal with (furnace filters from Home Depot) and the other being a blessing to not need to lug around (6 bags of dog food).  You heard me right.  I usually only buy 3 when they're on sale, but I figured if I don't need to haul them from the store, load the durango, unload the durango, and lug them to the front door I'd double-down.  I am a bit mean as I did get a giggle wondering what the mailman or the UPS guy would think (call it minor revenge for past performance), but today I got the shipping notice that it is instead coming from FedEx.  Regardless, with these off of my to do list I had more time Friday evening to stop in on my aunt and uncle and then go for diner with them before hitting the grocery store.

I've tried to make my weekend productive and relaxing.  Most of the Christmas decorations are down and away (minus the lit up huskies and sled... I just wanted a few more days with it) and the treadmill and elliptical are back in place.  I promised myself I wouldn't watch the DVDs I got in my Christmas gifts without being on the treadmill, so I was eager to get things accessible again.  Then I watched two episodes of season 7 Sunny while walking last night.

I spent some time this weekend with the girls outside taking photos of them playing and enjoying the snow and I've been on icicle patrol/knock-down duty all weekend.  I think we got another 3-4 inches maybe.  It's blown around and packed down a bit, so it's hard to say what the total is.  Speaking of photos... only one more day to complete the photo a day challenge.  I admit, I'll be happy to be done with my camera for a while, but then I need to try out the new goodies I got for it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Last year the folks who plow for me didn't have to come even once... that's how nice the weather was.  Needless to say I saw my boy, Goat, today.  He called when he saw the vehicles so we were able to get ourselves out (shockingly w/o too much trouble) and get the mess out of the way.  I had gone out for 10 minutes earlier in the morning and ended up feeling like something was sitting on my chest and spitting out coppery tastes.  I am quite okay with spending the money for a plow, even if it does churn up my gravel, that I'll clean up and deal with in the spring.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I promised if the roads stayed clear for my trip to and from Altoona on Christmas day I wouldn't complain when this mess hit... and I won't.  I will however say that it did start to come down pretty fast, so I left to work from home at lunch time today.  What I did try to shovel/sweep clear covered back up pretty fast with the wind, so I'm just leaving it for now.  There aren't too many folks in the office this week so I'll most likely stay here tomorrow as well.  That definitely makes it easier to not complain as I don't need to shovel, scrape, or deal with the scary roads.  Saffy is definitely enjoying the snow, making huge leaping circles in the yard and wanting out often, after brief chances to warm back up.

My visit for Christmas was good, I headed early, planning to come back before dark as I was expecting poor travel.  We headed to my aunt and uncles for a wonderful meal and time chatting after opening our gifts at mom's.

While I won't complain about the weather I will put this gripe out there... there is a history of people spreading their holiday greetings via text message.  I'm not a huge fan, but I'll cope.  What bites me is when their friends, whom I don't know, reply to EVERYONE saying "thanks so and so - you too" or the like.  Seriously?  You had to send that to everyone?  Why do I have to get charged/counted for incoming?  I can't control who sends me a text.  Boo.  The take the cake occurred at 5:42am this morning when someone chose to reply as such.  I'll tell you this... my reply was NOT very Christianly either.  It woke me, I had to look for fear there was something wrong, then I had a hard time getting back to sleep and spent my morning as grumpy as I was when sharing a bed w/ an ex who snored all night.  Ugh.  No, you don't get to interrupt my sleep and not feel my wrath.

Monday, December 24, 2012

I'm going to tell you what a terrible Christian and person I am.  Feel free to skip the rest... I'm just going to whine and have a pity party tantrum.

Of course it snowed a little more today... not even an inch, but yet Richland didn't bother to do diddly, so the roads were pretty freaking gross on the way to church.  On the way there I had my first bad person incident which had me ready to roll down my windows and scream at the idiots heading into St Benedicts.  Why for God's sake do these people park ACROSS a 4-lane road and then walk out in front of traffic to go to church.  The roads are crap.. don't walk out you moron!  Park by the church, they have a lot, use it.

So I get to church and I'm about frozen, I never took my coat off and my fingers and toes were about numb through service.  My hair and knees however were NOT numb... as I could feel the guy behind me pulling my hair when he grabbed the seat (and hair) and I could feel the woman in front of me who kept dicking around with her hair and throwing it on my knee (crossed legs).  Ew.  At my church you end up shaking a million hands just to get in.  I hate that.  But I suffer through it.  You'd think at some point one of those hands would have handed me one of the candles... but no.  I think I was the only person who did not get one and I felt retarded when they did the lighting.  I also didn't enjoy hearing the little girl behind me noting she can't see through my BIG HEAD to see the girl dancing at the beginning of the service.  Seriously?  You really should note to your child that her comment was rude... and little brat, you couldn't see even if I wasn't there.  It was, of course, packed... so I had taken to the outside to try and give myself a slightly better chance at getting out faster and not feeling so oppressed with anxiety at the herd of people.

At least my stop for dinner wasn't met with an "only" or "just" at my request for one seat.  I'm back home and trying to defrost my fingers and toes.  Please please please don't let 219 be gross tomorrow... I really don't want to drive to and from Altoona.  Yes, I could just go ahead and skip Christmas, and that would be fine.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Yesterday I was pretty sure it was time for me to just create a burrow and crawl in for a few months.  We didn't get much in the way of snow, definitely on the lower end of the spectrum for what the weather warning emails were calling for, but it definitely got cold and the wind was kicked up pretty good.  I forced myself to amble out briefly on Saturday and decided quickly I was NOT heading to the event on my calendar that evening... instead I took to the oven and baked up a batch of brownies and a tray of pumpkin bars to share as I move about through my other holiday appointments.

The first was today with the Laws.  Even if the sun hadn't come out to warm things up a bit and clear the roads of better they are always worth the trip over the river and through the woods.  As a result of this visit, I've officially become a fan of Froelich's butcher shop after just one bite of bacon.  Bacon?  Does this family know their way into my heart or what?!  But just in case I was tough to impress there was screwdrivers with fresh squeezed oj.  A visit with them, even if we spent it sitting in a closet talking is always, always, always a treat.

I came back and tortured the fuzzies for a little while before heading to Off the Rak with Beff and Slips for a bite to eat, exchange, and time to catch up.  The food there hasn't been up to snuff the past few times... it's okay, just not something that has me ready to run back down that way any time soon.  At least we got to sit and enjoy each other's company.

I'm home and ready to crawl into my nice warm bed after a busy day... best part?  Two more days before I have to go back to work.  Yay!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

So, "skin picking" has been added to the official list of mental disorders.  I know my brain is a bit screwy, but mental disorder?  What is more amusing is that I'd never have thought to look up my own neuroticisms online prior, but I've since learned my actions of picking at my fingers are labelled dermatillomania, and considered a type of obsessive compulsive disorder (me?  naaaaw.)  It does align as the wikipedia write up notes the association with stress.  I coulda told you that!
Now, the reason I mention this is to then point out the insanity that because this is now in the APA's manual it now will have better coverage for treatment.  Really?  Who goes for TREATMENT for being stressed out and picking a bit of skin from their fingers.  I really think people lok forward to having some long freakish label they can put on their own craziness so they can get pity.  We're all frelled up one way or the other and if you don't admit to your tidbits of crazy then you're probably the person who I should really stay clear of!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another good evening of holiday celebration with a friend over a meal (mmm stuffed chops and candied carrots) and a rather odd movie (Howard and Maude).  Once again I was truly treated, this time to a very thoughtful gift that aligns with what I have recently expressed interest in collecting.  You're a good Egg :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy (what should have been) 95th birthday to my father, Tony Maucieri.  You may have left us when I was pretty young, but I'll hold tight to the memories I do have including the advice on who to marry, how to deal with flowers in the yard, what you should save/put aside, and then some.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Impatience like only a Johnstown hockey fan can muster (we made Puck Daddy):;_ylt=AsXU1b8Lwk_zO4o572K.b46Rbcp_;_ylu=X3oDMTE5bTAwaTJkBG1pdANCbG9ncyBJbmRleARwb3MDMjMEc2VjA01lZGlhQmxvZ0luZGV4;_ylg=X3oDMTFpMm9iMzh1BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANibG9nBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3
It could be argued that the long pause could help the Tomahawks by stealing what could have been momentum from the visiting team.  Just saying.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Had a good time at the work Christmas party last night.  I'm kind of fortunate that I took the bus, which meant leaving at 11:30.  I can only imagine how much pain I'd be in if I had had another hour or two of dancing!  Yay for old and out of shape!

I'm still waiting for one more last minute ordered Christmas present to arrive (supposedly it will be here Thursday) so I can finish wrapping gifts and put that junk away.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

10 years later.  Still alive.  Still spinning in the same cycle, unfortunately.  Still depressed a bit by the holidays.  Feeling a bit like I'm in 7th grade at work WAY too often.  High school never ends.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stressing again.  I know it's all in my head, but it's real none the less.  I always tense up as this time of year approaches, but it's definitely a bit worse this year.  I'm almost looking for the first of the big three... well, we'll call an empty apartment the first of the big three.  It always stresses me when it's empty, especially in the winter.  I know I'll be fine either way, but it does make me tense.

Anyone know someone looking for a furnished one bedroom after Christmas?

And... ehr mer gawd... facebook is down.  Prelude to Mayan justice?

Sunday, December 09, 2012

My upper right back muscles are aching again.  Had to get up and pull out the heating pad this morning.  I know I am generally stressed, which is what is causing this to manifest, but I wish I could shake it out and be done with it.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

I called mom on Friday night to make sure she'd be around today.  I mentioned to her that an aunt had asked me about us going there for Christmas dinner.  My mother's response about floored me... basically, she was thinking about asking me if I "wanted to go out for Christmas dinner, lots of people do that now a days".  I feel bad making her cook a big meal, and yes, it seems like a waste for just her and I... but go out to eat?  My feelings are wrong and greedy, I know, but... that's not Christmas to me, and I'm going to have plenty of years to go out for Christmas dinner by myself after she's gone.  My second thought is that I was ill prepared to not have another Christmas dinner as I know them, but I guess that happens abruptly to people for numerous reasons.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Me:  Mom, remember me asking you about Dad's 'golden spike' that was on the wall?  There are a few other things I've had on my mind that I want to know if you still have.
Mom:  I think I gave that spike to your Uncle R.
Me:  [bumming in my head] What about the wheat pennies and 50 cent pieces dad always saved?
Mom:  I don't remember him saving 50 cent pieces.
Me:  Yea, every time I went to the meat market for you guys I'd ask them for change in 50 cent pieces if they had them, dad would always pull them and wheat pennies.  Anyhow, look and see if you can find them, I'll pay you for them.
Mom:  I have your dad's old ID badge from the railroad.
Me:  YES I definitely want that!  Oh, and the old glass Christmas ornaments you had.
Mom:  That was garbage.  I got rid of it.
Me:  Well rats.
Mom:  Why didn't you tell me 20 years ago you wanted that stuff.
Me:  I was a CHILD, I didn't know any better.
Mom:  Joe [my brother] was mad at me years ago for getting rid of all of his old baseball cards that were in the attic.
Me:  I bet he was!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

It can't be JUST ME who thinks ALL illegal immigrants should be denied drivers licenses.  Who the hell says "you're not legally here, but ... I'll give you ID".  WTH!?  The word ILLEGAL kinda makes a difference.

Monday, December 03, 2012

I kept the garage in better order than I had recalled, so it was pretty fast and easy to clear a path and pull the Tib in the garage yesterday.  As is the routine I also scrubbed the basement floor to keep things healthy for the girls and did a bit of laundry yesterday.  In other dog news, Saf and/or D have decided to start ripping up the mattress they have been gifted for comfort, so I guess they won't have somewhere soft to chill out.  Kids!

Since I had time yesterday and a box not quite full ready to mail to niecey poo I baked some chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin bread as well.  I decided to try swapping out the eggs and oil for canned pumpkin to cut back on the calories and it turned out fantastic - both tasting and beyond moist.  Just perfect.

I guess I'll have into the evening on Sunday to do more for the next few weeks while we wait for Walking Dead to start back up.  Good stuff last night!  Ooooh Andrea.  *shakes head*

Oooh... and I had my dentist appointment today.  It always seems like a big achievement when he wheels back and says "you're good".

Saturday, December 01, 2012

My back is feeling much better (thank goodness), down to just a little twinge if I turn wrong.

Shipped out the Christmas goodies to my sister today, which marks a key point for Christmas.  My shopping is done with one exception, which is making me twitch.  Christmas cards went today too.  At least I feel like I'm on top of something since I slacked today and napped this afternoon instead of moving a few things around in the garage and getting the Tiburon away.  It was in the 50's here today, which is shocking, and makes me not want to put the car away, however, as of today it is officially not fully insured, so away it goes.

Remember the decoration I was talking about a week or so ago?  It arrived yesterday!  One broken bulb quickly replaced and ta-da it is up in the front window.  I love it! Better still, walking out front to see how it looks and seeing the living-breathing gray and white at the window in front of it leading the pack.  How cute is this???