Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 Round Up!

2011 has drawn to a close. In a flash another year extinguished. Reminiscing on the past has caused me to clear out the cobwebs from this blog. Not to mention my brain, as last night's celebrations are a little hazy in the bright blue of this spanking new year, and really think about what 2012 will be for me.

So many have used this medium far, far better than I. For quite a while I felt that if I couldn't contribute in an ultimate meaningful way then why should I bother? But people blog for all sorts of reasons, even if twitter has made macro-blogging unfashionable, and they aren't necessarily changing the world. So why was I setting the standards so high for myself? Sometimes I can be so self-judge-y.  

So bear with me as I get my typing fingers back in gear.

For me, I realized blogging helps keep the fogginess of time at bay from erasing important memories and feelings of events - insignificant, small and sometimes large. And my favorite of all my post is the Year In Review. What better way to jump back in then to share more info in one blog post then I have in over 2 years? Go big or go home mentality much? Probably. Time for that beverage of choice, gentle readers.

January: I started the year the second sickest I've ever been. Paul's b-day and NYE celebrations are moved to January 22nd. I make ice cream for the first time. People find it delicious and I'm hooked on a not-so-healthy additional kitchen skill. I get called for jury duty. Side note: make sure your work AND personal calendars are updated if you are called for jury duty. Because if you don't that is when you'll actually be called to sit in the jury box and you look like a fool when you have to go to the judge and say what an idiot you are. He just might interpret that as you just don't want to do you civic duty and will require you to come back for jury duty in six months when really you're just an idiot. Not saying that happened to me. Actually it did. Never mind. Be warned!

February: I was on the frequent flyer list here! Headed to North Carolina for my Dad's 70th birthday mid-month. It was one of those things that started out as a comment from one of the siblings saying, "Hey, we should all fly in for dad's b-day as a surprise" that turned into an open invitation on facebook to everyone causing panic and confusion. Needless to say my mom stepped in and ended up throwing a great party at one of my favorite restaurants in their town. What was weird was that it was the first time I had seen all my other siblings since... who knows? A Thanksgiving many, many years back probably. It went much better than expected. However it was not without a few surprises. I was thankful that Paul was there. At the end of the month, Paul and I flew to Ottawa for his dad's 80th b-day. The weather was awful and the rental car did not have snow tires so we found ourselves not stopping for stop signs (not because we wanted to) as we headed to his sister's cottage in Quebec. The amount of snow was unreal, at least to me. And it was a bit stressful. But we survived. Elena starts to have health problems. We bring her to the vet and we get inconclusive but not great news.

March: Because of Elena's poor heath her coat become a matted mess. We have her shaved and I regret it immediately. Her poor scrawny body all shaved and her head and legs all fluffy. She now looks like she is wearing UGG boots. I try not to laugh because it is so pathetic. I try to get her to wear a tiny dog sweater but she would have nothing to do with it. We end up buying her a heating pad that she can lie on all the time. Nadia and Michelle come for a kick-ass visit. Being a tour guide is one of my favorite things! The atmosphere at work start getting nerve-wracking. My boss is laid off and my department gets merged with another. The end days are coming for those of us who remain from my department, we just don't know when.

April: I go to the Big Easy to visit a SF friend who is working out there. The trip rocks. I eat amazing food, see fantastic and freaky sites and I take over 400 photos (but only share 71). The French Quarter Festival introduces me to Trombone Shorty, the Honey Island Swamp Band and more brass bands than I can shake a stick at. Holy cow! I forgot how much travel happened at the beginning of the year. An old high school friend is in town for his wife's work. We meet up and have a fantastic time. He hasn't changed a bit.

May: A relatively quiet month. We take Elena for another vet visit. Still nothing conclusive. I see my first Youth Poetry Slam competition. My mind is blown! 

June: Paul and I celebrate 9 years of mawwaige. We see Pink Martini live, accompanied by the SF Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall. Nothing like seeing a crowd samba-ing to the encore song of "Brazil" in the aisles of a normally staid venue.

July: I see Gillian Welch, Casablanca with live accompaniment by the SF Symphony, the SF Symphony at Stern Grove. (Clearly I like the SF Symphony!) My friend returns from New Orleans and begins hosting red beans and rice nights. 

August: I attend Stitch'n'Pitch at ATT Park with the knittas. Dr. Glenna is in town and we get our mac'n'cheese on in Oakland. I see the Gertrude Stein Exhibit at the SFMOMA and am amazed by the sheer mass of the collection. I sign up for a Get To Know Your Digital Camera course and immediately learn how to use my camera in a different way. I finally get serious about the fact that I'm probably going to be downsized and start focusing on updating my resume and if there might be another role that I could fill within the company. Paul throws an amazing birthday party for me, a Southern-style picnic brunch complete with fried chicken and a southern inspired cocktail (that was too easy to drink). Another old friend, who lives very far away, comes to town with her new beau; we catch up over delicious food and beer. I'm saddened by the fact that I don't see her more often.  My red beans and rice friend celebrates her 40th b-day and divorce finalization by selling her engagement ring and treating her family and friends to a cooking party at Cavallo Point. Sadly the zeppelin she wanted to rent was not available but I think the party made up for the fact. 

September: This was mostly a downer of a month. The ax was finally dropped in regards to my job. Although I knew it was coming, I was a little taken aback. I was in the process of pitching a different postion, as there seemed to be a business need and I felt like the perfect person to fill it, to the powers that be. The word I was getting was that they agreed. Clearly they didn't. Admittedly, the next day I was pretty elated and excited about the future. I felt free and the inspired. I decided that 2012 is going to be my year. I start working on my future. Thinking about what I really wanted to do and coming up with some clear options that didn't suck. I decided that I am pretty awesome. Elena's health starts to deteriorate rapidly. I come home to find her in a place I've never seen her before. She is so weak. I call Paul, who is playing pool with his regular Tuesday night group, that an emergency vet visit is needed. We end up having to make the decision to let her go. It was the hardest decision I had to make in my life thus far. Paul and I cry over this flickr set.

October: Being a bit of blur, October was spent preparing for unemployment and life without Elena. However I do pick up a part-time freelance gig. 

November: Also a bit of blur. Adjusting to being at home is difficult, time management-wise. The internet is truly a time suck. The part-time freelance gig scope grows a bit. Thanksgiving is one of the best I've celebrated. We cook a Turducken (from Cajun Pacific) and friends come with more delicious food than could have been dreamed of. And thanks to the power of the twitter, we had an orphan from Australia who happened to be in town for a work seminar join us for her first ever American Thanksgiving. She was a member of the clean plate club. The next day I woke up with one of the worst colds I've ever had. I'm not as sick as I was at the beginning of the year but I'm pretty close. With this round, I sounded like a 90-year old, 3-pack a day phlegm monster for what felt like forever.

December: Still a bit of a blur with the holidays. The month flies. I do take part in Indigodragonfly's Giftapalooza. I see Trombone Shorty at the Fillmore. I take an intro to Charcuterie making at Pot and Pantry which makes me want to make my own bacon immediately. I do my first webinar to learn about passive (corporate) recruiting on LinkedIn. The part-time freelance gig grows bigger in scope and I'm starting the new year knowing my resume will have new skills to show for my effort. Paul and I celebrate Christmas alone. Not surprisingly we cook as if we're going to feed an army. We prepare duck and make ravioli for the first time. Both are incredibly successful and delicious. We create a barrel full of duck stock.

And of course, there was knitting! Not as much as I would have liked but I was very happy with what was produced. 

2011 FO Roundup

So what about 2012? Well, the themes that ran through last year were food, entertainment and traveling. Not bad themes to keep in mind for 2012. This year is going to be a big one for me - I will be celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary and I'll be turning the big four-0. So who knows what will happen but I'm going to try and pull something interesting off. I also want to really prepare for my future career. I want to find a job that I'm happy about going to on a daily basis. Because dragging one's ass to a job that they know they're going to lose one day in an environment that is less than ideal is the pits. And I mean that. And I'll drink to that.