2015 Year End Reflections

I found this idea from Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides on his twitter account today. So here goes.

10 Highlights and Accomplishments in 2015

1. — In January 2015, I was brought on at Red Maryland as a citizen journalist.  Even though I didn’t write much this year, two of my articles made it into Red Maryland’s top 30 stories of 2015! Numbers 15 and 19 are all mine. Pretty awesome, especially since I only wrote 6 articles this year.  That means one-third of my total contribution to the site made it to the most popular list!  I’m impressed.

2. — The kids needed new laptops for school work. So Tony found a great deal, picked up 3 laptops, and I got them all up and running.  There were some hiccups, some calls to tech support, and one of the machines had to get replaced (under warranty!) due to a bad hard drive.  But I got it all figured out.  Then 9 months later, I updated all three of their systems plus my own to Windows 10, and helped Tony with his.  Updating my computer involved researching my programs, updating some stuff, and making sure everything would run smoothly.  Tony had a hiccup with the update that I helped him research and find the fix for, and the kids all had to get updated, setup, and running again.  This doesn’t even count all the times I’ve helped mom fix her various issues with electronics.  So yea, my mad skills with computers (primarily on the software side of things) and my google-fu routinely combine to be a source of accomplishment.

3. — Joined the board of the Marlton Swim Club for a month, and helped expose the mismanagement that had driven the organization into a point of bankruptcy.  I loved my time on the board, even if it drove me and everyone around me batty.  I had to resign because I was not comfortable either tying my name to the massive amount of debt the club was in, or chasing government funds, funds that the government does not have, to keep the pool afloat.  In the end, the management of the club was changed, and the government supplied them with enough money to keep afloat.  They are planning to open again next year. We shall see.

Dime Bank Montage4. — I brought home another piece of family history in April. I found a dime bank made by my great-great-grandfather back in the early 1910’s. This neat little gem was added to my small collection of pocket calendars, a product catalog, and the one match holder I’ve been able to get my hands on.  Great-great-grandpa H.B. had his own novelties business. He went from selling magazine subscriptions to support his family, to owning a very successful advertising business, to Mayor of Linden, to bank president.  It’s been fun learning more about his life from the archived newspapers and articles in trade magazines, but it’s even more awesome to get my hands on things that he and his company made.

5. — Became the permanent co-host of The Swamp podcast.  Unfortunately, BigGator’s tablet crapped out during the holiday break, and he needs that to record the show.  So until we find an alternate method of recording the show, or get picked up by Red State Radio – which would be amazing! – we are on indefinite hiatus.  If you want to help us get back on air quicker, you could always donate to BigGator’s Patreon.

6. — Took a trip to my uncle’s beach house this summer.  Took my mom and the kids up there to hang out with mom’s side of the family, who we rarely get to see due to distance.  I was also to both show off some of my family history collection, as well as gather new information, and talk to people.  The trip didn’t go as planned, but it still ranks as a major accomplishment for the year, because driving that far is darn near impossible for me these days.

7. — Got an article published on Dana Loesch’s website. Considering how big Dana is getting, it’s a pretty big deal to me that she picked up my article.  I was also a caller on her show, discussing autism and the second amendment.  She’s mentioned me often, and I’ve called in before, but this time it was more like an interview, and she spent a good long time talking to me about the issue.

8. — I was way ahead in my homeschool planning this year.  I felt like for the first time since we started this crazy homeschool adventure, I was prepared for the start of school!  It was an amazing feeling.  I followed that up by getting all my Christmas shopping and gift wrapping done early this year.  Go me!

9. — I reached out to my mother’s Uncle George in the course of my family genealogy research and discovered he lives about 45 minutes away!  I took mom on a little road trip and got to meet with him in person.  Awesome.

10. — I made it through the holiday season yet again.  Unless you’re new here, you know that’s a huge accomplishment for me.  If you’re new here and wondering what the heck I’m talking about, the TL;DR version is that all four of my miscarriages, my father’s birthday, the anniversary of his death, and all three of my children’s birthdays are sandwiched between Thanksgiving and the 2nd week of March, with most of it coming before New’s Years Day.  So yea, the holidays are a rough time emotionally.  But I survived.  We all survived. That’s all that counts.

**Bonus Awesome thing — I met Ms. Kestenbaum online via Ancestry.com, and she has helped me track down so much information about my grandmother’s life just before and during WW2. It’s been amazing! I can’t thank her enough.


10 Disappointments or Utter Fails

1. — I fell down an escalator, because I am nothing if not a grade A klutz.  Still having trouble with my left big toe because of it too.

2. — I broke the truck. Still not sure how I did it, but I did. It rolled away from me in the driveway, and bent the door back completely.  Thankfully the insurance adjuster decided that since it was so close to Christmas, and obviously a well-cared for vehicle, that he’d eat some of the cost on it so that it wouldn’t be considered “totaled”.  So that aspect of the situation was another undeserved blessing.  It’s all fixed now, but still… what an epic fail.

3. — I crapped out on my Photo 365 challenge before the end of January. In fact, I barely took any photos at all this year.  That’s just odd for me.

4. — I tried to get involved in my homeowner’s association and the local civic league. Sigh. But neither hold regular meetings. Honestly, there is a whole lot of “I don’t care” and apathy towards both organizations.  It’s pretty frustrating, but considering the politics of most people in the area, and the ideas of the folks in charge, it’s probably for the best.

5. — The beach trip didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.  Let’s just say there was some family drama, and leave it at that.

6. — I’m still struggling to wrap my head around the local governments here.  There are so many layers of complexity and corruption, I’m just not nearly as involved as I’d hoped I’d be by now.

7. — I didn’t get nearly as far as I’d hoped with writing my book. I think the biggest problem I have is that I love the research too much!

8. — I gained weight.

9. — I didn’t get my room painted & fixed up, or get nearly as far through the list of home improvements as I’d hoped. At least the kids rooms got done.

10. — I didn’t blog nearly as much as I wanted to.  Seriously, I can’t tell you the hundreds of posts I wrote in my head, that just never made it to the keyboard.

** Bonus frustration — I got totally frustrated with my homeschool group coordinator and her constantly shifting goal posts.  Wound up calling HSLDA for clarification, and they became a mediator to sort out an agreement of what’s expected from me, at least for the rest of this year.


3 Game Changers

1. — My hubby had a health scare. That will change your perspective on life in ways you can’t imagine until it happens to you.

2. — My oldest son started 10th grade at age 14.  That means he’s only 2 years away from graduation.  That’s a scary thought.  Even scarier – In about a year, he’ll be old enough to drive.

3. — Family Drama.  ’nuff said.


3 Things You Focused On

1. — My children’s education.

2. — My book research, both into the genealogy and the history.

3. — Politics.


3 Thing You Forgot/Didn’t Get Around Too

1. — Keeping track of my weight and food.  Doing this always helps me lose weight, or at least maintain the status quo.  I forgot to do this on a consistent basis this year.

2. — Starting my own homeschool group. I’ve been contemplating starting my own group, getting the church to back me up, and getting it approved as an umbrella school, just so I don’t have to jump through the ridiculous hoops I do now.  But I just haven’t found the time or energy to figure out how to go about this.

3. — Photo 365 & scrabooking, or even blogging.  Pretty much did nothing this year in terms of recording memories.  Sigh.


So that’s it from me.  All in all, it was a good year.  Crazy, but good.  Can’t wait to see what next year holds.

Just a Pain in my ….. Hip.

princessbride-painI try not to complain very often…  but today… I hurt.

Pain in my right hip is at an all time high time. Vicodin barely takes the edge off, and only if I keep the joint straight. As soon as I sit down or bend my hip in any way, Ouch times a thousand.

But I can’t just stand all day because of the pain in my feet.  Seriously…  it feels like I am walking around with a tiny, sharp rock just under my heels all day.  But there is nothing there – no bone spurs, nothing.

lionking-pain-in-lifeI also can’t lay on my left hip, or that will start hurting in a matter of minutes.  And I can’t lay on my back for an extended period or my back pain flares up.  Which leaves me with the only position that even remotely relieves my hip pain — kneeling on my left knee on the dining room chair with my right leg extended straight out, while leaning over the table, resting my elbows on the table.  But even this position is not the best, as it’s causing my shoulder pain & knee pain to flare up – but hey, at least in this position my hip isn’t trying to murder me.

The one phrase that always comes to mind in times like this is from one of my favorite movies, Long Kiss Goodnight.

“Life is pain. Get used to it!”

So because I’m very cranky, despite the Vicodin, I’m going to do something I haven’t done here in a long, long time.  I’m going to Fling Dishes.

Things to Fling:

  • Maryland Homeschool Law. It was much easier & less paperwork intensive to homeschool in Virginia.
  • Obamacare & Maryland Health Connection. Because Obamacare is the driving force behind my husband’s hours being cut.  Also, since mom lost her job, I’ve been going around and around in circles with the numbnuts at the Maryland version of Ocare, trying to get her some healthcare covereage.  We finally had to go to Social Services in person.  But now I’ve got to ’round and ’round with the idiots again to make any changes needed to her coverage.
  • Stairs & Hills. Because Ouch.  Like seriously.  Ouch.
  • My children’s bad or apathetic attitudes toward school. Because. Pretty sure every teacher in America, whether you teach public, private or home school, has had to deal with this.
  • The distinct lack of Caffeine Free Diet Dr Pepper at every store in a 20 mile radius. Because this is my soda, yet it is no where to be found locally. And yes.  I know this is totally a #FirstWorldProblem, but I’m tired & cranky.

LifeIsPainAs always, a list of things to fling must be followed by a list of things not to fling, just to give me better perspective.  So here goes.

Things To Keep:

  • My kids. Because even though they wear me down, they are the awesomest kids in the whole, wide world.
  • My mom. Because when I’m having the worst day ever, she shows up with a peanut butter-y treat and a hug to make it all better.
  • My Husband. Because he keeps sane when I feel like I’m spiraling out of control.  He’s my rock, and he does so much around the house trying to keep things clean and maintained.  Also, he randomly brings me Reeces just because he loves me.  And the best part – he does laundry! Because God is my witness, I can never remember to swap the loads over.  Plus, in our new/old home, laundry = stairs, and stairs are the bane of my existence.
  • The Lego Movie. Because Everything is Awesome.  DUH!

An open letter to the D-Bag in the Food Lion Parking lot:

Dear Sir,

You are damn lucky my kids were in the car.  Because of them, I didn’t tell you exactly what I thought of your idiotic, thoughtless, the-world-owes-me, ghetto-fied white boy attitude.  Maybe, just maybe if you pulled your damn pants up off the ground, and didn’t worry so much about how much bling you were wearing, you would have thought twice before cutting me off as I backed out of my space, just so you could swing through the space between the handicapped signs and pull a very illegal U-turn.  It wasn’t like I was fully out of my space in the lane or anything, geez.  And why, oh why did you have to pull such an asshole maneuver? So you could get to that Blockbuster vending machine outside the store front.  Way to keep it Klassy.

Yes, I did yell out my window at you.  Yes I did tell you that you were going to kill someone.  I really appreciate the way you dropped the f-bomb numerous times in front of my kids.  Again, Klassy with a capitol K.  And yes, I did call you a “Ghetto-wannaBe”  because trust me, that was the nicest, G-rated thing I could think of.  And seriously, you want to claim right-of-way when my car was fully in the lane before you got there, and you cut me off to roll through a couple of handicapped signs to make a U-ey?  Really sir?  You really want to go there?  Really?

Puh-leaze.  Do the world a favor.  Pull up your damn pants and get a J O B.  Learn what it is to be responsible before you really do kill someone, you Jack-Wagon.


a really pissed-off Mama Grizzly

Breakin' Dishes

Yup. It’s been a while since I did one of these, and boy oh boy do I ever need to fling some dishes across the the room…

To fling across the room:

The Navy. I don’t think there is a navy wife alive who doesn’t feel this way at some point in her husband’s career. Right now, for reasons I won’t discuss here (OpSec people! Loose lips sink ships!), I am so ready for us to be done with the Navy. 475 days. But who’s counting?

“Back to School”. How in the heck does Walmart already have the Back to School stuff out? Didn’t summer just start? What happened? But don’t worry, when take the displays down in early October, they will be replaced by Christmas stuff. Ugh. Remember back in the day when Summer vacation started June 3rd-ish, and you didn’t see “Back to School” sales until late August? Really, are parents that eager to ship their kids off to school? I don’t know, we homeschool. Maybe I just don’t get it. One thing those sales do to me though, they remind me that I need to start planning for the next year. Do. Not. Want. I’m nothing if not a procrastinator.

My Feet. Srsly, Plantar Fasciitis sux hardcore. I’ve had 3 shots of cortisone in my right foot, and still the pain. My Podiatrist now thinks I’ve got a lovely complication called Entrapment of the Lateral Plantar Nerve. Let me tell ya, it’s about as fun as being thrown into a pit of hungry tigers with a raw steak shoved down the back of your pants. Yea. That fun. When every step feels like walking on burning spikes, your outlook on life is pretty dramatically affected.

Caffeine. Because even the tiniest amount found in Midol now triggers kidney problems.  That’s right, I exist without the help of caffeine, no Starbucks for me.  And also no more Midol.  Ugh.  I think I may need to invest in a punching bag soon, though I have no idea where I’d put it.

Not to fling:

AirCast Because thanks to that nice cushiony bubble of air under my arch, I can function without reaching stronger pain pills on an hourly basis.

Homeschool. Because despite the stress it puts on me, and the constant challenge, it’s awesome to see the kids flourish.  I can’t imagine sending them away for the better part of the day. Oh, there are days when I want to pack the lot of them in a box and mail them to Alaska…  But they really are good kids, and I’d miss them.

ICanHasCheezburger & FailBlog. Because they make me laugh.

Your turn.  What do you want to fling into the sink?  What do you want to keep?

Things to Fling

So yea.  It was an O.K. day.  Then Big Boy took a flying leap off the couch and landed squarely on my back.  Yea.  Then Auntie Flo showed up along with the back spasms, and I’m so ready to fling some dishes.  So here goes…

Things to Fling:

the new Word press 2.5 interface:  It sux.  I’ve spent the better part of two days trying to hack the PHP to get what I want from it.  While I used to be a Webdesigner back in the good ol’ HTML age, PHP is a foreign language to me.  these past two days have been a crash course, and left me with a headache.

Website downtime:  Suffice to say that I am taking steps to rectify the matter.  It will not be fun.  But it is indeed necessary.

Things not to fling:

Thomas’s Bagels:  If you haven’t yet discovered these little joys, this is one of those things that makes waking up in the morning fun.

Rare Moments: like most of this afternoon, when my children actually co-exist in peace.

Your turn.  Name something to fling and something to hold tight to.

Things I want to drop kick off a cliff

So… in the spirit of Dana Loecsh’s Trebuchet Fling…. I now present – Things I want to drop kick off a cliff. The rules are: Once you are done drop kicking, you must name at least three things you would not drop kick. Got it?? Good. Here goes.

To drop kick:

the FDA – for taking children’s cold medication off the shelf. They are doing this because some parents apparently can’t read the dosages right. But do the math. There is an average of 3 deaths per year since 1969 due to antihistamines and decongestants. 3 per year. Because of overdosing or bad reactions to the meds. So… because of a few parents who can’t figure out how to ask for help with dosing, or see the difference between tablespoon and teaspoon, all of our kids have to suffer. Add to that, the average cold last 10 days, the average kid gets 7-10 colds a year. What working parent can afford to take 100 days off a work a year? and what kid can miss 100 days of school, and still pass? I mean seriously, you might as well homeschool the kid, because that’s what you’ll be doing anyway, getting homework from the teacher and whatnot. Gov’t needs to stay out of my life.

the website manager/host of teamtancredo.org – I love Tom Tancredo. but his website is down more than it’s up. Dude! Take a lesson from others. Harness the power of the web. Your website is your voice man… Oh well. At least Typepad comes through. Check out the TeamTancredo blog instead.

scientists who think they know everything – I literally laughed out loud when I heard the news report last night about a crater in the Chesapeake Bay. The reporter was so serious when he reported on what *scientists say* happened 34 million years ago. Like they know. Really. Dude was reporting this as factually as he reported on the murder that happened two towns over. Like anyone knows for sure. It’s like when they find a few bones and build a whole new animal around it. Remember Gigantoraptor? Check out this image – http://blog.wired.com/…/dinosaur_skeleton_2.jpg – the bones colored gray? Yea, those are the ones they actually found. The rest is just guess work. Yup. Honestly, it takes alot more faith to believe evolution then it does to believe in a loving Creator God.

Things not to drop kick:

My husband – he’s a sweetie. He’s helping out with the kids despite being sick because he knows I’m stressed and need to get some work done. He’s so not your stereotype of a guy, and he’s soo a keeper. luv ya babe!
Safety scissors – because a pair of safety scissors and a scrap of paper will keep my little two occupied for at least ten minutes.

my blog – because without this little bit o’ daily therapy, I think I’d go stir crazy.

Your turn. Post in the comments. What would you drop kick, and what would you not?

**I may change the theme in the future.  somehow this particular time of the month always makes me remember my mom’s story of her mother flinging dishes at the sink.  “Nobody wants to wash the dishes!” Fling! Crash!  *S*  So next month it may be the dish fling or something.  We shall see.