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.

I love the smell of cholrine water

Lane Ropes, found at sxc.hu courtesy of Albertip,

Lane Ropes, found at sxc.hu courtesy of Albertip,

I love swimming.  When I was much younger, we had a pool in the backyard.  I practically lived in it all summer long.  I even invented my own unique way of swimming, I called it the Froggie because I would kick my legs out like a frog.  Imagine my disappointment years later when I learned that the “Froggie” was actually called the Breaststroke, and I hadn’t invented it at all. *S*

We moved when I entered 6th grade, but the new neighborhood had a community pool & membership was one of the neighborhood perks.  Throughout middle school and high school I swam on the community team in the summer.  I was ok, it was hard to compete against kids who were swimming year round in the public school system, but I managed to have fun anyway.

I’ll never forget the year I came in 7th place in Divisionals for my 50 meter breaststroke.  To me, it might as well have been first place. It meant that I was the 7th fastest kid in the biggest age group (15-18) in the whole division. I missed out on Regionals by just a fraction of a second, but I didn’t DQ, and I gave it my best against kids who had way more practice time. Awesome.

So why this trip down memory lane?

This past week, my kids started swim lessons.  The smell of the cholrine water takes me back.  The lane ropes beckon.  Oh how I long to slice through the water.  Yes, I’m sure my old swim coach would find this highly ironic, but… I actually want to swim laps.