28 December 2012

2012: The Year that Was

It's that time once again to look back on the year that was. (Joanne will post hers shortly at A Warm Cup of Jo).

1) What did you do in 2012 that you have never done before? I got married! I also went to Penticton for the first time (that I can consciously remember), and I stayed at the Banff Springs Hotel. I ate edible gold, and tried fois grois for the first time. This was a year of many firsts!

2) Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make any more next year? I did. Some happened (I blogged a bit more, I got married, I started a weight-loss program). Some didn't (I didn't blog as often, I lost the same 15 pounds over and over again, I didn't conceive a baby). I am OK with where I am and how things worked out one year later. There is always next year. And yes, I will make more mini-goals. I will post those next week.

3) Any major life events happen in your life? Yep. I got married!

4) Where did you travel? I went to Banff, Southern BC, Pentiction, Las Vegas

5) What did you lack in 2012 that you would like more of in 2013? I think if I had to pick one thing, I would say a backbone to speak-up and stand-up to others who think it is OK to dictate to me how to live my life, all while belittling me in the process. I did it a little bit in 2012, with good results. But I've bit my tongue a bit too much in 2012. No more putting up with bull just to make peace.

6) What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon  your memory? July 14, 2012 was my wedding day, so I better remember that! LOL.

7) What was yoru biggest achievement of the year? Getting married (and avoiding a destiny of being the cat-lady), and standing up for myself at work.

8) What was your biggest failure? Not being able to push past a certain weight plateau. It's one big mental hurdle.

9) Did you suffer illness or injury? No, thank God. If anything, my health improved quite dramatically!

10) What was the best purchase you made? For my husband's birthday, I bought him the 50 Years of James Bond DVD series. Not only have I finally been able to watch these movies, but my husband and I have grown closer. I look forward to our "Bond" date nights and the discussions afterwards.

11) What things/people inspired you the most? I am inspired by some of my Weight Watcher friends that I have met online, like Christina and Suzi (amongst many others). Not only have they been successful at losing weight, but they are also honest about the struggles, open about their journey, and just great people to get to know. They give me hope for my own journey, and have given me the encouragement to keep on truckin'.

12) What things/people disappointed you the most? I can`t say any one person really disappointed me. If I had to pick one, it`s politicians in general. I really wish that a politician would look above partisan politics and meet people in the middle to get things done. It was particularly bad this year...

13) Where did most of your money go? The wedding, without a doubt. Although our vacations were a bit of a wallet muncher too! LOL.

14) What did you get really excited about? Marrying the man I love! I also got excited when things seamlessly fell into place (because that never happens to me), and exploring new places with my husband.

15) What song will always remind you of 2012? There are so many to chose from, but for me, it will be an old relic, God Only Knows by the Beach Boys, because that was my wedding song.

16) Compared to this time last year, are you:
  • Happier or hardened? Definitely happier!
  • Thinner or fatter? Sadly, I am fatter. Blah.
  • Richer or poorer? Richer in so many ways...
17) What do you wish you'd done more of? I wish I had exercized more.

18) What do you wish you'd done less of? I wish I had spent less time on facebook/twitter/social media in general.

19) What was your favourite TV program? Least favourite? I would say that Downton Abbey was my new favourite program this year (followed closely by Duck Dynasty! *Quack*). 

My least favourite was probably Season 13 of The Biggest Loser. It is normally my favourite show, but this season was uncomfortable and unbearable to watch because of certain contestants (Jeremy, Conda etc...). It was nasty and NOT the show I love. Next season promises to be better. It better be!

20) What was the best book you read? Worst book? The best book, far and away, hands-down, was Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. I would even say it is in my top-five books of all time. It was that good!

I can't say that there was a bad book necessarily, but I have had to read some dry and boring books as part of my formation at work. Blah.

21) What was your favourite song/album/artist (and least favourite)?
  • Fave song: Skyfall by Adele, followed closely by Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen (so addictive!)
  • Fave album: Best of Bond: 50 Years of James Bond Themes
  • Fave Artist: Zac Brown Band continues to impress me (as does Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry). I find country music has stronger overall artists then pop music (in general).
  • Least fave song: Someone That I Used to Know by Gotye made me want to rip my ears off
  • Least fave album: I had a chance to listen to Kisses From The Bottom by Paul McCartney. Not good. Not good at all. He needs to throw in the towel and just stick to the music we love from him.  {Memo to Rod Stewart: same to you buddy}.
  • Least favourite artist: Gotye. What the hell was that?
22) Favourite film this year? Worst film? My husband and I didn't see a lot of movies, but Skyfall was definitely one of the better ones! Goon was also an excellent movie (unexpectedly so).

Because we didn't go to many movies, I don't really have a worst of 2012. But I did see Live and Let Die (the James Bond movie w/Sean Connery) for the first time, and I did not like it. Made me mad watching the stupid film. I am willing to suspend belief watching Bond films, but I refuse to throw my brain out of the room!

23) What was one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Being able to stick to my diet and actually loose more than the same 15 pounds over and over.

24) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? Is fat-clothes and sweat pants a fashion concept?

25) What kept you sane? My husband, repeatedly!

26) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Fancy the least? This may sound weird, but I had a lot of respect for Mitt Romney this year. It was clear to me (at least) that he was the Republicans choice because they expected to lose and want a better candidate then him in 2016 (when there is no incumbent president). He did way better than anyone, most of all Republicans, expected. While he had many "bozo eruptions", he also brought back the moderate voice that is missing in the increasingly polarizing, tea-party driven, conservative right in the USA.

Fancy the least? The following people can leave the planet: The Westboro Baptist freaks and Rhianna.

27) What political issues stirred you the most? The least? The Alberta election probably excited me for the first time in forever, probably because there was an actual opposition. Not a good one, but one none-the-less. 

I don't/didn't really care (maybe as much as I could) about any twitter/facebook-led political viral campaigns such as #kony2012 or #idlenomore. Too many sheeple who know nothing about the actual issue become two-second experts who do things (like post pictures on their walls) which have no real impact.

28) What news story did you like the most? Hate the most? I am a sucker for anything royal, so this was a good year to satisfy that (like the Jubilee events, the royal pregnancy, weddings, births and so on...).

Hate the most? It's not a specific story per se, but I cannot tolerate when real reporters clearly use Twitter or Facebook as their only or primary source without contacting or investigating the motives of the source or story itself. It is sloppy journalism. I have a general distaste for the latest trend that local news agencies (print, radio, TV) of reporting people's "twitter" reactions as news/stories.

29) What sports moment did you like the most? Hate the most? I liked the Summer Olympics, specifically Oscar Pistorius competing in a regular race with artificial limbs and qualifying. That was a great moment!

I am tired of any sporting news/moments that has to do with either the downtown hockey arena or the NHL lockout. But suck monkey balls and makes me angry!

30) Favourite blog (other than yours)? Blog Post (other than yours?). 
31) Favoutie Blog Post (of yours)? Well, with only 13 posts to choose from in 2012... I would say I tend to like my posts where I feel the most vulnerable and honest.
32) Who is your 2012 Person of the Year? My husband. Best man ever.

33) Who do you miss? I fondly miss Wendy, Grandma & Grandpa, especially at my wedding. But it is time to move forward with happiness, always with them in my heart. Every ladybug, glorious sunset, and butterfly reminds me that they are there with me always and want me to be happy. So I shall be!

34) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012: Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you don't want people to walk over you, stop lying down.

35) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: It's My Life - The Beatles.

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

21 December 2012

Friday's Top Five: Things For Which I Am Grateful

Source: unknown

While 2012 was infinitely better than 2011, you would never know it by my general day-to-day attitude. I would like to think I am a positive personality, and I am, but when it comes to how I feel internally, I don't always gratefully reflect on the gifts I have been given. Nor do I take compliments very well - mostly because I feel unworthy of them.

Just the other day, I had a co-worker compliment my new haircut and said "you are so beautiful and photogenic," and I scoffed at those remarks. She said to me "you need to learn to take a compliment and be more grateful for your blessings." 
That, my faithful readers of five, is total and complete truth.
I have decided that for 2013, I will be more grateful. I will try to focus on the positive things in my life. This has to be a conscious decision on my part. This will also require detailed review of where I am negative, and how I can turn that into a positive.

One place where I can start is on my blog. Next week is Christmas, and what better time than to express my gratitude for my life's blessings. When you are done reading my list, leave a comment, then head on over to Joanne's Top Five list.

5) My Health
Source: unknown

In 2011, I was diagnosed with Lofgren's Syndrome, a mild form (spectrum-wise) of Sarcoidosis. While the worst of it is over (hopefully forever), I have basically spent the last two-years seeing specialists from every walk of life.  I am more-or-less done with those appointments now (except for a yearly follow-up to ensure that all is good). But there are three things that I am extremely grateful for, having lived this experience:
  1. Excellent heath-care in Canada that I don't have to pay upfront for!
  2. My disease is in complete remission!
  3. Because of all the tests I had to take, other stuff has been discovered: asthma; a severe vitamin D deficiency and the related thyroid issue (both which are better now); a higher than normal risk for pre-eclempsia (sp?) if I am pregnant (which is good for the doctors to know so that I am more closely monitored).
Because of my experience, and the results from tests (expected and unexpected), I am in a much better position to take control of my total health moving forwards. I am grateful for my health.

 4) My Faith

Source: Creations Photos, Edmonton: Trina & Omari Lewis

It is not easy to live my faith. I don't live it particularly well all the time either. It's not easy to agree with all doctrines of my faith.  Plus, with my job actually being an administrative assistant for the Church, it can be a fine line between feeling like I am doing God's work vs. working for The Church. Add to that the constant negative rants I read on a daily basis from some of my Atheist friends (sometimes logical, sometimes hateful), it's just plain hard.

That said, I love my faith. I love that when I am down, out, and not doing so good, God steps in. I love that when I am up, in, and doing well, God is still there. I love the feeling I get when I step into church for the one hour sanctuary against the daily grind of life. I love that my Church has solutions, even if you disagree, with almost every aspect of life. I love that I can share my faith with my husband and friends - the people that matter. For all the rants I read, nothing replaces the experience and truth I feel. I am extremely grateful for my faith.

3) My Friends

Yah, that's how we roll! Source: Creations Photos, Edmonton: Trina & Omari Lewis

My friends make me laugh when I otherwise want to cry. My friends are the joyful sounds that comes out of the musical instruments of life. They are the soundboards for my rants, the vine for which the gossip flows, the vein of my heart that sustains me. Generally speaking, they are also one brick short of a load, but that's neither here-nor-there. :P

I love my friends. Simple as that. No matter how busy we get, or how things change in our lives, I will always be there for them, and they for me. I am grateful for my friends.

2) My family

This about sums up my family. Source: unknown
Why do they call it a family tree? Because if you look deep, you will find some sap!
I love my family. And now that I am married, I have more family to love. On any given week, someone is driving me nuts. I wouldn't have it any other way. When the going gets tough, you have family in your corner. I am grateful for my family.

1) My husband
Love. Source: Creations Photos, Edmonton, Trina & Omari Lewis

I love my husband with all my heart and beyond. He is everything to me. Every single day, I grow deeper in love. Our love is not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it means everything to me. I am grateful for my husband.


Merry Christmas everyone, all faithful readers of five! I leave you with this quote:

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~Abraham Lincoln



17 December 2012

Friday's Top Five (Late): Least Favourite Christmas Carols

Hello faithful readers of five (possibly six now). Today is not Friday, but I was kinda busy so I am posting this on a Monday. Meh.

A couple of Friday's back, I posted my Top Five Christmas Songs that I love. It was hard making that list, because quite frankly, I could have included at least twenty songs (some that I forgot about that would probably make that list, like U2's Christmas, Baby Please Come Home).

If I am completely truthful though, on the whole, there are waaaaay more Christmas carols that just annoy the piss out of me. I didn't realize just how many songs annoy me until some of the radio stations in Edmonton started playing 24 hour Christmas music. There is some seriously awful shite that has come out.  Having to choose just five? 

Like-but-don't-like-but-like Honourable Mention: The Pogues, Fairy Tale of New York

I actually like this song. I do. I think it is great. However, it's just...how do we say this... not Christmas. I mean it's fun and all. And possibly a great bar song with your mates, drinking over a hot toddy. But it's not one I would necessarily have playing in the background at pretty much any family event. So it's an honourable mention on the hate list (even thought I like it). Got it? OK then.

And now the real list!

5) Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer - Randy Brooks

This stupid song was a gag song written 30 years ago. It keeps coming back, year after year. The joke is clearly on us. What did your grandma do to you Randy? Did she hit you with a frying pan or something? If not, she should after this horrid song.

4) I Wanna Hippopotamus for Christmas - Gayla Peevey

General rule for a sucky Christmas carol: anything sung by kids for kids will be bad. Horribly bad. It will sound like some phony-contrived piece of garbage. This song is no exception. It's been annoying people for generations. Think about it for a second. Do you really want a hippo for Christmas you snot-nosed kid? Where are you going to store it exactly? Will you shovel the pooh when it takes a dump? No. It will be poor mom and dad stuck with that task.

But these questions are irrelevant, because the hippo will rip your family apart. They aren't that cute, and they are the most vicious beasts on earth. Better stick with the goldfish there Gayla.

3) I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - The Jackson 5

This song is the reason why parents everywhere decided to Irish-up their egg nog. Because it sucks. It is an awful song to begin with. Want a recipe for a great Christmas tune? Let's sing about how mommy is an adulterous hooch in front of her children.

Then, because the premise of the song isn't awful enough, let's have the Jackson Five sing the tune. How I can even listen to the song with all the blood spilling out of my ear amazes me. If you want to know why Michael Jackson turned into a pedo-freak, this song might garner some clues. Just sayin'.

2) Any Christmas carol sung by the Beatles

How does the greatest band on earth manage to suck so horribly much when it comes to Christmas Carols? Seriously? This is a lesson for all great bands out there: if your manager says "let's make a Christmas album" then fire him.

1.5) Anything sung by cats and/or dogs

I couldn't have a list without including this. Back in the late 80's/early 90's, some ass-clown decided it would be a stellar idea to make an album of cats meowing and dogs barking to timeless Christmas classics. The results are equal parts horrific and annoying. This is why Bob Barker begs us to have our pets spayed and neutered.

1) Last Christmas - by anybody really, but Wham specifically

I loathe this song (as does Joanne). I hate it with every fiber of my being. It's bad enough that it is sung at all by Wham. For a while, I thought it would just make an occasional radio appearance and move on. I was content with this song being a bad 80's memory.

But then that damn TV show Glee aired it on a Christmas special a few years back. Next thing you know, other artists jumped on board! The song started biblically begatting itself. "But it's a different version, sung by a different artist, so it must be OK to play it five times an hour" said the radio stations.


The song is beyond stupid. Just because you change a word with Christmas, does not a Christmas song make. "Last Christmas I gave you my heart..." That is the only time the word Christmas is mentioned in the entire song.  Why not just play the song all year long to go with the seasons?

"Last St. Patrick's Day, I gave you my heart..."   "Last Kwanzaa, I gave you my heart..."  "Last National Talk Like A Pirate Day, I gave you my heart....".

Utter and complete bullshit is this song.

So faithful readers of five, what are on your loathe lists? Leave some comments! Then head on over to Joanne's Blog to see her Top Five Least Favourite Christmas Songs!