Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

I have thought about doing a year-end post. I have. I just didn’t. It loomed as one of the things a little too much for me to handle.

This same time a year ago, I did several year-end posts. In my mind, I considered last year’s offering more than enough to cover the end of this year, no?

Then? WordPress has to go and give me that nudge, and offer their Weekly Photo Challenge.

What do you know? A year in photos.

I guess I will get to hem, and haw over every pick (pic?) I choose this year too….just like year. Because, good gosh, I have a hard time choosing.

However, I will give you this. I am not using a single photo I posted in my blog this year (I hope?).

I plan on selecting NEW photos to charm you with. Maybe? Hopefully? I can’t promise to remember which ones I posted, or that I will even check. But, I will try…..

And that is all I can do….try. Which pretty much sums up my year.

I had stumbles this year. Big ones. Set-backs. Big ones. Things from my past that caught up with me, and hurled me back to about five years ago. A time I was lost, but finding myself. A time of learning, growing, and most importantly needing to love the core of me.

How did I get back there? I can’t say. I suppose it is the same way you gain weight back after you spent so much hard work losing it. And you SWEAR, you will never gain that weight back again. You look into the eyes of your skinny self in the mirror and PROMISE them (while wearing a mini-skirt, meh) to never re-gain what you lost. And boom, five years later? Reality. So, I lost it. I gained it. You win some. You lose some.

And finally, you give in and start taking a daily anti-depressant that changes your world. Except that it still presents a niggle of guilt for having to TAKE A PILL, and not being able to handle the world with your own might, and fortitude.

But, I am over that. Almost.

And this year? This year will be better than ever. I have my grip, and grit firmly in place. Heart-breakers of life? You don’t want to mess with me.

So, for WordPress, I will look back, but only to keep going forward, and KNOW…..I own my future. And the over-all picture I have……is not too bad at all.

Click on any photo to read captions and display a slideshow)

I would like to thank the community of bloggers, friends, and family. For your comments, encouragement, and support. I am deeply grateful to you all.

I am terrible at awards, and I know I have missed many, but big thanks to all of you that mention me and for these lovely awards.

Awards from:

A Beginner


Masadiso’s 79 Blog

Native Michigander

Chronicles of Illusions with the lovely Jo

And last, but not least for the mentions and links: One of my favorite bloggy friends from California Sophomore Slump. We call Rommel the Prince of Blogs, since we all know Island Traveler: This Man’s Journey is the King.

Final thanks to Being Arindam for introducing me to Rommel and featuring me on the same day this year.

To you all……..HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This is the year!

This one…………2010.

Our TEN year from our 10-10-10 wedding.

A year when our family hit the puree button and blended well. We are ready for our FIRST holidays together. Almost.

Since, I met Jason I have wanted to do Christmas cards. But it seemed weird, not being married, and not being a “real” part of the family. So I didn’t, even though this picture would have made a great Christmas card last year.

Then I got my Nikon D3000 DSLR and laid my point and shoot to rest. THIS year without a doubt we are doing Christmas cards. I have the photo shoot all planned out and even have outfits for the dogs. Oh yes, I did!

I have chosen Shutterfly as my place to go for all things picture related. Some of you know I love photo books. It’s a great way to preserve, and album the precious pictures taken throughout the year. I created one for Molly’s birthday and the girls still love to read their special book. I hope to create Easter, Halloween, and Christmas books as well. These photo books will last long after their childhood, and well into their grown up years. It’s easier than you can imagine, they do all the work for you with pre-set templets for the books. So don’t be afraid to try, it’s a simple upload and a lot fun. Plus, you create a timeless gift for your children, parents, and grandparents.

Another thing I love? Calendars. My favorite gift to give (and the most useful). Normally, I would just buy from the store. But today, it’s very easy to create one for the people you love by clicking away with your mouse. Can you imagine the joy of a grandchild wall calendar to a grandparent? Especially one that lives far away. It’s an easy, meaningful gift that can be enjoyed every month of the year.

There are many other gifts to choose from as well, from photo mugs, mouse pads, and even Christmas ornaments.

The 2010 Holiday cards are my absolute favorite and that is why I am so happy about this year. I can’t believe all the choices. I have picked out a few and hope to have the photographs to match perfectly into one these designs.

I have NO idea which one I will choose. There are a plethora of choices. Click on any card to go to the other designs Shutterfly offers.

I know I am bragging on Shutterfly. It’s not just because I am so excited about Christmas cards this year (I totally am!). There is another reason too. They are behind the blogging community. They support bloggers and appreciate the words we write and they understand it can be a powerful marketing tool for a company that deserves the recognition. I am not a reviewer. I am not a giveaway blog. I am just me, just like you, but I can appreciate big companies reaching out to the little people. If you are a blogger click here. You’re welcome.

This year, at the end of my TEN year, I am NOT running to the store frantic on Christmas Eve. I am going to use what I love to do. Browse my photographs and find some great gifts. And if you want to know what Christmas card I pick? Makes sure I have your address.

Are we in the Holiday spirit yet? I know I am!

Have a great Saturday!

Blogging Blues

It’s that ho-hum depression from the same old, same old bloggy topic. In the same old same old, same old blog post screen, to the same old links, to the same tired header.

Feeling like you’ve said that before over and over and over. And maybe you’ve wrung every drop of blog worthiness out of the headlines of your life. Family, crisis, or new hobby. Feeling like your life isn’t so interesting, or maybe it was interesting, and now it’s not….but could be? will be again.

Feeling like you once had a target audience, but since your interests span the horizons, and your ADD fascinates on new things frequently *look something shiny* and keeps you bouncing all over the topic place. Maybe, you’ve lost some readership, but maybe you’ve gained some readership too.

And which direction are you going anyway? Writing, photography, poetry, SEO, or branding? Mom blog, blended family blog, dog blog, or not getting the laundry done blog? Write a novel? A short story? Magazine submissions?

Then, you have your favorite bloggy buddies of all time that just……..stop blogging. I know, right??? Don’t they know I’m an avid reader and hang on every word?? How dare they just stop? And without even a good-bye.*sniff*

Maybe we need some blog therapists to sit with us and discuss our psychological blog issues. Pull up a couch and a laptop. Be our most attentive follower. Subscribe and validate the words on our screen (or photos) before we hit publish.

Then be our first commenter to gush at our brilliance and make us shine.

Maybe we need the blog whisperer – for when your blog posts begin to span out from twice-daily, to once a day, to once a week, to once a month? They can bring you back to the land of blogging and the excitement of when you first started.

Some bloggers take breaks, some redesign their site, and some pick up and move URL’s. To an anonymous one or a new theme. Something. Anything, to shake the blogging blues.

Me? Well, I don’t stay blogging blue for long. It’s kinda like the skies in Texas – give them a minute and they will part for the sun.

So, when I get blue and unsure of my blogging self.


I just smile.

And wear my Groucho Marx glasses.

Surely that is worthy of chasing the blog blues away.

Don’t you feel better now?

Potty Talk

Can we talk about public bathrooms?

Image from Google

Yeah, the stalls, the smells, the sounds. ACK! I feel such a sense of relief when I open the door, peek under the stalls, and know – no one else is there but me. Ahhh!

This week, I ended up at the bathroom door the same time as another person from the office down the hall. I was polite. Said hello. We had a little small talk conversation, until we both took our places. Honestly, I was speechless after the sounds from that stall, but still…we had greeted each other.

I felt sorta weird leaving, like I should have said, “Bye!” or “Have a good night!” Maybe even, “Don’t forget to wash your hands.” No that’s too mom-ish. I just left, and thankfully made a run for caught the elevator quick.

I mean, really? Is there potty talk etiquette? If there is, I’d like to hear it. I am all about manners. I don’t like being rude. Can we write to Dear Abby?

My first little encounter of the can kind was nothing compared to the second. The NEXT night. I kid you not. I hit the ladies room before hitting the road. Everyone from my office had gone home. I’m the last straggler. I have a sixteen mile or so commute. I like to “go” just in case. I heave open the potty door. It’s heavy and LOUD. People know you enter. It’s got this automatic crank for handicap entry, so it opens with a woosh, and mechanical ticking noises.

Well, I’m a little surprised when someone hollers out from inside their stall, “Hello!” Again, if there is book or something I can pick up on how to deal with the colloquial stall dwellers? Ahem.

So of course I say, “Hi!” As I enter my Sanctum of John. I thought surely that will be the end of that.

She immediately exclaims, “OH!!! I’m sowry! I thought you were somebody I worked with. We are all working overtime tonight. You know if they offer overtime you have to take it.”

I am feeling a little uncomfortable here, as I really have to go, and do I answer her, or do I let it flow? I mean these are some serious things to consider but HEY we are in a BATHroom.

So I go.

And I talk.

“Oh yeeaaah, you gotta take overtime if you can get it. Sure. Especially in this economy.” Speaking louder as the waterworks begin.

I couldn’t really hear her answer over the drone of my Niagara Falls, something about some people didn’t take the overtime, but I did catch the end….”I didn’t know your office stayed open that late.”

As I am finishing and zipping up. What the heck is taking HER so long?? I really HAVE to get out of here. I say, “Yeah, I’m the last one. Worked a little late tonight.” The commode flush deafens the sound of my flee, as I hurriedly fling open the stall door, and run to the sink, washing up in three seconds or less, AND using the antibacterial gel for good measure. I hit the door crank, crank, crank, errrrr -whoosh, “Have a nice night!”

I hear a muffled, “Good night!”

I fly down the hall to the elevator thinking to myself – did that really just happen? I just had an entire conversation with a stranger whose sweet cheeks were gracing a porcelain throne, as they conversed through the stall walls?

Now, there are some conversations………going right down the toilet.

This post was brought to you by –

Mama's Losin' It

I chose the prompt People would be surprised to learn that… I have a potty mouth.