2012 in Review

I suppose I ought to get the new year started by reviewing last year. Yes, I should have posted this yesterday, but I was busy trying to catch up on Downton Abbey before series 3 starts this weekend. So, here’s what I did in 2012.

January – We prepared for our move and spent most of the month packing.

February – I quit my long-held job due to our move. Greta went for a walk. Our drive from Las Vegas to New Hampshire was longer than anticipated.

March – While trying to get settled in NH, we flew to California to visit Mister’s parents. Then the job hunt started.

April – More job searching. I got serious about wearing makeup. We finally closed the short sale of our house in Vegas.

May – I started a job and had to deal with the commute. I started to get a bit homesick for Las Vegas.

June – My nephew graduated high school. I continued working at my job but got a bad cold.

July – Greta got super freaked out by a trifecta of scary things on the 4th of July – strangers in her house, fireworks, and a bad thunderstorm. She was sick from the stress for a couple of days. I also spent a lot of time contemplating the future of my blog and what I wanted out of it.

August – We moved into my Dad’s house for a few weeks so that we could trade in our mobile home. Greta broke her paw, so we had to deal with her being in a splint.

September – We moved into our new house. I started a new job, closer to home.

October – we continued getting settled in our new house, and I finally got a room of my own. And Greta hates hurricanes.

November – I painted my craft room. We had our first Thanksgiving in New England!

December – My blog got neglected, but we had our first Christmas in New England. A dusting of snow early Christmas morning means it was a white Christmas, and Mister was super excited about that.

Overall for me, 2012 was not the best year. While moving was exciting, I didn’t feel ready to leave Las Vegas. Our house situation there meant that we had to move, though, so we moved back to my home. I was also not really ready to leave my job there. I had two jobs since returning to NH, and both left me missing my old workplace and coworkers even more. That made the adjustment back to NH difficult.

I’m hoping that 2013 is better. I start another new job this week, after spending the month of December temping, and I really hope that this one is it. I hoped beyond hope that I would not be offered any job that I interviewed for if I wasn’t going to be happy, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that this is it.

I’m also looking forward to getting more organized and settled in our home. There was a lot of packing and moving this year, and I’m very tired of it. There are a lot of things I haven’t seen since they were packed up nearly a year ago, and I’d like to get it all taken care of. I think that if I can get to a point where I feel a lot more organized, I’ll also feel more motivated, and maybe then I won’t be neglecting the blog anymore.

What are your plans for the new year?

Merry Christmas

Still taking a blogging break, but Greta wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

No Progress

Remember when I blogged about the goals that I have for my blog?

I have a confession to make: I haven’t done a single thing towards accomplishing them. In fact, I’ve barely thought about my blog since then. I’ve had real life stuff taking over, and I just haven’t felt like dealing with my blog. I am still reading other blogs, though, so there’s that.

I will most likely be taking a break from blogging until after the new year, though don’t be surprised if a random post shows up.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.

Tis the Season for Shopping

Black Friday is upon us, and the insanity surrounding it gets crazier and crazier every year. I’ve been seeing a lot of back and forth on Facebook about the morality of shopping on Black Friday, whether retail workers have a right to complain about it, and those who have it worse than you do. I get that it’s a busy shopping day because Thanksgiving is over, there’s still a long weekend, and people are realizing that shopping days til Christmas are numbered. BUT, I also think that stores should stick to their regular shopping hours during this season, stay closed on Thanksgiving, and not run sales that tempt people to risk their lives just to save a few dollars.

With that said, I thought I’d share my tips for shopping on Black Friday. There’s something about Black Friday at the mall that really does help me get into the holiday spirit – the music, the decorations, and finding that perfect gift. I actually do go to the mall every year, and I still manage to get plenty of sleep and not lose my mind. Want to know how I do it?

I don’t care about sales – That’s right, you heard me. This is probably the most important thing to remember if you want to save your sanity this shopping season. Pretty much everything is on sale anyway, so I don’t really care about getting the absolute lowest price.

Also, ignore the loss leaders. You know those ridiculously low priced items that are only available at some ungodly hour? That you have to skip Thanksgiving dinner to wait in line for? That $35, 60-inch TV? Those are the loss leaders, and their only purpose is to get you to go crazy and shop in that particular store. Don’t fall for it. The quality of these items is generally not the best, so let someone else have them. Your sanity is worth so much more.

I don’t have a list – I generally have NO IDEA what I want to get people before I see it on a store shelf. If I do have ideas, they’re more general than specific. This way I keep my shopping list flexible so I don’t wear myself down looking for something that won’t be back in stock until after the holidays. I’m free to wander about, browsing in all the stores until something piques my interest.

In the unlikely event that I am looking for something super-specific, I buy it from the internet. It’s so much easier to comparison shop and look at every store to see if it’s available when I don’t have to leave the house.

I wait until the afternoon – With crazy deals starting Thanksgiving evening, midnight, or crazy hours like 3am, I know that those are the times I DON’T want to be out in the stores. I wait until mid to late afternoon on Black Friday, then hit the mall. By then, all the die-hard deal seekers have worn themselves out so it’s easier to get a parking space. Plus, the early shift staff has gone home and there are fresh faces behind the counters who aren’t sick of people yet. Not only that, all the stores are typically open on Friday afternoons, so I don’t feel guilty ruining someone’s holiday by shopping outside of their normal operating hours.

Mind your manners – I think it goes without saying that you should do this no matter what time of year you go shopping, but be nice to the store staff, the other shoppers, and everyone you meet. Remember to say please and thank you, and SMILE! Old-fashioned pleasantries are sadly not used enough these days. A simple smile and “thank you” is a guaranteed way to make a retail clerk’s day.

Blog Goals

Every now and again, it’s good to go through and reevaluate your blog, what you’d like to do with it, and how to get there. I’ve been thinking about this for my blog for the past, oh, year or so. And I’m just now getting a list going of things I’d like to accomplish here. Ideally, I’d like to get these all done by the end of the year. Let’s hope that I can stick to that.

Some of these I’ve already accomplished, but I’m putting them on this list so it will all make more sense, and so I can see some progress as well. Some are maintenance/organization goals rather and some have to do with rebuilding to a satisfying yet manageable level.

  • Clean up category list to a more manageable size
  • Make sure all posts fit into a new category and reassign “uncategorized” posts
  • Delete posts that are now irrelevant
  • Rewrite About page
  • Clean up broken links
  • Stick to a regular posting schedule for 6 months
  • Come up with social media buttons that I really like
  • Find more blogs to swap ads with

There are also some things I’d like to do that aren’t on my blog but will ultimately affect my blog, since a lot of it has to do with things I’d like to eventually blog about:

  • Clean up my browser bookmarks
  • Clean out Twitter favorites (items marked to go back to later)
  • Clean out email (more things to refer back to later)
  • Clean up my feed reader – subscriptions and starred items

I’ll update in a few weeks so we can all see how this is going.

Do you have any blog goals? Have you blogged about it? Let me know in the comments!