2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Last Gifts And New Beginnings

My wonderful friends, Len Williams Carver from My Own Heart Me, and Sheri DeGrom honored me by nominating me for Blog Of The Year 2012, giving me my sixth star! Both these women are so admirable in the way they lead their lives. Their ultimate focus is to walk in faith and to be a shining light on the world around them. They both succeed with grace and beauty.

Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpeg

Here are the rules for Blog Of The Year 2012 (Thankfully, they’re simple):

  1. Select another blog or other blogs who deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award;
  2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award;
  3. Include a link back to this page Blog of the Year 2012’ Award at the Thought Palette and provide these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
  4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them
  5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience
  6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

I’d like to thank them very much for gifting me with this honor and recommend you check out their blogs if you haven’t already! Now I’d like to share this final award of the year with some really wonderful people who have made me laugh, inspired me and just made me feel like a welcome new addition to the blogging community since I started back in August.

Jenny Hansen- Her blog, More Cowbell, is chock full of hilarity, advice (especially for writers) and genuine feel good stuff. Between her and Natalie Hartford (she was nominated on one of the earlier stars) they keep me laughing and my spirits up. Don’t believe me? Click the link to her blog…she finds the most UNIQUE things to talk about…;-)

Tameri Etherton– You think you’ve had crazy things happen to you? Her spa moment got me following her blog…her outlook on life and the way she promotes books kept me entranced. (By the way, her spa post came on the anniversary of my brother’s death…her pain was one of the things that helped me get through the day…Sorry, Tameri, for laughing at your pain. But thanks for lightening my day.)

Leanne Shirtliff-Her blog, Ironic Mom, has been around for a while, but I haven’t. The post I’m featuring is as funny for the content as the comments…all of which had me rolling! She’s exactly what her blog claims to be…a mom who finds humor in the most interesting places…then is kind enough to share it with her readers! If you hadn’t discovered her before…you don’t know what you’re missing!

Blowing Off Steam And More-She talks about her child as well as cooking successes and failures! There is nothing better than someone who can laugh with you during the craziness life has to offer.

How To Date In Las Vegas– She is fun, she’s wacky…and she’s brutally honest.  Love it! And ladies…she makes some very valid points about our ability to become the psycho chick every man is terrified of dating… She’s new to the blogging world, but I think once people read her stuff, she’ll have quite the following.

As we close out the year, I’d also like to remind everyone…enjoy the time with your loved ones…Make sure to plan to make time for them in the New Year. They truly are the most important part of your life…the thing that makes it worthwhile!

 

Bad Gone Good

Have you ever had one of those Days/Weeks/Months/Years where if you put everything that happened on paper it would look like the worst year ever? As is common this close to the beginning of the New Year, I began to reflect. I’ve had two years that were truly bad…I lost a sibling in each of those years. Oddly enough, this year…on paper…should probably have been a runner up.

Here’s how this year has looked for me:

  • Short staffed & forced to work 6 day work weeks and at least 2-3 double shifts per week for 3 months
  • Husband diagnosed with appendicitis and rushed by ambulance for an emergency appendectomy (appendix was necrotic)
  • Less than month later husband has second surgery for inguinal hernia repair
  • 6 weeks later hubby has the worst surgery (both for him and me)…a pilonidal cyst surgery
  • Through all this I had an employee constantly making trouble, making excuses for her behavior and calling HR on every perceived slight (mostly imaginary).
  • On the 4th of July, I got fired for the first time in my life.
  • 2 days before my health benefits run out, hubby breaks his hand playing softball
  • Hubby’s favorite uncle becomes very ill very quickly. (They were talking hospice before they even gave the true diagnosis)
  • Hubby goes to Chicago to visit family for a few days (I had tried to get the time approved when I was working, but had been denied and a week before I lost my job he booked the plane ticket…Joke was on us…)
  • Hubby’s uncle dies a week and a half after hubby came back home.
  • A close friend was diagnosed with cancer.
  • My brother-in-law lost his grandmother.
  • Another family member was diagnosed with cancer
  • Yet another family member lost a toe due to some medical things.

Oddly enough, even through all of this, I feel thankful! I was worried sick about hubby with all his surgeries…but I was grateful that they all happened when I still had insurance. Even his broken hand happened within that timeframe. In fact, two of the three surgeries happened when my mom was in town. She dropped everything to rush to the hospital and be by our sides, keeping me company while I waited.

I lost my job…that should’ve sucked. Oddly enough, I wasn’t upset. I have a very solid skill set in a couple of career fields. Even more than that…everyone on my staff with the exception of my troublemaker called me or gave me a hug on my way out the door. They still keep in touch and let me know how much they enjoyed working with me and that they miss me.

The other thing about losing my job…my sister pointed out…my work/life balance sucked while I was there. On my wedding day (which was out of state) I got a call needing help. During the time my assistants were out, little to no help was given unless I pushed for it… I’m sure you’re getting by now that the little I’ve shared is just the tip of the iceberg with how much my life and time was monopolized.

Working there was also a big part of what caused me to stop writing…to rarely be able to attend church…to be unable to sing except around work and at home. Upon losing my job both my sister and my best friend called to tell me that they always felt I should’ve been writing anyway. They were right!

So, this year I’ve also become a member of the Florida Writer’s Association getting my feet back into the writing universe…and becoming active in my local chapter. I also just finished writing my first manuscript and am currently working on editing it…Cross your fingers! I also joined WordPress and found all you wonderful people! You guys have encouraged me, taught me, inspired me and enriched my life.

As for my singing…the day after I lost my job, my pastor called just to check on me. When I told him what had happened, he was empathetic…keeping me in his prayers. But he challenged me, too. He let me know that choir practice was the following day and that now that I had no plans I would probably enjoy checking it out. He pointed out that nothing makes the heart feel lighter than “making a joyful noise.” He was right! Since that day I have been a part of the praise team for the church, singing every Sunday. I think God was sending me a message through him. 🙂

Hubby’s uncle becoming ill…that really sucked. It was sad…and tragic. But the upside is that my husband got to go there…and spend time with him every day of his vacation, giving him a chance to say goodbye. That may not have been quite so readily possible if I’d been with him. They may have felt obligated to entertain me. The unfortunate thing was that he wasn’t able to go to the funeral when he died…but his uncle knew he loved him and that he was there to say goodbye.

As for the rest…it’s in God’s hands. My friend is battling, and I couldn’t be more proud. My family has a firm foundation in love, support and faith. So although on the surface, this year should probably look like it was awful…It wasn’t! I’ve found some very wonderful things to celebrate to go with some of those losses!

The thing I’ve learned? You can’t always control the things that happen to you, but you can control your response…and you can look for the blessings or you can focus on the bad. I choose to see the good and be thankful.

Reach Out And Touch…Thank You!

I would first like to thank Eunice from Living And Lovin’ for nominating me for my 5th Blog Of The Year 2012 Award. It has been a huge honor to be nominated. I have been using this as an opportunity to thank the people who have been kind and supportive to my blog throughout the year. They are a wonderful group of people with awesome blogs in their own right…so this is kind of a Thank You and Happy Holiday card all rolled into one. (Just so you know, I DO have my 6th star…but I’m doing this one nomination at a time to do justice to the person who has been generous enough to nominate me!

Blog of the Year Award 5 star jpeg

 

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:

  1. Select another blog or other blogs who deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award;
  2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award;
  3. Include a link back to this page Blog of the Year 2012’ Award at the Thought Palette and provide these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
  4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them
  5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience
  6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

I hope you take the time to get to know these amazing people whom I’ve had the privilege to get to know over the past few months.  Wow…has it really been only 5 months since I started this blog?  Amazing.  You guys have made me feel so welcome that I feel as though we’ve been hanging out here together forever!

So, without further ado…Here are the next amazing set of bloggers who deserve a little of your time and attention purely because they are beyond awesome!

Jane Sadek– A lovely Christian woman who has a beautifully, ethnically diverse home…and blogs accordingly with snippets of her travel, her faith and her love for family and friends. Did I mention she’s also a poet? I love how interactive and friendly she is…and open to so many different points of view. You’ve got to see the gorgeous pics that go along with some of her stories of her trips! This particular one made me miss being in Asia!

Stephyy- Miss Pretty Little Dreamer, herself… She’s smart, she’s crafty, she has some good recipes…but even better are her hopes for the future! I’m not simply saying this because she’s another Filipina…I’m saying it because she shares it all on her blog. You should check it out!

Wordsurfer- From Cresting The Words. Her knowledge in so many areas is interesting…  She’s been going through a lot lately and still finds time to share her thoughts, drop by your blog for visits and work on her book. Her story about her grandmother will touch your heart…she speaks with fank honesty and clarity in her sense of self.

Dace– She writes The Long Way Home. She is so positive and upbeat. She looks for the best in things… Her thoughtful posts and wonderful ideals make her such a very interesting person to read.

Nick- From Shit Talkin’ Nick. He’s one badass dude who says what he thinks, hands out Douche Of The Week awards…and receives the loyalty of many people in the blog world because of his candor. He’s an advocate for keeping children clothed and protecting pets…what’s not to like?

August McLaughlin– Newly Self Published Author and Girl Boner Expert extraordinaire! She’s beautiful (inside and out), talented, an advocate of women… Seriously…What’s not to like? And if you haven’t read any of her Girl Boner Posts…I’ve linked one of them in so that you can check her out!

Marcia Richards– An Author friend who will challenge and inspire you to be the best person you can be. She will challenge you to give of yourself, to take pride in your country…and Ladies…she’ll challenge you not to lose your inner feminine beauty simply because we’ve joined the workforce!

Thank you for inspiring me, challenging me and encouraging me!

Sexy Older Men? Yes, Please!

A couple weeks ago, my buddy Robert  challenged me to go back to the beginning of the blogs I liked and read…he suggested that I would more than likely find something I enjoyed but missed! I thought it was a great idea.

One of those gem-tastic moments happened when I was looking through Shannon’s blog and came across her tribute to Michael Caine.  You see, she has a thing for older men. The fact that he’s titled…”Sir Michael Caine “ and wealthy doesn’t hurt his cause, either. Here was my sticking point, though…she thinks he’s HANDSOME!!! Now don’t get me wrong…he’s not ugly. In fact, he’s quite distinguished…and a phenomenal actor. I’ve loved him in movies such as Noises Off!, Batman The Dark Knight and Miss Congeniality.

She loved him in Blame It On Rio…LOL! I think it might have been some of her adolescent fantasies come to light. The whole thing got me thinking, though… She definitely had a particular man in mind when she thought sexy older men… So what do I consider sexy in an older man… ?

Today I’m putting together my list of sexy men over 50…and in no particular order.

There is something very sexy to me about Robert Redford…I thought so when I saw him in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid…confirmed it when I saw him in The Great Gatsby. He sealed the deal for me in Indecent Proposal. I always thought Demi made a mistake in the movie when she went back to Woody Harrelson’s character. For me, the man oozes confidence, sex appeal…and looks amazing in a suit.

Next is Sean Connery. Oddly enough, when he was younger I thought he was an ugly, hairy gorilla. My favorite Bond was Roger Moore…back then. But this man aged well…and his accent is sexy as hell! Yummy! (Oh, and Shannon, he has a Sir attached to his name, too…LOL!)

What is not to love about Pierce Brosnan? I’ve found the man to be dead sexy since the first time I laid eyes on him…back when he was Remington Steele…and he just gets sexier with every year!

I couldn’t believe it when I read that Viggo Mortensen was over 50. There is something so arresting about his face…and his eyes. He exudes raw energy and passion… I find him to be extremely, compellingly sexy.

There is something about Dennis Quaid’s smile and the look in his eyes that just does it for me. There is such warmth in that lived in face…How could I not include him?

Michael Douglas has done it for me since Basic Instinct…then blew my mind in The American President. Very, very sexy!

Who would make your top 5 sexy older men list? What characteristics make them sexy to you?

Also…an honorable mention go to the following actors/singers….Harrison Ford, Sting, Ed Harris, Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell & Richard Gere…

Funny…I used to say “Older men make great playmates, younger men make great playthings.” I don’t think this list has changed my mind on that subject at all…LOL!

The Holiday Giving Continues…

As I’d mentioned before Christmas, I have multiple Blog Of The Year 2012 awards to give out…and I’ve decided to treat them as a type of holiday gift/Christmas card to those of you who have made me feel welcome since I’ve joined this universe. So, to celebrate my 4th Star…(And yes, thank you, I already have 5 & 6, but am trying to do these one at a time) I will be nominating more of my very cool blog finds on here.

So, thank you so much to Zombie Killing Badass, Robert, who shares a name with me…and who is an all around cool blogger! I appreciate your nod in my direction… 🙂

Blog of the Year Award 4 star jpeg

Here are the instructions that go with this award:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/   and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

6 stars image

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs – and even if they have already been given the award by someone else – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpeg

‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Badges

Here are the six badges for you to collect – you can either ‘swop’ your badge for the next one each time you are given the award – or even proudly display all six badges if you are lucky enough to be presented with the award six times!

Now, on to the very deserving award recipients:

Vicky Nanjappa – who has written one of the most heartfelt pieces I’ve read in a while about a landmark that will soon be gone.

Hasty Words – she shows that there is definitely power in poetry…and will touch your heart with her words…if you let her.

Penny- from Bad Penny’s Always To Blame who can be naughty one moment and poignantly, powerful the next.

Kourtney Heintz– Who wrote about how a book saved her by helping her to unleash her emotions again.

Chris Martin– Has a way of touching the heart…this time, through a letter he wrote to his dad.

Terri Lee– Who cracks me up when she writes from her pets’ perspectives…or gets a song stuck in my head while discussing coffee.  (Apparently I’m still out there “Dancing Cheek To Cheek”.)

Eunice- from Living And Loving who loves her dog and who actually finds treasures on her adventures!

If you haven’t checked out these awesome people…you really should. Hope everyone is recovering from their Christmas Hangover and are preparing to have a Safe and Happy New Year!

And to add a little humor…Here’s the 12 Days After Christmas…a favorite!

Theatrics, Drama and Karma

The Filipinos have a word…Maarte. It’s pronounced ma-artay.

If you look online you’ll find a bunch of interpretations for this word. Some say exclusively applies to women…some claim it’s in reference to women who are overly flirtatious (and yes, there IS such a thing). Personally, the way it’s always been used when I was growing up was to describe someone who was overly dramatic. Maybe overacting. In otherwords…an attention whore.

Why am I bringing this up? Good question. My answer may get me labeled as judgmental or overly critical…but I’m going to say it anyway. First, there’s something ya’ll should know about me. There are very few subjects I won’t discuss and I don’t really have that many pet peeves… But I do have them.

My first? I HATE tardiness. This stems from my mom and my childhood. As you guys know, I absolutely adore my mom…but she has one MAJOR flaw. She runs on Filipino time. (I know that people from Jamaica and the Bahamas have referred to this sort of phenomena as “island time”.) This basically means that if she tells you dinner will be served at 6, plan on eating at 7 or 8. We, as her children, have learned to tell her that events start an hour or so earlier than they actually do in order to guarantee timeliness. (I could tell you a bunch of stories about this…including how this habit of hers helped me to develop an eye twitch, but that’s for another time.)

My second pet peeve are people who do inappropriate things or things at inappropriate times in order to get attention. Yep, you’ve got it…I have an issue with people who are Maarte. I like to save my drama for the books I read or maybe watching a musical or play…rarely in the real world…and rarely for people over the age of 16.

It actually happened this year at our Christmas service. The lady who leads our singing is a very nice person. Yeah, she has her hyper moments, but so do I. Anyway, Sunday was the first time I’d ever heard her do a solo…and she sang “Mary Did You Know?” She has a lovely voice…in fact, it kind of reminds me of my mom. I also love this song…and I mean LOVE! Now in church, when you’re singing, it’s all for the glory of God. That’s how I was taught. So imagine my surprise when arms started flying outward and flailing the way you’ve seen performers at concerts do…except MORE…

I blinked. I wasn’t expecting that… I figured maybe I was overreacting and being a tad critical. Then came our Christmas eve service. On that night she sang 2 solos. The first one fell during a rare break in the group performance that let me sit next to hubby. As we were sitting there she stepped forward to sing “O Holy Night!”. She was accompanied by beautiful acoustic guitar. When the time for her to start singing began…the arm flailing began…

Still, I tried to shrug it off, fearful I was the one being critical…until hubby leaned over and whispered one of the very few Tagalog words he’s learned over the years…”She’s very maarte, isn’t she?”

I glanced his way and said…”Oh, good. It’s not just me.”

With a little smile he watched as she walked up the aisle, looking at some of our parishioners, hands dramatically pointing down as the words, “FALL ON YOUR KNEES” rang out of her mouth.

“No, Love, it’s not just you.”

At the end of her second solo…where she turned and started singing to the cross…she ended the song by saying, “Amen, Jesus!”

I guess that was her way of paying tribute to HIM.

I’d never seen anything like it….and I’ve got to admit…having hubby say what I was thinking in Tagalog gave me a big kick.

For those of you who don’t sing…or who’ve never sung…I’m going to dispel a myth. Hand waving and dramatic gestures of that general sort have absolutely nothing to do with the ability and quality of the sounds you create when singing. Now there are times where you may want to bring on a stronger punch to your tone…or a more powerful gesture in your voice…and because of that you will find your body responding in kind…maybe a fist to remind you to give it oomph. But it’s not really necessary…because the power for your voice…and sustaining notes…comes from your diaphragm and the way you open your mouth.

The second dramatic instance actually happened here. I don’t know the truth. I don’t have all the facts, nor do I care to…but someone who seemed to need a friend came on here and created an elaborate fictional life. Hey, what you want to do with your blog is YOUR business. If you want to write under a pen name…go for it! If you’re writing a story…go ahead! I enjoy reading well written stories. I love creative people! But don’t go reaching out to people with your made up sob story…and then drag a bunch of other people into your world of fiction. Real life is complicated enough. (In other words, it’s not cool to tell people you have cancer when you don’t…or any other life threatening issues… It’s disrespectful to the people who are truly dealing with these issues…and karma’s a B.)

So now you know my two biggest pet peeves….and maybe you learned a new word! What are your big hot buttons? I’d love to know so I can avoid hitting them… 🙂 Hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas… If Santa was good to you, I’d love to hear about that, too!