Is it totally cliche of me to write a post reflecting back on the past year on New Year's Eve? If it is, too bad. I'm doing it anyway.

2008 was really a mixed bag. It wasn't a bad year, but it wasn't necessarily a good year either. I can't even remember what my resolution was for 2008, so I don't know if I kept it or not. Chances are, I did not.

The Good:

Had some awesome parties (Birthday, Halloween, etc). Got rid of the cats, who were destroying my house. Went to Chicago for the first time and absolutely loved it. Enjoyed a whole year of being a professional librarian in an organization that I am so excited to be a part of. Got awesome new stuff (TV, couch, iPhone, new DS lite, etc.). Participated in Learn & Play and became a lot closer with many of my colleagues.

The Bad:

Had some somewhat unsuccessful parties (Smash Party on the weekend of the blizzard, for example). Did not get accepted as an ALA Emerging Leader (there's always next year, right?). The new Harry Potter movie did NOT come out - total sadness. Had some nasty fights with Jared over the cats (this was, of course, later rectified).

The Ugly:

Had a weird & uncomfortable fight with my mother (things are getting better now though). Injured my foot during the summer and have had heel pain (plantar fasciitis) for well over 6 months now - have been going to an orthopaedist for it. Did not get any thinner (ha, like THAT'S anything new). Been somewhat depressed about all of the above.

What do I want for 2009? I want two things - to pay off my credit card debt, and to learn to cook. Money is the motivation for both of these. Obviously, if I can pay off my CC's, I will be SO much better off. And if I learn to cook better, I will eat at home more and save money on going out to eat. If I'm lucky, this will also help me to eat healthier as well *crosses fingers*. I know now that a lot of my frustration results from feeling like I'm in a financial rut. I can't save money for the life of me, and although I can afford things that I want, I just don't feel like I'm going anywhere or planning ahead. You might say that money can't buy happiness, but if you don't have to WORRY about money, you'll certainly be a lot happier.

So, although I had some great times this year, I will not be sad to see 2008 go. Instead I will be celebrating with those closest to me, and hoping that 2009 brings more of the good, less of the bad, and none of the ugly.

Things I love about December

1. It's acceptable (and encouraged) to eat your body weight in goodies. OMG, you're gonna have to roll me out the freakin' door, people.
2. Watching people fight in stores - either with each other or over that last toy on the shelf.
3. Last minute shopping, especially when I see lots of #2. Hehe.
4. Shrimp cocktail! In my family, it's a staple on Christmas.
5. Christmas carols FTW!
6. Wrapping gifts. I know most people hate this, but I love it. Going to spend the rest of today wrapping, actually.
7. Hanukkah - no, I'm not Jewish, but Jared and I like to celebrate as many holidays as possible. And since we really don't know how to celebrate Kwanzaa, we have a menorah up in the window by our Christmas tree. It's the celebration of light, people! Yay light!
8. Parties, especially New Year's parties. Jared and I are having one this year - YOU SHOULD COME! :D
9. Those ridiculous gifts that Target puts out just for the holidays that they don't have any other time of year. Does anyone even buy those?
10. Drinking with my family. Hey, don't judge - everyone has to get through this season somehow!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year to all of you! :D

For Betty

Today is December 1st - for most people it's just the beginning of the winter holiday season. But for me, it's the second anniversary of my grandmother's death. The loss of a grandparent is always difficult, but losing Betty (I called her by her first name for the majority of my childhood) was especially hard for me. It's been two full years now, and yet I still wish I could call up to my grandparents' house and hear her voice say hello.

My grandmother was very important in my life. She and my grandfather helped raise me while my mother worked long hours to make ends meet. I have her middle name (Louise) and her bright blue eyes. She was a beautiful woman with a classy style - and a flair for bright colors. I like to think that I've acquired some of her fashion sense over the years. I learned to love baking because of watching her so much when I was young, and I developed a love of party planning and etiquette because of her passion for those things as well. She was an amazing woman that would do anything for you, and frankly, I just wouldn't be the woman I am today without her influence in my life.

I thought a good way to remember her today would be to look at some old photographs. Here's one of her holding me when I was just a few months old:

Ha, I was a cute baby, wasn't I? I used to sleep with grandma all the time:

Oh and don't think she was just some "typical" grandma - Betty was certainly a wild woman when she wanted to be:

One of the things I am most grateful for is that I was able to spend so much time with grandma:

I only hope that I will look as good as she did as I get older:

I miss you, Betty. Thank you for being the kind of person who is irreplaceable in my life.