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Well well well.  If there is one thing that can shake me out of my blogging snooze, maybe it is the tried and true End of the Year meme.  I am inspired enough to continue the tradition so – Hello!  Sorry for the prolonged absence.  Let’s see if 2011 allows for a little more blogging time. 

 

Without further ado:

 

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Is it too early in the meme to mention buying a house?  I bought a house.

 

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I once made a New Year’s resolution to not worry about New Year’s resolutions.  Yeah.  I kept that one. 

 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes.

 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Define “close.”  Close enough to go to his funeral?  Yes.  Drat.  I came very close to having ONE year with no funerals. 

 

5. What countries did you visit?

U.S.A.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

A very warm pair of slippers.  I got a pair for Christmas but they need to be exchanged for a larger size.  California is COLD!

 

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don’t do numbers.  Numbers do not etch themselves upon my memory.

 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I think getting three different job offers was fairly reassuring. 

 

9. What was your biggest failure?

No big failures.  Just some disappointments.  Like my crappy poker stats at the end of the year.  *sigh* I would like to be in the top 25% out of almost 2 million players.  Which is still dismal compared to my 96% rating out of over one million players a couple of years ago.  But oh well.  72% this year.  Nothing I can do about it now. Stupid full-time job getting in the way of my poker playing.  *grumble*

 

Also, I and the medical establishment in Maui failed completely to alleviate any of my chronic issues this year.  Medical establishment – you suck (except maybe for that rather handsome ENT doc who actually figured one thing out).

 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No major illness, but yes indeedy – more body parts broke down again this year.  Arthritis diagnosed.  Inflamed larynx (I have pictures!).  Undiagnosed hip issue. Potentially uncooperative reproductive system.   It’s the joy of aging, folks.

 

11. What was the best thing you bought?

That would be the aforementioned HOUSE.

 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I gotta give a shout-out to my former co-workers this year.  I spent almost six months at my old workplace this year before I left again for another job.  The office has been a sinking ship and it’s been a weekly drama of people leaving, both voluntarily and involuntarily.  It’s been stressful, sad, frustrating, and just downright wrong to see a once very-highly-regarded office of professionals fade away.  But through it all, most of these folks have been supportive of each other while maintaining a (sometimes gallows-like) sense of humor. 

 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Some people at the old company who do not warrant celebration.   

 

14. Where did most of your money go?

See #s 1 & 11.

 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Moving back to California.  Hello family and friends.  We’re baaaack!!!!

 

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Hmmm….need to think about that a bit.

 

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

1. Happier or sadder?  About the same, I think. 

 

2. Thinner or fatter?  Congrats to me.  This is one year I can say, without a doubt – fatter. 

Wait. 

No congrats to me.  Frak.

3. Richer or poorer?  About a hundred times poorer.  In cash. 

 

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Surfing.

 

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Working. 

 

20. How will you be spending Christmas/Hanukkah?

Sweetie and I spent it with family in the various places that our families are located.

 

21. How many one-night stands?

None.  We sold most of our furniture in Maui. 

 

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Leverage

AND – I rediscovered The Young Riders!  Yup.  That’s right – 1980s television goodness right there.

 

 

 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No hate in the 808 (or 916) brah. 

 

24. What was the best book you read?

Hmmm……the latest releases of the Fables trade paperbacks.  And, I have to say – I’m almost done with Atlas Shrugged and I’m glad I (almost) read it.  That’s probably a whole other blog.  

Fables.png

 

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Can I just change this to musical moments?  This year, I said good-bye to two of my all-time favorite bands, as both declared they are retiring. Sweetie just got me A-ha’s final album.  And Big Sis and I saw Scorpions live in concert.  Farewell, dear dudes.  That’s a lotta music between them (yes, A-ha produced more than one song in the 1980s….sheesh).

 

26. What did you want and get?

More time with family and friends.  A job with health insurance.  A house.

 

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Toy Story 3

 

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was, and still am today, 39.  Spent it with family and my former roomie and her family at mom’s house where she/we hosted a Chinese-fondue/hot pot dinner of awesomeness and yum.

 

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Winning a few more poker games to bring my stats up.

 

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Oh-my-lord-I-do-not-have-a-proper-wardrobe-for-cold-weather-ACKKKKKKK!

 

31. What kept you sane?

Who you callin’ “sane” Willis?

 

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I do not.

 

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

The on-going legal sideshow surrounding Prop 8 here in California.  Never should have passed in the first place, and this whole debacle is embarrassing.  The midterm elections were also kind of amusing for the amount of people who honestly think anyone seeking higher office in this country is capable of steering Congress in some productive direction.  Oh, and Christine O’Donnell, for comedic relief. 

 

34. Who did you miss?

 A-ha.  I missed seeing them in concert.  Never did get to see them.  Boo hoo. 

 

35. Who was the best new person you met?

Well, it was significant that I met the five principals of the firm that I am now working for.  Good group of folks.

 

36. Did you fall in love in 2010?

All the time.

 

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:

There’s always a better house somewhere down the road. 

 

37.  Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

 

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You can join this week’s Friday Five over HERE.

This week, the question is – Name five favorite books and why they are your favorite.

Five?  Just five!?  With so many good books out in the world?  ok,  I will just throw some out there.

1.  Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card.

Probably my favorite fiction book.  The second book in Card’s four-book Ender’s Game series.  It blew my mind when I read it.  Here is what I wrote in my review:

Amazing concept. Complex characters. It says something about the preconceived notions of humans. It speaks about our prejudices. It’s an anthropological mystery. It’s science fiction. It is human drama.

The idea of a real, live Speaker for the Dead has popped up all over the world. Following Orson Scott’s Card’s concept of speaking a person’s life after death – in sometimes harsh and truthful terms – has caught on with many people and people have written to Card to tell him how they served as someone’s Speaker during a funeral, or memorial. Pretty powerful concept. And none better to perform such a task than Ender Wiggen. The things he discovers on the planet where he goes to speak is beyond mind-blowing. Not in sci-fi technology- but in the ways and whys different species treat each other.

2. Gentle Bridges: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the Sciences of Mind, Edited by Jeremy W. Hayward and  Francisco J. Varela.

The book that introduced me to the Mind and Life Institute and all the great books that come out of these meetings between scientists and the Dalai Lama.  Good stuff.  I was so happy to hear there were a whole series of books on a range of topics – from destructive emotions, to constructive emotions, to sleeping and dreaming.  Good information from the scientific experts.  And great insight from the Dalai Lama.

3.  Horton Hears a Who, by Dr. Seuss
Because a person’s a person, no matter how small.

4.  Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Can I count a whole comic book series as a book?  Y’all know how much I love Neil Gaiman.  I’ve read a lot of his books.  But nothing compares to the characters and storylines in the comic book that introduced me to Gaiman.  Sandman and his siblings (Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium) are richly written personifications of their respective realms.  The interweaving of historic and mythical figures into their stories has generated a ton of additional reading for me.  Pretty awesome.
5.  Ashes in the Wind, by Kathleen Woodiwiss

Because sometimes I just need to sit back with some chocolate and a good bodice buster.

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Sweetie and I went to watch Iron Man yesterday.  Enjoyed it.  As far as superhero origins, I didn’t love it as much as Batman Begins.  But I liked it, and I really like Robert Downey Jr.

As we sat watching the credits, I turned to Sweetie and asked “So, is it cool yet to collect comic books?”

For you see, I am a closet comic book collector.  And by “closet” I mean – I literally have closets full of comics.  Here in Maui.  Back at my mom’s house.  You may call it “nerdiness”, but I call it “diversifying my retirement portfolio.”

Not a bad thought considering a comic book like “All Star Comics” # 5, which sold for $0.10 in 1941 is valued today at $6,000 (see www.comicspriceguide.com).  Of course, it would have to be in mint condition to catch that kind of money.  That happens to be the oldest comic book I own, but mine is worth about $300.  All told, I have about 2,000 books and most of them are only worth their cover price.  It’s hard to find older books in good condition, but I try and pick up a few when I can.  Yes, I’ve attended a couple of comic book conventions.  No, not The Biggie.  Maybe someday.

Why comic books?

It all started with a little gem of a book called “Sandman” by Neil Gaiman.  During college, my boyfriend at the time was a comic book reader/collector.  He introduced me to Sandman, and I fell into one of the best written stories and set of characters I’d ever seen.  I could go on and on about Sandman and Neil Gaiman.  Oh wait, I already have.

Anyway – back to college.  After my boyfriend and I broke up, I was left to buy the books for myself to keep up with the story arc.  And I guess, once I started, I got hooked.  Comic book collectors will advise “Buy what you like to read” when collecting.  This is because there are soooooo many titles to choose from – so many books – it’s hard to know what will catch on in the future.  So you might as well buy books you enjoy.  And so I have, over the years.  Plus or minus a few hundred random books.  Which is not to say I’ve read them all.  No one can compare to Sandman.  Although one of my current favorites is Fables created by Bill Willingham.  Awesome books.

For someone like me – all these Marvel superhero movies excite me – not just because I enjoy a good movie, but because I’m hoping for increases in my books’ values.  Incredible Hulk?  Yeah – I got some.  Iron Man – Not a lot, but I own a few.  Batman?  Of course.  Ghost Rider?  Bring it on!!  By the way – did you know one of the most well known comic book collectors is Mr. Nicholas Cage himself?  Bet he had a blast playing Ghost Rider.  Which enables him to buy books like Action Comics #1, currently valued around $580,000 for a Near Mint copy.  Not something I will ever see in my lifetime.   But hey, I’m happy with my Marvel Spotlight #5.  Yes, I’m a huge nerd.

So, I confess.  That is one of my hobbies.  I may not ever make a big profit from it, but at least I’ve read some good stories along the way.

Back in the movie theater, Sweetie just smiled at my question and said “Well, I married you didn’t I?”  Nice. I collect comic books.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.

And – if you haven’t seen Iron Man yet and plan to – sit through all the credits.  There’s a little extra suprise scene at the end of the movie that sounds promising.  And made me think “cha-ching!”

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Check out the weekly Friday’s Feast HERE if you would like to participate.

Appetizer
Using only one word, how does grocery shopping make you feel?

Can’t. Grocery shopping doesn’t make me feel any particular way. It just tends to reflect the mood I am already in. If it’s a casual day, I feel relaxed. Busy days – I may feel impatient while grocery shopping. When I grocery shop while wearing my shirt inside out, I feel mortified (ok, it wasn’t until I got home that I realized what I did. Then I felt mortified.)

Soup
What is your favorite part about the season of Autumn?

It’s not as cold as winter. Ha! I hate being cold.

I do like the colors. And yes, we had Autumn in California. It lasts about 3 days. HA! Here in Maui, however, there really is no such thing as Autumn.

Salad
Have you ever had any bad experiences online?

Thankfully, not really. I way overpaid once for a 1947 comic book on E-bay years ago, which pissed me off. But the rest of my buying and selling has been smooth. I’ve met people on-line, dated people I met online. Not one really bad experience among them.

Main Course
Name three things that make you happy daily.

My Sweetie. Staring out the window, where I can see the ocean and Haleakala (or the clouds around Haleakala most days). Music.

Dessert
What one household cleansing or organizing item would you not want to be without?

I guess I would have to say the basic – soap. If I had soap, I could still clean things, right?

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