Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ah, Taxes

The dreaded taxes.

This year, for the first year, well, ever, we are doing them, early. As in tomorrow. February 1st. We are motivated by the desire to get the scratch ticket that will double our tax return at H&R.

Truthfully, we are just, for once, emotionally and paperworkly prepared, to do the taxes early. I say emotionally because for the longest time we did it ourselves, and it was always dramatic. Our little booklet with its attached forms, our combined W-2s and education, bank, and childcare statements, referring from line H to page 28 to figure out what we're supposed to put on line H... and the inevitable, where'd you put this form, didn't you keep them together, did you lose the W-2... how could you lose a W-2... I didn't, you did... you see what I mean. Once, we had the finance office do it for us, when we were in the military. Then, we used Turbo Tax. One year we actually owed money. We were mortified. That was the year we realized we couldn't just keep renting. Then, after we bought and sold a house in an 18 month period, and moved across country, things got confusing, and we dreaded our taxes. So we went to H&R Block, April 15th. In my defense, at least we had an appointment... After we realized how easy it was to fork over some money to have someone else handle this crap, and not screw it up, we made a promise. We'd never again do taxes ourselves. Now, I'm not advocating H&R Block over any other accounting firm or tax places. It's just convenient, recognizable, and perfectly fine for people like us who don't really have a lot of investments beyond the normal house gig.

This year, I am proud to say, come Feb. 2nd, our refund, no matter how paltry it is, will be on its way to the bank! And my husband, his proud moment? For once, he can claim Head of Household, instead of jointly. This has been a long-time wish of his, to be able to call himself in some way or another, head of household, and to him, if it's on a tax form, it's official, and he can officially call himself, Head of Household. Ah, the little things...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Gym Apparell

I have gym apparell issues. I'm not going to lose sleep over it, but it is an issue. I'm short. Gym clothing tends to run long, for some reason. Maybe working out makes you an inch taller. Anyhow, I have to order my gym clothes online through the one store I've found that makes reasonably affordable petite gymwear that actually fits right. Target is institutionally against short people. I don't even go into the women's departments unless I'm looking for shorts.

Which brings me to the next gym problem. Shorts. Now, I recognize that there is a small segment of the population buying these gym shorts, and actually looking good in them. But, for the majority of people, well, we're going to the gym for a reason, and these short shorts do not help. Why do they need to be so short? Have the makers of these shorts seen these machines, and the odd sorts of ways you need to position yourself to do the workout properly? Have they tried doing squats in these shorts? Leg presses? I am afraid that gym shorts should not actually be worn by the majority of people, myself included, to the gym until oh, well, until they get to the point they don't need to go to the gym. So, capris.

Capris are the bestest gym apparell ever. They aren't full leggings, and they aren't shorts. Full length pants are great for winter, but it's spring soon dang it, I want to feel springy, plus it gets hot in the gym. The only problem with capris, they aren't necessarily flattering to short, squat stocky dwarvish folk like me. So what to do? I'm stuck with capris until someone makes a flattering short that hides the extra bit of booty that just sort of lags behind the rest of the booty, the slacker booty, the unmotivated hanger-on booty, the bad-influence booty, the booty you wish the rest of your booty would stop keeping company with, when they make a short that hides that, that would be nice.

And to think, before trying on these shorts, I was going to buy a motivational 'dream' bathing suit to hang on my closet as my 'goal'. HA HA HA.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Toddleritis

I have discovered that going out once a day in the morning is good for the boys and myself. It gets them out, playing, usually with other toddlers, and tires them out, even if it's just the back yard. Well, you can't take sick children out, okay you can, but there are degrees of sickness, and they are at the 'if it's more than a quick run to the store, don't do it' sickness. We endured a hellatious hour of my daughter's ballet because they were suffering from that overexcited, hyperenergized, unnatural energy I call Toddleritis. It only occurs when they are sick. They will run around in a frenzied, manic bout of play, running way below the amount of fuel in their energy tank. They need to pay for it later, from somewhere, and eventually, there will be a mega crash session, and Mom will rejoice. You would think, logically, that crash session would be that night. No, apparently there was still something left in the reserve tanks, the Toddleritis was back. They went to bed at an amazing 6:45 p.m., til a major coughing sniffling fit around 9 woke up one. I deposited him on the couch with his father, who was in the second hour of his 'cat nap,' and prepared for another night of no sleep. By 10, my husband finally woke up from his cat nap and went to bed, bringing Toddler A with him. By midnight it was clear Toddler A was not going to actually go back to sleep. Finally I took Toddler A and put him back in his bed, where I discovered Toddler B still sleeping. For five more minutes. When I heard joint giggling. At 1 a.m. I found Toddler A standing in the now-empty toy box shaking Toddler B's headboard while jumping up and down yelling gleefully while Toddler B was sitting giggling at him. 1:30 a.m. Toddler A and B pushed the toy box to the gate and were stuck in it. 2 a.m. I found them still playing and finally just shut the door. 2:40 a.m. the sound of silence. So, you'd think this morning they'd sleep in. Ha! 7:30 wake up. Two hours later, and I'm enjoying the company of the crankiest, moodiest, runny-nosed phglem-wielding duo that can be found west of the Missisippi, wondering how evil it would be if I just slipped them into the playland at the local store, hoping that the crash that must surely come will come oh, say, by 10.

For those interested in my whole new 'fitness gym going to get hot' gig, I lost a pound and a half this first week, go me, and managed to, despite not falling asleep til 2:41 a.m., get my butt out of bed and to the gym at 6:15, since obviously, I can't take them their today, in their current state.

Ah, blessed Tylenol, work your magic for the mommy.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Motherhood

In the short time it took me to write today's first entry, less than ten minutes, my son managed to pull off his pants, take off half his crap-laden diaper, pulling the other half, and the crap laden in it, down his leg, and somehow managed to smear it all over the carpet, his blanket, and his hand. Luckily, I had a carpet 'crap stain' remover on hand.

There is NOTHING like motherhood.

8 pages

Eight pages is my goal today.

I'm just starting out with a blog entry until my sons get tired of playing and fall asleep. It IS their nap time, after all. I can't write with the little gleeful cheers and angry howls that occurs when they play in their room. Playing quietly doesn't happen much with them.

I could turn on the game, NFC championship, but then I won't write. Besides, the boy's won't nap long enough for me to write any more than 8 pages. I can finish the game when I'm done. I'm hoping it's going to be the Seahawks that win it, but as for the AFC championship, I'm not sure. I like the Steelers, I think they are a gritty team, but I also like Denver. Not only that, my sons have cute little Bronco hats and shirts courtesy of their grandparents, who I don't even know really care about football, I think they just wanted them to have baseball caps, BUT now the boys have Denver in their heads. The orange and blue colors will be ingrained as one of their earliest memories. They will probably be Broncos fans because of the hats. We shall see.

Time to place them back in their beds. And write. Weee me.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Head Ploding

My head is ploding, whether it's imploding or exploding, I can't be sure. I don't have the luxury of just crawling into bead until this bout of sinus-plosion passes. I know I know most people don't, but to those who do, grrr you. My nose is runny, but not just runny, the kind of runny that stings in the sinus passages. I also have no allergy medicine in the house. Not that it ever does much. I used to pop sudafed like red hots. One after the other. Only red hots did more. Now I pop a clariton with my multivitamin, to much the same effect. It's only quarter til nine and I'm hitting the sack, in my nice, hubby I love you but don't touch me, flannels. Last night I dreamt I survived a russian winter, around the russian yuletide, but the entire journey I was parched. Surrounded by snow, and I couldn't get enough water... throat...so... dry.... cuz duh, I woke up, dry throat, and I chugged water.

I am going to my gym tomorrow. I am trying to find a way to blame the gym for my sudden cold/allergy/both problem, but really, I should look no further than my feverish son and the weather. Oh his fever passed. It was one of those freak, lasts a day til he works it out, fevers. Now he's just got a leaky nose and is a bit clingy.

I am so tired, I almost fell asleep on the laptop. I'm suffering guilt from not working on chapter nine. My goal was to write every day, at least three pages. I am failing this week.

Alright, time to go steal my pillow back from the bed hog. W. goes on and on about his king sized bed. I say, for the sake of familiarity and cozy cuddleness, we are just fine with a big queen, but on nights like this, I could use a whole king, to myself. Hey, I mean, our couch is perfectly comfortable....

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Monkeys

Being stuck in a jungle doesn't give you permission to act like a monkey.

An Hour of Cardio a Day

Where am I supposed to get this hour?

Anyhow, I'm committed to the gym three times a week, for an hour. I can do this. I have it in my schedule, there was room once I wiggled things around. But, unless I manage to do that which I have never managed to do, and get up at 6 a.m. and run to the gym on the days it's not scheduled, than I am not going to be able to do this hour of cardio on tues and thursdays and saturdays.

It doesnt' take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you do manage to do an hour of cardio six times a week, you will lose a lot of weight. I probably need a professional life scheduler to help me fit that hour in though.

I mean, it's 9 p.m. and I'm just starting my writing. Do I want to be doing this? No, this was supposed be done this afternoon. I had time, I had the TIME to sit and write. So what happened? My furnace of a son woke up in cling fest mode radiating more heat than my gas fireplace, or alternately, a small sun, small, but very close, as in contact-close. Instead of my three to four pages goal for today, *which I just made up now, I really just wanted to sit and write til the boys woke up* I laid in my bed holding the miniature space heater, than, when he THOUGHT he was going to be awake, we went to the living room, where he discovered that he wasn't really ready for wakefulness, and I ended up holding him under our blankies on the couch.

Do I expect to sleep tonight? No. The furnace will overheat again, I'm sure. Probably around midnight or 2 a.m.

Speaking of 2 a.m. some nit-witted teenagerish-sounding girl called my house looking, I'm assuming, for her guy. Kept calling and calling til I picked up the phone. Hello, chick, don't call again. I'll do the parental "do you know what time it is" and then, to be annoying, because if anything, if you are calling me at 2 a.m. I sure as hell have the right to be annoying, "if you are looking for him at 2 a.m., you should probably just dump him." I would have said these things, and more, if I weren't so tired. Instead I said 'you have the wrong number.' Boy, that was harsh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tuesday

I made the worst stroganoff. It was awful. Nobody really ate much of it. I think I added the sour cream in to the pan when the pan was too hot. I ended up mainly eating my new favorite snack, popcorn riddled with chocolate chips... you know, the kind you use in tollhouse cookies? Those little chocolate morsels. Toss a small handful into your popcorn, shake, and you have your fill of both chocolate and a filling popcorn snack.

I was going to write tonight, but husband's first day at new job, so he wanted to gab for two hours. Then I had errands to do online, so instead, I'm going to get everything set up for tomorrow. I have the gym, playtime pals, and hopefully, writing chapter nine. It sucks that writing a novel isn't considered work unless you have already written a novel and are under contract for another one. I mean, I see the logic, obviously, but still. For those of us unpublished writers, it is a major balancing act, isnt' it.

I was going to write this afternoon but ended up napping. Mainly for my muscles. My body hasn't had to work at anything in so long, that one day at the gym about did it in. Yikes. And tomorrow I'm going again, though mainly for cardio, but still. I am going to see a trainer for five sessions, to see if it does any good. Hopefully, it will.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Chapter

I wrote a chapter tonight. It feels good, to write full chapters. My biggest annoyance is that school starts the end of this month, and I already have so much that gets in the way that I just don't know how school will play out. Ususally, school helps me write, simply because while my mind is plowing away with case studies and essays and discussions, another part is writing, and when I'm done my class, still sitting at the computer, I start writing. Or, when I'm supposed to be doing class, and don't feel like it, I start writing. Other times, it helps just because of the deadline factor. It organizes my day. Usually what happens is I end up staying up way too late and being tired the next day because I do both class work and writing. As it so happens, I no longer am burdened with having to look presentable in the mornings, and can occasionally take an afternoon nap, so maybe this time around, it will be better. The last time I pulled this stunt, I was in the military, going to class at night, and writing short stories for one of my classes as well as my own benefit. That C in biology I got was more exhaustion than lack of comprehension. I mean, when one half your grade is based on the research paper you started writing at 11 p.m. the night before its due date, that was based purely on a book you hadn't read that talked more about evolution in society than actual biology, a C is pretty good.

Now, I am learning how to write while successfully ignoring my toddling toddlers as they toddle about my room, pulling books off my bookshelf and trying to run off with my mouse. My hope is that they will eventually get bored with the nice little toy with the shiny red light that mommy moves around on the cool flimsy pad thing, or trying to scurry into mommy's lap while she plays with all those nice clicky buttons, or discovering the secret treasure chest that is mommy's jewelry box, ooh the shinies... and so on and so forth. We must, however, thank one of the toddling geniuses, for finding the 'favorite's key' button, which mommy never actually knew existed. Now, with one key, I can open up an entire folder, rather than go through the whole 'click five times cuz you're too lazy to make a shortcut' routine to get to my work.

Go me.

A Haiku

Three ducks on a pond
Along came our cat Coco
And then there were none

This is like a haiku I wrote in 7th grade. I think it's almost exact. I got an A on it. I only bring it up because my mother, for years, accused me of plagiarism. She was helping me write haikus, you see, and was having fun. Between the two of us, we wrote a bunch. She said that this one was hers. I said it was mine. She loved ducks, and our cat Coco. I could care less about ducks. The slight humor is more her style. She may be right, I may, at the age of 12, have stolen her poem, and the A may rightfully be hers. Luckily, she doesn't read my blog. I'd never hear the end of it. Come to think of it, I haven't. For years, she's reminded me of my grand poetry theft.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

There is no blog

There is no blog tonight. I want to blog, but I am angry, and one of my resolutions is not to rant, complain or express large amounts of frustration, anger and great annoyance on this website. I have friends for that. Okay, a friend. Maybe two. And instant messenger, making them the unwitting recipient of my emotions, with no warning whatsoever. I love instant messenger. So, since I have nothing nice to say, there is no blog.

Instead of blogging, I played EQ 2 all night. I have a pet dragon. His name is Friend. He loves me very much, and when I feed him, he coos. I have a nice room I rent, with pretty paintings and a big statue, and a mirror even. I'm going to move in permanently.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I am more than the sum of my laundry

Some mom at my son's pre-preschool playtime class said that to me. I liked her instantly. The problem is, I've been defeated by my laundry. I haven't surrendered, not completely, yet, it comes close. They have infiltrated every room of the house, socks, shirts, even jeans occasionally, can be found everywhere. My novel is not yet written, because my jeans are not hung neatly in the closet. In fact, nothing is hung neatly in the closet except clothes my husband and I haven't worn in years. Chapter 8 has been halted, because my sons don't wear shoes in their playtime class, eliminating the simple solution of not matching socks when dressing them.
But there are even more horrific ramifications of laundry. Some of the greatest philosophical questions in the world will never be asked, because our next Socrates had to stop and sniff his underwear. The next Einstein, on the verge of questioning, and finding the answer to, the key of our evolution, will pause, just for a moment, looking at the socks on the floor, and the answer, gone. Replaced instead with something momentarily more imperative. Are they clean? Are they dirty? Which pile is the clean one? Is it okay to wear one clean sock and one of questionable orientation, or would it be better to wear two mismatched socks? When faced with the mornings first rays, an unknown doctor researching cures for the common cold will suddenly understand the role asparagus plays on the immune system, and reaching for the answer, smiling, will be thwarted, because his shirt, clearly in the clean pile, has a stain on it. What does this mean for the clothes underneath? Have they been mis-piled? These are the dangers we face when dealing with laundry, and yet, there is no solution. So evolotuion, the common cold, and the explanation of our very existence, of why we are here, along with my novel, remain left, unfinished, undone, unanswered. Still, we do not take laundry seriously. We chuckle and laugh, convinced somewhere there is a home with laundry neatly done, knowing deep in our hearts that is only a myth, for no human can defeat laundry.

I'm sure I could do great things, if it weren't for the laundry.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The End of the World

I watched the history channel. Three different shows, three different prophets, but one date. 2012. The world is going to end. Again. I think it ended in 1997 or 99. And before that. According to one of the shows, several cultures believe this is the fourth world, and that it will end for the fourth time, and then we'll be in the fifth world. So imagine Noah's ark, only five times. My mother was raised strict Catholic, and she was assured in her childhood that God promised to never destroy the earth by water again. That leaves fire, earth, air, atomic annihilation, poison, hostile alien take-overs, wars, massive meteor showers, and self-annihilation, and the return of the dinosaurs, to name just a few. So really, it's not a very encouraging promise. It's sort of like saying, "I'm going to destroy your world, but I won't sink it, so you don't need to worry about building an ark or anything."

Just think, only six more years before they need to come up with a new 'the world will end' date! But really, if we want to be honest, the world ends every day, and is reborn every day, just in stages. A typhoon here, hurricane there, little shift of the pole, change in the weather pattern, a big flood... It's constant. Catastraphoes of natural and man-made origin happen all the time on any given day in different parts of the world, and all those areas are changed forever. Their world ends violently and after a period of hardship and suffering over a period of years, their world is transformed to something else.

So what they REALLY mean when they predict the end of the world, is the end of our world, the Western world, the modern world, the world that includes the nations caught up in technology and economy, and they usually pin the cause of the end of this world as a result of a conflict between the mid-east and the rest of the net-surfing world. Oh there's a surprise.

I wonder what they will say the end of the world is going to be in 2063? Maybe dolphins will take over the world. Maybe there is an entire race of dolphins with opposable thumbs miles underneath the ocean that live in a big shiny city, called Dolphinville, and while we sit here on the net, thinking we are alone on the planet, they are browsing our net, learning our ways, and hacking into our computer systems until the year 2063, when they crash our servers, turn all the fresh-water lakes into salt, and kill us all, so they can move onto the surface, justified in their extermination of most of humanity because we've been selfish about the whole evolutionary process and have stalled, creating a back-log of creatures on earth that haven't evolved properly. The dolphins are getting fed up with waiting.

Anyone ever read Ishmael? Same principle, only with apes.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ballet

Usually, you like to meet your child's teacher. Smile. Say hi. All that. Not in ballet class, not when you have only one hour a week to teach a bunch of nutcracker princess wanna-be's.

My daughter's ballet class:

Every child, a girl. Every outfit the same pale pink Target leotard with variations only in ruffle or no ruffle, long sleeve or short sleeve. Every child in a pink frilly tutu. Pale pink leotards varying only in footless or footed. Ballet shoes, three-quarters the Target terry cloth 'i'm not sure my kid will go through with this' pair, the rest, the nice proper ones. The two stand-out girls in the class? One girl who DARED don black ballet shoes. How brave. And the other, a red-head who DARED wear a bright fuschia leotard. Yes, you could call it a member of the pink family, but really, that's a brave color for the soft pastel world of ballet. I liked her. My daughter? Pale pink leotard with a heart embroidered in silver beads. Pale pink footless tights. Pale pink frilly tutu. Pale pink Target ballet shoes. She complained about the ballet shoes. She wants the proper kind. I told her if she sticks through the first ten weeks of weekly ballet classes, she can get the proper slippers.

My sons?

Terrors. I was glared out of the parent observation class. They ran in both directions. One made a dash into the class until I ran in, other boy tucked under my arm like a football, his feet dangling, and pulled the other boy out by dragging him. One hour of ballet for my daughter, one hour of aerobics for me.

Next week, I am bringing toys.

7:30 a.m.

That is a good time to wake up. Lets rethink the whole '6 a.m. to midnight' day. It's not possible. Now, 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., that's a day I can handle without taking a nap, though naps are still optional if the opportunity presents itself.

I joined a gym today. They promised they wouldn't bulk me up like Gold's. That was the gym I was a member of that made my alter-ego name itself Helga the Bootyful. I have two personal training sessions with some guy named Mike.

Let me tell you about Mike. I haven't met him yet, but I already know him. At a fairly young age, he realized that chicks liked guys who worked out. So he did. Then, he realized he enjoyed it. Me man, me lift heavy things, me dress in underwearless-sweats and sneakers. The next step is graduation, high school or college, where he said, 'I don't want a real job.' Now, maybe he knew he didn't want a real job, or maybe he thought this was a real job. Whether or not he deluded himself isn't the point. He is smarter than most people probably give him credit for. He decided to work in the place he loves to hang out in. The gym. What does he do all day? Walk around in underwearless-sweats, or 'professionally mandated' active-wear and sneakers, training the poor slobs who walk through those doors desperately hanging on to the magazine article/doctors' advice that said REALLY they can lose weight and get some seriously shaped booty and some perkies with major stand-up-all-alone power, if they just show up and play on these nice, pretty machines. Now, Mike is in shape, clever enough to avoid a real job, but not clever enough to have managed to snag a higher-end clientelle. He has a girl/boyfriend who works out and is aspiring to be a model/actress/dancer. Lets hear it for Mike.

He's going to try to sell me a personal trainer package. $60 an hour for a personal trainer to lie to me about my efforts or $12.99 for a subscription to Shape magazine that will guilt me into the gym.... hmmm..... Sorry, I'm not rich or famous enough for Mike to be my lying angel...

Today also marks the day of my daughter's ballet debut. Never mind that we did ballet when she was 5 and she loved it so much she refused to get out of bed to attend class. Three months of ballet, lets see how she handles it. I did try to suggest jazz. Irish softshoe. American contemporary. Nope. She saw Barbie Nutcracker. Her second choice to me was Contemporary Japanese Dance. I agreed to ballet. She also saw the princess ice skating movie, so we have ice skating dreams as well. I have more hope for those.

Oh and for those who think I"m overscheduling her, please. She has ballet on Thursday and skating on Saturday and has been begging me for classes for months. Ahh, how I wish she'd just stick with tae kwan do. And this, my friends, is how moms become taxi drivers. I mean, at what age can I smile at her and say 'get your own ride'?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Day

What a day.

After a night of my son's yak fest and my other son's insomnia due to first son's yak fest (yak as in puke, barf, vomit, projectile-style) I woke up to a morning of diapers that needed to be changed in the bathtub under running water. I ran out with sick toddlers in tow, in the rain, of course, to buy B.R.A.T. supplies, and pedialyte. At 11 a.m. they still hadn't had breakfast, so in the truck I gave them a bananna each. One was barfed up. I just washed the stains off the coat now. After we got home, I fed them a very mild grilled cheese and copious amounts of grape pedialyte, spent a half an hour coaxing them to sleep, and to my shock, fell asleep myself. Now, they took a three hour nap. During the first hour of their nap I did a few things, gave my older daughter some chores to do, but then, I thought, I have one hour left, I'll lay down for a few minutes, have some coffee, and go do some work, as in laundry, cleaning, filing, etc. Instead, I crash for two hours, until my older daughter woke me up. I think I had told her I was working. Ha ha ha. Working. Yeah, on recuperating my energy, by napping. I finally got up, made the coffee while she VOLUNTARILY unloaded the dishwasher. Now, isn't that nice? Keep in mind, we are on a point system here, and she had none, so was she being nice, or trying to earn points? Does it matter? I didn't have to do it. I gave her the points. Then it was time to make dinner, hubby came home and crashed on the couch because surprise surprise, the vomit-party pooped him out too... ha ha get it, vomit party pooped him out... ahh.. anyhow the boys went to bed fairly close to their normal bedtime so hopefully all will be back to normal tomorrow. BUT, even though I took a nice nap, I'm still exhausted! It doesn't add up. Why should the fact my sons are sick and miserable exhaust me? Ah well.

What a day.

Monday, January 02, 2006

To the Gym, goeth I

It's the New Year. I can count how many times I've started exercise programs in January. Along with an actual resolution aimed at getting up two hours earlier. I am convinced this year I can do it. The exercise isn't really a problem. I like exercising. And this place has a daycare, eliminating the primary reason I haven't exercised.

This time, I'm not going to make the mistake I made last time. I spent so much time on weights, that I bulked up to a nice muscular, but chubby looking, pudgy chipmunk. I think I need to avoid to many weights. Some people can bulk up. Some people get lean. Me? I got thuggish chumpy. I was a bit disappointed. I don't know what happened. Was it the weights? The bicycle? Eating the apples and grapes right after? I will have to watch myself this time. Thuggish Chump is not a look I want to sport again.

I didn't do any resolutions this year aside from getting up two hours earlier. What's the point? The goals I have today are the same ones I had last month, including the getting up two hours earlier goal. I turned that into a resolution to give myself an extra month of not getting up two hours earlier.

I am looking forward to this year, though. There are things about it that make me think it will be a good year. Last year was just too turbulent, too many changes in too short a time, and it was just not possible to really enjoy much of it. Even our holidays were scattered and hectic. So here's to a nice, calm, stable, New Year.