Cocoa and a Blog

About 15 people were coming and going outside my apartment complex late this afternoon while I was scraping off my car after a huge winter storm that seemed to dump about 12- 16 inches of snow on my area (central Illinois).  I saw people driving by in cars, a guy walking a cute poodle in a pink sweater, a yellow taxicab, a man taking out the trash, and a guy in glasses but no hat or sweater (which would be quite cold).  I had been wondering how the world was coping with the winter storm that affected so many states in the U.S., causing what seemed like the world to stop.  Today, a plethora of schools and businesses were closed in my area, as well as a long list of churches yesterday, including the two I attend.  Since I had been snowbound in my apartment all day Sunday, as well as sick on Saturday, I actually hadn’t been outside of my apartment since I got home from work this past Friday.  Since surprisingly my boss actually closed the main office that I work at, my adventure as a hermit continued today….and I must say that I am so grateful for electricity, heat, and Netflix.

Now I am inside my apartment enjoying some warm cocoa and writing this blog.  The day has flown.  Winter is most assuredly upon us.  The snow is pure and white.  It is a new year, and I have hope for this new year to be beautiful.

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2012 Flashback (a.k.a. Personal Reflections on this Past Year)

How is 2012 quickly drawing to a close?  Yes, it is true what people say: the years go by faster and faster the older you get.  This past year was a mix of hardships and saying good-bye to several friends who left my area, as well as various events and activities that shaped the year for me.  This list is a personal reflection of the past year, rather than a list of current events or a political piece, with dates as close as possible to the real month of occurrence.  I enjoy reflecting on the past before starting a new year.  It is good to have new goals and aspirations.

January

  • I began blogging on WordPress.  Yay!
  • A mild winter in Illinois. That’s awesome because I walked a 1/2 mile each way to work due to the scarcity of close parking at my job.

February

  • My birthday month.  Why does it feel like the last 5 years or so are gone in a blink?
  • I attended my second ever University of Illinois Basketball game.  It was a nice family time with my Dad, and Illinois beat Iowa, so that was exciting.

March

  • It was fun to co-coordinate a faculty/staff service outreach at my job.  We volunteered at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, a foodbank that helps provide food to hundreds of soup kitchens and food pantries in the central Illinois area.
  • I become the proud owner of a iPhone 4.  It is super cool, but dislikes when I try to use it as a PHONE from my apartment.  However, the apps, being able to easily check and write e-mails, and the camera are all great features.
  • Winter Jam Tour at the Assembly Hall with my friend, Sabrina

April

  • My church purchases our own building after the building we rented was damaged by a fire.  My church had been dislocated to a hotel for around 3-4 months, so the purchase of our own building was exciting.

May

  • My friend Carolina moved to Arizona when her husband graduated and expediently got a great job.

June

  • Summer= swimming (in my attempt at fitness).
  • Around this time (ish), I become a poet who publishes on poemhunter.  I enjoy writing poetry, especially about love, heartache, and God/faith.

July

  • More swimming.  Summer seemed to go by at warp speed.  I did get to go see the New Amazing Spiderman on the Fourth of July.
  • I covered many job duties for my co-worker who was off work for 3 weeks due to an accident.  I also spent around 4 months (off and on)  for my co-worker typing forms, scanning forms, e-mailing people (some out of state, out of country, or no longer with my department), and playing Nancy Drew with solving discrepancies in legal check-outs of equipment loans, mostly for laptop.  This was to get forms for approxiately a few hundred pieces of equipment updated for legal check-out.
  • My co-worker who was my back-up was promoted, so it was challenging during the 6 weeks before her replacement was hired and started.

August

English: Script logo of the Chicago Bears

  • I took a min-vacation to see my family in my hometown area.  We took a one day road trip to see the Chicago Bears training camp at Olivet Nazarene University.
  • My friend Amy moved out-of-state in order to complete her degree in Art.

September

  • I spend around $300 on an oil change and new brakes when I am told that my brakes are 95% gone.  I am glad this was found before winter, but sad to try to figure out how to pay for that in my tight budget.
  • My friend Melissa moves to Champaign for a new job.  I was blessed by that fact, but I also got a $100 rent credit when I referred her to my apartment complex.  Yay!

October

  •  After 2 years and approximately 3 months, I got into a close parking lot by my work building.  If you know the ordeals that I went through before this time, you will know why this was a HUGE positive for me (I even paid around $70/month for a few months for a private gravel lot in order to be able to get a break and actually get to places on time after work).
  • I join Pinterest and become semi-addicted.
  • My first ever 5K!  My friend Melissa encouraged me to do it.  I am not a runner, but I loved walking the 5K.   It was a fantastic experience.
  • I voted for my clerical union contract.  We had been without a contract for 14 or 15 months which was pretty discouraging, in spite of my union’s persistent negotiations.

November

  • I paid off my 5 year loan on my 2006 Ford Taurus!  Woohoo!
  • The Woodfield Mall bus trip that I was attending with my Mom got cancelled, but all was not lost when my Mom visited me and we spent the weekend shopping at a outlet mall and many great local places.
  • My first laptop that I have ever personally ordered was stolen when FedEx left it unsigned for outside of my apartment the day after Thanksgiving.

December

  • Old-Fashioned Christmas at my church.  I got to go on a horse and carriage ride!  It was amazing!
  • I bought a new laptop  after my laptop that I ordered online was stolen.
  • E-mail day of action that I participated in (off work time, of course) since my signed union contract giving all clericals a small raise and pay-back got stalled by my University when there was no real follow-through and months of stalemate.  Justice is important.  I will note that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) can locate information that can be quite discouraging, such as discovering that “snack bar attendant” and “helper-kitchen” earned more pay than I did, until recently.
  • I reach over 100 likes on my WordPress blog.  Yes, sometimes I am addicted to my Stats!
  • Christmas with my family, after a two-day delay when my car would not start, got jumped twice, and eventually resulted in me paying $420 for a new alternator and serpentine belt.
  • My first ever pedicure, that was at a spa with my Mom, twin sister, and niece,  It was part of my Christmas gift from my Mom.  It was amazing!

Flashback- Me (on left) and my twin sister, Jody (on right), when we were little