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

Advertisements

Fun By the Numbers: 716 views, 19 followers, 22 posts, and 52 countries since January 29, 2012

WordPress Logo

Stop the presses!  I hit over 700 views yesterday!  I am so excited and somewhat amazed.  I remember when I had dry spells where there were days with no views or just 1 view of my WordPress blog, and I have observed that several times I have had 19 views this past week. Yay!  Another item of note which I just realized is that tomorrow July 29 is my 6 month blogging anniversary on WordPress.  I am really glad that I joined WordPress.  My fellow bloggers are fantastic, and everyday I can be inspired, as well as learn new things.

So, my Sociological background corresponds with an interest in society and human nature, thus I want to do a fun by the numbers post.  In addition, I want to say that I am GRATEFUL for every follower that I have, every viewer that takes a moment to view my blog, every like, every comment (well, the non-spam ones), and all the countries represented by the views of my blog.  Thank you for reading and for the joy that comes through my WordPress blog.  The internet really does make the world a smaller, more unified place, and that is really beautiful.

Let’s get to it.

Views: 716 (as of 11:03 am)

Followers: 19 (only one of which is a good friend of mine since when we attended college together; I appreciate that there are so many people I have never met following my blog.  I know some people have over a thousand followers, but I am super happy with 19 followers).

Posts: 22

Time blog began: January 29, 2012

Busiest day: June 5, 2012 (23 views!)

Most popular topic categories viewed in the last week:

#1= Personal (44 views)

#2= Life (27 views)

#3= Random Thoughts (24 views)

Most popular topic tags viewed in the last week:

#1= Mother Teresa (28 views- a nice surprise)

#2= Bible (27 views)

#3= Love (21 views)

No-spam 

Real Comments= Not very many (shameless plug for non-spam comments)

Spam Comments= 552 (and 12 more sitting in the spam que)

Author’s random note: Spam is annoying.

Countries where people have viewed my blog = 52 countries since WordPress began tracking on February 25, 2012

Note:  This is one of my favorite categories.  I love how the internet unites people around the world.  I am a fan of culture and travel, but I just wish that I could travel more.  There are so many incredible countries in the world.

Here is the link to the map of the 52 countries where people have viewed my blog.  I tried several ways to copy and paste it, but it seems that I need to take a class on how to do this successfully.  I will take this class with 5 year olds. 🙂  If anyone knows the secret to this, please offer collaborate assistance.  I can copy and paste to a Word document, but only the link shows up here when uploading.

Map of Country Views since February 25, 2012

Just for fun, here are the top ten countries where people have viewed my blog.  (If you are reading this, then I will say again that I appreciate you!)

#1= United States of America (350 views)

#2= India (48 views)

#3= Philippines (45 views)

#4= Canada (24 views) (Tie)

#5= United Kingdon (24 views) (Tie)

#6= Singapore (19 views)

#7= Malaysia (16 views)

#8= Australia (12 views)

#9= South Africa (9 views) (Tie)

#10= Uganda (9 views) (Tie)

Extra note: I find it cool when there are countries which I have never heard of where someone views my blog.

Example= Seychelles

Shares= 3 (Facebook, etcetera)

*Feel free to ask if there are any stats that you are curious about.

Prettiest Poet and Big Booty: Best and Worst Search Terms

google_logo

google_logo (Photo credit: keso)

For awhile now I have been itching to write a blog post on the search terms that people use to find my blog. I think everyone, their brother, and their dog use Google as a search term engine, so as you might imagine, Google is a search engine that is often used when people stumble onto my blog. The sociological side of me is completely interested and fascinated by the various search terms that people have utilized to find me and my writing. Many search terms I totally see, some have left me scratching my head, others have made me smile, one made me cry, some are thought- provoking, and overall I find all of them just plain interesting. I could not rank them into a favorite order if I tried, and some great search terms will not even make this blog post, but I want to highlight some of the best and some of the worst search terms (in my subjective opinion, of course).

Best search terms:

1. “Complicated male female friendships“- Yes, who among us has not been there? I could perhaps write a book, but in no way will I ever claim to be an expert.

2. “desiring you quotes“- Sweet.

3. “cartoon hearts of burning love“- Graphic design meets a heart meets flaming passion, perhaps? Innovative and cool.

4.”how does god relate to puppies“- That one made me smile, and relates to my post about the Poky little puppy (a little Golden Book) and a spiritual devotion that I wrote.

5. “Quotes on love hearts“- many people have bounced onto my blog through looking up various search terms using “quotes” as a keyword. I did a post on “Love Quotes” that was one of my most popular posts, which this search term may relate to.

6. “famous poems on rejection“- I think that I like this one because it makes me feel like I am famous. LOL. Seriously, though, many people have ended up on my blog due to variations of the keyword “rejection”. I believe that religion, politics, and controversial topics often divide people, but rejection seems to be a unifying force and something that we have all faced in multiple areas, especially romantic relationships.

7. “poems on how much i miss you can’t live without you“- that one is one of my favorite search terms. I like the romance of it, the beauty, and the real and genuine emotion….it’s kind of like wearing your heart on your sleeve, so to speak. Although, in reality, I think that if the person whom you loved passed away, then you should still be able to carry on. Also, break-ups should not be the end of the world. Our hearts can ache for those we care about or love, and we miss them with great intensity when break-ups occur (or also in cases of unrequited love). I have always appreciated that wise saying that is oft-repeated (sorry, I don’t know who said it in order to credit them)- essentially paraphrased it goes something like, “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back to you, it is meant to be. If not, then they were never really your’s to begin with.”

8. “Starbucks cookie crumble frappuccino semi healthy? This is a person after my own heart. I WISH that I could say it was semi healthy, you know with the cookies, and whipped cream, and chocolate drizzle….but who am I kidding? Gotta love chocolate though, and I am a fan of Starbucks. (Author’s note: actually, I realized after I posted this that chocolate drizzle is NOT actually on this frappuccino…..so maybe it really DOES qualify as “semi” healthy!)

* Note: “Starbucks promotion”, “Starbucks promotion 2012”, and similar terms were the SECOND most popular category of search terms leading people to my blog. A quick quantitative perusal shows that over 24 search terms involved some variation of the keyword Starbucks. I have wondered if other countries are doing Starbucks promotions right now, because that is one of my more popular search terms lately, and the U.S. promotion for 1/2 priced Starbucks frappuccinos ended a few months ago, so the prevalence of this search term constantly of late has me wondering why.

9. “mysterious makes me think“- one of my absolute favorites.

10. “cartoon network show family lived in space“- this one I like because it never mentions The Jetsons by name.

11. “love quotes for Jesus” and “bible quotes about strength and love“- I like the spiritual piece.

12. “Avengers starbucks“- This one made me wonder if the Avengers were signing autographs at Starbucks….who needs Comic Con? (Just kidding….and I am not sure if I got that title 100% right….but as a newer fan of X-Men/the Avengers/the Fantastic Four/other superheroes, I think that Comic Con would be pretty cool. Honestly, why did ONLY BOYS get the cool stuff when we were all younger?….I got to read about Archie trying to choose between Betty and Veronica romantically,while boys got to read about cool superheroes like Spiderman. I could easily digress at this point and delve into the topic of socialization and gender roles, but I will stay on track for the theme of this blog post.

13. “things people are thankful for“- this is always good to remember.

14. “Can man and woman be just friends?“- Society and all of us may always debate this one. Reminds me of #1 above.

15. “Staying faithful relationship quotes” and “Christian quotes about standing next to someone“- Faithfulness and relational support in good times and in bad is of utmost importance.

16. “hopeful quotes” and “beautiful quotes of sunshine“- I like flowery search terms.

17. “the jetsons shoes” and “the jetsons dog” (similar to search term #10). I loved the Jetsons cartoon when I was young, so I appreciate these search terms. I have thought recently about how Astro would be a great name for a dog that I would be happy to adopt in the future, especially if one day I am blessed with a family of my own.

18. “touch of love quotes“- I am a fan of love, but really just seem to crash and burn at it.

Extras (added 7/16/12)

19. “staying in love quotes“- A beautiful topic.

20. “tender heart“- I have always had a tender heart, so I appreciate this search term. Compassion is a quality that is of high value and is greatly needed in the world. Also, this search term makes me thing of the Tender Heart Carebear (yes, I am showing my age, and yes, if you have read this blog for long, then you likely have deduced that I am a kid at heart. And, finally, yes, I really am a nostalgia girl, and I love things from my childhood).

21. “love and devotion quotes” and “quotes of healing and strength“- Definitely cool.

A few more Extras (added 7/29/12)

22. “morning Bible quotes” 🙂

23. “blossoming love quotes“- This makes me think of when love is first beginning and it comes alive like a blossoming flower.

24. “strength quotes for women”- It is always good to have strength and encouragement, especially in challenging times.

25. “prettiest poet“- This one made me smile, even though most likely it was not meant for me.

26. “sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest place quote“- This makes sense.

Worst search terms:

* Please note that many of these are just really sad search terms, so that is how they ended up categorized as “worst.” Technically though, very few of them are “worst”, but since I am a sensitive and emotional person, search terms that were really depressing and sad I chose to categorize as “worst.”

1. “being rejected by a girl i love quotationsThat is super sad. I feel for him. (I know how painful rejection is).

2. “living without desire quotes“- Interesting. Hmmm. I don’t think that is possible.

3. “deception quotes from the bible“- This one actually kind of bothered me that someone found my blog using this search term, and I don’t think I have written about deception quotes.

4. “big booty facebook” and “big booty“- I still remember the day that I saw this search term pop up in my Stats list. It made me go “What?!” I am sure that this person was disappointed when they linked to my post (“A Picture is Worth a A Thousand Words…or is it?”) and ended up reading about how my sister was concerned when I told her that I decided to get back on MySpace again.  My sister had commented that MySpace is now just one big booty call, so of course she knows I am not that kind of girl.  My blog post was a sociological piece about my recent experiences on MySpace.  It was also an observation about what happened when I changed my MySpace picture to a family friendly picture with my nephew.  Also, my post was not about Facebook, but I briefly mentioned how some of my friends had left MySpace for Facebook several years ago, but I still enjoyed MySpace.  I am sure that my post was not what the person was searching for when they typed in “big booty.”

*I must say that I NEVER would have thought of someone finding my blog with the search term “big booty”!!! Definitely got me to shake my head a bit.

5. “poems on male rejection“- Sad.

6. “emotional intimacy led to friendship“- While friendship is a beautiful gift to be treasured, I couldn’t help thinking that usually when people are emotionally intimate, it often leads to dating and romance. So, in the case of the person who wrote the search term, friendship may end up seeming like the booby prize.

7. “on being hurt by someone quotes“- Painful.

8. “Heartbreaking love poems“- I distinctly remember that this one was either my first or second search term ever for my blog which I started in January 2012. This one made me cry a tear (yes, if you know me, then you know I am a tender heart, and I cry sometimes). My first post has always been one of my most popular posts. It was about love, rejection, and poetry. I included a poem that I had written which was highly personal and vulnerable. To see a search term related to heartbreak was actually hard for me to see because that poem was so transparent and real, and that poem was a healing poem.

Extras (added 7/15/12):

9. “thanks for the love rejection

10. “happy hour girl

11.”quotes arrogance man

A few more extras (added 7/29/12). I will end my additions to this list with these last few search terms, because I don’t think that anyone wants to read a never-ending story type of list.

12. “racy quotes

13. “quotes about falling out of love

14. “you don’t deserve my tears love quotes

15. “emotional and touchy quotes

16. “girls that mistreat man quotes

P.S. I am not putting this last group in the best or worst category. My quantitative biggest category is “unknown search terms” or “other search terms“, which sometimes also comes up as “encrypted search terms.” Currently unknown search terms total 50, and they surpass runners-up Starbucks search terms and rejection topics search terms. I am curious what all the unknown search terms are, but since they are unknown then it is a mystery.

Things and People Who I am Thankful for

Inspired by David Kanigan, I also decided to write a post about things and people who I am thankful for.  If you are not familiar with David Kanigan, check out his Thankful post.  I follow him, and he is always very inspiring and positive, plus he also regularly has interesting charts and cute +/or funny photos in his posts (re:  http://davidkanigan.com/2012/04/15/thankful-sunday/).

Without further ado, here are the Things and People Who I am Thankful for:

1. God.

2. Nature- our Creation is so beautiful, and I am a particular fan of the sky, ocean, beaches, sunsets, and the moon and stars.

Sunset at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The im...

Sunset at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The image was taken at negative low tide that happens just a few times per year. One could see how far away the ocean went back exposing the bottom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. My family.  I love being from a HUGE extended family.  Also, being an Aunt of my niece and nephew adds a special joy to my life.  I love being a twin, also.

4. I am thankful for my brother Kevin’s new job.  He was doing some freelance writing and finding it challenging to break into a more steady job since he graduated from college.  The economy is still weaker than I think we all would appreciate, but honestly, I am so grateful for Kevin’s new job (IN HIS FIELD) at a newspaper.

5.  I am thankful for WordPress.

6. Taco Bell. And Starbucks. LOL.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7. Redbox free promo code that they sent me by text today.

8.  I am thankful for my friend, Amber.  She fixed a maintenance issue in my apartment that was incredibly frustrating, and it was stretching out into almost a week.  I shouldn’t have to beg for maintenance, and I think I disagree with my landlord about what constitutes a maintenance priority (or border-line emergency).  So, kudos to my friend Amber.

9. Music.  Sometimes when I am riding in the car with friends and family, and they are driving without music, then I ask them to turn on the radio.  Seriously, I can’t imagine a world without music- it would be a dull world, indeed.  Music brings color to life.

10. Art.

11. I am thankful that my work blessed all of our front office staff this past Friday by giving us the afternoon off to go celebrate Office Support Professional Day a bit early.  I went to a nice restaurant that I normally could not afford (they donated money for us!), and we saw a movie.  I got popcorn, too (movie theatre popcorn is the best).  Also,  THREE of our Deans in the academic program where I work even volunteered to cover the front desk, so we could be off.  Is that cool, or what?

12. I am thankful for the new building for my church.  Last year, right before Thanksgiving, my church caught on fire.  Actually, the investigators said the fire appeared to be arson.  It was a horrible time, and we were displaced for about the last four months and meeting in a hotel.  We couldn’t have almost any of our normal church activities, and we lost all our of children’s ministry toys and items due to smoke damage due to the fire.  But, the awesome part of the story is that my church recently purchased a building (we had been renting the church building where the fire was and sharing it with another church).  Now, while we often have yellow construction tape at various places in our building and work is still in progress while we meet there, however, it is coming along.  It is a fixer-upper, but the building is our’s.  We even have some pretty flowers planted outside.  It has been a long road, but things are finally looking up.

13. Spring.

14. My new iPhone.  It is really cool.

Leave a comment.  I want to know what are you thankful for???