Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - I'll Hardly Miss Ye !

I will begin my final post of the year with a bit of "Bah Humbug!" for 2011. By all accounts, including my own, this year was on track to be a great one. In reality, it actually was. However, the last 6 weeks of this year have brought me to my knees... I guess its true that "bad things happen in ______" (fill in your own number). My optimism, though tested, is intact. Just need to dig a bit deeper to reach it!

Time Capsule - Dislike!

So, I'll start this post kicking' it old style. The photo above, taken in July 2009, was my screen saver when we lived in Virginia. It shows a happy moment with some of my favorite people in the world. My Girlz, Pre School Posse Moms - Jamie, Sharon and Lori. Love these girls. But, in the time between then and now I've changed my screen saver about a dozen times.

Flash forward to Saturday afternoon, December 9, 2011. I am putting the finishing touches on the genealogy book I am creating. It is the culmination of 3 years of research. It contains over 100 images and about 20 pages of self written text. It describes just one branch of the four families I am descendant from. My goal is to have the book in Dublin by December 20th so my cousin Eileen can share it with our Irish relatives when she travels north to Donegal for the holidays.

At 4PM that Saturday my iMac crashed. It crashed bad. It was the first time that I ever had a Mac go kaput. I didn't worry too much though. We have the Mac Time Capsule - the small little box that sits next to my iMac backing up my hard drive once every hour. My biggest concern was that the book might be late getting to Ireland. I made my appointment at the Genius Bar for Monday afternoon confident that the problem would be resolved quickly and painlessly. I was partially correct. I had blown the hard drive. It was replaced within 24 hours. However, when I got the iMac home I couldn't get it to stay on long enough to even log in. After an hour on the phone with 800-SOS-APPLE, they recommended I return the computer to store to have someone take another look. The second look turned up a blown internal power supply which Apple kindly fixed at no cost because they missed it the first time around. Hooray! I get the computer back on December 17th Good As New!

Imagine my surprise - when I logged on and transferred the back-up files back on to my computer - to find the image of my three beautiful friends filling my 27" screen! It seems that the day I packed up my computer in Virginia for the move to California was the last day it actually backed up!! Seems that I didn't reconnect things properly when I set up the iMac in our new house. I lost EVERYTHING digital from August 1, 2009 to the present day. Every photo I had taken in the past two and a half years is gone. Every document I created - GONE! My Reunion 9 Genealogy program with the vital information for 183 of my relations - GONE! Worse part of the whole mess is that the wound was self-inflicted... James purchased a 500 GB portable hard drive for me over the summer and I never touched it! My pity party continues, but please don't feel obligated to join in. The bellyaching will end from this point forward.

Holiday Season

So, aside from my digital disaster, we managed to keep busy for the holiday season. We made the 7+ hour drive north to Sacramento to have Thanksgiving with James' family. Maddie stayed behind to share the holiday with her friend, Maddie E, and BF Israel. She missed an awesome dinner prepared by my sister-in-law Agnes! Josie had a great time learning how to play Wii Mario Bros. with her cousins.

December 10th James were up at 4AM to catch the lunar eclipse. I set up my tripod in the backyard and tried different lenses, settings, etc in an attempt to capture the event. Mixed results, but it was nice to be outside when all was quiet and dark.

We had teacher conferences at Josie's school in early December too. Just as we expected, Mrs. S confirmed that Josie is a stinkin' baby genius! Well, not a total genius - but she's doing just great. She's reading and getting 100% correct on her spelling tests. Math skill are great too. We're so proud of her!

Maddie received her first college acceptance letter - from the University of Alabama. It's not her first choice, but it gave her a much needed boost of confidence. In her words, "At least I know now that I'm actually going to college". The remaining schools she applied to won't send results until March. Fingers crossed she'll be accepted to a few of the East Coast schools she applied to... she applied to three California colleges to make her Dad happy, but has no intention of staying 'In-State'. Of course, it would save us a fortune if she did, but her college fund is ready.

Instead of buying Christmas gifts for Josie's friends here in the neighborhood, we treated the girls to a show - Disney on Ice: Toy Story III. We were able to get some pretty good tickets for an 11:30AM show at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The girls had a great time!

This year, Maddie and Josie decorated the Christmas tree completely on their own. It was nice to sit back and just offer suggestions. Of course, it was Josie asking for ornament placement advice... Maddie had it all under control. Once they were finished, Maddie declared it the best tree decorating job - EVER! Again, no surprise at Maddie's self congratulatory posturing! Our girl does not suffer from a lack of confidence - at least where tree trimming is concerned!

Oh! In case you were wondering... Why, yes, that is toilet paper on our tree! Josie and BFF Nyra decided to 'enhance' the tree by draping it with the toilet paper. "Mom, it looks like snow on the branches! Isn't it beautiful?!" I thought so! Josie can spend hour after hour looking at the ornaments and asking questions about each one... I love that about her.

So, here it is New Years Eve. It is a totally unnatural 78 degrees outside. Our daughters will both be going to parties tonight, so James and I will head out to an early movie. We'll wait for the girls to get home and (hopefully!) sleep in tomorrow morning.

I'll be happy to welcome a new year. This year brought great joys and sorrows. We were greatly blessed in 2011 - our children are strong and healthy; we live in a beautiful neighborhood where our little one can play safely; we enjoyed another summer of adventure in Europe; and added to our extended family by traveling to meet our Irish cousins. Much to be thankful for. We'll continue to pray and send healing thoughts to our loved ones who were struck with illness or suffered through hard times. It's our greatest hope that 2012 brings peace, good health and prosperity to one and all. Happy New Year!