Highlight of My Year

The year 2010 seemed to have just breezed by. 

I don’t know why but as we get older, the days just pass quickly.  You wake up on a Monday (sometimes grudgingly), do your work or your errands… before you know it, it’s midweek already… and then it’s the weekend… and then you’re back to Monday. Unlike when we were young and the days seemed endless.  You stay in school for what feels like a very long time, but in reality, it’s just a school year.  Or remember those endless summer days and nights?  They just seemed, well, endless…

endless days

The last two weeks of December was a blur.  It was a series of Christmas parties, reunions, dinners and lunches.  It was mostly fun, somewhat tiring, and a whole lot fattening.  I think I gained about five pounds just these past couple of weeks.  THAT is definitely NOT the highlight of my year. 

I have to say, though, that I have honed my entertaining skills given the number of times I hosted a Christmas reunion/party at home this year.  Not bad for someone who used to be afraid of having guests at home.  Like I told a friend of mine, I was truly channeling Giada de Laurentiis these past two weeks!

sample of my feast

Right now I am preparing — yet again —  for another gathering… New Year’s countdown this time.  But before I turn on the domestic diva mode, let me recall the things that happened this year (2010) that pretty much stood out.

—  We moved to a new house end of 2009, and was fully settled by January.  Fully settled meaning most of the house is fully decorated.  However, we kept tweaking some parts — add tiles here, put a roof there, add glass and wood on the fence, etc… thus,  basically the relationship with the architect is long lasting.

— I became more hospitable, more welcoming… I learned how to warmly receive guests.  I used to be afraid of big parties at home.  I dreaded having to fix up afterwards.  For some reason, after we moved to the new house, my perspective changed.  I looked forward to having guests.  We have a group that meets at my home almost every other week.  I have thrown countless parties — and enjoyed every minute of organizing them.  One thing I learned, as I opened my house, I basically opened my heart to people, as well. 

— I started to write regularly again.  Thanks to this blog, I am able to do something that I am passionate about.  I may not be able to write as often as I want, but I do try.  And it’s the perfect outlet.  I love, blogging.

— A favorite writer of mine posted a comment on one of my blogs. Yey!  I almost died of shock, but yey! just the same. Did I say I love blogging?!

— I met new friends and got closer to old ones.  My baseball family is really like family.  I believe all those games helped strengthen the bond between us.  It is good to know that there are people who will look after my son when I’m not around… the same way that they can trust me with theirs when the need arises.  I am also thankful for the blog friends that I found this year.  Who would have thought?  I started blogging just with the goal of somehow being read by someone… I never expected I will form friendships along the way.  A big bonus… or better yet, a blessing. 

— We got a dog.  A yellow labrador. Now a big, yellow labrador. A big, yellow labrador that drags me around the garden whenever I am the one holding him.  I used to be afraid of dogs.  I didn’t like the noise, the smell and the thought that they might bite my legs.  But now I know what googly puppy look means.  My big labrador gives me that look and my heart just melts. I love this dog to bits!

— Sometime during the year I realized I was losing some jewelry.  The thing was, I couldn’t just accuse anyone.  Given the number of workers who went in and out of the house (because it has been a work in progress, like I said), I had no proof.  I was heartbroken.  For some time I didn’t know who to trust, how to trust… But then I guess the most important learning that I had given the incident was that after all that has happened, one’s relationships with people are still more important than any material thing.    And yes, I learned to be more careful (and responsible) with my things, too. During that really low point, I prayed for inner peace, more than anything. 

— I counted — and shared– my blessings.  I became more appreciative of what I have.  Appreciative and thankful.  And I learned how to share wholeheartedly… without expecting for anything in return.  I knew that when you bless someone, you will be blessed back.

count your blessings

Moving on… moving forward…

I am thankful for all the days I was blessed with this year, whether good or bad, exciting or boring… Am glad I was given those days.  I am thankful for friends, near or far… from baseball fields to malls, from Ohio to London to Sweden… You guys totally rock!!  I am so blessed, indeed.

And I am looking forward to another year of abundance. 

Happy New Year everyone!  See you next year… or tomorrow. 🙂

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photo credits: beach house and blessings — via weheartit.com;  Sumptuous feast — mine!!!

My Mr. Big

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend.  They are very loyal and they will love you unconditionally (i am still talking about the dog). 

I, for one, never experienced such friendship with an animal because i never — ever — had a pet when i was growing up.  Oh, okay, so maybe i had a fish. But what relationship can you have with a fish, right? (specially when their life expectancy isn’t exactly that long)

The other day, we bought my son a labrador puppy.  We promised to get him one for his birthday and we searched far and wide to get the “right” one.  We were directed to someone who really knows about dogs and breeds champions.  After visiting her house and seeing her litter of 8, we ended up choosing the youngest of the bunch.  Youngest, and definitely biggest, of them all.  Welcome to our world, Mr. big, yellow, labrador puppy…

Yesterday, Mr. Big’s second day here, he was just content playing inside his crate… or sleeping mostly.  He almost never made a sound. He only barked when he needed to go (out of his crate to do his thing… he IS well trained for a two-month old).  Come early evening, we got a little worried that he was lethargic.  He seemed too laid back for a labrador! (Though that really isn’t an issue with me because I like being stress-free and laid back…)

10:00pm… just about the time we were preparing to sleep… Mr Big suddenly realized he had too much stored energy… and decided to bark… and howl… and wake the whole household up.  Maybe he’s from another time zone.  He was just so awake!  And worse, he wanted to play.  He eventually calmed down after an hour.

… and stayed calm until 4:30am this morning… and so he barked… and howled… and growled… and gave this guttural cry that seemed to sound like he was begging for someone to wake up and play with him.  Of course he had his way… we couldn’t risk having the neighbors reporting us to village administration for disturbing the peace at 4 in the morning…

It is almost 12 noon and Mr. Big, so far, has been pretty calm the whole morning.  I have to thank my helper, of course, for simply being there because I know that I won’t be able to handle this guy alone.  I can only play with him while he’s inside the crate… or when someone else is holding him… and when i’m wearing jeans… I’m still a newbie puppy owner and I haven’t insured my legs yet so i won’t even attempt to pretend i know how to handle a playful giant of a puppy like this one.

But i know he already knows me.  He goes to the side of his crate and lies down so i can rub his fur, and he’ll just calmly stare at me… like he’s memorizing my face– and my voice –or something.  When i stood up to take a walk, he stood up as well, and started howling the moment i was out of his vision. 

It is a challenge taking care of another living creature.  But the rewards are great.  Hopefully Mr. Big will be as loyal to me as he will be to the rest of the family. I pray that he grows up — grows old — with us, and will love us unconditionally.  Hopefully, my legs will never get bitten nor scratched… And that we get to share many wonderful years and memories with him. 

In time I will get to say that a dog can be a woman’s best friend, too.  Maybe I should start calling him Diamonds?!…    

(The biggest yellow one is ours)