Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Highs and Lows of 2013 - The Highs

Like last year, I found that this past year was pretty good.  But I didn't win the lottery or anything like that. Be sure to read the post below this one first!! It's my "Lows" list. Makes the "Highs" list much better.
"The 10 High Points of 2013"(from less high to highest of the high)

10. Symphony - This was on last year's list too.  Either I'm getting older, or things are finally running the way they should, but this past year was really good for us.  Good audiences, great programs, no real hassles--who'da thunk it?

9. HNT Continues - It started as a one-time celebration of the first year without HNT.  People sort of liked it, so it was extended to once every three months.  People still liked it, but it just didn't have the same feel.  So this Thursday will be the absolute final HNT.  You can check it out here.

8. Twinkies - I wept a little bit when Hostess shut down.  In my diabetic state, it's something I parted ways with long ago.  But when the new company brought them back, I bought a box of them.  Just to show my approval!

7. iPhone 5s - I hadn't planned on getting the new iPhone, but Verizon emailed me two days before it came out to offer me $200 for my old iPhone.  Which conveniently was the same price as the cheapest version of the new phone.  Well played, Verizon.  Well played!

6. New FB Friends - For whatever reason, I picked up quite a few new friends on Facebook over the past few months.  Lots of former students, lots of people I'd lost touch with over the last 4-5 years.  I have lots of gripes about FB, but it really is a great way to keep in touch!

5. Football - Last year, my three 'local' football teams were quite a letdown, with the Griz and the Saints missing the playoffs for the first time in years.  And my old high school missed them as well.  Fast forward to this year...the Griz made the playoffs (and more importantly, beat the Cats and kept them OUT of the playoffs!!!), the Saints lost in the semifinals in overtime, and the high school team made the playoffs (with my nephew almost setting a single game receiving record in their loss!).  So things are back to normal around here on that front!

4. Knight Sisters - Way back in the earliest days of HNT, a very sweet Canadian joined in, and quickly became a favorite.  I believe she was my first official MG, too.  Eight years later, she and her sister embarked on a massive road trip through the Midwest/West.  Knowing that she'd most likely have to pass by Helena on her way home, I imposed upon them to stop by for lunch, and they did!  This would have gone higher on the list, but we had far too little time together!

3. Symphony Under the Stars - Our 10th summer concert went off without a hitch under my second year as production manager.  Sure, there were minor things here and there, but you can't put on a huge production like this without an irritation or two.  The theme was "Fiesta Latina", and we heard from the grounds crew at the college that they'd never seen so many empty tequila bottles!  Ah, the joys of an outdoor concert!  At my side for her second year was my assistant Libby.  All I can say about her is that I wish I could clone her!  Unquestionably the hardest working kid I know.  I just had lunch with her this afternoon, and she's definitely on board for next summer's concert!!

2. OsTour '13 - I didn't really plan on any OsTour this summer, but then I remembered that Margaret had planned a 40th bday party for her hubby (over a year in the planning), so I checked the calendar and saw that that particular weekend would be the last chance for me to get away before the big summer concert.  So on a Friday morning, I head towards Sacramento.  A full 1000 miles through all that northern Nevada had to offer (ick).  As I noted in the "lows" list, I handed over $1500 to a tire shop for new tires on the way down.  That's what kept this from being #1 on the list.  In spite of that, I had a great time, though I'll never drive to Sacramento and back in just three days!  While I was at the party, I got to see Margaret, of course, but also Sam, from Sam's Stories!  Then I joined MissCrystal (from Miss' Budoir) and her family for dinner!  The trip was really too short for the occasion, but we packed in as much fun as we could!  

1. Portland/Diva - OsTour '13, Part II happened unexpectedly.  Also as mentioned in the "lows", I sold my car, at a loss, to my step-niece.  Part of the deal was to drive it out to her in Portland, then flying back home (thanks to my sister's miles!).  Knowing I wouldn't have access to a car, and with the short notice, I knew I couldn't meet up with the same crew as last year, other than Bipolar Diva.  She was able to meet up for lunch, and we had a great time!  The trip was nice because I was able to spend time with my sister, which doesn't happen much, as well as one of my nieces who lives there now.  But the highlight of the trip was our lunch.  I can't wait to get back out there again!!!
And thus ends this year's list. My "Highs" for 2013.

Many of you are probably already at parties as I'm posting this. I'm staying home and watching "The Walking Dead" all night. I hope that everyone is having a safe but fun NYE! Looking forward to a great 2014!!

The Highs and Lows of 2013 - The Lows

In spite of the inactivity here and in other parts of blogland, I figure I should still do this .  Even if just for my own future perusal!  This is year #9 of doing this, and it's been interesting to go back and see how different things have been, yet how similar they've remained.  I had to really scrape to come up with a total of ten "low" things.  So some of them might seem a bit petty.  Tough.  It's my list!  And as in the past, some of these will appear on the "highs" list too!  These are what make my "lows" list (the "highs" list can be seen above...):

"The 10 Low Points of 2013"
(from least low to lowest of the low)
10. Facebook pulls Halloween picture - I changed my cover photo quite a bit in the last three months of the year, namely to catch all the holidays.  I had posted a couple of scenes from "The Shining" for Halloween, and as part of that, I posted the shot of the creepy twin sisters.  Not the one of them holding hands in the hallway, but the brief shot of them after they'd just been murdered.  Lots of blood on the carpet and walls, and the girls.  That brought a few disapproving comments from people who were not familiar with the movie, and after a few hours, I switched it out.  But not before someone flagged the picture as "inappropriate"!  Hmph...

9. HNT absolute finale - HNT continued this past year, running once every three months on the OHNT site.  People seemed to like it, and there was no problem getting pictures for it, but after a full year of it, it's absolutely the time to pull the plug.  We'll have one last shot on Thursday, and then it's officially going inactive.  I'm glad we had the extra year, but it occupied a time online that I don't think will ever be duplicated again...

8. Health - Actually, my health is pretty good, for being a diabetic.  I just had a checkup last week, and my doctor was pleased with my numbers.  But there's so much more to do.  My focus is now primarily on my arthritic knees, who constantly let me know they're in distress.  I'm not a cripple or anything like that, but standing for any length of time sets me back for days.  As I said last year, I wish I'd taken better care of myself as I was growing up...

7. Decline of English language - There's a whole plethora of things that we can blame on the internet.  Basic English grammar, punctuation and spelling have taken it in the shorts.  I understand the need for Twitter abbreviations, but that's where they should stay.  Not in real life.  And there's the whole they're/their/there or too/two/to thing, along with all the other homophones, but a couple of weeks ago I saw at least 4 people use the word breaks referring to the things that slow a car.  Whatever happened to teaching this stuff in school...?

6. Cher - Another young woman died in April.  One of "us".  She was active in HNT for awhile, as well as being the MG and contributing to OHNT.  She died in her sleep at the age of 27, leaving behind two young children.  As I said a the time, no one told me that becoming online friends with you guys might also having to deal with deaths.  She's the third HNTer that has left us.  That I know of...

5. Social media/loss of community - Social media has really let me down over the past year.  Blogging has basically become non-existent.  Facebook use is actually on the decline, especially among the young.  Others have taken to using FB post some really nasty stuff.  Twitter is even worse in that regard.  Nastiness, negativity and name-calling are the norm (alliteration!).  And the loss of community?  We had a tight knit group a few years ago.  It's not there now.  The connectivity is gone.  Friends have started ignoring each other.  Sure, they might consider each other as friends, but they only interact on a sporadic basis.  Not the way we used to.  I understand that life evolves and things change.  Doesn't mean I have to like it...

4. O'Toole's closure - My favorite Irish bar in town, O'Toole's, unceremoniously closed their doors earlier this month.  As documented over the years, I had a ritual of meeting up at O'Toole's with friends at 8AM on St. Patrick's Day for green beer and shots of Jameson.  And then see how the rest of the day panned out...  The closure had been rumored on a number of occasions over the years, but this year the matriarch of the family died, and the writing was somewhat on the wall.  Adding to the stress was a charge that bartenders knowingly served an intoxicated young woman, who then was involved in a fatal car accident that night.  O'Toole's is being sued as well, though the remaining family says that didn't affect their decision to close.  It was announced that the doors would close after New Year's Eve (tonight), but their insurance policy expired, and they couldn't find anyone else to cover them for their last few weeks.  So without notice, the doors were locked.  There are no longer any Irish bars in town.  St. Patrick's Day will never be the same...

3. The neighbors - The neighbors came in at #7 last year.  It's gotten worse.  The white trash ghetto that this place has become is now overrun by even more irresponsible renters.  The kicker came this summer, when one or possibly two apartments were overrun with totally undisciplined kids.  The ones who play in the mud then track it through the hallways and along the walls.  The ones who leave half-eaten food wherever they drop it.  The ones whose toys were scattered from one end of the complex to the other, inside and out.  And especially the ones with boys.  Who decided to pee in the dryers.  They fucking peed in the driers.  All of them.  Someone in the complex finally wrote a letter and taped it up at every exit, suggesting that these people move out.  And others in the complex added their thoughts to it.  It must have worked, because those families are gone.  The only kids left now are the ones who live above me.  Running from corner to corner.  Over and over.  At midnight or later...
2. Politics - I would normally avoid putting this on the list, as I try to avoid it as much as possible.  But this past year was remarkably bad.  I do not understand why anyone would want to be a politician.  Unfortunately, thanks to the internet, way too many people voiced their thoughts.  Often without a clue about what they were talking about.  I don't have a problem with people who are strong about their convictions, as long as they know what they're talking about.  Sage comes to mind.  And Gucci Mama.  I cannot stand those who only argue their point from their gut.  Emotions make for bad politics...

1. Car repairs/tires - I spent WAY too much money on car repairs.  I sold my old car to my step-niece in Portland.  This is the car that hadn't been driven in over 2 years.  Unbeknownst to me, a cute little bunny had taken up residence under the car during that time, and had nibbled its way around the engine area.  Short story--it cost me more to get the hoses and wiring fixed than I got for selling the car.  But it was for family...  The other big unexpected expense was for 4 new tires, one of which blew in Wells, NV, while on my way to the Sacramento area.  Being stuck between a rock and a hard place, I had to fork over more than $1500 that I didn't have for pricey tires that I had to have.  Loved the trip--hated the surprise...
So, that's the downer list for 2013.  Mostly not so bad. Fortunately, there were lots of good things that happened too! You can check those out in the "Highs" post above this one. Go. Now!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Really. This is the end...

It's time to give HNT a final farewell.  With that in mind, there will be one last blow-out at the old OHNT site on Thursday, Jan. 2.  Many have already sent submissions, and I expect quite a few more.  If you're a former HNTer, you're more than welcome to join in this last time!

This past year that we ran it as a quarterly thing seemed to be a nice alternative to the weekly posts, but more and more people are abandoning their blogs, or letting them gather cobwebs.  As an example--of the 62 people over there in my sidebar whom I've actually met, less than a dozen have blogs that are even remotely active.  Meaning they maybe post twice a month.  At best.  Blogging just ain't what it used to be.  And I really don't think that Facebook people would be interested in keeping it on...  (HA!  Can you imagine???)

I'm not going to close that site, as there is still some decent traffic to it.  And I suppose that if someone sent something in to post, I'd do it.  But after this week, HNT will no longer be active.

Thanks for memories!