Happy New Year to Everyone (Non-Fiesta Collectors too)

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New Year meme

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
--Lived by myself.
--Had an MRI.
--Applied for unemployment. Not a high point.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Yes, I kept the one resolution (lose weight) for the entire year but the other resolution (join a gym) lasted for 6 months, but I had to give it up after I injured my back. (See #10) Will I make new resolutions, probably not.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No
4. Did anyone close to you die? No

5. What countries did you visit? United States!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? A boyfriend.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The election on November 2nd. It was exciting (Obama making history) and depressing (Prop8 passing).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Finding a new job. Rebuilding my relationship with D.

9. What was your biggest failure? Either getting fired from my job, or the second hard drive in my desktop crashing. I lost all of my picture, music and video files that was on there. The 500gb hard drive was full and now they are all gone.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I fell and hurt my back in May. I was in constant pain for 4 months until it got corrected. Unfortunately, I hurt it again in November at my new job. I am back to the constant pain.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Some Fiesta. I didn't buy much this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Marcella moved home. Not sure that was as much about his behavior, but it is nice to have him back here.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My ex-employers. I used to really respect the family-owned company that I worked for. But in order to save a few bucks, they decided to fire the people who made more than minimum wage. The sad thing is, I now work for a competitor of theirs and I see their regular customers in my new place of employment all the time. I am constantly being told how bad the old place is now that I am gone. I am at least happy to hear that.

14. Where did most of your money go? Bills and medical bills. And more bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to the HLCCA conference in Minneapolis to meet the people I have chatted with online for the past 8 years. I didn't get to go because of #10. I am planning on going in 2009.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Tom Baxter - Better

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer? Happier, much thinner, poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Activities outside the house

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Goofing off at the computer and procrastinating.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? On my yacht in the Caribbean....I can dream at least.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Nope

22. How many one-night stands? A couple of them.

23. What was your favorite TV program? Still LOST!

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Yeah, I can think of two people, a couple that used to be good friends of mine. Hate might be a strong word, but I cannot stand the thought of them.

25. What was the best book you read? Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Tom Baxter and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

27. What did you want and get? A new president.

28. What did you want and not get? My wish to come true, I am still holding out for 2009.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Dark Knight was good. I also liked Sex and the City. But the best film I saw this year was a rental "Death At A Funeral". The movie is from Great Britian and came out in 2007, but I didn't see it until 2008.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I hit the big 4-0 this year. I did the ever exciting thing of working on my birthday. I might have gone out that night, I don't remember.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If Prop8 had passed. (Or the measures in Arizona and Florida too.)

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? I changed uniforms. I am still a t-shirt and jeans (or shorts in summer) kinda guy. But I do clean up nicely sometimes.

33. What kept you sane? My codependent dog, Sassy.  And watching Tina Fey in her parodys of Sarah Palin.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Wanda Sykes, she stood up at a Prop8 rally and came out of the closet.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Gay marriage (Prop8)

36. Who did you miss? My parents, Mikey or Jeff

37. Who was the best new person you met? Good question. I met a few new people, but I don't know if I would call any of them the best.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. Don't take a job for granted. It doesn't matter that I worked my ass off for that job, I still got fired for them trying to save a few bucks.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. (See #16) Our love has changed, it’s not the same, and the only way to say it - is say it - it’s better. I can’t concede this way I feel. For all the time we spend together...forever, just gets better.

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My 2009 New Year's Resolutions

I don't believe in all the hocus pocus that people call resolutions. After all, are those people so weak that they are unable to make a change in their lives on the other 364 days? When I set my mind to change something, I don't wait until January 1st, I just start doing it. Last year I made 2 resolutions, but honestly, I had already been working on them. The first was to workout more. I did that until I hurt my back in the summer. I tried to workout (very carefully) with my back pain, but I never got very far. So I dropped my gym membership. The second resolution was tied to the first. It was to lose more weight. I did lose more weight, but I didn't lose as much as I wanted. But I am very happy. My goal is to continue with that, but of course, that is a lifetime commitment, not just 2009.

And before you start to throw shoes at me, and please, keep those shoes for your favorite soon-to-be-gone-but-not-gone-soon-enough elected officials, let's keep in mind what helped fuel the passion at the elections this past November. Change. This country is long overdue for change. Obama was elected on the platform of change. But that change began with us (we did elect him) and it will continue through us and not him. He will do his best, but nothing is going to correct itself without our help. So my resolution will be to get out there and make that change happen and to make it stick.

I am not any activist by a long shot. But the change I am talking about is the little things. Going out there and helping your neighbor. Buy a meal for a friend who needs a hand. Take some food into work and feed your coworkers. Give a gift to somebody who is sick. That is how change begins. And it is contagious. Once you begin the change, the people you touch will turn that around and pass it on to others. That is my resolution for 2009.

Have a great and safe new year. And lets hope for many more new years in the future for all of us. Have a great 2009, I plan on it!

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Bloggers Block

Yes, I admit that I haven't been posting very much lately. I am suffering from a bad case of writer's Blogger's Block. After reading the usual other blogs, I still don't have anything to steal write about. So this post will be about my very exciting (sarcasm is great) Christmas. Being the "new kid on the block" at work, of course I get to work the crappy shifts! So I got the thrill of closing on Christmas Eve and working at 5am the day after Christmas. Thank goodness we are closed on Christmas I guess. This actually works out great for me. My grandparents have been doing their official Christmas celebrating on Christmas Eve. WHAT?!?!? That's a shame, I have to work. Hold on, I need to get a rag to wipe up some of this sarcasm...it is dripping on the keyboard. So last year and this year, I go down on Christmas Day. I get to see my aunt (and her roommate) from Columbus, Ohio for a few hours before she leaves to head home. The rest of the day it is just my grandparents and me. We enjoyed a small breakfast and the gift exchange before my aunt and her roommate left. Then I helped my grandparents with some tasks. Took down their Christmas tree and put it away in the basement, helped them with their digital photo frame I got them 2 years ago, helped them with their computer and tried to help them with a new alarm clock they received. Oh yeah, I took a couple of cat naps in between some of those tasks. We also enjoyed a dinner of leftovers. Overall, it was a very nice and relaxing day. I would take this anytime over a day full of kids running around and screaming. Plus my grandparents are both getting up there in age, so it was nice to get to spend time with them.

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Gotta Love This Weather - Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

The weather has been crazy for the past few weeks. We have had lots of snow and 4 ice storms (only 1 of them was semi-severe) in the month of December. Temperatures have been very cold in the past few weeks. It wasn't even a week ago that the temps were below 0° with a wind chill of -35°!

So yesterday the temps went up. By 1:30pm when I left work, the temps were just below 40°. Last night around 11pm, the temps were up to 60°. What is up with this weather??? Today, the temps are still around the 60° mark. The forecast is for lots of rain, severe thunderstorms and lots of wind. And just a little bit ago, they now put us under a TORNADO watch! WHAT??? It is December, we should be having lots of snow and cold temps. Now we are having Spring weather! The tornado watch is until 7pm tonight. I noticed there are a few counties over by Springfield that are under a tornado warning! YIKES. I am hoping our watch turns out to be nothing. But they are calling for it to be very windy with some huge wind gusts! Happy Holidays! Bah humbug!

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Thanks To My Secret Santa

In this years Secret Santa gift exchange at CMG, I received some cool gifts from fiestasal! Every year HLCCA (Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association) hosts a conference. They always have some very cool Fiesta pieces that is decaled with the HLCCA Conference logo. I have always wanted to go, but there is something that has happened so I am unable to enjoy the conference.

3 years ago, my family decided to suprise my grandparents in the celebration of their 60th wedding anniversary. I was all for that, until I realized that they decided to celebrate it over a month early...the same exact weekend as the conference! I was so looking forward to that conference since it was going to be in St. Louis (only 3 hours from where I live.)

The next year, I was going to ask off for the weekend of the confernce, but my boss announced that he was going to get married that month (they just had to get married on 7/7/07.) No problem I said, the conference is a few weeks after that. NOPE, HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! They decided they were going to take a 2 week honeymoon, but they wouldn't be going on the honeymoon until a week after the wedding. UGH!

Last year, I had been saving a bit of money in order to do the conference. But clumsy me, I fell down the stairs in May and it started a chain of events that ended with me being in extreme back pain for 4 months. There is no way I could have ridden in a car or a plane for any extended period of time, so the conference in Minneapolis was out. :(

So back to the story, grandmadisher (Pat) sent me 3 items from previous conferences. I totally love them since I have never been to a conference or been able to see in person any piece from a conference. First up I got 2 pieces from the St. Louis conference. Both are in peacock, one is the chili bowl with the logo on the front. The other is the jumbo saucer (which works for the chili bowl) also in peacock with "Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association" written on the top of the saucer. Both are beautiful! The 3rd piece I received is beyond words! It is a turquoise bread tray with the logo from the Phoenix, AZ conference. IT IS AMAZING! I totally love the pieces I received! And YES! I am going to the conference in 2009. Every other year (the odd years) it is held in Pittsburgh which is only 30 miles from the factory that makes our beloved dishes.

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Thanks To My Santa Elf

So yesterday, I was laying on the couch when there was a knock at the door. Then I hear the noise of a package dropping on the floor. YAY...I have a package! But I haven't ordered anything. And I already received my SS gift. The return address is from my good dishing friend MsVal! :) This year she has created some wonderful ornaments. Click the link to see her post about the ornaments she made. I open the package to find 2 of her wonderful ornaments that she made especially for me!

Pooh and Piglet
on Chartreuse
on White

I will cherish these ornaments forever! Not only because they are Tigger and Pooh or because they are Fiesta, but because they came from Val and she made them especially for me! She has restored my Christmas spirit. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

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My Christmas Spirit Has Arrived, Thanks To The Post Office

I must have been a very good boy (or Santa is blind as a bat) because I got a very special gift today! How is that for a tease! I will post more (with pictures) after I get my camera working. HAHA Thank you to Santa's Elf!

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Christmas Meme

Thanks Val! I found this meme on her blog.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I prefer to use wrapping paper, but some things just have to go into gift bags.

2. Real tree or Artificial? REAL! Growing up we always had a real tree. One year we were dirt poor, so our grandparents gave us their old artificial tree. We only used that when the money was tight. So an artificial tree always meant bad economic times to me. Sadly, I have used an artificial tree in 7 of the last 10 years. Mainly because I was lazy and didn't feel like wasting time and money on buying a tree.

3. When do you put up the tree? After Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Around January 1st.

5. Do you like eggnog? I have never tried it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? The first Christmas I really remember I was about 4 or 5. My sister and I scored big time. The best gifts that year, we received all of the Fisher Price Little People. Oh yeah, it was all about the Little People!

7 . Hardest person to buy for? My grandparents! They have everything.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Not sure. I only buy for a few people and after my grandparents, none are any harder than the rest.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I will take the diplomatic way out, I cherish all of my gifts!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I totally agree with Val on this one: No contest. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I start before Thanksgiving. By the day after Thanksgiving, I try and have 80 to 90% of it done.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I remember, but I have nothing against doing that.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas ? Chex Mix and Lemon Bread (my mom used to make this at Christmas every year)

16. Lights on the tree? Who wouldn't put lights on their tree??? Usually lots of white lights with a few strings of 1 color (usually red) mixed in.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland (from the movie Meet Me In St. Louis) It is actually a sad song that always hits the emotions.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Both. But my grandparents only live 30 miles away.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yes: Flopsy, Mopsy, Topsy and Peter Cottontail....Yes I know them...duh...I can recite Twas the Night Before Christmas.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I used to have the coolest tree topper. It was a wreath made out of cool white lights and in the center of the wreath was 3 candles. It is one of a few items that my sister stole from me when she let me store some stuff in her garage. For years after that, I didn't have a tree topper because I couldn't find one that I liked to replace it. But a few years back, D and I found a very cool 3-D metal star with cutouts.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? As hard as my sister and I would try when we were growing up, it was almost always Christmas Day. So sticking with tradition, it is usually Christmas Day.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The fact that Christmas items are now in stores BEFORE Halloween!

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Either my Fiesta ornaments or my Tigger ornaments

24. Favorite Christmas dinner? Good Food...who cares as long as is it good!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I won't be getting what I would like, so I will just be happy with what I already have...damn, I hate being diplomatic!

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5 Days and Counting

Wow....Christmas will be here in 5 days and I still have very little done! No decorating this year. I am way behind on my gifts. The cards are still sitting in the box. And the mistletoe is...well, there is no need for that!

Actually, I did get my CMG Secret Santa gift sent and it has arrived safely at it's destination. I am planning on visiting with my grandparents today (and hand delivering their Christmas card!) I might try and buy a few small gifts today. But other than that, the only things I have left to do are some cards and to figure out what I will be doing on Christmas day. I think I am going to be a bum and sit and watch movies all day. And try out that delicious Mandarin Orange Cake recipe that Elaine gave to me! YUM!!!

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New Arrivals and Late Departures

This next week I am going to be cleaning up my bloglist (Daily Reading). There are a few blogs I just don't care to check anymore. Not that they have stopped writing, but I honestly don't share the same interests as them. Also, I have added a few new blogs to my daily reading list.  They are both fellow CMGer's and are just as crazy spirited as I am about Fiesta dishes! So welcome M (Mustards and Marmalades) and K (Comfort in Concentrics) to the blogging world.

Just don't ask M about her parakeet or her dog who loves to flash and you will be better off! LOL just kidding

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Gay Penguin Parents -- The Best Parents

This story comes from towleroad's blog:

A pair of gay penguins in China who were segregated from others after repeated attempts to steal eggs so they could raise a child of their own were apparently given some eggs to look after by zookeepers after animal rights groups complained, the Daily Mail reports:

"In response, zookeepers gave the pair two eggs laid by an inexperienced first-time mother. 'We decided to give them two eggs from another couple whose hatching ability had been poor and they've turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo,' said one of the keepers. 'It's very encouraging and if this works out well we will try to arrange for them to become real parents themselves with artificial insemination.' Wildlife experts at the park explain that despite being gay the three-year-old male birds are still driven by an urge to be fathers. 'One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs. Despite the fact that they can't have eggs naturally, it does not take away their biological drive to be a parent,' said one."

The photo is apparently the fenced-in gay penguin pair having an argument with a neighbor.

Homosexuality occurs throughout the animal kingdom (for the unknowing among you, it is part of the gay agenda...as if!).  I have always heard that penguins have a higher rate of homosexuality, but who knew they were also parental.  And it looks like those 2 gay penguins are also bitchy!  LOL  But all kidding aside, I do love this story!  So my story now is that the penguins at the top right of my blog, they are all gay!

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A New Blog To Read & Also A Chance to Win Some Fiesta!

Thanks to Papa for pointing this out. Jaci over at Ravings Of A Mad Housewife is giving away 4 Fiesta Place Settings in her blog. Not 1. Not 2. Not 3. But 4 Fiesta Place Settings in your choice of color(s)!!! How freaking cool is that! Great way for you non-Fiesta collectors to start. And if you already have Fiesta, a great way to score some more!!! And honestly, if you don't use Fiesta, HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU EAT OFF OF THOSE BORING DISHES!!!!!!!!

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Classic TV....At Its Best

This clip was mentioned on CMG (Collectible Medium Green), the Fiesta message board. This is one of the funniest clips from the hilarious Carol Burnett show. This is from a Mama's Family skit, in which Tim Conway is telling a story about elephants. He keeps going on and on about the elephants and everybody has lost it. Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence and Dick Van Dyke are also in the clip. This is unedited.

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I have never seen the play Doubt, which is the Pulitzer Prize-winning John Patrick Shanley play Doubt, which centers around a priest at St. Nicholas Church School in the Bronx who is accused by the school's head nun, Sister Aloysius, of molesting a young boy. Sister Aloysius goes on a one-woman crusade to expel the priest from teaching, even though she has no evidence — only suspicions — that he has misbehaved. Now the film version of doubt is nearing its release, with Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn. I can't wait for this to be released.

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Friday Fill-Ins #101

1. Snow __, I LOVE SNOW!!! I also love winter and cold weather. I know I am weird __.

2. I'm looking forward to __the holiday season being over__.

3. __Lost!__ is the best __television show__ ever! And the new season starts in January!

4. One of my favorite old tv shows is __Moonlighting__. The 80's tv show starring Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis.  I made sure I saw every show when it aired.  I now have the first 3 seasons on DVD.  Eventually I will get the last 2 seasons, even though that is when all of the trouble started.  But I still cry when in the middle of the night and in the pouring rain, Addison knocks on Maddie's door only to have Sam Crawford (Mark Harmon) open the door.  

5. I'm done with __my Christmas shopping (NOT, I haven't even started yet!)__.

6. The most enjoyable thing around the holidays is __the Christmas carols__.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to __having the weekend off_. Tomorrow my plans include __doing some laundry and maybe cooking dinner for D__. Sunday, I want to __relax and maybe do some Christmas Cards__!

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Prop 8 - The Musical starring Jack Black and Neil Patrick Harris

Hairspray composer Marc Shaiman (whose boycott lead to the resignation of Sacramento's California Musical Theatre creative director Scott Eckern following his donation to Prop 8) wrote and conceived this hysterical short piece (presented with a wink and a nod by the 'Sacramento Community College Players'), which was directed and staged by Hairspray director and choreographer Adam Shankman and features plenty of folks you will recognize.

Shaiman plays the piano. Jordan Ballard, Margaret Cho, Barrett Foa, J.B. Ghuman, John Hill, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Rashad Naylor, Nicole Parker star as 'California Gays and The People That Love Them'. John C Reilly as a Prop 8 leader, and Alison Janney as his wife. Kathy Najimy as his second wife. Jenifer Lewis as a riffing Prop 8'er. Craig Robinson as a preacher. Rashida Jones, Lake Bell, Sarah Chalke as Scary Catholic School Girls from Hell. Katharine "Kooks" Leonard, Seth Morris, Denise "Esi!" Piane, Lucian Piane, Richard Read, Seth Redford, Quinton Strack, and Tate Taylor as The Frightened Villagers.

Jack Black stars as Jesus Christ, and Neil Patrick Harris is billed as 'A Very Smart Fellow'.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

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Tag....You're It Now

Fortress of Solitude tagged me in a meme. Very simple meme...just go to the 6th image of the 6th page of your Flickr (or equivalent) account. I got very lucky because the 6th image on the 6th page was the last image in my Flickr account.

This is my lazy dog who is unable to lay down by herself. Even though she weighs over 65 pounds and is pretty much solid muscle, she doesn't understand that she is no longer a cute little puppy that can lay in people's laps. And yes, that is my pale white tanless leg.

I now tag:

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Happy Thanksgiving or Do I Feel Like 200?

This was originally supposed to have been posted on Thanksgiving....better late than never I guess. I worked 5am to 1:30pm on Thanksgiving Day. When I go in at 5am, the first thing I must do is put the delivery away. Clumsy me, while I was carrying a 60 pound of spareribs, I tripped over a pallet and twisted my back. While I was trying not to fall, something in my back snapped. With a lot of caution, I finished my shift on Thursday. I went home that afternoon and ate my Thanksgiving dinner of cheddar brats and stuffing (Hey, it was quick and easy, it was all I could do to stand up to cook this.) After lunch and taking care of the pets, I laid down on the couch. I watched a few movies (luckily I thought of putting movies into the DVD player before laying down). I dozed off during the movies. I woke up a few hours later because the dog was wanting to go outside. OH NO, I couldn't get up! I spent probably an hour trying to just sit up, but I couldn't do that without a lot pain. I got the bright idea that if I rolled off of the couch (rolling wasn't any easier than sitting up) that I could try and sit up that way. Unfortunately, when I started to roll over, I fell onto the floor. Now I was laying down on the floor and still unable to get up. I spent probably 15 minutes trying to sit up, but I was unable to do anything, because the coffee table was in my way. Luckily I could reach the phone and call Douglass. He came over, helped me up and took me to the emergency room.

Today I had to go to another doctor (for workman's comp). Even though I feel much, much better, this doctor put worse restrictions on me than the first one did.

So the original post was going to be about being thankful. This past year has been a roller coaster of a ride. I started off the year with being single for the first time in 8 years. I moved into an apartment and was living by myself for the first time in 20 years. That was an eye-opener. Thank goodness I still have enough dishes to have a dinner party for over 50 people. The good thing about moving out, the ex and I have become much better friends. I feel like I can open up to him much easier now. I think he is more open with me now. Too bad we weren't that way when we were together. Over the summer I fell and hurt my back (deja vu). I had many months of back pain. I finally found a doctor who gave me shots directly into my spine that corrected the problem. Shortly after that, I got fired from my job. The company had been moving in a new direction, they started by firing all of the management team at the store. This just threw me into a huge depression.

2 months later, and after fighting, I finally was employed again! This is a step into the right direction, but the depression is still there. It seems like everything is a battle right now. I am getting the run around from the unemployment office. I have yet to receive any payments. I am still single, which is mixed emotions. I wish things had worked out better between me and the ex. I still have feelings for him, but I have no idea how he feels. My job isn't my ideal job. I am getting paid right under what I was making before (which is very good) and within a year I should be making more. My bills have piled up from the unemployment. Those unemployment benefits would really help with those!

With all of that, I am very thankful. I am thankful that Douglass and I are still talking. He means the world to me and I hope he realizes that. I have a job which is very good. I know a lot of people are jobless during these bad economic times. I do have some family left. I have my grandparents (from my mom's side) and my sister and her family. And I also have my new Fiesta family. There are quite a few special people that I have met through the Fiesta message board! I am also very thankful for the readers of this blog. I haven't been posting nearly as much (thanks to the new job and the back problems) but this is post #200!!! It took me 2 years for the first 100 posts and only 3 months for the next 100 posts. So thanks to all of you! And here is to the next 200 posts!

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