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Friday 5 for January 6: Animate

The Chinese New Year this year is on January 28th. On New Year’s Day, MomZ, DadZ, Charlie and I went to see Rogue One and had Chinese for dinner. Between the four of us, and not using Google, none of us could remember when Chinese New Year was. I said February. Someone else said soon. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

My actual Chinese Zodiac sign is the Rat, as I was born in 1984. The rat symbolizes wisdom in Chinese astrology. I think that fits, to a certain extent. But I’ll always think of Templeton the Rat from Charlotte’s Web when I think about being a rat.

1. In what ways are you like an ox?
represents of diligence
Pro: hard working, honest, creative, ambitious, cautious, patient and handle things steadily.
Con: stubborn, narrow-minded, indifferent, prejudiced, slow and not good at communication.

Ask just about anyone who knows me in real life, and they’ll tell you I’m as stubborn as an ox.

2. In what ways are you like a rabbit?
represents longevity, discretion and good luck.
Pro: kind-hearted, friendly, intelligent, cautious, skillful, gentle, quick and live long. They dislike fighting and like to find solutions through compromise and negotiation.
Con: potential to be superficial, stubborn, melancholy and overly-discreet.

I’m conflict-avoidant and like to think that I’m pretty good at negotiating. At the same time, I’m stubborn (see above) and prone to melancholia.

3. In what ways are you like a snake?
represents pliability.
Pro: wise, discreet, agile, attractive and full of sympathy.
Con: tendency for them to be lazy, greedy, arrogant and indulging in self-admiration.

I’m not sure how snakes can be full of sympathy, but that’s pretty representative of me.

4. In what ways are you like a goat?
Pro: polite, mild mannered, shy, imaginative, determined and have good taste.
Con: sometimes pessimistic, unrealistic, short-sighted and slow in behavior.

I like to think I have impeccable taste. Especially when it comes to my love of Ranch dressing on buttered noodles.

5. In what ways are you like a rooster?
represents fidelity and punctuality
Pro: beautiful, kind-hearted, hard-working, courageous, independent, humorous and honest. They like to keep home neat and organized.
Con: they might be arrogant, self-aggrandizing, persuasive to others and wild as well as admire things or persons blindly.

Definitely not punctual (ask K), but I’m working on it. Definitely not neat and orderly at home (ask Charlie), but we’re working on it. And of the cons, the best that can be said for me is that I think I’m pretty persuasive.

Source: f.riday5.com

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2016 Year-End Reflection, A Meme

Previous Years: 2011 | 20102009

What notable things did you get into in 2016?

Most notable is the development of my makeup and skincare hobby. I subscribed to a buttload of YouTube channels and started becoming very particular about the stuff I slathered on my face.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t actively make any New Year’s Resolutions for 2016. I’m not sure that it was a good or a bad thing. I lived the vast majority of this year in “Reaction” Mode. 2017 is going to be better, and I have a loose idea of things I want to get done, but I haven’t formalized it into any cohesive plan.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

3/17 – I turned 32 this year.

The day of, I attended an LGA SHRM luncheon (I’m the VP of Programs). The Saturday after, MomZ, DadZ, Charlie, K and I went to dinner at The Standard, and then hung out after.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Our friends, Chuck and Andrea had their baby girl, Emily, at the end of October. Time really flies: I can remember being at their wedding.

Did anyone close to you die?

I didn’t lose anyone close to me, but two of my former co-workers lost a parent (or in-law). And of course, according to Internet Lore, 2016 will be the year that we, collectively, lost some of our best and brightest. Alan Rickman’s death sucked particularly for me because he died of Pancreatic Cancer.

What vacations/trips did you take?

  • April – Trip with Charlie to
    Toledo, OH so he could complete his 3rd marathon, the Glass City Marathon.
  • June – Washington, DC for Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day and a tacked-on mini-vacation with MomZ.
  • July – Weekend to Dillon State Park.
  • August – Traveled with Binkles down to Jeffersonville, IN for his job interview.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

More ambition, more sense of accomplishment, more books read, more artwork done.

What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

So, the very tidy version of this story was that I lost my job on August 1, 2016. I knew it was coming, and had been forewarned of it about 2 months in advance. Those 2 leading months and the day of were –head and shoulders above anything else –the worst days of the year. It was a mostly tidy split, but it was completely full of angst, and the ripples from that thrown stone continue to lap up on shore.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

For me, it will be not losing my dignity through the unemployment process, and holding out for what has turned into the perfect job for me.

What was your biggest failure?

Being let go from my job. I know that there was nothing that I could have done to change the outcome (and believe me, I really, really tried), but there is still something incredibly demoralizing to be told you’re no longer wanted.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got the cursory New Job Munge that I always get when starting a new job (I basically suffered for an entire month). This was also the year I finally got my conch piercing, so an adjacent-to-self-inflicted injury.

Whose behavior merited celebration [Hero of the Year]?

I passed on this particular toast at Yule this year, and I’m going to still take a knee. In the two weeks since Yule, no one rose to the top.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

All of the people who decided to vote for Trump even after he displayed all of the values that I think are wrong for the future of this nation. Do I think that all Trump voters are racist misogynists? Of course not. But I’m disappointed that those ideals were not deal-breakers for those voters.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

In short, yes. And said person utterly deserves it.

Who did you miss?

I find myself constantly missing my co-workers at the Old Job. I miss those daily conversation, the 2.5 years worth of lived-in jokes. I did not intend to become as close as I did with them, but I did, and I miss them.

Who was the best new person you met?

New person? Probably Miss Lys, even though we’d been orbiting each other for a couple of years. I think she and I made a more concerted effort to develop our friendship, and it has been a good thing.

What was the best thing you bought?

In DC, MomZ and I went shopping (as is our hobby), and I found a beautiful pebbled-leather Coach bag at the Coach store. I bought it, saying to MomZ, “Do not let me open this until I get my new job.” I’d heard the week before we left for the trip that the writing was on the wall for me at Old Job.

That Coach purse became my reward for finding my new job. The Coach store delivered the purse to NeuZiffelhaus, and MomZ kept it in her closet for 4 months. On October 6, I accepted the offer for my new job, and celebrated being able to reward and comfort myself after a shitty, shitty summer.

Where did most of your money go?

Top expense was the mortgage for The Apiary, and then paying down the debt from improvements on The Apiary. This had not changed from 2015. I also don’t anticipate that changing in 2017.

What did you get really excited about?

Our wedding was pretty exciting.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

  • Happier or sadder? Happier, in so many ways. I feel like the sun is coming up again.
  • Thinner or fatter? Fatter, I think?
  • Richer or poorer? Richer, both literally and metaphorically.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading fiction. I didn’t get through nearly as many fiction books as I wanted to. I wish I’d spent more time creating Zentangles, and learning lettering. I’m going to try to improve that for next year.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Mindless social media surfing.

Did you fall in love in 2016?

In a matter of speaking, I finally made an honest man out of Charlie, so there was the public declaration of love and other gross smoochy stuff.

What was your favorite TV program?

Hannibal. But I also watched a lot of Project Smoke (with my beloved Crazy Uncle Steve), and America’s Test Kitchen.

What was the best book you read?

Here is the entire list of books I read/listened to in 2016. I would have to say that the very best was Leah Remini’s memoir, Troublemaker. I listed to her read it, which I think made it better. And it prompted me to read Going Clear.

In addition to that, I read a bunch of blinks to figure out if I wanted to read the full version. Here’s what I blinked in 2016.

What was your favorite film of this year?

2016 was another sparse year for Julia and movies. The only two that I can remember actually seeing in the theater were Doctor Strange, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

I really am not a sit-and-watch-a-movie person anymore, but I caught Straight Outta Compton, and Zootopia on Netflix with Charlie. Zootopia was great. The rest were thumbs meh.

Best new podcast you subscribed to?

Real Crime Profile, which I started listening to beforeThe Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey” was even announced. I also found and subscribed to I Doubt It with Dollemore, and I’m listening to new ones as soon as they drop, too.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I’m digging through my 2016 Mix playlist, and there’s not anything that’s jumping out to me as OMG the BEST!

The top-listened to songs are:

  • We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, by Taylor Swift
  • Ways to Go by Grouplove
  • Hang with Me (Acoustic) by Robyn
  • Elastic Heart by Sia
  • Talking Body by Tove Lo
  • I’m Not Part of Me by Cloud Nothings

What did you want and get?

A long-time want that I finally got was my conch piercing. My MIL gave it to me as a Christmas present. She asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I impulsively said, “I’ve always wanted my conch pierced. Would you be wiling to take me to get it done?” And then it got scheduled and happened.

It ached and throbbed the day I had it pierced, and was tender for about 4 days after. Now, I don’t even know it’s there, unless I ram my finger into it when I’m blow-drying my hair. Then, I want to die.

What did you want and not get?

I wanted the opportunity to be the one to declare the split from the Old Job first. I did not get to do that.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

I have put on about 30 pounds in the last three years. None of the clothing I’ve purchased previously to 2016 fits. 2016 Fashion is anything that fits, and it’s not much. So I’m sticking to a few staple pieces that have become a uniform — it’s hard to unlearn 12 years of Catholic school.

But at the same time, it makes it so easy to get out the door, especially now that I’m working out at the Rec Center before work. Jeans/Slacks and a crepe top? Perfect.

  • January to August: my Betabrand yoga pants in varying colors, and some kind of blouse.
  • August to October: jeans and a tee shirt.
  • October to December: Betabrand yoga pants or jeans and a blouse.

Fashion Forecast for 2017 is working these 30 pounds off, maintaining a very simple wardrobe, maybe moving into more of a morbid fashion style, and a lot of accessories.

What kept you sane?

During my Funemployment – spending time painting pottery at my friend’s studio while bartering my marketing wares.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I developed a fancy for Mads Mikkelson, which, to be fair, had been blossoming since Casino Royale, but grew with Hannibal. I’m not sure that Doctor Strange did anything major for it, and according to Miss Lys, Rogue One won’t really either. [Update: I saw Rogue One between writing the draft and making edits – Miss Lys was right.] But dude: that Death Stranding preview? :.fans self.:

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What political issue stirred you the most?

What a year for that question, amirite?

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Not everyone’s advice is given with the best intentions.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road.
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go.
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why:
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs and still frames in your mind.
Hang it on a shelf in Good Health and Good Time.
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial.
For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

Friday 5 for December 30: Forward

It’s been, what — 17 jillion years since I did a Friday5? Let’s remedy that.

It’s the end of the year, and I still think I’ll do the end-of-the-year survey meme, since I was quiet on the blog front, and a whole lotta shit happened in 2016. But for now, this will suffice.

  1. What are you looking forward to in your personal life in 2017?
    I’m looking forward to deepening my lady friendships, and to also finally shed the excess I-hate-my-job-and-I’m-stressed-all-the-time weight.
  2. What’s something you’re planning ahead for?
    Just the day-to-day stuff at the moment. Though a thought that keeps flitting into my head is what the summer Family Vacation will be. Last year, I missed most of it. I’d like to repeat the Dedrick’s Take Dillon Vacation, but I’d also like to see the Ziffels Hike Ohiopyle, too.
  3. How intense is your to-do list for the last days of the year?
    Not at all. With Charlie home for Winter Break, he’s had a few things done, one of which has been knocking the IKEA RAST Nighstand Project off the list. I also need to do Round 2 of going through all of the Old Job detritus I hauled home when I left, but that’s a smaller task.
  4. What’s something you’d like to jump past, between now and the end of the year?
    I’d like to get out of New Year’s Eve festivities, if I could get away with it. I love the company I’ll keep (my in-laws), but I’d really rather just be snug in bed and passed out when the ball drops.
  5. How will you ring in the new year?
    As mentioned, probably dinner, games and ball-dropping with my in-laws at the Wee House. Would rather be asleep.
Are you interested in completing a Friday5, too? Go here for access to this and all other Friday5 archives.
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The Pussmas Season is Upon Us

For the first time in eons, I was at the gym, and I went before work, so I’m on the arc trainer at 6:00 in the morning, watching the news. As it happens, the entire East Side of Cleveland dealt with the first real seasonal Snowmageddon. And as we all know, everyone forgets how to drive when that happens, so I thought that prudence was the best course, and I opted out of my commute into Beachwood and am working from home today.

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Picture of the abject highway hell that MomZ sent to Binkles and I this morning.

Right now, I’m just working on the habit of working out before work, so the fact that I am getting there and getting on the arc trainer for 30 minutes is achievement enough for right now. We’ll work on integrating strength training into the routine once I actually get a routine.

So, since it’s been a jillion years, I’ll just include a short list of some of the stuff going on right now.

  • There are not going to be any Rox-themed Pussmas cards this year. I tried, tried, tried to get something economical and speedy ordered today, but those standards are mutually exclusive. As much as I love doing the cards, and love sending them out, I’m not spending $6 gazillion dollars on Pussmas Cards.
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Here. Merry Pussmas.
  • This year, Charlie and I are making the Annual Sojourn Down for Yule. I think this makes it our 14th year? We’ve been going since we’ve been dating, which we started doing in 2002, so that would be 14 years.
  • I am heading down tomorrow, for work, as the company’s web development team is located in German Village. So, I’m heading down there to learn the website roped, eat at Katzinger’s, and then go out to dinner with Mandy. Charlie is coming down right after work, so I’m not sure what he’s going to do Friday night, but it’ll be nice to have him down there. We have mostly all day on Saturday free, so we’ll probably do out brunch/short North shopping on Saturday before dinner.
  • (On Sunday, I have to rush back up to Twinsburg for Tams’ Friendsgiving celebration. I’m doing the rushing with a  joyful heart, though.)
  • Am  I a total jerk for being a teeny, tiny bit glad that we’re taking separate cars down to Columbus and back? The Zedricks have a tough time traveling together in cars.
  • I’m headed to Miss Lys’ last Balance & Brews yoga session of the year, and I looked for a pair of Christmas leggings to wear. So, let’s revisit the Pussmas cards, and see that I’m late to the party and nothing will arrive before the date, despite Amazon Prime. I’m super on top of things.
  • Has anyone else seen the PNC Bank “12 Days of Christmas Consumer Price Index”? Why the hell are swans so expensive? Just bleach a Canada Goose and call it a day. No one’s going to know the difference: they both suck.
  • I’m thinking about this while I’m sitting in my home office. Now that we have the Red Sled, the plan is still for me to go to IKEA and get the Kallax bookshelves and try to make this office something worth working in, rather than a terrible catch-all-room-and-kind-of-office. Of course, like a basic bitch, I’ve made a Pinterest Inspiration Boad about it.
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Sunday Soujourn

We’re in the throws of September, which means the Ziffels need to pick which weekend we head to our annual Yankee Peddler sojourn.

Got a text message from MomZ this morning asking if I wanted to go to YP today, or head to Neu Ziffelhaus for lunch. Since I was napping on the couch (I stayed out late last night painting a sample Wedding Plate for a friend’s pottery painting studio last night), I didn’t get the text until an hour later, and I still hadn’t showered, I opted to meet them for a late lunch.

Made a wedding platter as an example for the studio.

A photo posted by Julia (@styckywycket) on Sep 10, 2016 at 8:37pm PDT

As part of lunch, we went to Jeni’s in Chagrin Falls, which was MomZ and DadZ first time. I could have had the Salted Carmel, which is my favorite, but I eat it all the time. I opted for the Ylang Ylang & Fennel instead, which was actually really good. However:

  • it tasted like you’d expect an aromatherapy candle to smell, and therefore,
  • would have been way better in a cup than a cone.

That said, I like the boutiqu-y flavor of it, so if I see it at Heinen’s in the near future, I’ll grab a million-dollar pint of it to eat when the weather is not nearly as gorgeous as it was today.

Edited to Add: I mentioned to Charlie about my ice cream flavor. He cocked an eyebrow and said, “Did it smell like the shower? Because that the scent of the shower spray we use?”

Ruiner.

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#PurpleStride 2016

Since the last time we talked (the trip to France), DadZ had been diagnosed at Stage 1 pancreatic cancer (January, 2014). Diagnosis that early is almost completely unheard of, and our family has been very, very lucky. DadZ is basically cancer free (he had a radical pancreatectomy and is now a bittle diabetic and eats with Creon).

As such, MomZ and I work very hard to give back to the 92% of families that won’t be as lucky when their loved ones get a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

Purple Stride, 2016
Click here to go to the entire album.

Here’s how PurpleStride Cleveland and Team “Ziffel Whipple’d PanCan” did:

  • Total raised: $230,000/$300,000 (77% of goal).
  • Top Team: “Exceptional, Not Average” ($27,918).
  • Ziffel Raised: $2,695 (54% of goal).
  • Total # on Team Ziffel: 12 (120% of goal).
  • Top Team Ziffel fundraiser: Andrea Hauserman ($570).
  • Charlie’s Race Time: DNF (the course was weird :( ).

We had a ton of people donating. I was so honored to be able to present our donations to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.