Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best music of 2009 (IMO)

This list does not include a couple of songs that were officially released in 2008, but had most of their airplay in 2009 (Supermassive Black Hole by Muse being the most painful exclusion). However, there's still some pretty good tuneage here:

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Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The year in review

My good friend over at Raine's Kitchen posted an upbeat review of her decade. I was so inspired that I thought that I'd follow suit with this review of the year. Later this week, I'll actually do what she did and review the decade.

I could do as she did and just focus on the good stuff. However, life is a balance. I want to review both the good and the bad. Like her, I think there's more good here than bad. That's amazing this year.

The Good Stuff

  • Goblin was laid off from a job he had grown to hate.
  • Goblin trained for and got his license as an LNA
  • I completed a writing seminar online last spring that reminded me how much I love writing.
  • Goblin got into and started LPN school
  • Grendel got straight A's for his sophomore year of high school.
  • Grendel is very active on his FIRST team. He's made some great friends and he's getting a lot out of the experience.
  • We went to WPI with Grendel for a FIRST competition. We got a really good look at the place and can see why Grendel wants to go to college there.
  • Grendel got his first job. He didn't stay long, but he used the money to buy his own computer.
  • I had a fabulous vacation on Star Island. I met some great people, and I committed to go back every summer.
  • I made a couple of new friends this year. One who promises to re-meet on Star Island this summer.
  • I earned my CISSP, which makes me professionally more employable and relevant in my field.
  • I reconnected with lots of friends on Facebook.
  • Grendel completed driver's education
  • Goblin's unemployment benefits were extended through the end of the year, possibly into March 2010
  • Goblin got the H1N1 shot at school because of his new profession.
  • The basement is looking good.
  • Grendel had a LAN party in the half-finished basement. Having six additional teenage boys in the house wasn't so bad.
  • I committed to go to Atlanta with Grendel in April for the national FIRST competition.
  • Family and friends have been very supportive this year.

--- SPOILER ALERT: Go no further if you want to stay positive ---

The Bad Stuff

  • Goblin lost his job, which has really hurt us financially.
  • The worse year for our marriage.
  • Grendel's grades are all over the place again.
  • Credit card fraud in November, still arguing over charges with company.
  • My weight and chronic pain are the worse ever. Menopause has not been kind to me either.
  • Progress on the basement has been much slower than ever anticipated.
  • Had to cancel our trip to Europe last spring because of financial issues. We may not get to see my brother in Paris before his tour is over in 2011.
  • Unemployment will run out sometime this coming year, and then we're in big trouble unless Grendel's flaky per diem work becomes less flaky.

The year really was more good than bad, even if some of the bads really do stink.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The woes of having a credit card

I just went to review my credit card charges (which I do about once a week). I discovered that nearly $1000 had been charged to my card last weekend in another part of the country.

On Tuesday, I did get a call from a merchant I had purchased something through saying that she couldn't get my credit card to go through. I gave her another form of payment and then called the card company. The idiot I reached at the other end of the phone said that they had locked my account because a charge from Amazon had come in with the incorrect CID #. I told him that was ridiculous, so he unlocked the account. Apparently, the card company had locked the account based on the odd charges from the west coast. But, he could not discern that or communicate that to me.

I was ticked at the time because the reasoning seemed moronic. Plus, when I'd first gotten the card last year they had locked the account with the first purchase I tried to make with it (my iMac). In both instances (last year and this week) the company did not attempt to contact me. I had to call them to ask why the charges weren't going through.

So, now I have to wait two weeks to get my new card. Thirteen months ago I didn't even have a credit card. I was paying for everything with my check card. Now I have two credit cards. The one that was compromised is the one that I use for everything, including recurring bills. The other one I barely use, mostly for car related expenses. Fortunately, I've done most of my holiday shopping already.

What a frustrating situation.