2012 in Review

WordPress very helpfully sent me a report on my top posts in 2012, so I thought I’d share:

The Emotional Lifecycle of Deployment was a very popular post this year and it prompted my busiest day back in April. Unfortunately, I’ve been spending some time revisiting the content of this handy little infographic because I’m in need of it once again. If you’ve found the Emotional Lifecycle of Deployment infographic helpful, I’d love to know.

Emotional Life Cycle of Deployment

Even though the majority of these posts were written prior to 2012, here were the top posts this year:

A lot of these 2012 posts were really fun to create. Here are some of my favorites from the year:

1.  The Wounded Warriors of Christmas Toys (December 2012)

Wally and Leroy, my Wounded Warriors of Christmas Toys

The Wounded Warriors of Christmas Toys

2.  Your Tights Would Look Good on a Pumpkin (October 2012)

the halloween response poem

Your Tights Would Look Good on a Pumpkin

3.  Drawing a Spider on the Wall (May 2012)

Drawing a Spider on the Wall

Drawing a Spider on the Wall

4.  Mardi Gras in Portraits (February 2012)

Mardi Gras in Portraits

Mardi Gras in Portraits

5.  No Fear of Needles Here (January 2012)

No Fear of Needles Here

Face needles for my cold! (Local sinus points)

Did you have a favorite post?

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog in 2012, and I hope to bring you more good stuff in 2013. Happy New Year!


The Wounded Warriors of Christmas Toys

My mom, sister, and I went to one of our favorite home decor stores one day and eventually found ourselves in the back room where everything is 50 – 75% off, which is right up my alley. Most of the stuff there is perfectly good and just moved from the main floor by that time, but some is definitely just plain broken.

The great thing about this room, though, is that they have tons of Christmas decorations that you won’t find anywhere else. I found a great reindeer whose antlers formed a candelabra and a magnetic advent calendar too.

As I continued to walk around, I glanced over and saw something sitting alone on a shelf that I immediately fell in love with. I had spotted a wooden reindeer who was just beautiful, regardless of the fact that his knee was broken and he was missing an antler.

I walked him over to where my sister was talking to two colleagues she had bumped into and told her that I had fallen in love with this broken reindeer. I got some strange looks from her friends but I was undeterred.

Then I found my mom and told her the same. When my sister joined us, I explained to them that surely his antler would be here somewhere–that all we had to do was look. So we split up again and began searching. Finally, I saw an antler sitting in another section and I was overjoyed. We huddled back together and realized: this wasn’t this reindeer’s antler. There must be another reindeer out there!

I was determined. I had fallen in love with one, and I knew another was sitting somewhere, missing his antler too. I had to find him.

And find him I did. I found another reindeer with both knees intact, but missing not one, but two antlers. This was a tragedy. What was I to do? I had two broken, unloved reindeer and I did not want to leave them behind. And at this point, there were no more antlers lying around.

The broken reindeer as I found them.

broken reindeer at the store

I cradled both reindeer and walked them around with me in the store as I pondered the situation. These reindeer were $5 a piece. Was I willing to pay $10 for two broken reindeer? Maybe the cashier would give me both for the price of one (which was already 75% marked down).

No, she would not. That was the price – $5 a piece for both – and she was sticking to it.

I was in agony. Was I supposed to choose? I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. My mom looked over at me and said, “You need to take them home. You’ve formed a bond.” I knew she was right, and that I’d regret it if I didn’t. I sent their photo to my husband with the following message: I can’t leave a wounded warrior behind.

So I took them both. I paid the price for my two wounded warriors of Christmas toys, and I brought them to my parent’s house where we were staying for the weekend. I proudly showed them to my dad, and based on the look he gave me he thought I was nuts too. Two reindeer with only two antlers between them and a broken knee. But to me, they were perfect.

But my dad obviously liked them too because he took them and wrapped their wounds and glued back their one antler each. Then I named one and he named the other: Wally and Leroy.

Wally and Leroy traveled back home with me a few days later and they didn’t fare well. Both antlers fell off and one arm became detached too.

I was, still, undeterred.

I glued everything back. And then I made them Christmas hats and necklaces.

Wally and Leroy, my Wounded Warriors of Christmas Toys

Wally and Leroy, my Wounded Warriors of Christmas Toys

They were perfect to me before, and they are even more perfect to me now. Wally and Leroy are my Wounded Warriors of Christmas Toys, and I love them dearly. And truly, there’s nothing a little love won’t fix.

Do you agree?

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Your Tights Would Look Good on a Pumpkin.

My sister and I met in New Orleans during the most recent Mardi Gras (remember the portrait photos?). We had just finished doing some shopping and were sitting outside pondering where to go next when someone walked by and greeted her. It was her student, Courtney (my sister is a math instructor at our alma mater). Surprised to see Courtney there, she responded, “Hello, Courtney! Funny to see you here in New Orleans!”

My sister should have stopped there. But she was caught off guard by seeing one of her students while she was on vacation. So instead of saying something like, “Nice to see you,” she instead blurted out: “I love your tights. They would look great on a pumpkin!”

Um … what? I swear I heard a record screeching to a halt here.

What did she just say?

Did I hear that correctly?

A pumpkin??

Clearly, by the look on Courtney’s face, she heard what I heard. And she didn’t understand either. Or she was very offended.


My sister realized how it sounded and tried to explain: “You can wrap tights around a pumpkin for Halloween!”

pumpkin decorated with lace, from Better Homes and Gardens

(She was referring to something like this.) Pumpkin decorated with lace, from Better Homes and Gardens

Hmmm. That’s not much better. And it was currently February, which is obviously no where near Halloween.

Courtney gave her a bewildered, slightly hurt look, and walked on.

My sister was mortified. I was a little bit too.

So, as a good sister, I made fun of her as much as possible. And I remembered. I remembered and waited until the month of October rolled around.

And then, I mailed her one-half of a pair of ill-advised white tights that I bought but never wore.

I sent the one leg of tights with a poem too!

Here you are:

Tights for a pumpkin with a Boo card


And the poem:

Here is a leg for you. Now, mail me one too. I really hope you do. So our Halloween plans come true.

I told her the tights were on their way, so she was ready. (Her husband was not and was very confused when she pulled out a leg of tights from her envelope.)

Never to be outdone, my sister created her own poem and sent it along with some tights she dug up from our parent’s attic. (Ewww!!)

Here’s her response:

the halloween response poem

My sister’s Halloween response.

And here are my pumpkins, dressed and in honor of poor Courtney:

The pumpkins all dressed up in their tights.

Now you know to take it as a compliment the next time someone tells you your tights would look good on a pumpkin!

Happy Halloween!