You know… that Blog?

12 Things I Learned in 2012

Written By: Jenn - Jan• 21•13

Last year I did an “11 Things I Leaned in 2011“, and I think I’ll continue that and make it an annual post. The only trouble is, when I sat down to write this post, I couldn’t come up with too much right off the bat, and it took me quite a while to flesh it out! As someone who strives to learn something new every day, that was a pretty dismal thing indeed!

Here’s what I learned in 2012:


1. Dog boots will save your sanity. This new house of ours is surrounded by mud. MUD, people. This dog of ours likes to go outside. A lot. After washing the floor multiple times a day, my patience was starting to wear thin! I happened to spot a set of dog booties when I was shopping a month ago, and a sweeping Zen force overtook me. Not only were they Sadie’s size, but they were pink, and she actually LIKES wearing them! They take a minute to put on, but oh, the time and sanity they have saved!

2. Fences are necessary! Speaking of dogs… I never realized just how much I was going to miss having a fence. Granted, I didn’t really need one at the last house, but here? With all kinds of people around, and a neighbour father and son who are deathly afraid of dogs? I need a fence. Sadie had them trapped in their car for 5 minutes while I tried to get my boots on this morning. She only wanted to say “Hi! I reeeeeeeeeeeally love you!”, but for whatever reason, they only believe she’s going to eat them.

3. You need to look at beautiful things while you’re working. It doesn’t have to be a lot of beautiful things, but you need something that makes you smile, and engages your creative side. I’m fortunate to have a huge window to sit in front of while I work, especially considering how affected by SAD I am most winters. What I’m seeing from that window, though, is mud. (See item #1) Mud, dirty cars, and not much else. Occasionally a flock of geese will fly over the house, and every time I take the opportunity to pause what I’m doing and watch their passage. It’s a little like yelling “Squirrel” I suppose… but still, it’s nice. I have some plants that make me happy, but right now the office is a crazy post-move, post-Christmas mess so my next project is going to be organizing the chaos.

4. Prepared? Ha! You can be as prepared as you like before moving, but you’ll never be fully prepared. We were not prepared for the amount of warranty work that would need to be done. We weren’t prepared for the mud. We’ve been in this house for almost 4 months now, and I’m still trying to find things that I packed. I can’t find my chequebooks, either.

5. Never give up on your creativity. It’s like allowing a part of your soul to wither and die. I left the big group I was singing in last year, except for agreeing to manage them for concerts, and for a long time, I wasn’t doing any singing at all. I was approached to join Nero’s Fiddle, and almost didn’t take them up on the offer! I’m glad I did though; it’s going to be a wild ride. I realized that I never feel “whole” unless I’m actively involved with a musical group. It’s as much about the people as it is about the music.

6. Good friends are worth nurturing. Energy Vampires are not. Every so often it’s a good idea to step back and look at just who you’ve got in your life, and how their presence in it affects you. ‘Nuff said.

7. Sleep is wonderful. The older I get, the less I seem to need. I’m usually just fine with 7 hours, where I used to need at least 8. That’s ok, but not getting any isn’t. I discovered Melatonin this year, and it has been pretty darn wonderful. It’s not a sleep aid – it only helps your body’s clock get back on schedule. It’s not habit-forming, but it helps your brain figure out it’s bed time, helps you get to deep, healing sleep, and you awake feeling refreshed. For those times when I’ve needed a little help, it has been a life saver for me. I hate taking drugs, so this (more or less) natural hormonal supplement was exactly what I needed.

8. Kids are never too old to need a hug and encouragement from their mom. The Teen is a moody lass, and sometimes it’s easier to avoid situations than to meet them head on. Only, sometimes, those situations are created so you WILL step in and lay a calming hand on the hot head. No details for this one; if you’re the parent of a teenager, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you’re not… you’ll figure it out. Just be there and be prepared to listen to what your kids are actually SAYING.

9. Blogging needs to be enjoyable. Every so often you need to take a break from it so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Last year I really had no energy for writing, and found myself avoiding it altogether, except for keeping up with SHW. If I didn’t have such a great group of Haiku-ers I probably would have let that lapse too. I’m glad I didn’t, and it at least kept things moving, even if I wasn’t engaged. Now that I’ve had my break, I’m ready to move ahead and start writing again! I have all sorts of ideas for blog-worthy posts in my noggin right now.

10. Yams? STILL? There is an incredible amount of people who still don’t know the difference between yams and sweet potatoes. The traffic I get on a daily basis for one of my very first posts on this blog is crazy! The second busiest post is about OoO (Oil of Oregano), which I still swear by. Clearly I was more interesting in years past than I am now. I’ll try to fix that, shall I?

11. Give your kids their wings. My brother keeps his kids so closely monitored that it’s clear they feel stifled and restricted. My nephew (14) is now in high school, and trying his best to grow up. My brother can’t seem to let him make his own choices, or his own mistakes, and I am seeing a kid that is going to get into some trouble when he finally snaps and starts to rebel. Right now he’s just completely sarcastic, with a quick, not-always-funny comment about everything going on around him. It’s annoying, but I understand what’s happening in his head. I also see him visibly relax when he comes to my house before and after school, and isn’t put under the microscope. He and The Teen head down to the teen cave and have a ball on her PS3, listen to music, and talk. It’s so good for him! But what is going to happen to him when the Teen is off to college in September?

My niece is a couple years younger, so it’s not as evident with her yet. I hope that when my brother finally does learn to lighten up that it will be before his princess hits full-blown puberty. Why? Because, folks… she’s just like me. *cue evil laugh*

12. Listen to your gut. If you know something is wrong, whether it’s with a situation, a person, an animal… act on it. Talk about it. DO SOMETHING. There are so many examples of this that I can’t even begin to get into with this post. Trust yourself, and have the backbone to speak up.

What did you learn in 2012?


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  1. tara tyler says:

    awesome list! love the dog booties and totally get the need for a fence. we’ve lived many places and living close to others, there are those who just have a fear of big & hairy with a mouth full of sharp teeth and a scary bark…we have one who is a big baby, but we hold him back as a courtesy. esp because there are some pooches in our neighborhood who are not friendly.

    being a teen was hard, raising a teen is harder!

  2. Robyn says:

    Such a great list! Enjoyed reading all the things you learned! Between our dogs and kids, I think half the outdoors makes it in to our house!