End of the Year Bloggy Review– Now With Photos and Audience Participation!!!

Well, as is my wont, I’m waxing all philosphical and whatnot about the end of 2010.

All in all? Not a bad year.

In the plus column:

  • Both parents = still alive. (Ditto for friends, loved ones and myself.) This is a biggie.
  • Inexplicably, I am still getting paid to write stuff. OK, not a lot, but still. If I could figure out a way to add several big fat zeroes to the end of my yearly total, I might be able to make a living at this thing. **Note: NOT referring to blogging, however– would have to add innumerable/ad-infinitum zeroes to that dang total, but then again, that’s not really what it’s all about, is it?**   (See also: This.)
  • Despite the fact that I share living space with not one but TWO teenage girls and an emotion-driven artiste/gospel singer, we all still like, nay, LOVE each other. And please note that out of all of the aforementioned, yours truly (who happens to be, ahem, “of a certain age” if you get my drift) is hands down the least drama-queeny of the whole bunch, just sayin’. (Yay me!)
  • Life continues to feel like it’s full of possibilities! In spite of what is commonly referred to as ‘reality,’ I still harbor lots of dreams… Of actually writing that book, of Russ and I living for a year in Europe, of taking the girls back to New Hampshire next summer and renting the old Bette Davis house again, of learning to speak another language fluently (OK, I don’t actually want to study another language, I’d just like to wake up one morning knowing how to speak it– hey, I said these were dreams), of hitting the lottery, of actually *playing* the lottery (I’m cheap), of Pip never peeing in my laundry room again, of finally getting new countertops– you know, like that. It could happen.
  • And at the risk of lapsing into cliche-land, one of the biggest pluses of this past year has been this crazy blog and the ‘Bloomr Nation that has sprung up willy-nilly all around it. In all seriousness, I really love what happens here in my little corner of the blogosphere– especially the community/fellowship/support group/swap meet/prayer circle-vibe we get going in the Comment section. Oh yes, I’ve certainly enjoyed the blogging opportunities that have come my way this year, I love going to conferences and I’ve enjoyed being an Ambassador (ess) and reviewing frozen pizza, but honestly the main reason this blog exists as far as I’m concerned is the connection that happens here between all of us. (Feel free to sing Kum-by-yah right about now.)

Which brings us to the negative column of 2010:

OK, give me a minute.

  • Well, there is the fact that Madi Rose is a senior and I’m having those inevitable “She can’t leave next year, she’s MAH BABYYYYYYYYY!!!!” moments on a regular basis. Also those “Wait, I want another run at this, I want a parenting do-over– I KNOW I can be a perfect mom this time!” moments. My main coping mechanism at this point is just to stick my fingers in my ears and LA LA LA LA real loud whenever I’m forced to think about the reality of Madi not living here in this house right upstairs with her messy room and rampant germaphobia and weird food cravings and wacky sense of humor and every other wonderfully quirky, much loved, fully celebrated idiosyncratic Madi-ism.  Also I’m wondering if college might be a good time to start homeschooling… Just kidding. Sort of.
  • And I guess I have to acknowledge that the 2010 economy kind of sucks, which makes that whole pesky “making a living” thing a little more complicated. Blah di blah blah. Money– who came up with that idea, anyway? I think the barter system should be a perfectly acceptable way to pay for goods and services and college tuition, don’t you? Between Russ’ vocal stylings and my way with cookie decorating, we’d be RICH RICH RICH, I tell ya!
  • There’s also aging. Yes, despite appearing to be as eternally young and fresh-faced as springtime (shut it– that’s why God invented photo-shopping), it seems I am indeed getting older. As in creaky-knees and I-think-I-just-peed-a-little-when-I-sneezed older, which is quite frankly, absolutely shocking to me. I’ve had to face the hard truth that though I don’t happen to have grandchildren yet, (being a late-bloomer and all), I am certainly OLD ENOUGH to have grandchildren. This seems somehow fundamentally wrong to me– doesn’t it to you too? I mean, how can I be (technically) old enough to have somebody call me Meemaw when I still picture myself as the blushing ingenue/young upstart of this melodrama I like to call My Life? Someone should speak to God’s Casting Department about this, obviously something is very wrong, here. I CANNOT possibly have peaked in the ’80’s, that’s just not fair on so many levels. Seriously. Who wants to believe that THIS is as good as it gets?!

(Although I do feel compelled to mention that since no one is the boss of me, today at noon o’clock I was still lounging around in bed, drinking my second cup of coffee while wearing a sequiny leopard print top and eating a chicken salad sandwich. Why? BECAUSE I CAN. Age does have some perks.)

That’s really about all the negatives I could come up with for the Year of Our Lord 2010. Truth be told, we have been blessed beyond measure in all of the things that really count, and I am grateful to the point of obnoxiousness for all of them. Including YOU GUYS.

So before I get all maudlin, I’d like to close with a photo montage of the last week AND I’d also like to pose this question for you to answer in the comment section below: What were YOUR positives and negatives in 2010…?

OH, and before I forget–

santa holidays comments christmas

Annnnd it’s picture time!


**OK, first Russ makes us sing Christmas carols.

**We even have sheet music.

**This must have been a really fast one!

**Next, Stuart reads the Christmas story…

**Listening intently, from L to R: Ann (Stuart’s daughter-in-law), David (Stuart’s son), Hot Cousin Billy and Madi.

**Then– PRESENTS! Madi looks a little skeptical about this one…

**So many presents… Even the dogs (of which there were MANY) are exhausted.

**And finally, we eat.


**We began the festivities with a new holiday tradition this year: Papa falling through his chair! I’m not even kidding. He was JUST FINE, which is why Russ is smiling– and the reason Nanno is bending over like that is because she was laughing her dang head off.

**The girls found their stockings…

**…and then moved on to the main event, with an appreciative audience of onlookers.

**Russ was obviously a good boy this year.

**Charlotte and I test driving her new hats.

**And finally, here’s why I’m glad I have girls– they give me presents like girly panties, raspberry-scented lotion and chocolate!

OK, now it’s your turn to tell me about your “best/worst part of last year”!

24 Responses

  1. phwd737

    Oh my, that was fun, Tori! Thanks for giving us all a peek into your lives! I love your writing & love your outlook on life, especially aging, which I am still trying to do gracefully! *~*
    Don’t have time right now to share my “best/worst”, (gotta run to our church’s outreach tonight on Colorado Blvd here in Pasadena, CA.,– Crazy good times on the Rose Parade Route!), but will check in back later…;-)
    Have a wonderful New Year! Give our love to Russ!
    ~Tricia & Joseph, (Joe), Appler ?

  2. phwd737

    Ooops, that ? was supposed to be a Heart! :D

  3. babygirl

    This is my favorite blog (so far). I identify 100% with the age part. What happened with that!!! I don’t have grandchildren yet, but I could (wild look of disbelief here).

    I’ve had a blessed 2010– I can’t think of too many negatives other than superficial ones– you know, saggy and wrinkly things here and there.
    My most thankful moment was surviving and thriving through a car accident on Dec. 18th. The best bit is (of course), that I was not hurt, and it was totally the other woman’s fault (big sigh here).

    Anyway, through it all, I can say I’m thankful for a wonderful 2010 and I wish you and your great family a happy prosperous 2011!

    Keep up the good blogging– I love it!

  4. babygirl

    Well I didn’t intend to add a lesser than 3 ending :)
    Supposed to be a heart! LOL

  5. auburn60

    OK…before I can even think about the year in review let me just say that I am setting aside next Aug./Sept. to walk you through the whole ‘ Madi goes to college ‘ drama. I’m already starting to dread the whole event.

    Now…2010. Well, it certainly had it’s ups and downs. On the plus side: both girls graduated from college. We had a fun football season with Matt. Got my yard landscaped and lots of projects done around the house. Spent some ‘real’ time with people I never had the chance to do that with (like long Sun. afternoons in small mom-and-pop motels in Gatlinburg.) On the down side: negative employment issues, potential serious eyesight issues and way more pain associated with that than expected and trying to have that mustard seed faith and not always being able to pull it off.

    And I have that realization a lot lately that I am old enough to be a grandmother…but I don’t think I’m ready for that next step quite yet. And I also congratulate myself on being the most rational person in the house in spite of being ‘a certain age’. Happy to leave the drama for those with the energy for it. And I’m gonna go out on a limb and deny that we peaked in the 80’s…I think there will be a need for flamboyant ‘Golden Girl’ types…say in the 2020’s?

  6. KellyBurton

    Negs: friends who turned out to be douche canoes.

    Pos: Tweeps who turned out to be Friends. (case in point: the writer of this blog…)

    Happy 2011!

  7. LindaB

    Well, let’s see——one positive tonight is that I’m sitting in the middle of a king size bed in a very nice hotel right now with my hubby of forty some years, ringing in the New Year and enjoying the gifts he got me for Christmas—–new laptop and e-book reader (which I haven’t figured out yet, but he’s going to help me.) He’s so good to me! And we’re still together! He actually says he enjoys being with me, after all these years! Sometimes that’s hard for me to believe, but he doesn’t lie, so I guess it’s true. Who knew? And he still makes my heart beat a little faster when he walks into a room. My kids and grandkids just called me to wish us Happy New Year! That was sweet! Love them younguns! And though the economy is terrible in our county—–worst in the state——hubby is working overtime and all is well with us so far. Mom is still with us and relatively healthy. All my brothers and sister are doing well. And the Republicans took the House. (Yay Betty! I know you had something to do with it!)

    For the negative side, I’ve really started to feel my age this year. Arthritis sucks! Diabetes sucks big time. But I’m still alive. I lost a dear dear friend this year that has left a hole in my heart. I didn’t realize how much I depended on her wisdom and counsel…..and encouragement. I miss her every day.

    This blog and your candor, insights, irrepressible, if not irreverant humor, Tori, has been a very positive thing for me this year! I’ve been inspired to do tablescapes, which I would never had tackled without your sharing “Between Naps on the Porch”. And I really enjoy doing that. When life gets hard, it’s a good thing to have something beautiful that makes you smile just gazing at it. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” kind of thing. My eyelashes are longer……I think. I’ve started listening to Lyle Lovett….with my eyes closed, though. I’m still trying to find a Paul Newman pizza——-I guess Clio is just too far to ship them ’cause there’s not a one of them in the whole county. I’ve “met” a real live rock star. And I certainly have grown to love all you Babybloomr fans as you’ve shared your stories and your lives with us.

    Oh, and one more thing….my daughter tells me I talk too much on this blog—–but she’s not the boss here!!! Yay!!

  8. rachelbaker

    LindaB – never stop posting your comments – its like two blogs for the price of one, plus it makes me look less conspicuous when I post my essays. Speaking of which, there’ll me more to follow at a less chaotic time without 5 children rushing around.

  9. meb

    Best & worst are so intertwined with each other this year. Loss of a job, yet we sold our house in 42 days. Living with my parents for 3 months, while it was a blessing, after being out of the house for 25 years, it was a difficult adjustment as well. New job bringing stability back to the family, down side being all the way on the other side of the country away from family and friends.

    Looking forward to what 2011 has in store, and wishing everyone here a happy new year!

  10. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Shine, I was all set to write a book on this subject…..until LindaB took up her space and mine, too. But since I love her, I won’t even mention it, for goodnesssake.I sure miss that ‘ole opinionated, determined beyond reason and,loveable and unforgettable friend, too….the very worse part of 2010.

    But because I was robbed of my time and space, I will graciously sum it all up in one sentence: I managed to get to age 80 and still be alive; but I don’t like old age.

    Happy New Year, Everybody….I luvs you……and especially my little Taff family. I am indeed very blessed.

  11. auburn60

    Tori, have you ever noticed that EVERY TIME you go to Arkansas tornados hit the state?

    Coincidence? I’m just sayin’…

  12. LindaB

    She IS the tornado that hits the state!

    Barbara, if I’d known there was an 80 year old woman who wanted to write something here, I’d have been briefer.


  13. lampbythesea

    Upside to 2010? Started a Book. Still breathing. Kids; all Teenagers in Tact. Husband, though unemployed, still Faithful to God and his bucket list jotting wife who has pointed out to him that she needs a vacation despite living on the last pennies of our emergency “saving for a rainy day” money. (apparently it’s been pouring) Experienced a life of walking in faith of the “Pursuit of Happyness” nature. That desperate! Only to see God show up, again and again. Kind of is exciting how many angels are in charge over us. Makes me feel kind of greedy since as far as I know, George in It’s a Wonderful Life, just had one. What kind of life does that make mine!?

    Blessings to You Tori and Your Beautiful family. “I Still Believe”. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve played that song over the last year.

    P.S. Write that book!

  14. VA-Cathy

    One of the many things to be thankful for is your blog! I loved seeing the “excited” looks of the Christmas singers, I laughed out loud and had to explain to my 21 year old son, who did NOT understand why I found if funny, a wife bent over laughing at her husband busting thru his chair, 90’s or not! Having a daughter near the same age a Madi, I compare things. Do you no find it odd that they are “germaphobs” yet live in messy rooms? I’m sure I spelled that wrong but it will give my family something else to tell me I do wrong. Also, my son is going back to college – which is a good thing, he’s 21 and only had 1 semester. Bad thing is it’s 2 days away and he’s broke. He already broke our bank the first time he tried. Our daughter is a senior and wants to go to college that’s about 5 hours away. I get completely overwhelmed at times.
    Thank you for sharing with us. It’s so good to know that we can relate in so many ways in things that we feel is “just me”.

  15. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Sweet Linda, you said so much of what I would have said anyway..so I would have just been repeating……and you said it from my heart.

    Tori, I love your sharing your Christmas photos with us….and, shamefully, I must admit that your dad going thrugh that chair cracked me up, too. I can’t help it, when something like that happens, I laugh first and then find out if they are okay. I guess it’s one of those situation-comedy thangs.

  16. LindaB

    Sorry, Tori, but you know I always have some questions! Here’s a few unanswered ones from your pictures above:

    1. When Russ pulls out his guitar and says “Let’s sing some Christmas Carols”, does anyone one say, “Not on your life am I gonna sing next to Russ Taff!!”

    2. What is that thing Russ has in his hand that led you to say he’s been a good boy? I can’t tell what it is, or did you blurr it?

    3. Did your crafty sister make those adorable hats?

    4. What did Russ get you for Christmas? And vice versa? (You can make up something if want to. Many years when our girls were growing up, we didn’t get anything for each other cause we were so tired and broke from getting them everything they wanted. And SICK OF SHOPPING AND WRAPPING!)

    5. I thought my family were the only ones who would laugh our heads off when someone falls. Who got that shot of your mom crackin’ up and your dad going right through the chair seat???? That’s priceless! You just gotta laugh when you look at that pic!!! Was that Madi, our talented news photographer?

  17. LindaB

    Oh, and the most important question of all: YOU STAYED IN BETTE DAVIS’ OLD HOUSE???? I’ve GOTTA hear about this one!!! BETTE DAVIS??? THE MOVIE STAR BETTE DAVIS??? What was THAT like??

  18. tori

    phwh737: HEY TRICIA– so glad to hear from you! Everybody? This is Trish Appler, an old friend from our Hot Springs’ days– Tricia, this is everybody. Please come back often, love having you here!

    babygirl: Thanks for the kind words– and oh my gosh, I am so thankful you weren’t hurt (or worse) in that car accident! Blessings on the new year to you, too.

    auburn60: Sweet friend, this year certainly has had it’s sucky parts for you, hasn’t it?! Thank God for the lovely moments– and here’s to many, many more of them in 2011! (Including more catching up and ‘college counseling’– for ME!)

    KellyBurton: You and Rod and the girls definitely come under the Blessings column for our family– no douchecanoes there!

    LindaB: Girl, this blog would never make it without you! You have the ability to make me laugh out loud on a regular basis, and your heart is as beautiful as your tablescapes– so glad you are a part of ‘Bloomr Nation!

    rachelbaker: Holy cow, Rachel– 5 kids running around?! You’re having a rockin’ holiday season! And please keep your “essays” coming, they enrich us all.

    meb: I guess every year we all kind of have a mixed bag, don’t we? You sure have had a lot of changes to deal with, and you’ve done it well. So glad I was able to meet you face to face this year!

    MommaLloyd: I miss Betty, too– so much. It’s still hard to believe she’s gone and not joining us here, weighing in on her year with her usual sharp wit and relentless determination to find the good in everything. What a gift she was, to all of us– and how VERY MUCH she loved you!

    auburn60 and LindaB: Yes I HAD noticed the whole tornado thing… I claim complete innocence.

    lampbythesea: I love what you had to say! It’s good to be reminded that God DOES show up, again and again– and I’m with you, I think there’s probably an entire battalion of angels assigned to the Taff family, too! “I Still Believe” is probably my all-time favorite RT song, glad it spoke to you this year. (And keep us informed on the book!)

    VA-Cathy: Yeah, we looked thrilled about singing, didn’t we?! I can’t believe I actually caught that moment on film of Daddy and the chair– I just happened to have the camera in my hand, and of course it says a lot about my family that I indeed TOOK THE PICTURE and that my mom was CRACKING UP! (Thanks for your comment– I get overwhelmed a lot too, it does help to know I’m not alone!)

    MommaLloyd: You’re right, it’s impossible not to find at least a tiny bit of humor in somebody falling thru a chair… Even if it was my 94 yr old dad! Oh well, HE laughed, too!

    LindaB: 1. Nope, we’re all used to it. This family has been listening to him pull out his guitar and sing since the 70’s! 2. Didn’t blur it, it’s a present from Madi– a Starbucks card and candy! 3. Nope, though I bet she probably could! 4. Our Christmas present to each other every year is to go on a brief getaway, just the two of us– sometimes Eureka SPrings, sometimes New Orleans. This year and last year we have gone to Hot Springs for 3 days, because we don’t want to be too far away… Stayed in a great downtown loft, pictures to come! %. Nope, I can take all the credit for this one! 6. We’ve spent many summer vacations in Sugar Hill, NH where my brother Joel plays oboe in the summer with the North Country Chamber Players. Bette Davis lived there for a while (married a local) and build a gorgeous house out of old barns called Butternut, which my family (mom, dad, various others) rented for several years in a row. Both of my girls took their first steps in New Hampshire! Here’s a picture of the house: http://www.franconiarentals.com/site/Overview/PropertyID__27939/7389/DesktopDefault.aspx

  19. bettyrwoodward

    Well Happy New Year to everyone.
    Trying to think of the good and bad of last year has been difficult. No babies born and no deaths in the family! Had a great visit to Marakesh earlier in the year. It has been great to see Rachel’s family move back ‘up north’ and settle in so well. It was great to have all the family together at David’s for Christmas day.
    Church wise is was good to see people come to faith and be baptised and others growing in their faith.
    Nothing particular on the down side though New Year’s eve was a bit odd as the friend who was sharing it with spent most off the time ‘on the loo’ and no it was nothing to do with my cooking! Fortunately she was fine the next day and we enjoyed a lovely walk.

  20. Shella

    A new blog and pictures – what a great way to start the day! Enjoyed the comments, too.

    The positives and negatives of 2010 for me? Well, one negative would certainly be my father (nearly 80) falling down the steps at a summer resort, with lawn chairs and a big blow-up raft in hand. Moments before Dad had refused the assistance of my nephew, claiming that he was certainly capable of carrying a few things down the stairs. Uh-oh. The bad news was that he really hurt himself. The good news – according to him – was that he had a (lawn) chair handy to sit in while he assessed his injuries. Dad has since recovered from his broken left ankle and had his right shoulder replaced with a new plastic one that enables him – he claims – to do things that he hasn’t been able to do for years.

    A positive is the joy and fun that a little two-year-old boy has brought into my life. He comes over every weekend to play with me. He has introduced me to the joy and fun that seeing a duck, or a butterfly, or a buzzing bee can bring. Last weekend he wanted to sit under the kitchen table and color “Rudolphs.” So we did. (Should I be admitting that?) During 2011 I’m going to try to look at life more often with the eyes of an innocent two-year-old and less with the eyes of a cynical, somewhat jaded um…..??…-year old. Happy New Year, everyone!

  21. rachelbaker

    Well, the madness has subsided and tomorrow the school and work routine returns to the Baker house. Its been a great Christmas break, the highlight of which was our trip to Disneyland Paris. Despite the winter vomiting bug and blizzards doing their best to spoil our holiday it was fantastic, and wonderful memories were made.

    I guess, as Mum had already mentioned, our big move back up north has been the pivotal point of this year. It has brought both good things and sad things, as any upheaval will, but the positives outweigh the negatives a hundred-fold. Positives: re-establishing old friendships and making new ones; being closeby one friend in particular who is going through a rough time at the moment; laughing like I haven’t laughed in a long time; feeling like we really belong to a church family where all 5 of us are loved and valued; watching my husband make good Christian friends for the first time ever; getting the girls into a fantastic school where they are thriving; getting to watch my favourite football (soccer) team play regularly; living in a city that has always felt like home to me. Negatives: leaving behind some friends; having to tear my 6 year old away from all her many, many close friends and watching her struggle to make new ones; my husband having to work away from home more often – actually the negatives are hard to think of, I consider myself to have been blessed in 2010!

    Just one last thing – a positive – my Christmas present from my husband. I’m getting a somewhat muted reaction from most people but I reckon there may be some people on here who might understand my excitement. I received the entire, 20 volume, Oxford English Dictionary – something I have wanted for as long as I can remember (yes, I was a strange child). I have been asked what I will use it for, and I really don’t know, except just to be fascinated by the words it contains and their history. Failing that, I may just stroke the beautiful books!

  22. LindaB

    Tori, what’s this all about?


    Did someone in your famiy get a Daisy BB gun for Christmas???

  23. tori

    bettyrwoodward: Marrakesh sounds so exotic and fabulous… (Hope your dinner party friend is better!)

    Shella: Holy cow– that WAS a fall! So glad he is all right now, bionic shoulder and all! And I love your new year’s resolution so much.

    rachelbaker: Well, I for one totally understand your excitement– I used to prop the encyclopedia up on the faucets and read it in the bathtub!

    LindaB: I have no idea, but I HAD NOTHING TO DO WItH It, I SWEAR!

  24. chillybean

    2010 – the good: Nathan (your wonderful nephew) who has the patience to deal with me! All four of our children who, while they have their quirks, really are amazing. Overall, it really has been a great year.

    2010 – the bad: Nothing really, isn’t that incredible!? Other than the fact that I have to go back to work tomorrow and I still haven’t corrected those essay exams…

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