Thursday, December 29, 2022

Tap, Tap...Is This Thing on?

I didn't write an End of the Year Newsletter last year and I'm not sure why.
Maybe I didn't feel motivated enough? Maybe not enough wild things happened?  Maybe I'm getting old and just want to drink a good cup of coffee and read a good book and who wants to hear about that?

I started these things because my perfect cousin sends one out every year and it's so perfect PERFECT pErFEcT that it'll just make you fall into a diabetic coma if you're not careful!
I wanted to show the black sheep family side of things where we make mistakes, wear our pajamas to get pork rinds and chocolate donuts from the Circle K at 2am, don't go on vacations because we spend our money on books and medication for our 16 year old dog, where some days we just can't handle clothes touching our bodies so we remove our bras in the car on the way home from work and discovered the beauty of muumuus at home, where we TRY to make plans for brunch with our girlfriends and never end up finding a date that works for everyone so we just gossip in group chats and know that when we FINALLY get together it'll be like we were never apart, where we alternately binge-watch Gilmore Girls, The Great British Baking Show and Grey's Anatomy obsessively over and over again because they're our comfort shows, where we open TikTok to watch a couple of videos at 7pm and suddenly it's midnight and our hips hurt from sitting for too long, where we watch the mess that is our government and are STILL shocked at the hatefulness of human beings and where we appreciate the love and kindness that is still out there and we will it to grow.

I'm aware my punctuation sucks but that's something I've learned in the last few years and it's become obviously in 2022...I don't care about that crap anymore.  Your/You're...They're/There/Their...Oxford commas, semi-colons...I don't care!

 I rang in 2022 with Covid.  My symptoms presented themselves on Christmas Santa arriving with stocking stuffers.
I was miserable for a few days and then my boyfriend got sick and we were both miserable together.  The fact that I call this one of my favorite Christmases is very telling.  Besides the lack of smell and taste and the body aches and congestion and other weirdness, we had a blast.  We had food and groceries ordered in, we made soups, napped a lot and we watched so much TV that we had to keep a spreadsheet of the movies and TV shows we watched.   

This was also the first time I opted out of holidays with my family.  Things happened while my mother was sick and when she died that I can't seem to get over and because I can't pretend none of it happened, I'm the bad guy and being around them is very uncomfortable for me.  And in 2022 I decided that I was going to do less of what made me feel uncomfortable and more of what makes me feel happy.

2022 saw Tom and I having SO MUCH FUN!  We became obsessed with avocado who does this? Who makes a million different types of avocado toast and rates them every weekend?  We do!
We cooked so many meals together and drank lots of coffee in lots of different mugs.  We worked on organizing my tiny home and continuing to fill it with more stuff.
We became regulars at the local record store.  The owner recognized that I liked the weird stuff (old jazz, classical, 50s cocktail music, old French records...etc.) so she'd hold things for me that she knew wouldn't sell.
Later in the year, Tom realized that we weren't listening to the records we bought every weekend so we moved the player into the living room and he made sure we listened to everything over the next several weeks.

We added a new bookshelf to The Nook and I had my teens come over for tea, Jane Austen movies and book organization.  These kids are a blast and I am in awe of them every day.  They love me and actually WANT to spend time with me so I don't take that for granted.  The time will come when they have to forge their own way and build their own lives so these times will be few and far between so I am savoring the moments we have together.

This summer, I started a Jane Austen Book Club with the teens and a generous friend sent me a donation to buy the books for all of them!  I am overjoyed and overwhelmed with gratitude.

Dash is approximately 16 years old.  I adopted him in March of 2008 and he was thought to be around 18 months old.  He's in good health for the most part.  He has become the world's pickiest eater and I wish I could describe the anxiety I feel when he won't eat.  He will happily eat cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, chicken jerky and lunch meat but I am desperate for him to eat SOMETHING nutritious so I comb the pet stores looking for something he will eat for more than 2 or 3 days.  If you could only see how OFFENDED he is when we offer him something he doesn't want.  He will LITERALLY turn his back on the food or get up and move far away from it.
I've found myself to be the crazy person who offers him a buffet of different foods for him to try.  There will be at least 3 small plates of food around the house JUST IN CASE he deigns to eat this paltry display of cuisine.
He is worth every dime, every moment, every plate of uneaten food.  He has been by my side for nearly 15 years.  He has been my constant through heartbreak, grief, pandemics, illness, depression, anxiety and so much more.  There is not a living creature on this earth who will ever love me the way he does and I know my days with him are limited so I'm making sure they count.  We go for car rides nearly every night even though it's a struggle to buy gas and my tires are bald.  We walk when it's 800 million degrees and when it's like the Antarctic out there! We walk at 2 am, 4 am or whatever time he wakes me.  I'll throw on a jacket over my pajamas and walk the neighborhood with my mascara smeared under my eyes because he is worth it.  I am SO blessed (in many ways) to have a boyfriend who loves him too.  Who will feed him by hand if Dash is struggling with his appetite.  Who will drive to Wendy's at midnight and buy him chicken nuggets.  Who will carry him around the neighborhood when Dash doesn't feel like walking.  Who will drive so I can hold Dash in my lap to see out the window. Who buys him raw dog food that he found at the Farmer's Market, just in case he'll eat it.  Who cheers with me when he DOES finally eat something nutritious and I can relax for a day.
Dash and I are VERY lucky to have him and Cooper.

I had a milestone birthday that will not be turned into numbers at this time.
Once again, some amazing friends came and I was reunited with my Pip for a rousing karaoke rendition of Midnight Train to Georgia!
Since I didn't write a newsletter last year, you were spared the HORRIFIC debacle that was my birthday in 2021.  I was off my drinking game and overdid say the least.  At the end, I left a trail of vomit all the way from The Heights to near Galveston and was thankful for Tom who continued to date me after witnessing me throwing up in bar parking lots, gas station parking lots and my own hedges.
This year, I ended up being the designated driver and that was OK by me!

Tom has introduced me to the art of LEGO and although I'll probably never be the amazing aficionado that he is, I did really enjoy our first build together which was a London double-decker bus.
We've had the best time shopping, reading, cooking, watching TV, LEGO-ing, listening to music, dog-walking, organizing, cataloging books, making hot sauce and homemade dog food, and just being in each other's space.  I really don't mind that my cat, Bingley, loves him FAR more than he loves me.  It's is. I don't give his dog, Cooper, the good treats and the best butt scratches to win him over or anything either!

I think the most fun we've had is drinking a bottle of champagne while tears streamed down our faces watching our Astros win another World Series!  I've been through a LOT with his team and there have been some major ups and downs but I am so proud, so happy, and SO excited to see what happens next!

Did you guys know that I got to see Billy Joel in concert this year? It was incredible!  Greis, as always, is SO generous with her good fortunes and invited me when she won tickets.  I am so lucky to have such good friends.  Billy Joel is such an icon and I am so glad I got to see him perform live.  As I listened to each song, I realized that his music is like the soundtrack of my childhood.  We seemed to always have the radio on at our house growing up and these music memories are just inside my brain.  It was such a fun experience!

We celebrated Jolobokaflod which is the Icelandic tradition of trading books on Christmas Eve and spending the rest of the night reading and drinking hot chocolate. This was year 2 of this tradition and we are fans.
Christmas was peaceful and lovely in 2022.

I don't really do resolutions and I've learned that even though each year is considered a new start, it's really just another day and I'm not putting so much pressure on myself to start fresh...I'm just going to take it day by day and try to be a little better, try to do a little better and maybe take my vitamins.

Because really...what more can you do than drink some water and take your vitamins these days?  The rest is just life.


Happy New Whatever!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Goodbye 2020

 Every year I write this little newsletter to recap the year and share my hopes for the new one. 

2019 was awful for me. It was personally the worst year I could imagine so I was full of hope that 2020 would be better because honestly how much worse could it get?

Yeah. I know. My bad. 

So whatever...bring it 2021. I mean, who cares anymore?  

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Big Goodbye of 2019

So, here it is.  My end of the year newsletter.
I wasn't going to do one this year because it's been the worst year of my life and do I really need to document that?

The year was just one awful thing after another. In 2018, I dabbled in love and boy was that a mistake.
In 2019, it failed in every way possible and that debacle alone would have taken any one of us down but right after that, in July, my mother became ill and we spent 5 months in hell.  Nothing else seemed to matter.

I want to find something good about 2019 so let me tell you about my friends.
They rallied around me in spectacular ways.  I was given shoulders to crying on, flowers to remind me that there is beauty in this world, lotions to soothe my dry skin, words of encouragement, drinks, Starbucks, food...bags and bags of food...a bottle of Titos, lots of other cocktails and lots and lots of love.
I want this newsletter to serve as a HUGE thank you and a way to tell you that your gifts and cards and emails and messages and showing up at my door and your virtual presence and your physical presence...they meant everything to me.  They're the reason I haven't collapsed.  You all know who you are and I thank you with everything in my heart.

Every year, I choose a word to focus on for the year instead of a resolution.  This year it is: RENEW.
I am in a situation where rebuilding my life, creating a new life, is my focus.   Everything is different and that's not always a bad thing.
C.S. Lewis said: 

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

I will focus on this in 2020, too.

I'm going to end this with the things I said at my mother's funeral in November.  A lot of her family and friends were there to hear this but I would love the world to know a fraction of what she meant to me and the people in her lives.
I'm still shocked that I was able to stand up in front of everyone and speak, but my mom did it a lot.  She had the courage to stand up at the funerals of people she loved and give a eulogy so I told myself I could be brave just this once.

Happy Holidays,

I didn’t think I’d have the courage to stand up here and speak to you and my mind was blank when I tried to think of what to say.  But I woke up in the middle of the night the other night to the sound of Mom calling my name.  I don’t know if it was a dream or it was her bossing me around from the great beyond but I suddenly started composing this at 2:30am.  So, this may be an actual message from Heaven!

By the time I was 8 years old, all of my sisters were married and gone, starting their own families, so that meant it was just Mom and me throughout the years.

We had a ton of adventures together because Mom loved to get up and go.  She planned these awesome summer road trips for us that involved few highways and many Texas back roads.  Sometimes we’d decide to change course so she’d unfold this giant paper map (it’s what we used for navigation back before Google maps and iPhones) and plot a new route.  We’d stop at flea markets, roadside craft shows, old cemeteries and sometimes trespass in old abandoned houses.

Sometimes our adventures were unplanned; like terrifying drives through hail and floods or riding out hurricanes in my apartment with 5 dogs (one who had a nervous stomach) or being chased by a very large family of raccoons…or being victims of an attempted robbery that led to a high speed police chase through Texas City…and THAT day began with a fire in Mom’s house.  It was never a dull moment with Mom. 

This was Mom’s superpower, though.  She could endure super scary moments and then laugh about them later.  I learned that from her.

My mother taught me many things like joy, kindness, parallel parking, levity, a love of fried foods and fun. But a long time ago, I told her I was going to stand up at her funeral and impart two pieces of wisdom I learned from her:

  • 1.       Everything tastes better wrapped in a tortilla (she actually said this to me)
  • 2.       How will a person know they’re a jerk if you don’t tell them?  (I censored that because we’re in a church but she definitely did NOT say “jerk”.

This made her laugh so hard because my mother had THE BEST sense of humor….

HOWEVER she took her baseball and more importantly, her Astros, seriously.  She liked to use a form of reverse psychology on a struggling batter by yelling out “Here comes your 3rd out” at the TV when he came up to bat.  She swore it worked but Morgan Ensberg, Evan Gattis and Tyler White might have something to say about that.

I have never been ashamed to admit that my mother is my best friend because she was so much fun.  She found joy and fun in so many things…who wouldn’t want a friend like that?

The things we should have all learned from her were maybe not things she said but how she lived her life.  She never made anyone feel stupid or less than.  She embraced her friends and family with her whole heart and took in those who didn’t have families to embrace them. And she never pretended to be anyone other than who she was.  She was unapologetically herself and it takes courage sometimes to just be yourself.  These are important lessons in life.

When I got older and could start taking her places, I would drag her all over to try new cuisines and visit new places.  She would try anything and was never afraid of the unknown.  That’s how she faced her death.  She wasn’t afraid and she showed courage the entire time. 

I hope that she’s having a blast on this new adventure.  I hope that she doesn’t need a big map to find her way and I hope there are lots of laughs because I will always remember the laughs.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Peace Out, 2018!

It's that time again...where I list all my accomplishments and successes and brag about my beautiful children and doting husband....
Oh wait...that's not me.
It's where I round up all the screw ups and the highs and lows and present them to you in a lovely bow made of sarcasm and hyperbole.

The way 2017 ended and 2018 began, I was worried.  My mother had just left the hospital and was recovering from a near-death experience and I was still recovering from her near-death experience.
Because I took on a large portion of her care, my social life took a big hit.  Thankfully, MOST of my friends understood and instead of turning their backs on me, they continued to check on me and even bullied me into lunch and shopping dates to make sure I did things for myself.  I am eternally grateful to them for their love, understanding and care.

2018 found me questioning other friendships and wondering how much energy one should put into a one-sided relationship.  How long do you keep trying?  I'm not a perfect friend, I screw up a lot but I'm hoping 2019 will offer me answers!

I had another amazing birthday party.  I am always overwhelmed by the people who take the time to come out and celebrate with me.  Even though the first place we went to was so hot we all had a massive case of swamp ass, everyone still seemed to have a great time.  We did move to a larger, cooler venue where I seem to remember singing karaoke and for that I sincerely apologize.  I blame vodka!

2018 brought me a lot of things, good and bad.  A Bad Thing was adult chicken pox.  Yes, friends, I had chicken pox! I don't know if I can accurately describe how traumatic and miserable it is to have the pox as an adult.  If you've never had chicken pox as a child, GET THE VACCINE.  Stop reading this and call your doctor right now.  I'll wait...

But yes, it was horrific and I was sick for weeks that included 2 trips to the ER in one week.
In the middle of all of this, I met a boy and I had to cancel our first date due to chicken pox which sounded like a giant sitcom-style lie to him until I sent him a picture of my ravaged face.  Shockingly he still wanted to see me and that leads me to a Good Thing...
We eventually had our first date and during my extended convalescence, he brought me chicken sandwiches to eat in bed and settled for Netflix and LITERAL chill for a while until I was strong enough for real dates!
5 months later, we celebrated our first Christmas together so the chicken pox didn't ruin everything...and maybe it helped to lift that fear of letting someone in.  I'm stopping short of being grateful for it though because it was definitely a Bad Thing.

So, my Astros didn't win a second World Series but that's ok with me.  I'm that weird person who just loves baseball, win or lose.  It doesn't change my life either way.  However, I am sad to lose Marwin and CFM...that might kill me!  Also, winning a World Series is great and all but Damn! It's hard to get to Minute Maid Park these days and I miss having my summer home all to myself!

After a scary 2017, I lived in a state of fear of losing my mother but we got to throw her a huge 80th birthday party full of family and friends and she and I were able to continue our Christmas Eve traditions and that was something I thought was over.  I am truly grateful for this.

I began a reading challenge on Twitter that I am so proud of. (#RootRootRead...check it out)  A lot of people are enthusiastically participating which makes me so happy!  Who knew people still read books?
I reached my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal and honestly, I'm surprised because I feel like I never have time to read anymore.
For 2019, I'm challenging myself to only read books I own.  I have stacks and stacks of book all over my house and if I don't start putting a dent in them, I fear one day soon, they'll find my body buried under a stack of Proust and Maugham.

I really hate talking about it but it happened and I need to acknowledge it.  There was a horrible school shooting this year.  I knew many who died, including one who was close to me.  I also knew the shooter and I'm haunted by it still.  I don't know what the answer is.  I don't know how to stop it and I don't know why it keeps happening.  I just know there are parents who lost their children, friends who lost friends and communities who are recovering and somehow we still keep going.

Every year I choose a word instead of a resolution to focus on through the year.  Usually it comes right to me but I'm still trying to figure it out.  I'm thinking of choosing the word "Peace" because in a world of constant communication, mass killings, instant news, orange presidents, overwhelming drama and political instability, I feel like we could all use a little peace.

If 2018 wasn't perfect, it at least gave me a lot;  childhood diseases, another year with my mother, true friendship and love.
I'll take it.

Except for the diseases...I'll leave that behind.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Just a Drop in the Bucket

I created a Classic Novel Bucket List for myself a while back.  You're only assigned a handful of books in school and for some people that's all they need in the way of classic novels...or even books as a whole.
But, for me, I wanted to expand my mind a little and find out what makes a classic a classic.
After I made my list, I decided to share it with patrons at work so I added other classic novels that I had read as well as the ones I wanted to read and I made bookmarks for people to take with them to check off the books they've read and check off the books as they read them.

I've mentioned it on twitter a time or two and people have expressed some interest so I'm sharing it here; my own private Classic Novel Bucket List!

Faust:  First Part by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke
Siddartha by Hermann Hesse
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Stranger by Albert Camus
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
The Illiad by Homer
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
Hunger by Knut Hamsun
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Catch -22 by Joseph Heller
Dubliners by James Joyce
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Collector by John Fowles
The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
A Passage to India by EM Forster
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne DuMaurier
A Room With a View by EM Forster
My Antonia by Willa Cather
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
The Forsythe Saga by John Galsworthy
3 by Flannery O'Connor
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Bielski Brothers by Peter Duffy
Cousin Bette by Honore Balzac
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Sophie's Choice by Richard Styron
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017...You Bastard.

It started years ago with my Golden Cousin's yearly newsletter about her Golden Family and their Golden Adventures.
She made sure to send it to the Poor Relations in Texas either to share her life with us or to rub our noses in it.  Not sure which one...

I drank some wine while reading it and decided that my version of a yearly newsletter would sound really different and boy, did it!
Most of the time my newsletters are filled with alcohol-fueled mistakes and #TotalDeMoves and a very imperfect life.

Not long after I posted my 2016 letter, my mother became gravely ill and we almost lost her.  The first few months of the new year was spent helping her get her strength back and getting her back into her life.
My entire perspective on life shifted.  I realized, TRULY realized, that my days with my mother were numbered.  We all know in the back of our minds that we will have to deal with the death of a parent at some point but it's always so far in the future that it doesn't seem real. 
Suddenly, it was shoved in my face and I needed to make sure that my last years with my mother were meaningful.  

2017 found me turning down a lot of invitations from friends.  I pray to Jeebus that they don't stop inviting me because one day I'll accept invitations again.  I miss my friends!

I was able to throw my annual birthday party, however...and it was interesting.  Somehow, at the end of the night, I found myself throwing my body in between an angry redhead and a drunken loudmouth.  My beautiful ginger friend was going to kick some ass that night and at times I think I should have let her just to see how it turned out but the peacemaker inside of me took over and separated everyone.
It was a night we'll never forget!
I am always grateful for my friends who come to celebrate my birthday with me.  I am so very fortunate.

2017 sucked for so many people I know.  Hurricane Harvey was surreal.  It was hard to believe what was happening to my community.  The fear of sitting home through a hurricane, waiting for the worst to happen is bad enough but the worst DID happened to so many people.
I got lucky.  We were surrounded by rainwater pumps working 24/7.  There was street flooding but most of us in town were spared.
The images of people being rescued from their flooded homes with only a few bags and their pets is something I will never forget.
Then we had Irma and Maria to watch as it devastated another part of the country and horrible fires on the other side, as well.  Damn, 2017, you were brutal.

Soooo...let's see...I feel like I'm forgetting something...something to do with the Astros...hmmm....
what could it be....
Oh well...I'm sure I'll think of it.  In the meantime...WE GOT VERLANDER!  Holy crap, Verlander is an Astro! I never believed it would happen.  I come from the land of the 2011-2013 Astros so I am just waiting for something really bad to happen.  It never occurred to me that we could land someone like Justin Verlander!
The other amazing thing is that the day Justin landed in Houston and put on the Astros uniform for the first time, Greis and I got pictures with him.  We were like every annoying internet commenter when we yelled "FIRST!" afterward.  It is a fact that we were the first fans to get pictures with Verlander wearing an Astros uni! This will go on my headstone, ok?

Oh c'mon...did you really think that I'd forget that the ASTROS ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS???
Chances are if you're reading this, you're an Astros fan so you already know the heart-bursting happiness I feel.  You already know how anxious I felt during Game 5.  You already know how I cried at the end of Game 7 and during the parade and watching the videos on FB and when George Springer won WS MVP and when Altuve won AL MVP and and many tears and happiness.  I'm honestly still pinching myself.

Like last year and the year before, I've picked a word to guide me through the new year and for 2018 my word is Courage.
I need Courage to face what 2018 has in store for me.  I need Courage to become a better person, a better friend, a better citizen of the world.
I need Courage to change the way I'm living my life and Courage to be myself.
The word Courage reminds me of the Cowardly Lion from Wizard of Oz but whatever, I'll need Courage to get past that too, I guess!

Shortly before Christmas, my mother had a heart procedure and complications from that caused several things to happen which landed her in the ER, ICU, back home and back to the ER via ambulance a few days later.
When we had to call the ambulance, I thought that was the day I was going to lose my mother.  You're never prepared.
But she rallied.  They implanted a pacemaker/defibrillator after that and 3 days later (while still in the hospital), her heart stopped and she died for about 1 second.  That brand new defibrillator, hidden away under her skin, delivered a shock to her heart that got it started again and she woke up to my terrified screams.  When things calmed down a little, she said "I went somewhere and then I came back."
She didn't say that she passed out.  She didn't say that she went to sleep.  She said "I went somewhere."
Look, I don't know what to believe when it comes to the afterlife but sometimes life is so freaking awful that you have to have faith that something better comes next or it would be nearly impossible to stomach the awfulness, right?

As of writing this, my mother is home and slowly getting her strength back and planning on playing cards with her friends on New Years Eve.  Now, isn't that a miracle?

So, 2017 has been a total bastard but I still have my mother, my friends, Dashiell and the things I love all around me so it wasn't a complete loss.

Happy New Year, suckers!

Friday, September 8, 2017

How To Be Decent

*I'm adding things as I think of them so this is essentially a work in progress*
How to be a decent person:
To me, being a decent person isn't that hard. Sometimes I struggle and I always feel the need to try to be better all the time.  I fail often but I keep trying.  And the more I deal with people, the more I see the absolute NEED for people to be better.  We all need to be better are some of my ideas to be a decent person.

Stop thinking about yourself so much.  Stop thinking about how YOU feel, what YOU think or how something someone else does affects YOU.
Instead, focus on others from time to time.  Think about how your words and actions affect others.
Ask people about themselves and then LISTEN.
Follow up on friends who are having a bad time.

Share in someone else's joy.  Maybe it's not your cup of tea but if someone is excited about something or has a passion for something, be happy for them and share their joy.  You don't have to understand it.  IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU.

Say thank you...and mean it.  When someone goes out of their way...even in the smallest way...appreciation for their gesture, for their time, for their very thought of you, is extremely important.  It's not a weakness to receive help, it's not a weakness to ask for it but it's a giant flaw to not show appreciation for it.

Know your audience.  Your sense of humor may not be for everyone.  Your bawdy language may be cool around your peers but your grandma may not be so happy about it and the older lady in line behind you may not find it funny.  Have some respect not only for yourself but for the people you're near.

Keep work professional.  Your coworkers may be friendly but they're not always your friend.  If you keep a professional, yet helpful and friendly demeanor, you just might inspire others to do the same and work could become a less stressful situation.

Find your own happiness.  Don't look to others to make you happy...only you can do that.  Get to know yourself.  Find hobbies or projects that make you feel whole.

Learn to appreciate your blessings.  You may not have everything you want, but chances are you have everything you need.
Having goals and a plan for the future is a great idea but try to find peace with what you have while you work toward your goal.

Stop expecting everyone to adjust to you.
If you have communication issues with multiple people, look at the common denominator:  YOU.
You can't control how another person reacts to you unless you're thinking about how you react to them.  No one needs to cater to your bad day so don't take your frustrations out on others.

Be patient. If you're struggling, having a bad day or going through something, the person in front of you might be as well. Show a little compassion and patience.

Keep learning.  Be curious and interested and read something other than gossip blogs and watch something more than reality TV.  If you're interested, you'll become more interesting.

Most importantly...
Life is just a little brighter when you offer yourself to the service of others.
However, it's important to create a balance of taking care of others and taking care of yourself.