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A to Z 2015 : REFLECTIONS

A to Z 2015 : REFLECTIONS

A to Z 2015 has come to an end. For some it was over before it even began, others (maaaaaaaybe like myself) it ended a week afterwards, when officially finishing their final post. I've found the challenge affects most people the same way, just at different times, with the exception of those planning well in advance. Then again, writing on a whim isn't as much of a struggle for some as others either.

I don't feel I have much to say that differs from my first experience with the A to Z Challenge in 2013 (and probably 2014, which may be why I just discovered I apparently skipped that year's Reflection post), although this year I did do things a little bit differently. Let's see what worked and what didn't...

XLV | 10 THINGS OF THANKFUL | XLV

http://summat2thinkon.blogspot.com/p/ten-things-of-thankful.html

I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d fully recommit to this blog hop after my catch up post, especially during the A to Z Challenge. I’ve already witnessed a handful of people folding under the pressure of daily blogging (even with that Sunday break), and keeping up with other bloggers participating. They were fine soldiers. Each and every one of them. Their time, dedication, and ultimate sacrifice shall not go unnoticed.

Please, a moment of silence…

…And we’re back.

I’m definitely trying not to be oppressed by my snail pace at visiting, but I undoubtedly — in general — need to improve my time management. The final stretch of the challenge is upon us and (SPOILER ALERT!) for that I am Thankful. There is no way in hell I’m going to quit now! I figure once the A to Z wraps up I can take some time and catch up with posts I missed, because there is that real possibility I may not be blogging much thereafter.

Unless that Blog Every Day in May Challenge is taking place again. Then maybe, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s still a whole three days away.

Today I’m Thankful for:
  1. Getting back into the groove of things and participating in the A to Z Challenge this year.
  2. That I didn’t buckle under the pressure!
  3. As mentioned above, I’m very Thankful that it’s nearing the end.
  4. The conquering of my TToT catch up post. It didn’t take me anywhere near as long as I thought it would, which is good, because I started the lists the day the post was due. Thinking back to November wasn’t an easy task. Thankfully, I had mentioned a handful of events throughout the A to Z, so that made it a bit easier.
  5. Finally writing some fiction again in UNCLAIMED.
  6. Very Thankful that the weather has begun to feel a lot more Spring-like. I was getting worried we would be getting some snowfall in May again. Screw that action.
  7. Thunderstorms! Finally! I’ve been waiting for this weather much too long. Lately, threats of thunderstorms have turned out to be nothing but rain. What’s rain without some thunder and lightning?! Seriously.
  8. I believe I forgot to mention it in my huge Thankful post, but I’m grateful for the Peter Pan play that the Ladyfolk and I attended a few weeks ago. They had some odd sound equipment issues, but overall it wasn’t too distracting. The performances were great and there was one fairy in particular who was so tiny and adorable in her outfit that she may have stolen the show.
  9. Lazy weekend. I know I have highlighted this many times, but I’m truly Thankful for each and every one. Sometimes the weekends get so jammed with social outings and errands, it’s nice to have ones devoid of all the hustle and bustle.
  10. Today is my grandmothers birthday. She is turning 84. I’m Thankful she is still with me today to be able to enjoy her company. Usually Mondays are our hang out days, but she will be busy with my aunt tomorrow. The Ladyfolk and I went out and grabbed a gift and a card to drop off as soon as I finish this post. We got six cartons of Twinkies and three cartons of Hostess Cupcakes. The Twinkies have ten units per box, while the cupcakes eight. Weird… that just so happens to equal 84! Coincidence? I think not…
Feel free to leave your Thankful List in the comments below, if you aren’t participating directly with the blog hop!

XXV | 10 THINGS OF THANKFUL | XXV

http://summat2thinkon.blogspot.com/p/ten-things-of-thankful.html

OH SNAP!

It’s finally arrived! The 10 Things of Thankful’s 25th AnnWEEKiversary (Weekaversary?)!

Whatever, it’s the 25th weekend of the Blog Hop that forces encourages you to look past all the boring, problematic, traumatic, “enter whatever negative descriptor desired” bullshit that most of us encounter on a daily bases and to appreciate the finer moments you’ve experienced throughout the week.

Stuck in the middle of rush hour traffic for over an hour and you’ve only moved 100 feet? That blows! At least you were able to enjoy a Snickers. What’s that? You didn’t know you were going to be a while and forgot your candy bar? In the same sluggish crawl of traffic you’ve experienced every single work day for the past two years? Way to go genius! At least you can rock out to some righteous tunes on your stereo. Are you kidding me? Some crackwhores ripped the stereo out of your dash years ago and you’ve been too poor to ever buy a replacement? What a pair of douches! At least you can still belt out a tune to your little heart’s desire.

Point is: There are always things to be Thankful for. The harder and shittier things are, the more important it is to take the time to reflect upon them.

I won’t get too sentimental until we hit the big 1-0-0, but I will attempt to give Thanks in a slightly alternate manner today. I’m going to highlight 25 random facts about my home state of Minnesota. Some of them I know, some of them I’ll just be discovering for the first time with you, and all of them are (or will be) things I am Thankful for.

Sure, you can simply Google these factoids, but I’m saving you the proverbial leg-work so you can just sit back and relax as I dish them out for you. So eat up. My time loss, is your laziness’s gain. You’re welcome…

The 10 Things of Thankul: Minnesota Edition


  1. SPAM. It’s like ham, but it’s not. And for the betterment of the Human race, some crazy people in MN decided to create this edible hunk of meat. I used to despise the stuff for years, but as I’ve aged and my tastes… matured… I’ve come to find I like fried SPAM. Just don’t smell it when first opening the canister (or in any pre-cooked state really). The aroma is likely what sent me on the anti-SPAM bender to begin with. Just trust me.
  2. Minnesota is the only state (at the time of this write-up… to my knowledge.. okay, fuck, according to Google) to have elected a professional wrestler as governor. Jesse Ventura. He was badass governor. He was a badass in Predator. Bastard is probably still a badass. BAMF, to be more politically correct.
  3. Target and Best Buy originated here.
  4. Post-it Notes were invented here by 3M. Hell, there are probably a handful of things invented by 3M that I could list. I will have to remember this if things start drying up at the end of this list...
  5. We are the ones that brought Zubaz into existence? Oh Sweet Mother Mary Baby Jesus in a Handbasket, I’m so sorry! BAZINGA! Those suckers were so comfortable!
  6. MN was (is?) home of the Coen Brothers.
  7. We are home to the first shopping mall ever built! This video has nothing to do with MN, but it does deal with shopping malls:
  8. Prince. Eh… The Artist Formally Known as Prince.
  9. Tonka Trucks were first developed here.
  10. Rollerblades were invented here.
  11. Rollerblades not useful enough to meet the demands of your day to day? Well, the stapler was also invented here! That is if Spring Valley is in MN. The hell if I’m going to take those 30 seconds to Google that… Okay, it is.
  12. The capital of Minnesota is St. Paul.
  13. But, the largest city is Minneapolis.
  14. With their powers combined they form the Twin Cities.
  15. MN is home to the Walker Art Center.
  16. The Mall of America (once proclaimed to be the largest mall in the US, which I don’t believe is accurate, or…?) resides in MN. Because that made sense to build it way the hell up here… Jealous?
  17. Bob Dylan.
  18. Wheaties originated here.
  19. Our State Muffin is Blueberry. States have fucken muffins? Whatever, blueberry is cool.
  20. The movie Fargo doesn’t accurately portray how Minnesotans are. I swear. I’m pretty sure this is a fact. I hope…
  21. Fargo, directed by the Coen Brothers, was partially filmed in Minnesota and, despite the blurb above, is a really good movie.
  22. Minnesota was the 32nd state, reaching statehood on May 11, 1858.
  23. Home of the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, and Minnesota Wild. Whether these teams are something their fans care to embrace and are proud of seems to flux season to season.
  24. The state’s name originates from a Dakota Sioux Indian word for “sky-tinted water”. Another source cites it to mean “cloudy water”. Let’s stick with sky-tinted, shall we?
  25. It’s freaking cold outside! This is a fact!

And so there you have it! 25 random facts about the state of Minnesota. I’m almost mostly pretty surely positive that at least 80% of them are accurate!

We aren’t finished yet. There were rumors about Naked Cake (started by some unidentified superhero of the Universe) being involved with the 25th TToT entry and a handful of the blog hop’s hosts and participants delivered! It’s probably only fair I do the same.

The Naked Cake Isn’t a Lie
It's a Naked Cake!
A Dressed Cake!
Another Naked Cake!
A Dress that's a Cake! Or is that a Cake that's a Dress?
Unfortunately that concludes this week’s special edition of the 10 Things of Thankful’s 25th weekend celebration! If you are better about managing your time, you still have plenty of it to participate in not only the blog hop, but the ongoing conversations throughout it, which last all weekend (and even long after sometimes)! Don’t miss out on this special occasion!

A thank you to the host and co-hosts of this wonderful blog hop and a bonus mention of Thankfulness for those who were great sports during the entire Naked Cake Fiasco of 2013! It was a lot of fun!

Feel free to leave your Thankful List in the comments below, if you aren’t participating directly with the blog hop! Have you ever been to Minnesota? If so, what did you think of our lovely state? Did you already know some of the facts provided? Again, for all of the awesomeness originating here that we have spread to the world (especially those Zubaz): You’re Welcome!

XXIV | 10 THINGS OF THANKFUL | XXIV

http://summat2thinkon.blogspot.com/p/ten-things-of-thankful.html

I’m sure after my XXII | 10 Things of Thankful | XXII and XXIII | 10 Things of Thankful | XXIII entries that most people are sick of hearing all about my recent hit-and-run incident (it hasn’t been the first time involved in one), but really, it’s been about the biggest event over the past two weeks. Hopefully people don’t skip my (long-winded) story version of the event when I finally get that up post-November! Yesterday I truly did plan on only using half of the list to highlight the wrap-up segment for the event and move on to other things for the last half, but shit happens. So today I will be going over the past two weeks in broader strokes, covering some other news and events that have been an impact of a Thankful nature, and wrap up this weekend’s TToT Triple Threat.

I also realize that I may be “abusing” the multi-post format for the TToT (regarding each post this weekend being listed as number XXII, XXIII, and XXIV instead of each post on the same weekend denoting a continuation of the official weekend’s number - 24.2, 24.5 or 24 part 2, etc etc), but stranger things have happened during this here blog hop that it’s safe to say I’m not breaking any rules in signifying each post with my own personal catch up scheme (I've done it before when missing a weekend) as we approach the big 25. Also, I don’t really know if anyone has ever posted three days of Thankful on any given weekend. This is, of course, counting Friday, but the link-up does go live for those of us here in the States on Friday evenings. So here is to the possibility of “breaking the mold”, but no worries, this will likely be the one and only time, which has been a result of recent circumstances.

Without further ado, I present to you an additional round of Thankfulness:

  1. Stopping a possible robbery. In the week following the hit-and-run, Tuesday into Wednesday to be exact, I was doing my building cleaning and at around 3:30am I heard someone entering the apartment complex. At this time I was in the laundry room of our second building (a location I have dubbed the “Dead Zone”). I’ll be saving details for a blog post on the matter, but essentially two men had somehow gotten into the building and after a brief confrontation they left.
  2. I’m Thankful, in hindsight, that the two individuals mentioned above were non-violent. I would have hated resorting to unleashing my mad Ninja skills upon them *cough*...
  3. That I may have an actual “super power”, as I like to call it, that may have saved my ass if they had happened to be violent. That is, were I given the opportunity to utilize it, which may not have been the case. That and the fact it’s been over ten years since doing so last.
  4. That the threat of snow last week was reduced from 6+ inches to barely 1-2 inches and that it wasn’t cold enough to stick around. It’s safe to say that I’m not yet ready for WInter.
  5. I’m very grateful for my girlfriend treating me out to one of her favorite steak restaurants — Texas Roadhouse. They may embrace a cowboy/country motif, which doesn’t exactly jive with me — more so the country music. Once upon a time I wanted to be a cowboy — but it’s irrefutable that their food is amazing. The portions were very generous, prices decent, and service was very friendly. I would definitely go back again and would recommend the restaurant to friends and family.
  6. Hazel’s. Speaking of food, my girlfriend and I were finally able to check out a breakfast/brunch eatery that has been on our radar for months. It’s an extremely popular joint and each time we would go by there would be a waiting line built up all the way outside the building. This usually causes my anxiety to kick into overdrive, especially when it’s somewhere I’ve never been before. We resigned to make an attempt earlier in the morning if we happened to be awake, which is generally a rare occurrence with how late we stay up. This weekend, however, was one of those times. The food and service at Hazel’s was also great and we plan on venturing there again — in the early mornings before the younger generation bustles there after recovering from their hangovers… Highly recommended!
  7. My vision/eye appointment. It had been been over ten years since I made an eye appointment, and the visit (which many had been prodding me to do over the years) wasn’t one I was looking forward to. As it turns out, my right eye was the same and there was barely any change in my left. He even said with the lines I read that my vision was 20/15 or whatever. I’m not exactly sure how, but I’m not complaining. He said I should make another appointment in two years. I said “see you in ten” and went on my merry.
  8. New Glasses. Even though my eyesight had apparently survived the test of time, my glasses had not. They were beat to hell, scratched, and decrepit. In fact, the nose piece broke off just as I was heading to set up the actual eye appointment. An added Thankful note for the employee being able to fix that when visiting. Anyway, I’m glad I was able to find a decent pair of glasses. Considering I was pretty limited to what was covered by insurance, I was dreading the picking process just as much as the eye appointment.
  9. Game Nights. I’ve probably highlighted this before, but this weekend was a Game Night hosted by one of my girlfriend’s friend. It was a smaller group, which was nice. We had dinner (everyone brought something — we brought chocolate chip cookies. Okay, Kate made them. I only licked the extra dough off the mixer thingies and taste-tested…), and played a variety of games. It was a lot of fun and I’m hoping we can do it again soon!
  10. I’m ever Thankful for my girlfriend who is there offering me encouragement and support when needing it. I’m also Thankful her oral surgery went really well, and that we were able to spend a lot of time together over the past two weeks. I guess I feel we balance one another out in our times of need and hope that continues.

This concludes the Triple Threat TToT Weekend. I will try to do some blog hopping tonight, but I want to make sure I get in some NaNo writing as well. That reminds me I forgot to mention some things I’ve been Thankful for regarding that. Looks like I’ve got a head start on my list for next week, which I plan to participate in “on time”.

But no pinky swears…

Feel free to leave your Thankful List in the comments below, if you aren’t participating directly with the blog hop!

XXIII | 10 THINGS OF THANKFUL | XXIII

http://summat2thinkon.blogspot.com/p/ten-things-of-thankful.html

So yesterday, or really one minute to today, I expressed some Thankfulness involving a recent hit-and-run that my car was involved in. It was an interesting weekend, followed by an interesting week. Some of today’s post will be follow-up, and some will be unrelated to that incident. I want to get this in before I continue with some NaNoWriMo writing and Game Night tonight with some of Kate’s friends.

  1. I’m Thankful, as I briefly mentioned yesterday, that the individual who struck my car was insured. I had just recently dropped my insurance to “Storage” leaving me with only comprehensive coverage and no property damage coverage. Since I found the guy involved with the accident I was able to proceed forward with filing claim, which ended up being placed against their policy.
  2. That all of the agents I had to deal with during the process of filing and proceeding with the insurance claim were all very patient and helpful. The first one worried me, because it sounded like they didn’t believe what I was saying, but it was just they needed to verify all the facts, which is natural.
  3. The fact I didn’t loose it after having to explain the entire incident over and over again with each new agent brought into the process. I had sent emails and pictures, but apparently it seems that they don’t intercommunicate with one another at all. This was annoying since everyone worked for the same insurance company.
  4. Which reminds me… I’m glad that the individual who hit my car was insured by the same insurance company. It expedited the entire process, or so I’m going to assume. I haven’t exactly been someone who has had the need to continually make insurance claims and so I was (am still?) quite a bit unfamiliar with the process.
  5. I’m Thankful the the Adjuster was very thorough and answered all the questions I had about multiple details concerning the process of them coming out to look at my car to assess the damage.
  6. I appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to be around for them to look over my car. As it turned out I was home, and went out to say hi and to discuss the appraisal. It was nice, however, to know that I didn’t have to be. I was extremely nervous about having to speak with someone face to face, but I feel I handled myself well.
  7. I was ecstatic that they declared my vehicle totaled. Given the circumstances, this was actually the best case scenario. Those who have been following along likely know why.
  8. I’m Thankful that this whole incident has given me a blog post to write for my NaNoWriMo endeavors. It’s over 3k words long and I’ve only just got to the part of finding the culprit’s car. Mind you, I’m going into as much detail as possible in order to wrack up my word count. There will be the need for much editing so it isn’t completely dull and boring. Then again, it may still be boring regardless…
  9. That this experience has been a wake up call for the other driver. Whatever factors were involved in causing the crash on his end (some of us have our suspicions), he was lucky things didn’t end up way worse than they had. He now has a hit-and-run on his record, but that’s a far cry from vehicular manslaughter.
  10. I mentioned it yesterday, but I am truly thankful I wasn’t in the car. I never found out if the other driver sustained any injuries, but I’d imagine Officer Lynch would have told me if so. I couldn’t help but notice that despite the how hard the cars hit, that neither airbag had deployed. I honestly don’t know how fast you have to be going or how hard the hit has to be, but this accident was bad enough to where his car was stuck in mine, I would have thought the airbags would have deployed. My bad.

Speaking of "my bad" I guess this entire list was follow-up to the hit-and-run incident after all...

I will be attempting to reply to comments and blog hop tomorrow. I should have a decent chunk of time to do so, as long as I’m able to get some NaNoWriMo writing in too. Hope everyone is having a safe weekend and are super Thankful!

Feel free to leave your Thankful List in the comments below, if you aren’t participating directly with the blog hop!