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When I quit my job, my goal was to have less stress and time to really focus on health and my writing. Unfortunately, I did not factor in the holidays and how busy things get. Nor did I factor in the possibilities of adding members to the animal side of my family. To be honest, I’m not really sure what I was thinking, or if I was thinking at all. I blame my sister.

See, it all started with Thanksgiving, that glorious holiday filled with food and family. My husband and I drove to Savannah, Ga. to visit my sister and her family. He was looking forward to the yummy food and hanging out with my brother-in-law and nephew, and I was looking forward to not having to cook and spending some quality time with big sis.

Upon our arrival, we were immediately faced with this:

Murphy on his 5th day at his new home with my sister.

This would be Murphy, an absolutely adorable English Bulldog puppy. Well, when we first got there, Murphy didn’t look like this. He was very sick. He had an IV and was taking medicine for the Parvo he picked up during his last immunization. It was touch and go for the little guy for a few days. But by Friday (when this picture was taken) he was starting to get back to his normal puppy self.

Needless to say, my husband and I both ended up with Puppy Fever. A nasty little thing that makes you think non-stop about cute, playful puppies that give licky kisses, roll over, love cuddles, and sleep hard. We even got online and started searching for available pups in our area. Yep, we had it bad. Fortunately for us, once we got home we were able to find the cure for this Puppy Fever. His name is Jake.

Jake on the way to his new home.

Isn’t he cute? We think so. But he’s also a huge responsibility. Not only did I have to house-train a puppy, keep the puppy from chasing our kitties (who still haven’t quite forgiven us from bringing Jake into their humble abode), but I also had to finish Christmas shopping, prepare for my youngest daughter’s upcoming visit which meant I had to clean her old room that is now our office and my writing area, and get the Christmas cards sent out. Yeah, my plan for less stress went down the drain.

But I couldn’t have had a better time. I got the Christmas cards sent, the room clean, and Jake house-broken (for the most part). We also have him in Puppy Training at PetSmart which has helped me, and him, adjust to some house rules. My daughter’s visit was wonderful and I got all the Christmas shopping done a week before the big day. I even lost 7 lbs chasing after Jake. It was well worth the crazy, goal-driven stress. Thanks Sis for starting all this!

And now that all has quieted down some I am able to look back at this year and look ahead to

Cayla Rose (8 mo, 2wks) in a bowl

the next. So much has happened this last year. My youngest daughter graduated high school and started college. My oldest daughter had a baby (my darling granddaughter – see right) and moved to Japan. I quitΒ  my job, the husband changed jobs, I lost friends and gained new ones, admitted my depression and sought therapy, and we got Jake.

The most amazing part is that for the first time in many years, I’m really looking forward to what 2012 will bring. I’m excited about the possibilities, but I refuse to make any resolutions. I totally fail at resolutions. I have never, in my entire life, met a New Year’s resolution. Not sure if it’s the deadlines I set or the resolution itself, or maybe its my random fear of commitments? Either way, resolutions are not for me.Β  However, a former co-worker gave me a better idea. Instead of formally committing to a die-hard resolution, he makes a “want to do” list. Sort of like giving yourself a goal with a more lenient deadline. I thought it was great because it allows you some wiggle room. And I like wiggle room!

So on my “want to do” list of goals for this coming year is: to finish training the puppy, finish organizing the household, enter more writing contests, and finish my novel. But my main goal for this upcoming year is to be happy and help others do the same.

So what about you? How has your year been? Do you do resolutions or do you have a “Want to do” list for 2012?