The end of the calendar year is always ripe for reflection, with the reviews of the most important stories of the year and the tributes to all the famous people who passed away during the last trip around the sun. Of course, it's also the time when many people make resolutions to do all the things they've considered for the past year, from losing weight to reading more books to paying off their student loans to giving up junk food. I am always slightly annoyed at the crowds in the gym at the beginning of the year until I remember that most of them won't make it past the first three weeks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for change. Change away! I love change, especially when it's the kind that makes you happier or healthier. Seeing the new person at the gym come March is a beautiful thing. Being a person who finds the date you decide to change your life arbitrary, I've never been one for resolutions. That's all.

And you all know that I'm introspective to a fault, so I'm not short on reflection. Maybe that's why the NY resolution thing never made sense to me--I guess I'm trying to do it all the time.

This year I am spending New Year's Eve eve with my family in LA, to celebrate the life of my Uncle Bruce, who passed away last week. He had a lovely, caring family around him including his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I'm certain that the stories I will hear about Bruce will be about the love of family and those kids. But, me being me, my favorite thing about Bruce was something completely different.

He had a touch of the family temper and could be described with a term that's been used for me: feisty. 

My favorite example was when my family loaded up the Dodge Aries station wagon and traveled from Minnesota to California to visit. Think National Lampoon's without the dead lady strapped to the top of the car and add a few Cabbage Patch dolls, just like any mid-80's family vacation. It was a fantastic, hilarious trip that we still talk about every time we get together. Between the Grand Canyon and Disneyland, it was about as good as it gets.

Just add luggage rack.

Just add luggage rack.

While we were staying at our aunt and uncle's house, we decided to go get some ice cream, and since it was the 80s, ice cream meant whatever exactly it is that Frostys are. Let's call them frozen desserts, since ice cream seems a little too generous.  

So we loaded up the wagon and headed to the nearest Wendy's. I don't know why, but my mom and aunt stayed in the car. My brothers and I headed in with my dad and uncle to secure said Frostys, which seemed like an easy enough request, and the whole process started just like any other fast food transaction with the ordering and the paying. 

But then we waited.

And we waited.

We were the only people in the restaurant.

The waiting is the hardest part. - A guy named Tom

The waiting is the hardest part. - A guy named Tom

We waited some more.

My dad and uncle started to seem a little aggravated. Fingers tapped on the counter.

Frostys are kindly requested a second time from a worker. I don't know what the person at the counter said. Maybe something about the machine?

We waited.

Where did the counter worker go?

Family temper activated.

I looked up through the kitchen window just in time to see a piece of chicken go flying.

Food fight? I wondered as some unlucky sucker who didn't take our order walked up to the front counter.

Fist slammed on the counter, "I want my Frostys NOW, damnit, or I want my money back!" is the last thing I remember hearing before my little bro and I high-tailed it back to the wagon.

Feisty? Yeah, maybe a bit, but also I learned something from that situation. Ask nicely twice with clear expectations and then it's time to take control of the situation. 

Taking control of a situation isn't always easy, especially when it's something society tells you that nice girls don't do. But maybe I'm just feisty enough not to care about that anymore. I've realized that taking control is what I've needed to do more often that not in life and as soon as I've taken control of a situation and made a plan with measurable outcomes and realistic timelines was exactly when things started coming together.

I will always be a work in progress. I will have times of self-doubt. I will get split ends. But I won't be afraid to take control. 

And now I want a Frosty.


RIP Feisty, Frosty Bruce