The new year is in full swing and with that, my life is full of change.

Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, one thing is for sure ... it’s different.

Finally catching up with the 2010s, I am now the proud owner of a flat screen TV and blu-ray player.

While the TV made its way into my house on Thanksgiving (yeah, yeah, I’m one of those who went shopping while the turkey settled), it didn’t actually make it out of the box until after Christmas.

My husband, John, who successfully conquered my 4 Gift Christmas Challenge list, decided to go beyond the quartet of presents and slapped a bow on the boob tube and called it a gift. I’m not sure how right it is that an item I ventured out in the cold to get turned into my own Christmas gift. Wasn’t it enough that I had to stand in line to see if I was lucky enough to get one of the last remaining 40-inch specials at Wal-Mart?

But it’s all good, the wait resulted in only one evening of frustration rather than two because on Christmas morning, I opened a package to reveal a blu-ray player. We messed with cords, input jacks, remote controls and on-screen instructions to update my daybed room entertainment set-up. Sure, technology is awesome, but gone are the days of merely plugging something in and pressing the on switch.

“How do people like my parents deal with stuff like this?” I exclaimed.

After what seemed like forever, I was finally able to kick back and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Another recent change in my life has to do with what’s in my cup. I’ve been a Pepsi fan for years. As a senior in college, among the “remember whens” was “Remember when Tammy Stockman didn’t have a Pepsi in her hand?

Disdaining the aftertaste of Diet Pepsi, I finally relented and began drinking Pepsi Next several years ago. With a third of the calories of regular Pepsi, my physician has still suggested I continue on the path leading to calorie-free soda.

Right around Christmas, I noticed a decline in the number of half-racks available on store shelves. Initially I thought maybe others were easing into a change to calorie-free soda as the new year approached.

Unfortunately, my switch in soda had nothing to do with a New Year’s resolution. Due to declining sales, Pepsi quit producing Pepsi Next. I was sent into a panic. I didn’t want to go back to the full-calorie product.

And the cost of Pepsi Next was soaring on At nearly $90 a half-rack, that’s like paying $7.50 per can or 63 cents per swallow.

After much research and a few taste tests, I am now officially a drinker of Pepsi Max. According to the tag-line, the max stands for maximum taste.

However, I think it also has to do with more than twice the amount of caffeine. If my hands would stop shaking, I cccould read the label and tell you exactly how much additional cccaffeine is in the cccan.

“That’s all you need — more caffeine,” said Renee Struthers, our records editor.

Yup, ch ch changes for the new year. (RIP David Bowie.)


Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at or 541-564-4539.

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