Friday, January 06, 2017

Kelly did it

Over at Byzantium's Shores, Kelly did one of those year-end sum ups. I kind of can't resist doing these, so here goes my version:

Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I generally do not make New Year's resolutions; to me it feels like it's the wrong time to do them - you're coming off a holiday time, all the fairy lights and glitter are being packed away, it's still dark out, the bills are coming due - but now you also have to Be More Better Now.

That said, I did say I'm going to work down my various stashes (yarn, fabric, books) this year and also possible weed the books aggressively.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, not anyone I can think of. My cousin Leah is in within days of having her fourth child, though. (she and her husband have been busy: they have been married just over 10 years and the first child was after they'd been married a couple years)

Did anyone close to you die?

My cousin Chum. On that side of the family, he was the one I was closest to among the cousins even though he was nearly 30 years older than I was.

Also my student. That one still stings. 

What countries did you visit?

Really nowhere. Not even anywhere new in the US - just a couple trips home to see family and a trip to Longview.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

As I said the other day: to regain my resilience where I can bounce back quickly after bad news, and to regain some sense that what happens to me is mostly under my control.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I THINK it was probably going to the ONPS meeting, standing up before a group of people I didn't know and who had never given a small grant before, presenting my research plan, and waiting for them to vote on whether or not to give me just shy of $200 to fund research. If I hadn't been successful I probably wouldn't consider it an achievement.

Also, I suppose weathering all the slings and arrows of 2016 and still being here (i.e.: not having quit my job in despair and going to, I don't know, evaluate patents or something)

What was your biggest failure?

I cried a lot more than was ideal. And in front of people I shouldn't have cried in front of.

What was the best thing you bought?

I don't know. Pfred, maybe, at least in the realm of silly things. I can't think of any objects I bought that were non-silly but "best." Maybe replacing the sink in the bathroom?

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Some of my students, who worked hard during an adverse situation and earned good grades, and some of whom are going on to professional school. My departmental chair for helping us all hold it together during really bad times, and being good at stretching our budget far beyond what I thought was possible.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Just lots of random people in general. I suppose it's the 24-hour news cycle looking for stuff and not that people are getting worse, but there's no shortage of instances of people being inhumane to other people, whether it's through words, actions, or whatever. Didn't someone say "The more I learn about people, the better I like my dog"?

Where did most of your money go?

The daily expenses of life, mainly. Putting some money away every month for retirement, even though it might mean I have to live "poorer" than I might otherwise day to day. Some yarn (too much yarn), some books (too many books). A new sink for the bathroom, various repairs on an old house....

What did you get really excited about?

Ugh, I don't know. I agree with Kelly on this: 2016 was not a year rife with good excitement, it was more a year of "what fresh Hell is this?" and learning to weather disappointment.

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Sadder, because too many people close to me are hurting, and because my faith in being able to stay in higher ed as a career until my retirement has been severely shaken.

Thinner or fatter?

A little thinner, though that's partly the after effects of the prolonged GI issues of last spring.

Richer or poorer?

I feel poorer, but I probably actually am not - I have investments, I'm just not allowed to touch them (a personal restriction, not from anyone outside myself) for day-to-day or frivolous expenses.

What do you wish you'd done more of?

Knitting, writing research related stuff, revamping my classes. Laughing and hanging out with friends

What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worrying, and also surfing the Internet as a distraction from being worried.

How did you spend Christmas?

See my previous posts. I don't feel like rehashing How I Cooked Christmas Dinner For Everyone All By Myself And Then Washed All The Dishes again.

Did you fall in love in 2016?

Sadly, no. Though most of my "loves" in the past have been crushes that have had to remain unrequited for various stupid reasons.

How many one-night stands?

I will spare you my rant on how I think "hook up" culture has ruined the chances of some decent but perhaps slightly boring and reticent people (like myself) of actually FINDING love.

What was your favorite TV program?

I dunno. I still like MLP: FiM even though some of the episodes of the past season (especially the finale) disappointed me a little. I like We Bare Bears but it's very spotty when I can find it on. I still watch NCIS but I'm not crazy about the new agents being Fez and that woman from Blue Bloods.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

No. I hate circumstances, I dislike behaviors, but I think I shouldn't hate people.

What was the best book you read?

I read lots of mysteries. I don't know about "best" book. Maybe Traitor's Purse, which was a very interesting and suspenseful Marjory Allingham novel. I'm currently reading When Books Went to War which is very good but I started that after the new year.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I guess I really haven't expanded my musical tastes this year.

What did you want and get?

Man, I don't know. The grant I applied for, I suppose.

What did you want and not get?

Better health and mobility for a couple people I care about. For my department to weather the financial crisis without my one colleague losing her job.

What were your favorite films of this year?

I didn't really see any new movies, and didn't watch that many on TCM and the like. I'm gonna leave this blank.

What did you do on your birthday?

Went to Whitesboro and bought some yarn and some antiques and then got lunch out.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Dresses and skirts for work. Formal bohemian, maybe.

What kept you sane?

My knitting, writing in the blog, escaping into books

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Oh man, I don't know. I don't tend to "fancy" famous people.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Education and what's happening to it, I suppose.

Who did you miss?

I know we lost tons of talented famous people, but I think my student was the one I missed the most after his death. Because it was so "in your face"

Who was the best new person you met?

A few nice folks joined church this year, there were a few outstanding students....

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:

Two lessons, though they're really old lessons:

1. When I'm going through difficult times, I can just keep going. I'm better off not going "how am I going to cope with this, what will life look like on the other side?" and just GOING. Just getting through it.

2. Break things down into little bits; don't try to tackle the whole project at once/don't think about everything you have to do, just take it piece by piece.

If you take selfies, post your six favorite ones:

I don't do selfies in the sense of using a camera phone, but I have a few favorite webcam shots:

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

From the late great Leonard Cohen, a little-sung lyric from his famous song Hallelujah:

"I did my best/ It wasn't much/ I couldn't feel/ So I tried to touch/ I've told the truth/ I didn't come to fool ya./ And even though it all went wrong/ I'll stand before the Lord of Song/ With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujahs."

Though that probably sums up just about every year of adulthood for me. 

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