Thursday, January 11, 2018

Once more around

Well, since we've all made one more circuit of the Sun (at least, based on how we currently mark time; I think if it were up to me to world-build, the New Year would begin either on one of the solstices or one of the equinoxes; that seems more logical). And because Kelly did this again, I guess I will:

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

I don't really make resolutions; they tend to be things like "Change your personality!" at their base that are probably unlikely.

I did think of one resolution, but then broke it like four days in to the new year: "Stop taking responsibility for things that are not your responsibility" because I think a lot of my distress and getting side-tracked from what I WANT to do is that - I see something that "someone" should attend to, and decide that I need to be that "someone." 

How did I break it? My mom and I were at the Jewel-Osco and one of the floor mats on the way in was kind of off-centered and it was triggering the automatic door to keep opening and closing, and this was on a very cold day, and I was like "I am going to go and move that mat so the people working in Produce don't get blasted with cold air every 30 seconds" and my mom kind of rolled her eyes and walked to the service desk nearby and told the woman there what was happening and "maybe one of your workers could move the mat"

So, yeah. But maybe I try to do that more - I get tired of carrying stuff I shouldn't have to carry.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

My cousin had her baby a few days into 2017, but other than that, no.

Did anyone close to you die?

A couple people at church. Thankfully only that. One was not-unexpected. I won't say the student who was murdered was "close" to me but I still feel bad about that whole situation.

What countries did you visit?

Only went to other countries through books - mostly to 1930s and 40s England, I guess

What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

More equanimity, more laughter, more time to do what I want to do, more of a sense of security about higher ed as a career in general and my university in specific.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Winning that award for research, but also nurturing a research student. And teaching a new class from scratch.

What was your biggest failure?

I don't know. Not saving more money? Spending on "frivolous" stuff (like vintage ponies) that someday my heirs will go "what the heck was she thinking?" about. Not being brave enough to tell a few people off who probably deserved it.

What was the best thing you bought?

The big new Christmas tree, I think. At least, among frivolous purchases. It's hard to remember what else. I bought a lot of small things but no appliances or jewelry or even really shoes...

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Some of the students, who worked hard and earned good grades. Some of my colleagues, who continue to keep good cheer and enthusiasm in the face of a culture that wants to believe what we are doing is either useless or harmful. The people at church who "keep on keepin' on" despite our small size and low funds, we still do a lot of outreach - most recently providing a social option for college students who want some kind of fun, sort-of-wholesome, small-group "dinner and games" type thing once a week. The people in my town who do things like keep a food bank running, who provide temporary housing for people fleeing bad circumstances, who provide that kind of grassroots help to people who might otherwise fall through the cracks or have to wait far too long for "official government" help.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Big and small: the big, lots of people in government. People who do stuff like embezzle money or harm other people or use their position of power to demand things of people they should have been embarrassed to even ask for. Small: the people who flip other drivers off on the road for not speeding "enough," people who vandalize stuff, people who are rude to others, especially to service workers.

Where did most of your money go?

Well, in seriousness: to the bills (utilities, gas, food, maintenance) and to put into a retirement fund that I sincerely hope will be enough to keep a  roof over my head and food on my table. Disposable income? Books, yarn, vintage Ponies, stuffed animals Doki Doki crates, make-up. I should feel bad about that level of frivolity but I don't.

What did you get really excited about?

The eclipse, once it arrived (I rolled my eyes during the run-up to it). Working with the research student and also with a couple of other dedicated students in my classes. The idea of becoming a 'technical editor' on a small journal. Getting to go meet up with my friend Laura for a day of shopping, getting to meet up with Lynn.

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

Happier, actually: last year I had just gotten home after my mom's fall on the ice and all the worry about "would she get better enough" for me to leave and also all the stress of trying to keep a household running when I am used to "floating" a lot of things in my own household. I also feel some relief and pride I successfully taught a new prep outside of my field of expertise - and that I don't have to do it this spring. (And in fact, I have  "only" three lecture classes to teach)

Thinner or fatter?

About the same. I'd have said "fatter," except I think this last bout of a URI caused me to drop a couple pounds.

Richer or poorer?

Poorer in the sense of immediate cash (not teaching summers any more, at least not until I can be promised I won't be doing full time work for adjunct wages) but probably richer in the sense that the money in my retirement account is probably accruing more than it was this time last year.

What do you wish you'd done more of?

Knitting, quilting, laughing, hanging out with friends, reading, new experiences of some sort....

What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worrying. (The perennial answer).  Feeling bad because I said "no" to what were truly unreasonable requests.

How did you spend Christmas?

With my parents. It was quiet but it was fine. I do feel these days it's over too fast and I never enjoy it quite enough.

Did you fall in love in 2016? (I assume he means "2017")

No, not really. I think that is a possibility that the window has closed upon for me.

How many one-night stands?

Ugh, no. As I said last year: I think this kind of thing has made it why people like me - who dislike the whole concept - find finding love difficult in this brave new world.

What was your favorite TV program?

I still love "Friendship is Magic," no matter what the people who argue it peaked totally in Season 2 say. And I still like "Star Vs. the Forces of Evil."

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

I try very hard not to hate people but to hate behaviors. That said, I can't think of anyone who really rubs me deeply the wrong way now who didn't already in early 2017.

What was the best book you read?

Oh, man. Hard to think.....I read a lot of mystery novels, didn't-quite-finish a second pass at Moby-Dick.... Maybe The Box of Delights, even though it had "that kind" of an ending (no, I won't spoil it). Maybe The Brutal Telling, which was an Inspector Gamache novel...

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I don't know. I'm not very adventurous here. I mostly stick to the familiar....

What did you want and get?

 Lots of Ponies, a new Christmas tree, some of the stuff I asked for for Christmas....

What did you want and not get?

A sense of stability about my state's finances.

What were your favorite films of this year?

I didn't see any "new" movies; my favorite "new to me" movie was The King's Speech.

What did you do on your birthday?  

Worked, because it was a Monday. But the weekend before I went and bought yarn and fabric and went out to lunch.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017? 
"Same as it ever was" - a little bit earth-mother, a little bit preppy, mostly things that are comfortable and not too confining and not too warm on hot days.

What kept you sane?

Successes at work; my friends both at church and online; books; knitting.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Given what's gone on and what's whispered (or shouted) about so many male celebrities now, I think I'm gonna take a pass on this one for this year. (I assume "fancy," in the old British slang sense, as in "I'd like to snog that guy")

What political issue stirred you the most?

Also taking a pass on this, because I tend to feel the big issues are the ones in which no one cares what I think, and the smaller ones have some degree of futility. (The eco-park we were hoping for this time last year is probably dead, given some of the resignations in City Hall.) I think I'd rather be involved with things like disaster relief than political issues because in those cases, I actually feel like I'm doing some good, even if it's just the small good of handing a hungry person a sandwich.

Who did you miss?

Sometimes I think about people like Mike Royko and some of the other commentators/newsmen of old, and I really wonder what they'd say about the bizarre new world we seem to be living in. I miss a lot of the people who use to write sort-of-tart commentary but who cared more about the ideas and less about THEM being the story - I think too much of our news now has become newsperson-as-celebrity, and they want to be the story rather than the story being the story....

Who was the best new person you met?

Sadly, not a lot of new people in my life this year. If I can count meeting "in person" someone I had just known online, the meetup with Lynn and her husband....

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:

Sort of a continuing and unpleasant lesson from 2016 - that sometimes you can do your absolute best, sometimes you can be as honest as the day is long, and still, your success is not guaranteed; that being a good person doesn't mean you win in this world. It feels monumentally unfair and I see no option OTHER than continuing to try to be a good person (because God help me, I cannot do otherwise) but I also have to recognize that sometimes things are totally out of my hand and nothing I can do can prevent bad things.

If you take selfies, post your six favorite ones:

Not really a selfie-taker (other than using webcamera) but I think I'll take a shot from every other month of last year:




August (technically, this was taken with my camera on timer)



Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

 I dunno. I did the one from "Hallelujah" last year about "I did my best, it wasn't much" and I still stand by that as kind of summing up my existence:

"I did my best/ It wasn't much/ I couldn't feel/ So 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."

I guess I don't change that much year to year...

Or maybe another one, one from a group popular in my youth:

"Stand in the place where you live
Now face north
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't before
Now stand in the place where you work
Now face west
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven't before" 

Or maybe a much shorter lyric, from another song by the same group: "Everybody hurts/ Take comfort in your friends...."



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