Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Year in Review

I guess some bloggers still do this. I don't know. My life now seems to be so much (depending on how you look at it) "Keepin' on keepin' on" (in the positive sense) or "same stuff, different day" (in the not-so-positive sense), that it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me to go month-by-month.

But maybe I could go quarter by quarter. Even though I am not a "Business Monster" (I have been watching a lot of "Bob's Burgers" re-runs this break), I can think of my year in terms of quarters.

First quarter: The biggest memory I have from the first three months of the year is the bad weekend of February 24 and 25. First up was the Science Olympiad - lots of hard work for what seems like not much pay-off, and I had the upsetting thing of finishing grading 15 minutes after the (too early!) deadline (last even ended at 4, grades were supposed to be in at 4:30) and finding myself locked out of the building where I was supposed to drop off the grades, and I only got in after I saw a janitor and pounded on the glass door until he heard me. And then, I came home, tired and having to make food for the lunch at church the next day....and got news of the sudden death of my friend Steve from church, and I really think that event colored how I felt and thought about the world for quite a few months afterward - the sense that the world was not a particularly friendly place, that there was more random chaos than I would like (Steve was fine on Friday, no evidence of any health issues, and gone Saturday morning.) For months I worried if I called someone on the phone and didn't reach them right away, or if I didn't hear from someone I cared about for a few days....that seems to have *mostly* resolved, though I admit over this break I've also listened closely when I get up early in the morning to be sure both my parents are still OK....

And then, Sunday the 25th of that month, I was the "presiding elder," meaning I had to make announcements, so I had to reveal to the people who had not got the e-mail that Steve had died the day before, and that was HARD.

Second quarter: Finishing up Spring semester, starting my second summer semester without teaching. This year I didn't even really have the "anchor" of a research student working with me on stuff and I admit I probably didn't get as much done as I might have. I did update a couple of classes' worth of material, and made plans with another student to do some fall research, but I probably could have done more.

Third quarter: Started off well, the best big thing I did was go visit my friend Laura and we spent a day and a half running around east Texas and northwestern Louisiana. August, things took a turn, when my dad was hospitalized with pneumonia and things looked kind of worrisome for a few days. And I know I wasn't as gracious to my colleagues or even my students as I could have been those days, but it is hard when your brain and emotions are occupied with something going on far away....also my mom was calling me every evening with updates. I told her I didn't need the updates but when she kept calling I figured it wasn't that she was calling for ME, she was calling for HERSELF, and I just took the calls, even though they ate up some of my time in the evenings and kept my head in the middle of that whole thing.

Finally, in the fourth quarter, things started looking up: my dad got home from the hospital/rehab. A paper that had been "in press" for over a year was finally published. Bell Choir started up and I joined and found it more fun and that I was better at it than I had hoped. Finances at the university took an upward turn and we were paid at least some of the COLA that we had missed over the  "bad years" of 2015-2017, and I found myself better-off than I had been for a while (and was able to make fairly generous donations to both the local Ministerial Alliance, and to a group out of the local public library that provides assistance and emergency meals to homeless people). And I have money left over that I wasn't counting on, and am thinking of buying a few house things that while I don't NEED them, they would make things nicer. (I also got my garage professionally painted, and wow, was it worth the money to do that instead of trying to do it myself, and also I had my trees extensively trimmed, so while I hope we DON'T have any ice this winter, hopefully if we DO get ice, there won't be any damage caused by falling branches.).

So anyway. I always say I hope the coming year will be better than the past one. There were a few good things about 2018, most of them involving people I care about - seeing friends, taking part in Bell Choir. There were some other not-great things about 2018- my dad's health, the loss of a few people I cared about, continued instability in the world both locally and globally. So I don't know. I don't want to risk "jinxing" myself by saying 2019 will be better than 2018, but I hope it will be.

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