Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
As I pretty much keep my resolutions to “Read a lot, write a lot, and do cool stuff,” I think I did pretty well on the ‘keeping resolutions” front, since I did all of those things. 2016 was a bad year for me for reading, but I nicely rebounded in 2017: I set a goal on Goodreads of reading 50 books, and I did 57!
It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution, but at some point I decided that I want to add a lot of pink to my wardrobe. And I did. Yay!
In 2018 I’ll stick to “Read a lot, write a lot, and do cool stuff.” Works for me. (I thought about bumping my Goodreads challenge to 60 books, but my reading list currently has a lot of really long books on it, so I’m keeping it at 50.)
And one more: I will be engaging my elected representatives more often, most likely by either e-mail or physical letter. I like my Senators and I deeply dislike my Representative, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. A woman at work is very near to doing so, but I don’t think she’s gone yet. That’s about it. She’s not particularly close to me, but I get along with her, so there’s that.
Did anyone close to you die?
No. I’m increasingly wary of my continuing to successfully dodge this particular bullet.
What countries did you visit?
Never left the US, as occasionally tempting as it was to do just that.
What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
More writing success. Less elected Republicans.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting Amongst the Stars out the door, and completing edits (for now, before I make one more pass) on The Chilling Killing Wind, which is something totally new! I also learned how to use my Instant Pot and started a very overdue reorganization project of my workspace at The Store. (My work room looks like an Ace Hardware store caught fire and a True Value store was dropped on top of it to smother the flames. Not good.)
What was your biggest failure?
There was actually not a lot of failure in my world this year, thank goodness. I do need to engage my elected representatives more (see above), and I do not like making phone calls, so I’m leaning toward good old-fashioned letters in the mail. As long as we have a postal service, that is.
What was the best thing you bought?
Acquisitions I liked: jewelry for The Wife, a new pair of raw denim vintage Lee overalls for me, and a pit bull mix for The Daughter.
Whose behavior merited celebration?
My whole family’s, many of my friends, and nationally, anyone in The Resistance who protested, worked to advocate against bad policy (and there was a shit-ton of that), and who showed up to vote against Republicans.
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Republicans. That party is one giant ball of moral rot right now.
Where did most of your money go?
Food, rum, whiskey, books, clothes, and a couple of expensive trips to an antique mall in Rochester.
What did you get really excited about?
The afore-mentioned antiquing trips, the afore-mentioned pair of vintage overalls, and most of all, the entire family getting together (on both sides!) for The Daughter’s high school graduation.
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
About the same, which is amazing given the state of the world. I am in this odd place of being long-term optimistic about humanity and pessimistic about my own country.
Thinner or fatter?
A little fatter. That’s a disappointment. I need to eat more veggies.
Richer or poorer?
A little richer.
What do you wish you'd done more of?
Reading and writing. Always reading and writing. I didn’t blog nearly enough, and only two pies found their way into my face this year.
What do you wish you'd done less of?
Late-night staring at the Internet. I have been working to do that a lot less.
How did you spend Christmas?
With family, unpacking wonderful gifts, and eating and drinking way too much. In short, it was exactly what Christmas should be.
Did you fall in love in 2016?
I fall in love on a daily basis.
How many one-night stands?
Pshaw. Like I’m gonna tell you.
What was your favorite TV program?
We’re in something of a transitional period as far as teevee goes, with not as many shows we catch regularly. Stranger Things made us happy, and I deeply loved Luke Cage. We also discovered Blackish, which is always funny and often brilliant, and we continue to love Brooklyn Nine Nine, which is always funny and even more often brilliant.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I really try not to hate, but in these times, it’s hard not to. There are some local political activists on the right who are as ugly a bunch of souls as I’ve ever encountered, and I’ll be honest: of the current pack of miscreants dominating the political scene in Washington DC, the one whose image tends to anger me the most when I see it is Speaker Paul Ryan’s.
What was the best book you read?
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud;
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker;
Memoirs by Hector Berlioz;
The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke.
What was your greatest musical discovery?
I spent a lot of time listening to classical works by composers who, for one reason or another, never quite broke through into the “standard repertoire”, even though the music is often very, very good. It’s always sad to me to reflect on how much art gets forgotten that in no way deserves to be.
What did you want and get?
Some really nifty new Star Wars music by John Williams! That’s always a delight. I hope there’s one more in store from him....
What did you want and not get?
I’m honestly not sure I want an impeachment, given what a dunderheaded weirdo the Vice President is. I don’t know, really. Maybe more book sales? I never have enough book sales.
What were your favorite films of this year?
As always, I tend to be pretty bad at seeing movies in the year they are released, so I’d go right now with Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 and The Last Jedi.
The best movie experience I had was either seeing Castle in the Sky or Casablanca on the big screen. I love both films (indeed, the latter might be my favorite movie of all time that doesn’t take place in a galaxy far, far away), and to see them in their big-screen glory was just fantastic.
What did you do on your birthday?
On my birthday? Went to work. We continued our tradition of enjoying a weekend getaway right after my birthday, to a farm-and-craft festival in Ithaca, NY. It was a great, great time.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Vintage workwear chic, now with added pink!
What kept you sane?
My family; the cats and the dogs; writing; reading; going on adventures and doing silly things.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
So many brilliant people doing brilliant work! I can’t name any, but for a time that feels as dark as this, there are an awful lot of brightly-shining lights out there.
What political issue stirred you the most?
Oh lord. All of them. I’ve never seen a political party stake out stances on issues that are so completely wrong and just plain mean.
Who did you miss?
Who was the best new person you met?
Captain Fashnatan Strel of Orion’s Huntress. If all goes according to plan, you might get to meet her in 2019.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:
But the old lessons apply, don’t they? So, as I always end up copying-and-pasting:
Read a lot, write a lot. Listen to music. Go for walks and look at sunsets. Take all the pictures you want. Learn new things and try new stuff. If you have a dog, take him for walks. Buy books for your daughter, even when she complains that she likes to pick her own books (let her do that, too). Nothing fits your hand so well as your lover’s hand. Eating out is fine, but learn to cook things, too. Have a place to go where they know you and what you order. Don’t be afraid to revisit your childhood passions now and again; you weren’t always wrong back then. Overalls are awesome, it’s OK to wear double denim, and a pie in the face is a wonderful thing!
If you take selfies, post your six favorite ones:
And then there were the usual pies in my face:
Videos here and here, if you're curious!
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I'll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm.
I’m not sure what I hope 2018 brings most, but what I think it all boils down to is that I hope we can all come in and find shelter from the storm.
Thus I end my 2017. See you all next year!