Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Year in Review

1. The Kardashians. Some things happened with them this year that were very dramatic.
Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention and cannot report on what those things were.

2. The Dog. He turned one in August. He learned three new tricks: roll over, paw, and up with a turn around (that was a little flair he added in himself). He has calmed down, though still likes to have one's full attention whenever he is awake. He continues to be the best dog in the world.

3. Publishing and writing. I sent out work on a semi-regular basis, took two online writing classes through The Writer's Studio, took a summer online writing class through Rider, spent ten days at the Yale Writing Conference, attended two writing classes at Princeton Adult School, and taught one eight week class through Eckleberg. I got two stories published (one I learned about last night; just under the wire for 2015), was a finalist in the BOA Short Fiction Award, and a semi-finalist in the New Millennium Writer's Contest.  However, I didn't write as much as I feel like I should have.  I can't seem to give myself the block of time needed to start anything new or significantly revise drafts. I tried this new thing where I would go in early to work and try to write for 30 minutes, but failed on most days, as my Hay Day farm required upkeep.

4. Hay Day. Hours spent feeding imaginary sheep: 1,034. Number of actual dollars spent on fake diamonds to buy food for sheep: $150 (this is an educated, probably conservative and shameful guess).

5. Luke. He turned twelve this year and started seventh grade. He grew a few inches and has been very active in ice hockey, having joined the travel team. He has between 2 and 5 games per week. He continues to be reserved, and I never know what he's thinking. It could be anything from "I hate living here" to "what should I build in Minecraft today?" I need to get to know more 12 year old boys to allow for points of comparison, but short of going undercover as a Boy Scout leader, I can't think of how to accomplish this task.

6. Books. I didn't keep count, but I did read about a book a week, sometimes more, almost always books I checked out from the Princeton Public Library. I read a lot of female mystery writers this year, including a few by Laura Lippman and Sue Grafton. I read two Stephen King books and got another one (his new short story collection) for Christmas, which I am currently devouring. Discovered a few new Avant guard writers because of the Yale Writing Conference (thanks, Molly!), including Lance Olsen, Lydia Yuknavitch, Blake Butler, and Maggie Nelson. Read only one classic I missed (Frankenstein) and wasn't able to get through books others raved about including The Paying Guests, Goldfinch, Wolf Hall and Life After Life. For this, I forgive myself. I read two nonfiction books, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Rider's book of the year) and The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsson (full confession: I mostly skimmed the parts about the Chicago World's Fair, interested more in the serial killer story line).

7. Dan. Is mad at me right now because I got impatient with him this morning when he couldn't remember his apple ID password. For New Yea's Eve, we went to a meditation retreat at the yoga center where he teaches. We were cleansed of negativity at the beginning by a smoking thing and then we had a lighting ceremony and an hour of gongs. It's not usually my thing; I have a hard time focusing or being still for extend periods of time, but I tried. As part of the ceremony, we each picked a word from a bronze cup that was meant to be our word for the year. Mine was "communication" and Dan's was "patience." I believe we drew each others words. I lose my temper and he clams up. Other than him not liking me right now, he is healthy, has worked at Wiedel for over a year now, and is hooked on The Walking Dead and chai tea.

We have a fundamentally different way of viewing the world, which can be encapsulated by the following scene. On Wed., we took Luke to a Rider basketball game (Rider vs. Hartford). Rider lagged behind for most of the game but toward the end of the first and second halves, they pushed ahead. And they would have won, except the other team tied it up with a three point basket with 3 seconds left on the clock. They went into overtime and again were tied at the end. With 44 seconds left in second overtime period, and Rider ahead by only four points, Dan said, "It's in the bag." I told him to stop saying that. 44 seconds is a  long time in a basketball game, particularly when the rival team is aces at under-pressure, three point shots. He said, "What? What could happen?" The other team did score again, but Rider still won by a single point. Had they lost, it would've been Dan's fault for jinxing it. He is hopeful, optimistic; I am fearful, poised for imminent disaster. Is this Ying and Yang? I feel like he needs to be more of a realist at times, and I know that I could do without the constant anxiety that the sky is falling.

8. Mom, house and home. Dan and I bought a Cape Cod house in Ewing and my mom waved goodbye to Philadelphia and moved in. We immediately upgraded by having air conditioning put in and the furnace replaced. I sold my house in Philadelphia (thanks, Jeanne!) and felt sad about it, but didn't cry. Mom has not made that many new friends in Ewing, as the next door neighbor's are stand-off-ish and she hasn't joined any book clubs. I see her about once or twice a week and she walks the dog every Friday at lunchtime.Thank you, Mom!

9. Work. We lost Cathy last year (I've decided against listing the number of deaths this year. For me, there were not many, but I know others weren't so lucky), and were not able to replace her, so work has become more intense. We have a new president who seems like an amazing, down to earth, sensible, intelligent man, so I can only imagine good things will come of that next year. I know that sounds pat, but I do believe. Sometimes, I can be a glass half full.

10. Trips. Three trips over 2015, none outside of the United States, but one trip took us  all the way to the Midwest. All satisfactory, except for any time we were driving for more than ten minutes. 

11. Money saved: Not much. I had three months of additional mortgage payments without rental income, spent $3,000 to go to Yale and another $12,000 or so on the house. On the other hand, there was only one unexpected bill resulting from me feeding a pizza crust to the dog and panicking when he threw up. Vet bill with X-ray and subsequent diagnosis of indigestion: $400.


3 comments:

Michelle Luke said...

All in all sounds not bad atall! Happy New Year :)
Michelle Luke

Michelle Luke said...

All in all, not bad atall. Happy New Year!
Michelle ;)

PinkPanthress said...

A happy New Year 2016 to You!

I had to laugh out loud a # 1 & 8!
Glad you don't really care that much for the K's...

#3 Congrats on the published Stories!
Oh & #6, Stephen King is the best... :D
and about keeping track of your books, ever heard of goodreads.com or booklikes.com?