Closing out the year with a sputter

This highly unusual year is finally coming to a close. And though there are parts of it I wish I could do differently, I’m not sorry to see the end of it.

2020: a confusing year.

I didn’t so much manage to keep posting regularly this month. I fell short of that goal, much like a lot of my other goals for the year. So, I suppose it’s a fitting end. I did manage to post every day in November, plus another 15 posts (16 if you count this one), so there’s that.

My 2020 posts were a little sparse.

I fell short on my reading goals. I planned to read at least 52 books. I finished 40. I barely read any physical books at all, and mostly listened to audio books. (I still count those.) The book group I was in sort of sputtered out after a few zoom meetings. I didn’t even try to follow the Read Harder Challenge list from Book Riot, after successfully completing it in 2019. I found I didn’t have the concentration to read books much of the year.

I walked the dog pretty much every day, and kept reasonably active, but I wouldn’t say I especially accomplished any fitness goals.

I accomplished a few professional goals, but fell short on some others.

I did a lot of volunteer work, but dropped the ball more than once.

I did a few creative projects, but never got off the ground on a few others.

I had one trip to California in February to see my mother, for which I am very grateful, but pretty much all subsequent travel plans were cancelled.

My family has stayed largely well, but we have had our grief, too. I have meant to write a post about a significant loss, but haven’t found the time or energy to do my feelings or the person justice.

I put a lot of time and energy into the US elections, and the results were mostly good, but we are still living in this weird reality where a bewilderingly sizable percentage of the population does not believe in the results. I feel like I still need to hold my breath until we are past the inauguration.

With two vaccines already being distributed in the US for the coronavirus, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know a number of people, who all work in some healthcare profession, who have already gotten their first shots. But with the gross mismanagement at the federal level, only a tiny percentage of the population have started to get vaccinated. At current rates it will be many, many months before it becomes available to me or my family. The tunnel appears to be quite long. And cases are continuing to rise oh-so-alarmingly.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it appears to be still quite a long, dark tunnel we’re in.

Today, we have broken with our tradition of taking the train into Boston to see the ice sculptures, eat at one of our favorite restaurants, and generally be tourists in the city. Instead, we’ll stay home, and stay warm and safe.

Seeing the ice sculptures in Boston: One of many traditions set aside this year.

In a year of big challenges and big stress, I have come out mostly okay. I feel like I was very busy all year, but didn’t get all that much done. The year took a lot of energy. In some ways, it was a huge accomplishment just to make it through, and have any products at all. My family has been mostly okay. We have jobs and a home. So I have much to be thankful for.

So now, I welcome the new year with some degree of hopefulness, but also with some wariness and weariness that come from the awareness that we are not yet out of the woods.

We did get to go for some walks in the woods this year.
Here is a more cheerful photo of woods, since I don’t like to end on such a melancholy note. I do actually really like the woods.

Wishing us all a safer, healthier, happier new year!

Welcome, 2011! (Please suck less than 2010 did.)

Here we are, welcoming in another new year. Which is, quite frankly, a big relief. Because, chances are, this new year will be better than last year. If not, please allow me to enter a coma. Right now.

2010 was The Year of Big Suck.

I know I whine, and I know things could have been worse. (Believe me, I’ve imagined ways in which things could have been worse.) But let’s face it, this has been a Really Bad Yearâ„¢ for my family. It wasn’t All Bad, certainly, but the ratio of Good to Bad was dramatically lower than in most years. Especially given the size of the Bad. When a loved one in the family has cancer, it is hard to imagine the size of the Good to offset it. When that loved one is a small child, even daily deliveries of home-baked cookies, fuzzy puppies, and attractive massage therapists would barely provide a distraction. And not only did I not get any such deliveries, the year instead delivered international catastrophes as well as other more localized family- related, friend-related and personal woes.

I’m not a big one for New Year’s resolutions, but I have often enjoyed looking back in nostalgia at the events of the previous year. “Nostalgia” is not quite the right word the way I feel about this past year. In addition to the aforementioned Bad Stuff, I remember being sick. A lot. I was sick something like 9 times in the first few months of the year, and then got a severe case of poison ivy that lasted for weeks. And while I haven’t really wanted to mention it here, I’ve been feeling pretty awful, as in physically unwell, for a while. Like probably 2 years. I had attributed a lot of that to lack of sleep, but then even once I started getting sleep, I still haven’t felt well. There’s certainly been a lot of worry, and so I thought that (and the ensuing stress-related dietary tendencies) was to blame. But things have been ongoing in spite of various adjustments. (I finally got around to making an appointment to start to address the problem.)

I finally decided to make a push to make progress with my degree, but due to complications of life, health and family, the progress (while not imperceptible) was slower than I’d hoped. The year ended up on a disappointing note after I gave up on a deadline I’d been pushing for.

2010 wasn’t all bad, certainly, and maybe I’ll try to write about its better moments. But not today. Today I’m still holding a grudge.

I am optimistic that 2011 will be a better year. My nephew has finished his treatments, and hopefully he will recover soon from the treatments and the complications so that he can get back to the important business of being a little kid. I am hopeful that I can get my own health in order, and can speed up my own progress with my degree. It looks like this year will involve potentially a lot of travel, and that’s a good thing in my book. In addition to some trips for family-related things (I’m heading to California in a few days!), I am hoping to go to at least one conference in some exciting place. Maybe even Hong Kong.

So, welcome, 2011! I look forward to seeing what you can do.


With 2010 coming to an end, things are looking up for 2011…


…unless this guy is right. In which case things are just coming to an end in 2011.