Hello, friends and enemies. Another has come to an end. This year I decided to write separate posts to review the year that was and consider the year that will be. I’ve already posted about what I want to do this year (a post that includes everyone’s favorite tradition, the mood board). Now that 2023 is officially done, I’m sharing my thoughts on the year as a whole.
Some of you may roll your eyes at this, but this year I finally started to think of myself as a writer. I know I am out here writing on the blog frequently, and this blog has existed for ten years now, and my job is to disassemble and reassemble words, but I still struggle to consider myself a writer. Yet, writing here and elsewhere is how I organize my thoughts and understand the world. I guess I think of writing books as writing. Anyone can set up a blog and put words on the internet (though blogs are not nearly as popular as they once were thanks to the scourge of video! [do not make me watch a video for information!]), so it doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy and yet, here I am, writing week after week. I also think of myself primarily as a reader, not a writer. Though both of course are engaging with the written word, just from different directions. In any case, here’s to not downplaying myself as a writer in 2024. I’m writing, therefore I am a writer.
This year I found a nice balance of being busy but not overwhelming myself (at least … not often overwhelming myself). I do want to do everything and have a tendency to just keep saying yes to shit or feeling like I have to do everything myself just because I can. The pandemic leveled my busyness out and forced me to think about what works for me. Now I’ve been engaging in public life a little more and finding a good balance. In contrast, when I was playing roller derby pre-pandemic, I was doing way too much. I need a lot of downtime. It is good to do nothing and pet cats. There is no moral superiority to be found in doing the most. That probably sounds a little counterintuitive because the next paragraph proudly announces how many books I read. However, it is not to me and I do not care to explain at this time.
I read 82 books this year! The book list and a little analysis of the year’s reading trends is in my books of the year post. I’m proud and pleased that I put the time into resting and learning more and entertaining my mind. Reading time is also time I’m not spending on social media. As much as I love all my friends in my phone, the less time on my apps, the better.
Since I stopped using Spotify last year, this year, I organized all my MP3s, which was a pretty big task. I’m really happy with it though. I like not being lost in the algorithm and feeling like I know all my music. Some of my the music I enjoyed this year included Jungle, Vision Video, Janelle Monaé, Rosalía, and Yelle.
I watched eighteen movies this year, which is a lot for me! I also watched a lot of Star Trek and RuPaul’s Drag Race, which are my media of choice at this point in my life.
It was very nice to not have to study or think about any big exams this year! I am glad to have the DELE behind me (though it could still be ahead of me if I take the C2 exam … to be determined, but not anytime soon). With Spanish, I have entered my Wikipedia era. I’ve been having a lot of fun translating articles from Spanish to English and getting some help from Ana to translate from English to Spanish. For Icelandic, I spent the year still in my awkward intermediate stage where I don’t know quite enough of anything. That’s okay though. This is how it goes with any language.
Well, it has been another “fun” year for my health. I thought after I finished my year of vision therapy for binocular vision dysfunction, got the TMJ situation under control, and started taking care of my plantar fasciitis last year, things would let up. Alas, this has not been the case. This year I found out I have osteoarthritis (the kind you get from your joints wearing down with use, in contrast to rheumatoid arthritis, which is a chronic autoimmune disorder) and osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis). The doctor told me to strengthen my legs (lol) and stop eating bread. Thanks! So I got physical therapy from someone outside of my health insurance who works with dancers and she was extremely informative and helpful. I am not going to die anytime soon, but it is fatiguing to have even more ailments to manage. I dealt with this potentially TMI subject, which thankfully seems to have been resolved. But still, what the fuck? To end the year on a strong “please stop” note, just last week I got diagnosed with fatty liver disease. Being alive: it’s NOT easy.
Going Places and Doing Things
I suppose you could say I re-entered society a little more this year. Roller derby started again and, although I am no longer playing, in part thanks to my junk bones, I am still doing live game commentary, which I enjoy. I also spent the year being a patron of the arts. I went to the Sacramento Ballet’s performances with my culture gang, saw The Play That Goes Wrong at B Street Theater (which had everyone rolling with laughter), saw not one but two comedians with Abby, and like everyone, I saw the Barbie movie and took my obligatory photo in the doll box. I also got a new tattoo (part 1 and part 2 to this tale). I am definitely not getting any new tattoos in 2024. I have to forget the trauma first.
Knitting and Crafts
It was a very slow year for knitting. I don’t know, I just haven’t been in the mood to knit. Or maybe it’s that Huey is sitting on me all the time when I’m on the couch. I’ve been very slowly working towards finishing this shirt. I think part of my resistance is it just doesn’t seem to be coming out quite right but it doesn’t look wrong enough to rip it all out again. I think I may finish it just so I can mentally move on. I did manage to knit a single pair of gloves this year so I can’t say I did nothing at all!
I had a good time this year with my dance classes and got to do two recitals on an actual stage, which you know I love. I feel like I’m a respectable amateur at this point and I’m getting better all the time. I didn’t do all that much weight lifting, despite having the gym set up in the garage. I am planning to do more picking up and putting down of heavy objects in 2024.
It seems that I didn’t do any big experiments in the kitchen this year. The only really new thing that I tried out was scones, which were a hit and this has reminded me that I should make more. This was also the summer of the rice krispie treat, because of course one box of rice krispies is more than what you need to make a batch of treats, so that led to multiple variations, including my favorite: the black and white rice krispie treats. I also finally made it into the Rancho Gordo bean club, which is very exciting to me, regardless of how corny (beany, really) some might find this. Getting a steady supply of beans really guided my recipe selection this year. Some of my favorites were pizza beans, vegetarian tamale pie and baked farro with lentils, tomato, and feta. Although I think some of my best bean recipes were just soups that I threw together with what I had, which is a nice reminder that not everything has to be a formal recipe and that I’m a really good cook.
I have one of the most photogenic cats in the business. Huey lives here too. Don’t get me wrong, I love Huey to bits, but everyone says she looks mad. She’s not though; she just has resting bitch face.
Finally, here are some of my favorite cat photos from this year for your nerves.