Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Year Nesting

If you've been following the blog recently, you know that I've been
A) sick
B) nesting

Part of the nesting is *finishing* things, hence this post so I can be finished with 2010. I'm not really sure where the nesting instinct came from, but its been really fun to have time to look at my space and see what it and I need to really make it work for me. I always knew it could. Out of the 5 condo complexes I looked at, this one had the best fit for me. Despite the fact that the very best thing I could do financially is buy some other place at a good rate then walk away from this, I think that's low on the possibility list. Not due so much to sunk costs and effort, but because I honestly like this place. I'm sure there are other places I could like as well, or even better, but I don't know that I could afford them, it would take time to fix them up, and it will have taken nearly five years to get to where this place is how I want it.

Granted some of that is due to money. Not having enough money is like being a little bit sick. You know you aren't operating at full capacity, but you still get out and do everything you can manage and are reasonably happy with the result, kinda, but it's not until you feel well, or have enough money that you truly realize how much you were [avoiding, declining, not attempting, not starting, not finishing, not dreaming of].

This post turned into the "how was last year update that ate Los Angeles" with odd and gratuitous punctuation, run on sentences, and just everything. If you like me, really like me, and want to continue,

click through.

Looking back on last year, I know I spent a fair chunk of it being really sick, but honestly, I think I spent most of last year partially sick. My temper has been quite near the surface; the idea of doing anything requiring energy filled me with dread so my primary projects got done but my secondary projects (at work and home both) languished; I got re-sick at the drop of a hat as if the partial-sick equilibrium had been disturbed; I gained 35 pounds - 15 of which happened AFTER joining the gym and working out 2-4 times a week for at least an hour each; after taking antibiotics (again) at Thanksgiving, the cloudy pee I've been worried about for two years stopped being cloudy; I went for long stretches between blog updates, which while it can mean I was busy doing stuff and having fun, it usually means I've turned turtle and don't wanna come out to play or expose my neck.

That said, there were also good things about the year.

I was able to spend more time with friends!
- I made a local friend and was proactive about keeping that relationship up. She invited me to her friend's Oscar party, and the host of the party came to my cookie party, so the secondary benefits were also satisfying.
- Friends came to visit and I enjoyed that very much and hope for more of the same next year. I've added memory foam under my sofa cushion to make it a more comfortable bed, but still have an air mattress for those so inclined. Also, with the bathroom reno, it's now a changing room so if you're staying with me, you can have privacy in more space.
- The cookie party was the best yet.
- I got to see my SanFran friends for what are now "usual" events, and spend Christmas & the New Year with good friends who are bad at keeping in touch, but great to be with.
- My very good friend got married to someone who makes her happy and I was able to be in the wedding.

I have disposable income!
- This is the second year of my adult life that I've had any disposable income to speak of. In general, I earn enough that I don't have to watch every penny, but I pretty much have to watch every dollar.
- One of my life goals is to have enough money so that I don't have to watch every dollar but just have to check in now and again to make sure I'm not depleting the reserves, and am spending toward goals, not just throwing money away on trivial effluvia and clutter.
- The last half of this year, my stock options were worth real money and I cashed them out. After setting aside a reserve, I intend to spend half of the remainder.
Already good things have happened: My "anchor point" for spending on movies has gone from $6 to $12; for gifts and events has jumped from $20 to $50. I acknowledge that sometimes spending up to $100 on a concert ticket can be worth it because I like live music and that's how much it sometimes costs. I can afford an organizer, a personal trainer, voluntary medical expenses, visits to the family, movies, and reasonably priced furniture (rather than the cheapest possible option).

I can see!
As of my 6th month checkup, I have 20/20 vision. I'm still using hydrating eyedrops daily, but I had to do that before LASIK too, so whatevs.
I still have some oddness with the really near vision and my left eye has a grey spot in the center where not only doesn't focus, but doesn't get anything but grey. That only sets in at about 6 inches from my face so isn't a great hindrance given the other benefits. Some of which are that camping and swimming are way easier and my eyes don't get as tired at the computer.

I'm working out and have sunday morning plans!
I recognized the "avoiding doing things that require energy" as as (sadly) familiar feeling and knew something needed to be done. And I did try to do things:
I signed up with a gym I like to go to and got a trainer. Then we started doing hip-hop dance classes and my workouts doubled. With the exception of sick days, I dance for an hour every Sunday morning, chat with folks after class, then go get french toast at IHOP. It's pleasing to have a routine for the weekends that gets me up, out, moving and socializing and my brain likes it better than church for all it performs much the same function. I'm very happy with this situation, and I feel better than baseline, even when baseline is lower than it should be.

I was actually attracted to a few guys this year!
Part of my not-dating problem is that there seem to be fewer and fewer men that I find attractive. While I could stand to have more friends out here, I would really prefer a friend with benefits, aka a regular date. While I haven't yet got a new date, I've been proactive about giving my number out and telling people I'm looking. (My grandma even sent me a potential contact!) And I have been remembering to look when I go out. (I'm still not good at looking when I'm at the gym because I find that to be awkward, but I'm trying.) If you know a decent guy, preferably 45 or younger with a snarky sense of humor who likes to get out and do stuff that isn't football game related, send him my way. Local would be nice but isn't necessary. Cat free is necessary, but dogs are ok.

I was able to hire help!
After working with an organizer (yay!) for several months, I was able to set up the place in such a way that I could hire house cleaners. Because I like to live in a clean space and I don't like to clean beyond once or twice a year when the urge strikes and once or twice a year is not often enough, and I resent every moment of the time I spend cleaning except for when those urges strike. And they change the sheets. For some reason I hate changing sheets. Or rather, I hate changing sheets by myself and since I live by myself, I hate changing sheets. The cleaning ladies do that for me and I love it. Plus, my organizer and I have found a good rhythm. When we work together, we get done about 3-4X what I could have done on my own in the same amount of woman-hours, and I enjoy it more.

I presented a paper at a conference!
I finally was able to write and publish and present another professional paper. When I was younger, I thought that was a natural consequence of working. But not so much when one is in manufacturing. My presentation was ok but not great or as smooth as I would have liked, but I practiced, I revised, and it was as good as I could do it on the day I did it. I would like to do it again, and shake a little less next time.

In the broader world:
DADT finally got repealed, Obama has been doing his community organizer thing and built quite a buffer around Iran, so even with a the tensions we're in a better place to avoid military conflict there, the American stock market has recovered enough that it was worth having money in the market rather than under my mattress, two highly competent women were appointed to the Supreme Court. There were earthquakes and mine collapses and floods and snow to spare (that's in the not-so-good column) but maybe if we work on specifics (reforestation, safer mining and oil drilling), it'll help stall the global weirding in general. And while there were 2 fires kinda close to my home (the hill on the other side of the freeway, and the dry cleaners just down the road) none of the really bad stuff happened right here. And while a lot of people are still having a tough time finding a job, including some friends, most of my friends and family are actually doing ok.

So really, there was good stuff.

However, my grandma did die (the one who wanted to, so mixed feelings there), work went ok but I was not a Bright and Shining Star, my good glass studio closed with the recession so getting out to blow glass was nigh on impossible, I didn't have any actual dates (or unactual dates), there was that being sick thing, and in general, I was not overly fond of this year.

On the other hand, mistakes were made and we/I learn from mistakes. So I think in general, I grew more adult this year even if I felt like I was regressing to college student patterns. Work and health got me down, but I've managed to set up my home life to be less chaotic and it's paying off; I've been able to complete projects that make being at home even nicer which makes doing more, fun projects easier. I think that will significantly help me be able to focus in general, meaning it will help at work when I'm not worried about home, but instead have a strong, restful foundation at home. I'll have space to invite people over where they'll be comfortable - another of my life goals is to have the place where people like to drop in and hang out. Maybe by the time I'm 45... Well, at any rate, I arranged with one friend that when/if her kids have a teenage rebellion period, they can come stay with me. ("I'll start looking for a bigger place" I said. "Not too big," she said, "I want them to be safe, not comfortable.")

That was my year. If you read this far, you have a great attention span! I don't even think my last year held *my* interest that well. On a scale of 1-5, it was a 3 because it was an average of 2s and 4s with some 1s and very few 5s. ("Can I go now?") I did leave out a few things (although given the length of this, not many) which may get covered in the next post: New Year's Resolutions. How would you rate your 2010?


farmwifetwo said...

2010 - a year of nagging and a lesson in time management. AKA, where did it go and what did I do??

Spent the first half trying to get the youngest's school mess fixed. Spent the summer doing as little as possible. Spent the fall....

Seems we go constantly and I get little reward for it.

2011 has started in "how soon until they turn 18" mode. My eldest's behaviour at home is disgusting on a good day. Why?? B/c I haven't the time nor the energy to suck up to him 24/7 and tell him how perfect he is. School, scouts, pool.... all keep him entertained and none push him to improve or have actual expectations for him which feeds his "It's never my fault", "me", "missing the 'I don't give a shit'" issues well... When he was 8 the child psych told me there was a lifetime of this - just like my bro....

Youngest is getting more moody and demanding. I need to get an iTouch SOON and download the programs and teach him to "talk" with it.

I also need to do some serious autism non-fic reading. There's some good materials out now and some I need to read. Need to push his school work as well... I've been putting it off. I have trouble with school days and their "need to get things done" either during or after the school day is done.

I need to not have a repeat of last year. I've already seriously culled my online haunts... which means I've been reading more and ahead on my books - T4's, year end. Need to keep doing it.

Junior and Orion said...

Off the top of my head, 2010 was rough. I had health issues starting in November of 2009, with at least two doctor visits a month, every month till June. then we settle into an every 3 months program.

Money is still a bit tight, but not like it has been in the past.

I did get to travel a bit more: Las Vegas, Disney, Queen Mary and Midway. Then off to Florida and home for Christmas.

My furbabies stayed healthy, and my family stayed healthy.

I would have to think harder for more than this.....

Regarding cleaning...I too dislike this. Having doen it alone for all this time, I am tired of it. Just the day to day stuff that has to be done, that is what I am most tired of. Oh well, maybe one day my Prince will come. ;)


PS: Hope you feel better soon!!!!