January 3rd, 2012

blue box

The Year Behind, the Year Ahead

Happy New Year! I guess the holidays are officially over, since I ate the last of the Christmas Eve waffles I had in the freezer this morning. I'm normally a "Christmas lasts until Epiphany" person, but I think the Christmas stuff is coming down today because I'm eager to move forward in post-holiday mode. Between the December illness and the holidays, I feel like it's been ages since I've had a normal working day, and it's hard for me to get my nose to the grindstone with the Christmas tree up (maybe I'll just deal with the tree today and keep the garlands until Epiphany).

I didn't get to my "year in review" post at the end of the year, so I guess I'll tackle that now. It was yet another year without any major high or low points. I did a lot of work that hasn't yet come to fruition. It was a fairly lean year financially, but there are good possibilities on the horizon. But it wasn't a bad year. I guess I'd say it was quietly good. Most of my memories of the year's "high points" involve fairly simple pleasures.

I read 100 books, which is down a bit, but only 20 of them were re-reads, which is a lower percentage than normal. I read a surprising number of non-fiction books, and not all of them were even for research -- at least, not direct research for a project in progress. As usual, my most-read author was Terry Pratchett, but all but a few of those were re-reads. My most-read author for first-time reads was Mercedes Lackey, mostly due to a late-in-the-year binge when I was in the mood for slightly lighter fantasy with romantic elements. My new-to-me series discovery was the Locke Lamora books by Scott Lynch. I don't really have a favorite book of the year. I'm really going to be stumped for Hugo and Nebula nominations.

As for the year ahead, I feel like I'm standing on the brink of something and big changes may be ahead. That may mean moving in a different direction with some things or trying something new (that sounds like I'm writing my horoscope). Something pretty much has to change, and I need to step out of my comfort zone in some way. I hope that all the work I've been doing lately will finally come to something, somehow. Personally, I also may need to shake things up and be more willing to take chances.

I make the same resolutions every year, to get my house in order and to be more physically fit and active. I'm already making great strides on the first with my job jar approach. I finally got to some tasks where the results are visible, as two thirds of the bar in my living room (aka the Horizontal Surface Where All Things Go to Die) is totally clean. The difference between this and other times I've cleaned the living room is that I'm not just shoving everything somewhere else. A lot of the decluttering I've done with cabinets and boxes has revealed the results of previous emergency cleanings, where I've just stuffed things away in a hurry. Over the weekend, I dealt with a couple of the boxes in the office closet, which turned out to be full of newspaper and magazine clippings -- and in a lot of cases, entire newspaper sections. I seem to have avoided tossing the food section of the newspaper, thinking there might be a recipe I'd want, and then those sections got shoved in a box. I did end up clipping a few of those recipes, but there were entire newspaper sections that ended up in the recycling bag. It was interesting to watch the evolution of the local newspaper (or, really, the devolution), as it went from a dedicated weekly food section to a few articles and recipes in the lifestyle section, and the sections got much smaller. Apparently, I like the idea of molten chocolate/flourless chocolate cake and chocolate cheesecake because I found a lot of recipes for those things. And I could probably cook a different thing every day and never get through all the recipes I'd saved. I tried to really limit myself to interesting or unusual things that I couldn't find in any cookbook I've got. I may start a grab-bag approach to using these recipes, like picking one a week, buying the ingredients and making it.

As for the fitness, I tend to go in spurts of enthusiasm. I need to find more activities I enjoy doing and focus on that rather than on "exercise." But I say that every year.

Now, on with 2012!