Daily Archives: January 21, 2010

2009 In Review

Better late than never. I’ve had this sitting in a file on my desktop, and I haven’t posted it because I was sure there was something I was forgetting. (There was: Neil Gaiman. Only the most exciting assignment I’ve ever been given, ever. Duh.)

Things I Did In 2009 That I Have Never Done Before:

Bought a brand-new cello.
Bought a spinning wheel and started spinning.
Joined a third social networking site (Twitter, which I vastly prefer to Facebook; I find FB very annoying, with a heck of a lot more noise than actual signal).
Canned a whole pile of garden tomatoes.
Performed a spiritual handfasting ceremony for two dear friends (not the same as legally marrying a couple, which I did for t! and Janice).
Sold my primary musical instrument (to someone very deserving!).
Bought my first Apple product, a Mac mini.
Interviewed Neil Gaiman in person.

Things I Did in 2009 Of Which I Am Proud:

I bought a new cello. If you follow my journal regularly you were privy to the angst I felt about the whole buying a new 7/8 cello when the 4/4 I had was so very excellent an instrument. This was a huge issue for me, because I had to deal with my preconceptions regarding thrift and what I deserve versus going overboard, and what constitutes any of those things. I am very, very happy with my choice to sell my first cello and buy this brand-new 7/8. The sound is evolving nicely and we play well together. We’re a good fit. This was HUGE for me. I am so very proud of myself for taking this enormously weighty step.

I am very proud of not quitting my cello lessons. As of mid-October it was one full year of lessons down, and I can tell that my technique has improved by leaps and bounds. I wasn’t ever really in danger of quitting them entirely, but I came close to asking to move to a biweekly schedule for the sake of finances, a move that would have had negative repercussions on my development.

I am proud of sticking it out in second chair at orchestra and not asking to be moved. I really, really struggled with the music this past fall, and I came very close to asking to be switched. Actually, I did ask, indirectly; I told the section leader that if she wanted to rotate me to the back to give someone else a chance, I’d be fine with that. She immediately vetoed that idea, which felt nice on one hand, but made my heart sink a little on the other. I’m sure this is very character-building for me.

I am thrilled with, and proud of, switching to a Mac computer. I’m pretty set in my ways (mainly because it takes energy to learn something new and there’s not a lot of that to spare) and learning a whole new interaction with a computer system was a bit intimidating. Apple made it very easy for me, though, and I’m terribly pleased with the whole affair. I vastly prefer it to Windows machines.

I am freakishly proud of stepping into the spinning hobby. Like the 7/8 cello and the move to a Mac, I researched exhaustively for months (rash is nowhere near my middle name) and finally decided to buy a spinning wheel. I thank Ceri form the bottom of my heart for giving me the early birthday present of a spindle workshop last spring.

And finally, I am also proud of the interview with Neil Gaiman. Not only did I step up to the plate and take the assignment from the lovely and talented Tamu at fps magazine instead of backing down because it would have been easier, but I actually got through it without fainting or choking or forgetting how to speak English. It was also just a pleasure to meet him and talk for twenty minutes. He is a wonderful person.

Good Things About 2009:

Taking up spinning. I can’t communicate how deeply this has affected me. It relaxes me, engages a part of my mind that I haven’t often engaged, and occupies my mind just enough to let everything else settle. Plus I get pretty yarn out of it.

Like last year I’m sure there’s more, of course; a lot of this year was good. But these are what stand out in my memory. I am still thankful for my friends, appreciative of them and their strengths, proud of their accomplishments and successes, and love spending time with them. I’ve also further refined my stop-spending-time-with-people-who-drain-me technique, with excellent benefits to my psyche and physical health. And I’m still working on the maintaining a decent balance as regards my physical energy, too, which goes well enough now that I understand I have to manage the energy carefully thanks to fibro.

Not-So-Good Things About 2009:

Scarlet fever. Come on. I mean, really. (Not that it was bad, just annoying. It was nowhere near as awful as the time I had it as a kid. I was fully operational and non-delirious the entire time. But still – scarlet fever?)

How Did I Do With My 2009 Wishes?

Further refine and develop my cello skills

Finish and polish and start querying Orchestrated
Finished writing it and did a full edit on it, which is two out of three, anyway. Then the last quarter of 2009 happened and bam.

Keep on writing
Um. My writing has really, really, fallen by the wayside. I’m so tired that I can’t think ideas through any more. This really upsets me on one level, but on another I don’t have the energy to be upset. I suspect I’m shifting into a more editorial phase of my career, and you know, that’s just fine right now. After five books for the publisher and two and a half for myself over the past six years, I figure I’m entitled to some down time.

Start making all our own pasta
Fail! And all due to the unwillingness to invest in a pasta maker or attachment for the KitchenAid.

Plant, harvest, and preserve more vegetables from the garden
Win! We enlarged the garden by a quarter this year and got a really good crop of tomatoes, lettuce, peas, and carrots. We had a surprise cucumber plant emerge three months after we’d planted the seeds. The potatoes really worked well this summer, too, and they were delicious, although we didn’t’ get anything like a big yield (better than last year’s afterthought experiment, though). Our green onions did well too, but they were so small that it was hard to use them. It felt like I was wasting more than I actually got into the pot. Perhaps not the most efficient of crops; maybe full-size onions next year.

Save more money
Well, debt accumulation has been stopped in its tracks, but paying it off is happening very, very slowly. Part of this has to do with my income readjusting, since I no longer consult with the publisher and get large chunks of money as a result; I get smaller amounts trickling in on a pretty regular basis.

Wishes for 2010:

1. Further focus my energy on a smaller group of friends. This means narrowing my online circles as well as real life. I just don’t have the energy or the time; I can’t help or support everyone. HRH has already begun doing this in his own way. It’s not that I don’t like certain people with whom I’m easing myself out of a closer sphere of interaction; it’s mostly that I can see there are people who end up causing me exhaustion both mental and emotional, whether I enjoy interacting with them or not (and that covers both online and/or off).

2. Focus on my spinning. I going to let this be my relaxing thing for the year, and I’m not going to worry about using what I spin. A couple of months ago I decided that in early 2010 I’d open an Etsy shop and list stuff there as I spin it, and hey, if it sells, then I recoup the money for the fibre and some of the time, and I get to do more. It’s the process I love, not the product to be used for a specific project of mine. (Actually, I do love the product; I adore looking at skeins of yarn I’ve spun, and petting them, too. I just don’t want to be saddled with piles of them that I’ll never use.)

In Summary:

If I had to assign a value to 2009, I’d say that again, it’s been an overall good year. Watching the boy grow and develop in leaps and bounds (if one more person tells me that he’s ahead of his peer group in language, social, and physical terms I may pull my hair out) has been fabulous. HRH got his permanency, which means barring humungous disaster, we’ll be okay for the next twenty-five years as pertains to his career. We’re looking at a move to the south shore in 2010 as well, to be closer to HRH’s job and the boy’s kindergarten. I hate moving, but I’m actually looking forward to this because eof what it means to us.

So here’s to a quiet, successful, fulfilling 2010.