Hindsight: looking at one’s butt in the mirror

I don’t know if the past year can be wrapped up, but it ought to be thrown with great force once it’s fixed so no one can cut herself on it. 2010 did not turn out to be much better than 2009.

Somebody had this list of questions . . . I dunno, why not?

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Got carjacked. Had a lot of communication with the police for about three weeks there and learned a lot about how they go about a case (and how long they give it before the flurry dies down and they shrug and give up).

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My mother always makes resolutions FOR me, and I never do them. I suppose our family doctor is right and that’s all passive-aggressive on my part. I am sure that if I did improve myself, everything would be wonderful and I would suddenly become rich and famous. Yet it appears that whatever I do goes wrong, so I’m sort of put off of trying yet again. Yoda is full of it–yes, there IS “try.” You can “do” all you like and still not accomplish whatever-it-was, and that is called trying one’s best. Sometimes one’s best is not good enough.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
They’re all too wizened and olde! Actually, my niece and a few of my second cousins are young enough to have children, but they’ve said they’re not interested. I think the cat next door had kittens sometime last summer, though.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
You all know that my aunt, Jean Cary, stepped into Heaven a few days before Christmas. Mama is never going to REALLY feel normal again. They used to talk a couple of times a day on their cell phones. They’d argue (“It is NOT!” “Yes, it is, and blah blah blah–” *slam*) and hang up on each other for a while, and then one of them would think of something and call the other back. “I just thought of a reason that I’m right and you’re wrong. Listen. . . .” They were a real hoot. Anyhow, we miss her and always will. There is another star in the Heavenly firmament. Her husband, boyfriends (!), and parents undoubtedly said to her, “What took you so long?”

5. What countries did you visit?
The countries of the imagination, in my books.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
A literary agent. A book contract. Ha!! A clean house!! That isn’t much more realistic, but at least I have some influence over whether progress is made on that endeavor. A few more friends to replace the ones who’ve moved far away, drifted apart (because of having children, marrying men who took them into different social worlds, and the like), or forsaken us.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
You know, there are so many. October 4th–carjacking. Mama went into the hospital for a blood transfusion in August. I was a finalist in the Dallas News Cookie Contest in November. Hubby got a layoff letter that will go into effect next year if they don’t get bridge funding where he works–that was just a couple of days ago. In July I was blessed by being permitted to attend that David Farland Writers’ Workshop right here in Dallas. The owl that Athena sent (or who came from the Owl Service) was in the house sometime in June, but I didn’t really get a clear message at the time. (Today I saw a HAWK perched on the neighbor’s back fence, and I didn’t let the dog out alone in the yard for the rest of the day.) On the other hand, I can’t remember anything much ELSE about the year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Um . . . went to the cookie contest? Didn’t die when I fell and hurt my ribs? Kept everyone in the household clothed, fed, clean, and breathing easily?

9. What was your biggest failure?
The usual. Everything else: I’m still fat, the house is still not arranged the way we’d like it, I can’t sell a book, I never win the lottery. It’s hard to separate the failures from the “just didn’t happens.”

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
We all have the flu right now. I’m on Tamiflu and really am not very bad, but hubby is on Tamiful and Levaquin and just lies around coughing and playing his videogames. He rallies and does stuff for an hour or so now and then, but it takes it out of him and he goes back to bed. Mama had a mild case of it, and she has an infected cut on her ankle that I’m watching, and she mostly shuffles around the house saying that she wishes things were different. I fell down and hurt my ribs earlier in the month, and my arm is JUST NOW getting really better from the acupuncture. That acupuncturist is good.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Oh . . . what did I buy? I love the new cookware we got sometime in the spring, and the pants I got in September. Our big household Christmas present was Hubby’s XBOX, ordered before we knew he would get that scary letter of job precariousness. I do not understand why a man who just turned *bleep* would want to play silly games, but he enjoys it greatly. I also let him get a $299 flat-screen TV for the family room, so he hooked all of that up in there and is enjoying it. I got an iCraig “tower” speaker to set up in the kitchen so I could listen to the iPod shuffle in there, but it can’t drown out all the TVs, so I don’t use it as much as I thought I would. I suppose we’re all too materialistic. I’m happy with what we have, though, and we enjoy all this crazy excess. Except when it comes time to dust it.

Next year will be the year of pinching pennies.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Probably not mine. I am such a yotz.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Aaaaah . . . I don’t remember. These things pass.

14. Where did most of your money go?
House payment, car payments, prescription medication co-payments, stuff that we needed to get repaired on the house, the aftermath of the carjacking (replacing certain items, paying for the car to be repaired the rest of the way, etc.) I didn’t waste ALL of it on books, music, socks, and funny hats.

Money talks, but all mine says is “Goodbye!”

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Eh. I always get all pumped when I’ve got any indication of interest from agents or editors, but I should know better. The Universe is trying to teach me something through all of this, and I must not be learning the right thing.

Oh, I did experience happiness when the dog’s medicine helped his cough, and when Hubby’s medical tests didn’t show anything dire, and when Mama came out of the hospital so much better, and when my fingers started working again after a couple of acupuncture treatments, and when I went to the cookie contest, and when we took those road trips. But . . . nothing was really that unusual.

Maybe I’m cynical and jaded??

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
“Make the World Go Away” . . . “If It Weren’t for Bad Luck, I’d Have No Luck At All” . . . “Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me.” *Grin*

17. Compared to this time last year, are you…
happier or sadder?
Oh, we are sadder. No question about it. We’ll be OK, but right now we are sobered and thinking of eternity more often than usual.

thinner or fatter?
Shut up. Just shut up.

richer or poorer?
Heh. We finally paid off our bills for the most part–hubs borrowed from his IRA through a company loan program and we paid off the credit cards, and my car was paid off in April, and the second lien on the house was paid off in December (we had used it for the heater, water heater, pond, and landscaping), so we were thinking we’d be in good shape–and then he got the layoff letter. The terms are pretty good, though, and they could still get bridge financing. There are other jobs. But anyway, I ought to be freaked out about it, and I’m just not. Duh, football!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I enjoyed the traveling we did. I’d like to travel a bit more. I also wish I had dieted more and fixed up the house more. And I wish we could have seen my aunt more earlier in the year. I always think I should write more (even though I do write quite often). I hate that I had to drop my piano lessons, but (1) they were so expensive, and (2) instead of improving, it sent me into a tailspin of anxiety and messing up. I was learning, but I also had to cope with Mama waiting out in the car (she was in a phase of “I can’t be left alone,” perhaps because of her medications) and with never living up to expectations. Right now, my hand is still not cooperating and it’s too weak to play properly (when I tell fingers four and five to hit the keys, they may or may not), but it’ll be well soon, and I can practice again. I play for myself, and it’s a good creative outlet.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying and suffering and fretting. It didn’t help.

20. How will you spend Christmas?
We stayed home and I took care of the others, who were all various degrees of sick/”not feeling good.” We didn’t see anyone or do anything. It wasn’t my idea of a holiday, but oh well.

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
Already taken. Things going fine on that end.

23. How many one-night stands?
Do people actually DO that? I can’t imagine anything more . . . difficult.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
There’s this great new show on the COOKING channel called “Bitchin’ Kitchen” that’s like an Elvira of the kitchen. Still watching “Cash Cab,” even though there’s a scandal saying they were screening contestants and not really picking them up at random. Still watching the classics whenever I catch them.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Eh. You mean politicians and pundits? The names change, but the basic critters stay the same.

26. What was the best book you read?
It worries me that I no longer enjoy reading the way I used to. I can’t remember a book that really stayed with me this year.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
“Radiohead” isn’t completely bad.

28. What did you want and get?
Two cardigans that cover my bottom in back.

29. What did you want and not get?
Tiresome to mention it again.

30. What did you do on your birthday?
We went out to eat and walked around old downtown McKinney. Big whoop. I always think I’m going to get to have a party, but something always prevents it. Probably just as well.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Y’all know this. Quit rephrasing the “what do you wish your fairy godmother would grant” questions.



Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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