Thursday, December 29, 2022

Tap, Tap...Is This Thing on?

I didn't write an End of the Year Newsletter last year and I'm not sure why.
Maybe I didn't feel motivated enough? Maybe not enough wild things happened?  Maybe I'm getting old and just want to drink a good cup of coffee and read a good book and who wants to hear about that?

I started these things because my perfect cousin sends one out every year and it's so perfect PERFECT pErFEcT that it'll just make you fall into a diabetic coma if you're not careful!
I wanted to show the black sheep family side of things where we make mistakes, wear our pajamas to get pork rinds and chocolate donuts from the Circle K at 2am, don't go on vacations because we spend our money on books and medication for our 16 year old dog, where some days we just can't handle clothes touching our bodies so we remove our bras in the car on the way home from work and discovered the beauty of muumuus at home, where we TRY to make plans for brunch with our girlfriends and never end up finding a date that works for everyone so we just gossip in group chats and know that when we FINALLY get together it'll be like we were never apart, where we alternately binge-watch Gilmore Girls, The Great British Baking Show and Grey's Anatomy obsessively over and over again because they're our comfort shows, where we open TikTok to watch a couple of videos at 7pm and suddenly it's midnight and our hips hurt from sitting for too long, where we watch the mess that is our government and are STILL shocked at the hatefulness of human beings and where we appreciate the love and kindness that is still out there and we will it to grow.

I'm aware my punctuation sucks but that's something I've learned in the last few years and it's become obviously in 2022...I don't care about that crap anymore.  Your/You're...They're/There/Their...Oxford commas, semi-colons...I don't care!

 I rang in 2022 with Covid.  My symptoms presented themselves on Christmas Santa arriving with stocking stuffers.
I was miserable for a few days and then my boyfriend got sick and we were both miserable together.  The fact that I call this one of my favorite Christmases is very telling.  Besides the lack of smell and taste and the body aches and congestion and other weirdness, we had a blast.  We had food and groceries ordered in, we made soups, napped a lot and we watched so much TV that we had to keep a spreadsheet of the movies and TV shows we watched.   

This was also the first time I opted out of holidays with my family.  Things happened while my mother was sick and when she died that I can't seem to get over and because I can't pretend none of it happened, I'm the bad guy and being around them is very uncomfortable for me.  And in 2022 I decided that I was going to do less of what made me feel uncomfortable and more of what makes me feel happy.

2022 saw Tom and I having SO MUCH FUN!  We became obsessed with avocado who does this? Who makes a million different types of avocado toast and rates them every weekend?  We do!
We cooked so many meals together and drank lots of coffee in lots of different mugs.  We worked on organizing my tiny home and continuing to fill it with more stuff.
We became regulars at the local record store.  The owner recognized that I liked the weird stuff (old jazz, classical, 50s cocktail music, old French records...etc.) so she'd hold things for me that she knew wouldn't sell.
Later in the year, Tom realized that we weren't listening to the records we bought every weekend so we moved the player into the living room and he made sure we listened to everything over the next several weeks.

We added a new bookshelf to The Nook and I had my teens come over for tea, Jane Austen movies and book organization.  These kids are a blast and I am in awe of them every day.  They love me and actually WANT to spend time with me so I don't take that for granted.  The time will come when they have to forge their own way and build their own lives so these times will be few and far between so I am savoring the moments we have together.

This summer, I started a Jane Austen Book Club with the teens and a generous friend sent me a donation to buy the books for all of them!  I am overjoyed and overwhelmed with gratitude.

Dash is approximately 16 years old.  I adopted him in March of 2008 and he was thought to be around 18 months old.  He's in good health for the most part.  He has become the world's pickiest eater and I wish I could describe the anxiety I feel when he won't eat.  He will happily eat cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, chicken jerky and lunch meat but I am desperate for him to eat SOMETHING nutritious so I comb the pet stores looking for something he will eat for more than 2 or 3 days.  If you could only see how OFFENDED he is when we offer him something he doesn't want.  He will LITERALLY turn his back on the food or get up and move far away from it.
I've found myself to be the crazy person who offers him a buffet of different foods for him to try.  There will be at least 3 small plates of food around the house JUST IN CASE he deigns to eat this paltry display of cuisine.
He is worth every dime, every moment, every plate of uneaten food.  He has been by my side for nearly 15 years.  He has been my constant through heartbreak, grief, pandemics, illness, depression, anxiety and so much more.  There is not a living creature on this earth who will ever love me the way he does and I know my days with him are limited so I'm making sure they count.  We go for car rides nearly every night even though it's a struggle to buy gas and my tires are bald.  We walk when it's 800 million degrees and when it's like the Antarctic out there! We walk at 2 am, 4 am or whatever time he wakes me.  I'll throw on a jacket over my pajamas and walk the neighborhood with my mascara smeared under my eyes because he is worth it.  I am SO blessed (in many ways) to have a boyfriend who loves him too.  Who will feed him by hand if Dash is struggling with his appetite.  Who will drive to Wendy's at midnight and buy him chicken nuggets.  Who will carry him around the neighborhood when Dash doesn't feel like walking.  Who will drive so I can hold Dash in my lap to see out the window. Who buys him raw dog food that he found at the Farmer's Market, just in case he'll eat it.  Who cheers with me when he DOES finally eat something nutritious and I can relax for a day.
Dash and I are VERY lucky to have him and Cooper.

I had a milestone birthday that will not be turned into numbers at this time.
Once again, some amazing friends came and I was reunited with my Pip for a rousing karaoke rendition of Midnight Train to Georgia!
Since I didn't write a newsletter last year, you were spared the HORRIFIC debacle that was my birthday in 2021.  I was off my drinking game and overdid say the least.  At the end, I left a trail of vomit all the way from The Heights to near Galveston and was thankful for Tom who continued to date me after witnessing me throwing up in bar parking lots, gas station parking lots and my own hedges.
This year, I ended up being the designated driver and that was OK by me!

Tom has introduced me to the art of LEGO and although I'll probably never be the amazing aficionado that he is, I did really enjoy our first build together which was a London double-decker bus.
We've had the best time shopping, reading, cooking, watching TV, LEGO-ing, listening to music, dog-walking, organizing, cataloging books, making hot sauce and homemade dog food, and just being in each other's space.  I really don't mind that my cat, Bingley, loves him FAR more than he loves me.  It's is. I don't give his dog, Cooper, the good treats and the best butt scratches to win him over or anything either!

I think the most fun we've had is drinking a bottle of champagne while tears streamed down our faces watching our Astros win another World Series!  I've been through a LOT with his team and there have been some major ups and downs but I am so proud, so happy, and SO excited to see what happens next!

Did you guys know that I got to see Billy Joel in concert this year? It was incredible!  Greis, as always, is SO generous with her good fortunes and invited me when she won tickets.  I am so lucky to have such good friends.  Billy Joel is such an icon and I am so glad I got to see him perform live.  As I listened to each song, I realized that his music is like the soundtrack of my childhood.  We seemed to always have the radio on at our house growing up and these music memories are just inside my brain.  It was such a fun experience!

We celebrated Jolobokaflod which is the Icelandic tradition of trading books on Christmas Eve and spending the rest of the night reading and drinking hot chocolate. This was year 2 of this tradition and we are fans.
Christmas was peaceful and lovely in 2022.

I don't really do resolutions and I've learned that even though each year is considered a new start, it's really just another day and I'm not putting so much pressure on myself to start fresh...I'm just going to take it day by day and try to be a little better, try to do a little better and maybe take my vitamins.

Because really...what more can you do than drink some water and take your vitamins these days?  The rest is just life.


Happy New Whatever!