South Park Self

our hopes, our will to try

well, then. Happy new year. 2016. A year, as the Goon Show would have it, of months, and one which adds up to 9, a number of which I've always been fond for random aesthetic reasons. (Curvy. And three threes). I hope this is a good omen. I didn't do the annual scorecard retrospective last year, because I was submerged in depression at the start of 2015 and not really blogging, so as has become traditional, I'm going to catch up by doing them both at once.

2014 was about change, in a lot of ways: moving out of a 15-year shared space, a new boss at work who radically redefined both my working conditions and my sense of safety, and the opening of a lot of major cans of heavily suppressed worms in the therapy process. In fact, safety nets were removed in 2014 to rather dramatic extents. It's probably not surprising that 2014 was quite bad for the depression. I'm not good at change. It frightens me, and I tend to sit in a rut in order to avoid it, and I find it more stressful than energising. But if the two-year comparison has done anything, it's been to realise that I can do change if necessary (and if prodded properly, and I still owe Jo beyond belief for lending me the energy and direction to shepherd me through the move); and more importantly, it can be exciting and energising. At the beginning of 2014 I resolved, above all, to try and be happy, and while it's been a two-year process with patchy results, I think I'm starting to achieve that. If 2014 was about change, 2015 was about adapting, moving forward.

So, here's the scorecard, with its usual random set of juxtapositions.

Things achieved by me in 2014: a break-up with my Evil Landlord, in the domicile rather than the friendship sense; an autonomous home filled with the basic furniture and appliances for daily life; an autonomous life in which I control all my own adult-related decisions; a chapter in a major book on fairy-tale film; something resembling a start on a theoretical engagement with the existence of African fairy tale within my personal academic paradigm (this is actually rather major); some crowbars applied to crack open deep-seated problems in therapy.

Things achieved by me in 2015: a new cat. A refinement of my home space beyond the basics, in a way that has made it feel particularly mine. A new set of work responsibilities (I now head a student engagement cluster, for what that's worth) and, after careful manipulation, a working relationship with my new boss. A negotiation of a major political melt-down on campus, during which I think I helped students measurably and was able to give free rein to my organisational bent. An emergence from the chrysalis of therapy and anti-depressants into a more stand-alone existence, although I suspect my wings are still drying.

Losses: Philip&Jo, who fled the country, and who are not an absolute loss because the internet, but whom I miss. My sweet and mentally disabled Aunt Jane, sadly, from cancer, but also mercifully quickly and while she was with my mother in the UK rather than being in Zim. Golux, about whom I am still sad. (Also, I discover, Ounce, who was never technically mine, but with whom I lived for a decade or so, and for whose shadowy, flighty insecurities I had a fondness not untinged with guilt. He had the same thing Fish did, cancer on the roof of his mouth; the EL had to have him put down just before Christmas. It's been a bad year for kitties chez EL, they're down to Todal, who remains in reasonable health, albeit very skinny, despite some sort of fairly major kidney problem.)

Things discovered by me in 2014: Inquisition, Death Cab for Cutie, living alone, really loving living alone, mocha cheesecake, Bed On Bricks, morally ambiguous honey badgers, Agents of Shield, comparative chocolate digestive anthropology, memory-scrambling anaesthetic drugs, 2048 with Sherlock and otters, building bookshelves with Jo, Moxibay side-effects, Parade's End.

Things discovered by me in 2015: Fallout, Sunless Seas, epic container gardening, growing things from bulbs and seed, Dragon Age fanfic, office politicking skills, makeshift racerback bras, the corrosive properties of lemon juice, electric toothbrushes, hipster cats-eye spectacle frames, reading the service agreement properly, Amelia Peabody, the limitations of the therapy process, Mallory Ortberg, Frère's, cauliflower and sweetcorn soup, Daredevil, clipping my cats' claws myself, Wellbutrin side-effects, Flow, Windows 10.

Things rediscovered by me in 2015: my brain not on drugs; long hair; dreaming; being happy.

If I'm making resolutions, which I don't think I am in any formal way, it's to try and continue being happy; to look for positive ways to change. Because apparently it's possible.

(My subject line is quoting ABBA, unashamedly, because new year always earworms me with that song for days).
Things discovered by me in 2016: persons of whom I expect better may be guilty of perpetrating "free reign" on an unsuspecting language.

I'm sure you were on tenderhooks waiting for a slip-up, and loan behold it appeared. Hopefully it will be the last, but the proof is in the pudding.
I'm sorry, sincerely. That was Rude. (I blame my overdeveloped and underemployed subediting sensitivities.) Also completely lacking in seasonal good cheer and good wishes, which I would very much like you to have, in abundance.
oh dear, you were editrixing/trolling and I was grumpy and it was all A Series Of Unfortunate Events. I still blame the heatwave. It's fine, really - I hate making that sort of error, it does weird things to my sense of identity, so I lash a bit when called on it, particularly when heatstressed. I love you both, really :>.
*adopts hopeful Max voice*
"You are not cross, Mommy?"

Possibly this would be cuter/less creepy if you actually knew Max. Possibly not. Anyway, yay forgiveness! Thank you. :-)
Nah, not cross. Momentarily irritated, because heatstress and hot button. I'm sorry I was grumpy.

Alas that I do not know Max, but I can extrapolate. Not creepy, definitely cute :>.
Boo, and yay.
I'm sorry about Ounce :-(. I hope they will get more cates, poor Toad must be very confused.

Yay for things achieved! Last night while cutting the toes off mine, I wondered how your nail-clipping was going. I'm sure Pandora tolerates it with her customary grumbling :-P

We are also feeling the loss of CT and friends quite keenly. Sherborne is lovely, but lonely :-(.
Re: Boo, and yay.
I meant to email all sorts of people with New Year wishes, and have failed dismally to do so, as the current level of heatwave is draining me of all vestiges of either energy or brain. You guys were probably first on the list after family. But I am pleased to report that so far Pandora actually behaves beautifully to have her nails clipped, she purrs madly throughout. And I have so far managed not to draw blood.
Thank you, ma'am, and the same to you and yours. (I suspect that's Hubby for you rather than Hobbit?). Hobbit is currently chasing Pandora up and down the living room, more or less amiably. He feels he has a start on a good year, anyway.

Edited at 2016-01-05 06:09 am (UTC)
I love this post, especially the bit about what you rediscovered in 2015. Here's to happiness, and dreaming.

PS Tabitha started getting skinny about 18 months ago. Turned out to be a thyroid issue, apparently it's very common in older kitties--and easy to check for with senior kitty blood work. Skritches to Toad, I'm especially partial to black kitties :-)

It's a sad fact of getting older that one's pets inevitably start to reach the end of their viable lifespans, particularly given that these days vet care and spanky catfood mean we prolong their lives way beyond where they'd be in the wild. I suppose the cancers and kidney and thyroid problems in the cats of one's immediate social circle are inevitable. It parallels rather horribly the way in which, slowly and inevitably, it starts happening to everyone's parents as well.

Happy New Year to you and yours! Have a lovely stv-photo Todal icon, to start the new year on the correct lucky note. (I'm sure a comment counts as crossing your path). Next time you're in CT you must come and meet Pandora, who's a stealth tabby disguised as a black cat...