Onward to a brave new decade…

or at least we may need to be brave to live through it :D Seriously. Greater politics and global warming aside, it’s time for an annual retrospective/prospective. Normally I do this a little sooner, but I found my thoughts strangely fallow this year. I feel very happy to have met so many of my life goals over the last several years, that I was almost reluctant to make new ones. I felt sure that they would come to me when the time was right, and so they have. A friend did her retrospective monthly, which was really neat. I’m not sure I have enough in the way of records to do that, but here are some highlights (or lowlights, depending).

This has been the year of house repairs, and it started off with a bang in January – the repeated series of bangs being my washing machine developing a crack in its drum and having to be replaced. Since then, I’ve replaced the furnace, the water heater, the oven, the DVD player, the laptop and the computer, repeatedly tried to fix the cheap parts inside my toilets (some jury-rigging there), the back-yard fence (due to a tree falling on it in last year’s snowstorm), added weather-stripping, added AC (due to the heat wave in August), and removed the insulation under the floor (because mice were living in it). I still have yet to replace the insulation and am also getting new gutters (with leaf-guards) in a week or so. STILL managed to save more than I spent, somehow or another. Whew. Houses, sheesh.

Of course the main event in January was President Obama’s inauguration, which was so inspiring for me. For once I was glad that I was forced to have basic cable by the evil Comcast (to lower my internet bill). I am still proud of him. His list of environmental accomplishments (in one year!) is incredibly long, and the country is on much better economic, moral, and international footing than it was. There is still a long way to go, but hey guys, he has three more years (at least). Give him some credit!

In February I took the bold step of giving away all my books (OK, except the pretty ones and the bird guides) and moving to Kindle. I’ve been really, really happy with it. I travel a lot, and it couldn’t be better for that. I use it all the time while out and about too, and it’s easier to read while eating, sitting in bed, etc. It’s the first step of a transition to new technologies that will most likely continue this year. I also became active on Twitter and Facebook, and found that it is actually fun :)

March found me with a new, nearly full-time mediation contract with the Natural Resource Trustee Council at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. I now spend about a week out there every two months, and do work in between as needed. I had done some work for them before, but now it was more permanent, and the contract was renewed in September. Aside from it being interesting, challenging work, I am very grateful to have had this opportunity during this period of economic difficulty.

In April I enjoyed a fabulous trip to New York for the Reader’s Studio, and almost simultaneously participated in organizing my first scientific conference for the regional chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. That was a whirlwind month, not least because in the middle of that I got REALLY sick – looking back, almost certainly came down with H1N1 during the trip to NY – that being just when it had first arrived there from Mexico. Hopefully that makes me immune now! Oh, and I refinanced my house, as if this month needed more complexity.

In May, I had some free time to really think about my life. This is when I started to really feel happy – like every day, all the time. That’s kind of a new feeling for me :) A lot of my goals had been achieved – I was in a house I really loved, in a city I really loved. I had successfully changed my career, even in the midst of the recession, and was earning all my income from it. I had a LOT more free time, and was even getting excited about exercising.

In June, I bought myself a cool new bicycle and was all set to ride a lot more, which for me, is kind of like a minor miracle. Sadly, it was not to be. My heart started to act up, which was very, very scary. Even when I was sitting down, never mind riding my bike. Oddly, of all the things that could be, it turned out to be a thyroid problem. One which runs in my family but which no-one had bothered to mention despite the fact that both me and my brother are well above the age where it could appear (I was weirdly miffed about that)! Apparently I had let it go long enough that it had affected my heart, which thankfully has turned out to be reversible, for the most part. Still, it was a good 6 months before my TSH levels and heart function stabilized to allow exercise of any sort. I’m slowly starting up, but it isn’t easy – I feel like I’ve lost a lot in the meantime.

Not much to say about July, except that I planned myself a wonderful vacation in New Zealand for February (which is coming right up!), and it got so hot in the house for so long (95 degrees!) that both I and my computers started to suffer. In addition to everything else I had spent on the house, I decided that I could not work here full-time without AC, with the temperatures it is getting to in the summer (plus south-facing windows and skylights). I hate having to get AC, but it’s central, very quiet, and I keep it at the highest possible temperature.

In August, I started my new self-publishing venture, Tarotmoon Press, and moved all my esoteric writings there. I’m enjoying that, even if events have conspired to keep me from writing as much as I’d really like to – something to think about for the coming year.

Late September/early October found me in Zihuatanejo for my one international trip of the year. This was a timeshare but one of the more jungly/remote ones I’ve been to – instead of my pretty much annual trip to Puerto Vallarta. It was very hot and humid, with some good birdwatching, excellent food, and a chance to release baby turtles to their new lives in the ocean. I did eat rather adventurously, and something I ate decided to stay with me throughout most of the month of October, until I finally beat it into submission with antibiotics. Most of October was spent planning the WSU faculty retreat, which was a nice change from Hanford work.

In the beginning of November, I went to visit my friends Lisa & Kevin in Santa Barbara, and we had a nice time relaxing, eating out, and camping. I wasn’t feeling great that week still, but they were very hospitable and understanding, and I really enjoyed the long-awaited visit. Later that month I hosted Thanksgiving and made my first ever turkey, which I decided to try brining. It came out very well, and my grandfather pronounced it excellent, which is high praise in our family :)

December was mostly quiet. I had a lot to reflect on in my personal life, and didn’t feel much like holiday parties, other than our small family get-together at Christmas. I’ve been working on exercising more, which for me is always, always work. Although today I went to a yoga class and felt better when I left then when I went, which I need to remember.

It’s already the 6th of January and I am frantically making lists of stuff to do before my trip to New Zealand, which starts in less than a month (and will be gone for an entire month)! But I have had time to think about what is still missing in my life and what I’d like to do more of this year. Aside from following through on the ability to exercise, my thoughts are largely about being more outwardly social – both personally and professionally.

I need more friends – especially single friends. This situation has improved greatly since I moved from Puyallup to Olympia, but it still has a long way to go. At least I know people here and there is a lot going on. But, most of my friends are married and many have kids, and they just don’t have time or the ability to get away spontaneously or even planned to do things. I’m tired of going to movies by myself :) I’d like to be able to call up someone(s) for dinner, movies, plays, kayaking, walks, etc. Not to mention that I am really ready for a good, strong relationship with someone that is available and enjoyable to be with.

None of that is going to happen unless I do something about the amount of time I spend at home alone. I can be pretty reclusive – I have so much to do and so many connections online that I don’t really take advantage of everything going on in this community. Much of this I built for myself when I did not have these opportunities, to keep myself sane and build friendships online. However, Olympia is full of interesting things – arts walks, lectures, plays and movies, kayaking, very active Audubon Society and Mountaineers groups, social Green activities, dances, and on and on. Not to mention just getting out to routine things like yoga classes, gym, and the farmer’s market each week. And just a little further away are blues clubs in Tacoma that I know I would really enjoy.

I moved here for all these things! So if I have a resolution this year, it’s to do the extra bit of work that I need to do to find out what’s going on in the community and get out to at least a couple of events each month. It’s my hope that this will slowly draw me out into the world more and help me get re-engaged with interesting people – and who knows where that could lead :)

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One thought on “Onward to a brave new decade…

  1. Phebe says:

    You really inspire me, Teresa! I had fun at lunch the other day. All of your stories are so interesting. Have a wonderful time in New Zealand!

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