I take time out of my sometimes-busy, sometimes-not-so-busy schedule, all year ’round, to write this blog, specifically so that I can look back and reminisce many years from now. An end-of-year piece should be nothing but fluffy retread, and mostly it is. Somehow though, there’s always something I miss. And c’mon, who doesn’t love an end-of-year retrospective? So here, in words and pictures, is my 2013.
In January I create a new blog, a spin-off of Suite Story Productions, meant to advise job-seekers and offer my own personal perspective on how best to search for and obtain a job. It’s a good idea which I almost immediately abandon out of the boredom of responsibility. The trouble with me is as soon as I “have” to do something, or even have something to do, I’ll go out of my way to prove I don’t have to do it. Also in January, Shaun and I make our last “freaked-out-new-parent” visit to the same-day clinic because Sonja has broken out in hives, which disappear before a doctor can get to her (as always). I vow not to be freaked out by these routine hives anymore, after which Sonja ceases to get hives.
February is generally a pretty slow month, except of course for our annual Groundhog’s Day party. This party tends to fall on Superbowl Sunday but never involves any Superbowl watching whatsoever and that’s fine by everyone in attendance. Yes indeed, I have the best friends. Also in February, Sonja finally starts growing hair.
In March, Sonja has her first photo shoot at the age of 18-months. I lament that I did not do this earlier and vow to do it every year. March is right around the corner…
April is another sleepy month, so I catch up on Boardwalk Empire (season 3 is great except for an over-the-top character played by the otherwise fantastic Bobby Canavale), Nurse Jackie (season 4 loses its way a bit but features the always delightful Merritt Weaver, and promises some good story lines for season 5, if it can be bothered to follow through on its own setups), and begin watching the penultimate season of Mad Men (if only the powers that be had kept it that way instead of deciding to “split up” the final season over two years.) Mad Men season 6 is good, even though it feels like a retread of old Don Draper stories. In the end, it turns out to be a setup for the character finally coming clean and moving on. Color me intrigued.
In May, we take a visit to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. The museum is small but the cuteness is big. May is also the mother of all holidays, Mother’s Day. Unlike the first one, I get to spend this one “relaxing” at home with my offspring.
After several failed attempts at repairing our existing oven, we finally break down and buy a new one. It winds up being a gigantic ordeal. We have a gas line plumbed and perform cabinet surgery trying to get a new, standard 30-inch oven into an old, previously standard 27-inch opening. Not to mention the expense of needing a somewhat rare breed of oven known as the “drop-in.” When all is said and done, I could take or leave the gas range, but the convection mode is a true revelation in baking. So if you’re keeping count, 2012 was the year of the bedroom furniture, 2013 was the year of the oven. What will 2014 be the year of? Only time will tell.
Also in June, we take a visit to the Children’s Museum in Olympia. The Museum is big, as is the cuteness.
August sees myriad milestones. Five years of marriage. Another birthday for me. And I start work again, after finding a job that meets all my requirements: It involves writing, is nearby so I don’t have to commute, is part-time, allows flexible hours and pays enough that I can pay a babysitter if needed. If all that isn’t incredible enough, I wind up working with one of my fellow grad school alums. The temporary job is supposed to last two to three months. Four months later, and my last day was last week. Except I’ll be starting again in January, albeit with reduced hours. (How that’s anything but a nice vacation, I don’t know, but nobody is calling it a vacation.) Although not as creatively fulfilling as my previous jobs, this is far more sustainable for the present-term, and for that I am grateful. All of that, and a trip to the zoo for the kiddo followed by a portrait session for the cat.
September is the month now, the month to beat all other months. This year, Sonja turned two. The weather was not as nice as when she turned one, so we had a small gathering inside, at the house, with panda cupcakes and panda balloons. Sonja had a great time and so did I.
September also sees the finale of one of the best shows ever made, and frequent topic on this blog, Breaking Bad. Oh how I loved this show and oh how sad I was to see it go. It went out on top, with a decent ending that left no loose ends. However, as the third-to-last episode, “Ozymandias,” was the best hour of television – ever – the final two episodes feel ever-so-slightly, just a teeny-tiny bit, like a letdown. They are epilogue-ish in nature, though now that I say that, I’d really like to read an actual epilogue. What happened to the rest of the Whites and Jesse Pinkman? I’ll settle for a blog entry in character voices. Hey Vince Gilligan, are you listening?
In October, Shaun and I actually have a date night, stepping out of the house to see our favorite band Pomplamoose at a benefit concert. We also take Sonja to a pumpkin patch in Snohomish, and trick-or-treating for the very first time at the Microsoft campus. It’s insanely overcrowded, and Sonja is only mildly interested, so we give up quickly and go for hamburgers and milkshakes. Sonja finds this far more interesting.
And finally in October, in an attempt to fill the void left by Breaking Bad, I start watching The Wire, because it is frequently mentioned in the same breath as Bad as the greatest show ever. I’m still working my way through it but have concluded that while good, it is not the masterpiece that is Breaking Bad, nor do I quite understand the correlation. They are both shows about drugs but any similarity ends right there, very abruptly.
November is the busiest month of the year, due to circumstances beyond our control. Our house is burglarized. There are worse things that could have happened but this is still – as people seem so fond of telling me – quite a violation.
We spend a bunch of time repairing broken bits of the house, dealing with insurance and replacing stolen items, but we spend even more time dealing with psychological repercussions. I give up on my NaNoRevisMo project and am still wondering when I will muster up the courage to finish what I started. And I insist, among other security measures we implement, on getting a dog as an additional deterrent. Except we don’t get a dog, we get a puppy, and whoo boy is that a lot of work on top of a two-year-old.
In all of this messy mix, just two days after the break-in, we hold a mocksgiving for our families so we don’t waste the turkey thawing in our fridge. Knowing I will not have the time, I decide – for the first time ever – not to clean the house. Surprisingly enough, no one runs away in horror.
December sees things slowly return to post-trauma normal. Meaning, not exactly normal, but quieter. The new normal. We continue to make improvements to our home. We continue to adjust to the puppy life. Sonja gets to see Caspar Babypants in concert and she gets her very first haircut.
We spoil her on Christmas and serve a delicious prime rib and prawns dinner for 14.
And we gear up for all of the new things – expected and unexpected – that 2014 will bring.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading!