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Showing posts from December, 2014

2014 in review!

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This is Leo, ladies and gents, sleeping upside down and sprawled on his bed as he hasn't done since he was a puppy, thanks to his cushy bed. That's his 2014 in a nutshell, really. :) And not a bad start for mine.

So, this was actually a really good year for me. I got a lot accomplished this year, even if it was hard won in a lot of ways.

January:Despite my early concerns, I didn't back out of grad school. I balanced school with Oscar season, which will be starting soon again as well. We went to the Flying Fig for our anniversary, which was amazing and on my list to go back to some day ( though likely not for our anniversary this year, given time and money issues).

February: I turned 43. We had an awesome Oscar party. I read a lot of stuff, but not as much as I should have, because taking comprehensive notes is only so useful. I started putting my head down and focusing on my work. I presented a paper on a Hitchcock movie at the SouthWest Popular Culture Association Confere…

Christmas trees are the weirdest tradition.

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This is my Christmas tree this year. It says hello.

This is the first year, for me, that it really feels like a Christmas tree. We bought it from a reputable dealer who gave it a fresh cut and knew how tall it was. We measured to make sure how tall of a tree would responsibly fit in the space we have. We bought some foil garland and some new glass ornaments (and some robots) to put on the tree. We have a few older ornaments from Matt's previous tree, but they were all of a type, and now it's finally achieved "glorious mishmash" status, where the unique weird non-themed stuff outweighs the coordinated things. There are still ornaments I'd like to phase out with stuff that is meaningful to us and our kids, but that'll come with time.

Now, with all of that said... Christmas trees are a very odd tradition. I mean, for me a tree is kind of necessary. It isn't Christmas if there isn't a tree of some sort, and it's got to have some sort of gaudy lights …

Who's afraid of Cuba?

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Not us anymore, apparently. We're over it.

President Obama's move to normalize relationships with Cuba is huge, really. The ongoing embargo, "na na I can't see you" method of dealing with Cuba was, to my mind, one of the last big holdovers from the Cold War. Small enough we could pretend not to notice in the greater scheme of things, large enough that as long as we had it, there wasn't a lot of moving forward that could happen. Untouchable so long as we held to a Cold War neo-conservative basis -- if the Cold War is your raison d'etre, then letting go of Cuba policy is the last thing you'll ever do. There were missiles there, man! Commies on the border! Insanity!

And yet, here we are.

In a lot of ways, this strikes me as a definitive blow to the neo-con baby boomers that have been in control of politics for so very long. If they were really in charge, it never would have happened -- and yet, here we are, and by and large, people are pretty happy abou…

Deathy death death -- Happy holidays!

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So I was reading a review of Hozier's concert in LA, and they mentioned that if there was a niche for a death-obsessed hipster guitarist, he fills it nicely. Given that Hozier's album is frankly my current obsession, I went, "hey! That's not true...." But then I thought about it and yeah, it kinda is. But I don't tend see it that way.

Maybe I'm kinda death-focused myself, if I think about it. I find Gothic things resonate for me; questions of immortality and contemplation of other states of being feel comfortable, like old friends, and I regularly question how we know what we are and what others are, and how hard it is to leave any sort of lasting mark behind is when we go. But what does this have to do with anything, you might ask. And how it is related to Christmas, of all things! And right you are to ask such questions, dear reader. Right you are.

This time of year, I find myself particularly thinking of such things. And it's not due to missed rel…

Mornings.

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So, since a shift in my meds, I have problems sleeping in any more. I fall asleep earlier than I was wont to do six months ago, and I wake up earlier than I'd like. By 7 AM on a typical day, sleep is no longer an option. And I know, all of you who have to get up earlier than that for work (including my husband) are all playing the world's tiniest violins for me, but here's the thing: would you willingly get up at that time if you didn't have to? I don't have anywhere to be that early, and I still can't sleep in. Thankfully, we have an arrangement where my husband makes coffee when he gets up so that I can get some, and then I can sit in bed with my computer and drink some coffee, and then the world seems like it's a far better place. But this also means that I should get some work done.

For this week, I need to study Latin for the final on Wednesday. So that gets done today and tomorrow. I need to work on moving my article into Chicago style so it'll b…

Downsizing deliberately

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So, my car is currently a leased vehicle, and my lease is up at the beginning of February. We've started to look at what our end of lease options are -- and one of them, of course, is to let the car go back. Currently the buy price on the car is more than it's worth, so we're not keeping it. Matt's car is a CR-V with nearly 300k miles on it, so we'd like to get something newer for him too. We've gone around about this a few times over, and really what it's coming down to is the idea that, as his new job is not terribly far from my work, it might be the right time to consider dropping down to one car, and getting a newer CR-V for the two of us together. Even if we still have a car payment, we'll only have the insurance and gas for one car to consider and I won't be paying for a parking pass at my school, which is a considerable savings. Also, our schedules work for it to be feasible.

This is a big deal for me, as I have only been without a car for m…