A Year in Review…2017…

It’s that time again.

2018 is the Year of the Dog.

2011…The House…
2012…Denver and Andy Grammer…
2013…If it Ain’t One Thing…
2014…The Phantom Smoke Stench…
2015…WTF Day Is It…
2016…The Whole Gaddam World is on Fire….

 

2017 was The Year of…The Nose…and OMFG WHAT NOW???

 

Hoo boy.

 

Hey, remember last year when I talked about things getting worse before they get better and how long is it going to take to turn the corner and how bad is it really going to get first and OH MY GOD I DID NOT REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER TO THOSE QUESTIONS BUT HERE WE ARE WITH NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN.

*ahem*

It’s been another YEAR. A year of screaming in abject horror at the news on a daily basis. (Or every thirty-five seconds as the case may be, give or take.)

Oh.

Ye.

Gods.

This was a rough one in a lot of ways. And I’m so bloody tired. I’m trying so hard to hold on and appreciate the good things—because there ARE good things—but JFC it is not easy.

Deep breath.

BECAUSE I CAN BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE.

No.

It’s not getting old yet.

 

1.) Where did you ring in 2017?
Honestly, I don’t even remember New Years Eve anymore. We were at home, yes. But what were we doing? I…don’t know. It’s probably a safe bet to assume it involved video games. I went back and looked through some interwebz activity to see if I posted anything, and apparently I watched part of a live stream from NYC with a Gavin DeGraw performance, so we were at least in the loft and not the living room, which likely means if anything we were playing FFXIV. Otherwise I am blank on the details. (This is really nothing new.)

2.) What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
I had surgery—septoplasty and bi-lateral turbinate reduction. Recovery was rough and the bills were offensive, but I CAN BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE PROPERLY.

3.) Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make more for next year?
Sometimes I think I should just replace this question with one that has a chance of having a real answer each year. (Other than no, that is.)

4.) Did anyone close to you get engaged or married?
Not…that I’m aware of…?

5.) Did anyone close to you get pregnant or give birth?
I think I’ve reached the age where everyone I know is done having babies until their babies start having babies.

6.) Did anyone close to you die?
My aunt died in August after a long battle with cancer. Her funeral was held in place of her planned 70th birthday party.

7.) How did you earn your keep?
Still pretending to be a housewife.

8.) What countries places did you visit?
The biggest adventure we had this year was Surgery Day. I’ll take it.

9.) What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
A cleaner house. Seriously. I’m setting the bar at roughly attainable.

10.) What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
July 10th. Surgery Day. It was an expensive medical venture that actually yielded results and I am still boggled by that.

11.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I completed a double Project 365. I did not enjoy it. I wanted to quit several times. But I stuck with it because I wanted to actually finish something in the creative vein.

12.) What was your biggest failure?
Lack of progress in just about every corner of my life.

13.) Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a bad cold at the beginning of the year that lasted too long and surgery recovery was a lot rougher than I anticipated.

14.) Did you ever encounter the police?
The new Mega Church campus across the road has city police on site every time they hold service. Why does a church need constant police presence? It’s disturbing.

15.) What was the best thing you bought?
Bob bought me a new computer after my other one decided it didn’t like batteries anymore. He also bought me a new set of pans and new Chucks. See also: my husband spoils me.

16.) Where did most of your money go?
Hahahahahahahahaha, medical bills.

17.) What did you get really excited about?
Andy Grammer put out a new album. Also being able to breathe through my nose.

18.) Compared to this time last year, are you…
…happier or sadder? Meh…it’s been a terrible year for my mental health.
…thinner or fatter? Fatter…the past few months saw a small spike in weight, though I don’t think my habits have changed. So that’s nice.
…richer or poorer? Poorer…medical bills and debt are fun.

19.) What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing. It’s been a rough year for writing.

20.) What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying about the horrifying state of the world.

21.) How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve with my family. Christmas Day with Bob’s family.

22.) What are your short and long term goals for 2018?
Short Term: Annual appointments. It’s always a production to get through those.
Long Term: Getting the second bedroom cleaned out so it no longer looks like an episode of Hoarders and installing the shelving unit in the closet.

23.) What was your favorite TV program?
We kind of gave up on our regular TV shows this year. We watched a lot more anime with a Crunchy Roll subscription. And we’ve been really enjoying the Critical Role streams.

24.) What were your favorite books of the year?
I wish I read more books, but focus and reading comprehension make it incredibly difficult to get through them. It only took me about thirty minutes to read, but I really liked Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book by Jomny Sun. Also The Highly Accurate & 100% Correct in Every Way ANATOMY OF ANIMALS! by Dave Kellett is good for a laugh.

25.) What was your favorite music from this year?
Andy Grammer put out a new album. Train put out a new album. Darren Criss and Mat Kearney put out new music. O.A.R., Nine Days, and Gavin DeGraw are constant staples. And I re-discovered Splender after a good decade-plus of hiding in my music arsenal.

26.) What song will always remind you of 2017?
I’ll say Yeah, Whatever by Splender simply because I listened to this damn acoustic version a couple hundred times.

27.) What were your favorite films of the year?
Based on our increased consumption of anime, Your Name was really good.

28.) What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 38 this year. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. It was a Sunday. We were lazy at home, I had a headache, and we had Culvers for dinner because I wanted onion rings and they’re right across the road from our house.

29.) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Significant writing progress. I don’t even care what story. I just want progress again.

30.) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Pajama pants and hoodies for life, Kids.

31.) What kept you sane?
Bob. Always. And music. Forever.

32.) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
There were (was? were?) a multitude of music makers holding my attention, as usual.

33.) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
Recovery takes time.
Surgery is the easy part. It’s the recovery that sucks. Minor surgery is still surgery and when that minor procedure has a massive impact on your ability to breathe properly, hey—maybe it’s going to take time to work through that. Also general anesthesia is reeeeeeaaaaaally weird. I saw a blue oxygen mask come over my face and then I opened my eyes in a completely different room. That missing block of time is disorienting and unnerving. But it was worth it.

Lost in a tricky maze…

Anxiety is a weird beast.

Strange things spike it at even stranger times and I find myself jittery and nauseous with shooting pains, all over something completely innocuous.

Fun times.

And by fun, I mean EFF YOOO.

Anyway.

Things that are good…

1.) I fixate a little too much on word counts when it comes to writing, but watching the numbers climb makes me feel accomplished. Especially when the writing is slow going. Even when the project I’m working on is, if we’re being realistic, essentially a clone of another story I’ve already spilled thousands of words on. One of these times I’ll get it right. And I’ll celebrate every time another 10K gets added to the pile.

2.) We’re going to see Lazer Team on the 27th. At a movie theater. For a crowdfunded movie without a powerhouse to fund distribution, that’s a pretty sweet deal. I [heart] all things Rooster Teeth. This is known. (We so rarely actually see movies in the theater, but now we’ll be seeing two in as many months. Who even are we?)

3.) Sister Hazel is releasing a new album February 19th. I am stupidly excited. I love this band so much.

4.) Cisco Ramon is probably my favorite character on The Flash and I would like to cuddle the hell out of him. And then I found out Carlos Valdes sings too. His voice hits all the right triggers in my music obsessed heart.

5.) Flash and Arrow come back in a few weeks. And the new Legends of Tomorrow starts then too. Even with all the superhero camp, I haven’t loved a set of TV characters this much in a very long time.

6.) My top 10 most played artists for 2015 were [once again] a bit singularly O.A.R. focused. And then Matt Nathanson put out a new album. And then I went on a Train kick. And as I sit here listening to Billy Joel sing Shameless, I regret nothing about my listening habits. I will listen to the same song on repeat for hours if I have to. And I often do. Music is as essential to my existence as the air I breathe. (Also writing. And Bob.) Judge me all you want.

 

7.) The rest of our furniture was finally delivered. It’s all smooth and new and smells like wood and stain. As it turns out, a narrow room is really awkward to photograph, so everything looks a bit wonky and more cramped than it actually is. Someday we will paint over that red wall that came with the house. Someday. (Now we need a bigger TV. And a smaller subwoofer. Again…someday.)

Save me that frustration…

Dear Writer’s Block,

You are an insufferable bitch.

GTFO please and thank you.

No love,
—Me

Something, something, dead horses.

When the writing sits at critical mass for extended periods of time, my brain comes up with a lot of inane activities to fill the void. (No, no, more inane than usual.) I was looking at my Last.fm stats…like I do…and noticed a couple of artists were sitting at nice clean numbers. And then I started doing math to see how many plays it would take to get the other top artists on the page to equally clean numbers. And then that was the only thing I listened to until I had those numbers. Some only took a handful of plays, while others took a few dozen. And then Last.fm forgot how to math and the plays didn’t add up properly on every artist so I had to keep listening until it was correct and…well…the only thing that I really accomplished was a screen shot I could make a blog post about because I have nothing else to write about.

This is my brain and welcome to it.

You can’t possibly be surprised anymore.

You know, for being my very favorite band, Train is only in 5th place on this list. They have some catching up to do. It used to be an ever-rotating competition for them with 3 Doors Down and Ingram Hill in the top three. Then Andy Grammer entered the picture. Then Ryan Star. Then the switch flipped on O.A.R. and…Ingram Hill is still top three but Train and 3 Doors Down have fallen down the list. Although 3DD hasn’t put out an album since their Greatest Hits in 2012 so that might have something to do with their slip. They keep talking about being in the studio, but there’s never any release date mentioned. THROW ME A FRICKIN’ BONE, BOYS. And it will be a little weird when they do finally put out an album since Matt and Todd are no longer in the band. Change and all that.

*sigh*

Sometime in junior high or high school—the memory is foggy at this point—I started writing a story dubbed the Dysfunctional Family story. (DysFam for short.) It was the main character and her brother and their life split between their divorced parents. Life with their mom, stepdad, and his kids was a miserable time. Life with their dad, stepmom, and her kids was the safe-haven. I concocted a number of different versions of this tale, but it never went anywhere because I never really had a clear plot to follow. It eventually fell into the archives, but the idea was always there to randomly poke me in the brain.

Several years later, that idea resurfaced. The characters were aged to match, and instead of desperately trying to get away from life with her mother, the main character finds herself moving back into the house she always hated while she goes to grad school. Instead of a constant war, the focus is on mending fences and building something other than volatile relationships with the step-family. (And probably a brewing romance on the side with some guy she meets elsewhere.) There was an actual plotline, but it never really went anywhere for unknown reasons, and back into the archives it went.

Skip ahead another decade or so and I find myself with this idea jabbing me at the front of the brain again in several incarnations. It could be just a desperate attempt to combat the relentless writer’s block. Or it could be I have an actual idea (or…a few) I can work with. I’ve built up a lot of story in my head at this point, but whatever I’ve tried to put down on the page looks more like I just rolled my face across the keyboard a few times. It’s gibberish.

The original idea that cropped up…recently…sometime within the last…few months?…can’t brain…actually had nothing to do with the old DysFam idea. It was something else entirely. But as it started developing, it managed to warp itself into that old idea. It fits. Surprisingly well, actually. I just can’t seem to get it down on the page and have it not look like I face-rolled my laptop. I have no idea how to get around this roadblock and it’s driving me absolutely crazy.

At this point, it has a pretty strong potential to turn into a hodgepodge of conversations with no rhyme or reason to them at all—scenes without stories—and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s not at all what I want.

Something, something, mother effing writer’s block.

And dead horses.

Keep sailing on…

Insomnia.

Sleep is for the weak.

I got a call today (yesterday…whatever) confirming my psychiatrist appointment.

Eleven days in advance.

Close enough.

At least I know they still have an appointment scheduled for me. Since I scheduled the appointment, I’ve had a strong feeling in my gut that something is going to go wrong by the time the appointment rolls around and I’ll be back to square one. It’s not just pessimistic tendencies at work here. I’ve had enough shit hit the fan in regards to appointments in the last two decades, I can’t help but prepare myself for shit to go wrong.

But hey, in this case I’m not dealing with Park Nicollet, so maybe things will work out in my favor this time.

I can only hope.

I had my annual physical on the 8th. I brought up a bunch of issues I’ve either addressed before or finally remembered to bring up. I didn’t get much in the way of answers, but I didn’t expect I would. Keep asking the same doctor the same questions, keep getting the same answers.

At my last physical, I brought up significant ear pain I get when sleeping and was prescribed Flonase because my sinuses are perpetually inflamed and it’s all connected. I used the nose spray for two months and it only served to inflame my sinuses tenfold and gave me bloody noses. I’d never had a bloody nose in my life and I was getting them every morning. No thank you. I relayed this information when bringing it all up again and was told to take Allegra D for a full month and then switch to the non-decongestant version. So I can buy ten pills at a time (that I’m supposed to take twice a day) that I have to submit to a criminal background check for at the pharmacy so they know I’m not going to cook meth with them. So far I’m not impressed, but I’ll give it the prescribed month and decide whether or not to bother beyond that.

I brought up my back and hip pain AGAIN, complete with the bone-grinding-on-bone sensation and was told that my pelvis is “definitely torqued.” My right hip sits higher than my left (as is the case with my mom, her sisters, and at least one female cousin on that side) and I know things are out of alignment from falling on my tailbone three different times. He mentioned yoga and more than once said, “This is why we have chiropractors,” but never actually said I should see one, but I’m convinced actually seeing one is the only way I’m going to get any actual answers or results. That’ll get addressed…eventually. When I can get over the panic attacks involved in finding a doctor/clinic/whatever then making the damn phone call and…fucking Christ dealing with life is one endless clusterfuck of stress.

In the meantime, I was told to use a foam roller to work the muscles involved in the lower back and pelvis and considering I have no balance or equilibrium, this can’t possibly end in disaster.

So far it works well to crack my back, but I’m NOT TALL ENOUGH to do half the exercises involved in working the areas that need to be worked.

I finally remembered to bring up the Phantom Smoke Stench. He entertained the idea of doing an MRI but decided against to go with the aforementioned allergy medicine trials and my upcoming psychiatrist appointment. Considering a brain tumor and Parkinson’s disease are highly unlikely (Oh Wikipedia) there is a high probability that it’s related to mental illness and I’ll see what the new doctor has to say about it.

There was a tiny part of me that was disappointed he ruled against the MRI because I’m terribly curious to know what my defective brain looks like. But I’m mostly relieved because I know that our useless insurance would not cover a preventative MRI and those bastards are expensive. (Our shitty insurance doesn’t even cover mammograms. Because obviously.) However, if the new psychiatrist thinks it needs to be done…he said he’d be more than happy to order the test and we’ll burn that bridge when we get there.

We discussed my upcoming psych appointment and how I’d brought up the same “anxiety is off the charts” at my last physical. That’s the bitch of it all. I’m having severe anxiety issues but I can’t get past the panic attack to pick up the phone to make an appointment to address my anxiety issues. And he said he can tell that there is “a lot weighing on” me right now. Good to know it’s glaringly obvious I’m barely holding my shit together these days.

I had one vial of blood drawn by my preferred lab tech Igor. He’s excellent at getting the needle in with little pain. I still had a fantastic bruise for several days and by the time I got home, I felt more like I’d had a tetanus shot than a blood draw my arm was so sore, but I’m pretty sure that was because I drive mostly with my left hand and I grip the hell out of the steering wheel without realizing it until my hand is so cramped I can barely straighten my fingers.

Issues.

I have them.

In other news…

Ryan Star’s new album came out last week.

I think that was rather obvious.

Holy Christmas.

I fucking love him.

It’s that late night smell…

I don’t sleep at night.

I nap.

Because two to three hours of sleep is not a night of sleep.

It’s a fucking NAP.

As much as I love naps (and I do love naps) it’s ridiculous that I am only capable of sleeping two to three hours a night. And those aren’t even continuous hours. Those are broken into one-hour-or-less intervals.

Why yes I AM about to start hucking rocks a people.

Let’s just say there’s a reason my music listening habits have been a little more…obsessive…than usual.

I’d be in a gaddamn rubber room by now otherwise.

Sometime back in 2006 I was alerted to a website called Last.fm. I have no recollection how I originally found out about it, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. There is an iTunes plugin that tracks your listening habits. And because I’m obsessive about my music listening habits, it seemed like fun times to use. There is a huge margin for error with it, but I think it is a fairly accurate depiction of things. Also, this doesn’t include the HOURS of iPod listening I did at my desk at work because I never used the iPod connectivity capabilities. I’m too lazy for that. There’s also a big gap from somewhere in the last five years, because when I met Bob, my listening habits took a dive, other than on the Music Choice channels, and I didn’t log many hours in iTunes until sometime after we moved into LivingLocation#2. And they’ve seen a big spike since we moved into our house last year. (LivingLocation#3)

According to my last.fm stats as of right now I’ve listened to 47,628 songs from 649 unique artists. (Also not accurate, but really, what can you expect from a free service?)

And while we’re looking at stats, my current iTunes library sits at 7,251 songs, which is 19.5 days worth of music and 35.08GB of space used. This does not include all of the CDs I own, or the arsenal of mp3s I acquired sometime before iTunes even existed. I have absolutely no idea how many different artists this includes as I am too lazy to figure that out. iTunes says there are 945 different artists in my library. I take that number with a grain of salt also, as I do not consider collaborations to be separate artists from the individuals involved. If two people do a duet, they are not three different acts, iTunes, they are two who did one freaking song together.

ANYWAY.

My top 10 most played artists in last.fm are rather unsurprising. And haven’t seen a whole lot of movement over time. Better Than Ezra worked their way in within the last year when I discovered that I really liked more than the five songs that were on the Drive List. And then saw a massive spike when a handful of songs ended up on the Ben & Marina soundtrack. Sometime within the last two years Rooster Teeth worked their way into the top 10 based mostly on the Red Vs Blue season 8 soundtrack. If I ever catch up on all of the podcasts I haven’t listened to, it’ll see another spike in numbers. And now…in little over a month, there has been a new entry in the top 10. (Actually the top 6…soon to be top 5.) And really…I’m not that surprised.

Bob walked in after work yesterday, paused to catch the song that was playing, and shook his head with a grin.

“Boy, when you fixate on something, you REALLY fixate.”

Yes.

Yes I do.

Ask me if I care.

The answer to that would be NO.

That’s 1,800 plays in approximately 12 weeks, when he first landed in iTunes, and roughly 1,450 of those plays are just from the last three weeks.

If I’d had the last.fm service and iTunes back when I discovered Ingram Hill, their numbers would probably be at least double that of 3 Doors Down. I listened to June’s Picture Show almost exclusively for MONTHS. They have a new album coming out next month. I am stupidly excited for it. Andy Grammer will have to take a back seat when that one lands in my hot little hands.

In the meantime…

I still want to pinch his cheeks.