Category Archives: Holidailies

Year-End Q & A

Saw this on another site I frequent.

What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?

Let my roots get to two inches long.

Did you stick to any resolutions? Are you making any for 2021?
I don’t remember what resolutions I made last year, but for 2021, my goal is to work on myself and remove negative forces and people from my life.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one close to me, but my niece did.

Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

What countries did you visit?
Not a one.

What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?
Peace and quiet. The pool renovation project outside my window that was supposed to be finished on November 30 is nowhere near done. That is one reason among many that I am moving.

What date(s) from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 13. That was the last day the staff worked in the office before the organization went to telecommuting for the pandemic. November 7, when AP called the election for Biden. People in my neighborhood were all cheering, hooting and hollering, banging pots and pans, and rejoicing in general.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not telling someone what I think of her. Seriously. It was a monumental effort at times.

What was your biggest failure?
Telling someone else what I do think of her. She wasn’t worth the thumb-typing.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Except for the erythromelalgia flare, not really, no. My back bugs me once in a while, but that’s life.

What was the best thing you bought?
A new mattress and box spring. Been sleeping better.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and all the people who marched peacefully in the BLM protests. Not gung-ho about the bad apples who resorted to vandalism, but the vast majority of demonstrators kept it peaceful.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Tangerine Mussolini and the Wicked Witch of the West Wing. Appalled and outraged, though, not depressed. What is depressing is that so many people thought that asshat had something to offer this country and got on board with his hate machine. I am also appalled by the Karens and Chads splattered all over YouTube, the ones throwing tantrums about wearing masks or going on racist rants. I’m not naive by a long shot—in fact, I’m naturally a bit of a cynic—but I lost a lot of faith in humanity this year. Not sure I’ll ever get it all back.

Where did most of your money go?
Aside from living expenses, probably games and other sources of home entertainment.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Biden winning. (Do you see a pattern here?) Moving.

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Neither, but I am more aggravated and annoyed.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Tarot, journaling, writing fiction and poetry, exercise, proper nutrition.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Social media. Getting back to that resolution for 2021, I’m going to be a lot less present on Facebook. Already reined it in. Call it the triumph of cynicism, but I’ve come to realize that I just don’t care for most people’s opinions on anything, and there is a lot of rage-inducing ignorance and bullshit on there that ultimately isn’t worth so much as a skim. Debate me when you know the difference between your and you’re, its and it’s, and there, their, and they’re. If English is your first language and you’re an adult but you’ve yet to master fourth-grade grammar, I can’t take what you say about science, interpersonal dynamics, the economy, foreign relations, and philosophy seriously. Maybe that’s arrogant of me to say, but literacy is a good thing.

Tonight, he dines in HELL!

Did you fall in love in 2020?

What was your favorite TV program?
Versailles. The Medici series. Binged all of Breaking Bad, also outstanding.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is such a strong word, so no. However, I have come to regard a few people with disdain and distaste.

What was the best book you read?
Mistress of Rome, by Kate Quinn, the first in her series about Rome. The whole series was great!

What did you want and get?
A release from my lease. A week from today I will be moving. Cannot wait!

What did you want and not get?
Six winning numbers.

What was your favorite film of this year?
I don’t know if I watched any 2020 releases.

What did you do on your birthday?
Nothing. I stopped giving a rat’s arse about my birthday years ago.

What would have made 2020 better?
We could have done without the pandemic.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?
Yoga pants, tank top, flannel sweater, bare feet, no make-up.

What kept you sane?
Books, binge-watching TV, games, jigsaw puzzles, journaling, writing here, exercise, telling my bird exactly what I thought of the people who irritated me. Also, an acoustic series by one of my favorite bands, Poets of the Fall, really helped. It gave me something reliable and consistently beautiful and good to look forward to every month.

Here’s one of my favorites, which blew me away because the original is reminiscent of mid- to late-80s dance synth. I like this one better. It’s a mood.

Who did you miss?
Friends, the people in a city explorers group I belong to.

Was 2020 a good year for you?
Not really, and not because of the pandemic, although some of the things that made me miserable are indirectly related to the pandemic. For example, I might not have had to deal with the absolutely absurd amount of construction noise in my apartment building while trying to work at home if so many people hadn’t moved out because of job loss or classes going remote, thus giving the landlord the opportunity to renovate a bunch of units at once. Not sure if they would have renovated the pool regardless, though I suspect that contractor desperation factored into the decision.

Also, some people need to get a grip on their anxiety and either learn how to manage it or seek help in doing so, instead of putting it out into the universe so that it affects those around them or foisting it on other people as though it’s their responsibility to relieve that anxiety. I dealt with a lot of that this year, and not for nothing, but my compassion stops short when it comes to people using things that happened to them 20, 30, 40, even 50 or 60 years ago to justify poor behavior now. Quite frankly, I think that’s a manipulative, childish, selfish, and shitty thing to do. I remind myself, again and again, that how other people react to things or manage their anxiety is on them and I can only manage my own reactions. But that doesn’t mean I don’t grow weary and resentful of having to do so in the first place, particularly in situations where I can’t just walk away from someone. Not going to lie: Sometimes I want to tell a few people to grow the hell up and deal with it.

What was your favorite moment of the year?
See Biden, above.

What was your least favorite moment of the year?
Having to push back on various and sundry for the sake of my own well-being. There were a lot of those moments this year as well. It blows my mind how much I had to defend my boundaries, my personal space, and the sanctuary of home at a time when increased boundaries, personal space, and time at home are basically being forced upon everyone. I guess some people just have such an immense need to try to control others that when they can’t, they push even harder. The parrying is exhausting, and lemme tellya, that’s going to change in 2021, too.

Where were you when 2020 began?

Who were you with?
My bird, Inigo.

Where will you be when 2020 ends?

Who will you be with when 2020 ends?

Did you break up with anyone in 2020?

Did you make any new friends in 2020?
Nope, though I made a few acquaintances.

What was your favorite month of 2020?
This will sound terrible because it was during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, but May. I loved sitting out on my balcony with Inigo, chilling with snacks and a book. May is a great month in the D.C. area, warm but not hot, and no bugs yet.

How many concerts did you see in 2020?

Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2020?

Did you do a lot of drugs in 2020?
I don’t do drugs. They rot your brain and destroy your health. I have seen entirely too many lives ruined when people who dabbled in recreational use got addicted. No thanks.

What was your proudest moment of 2020?
I don’t know if this is pride, but it did feel good when some of the sources I interviewed for various articles said they loved my work.

What was your most embarrassing moment of 2020?
I didn’t have any. It’s hard to be embarrassed about anything when you’re not around other people.

If you could go back in time to any moment of 2020 and change something, what would it be?
It would be the moment Trump decided to disregard the burgeoning pandemic and instead chose to bullshit his way through it. I mean, I can see why he did it—he has his head up his arse about public health (among other things) and has no earthly clue about leading for the greater good, so it was easier for him to stick his head in the sand and downplay it. But a lot of people died unnecessarily because the U.S. government didn’t take a strong position and lead in a bold and innovative way, and the responsibility for that rests squarely on his shoulders. I consider his behavior throughout the pandemic to be a crime against humanity.

What songs will remind you of 2020?
See the aforementioned acoustic series by Poets of the Fall.

What are your plans for 2021?
I’m going to gather my resources and move on in myriad ways. (She blathered cryptically.)

Sunday Stealing: Isolation Edition

Thank you, Sunday Stealing!

1. Day 1 of serious isolation behavior:
Was no different than any other weekend afternoon or weeknight, except that I was pretty rootin’ tootin’ enthusiastic about not dealing with humanity for two weeks straight.

2. First trip you had to cancel:
I didn’t have anything booked, but the powers that be had approved a meeting that would have found me flying home from San Antonio today.

3. Other trips canceled:
None. It was more that other trips were not planned.

4. Last trip out of town before isolation:
A day trip to Philadelphia.

5. Farthest from home since isolation:
Across the river into Washington, D.C. to go to my office. I had to flee the jack-hammering from the pool renovation that is now in stasis.

I knew they wouldn’t come near to finishing it before the ground got hard. Now there is a whole bunch of rain water collecting in the pool and making an odd and foul sort of mud with the concrete dust, dirt blown into the pool by the wind, and random leaves.

Nope. Still no Hoffa. Twenty-two days until moving day.

6. Last meal sitting in a restaurant before Isolation:
I can’t remember.  

7. How many books have you read?
Four and a half. It takes me forever to get through a book because my reading habits veer more toward magazines and blogs.

8. First event you didn’t attend due to virus:
Brunch for a friend’s birthday. We canceled it.

9. Date and event of last over 200-person event:
BLM protest in June, Washington, D.C. Some things are worth risking your life for. Protesting oppression and police brutality is one of them. But guess what? We all wore masks, unlike those stupid, idiot, racist, bigoted, inbred, corn-fed, white supremacist Proud Boys who insist on coming to D.C. to spread their viruses, not only of COVID-19, but of stupidity as well. Trump LOST, idjuts. Quit crying. Or, to put it in language people like you originated and therefore should be able to understand, fuck your feelings.

10. Last live music event:
ProgPower, September 2019.

11. Things you are eating more of since isolation:
Junk, garbage, crap, junk, snack food, sweets, junk, and junk. And my waistline has paid for it, boy howdy.

12. Things you are eating less of since isolation:
For a while it was brown rice because I couldn’t find any anywhere. Same with veggie sausages.  Happy folks got into meat alternatives, though.

13. What restaurants have you gotten take-out meals from?
A local Thai-fusion place a couple of blocks away.

14. Have you found yourself bored in isolation?
Nope! Stressed maybe, because a certain little bird doesn’t understand that just because his human servant is home, that doesn’t mean she can give him attention all day long as she is trying to work.

15. Have you gained or lost weight?
Gained. That’s one more reason I can’t wait to move. I know you can’t outrun your fork and all, but my current place has wall-to-wall carpeting and that is not conducive to cardio-kickboxing and other HIIT workouts, which I love, love, LOVE to do. My next place has flooring.

16. Do you drink alcohol?

17. If so, more or less in isolation?
The same, until I stopped a couple of weeks ago. I have this completely obnoxious and rare condition called erythromelalgia. It was in remission for five years until last winter. Bottom line is that it makes it nearly impossible for me to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time when it is in flare, so my doctor prescribed a super-strength antihistamine to take at bedtime so I sleep through the attacks. Granted, I will probably sleep through a fire, too, but the point is that mixing alcohol with that stuff can cause bad things like, say, death, so I’ll pass on the nightly glass of grape until the condition is under control again.

18. What entertainments have you explored?   
Wonderful things. Wonderful terrible things, MUAH HA HA HA…

Okay, I hit level 363 on this phone crack this morning.

19. Gotten into anything new?
See, phone crack, above.

20. Have you done crosswords? Board bames?  Jigsaw puzzles?
Crosswords, sudoku, cryptograms, word-searches, jigsaw puzzles. See? Never bored. #smugintrovert

21. Have you cleaned out some cabinet, drawer, closet, etc. thoroughly?
I’m moving, so doing all of that now.

22. Are you spending about the same amount of money?
More, and my dermatologist appreciates that. (Now is the time for things like getting spots off, laser resurfacing, etc.)

23. Done Zoom, Facetime, etc. meetups?
Not with video enabled. I despise cameras for all kinds of reasons, but videoconferencing has taken my hatred of the things to a whole new level. First, people don’t even use them right. They talk into their monitors, so they don’t even look like they’re looking at you. You’re supposed to talk into the camera. Second, I’ve seen up more nostrils than an otolaryngologist at this point, so ick. Third, enough people have passed comments about liking to look into other people’s homes that it totally got my back up about it. I am a SUPER private person that way. I am aware that one can use backgrounds and so on, but then people comment on that like it’s an affront to them that you dare to protect the sanctity of your home and ah, shaddup. Really. My home is my sanctuary. Aside from service contractors, you have to be special and dear to me to cross the threshold, and that includes with cameras.

24. Had a social occasion with a small group of people you consider safe?

This is why we can’t have nice things—like a flattened curve.

25. Did you vote? In Person? On Election Day?
I voted in October, in person. I couldn’t wait to make my mark against Tangerine Mussolini.

Christmas Candy

Holidailies asks: Holiday food you wish would disappear from the face of the earth.

I answer: Ribbon candy.

Oh, my word with that stuff. I cut my yap up so many times attempting to eat it as a kid. Lips, gums, inside the cheeks, no part of my mouth went unsliced by ribbon candy, but the tongue got the worst of it.

Why I kept trying to eat it is beyond me. I didn’t even like the taste. No one in my family did. There would still be some sitting in a box the following April until someone who might or might not have been me pretended to find it in the cupboard and yelled out through the house to my mother, “MOM! The ribbon candy is all stuck together!”

“Throw it out!” she’d yell back.

And so I would.

The colors were all wrong, too.

The pink tasted like Pepto Bismol. (Image: The depths of hell, where kids taken by Krampus are forced to eat it every day for all eternity, so BEHAVE.)

But let’s talk about the good stuff, shall we? Hershey’s Kisses, candy canes, stealth candy canes that looked like the regular ones but were really cherry, the questionable chocolate in Advent calendars, and cherry cordials.

Yes, cherry cordials, those gooey gloppy things that you have to just pop into your mouth whole because if you bite into them, you’ll spend the rest of the day looking like you drooled down the front of your shirt. They are good.

Yes, they are.

Are so.

In fact, they are so good that one year when my sister was pregnant, she told my mother she had a craving for them so my mother bought three times as many of them and we all sat around eating them until we were sick to our stomachs.

Then there was the grand-daddy of all holiday candy, miniature chocolate Santas wrapped in foil. Those things were the bomb. They were small, they were cute, and you could roll the foil into tiny little balls that you could shoot into your sisters’ hair with a straw when she wasn’t looking.

Once I went away to college, I would shove a fistful of mini Santas in my purse to take back with me after Christmas break as it never occurred to me that I could actually buy them, myself. Without fail, every spring I would find one in the recesses of a pocketbook, and it would remind me of Christmas.

I wouldn’t throw it out, though, unlike the ribbon candy. As long as it was recognizable, it was fair game and it would be gone in one bite as soon as I could get the foil off of it—no bleeding tongues required.

There’s no school like old school when it comes to mini Santas. (Image: Candy Nation)