You didn’t ask for it but you’ll get it anyhow. Like so many things, these updates show up and you have the powerful option to skip it and carry on with your day, rather than read about my year. Lucky you!!

I am so thoroughly drenched in the now, it’s hard to remember last year. Let’s see, I was freshly engaged in a new job downtown, which always makes a job feel very grown up. I didn’t like walking around with so many closed stores, but I forced myself to march around a time or two each week. I circled the monument and slipped on cobbles, studied wrought iron anomalies, breezed through tiny park remnants and pondered many weird crevasses of a very old town. Overall, my walking habit slipped and the siren call of the desk chair re-established its hold. Sometimes butts win.

I became re-accustomed to coworkers who did not have drama seizures and it began to feel like going to work was a kind of gentle PTSD therapy. Day in and day out it continued to be not terrible. No one threatened me or shouted at me, unless you count the outdoor neighbors, and you really should, so I’ll say instead that verbal abuse was at a minimum.

It became almost boring at times, so I invented things to worry about. Over the year, I came to see how much the bad senior housing job had cost me. I was depleted and bitterly disappointed that I had stuck out my silly little capitalist chin once more to have it pummeled by greedy and desperate characters. How many times does one have to be utilized by these creeps to get the message? Some people will stop at nothing to secure their second vacation home’s boat house and they are lying when they say they are sorry you got in their way. It is possible I am still bitter.

Maybe not my biggest revelation of the year, but I believe it’s worth noticing what mature people do with their mature savvy. Sometimes, people employ their expertise in human nature to use people to make money. Sometimes people use their wisdom to help other people. It’s not difficult to discern which way they are swinging, unless they are hiding some very bad intentions. Sure, they can make money while helping people, but when the money becomes the focus, that’s where we can drift into grift. It’s not like I have never been on the lever side of the grift machine with the twiddly knobs that make it evermore efficiently empty people’s pockets, but boy would I like to watch somebody try to make me do it now. I have enough guilt fuel to keep me going until I take all the bolts out of their machine.

I recently told my dad that I had never actually believed in greed as a motivation. I didn’t understand it, so I simply stayed skeptical and assumed the best of people for most of my life. It’s embarrassing to be so willfully naïve, especially when your dad clucks and says, “That’s adorable!”

This was a year of sorting out my relationship with money. Money and I go way back. I have neglected her, toyed with her and carelessly traded her for garbage. She doesn’t care about that, because she doesn’t care about anything. She is fickle and fictional. Still, we’ve worked things out. I don’t respect her more and she is not more reliable, we just don’t bicker or stress like we did before. It feels like a truce.

I have made some new friends, but in my mode of aloofness I have also avoided any truly significant connections with them. It’s really for their own good. Also, I am a coward. Still, they know I love them, from a distance. It was some time during this year that I remembered I can invite people to my house, yet I have not done so. The kids are the only ones who visit with any regularity and they are not at all regular.

Half the kids are getting or have gotten married this summer; way to bury the lede, I know. The joy of the ceremonies is always met with a dash of gloomy pride. How did my tiny monkeys become people other people would willingly wind into their lives? How did my tiny monkeys figure out how to embrace such worthy and loving people? They’ve all chosen remarkably well, including the ones who have not chosen anyone just yet. So smart!!

I’m very grateful that they all understood I wasn’t joking when I said I would not pay for weddings. This is not a rule I threw down because I have mostly daughters, although that certainly bolstered my resolve. I pay for college and they have to sort out the rest. This foresight on my part has also allowed me to be grateful I’m just a wedding guest. I can just be there and soak it all up without having to solve anything important. It’s wonderful to just hang out and enjoy the joy. Sometimes selfishness works out for everyone.

One thing I have done very little of this year is book writing. Not to overstate things, but I have genuine empathy for George R. R. Martin. Books are incredibly hard work and holding an extra universe in your mind is distracting and tiring. I completely understand how one can wake up with explosive enthusiasm for working on a book and mere hours later shun it in favor of a wine and brie coma.

Novel writing is a diversion that can take hold of your mental life and I recognize now that I wrote UHOOB as an escapist fantasy: for me. I wrote the book I wanted to read and made it as good as my little drop out brain could manage. Some majority share of my instinct does not want to go there again.

Not right now. The 19th century can wait a little longer.

I have developed a baby phobia, that is a very small phobia, of stairs–not a phobia of babies. I suspect that 60 is the age when one should begin to respect stairs in a new way, but of course I’m overboard and ahead of schedule. Having a three-story home when this happens is ideal. If I did not have to confront scary, old-fashioned stairs every day, I would have to watch Russian Doll on a loop instead in order to face my fear and let it scurry away. It also helps that I am watching yet another series about the staircase murder. I’m again disappointed that no one ever points out that the stairs are the real serial killer.

These days, when I feel anxious on the stairs, I chant, “Sure of foot! Sure of foot!” This is unlikely to be recommended by real psychologists, but it makes me happy to be a cheerleader for my own feet.

It’s important to cheer for something. I have had to hire professionals to do the important fixes around the house and I may surrender and let them do the less important fixes also. Somehow, every time I bully the storm door into shape it breaks again; one step forward, one step back, three trips to the hardware store, three trips to the liquor store, forever one hubcap short.

I have cooked three meals in the past year. This is also for the wellbeing of others. My church thinks they want me to bring a side dish to an event. Perhaps I will bake blue macaroni and cheese and plant a sign in it: “Enter at Your Own Risk.”

Maybe that’s too sinister and they won’t think it’s funny. I think it’s funny, but I also believe we can never have too many warnings. It’s important to stay on your toes and not become too complacent even if you are truly sure of foot.


What is the book I mentioned? It’s just little debut that sold hundreds of copies, which means it’s a bestseller here because it has no competition. Amazing!! Delightful!! Etcetera!! In my hardly ever active newsletter you may learn about coupons and other crimes of publishing.


Paypal pennies burning a hole in your penny pocket?

Sure, you could throw them in your neighbor’s pool, but you wouldn’t have the satisfaction of keeping the Defective Pet Collective going. What could be more satisfying?


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