Saturday, December 30, 2006

My 2006

Goodbye, year of the dog.

I'm not one for reviewing the past year because, in my experience, one year has been much like another. Since I quit my job though, there have been more changes and I've been considering that fact as 2006 draws to a close. I've written about some of these things before and some I have not mentioned. For my own sake (if nothing else), I'm going to list them here for future reference:
  • I started this blog as a means of fulfilling a desire to write and to record my thoughts and experiences living in Japan. I did so with a great many trepidations because so many blogs are ego trips. However, I was greatly inspired by the blogs that I enjoy which I feel are not about overt ego gratification or self-involvement. My primary "style" inspiration has been Q-taro as I've always enjoyed Roy's posts about his observations and life in Japan.
  • I started writing for blogcritics to force myself to write in a more structured manner and to try and push myself to recapture some of my old academic writing style. I haven't written as often as I'd like but have been largely satisfied with how I've written. However, I hope to do better next year and with greater frequency.
  • I learned how to pump up a bicycle tire. Previously, my husband had always taken care of this little task. It was a good example of some easy little thing which you never bother to learn because someone else did it that you finally get around to tackling.
  • I seriously considered getting a distance Master's degree in adult education from Penn State University and even tracked down two references from my old professors who graciously recalled me after 20 years. I gave up on the idea when I considered the expense and my income. Ironically, money was the reason I didn't go to grad school when I first graduated from university and it's still a factor now.
  • My husband and I had to replace a great many things at not inconsiderable expense including his entire wardrobe (down to the shoes and ties), his eyeglasses, my computer monitor, his notebook computer, our DVD player, telephone, my bed-side lamp, my pillows and our bed comforter. Considering our income was greatly reduced this year, I'm amazed that we managed this without going into debt.
  • I started private teaching in February after not having done so for about a decade. After working in an office for so long, I was pretty insecure about going back to face to face teaching but it's like riding a bike. You never forget how to do it.
  • I developed a new recurring, annoying, and painful psychosomatic illness or an allergy. I'm not sure which yet but I'll have to work harder at relaxing so it doesn't happen again. I'm aware of what a contradiction in terms that statement appears to be.
  • My kitchen floor was replaced.
  • I installed a video card in my PC.
  • I did my largest volunteer project to date and laid out a complete 270-page cookbook for my sister's library. It looked beautiful and allowed me to learn to use the automatic indexing and table of contents functions of Adobe InDesign. Unfortunately, due to some conflicts with the new director at the library, the entire effort will not be used. I even busted my ass while very sick to get it done by an absurdly early deadline (which I made but has since been indefinitely extended). I have a lovely, complete cookbook but no one will ever see it. Needless to say, this was a very disappointing experience.
  • My friendship with my friend Shawn was revived to full life after lapsing for about a year. This wasn't one of those falling-out things. It was more about lives going in different directions. I'm glad our paths re-converged.
  • I started playing Guild Wars after a long absence from on-line multiplayer gaming.
  • My husband started going swimming at a local health club after a very long absence from it. He did this after I found a flyer for reduced cost membership in our mailbox. Sometimes the junk they constantly cram in our mailbox is actually useful.
  • I rearranged the furniture in our bedroom so the air conditioning would hit my husband. This included laying down a mat "carpet". I did it all by myself and it was a Herculean task but it is functionally a much better arrangement.
  • We paid $6,000 in health insurance and reduced our bank account to $15 thanks to the way in which health insurance is calculated based on last year's income and my, ahem, delinquent payment from a previous year.
  • I got a new digital camera courtesy of my father-in-law.
  • I finally read my husband's Harry Potter fan fiction novels (which he wrote 2 years ago).
  • I captured all of my home VHS video tapes and converted them to playable DVDs.
  • I budgeted for the first time since coming to Japan and formed a fact-based understanding of how much it costs to live in Tokyo for the first time. However, it was so tedious that I stopped after 2 months but that was long enough to get an accurate picture of our situation.
  • I made a conscious and conscientious effort to learn new recipes and vary our meals now that I have to cook most of the time to reduce expenses.
  • My last uncle (I had 3) passed away. I hardly knew him but I still felt bad for my mother and the rest of the family.
  • I've written a lot of content for lessons which could be developed further into a textbook for cultural discussions and have pondered doing just that.
All in all, it's been a pretty good but very expensive year. I've relaxed a lot compared to a year ago but still have a ways to go. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions and I'm not about to start now. I always have been one for having goals toward gradually improving or learning new things though I don't always meet them.

Hello, year of the boar.


Roy said...

Thanks quite a list of accomplishments! Congratulations and thank you for the kind comments. I'm glad I could be of influence I've enjoyed reading your blog and will continue to do so. I wish you and your husband another fruitful year in 2007!

Shari said...

Thanks, Roy, and all the best to you as well. :-)

Leo said...

Hope I'm not too late, but Happy New Year and thanks for putting up your blog.

Shari said...

Hi, Leo, and a belated thank you for your greeting. I hope you had a gread holiday as well!