04 January 2005 by Published in: in my life No comments yet

Welcome to 2005. I’d be lying if I said I was sorry to see the
back of 2004, which was the single worst year of my existence thus
far. I’m loathe to say things couldn’t be worse, because they can
always be worse, but I still believe 2005 has got to be better
than 2004 was. I have a good feeling about it, and about how we’re starting
off and where we are. As I’ve said before, sometimes I do the
resolution thing and sometimes I
, but let me give it a go this year:

  • I will write two short stories and two essays and a novel.
    I’ve calculated that if I write 1000 words, five days a week on at
    least 40 weeks of the year, that will be 200,000 words. I think the
    novel should fall between 120,000 and 140,000 words, so I don’t think
    I’m setting myself up for failure with this resolution. As for the
    essays, I already have two ideas, so that’s not overly ambitious
    either, and it’s an attempt to open up my writing to more markets.
    The fiction market is the worst and least paying of all the markets,
    and while money is not what I’m looking for right now, I need to
    have material to float in various writing spheres, including the
    world of non-fiction. I have no idea on the short stories, but I’m
    sure something will come to me. I have a year, after all.
  • I will stick with the blog, three to five days a week. The moment I
    decided this blogging thing was easy enough to do five days a week,
    I didn’t write in it for over two weeks, so I’m hedging my bets by giving
    myself some wriggle room for the upcoming year.
  • Review more of what I read and be better about entering books
    into the database after I’ve read them. I have various things I want
    to review in the wings right now, and just haven’t gotten to them
    yet. I hope to work my way into a presence on allconsuming.net this
  • I have got to lose 10 pounds. Fifteen would be
    better, but I really must lose 10 so that I can get back into all my
  • I shall walk Sergei at least three times a week.
  • I want to get back into something resembling semi-regular (once
    weekly) exercise. I’ll either go back to yoga or take up
    fencing again or perhaps seek out a martial art.
  • I’m going to take a class for self-improvement. Either language
    studies or learning some kind of craft or hobby. Maybe a basic
    gardening course.
  • We will reduce our family expenses by making more careful
    purchases and saving money in any way we can. This is not optional,
    since my lack of employment has reduced our income quite a bit. We will eat
    out less, cook more, make do with less, and buy less frivolously.
    We will try to declutter our life, so that our environment is neat
    and beautiful and spacious. I hope to get some good concrete ideas on how to accomplish these things from the Voluntary
    movement, whose ideas I realize I have been sympathetic to
    for some time now without knowing there was a movement or a specific name
    for this worldview.
  • I will submit for publication at least two stories and two
  • I will make a conscious effort to be more Christlike and more
    Christian this year. I will endeavor to hear the voice of God, and
    go where the voice leads me.

So there, that should be resolutiony enough to please anyone who
has an interest in this sort of thing. How am I doing so far? No
weight lost yet, walked Sergei two days in a row, still spending way
too much money and owning way too many things but wrote 3000 words
in two days.

The vacation has been nice, but I’m very glad that we are back into
the routine. Sophia has gone back to school and I have
gone back to having regular writing hours.

It doesn’t seem like just two weeks since Sophia finished school.
We’ve done a lot of things since then. First, they had their
Christmas special and Sophia sang her little heart out, though she
was at first reluctant to get up in front of everyone. Then we
took advantage of the fact that we had a house guest to make a
Christmas shopping run for Sophia. We went to Wal-Mart, but left
without purchasing anything. I know that Wal-Mart is the biggest
toy retailer, and I thought that because of that they’d have a large
selection with a lot of choices, but really when we got there
everything they had looked tawdry and cheap and perverse. I’m
aware, of course, that the vast majority of toys for four year old
girls are tawdry and cheap, but nonetheless it’s nice to be able to
have options. For example, none of the solidly constructed and
intellectually stimulating toys from
Melissa and Doug
were available at Wal-Mart. I know Wal-Mart
carries Legos, but we couldn’t find any, nor could we find age
appropriate jigsaw puzzles or true to life plastic animal toys
(dinosaurs, horses, etc.). It was really kind of jarring, to think
of how many American children were going to receive mountains of
this junk : poorly made, ugly, and with no intellectual value
whatsoever. Now I’m not saying Sophia gets really expensive toys,
or that everything she owns is nurturing her social, physical and
intellectual growth. Of course she has some toys that are just
toys, and some of her favorite things have been and are essentially
junk. We make an effort to minimize the influence of these things
on her, though, and like I said, if I’m going to ostensibly the
biggest toy retailer on the planet, one would think that I might
have the option to buy something long-lasting, valuable, wooden, and
possibly even beautiful. Dr. Montessori posited that beauty was a
requirement in a child’s environment because it helped them to
learn and this is one of the reasons that a Montessori classroom
must be ordered just so and that the so many of the works are so
aesthetically pleasing. I don’t think her theory has been proven, but it’s
a theory that I adhere to nonetheless. And Wal-Mart is a place
without beauty. I rarely ever go, and had forgotten how awful it
is, above and beyond its wretched behavior as a corporate

So we went to Toys
R Us
instead and got in and out of there for
less than $200 and some presents I was very satisfied with, which I
consider quite an accomplishment.

We did some touristy things with our out of town guest, including
visiting the Arch, which
was extra cool and going out to Meramec Caverns, which was also cool.
The caverns are privately owned which I found really weird, and I think
you could tell in the cheesiness of some of the displays that the
cave wasn’t set up the way it ever would have been set if it were state
owned. I love caverns, and we were the only ones in our tour group, so
we could rush around or dawdle however we felt like, which was a big bonus.
We got to ask the guy some interesting questions, like whether creationists
ever try and debate him about the age of the formations and he told us some
funny stories about some of the tours he’d given. One lady asked him to
calculate how many years old a formation was “in bible years”, which
still makes me giggle. However, I must admit to feeling a little bit
like there was a lack of preservation mentality in the stewardship of
the caves. I’m no geologist, but I looked at the electrical light
placement and the paving of all the walkways with some concerns. We
didn’t see any bats, or any other kind of wildlife either, which was
both concerning and disappointing. I didn’t voice my concerns, because my
tour guide was no geologist either, but I do wonder. The caves were the
first place I’ve been since I’ve moved here where I didn’t feel dehydrated.
My skin is so dry and tight, and the air has not nearly enough water in it
to breathe comfortably. I’m told the humidity levels aren’t that different,
but they’re still an adjustment for me, used to living in my little Southern

Those days where we shopped and ran around doing tourist things
were grey, leaden and very cold. There was a lot of talk about
snow, and how the Christmas would be white here and all that. Then,
the sky faired off and my husband informed me that it would not snow
now, and there would be no snow for Christmas. I looked at him
skeptically and asked how he could possibly know such a thing. “Oh,”
he said,”It’s too cold to snow now.”

Riiiiiiiiiiight. Too cold to snow.

That was like saying grass was too green to grow or water too hot
to boil. There’s always snow at the poles, right? What can this mean, too cold to snow? I disbelieved. And then I had cause to go
out of doors. And let me tell you, if I had been snow, I’d have
high-tailed it out of there, too. I have never been so cold in my
entire life. Too cold to snow is too cold period. The temperature
with wind chill (and it was very windy) was a negative
number. Horribly, dreadfully cold. In fact, Sophia
was with me, and she had a complete meltdown over the cold. She
started crying and screaming that it was too cold, too cold, too
cold. I know how she felt. Once I had her inside she told me it
had been so cold that it had scared her. Let me tell you, there’s
no amount of clothing that is enough to keep you warm when the
temperature is -5 and the wind is biting into your eyes and mouth
and nose.

Christmas was a great success. We have been working on the
concept of presents as surprises that we give to someone else, and
on the joy of getting something for someone else. So Kurt took her
with him to buy my present, and I took her with me to buy Kurt’s.
They got me a really cool pair of binoculars and we got Kurt a
guitar. After she had bought my present, I asked her what she
thought we should get Kurt, and she said, “A pair of binoculars.”
I told her that sounded like something I might want, not something
Daddy might want. So I asked her if she didn’t think he might like
a guitar. She got to pick the color and everything. Then, after we
had practiced extensively on what she would say if Daddy asked her
what it was (“It’s a surprise.” or “You have to wait until Christmas
to see.” or “I’m not going to tell you.”) we put the item under the
tree. She told Kurt, “You can’t know it’s a guitar, Daddy, you’ll
have to open it.” Terribly cute, don’t you think? Despite the slip
(and well, the shape of the thing gave it away, anyways) I think she
is getting the hang of it. The week prior she had insisted on
telling me what she and Kurt had gotten for me even when I told her
I wanted to be surprised. She got way too many things, but she
didn’t get an obscene amount of things, and all the relatives have
finally been convinced, after spending time with her, that she
actually honestly truly does love books and that it’s ok to buy
her books. In the past they had protested that books weren’t toys
and weren’t real presents. They would buy them for her,
but preferred to give her toys. Last year she went through the
routine of checking her stocking and so on, but she didn’t really
get the business about Santa. This year she was beside herself with
excitement, and kept telling me that she would be watching out her
window for Santa and sneaking down to see him when he came. I
warned her that Santa doesn’t come unless the kids are sleeping.
So Christmas morning she assured me that she had not looked out the
window and had slept. In fact, she slept later than normal and I
thought Kurt was going to pop waiting for her to wake up and see
what the big red guy had left for her. She was thrilled with
everything she got. It’s a pleasure to give her things because she is very gracious. She was as excited about our presents as about
her own which is a quality in her that we treasure and try to

Neither Sophia nor I bothered to get dressed on Christmas day.
It was truly a wonderful lazy holiday.

Then Sophia and I saddled up and drove to Jackson for a couple of
days to visit people and fill our car with the things the movers
left behind. See, when we moved, the van that the movers brought
filled up before all our things were in it, so some things got left
behind. I didn’t know this sort of thing happened, but there you
go. It’s not much stuff, but it’s more than one truckload, so
Sophia and I went down. She missed her friends and her house down there,
and was glad for the chance to see it all again, though she kept observing there was no furniture in our house in Jackson.

We returned home in time for a New Year’s celebration with
friends. It’s been many many years since I rung in the New Year. I
usually go to bed early and don’t alter my routine that much. We
decided to be social and had a good time with Tuxz0r
and family. I went to bed after 2, later than I have in many many

Consider yourself caught up.


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