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Diarist A02 Day 21

EDLM Diary. 12/31/22-1/1/23 

31 December, 2022: 

Awoke at 8.  That’s late compared to the last few days—the usual time is 7ish.  I try not to set an alarm and make myself wake up at the same time every day. Not today.  But it’s Saturday, it’s New Year Eve, and I was awake in the middle of the night, all reasons to grab a little extra sleep.  Heavy rain sounds loud on the roof/skylight, which is a comforting. It’s oddly warm for winter, and the room is warmer than normal, so I’m a little sticky under the covers.   

I start thinking about work, which is ridiculous on a holiday Saturday, but there you have it. I’m working on a large grant application and it’s been a struggle.  I intended to have it done already, but I’m nowhere near, which is making me dwell on it.  I grab my iPad, which is also my book, and I try to distract myself for a few minutes by reading a Michael Connelly novel (Desert Star).  B stirring but not fully awake.  

Around 8:20 I head downstairs, make my standard cup of black tea, pull some wheat bread out of the freezer to thaw—I like to make French toast on a Saturday, when there’s more time for breakfast.  When the tea is ready, I grab a banana, park in a chair, turn on an early morning English soccer game for background noise, and surf the internet.  I am going to relax this morning, even if it kills me.  

Around 9:15 I get up and make the French toast, eat quickly, change and hop in to the car to run to the grocery store—Meijer.  Happily it’s quiet for a Saturday so I’m quick, grabbing fruit, veggies, some lasagna ingredients (I’m gonna make that later) and a few staples.  Back around 11, unload the groceries, and grab a load of laundry. The light is broken—we’ve got a bad fluorescent bulb fixture and it’s gone out again. We need an electrician, for this and a couple of other issues. The need for some home repairs is mounting.  It’s becoming a stressor for both me and B, and between us. So there’s the first New Year’s resolution (make progress on fixing the house).  I’m not really a resolutions person, though so let’s call it an ambition.   

I text C about going to see a b-ball game this week.  He is up for it. That’ll be fun.  

About 11:30 I got up to my office space to do a little work on an upcoming grant proposal.  But it’s quick. M wants to go the Y for a workout and if I want one, I need to go with her as a guest. My usual gym is closed for the holidays.  I end up mostly writing out a plan for additional work I want to do later.  

The workout feels good. 40 minutes cardio, plus some weights. Listen to a couple of podcasts while working out.  Good one on evolution and Covid, then an interview with an old childhood football hero (Billy Kilmer). Get home around 1:30, shower, make a quick chicken sandwich with leftovers.  Back up to work a little after 2.  I don’t really want to work today and I am slightly annoyed with myself for ending up feeling that I need to, but I do. Plug away.  The whole proposal is only about 25 pages of material, but its slow going as I try to get my head around some tools and methods that I’m don’t fully understand. This is all work that I should have gotten done sooner—as in two months ago—but I did not. Now I’m paying for that with a working holiday break  

The college football semi-finals are on.  Michigan and TCU first.  I tune in, on my iPad, but it’s background noise—I don’t really care about the game or college football in general. I start working in the kitchen on the veggie lasagna, from an online recipe. I’m chopping vegetables and B. comes through.  She wants fresh parsley, not the dried flakes I’m using.  She runs out to get the parsley and a few other things, so I pause and wait for that.  Gives me time to sit and pop a beer. B and parsley back, I finish assembling the lasagna, slowly, messily. I am trying to plan and cook more meals—a B complaint—since I’m customarily ready to do takeout or make a sandwich nearly every night.  Drop the lasagna in the oven, time for another beer (and chips, this time). I’ll eat and drink more healthily tomorrow, it’s a holiday. The FB game is growing more exciting.  TCU is hanging with Michigan, unexpectedly.  I follow along for a few minutes.   

The timer goes off, I remove the foil cover on the lasagna, bake a bit more, then pull it.  Let it sit and cool, then we eat.  It’s decent, bit too crisp on top around the edges—I didn’t use enough sauce in the top layer, but it’s pretty good. I eat it with my third beer. Going wild on New Year’s Eve. I watch the rest of the game while eating—it’s a hoot.  

B and M take over the TV in the family room for a movie.  I’m not interested in it, so I retreat upstairs to my work space/cave and start watching the second college FB game. Again, I don’t really care but don’t have anything else to do—no party plans for us.  I read on and off while the game is one.  First a few pages of David Quammen’s book on Covid (Breathless) and then the  Connelly novel, which is characteristically entertaining. My mom was a big Connelly fan—we used to trade books—and I think of her whenever I read his stuff.  

The game gets interesting during the second half so I start to follow more closely. In the end, it keeps me up until midnight.  I actually feel bad for Ohio State when they lose, which is kind of odd since I think of them as a school with warped priorities around football. Same for Georgia. (Interesting how these kinds of sports can pull you in emotionally even when you don’t care and recognize that the whole enterprise is a bit corrupt. I’m too tired to contemplate this further right now.) Not my plan to stay up that late but—Happy New Year!  I hear fireworks in the neighborhood, which is how I know it’s now 2023.  I head to bed a few minutes after that, read a few more pages of Quammen, then more of Connelly, then lights out. 


1 January, 2023 

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions since they never worked when I tried them in the past, but I did reflect on the new year (and the old) as I waited to fall asleep last night. I turned 60 recently. With kids out of the house and the end of work much closer than the beginning, I think about how I should engage in some longer term planning around big things: when to sell the now oversized house (and how much work it needs!), when to retire, and where to go when I do. Staying in Muncie or Indiana is not all that attractive, especially since the people of the state didn’t seem particularly concerned about killing off old people during the Covid pandemic.  On the other hand, starting anew in a strange place seems less than appealing, too, so it’s a puzzle.  Neither B nor I have good answers to it yet.  At least we know some people here (unless they leave).  I also think about how 2022 was not so great a year, not for me personally, but for society, the country. Politics are still a mess.  Covid has receded but isn’t gone.  I can point to some good things too, so I give our shared 2022 mixed ratings. It definitely wasn’t as bad as 2020!  Also, a cliché: I need to eat and drink more healthily, especially after holiday gluttony.  

Awake at 7:30 but not up until 8. B. and M. both still asleep. Make tea, eat a banana. Settle into chair by window, read the newspaper(s) on my iPad—nothing too earth shattering—write some of this, including the preceding paragraph. I think more about the need to get organized around work, home, 2023 travel plans. So even if I don’t do resolutions, this is still a moment to think back and look forward.  

Text two group threads (family, college friends) with New Year’s greetings.  

Around 9, I make breakfast proper: oatmeal and bagel. Kinda healthy? 

At 10, I turn heat on in my office cave, work on paying bills in the kitchen while it warms up, then head upstairs to work on the proposal some more.  I make decent progress—hooray—in this session. The key ideas are coming together, slowly. I have until the end of the coming week to finish it. 

No gyms are open today and my home exercise bike is broken, so around 12:30 I head outside for a walk around the neighborhood, with podcasts.  One on politics, one on soccer. Both fine, neither overly interesting or memorable. I walk for about 45 minutes.  

Back home I eat lunch at 2—leftover lasagana.  I’m trying to eat down the general leftover supply in the frig. Since it’s a holiday and since the morning writing went pretty well, I decide not to work more during the afternoon. Instead, I put on the Washington-Cleveland football game. I am a childhood Washington fan and have stayed loyal even as the team and franchise has been awful, in every sense. It’s a kind of loyalty to my family, especially my Dad who took me to games as a kid. It’s a crucial game for Washington and it goes very poorly. What else is new. I also work on house repair to-do list while watching. Not quite a resolution, but kinda.  

It’s unusually warm out, around 50 degrees, so I decide to walk some more—about 20 minutes, with a podcast interviewing Beverly Gage on her book on J. Edgar Hoover.  Interesting, but I probably won’t end up reading that book. Maybe.  

When back, I shower and shave off week’s worth of beard growth.  Then I read Connelly while drinking a beer.  

Around 7:30, we order Chinese food, which I get (more of Hoover podcast while driving).  We get a ton, with leftovers promised tomorrow.  Chat with M a bit—she will be leaving tomorrow. It’s been fun having her around for the holidays. Nudge her to pack tonight, since B will take her to airport fairly early tomorrow. She’s not known for being ready on time.  

9-ish, I settle in and read—Quammen and Connelly in equal measure. 

I’ll treat tomorrow as a work day, even though it’s officially a holiday, so off to bed (and a bit more reading first) around 11.