Anyway, 2014 was not a very good year. I spent a lot of the year stressed out about whether my mother should be living alone. And, then, she died (at the end of October). Still there were some good things. I accomplished a life list item by going to the chocolate spa at the Hotel Hershey with my friend, Suzanne. I got ink (admittedly, just an honorable mention) in the Washington Post Style Invitational. And I did major gelato tasting in Italy in May.
Books: I read 102 books total, with 54 of those being rereads. The plurality, as usual, were mysteries. The rereads in that category included several by Ngaio Marsh and several by Marcia Muller. I found the former to be written well, but plotted poorly, with overelaborate schemes that don’t match normal human behavior. The latter were more satisfying. The worst books I read all year were Murder in the Maze by Sarah J. Mason and Designed to Die by Chloe Green. The single best reread of the year was Jane Langton’s The Escher Twist, largely for the sheer delight of the scenes in Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Notable first time reads of the year include Stieg Larssen’s The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (I had read the first book in the series in 2013), Tess Gerrisen’s The Sinner, H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, Joseph Wambaugh’s Hollywood Hills, and Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (which did lose a few points for a weak pay-off at the end). My overall favorite book of the year was The Last Fish Tale by Mark Kurlansky, which is a history of Gloucester, Massachusetts and its fishing industry.
If I figured things out right, I got rid of 234 books in 2014. And I have another 36 ready to go.
Volksmarch: I did 10 events in 2014, which is marginally better than 2013. I did finish the Baseball special events program, which was an actual goal. I added one state (Maine) to get that program to 37/50, and 2 capitals (Frankfurt, Kentucky and Augusta, Maine) to get that one to 32/50. My progress on other special programs is 7/20 for Murals, 11/20 for Somewhere Over the Rainbow, 9/20 for Bakeries, and 11/20 for Main Street. I am intending to start several new programs this year, including Cities in Song, Honoring Our Flag, Trekking With the Trees, You’ll Never Walk Alone, Animal Safari, and Food For Thought. (There are others I am debating about, but this should keep me occupied.)
Travel: The only international trip I took was to Italy (for gelato and gawking at art), San Marino (to check off a microcountry), Slovenia (for gawking at architecture and scenery) and the Netherlands (meh, though there is some good art). I had planned to go to Trinidad over Thanksgiving, but cancelled that to deal with clearing some things out of Mom’s house.
As for domestic travel, I went to Las Vegas twice, New York (a few times, but only twice for pleasure), the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Hershey (for the chocolate spa), Wisconsin (for the Northlands Storytelling Conference), Colorado (for an annual party with friends), Maine (for sightseeing, including Acadia National Park, prior to the NPL con), Phoenix (for the National Storytelling Conference), Maui (including Haleakala National Park), Williamsburg (for a storytelling retreat), Los Angeles (a few times for business, plus a trip for Milo’s retirement), Cleveland, Greenville (South Carolina), and Monterey (where what was intended to be a pleasure trip for a flyertalk get-together got cut short due to Mom’s death). That looks like a lot more than I actually remember doing when I lay it out like that.
Culture: I did plenty of storytelling, including performing a few times at Better Said Than Done, as well as going to various story swaps and to conferences and workshops and retreats and the like.
I saw 30 movies, which included adding 6 more best picture Oscar winners. My absolute favorite was Easy A. Others I particularly enjoyed were Lars and the Real Girl, Unorthodox, Captain Phillips,, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, and Million Dollar Arm.
I also (as usual) went to the theatre a lot. Particular highlights were Side Show and Peter and the Starcatcher at the Kennedy Center, Beaches at Signature Theatre, and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway. Lowlight was Loveland at Arena Stage. As far as music goes, I particularly enjoyed Yemen Blues (part of the Washington Jewish Music Festival) and the umpty-umpth time I’ve seen Pierre Bensusan.
Goals: I did accomplish one lifelist item (the Hershey spa) and make progress on some others, but I didn’t do especially well on my goals for the year. I made next to no progress on travelogues (maybe 1-2%) and none at all on digitizing LPs and cassettes (absolutely zero). I am still not quite 40% through the New Testament. I did finish the Volksmarch baseball program, but not the other special programs I was working on, but I was vague enough that I will give myself full credit. I only made it to one minor league ballpark, so get 33% on that goal. Two National Parks puts me at 50% on that goal. On the plus side, I did do at least 2 crossword puzzles almost every day, only missing 1 due to a time zone issue and a couple when my Mom died, so will give myself 100%. And I memorized 8 poems, so get 80% there. Overall, I am figuring on giving myself about 50% on the year.
So how about goals for 2015? My emphasis has to be on dealing with the rest of cleaning up after Mom. That means everything from going through Coupon Central to ordering a grave marker. It also gives me incentive for decluttering and organizing my stuff. So let’s try a few leftovers and a few other goals:
- Travelogues, damn it!
- At least make a start on digitizing records and tapes. Let’s try for at least 6 albums
- Do at least 15 volksmarch events, including finishing the special programs listed above
- Finish reading the New Testament
- Knit or crochet at least one afghan square a week
- Keep track of all of my spending
- Organize genealogical information, including scanning family photographs and relevant documents
- Take at least 1 on-line class