Saturday, December 31, 2022

Goodbye 2022

I've written so infrequently here that I can't do the type of wrap up post I used to do, where I picked my favorite post from each month. I don't know if I'll ever get back to posting regularly. I enjoy writing but I am not sure what I want to write about here these days. Perhaps that will become clear in 2023. I just read through the few posts I did write this year and it was nice to review them, but more and more things need to be left out of my public writing because my kids are big and my career is changing... and so even writing sort of anonymously there are things I feel like I shouldn't share. Sometimes I think I should just get a journal, but I know from many past attempts that it would not get used much. 

Anyway, I felt moved today to look back at the year.

In January, Petunia got covid and we spent a week with windows open and masks on. She recovered uneventfully and none of the rest of us have had covid yet, as far as we know. I have to go on two work trips in January and I half expect that one of them will bring my covid-free streak to an end. However, when we started the school year in August with no mask mandate I was sure my kids would both get covid soon, and that hasn't happened. So what do I know? I'll wear my mask on the planes and hope or the best.

I also learned that the occasional weird heart incidents I had were supraventricular tachycardia. It is, in the words of my cardiologist, annoying, not life-threatening. I've had a few more incidents this year and am slowly getting to the place my cardiologist predicted I'd get to: more annoyed by the incidents than creeped out by the cure (an ablation). So far, I've just been trying to remember to carry metoprolol with me everywhere. However, it isn't an instant fix and I am not particularly good at the vagal maneuvers that will reset my heart without the metoprolol, so the annoyance factor is growing. Also, the metoprolol pill is just a little bit too big for me to swallow without water and so technically I should also carry water with me everywhere. 

The year was dominated by my career decisions, at least in my own head. I am glad to have the decision made, and am happy with how things have turned out... but still not 100% sure I did the right thing. Time will tell. Or at least, time will march on and the path I'm on now will continue and the alternative one I chose not to get on will drop away.

I turned 50 this year. I celebrated with my sister and my closest friends in Big Bear. It was lovely. I do not find it bad to be 50, but yesterday I came across this McSweeney's article about wearing tunics and had a good laugh. I had just been thinking that perhaps it is time for me to start shopping at Chico's. "How old am I? I'm tunic years old."

I was thinking of starting to shop at Chico's because I've failed to lose the weight I put on in the lockdown year and although I have plans for a healthier 2023 (of course - every new year I plan to adopt healthier habits, and sometimes it works) I doubt I'll slim down enough to avoid the need to shift my style to the tunic years. I'm surprisingly OK with that, too. 

I've been thinking about how little we actually know about what a woman's weight should do throughout her life. Everyone struggles with weight gain around menopause and maybe there's actually a reason for that. Maybe we're putting on weight to get us more healthily through our older years. Of course, my fondness for cookies, ice cream, and beer (not necessarily all at once) exacerbates any natural trend and so while I wish for better data on what normal actually is for women as we age I will also make my annual attempt to develop healthier habits. 

This year, I bought a rowing machine and for awhile I had a good 2-3 times per week habit going. That got disrupted, but I still row at least once most weeks and I still like the machine. 

Last night, we did the "family wii tournament" that Petunia had put on our family fun list for the year, and while I sucked at Mario Cart and broke a wine glass playing tennis (our living room is just not big enough for a four person game!) I had fun with the dance game. Petunia said I should do that instead of rowing, and I told her that I like rowing but that maybe she and I could have weekly dance tournaments, too.

This year saw a surprising amount of travel for me. In February, we spent the long President's Day weekend at an AirBnB in Desert Hot Springs. There was the birthday trip to Big Bear and also a family vacation to New Zealand - our first time seeing my in-laws since December of 2018. In October, I flew to the UK for a work event and then on to Berlin for a conference. It had been a long time since I'd done any serious travel on my own and it was good for me to have to find my way around London and Berlin without my husband's freakily good spatial sense to rely on. I had a good time. In early November, I had a very short visit to NYC for an interview (one of the job options I ended up not taking) and then Mr. Snarky and I had a weekend in LA for a concert. I jokingly called that short stretch of time my great cities of the world tour.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Arizona with my family. We no longer all fit comfortably in my parents' house, so we rented an AirBnB nearby. I enjoyed being able to walk around downtown Mesa - it has changed a lot since I lived there, and is actually now a place I could encourage people to visit. If you ever find yourself in downtown Mesa, be sure to get empanadas and also check out the new fry bread place nearby.

My parents came here for Christmas. It was wonderful having them here. I took the week between Christmas and New Year's off and powered through a list of some of the things that have been sitting undone most of the year. My desk is now clean and we finally took the last of the kids' Lego (and 6 bags of other things) to the thrift store.

It was a pretty good year, all things considered. I am hoping for 2023 to involve less time thinking about my career directions and more time just enjoying the damn good life I have. I hope you all have a happy, healthy new year, too!

Sunday, December 11, 2022


I finally made my job decision. After much agonizing, I decided to take the promotion at my current company. It was a really hard decision, and I don't think I'll ever really be certain it was the best decision, but it was the one that felt most right. I decided it gave me the most chance for growth and also for feeling like I have true ownership of something. 

The interviewing and deciding process was a weird experience. I realized that the last time I'd had to really choose between career options like this was when I took my first job out of graduate school. All my previous moves had either been forced by layoffs or driven by a really strong need to change due to something outside work. This was purely a job/career driven thing and it turns out that made me really uncomfortable. That's something for me to think about! 

Anyway, the decision is made and I'm settling into my new role. 

One downside of this decision is that I don't get to take a few weeks off between jobs. I was going to use it to take care of some things around the house. Instead, I will only have a little over a week that I can take off around Christmas. Hopefully, that will be enough time to get some of the long-standing items off my to do list and also have some true downtime.

Another decision I've made is to move away from using Twitter. It is sad, because there was a time when I learned a lot from Twitter. I will miss the way it would show me new things to think and learn about and how it helped me find smart people to learn from. But that Twitter has been fading for awhile now, and the latest events there have made scrolling my timeline feel unpleasant. So I'm pulling back and I think I'll eventually delete the app from my phone and then lock and ignore my accounts.

Before I stop using it altogether, I need to develop new habits for finding and reading news and other things of interest to me. I've been trying out Post, and I think it has promise but it is not a full replacement yet (I'm there under my real name - if you are on Post and want to find me and cannot, send me an email and I'll send you the account name). I've considered reviving my Tungsten Hippo tumblr account and seeing if that has some of what I miss about the old Twitter. But I'm also going to be consciously less online. I'd like to write more longer things, here and elsewhere. I'd like to read more books and magazines. And I suspect spending less time online will also help with the "clear some long-standing items off my to-do list" goal.

I actually have more things I'd like to say about the "read more books" goal - but I have publishing royalties to pay, chores to do, and a school career week presentation to prepare and show to Petunia so that she can confirm I will not embarrass her terribly... so I'd best get to those things. I won't be tweeting out blog post links after this one, so if you want to make sure you don't miss my occasional ramblings here, I'd recommend setting up an RSS reader, just like we all used to do back in the pre-Twitter days! I use Feedly and like it, but I'm sure there are other options.