Happy New Year, everyone, and Happy Old Year, too! I am still alive and happy to be living in 2020, if only because we get to call this decade “the twenties,” whereas the 2000’s and 2010’s didn’t really have a name. The aughts? The teens? No one really says that, but back in the last millennium we’d refer to the nineties, eighties, seventies, etc. all the time. It’s strange how a word can fall out of the language like that, like someone snipped a hole in the dictionary.
It’s also strange that I’ve now lived more of my life in the 21st century than the 20th century, but I’m glad to have gotten this far. I thought I’d recap some of the things that happened in 2019 since my last blog entry, some of which are important and some of which are completely trivial.
My little diabetic
My cat, Java Bean, got diagnosed with diabetes in June and is doing fairly well. The first few months were rather overwhelming as we figured out the best diet and the insulin dosage for him. I know more about the carb count in various brands of cat food than I know about what’s in my own fridge. I also had to monitor his water usage and litter box habits like it was a science fair experiment, but I’ve been able to let up on that recently, so no blue ribbon at Regionals for me!
Java Bean needs to get his shots 12 hours apart, right after a meal, which is why I’ve started waking up at six thirty in the morning, which is the truest sign you will ever receive that I love you. If I’m willing to interrupt my REM cycle for you, I am definitely yours. I also go right back to sleep, so my sleep habits haven’t changed all that much. I do get nauseated sometimes because waking up early makes my brain think it’s being poisoned. No joke. It can be tricky arranging my life around the shots, but I’ve been doing all right at it.
All in all, the insulin and syringes are going to cost about $480 a year, which I can swing for now. Let’s all pray insulin prices don’t go up higher than they already have.
Ten years of freelancing
My web development business, Makeworthy Media, turned ten years old on July 8th. I’m still not broke! Yay! Back in 2009, I wasn’t sure if self-employment was going to work out. I didn’t even know if I’d have health insurance when COBRA ran out 18 months later. But I’m still here! And insured! I’m proud that I’ve been able to support myself these past ten years without incurring any significant debts.
Keeping a roof over my head can sometimes feel like I’m treading water, so there are times I have to remind myself what an accomplishment it is that I’m not living in a cardboard box under the freeway. Like any job, there are times I love it and times I hate it. Undeniably, it’s been good for my health and happiness to have control over my schedule. And I’ve saved a ton of money on gas over the years since my office is twenty steps away from my bedroom. It would be nice if I could fit a paid vacation in there somewhere, but I guess that’s how things balance.
I read some books!
For the past few years I haven’t been reading as many books as a writer should be. It’s been my secret shame. I do read a lot, but I was mostly consuming online articles and blogs (back before social media murdered them) which would definitely be equivalent to several books a year, but were not actually books. I’ve also read dozens of books worth of material on Twitter over the years, which feels rather sad in retrospect.
This year, I finished 37 books. Yay! (Ok, I finished the last one at 2am on January 1, but it was still 2019 in California, even if I don’t live there, so I’m counting it.) This number might still be low by some people’s standards, but it’s an improvement on my part. I also abandoned 5 novels, so surely those count as a bonus book when taken all together, right?
I focused mostly on YA and fantasy since those are the genres I enjoy most. I like reading to be an escape. I’ve been tracking my books on GoodReads if you’re interested, even though that site is rather clunky. It looks like it’s straight out of the aughts (if anyone ever used the word ‘aughts,’ which we’ve established they don’t). Also, I imported several years worth of records from another service in April, so the list isn’t chronological for anything before that date.
Farewell to the social media feed
I feel like social media is a drug I experimented with in my thirties and I’m finally getting clean. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I didn’t read my Twitter timeline or any of my Twitter lists, and I liked it so much that I have not gone back. It’s been more than a month since I stepped into the chaotic stream of social media and life is awesome.
I do have a small list of friends and family on Facebook that I check every day or so, and I check the trending topics on Twitter because I can’t handle reading the real news, but that’s about it. I am still posting on Twitter, and I will probably interact with people who @ me there, but I have no desire to jump back into the feed ever again.
All of this is worthy of an entire blog post on its own, which I will write eventually.
After twenty years in the tech industry, I finally developed carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist. I originally tried to self-diagnose myself with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis because carpal tunnel is so cliché, but when the pain wasn’t getting any better after a week, I finally saw a doctor and she let me know how unoriginal I truly was.
I never realized how painful carpal tunnel is. It’s painful! I also didn’t know that the pain and inflammation can last for days, even if you’re not using your wrist much. The doctor recommended a wrist brace, and after a week, the constant aching finally went away. I now wear the brace whenever I use the computer and haven’t had any flare-ups since, just occasionally some minor pain that goes away after twenty minutes or so.
I also bought one of those ergonomic keyboards that’s split in the middle and angled outward and upward. I was afraid it might be hard to use, but it wasn’t. The only difficult part was learning to press the “b” button with my left hand instead of my right. Otherwise, it keeps my wrists in a much more natural position. I highly recommend it!
My favorite brand of gum now tastes gross
I’ve been chewing Wrigley’s Orbit Spearmint gum for years and years to combat dry mouth caused by one of my meds, but they’ve changed the recipe with basically no warning like they thought I wouldn’t notice that it tastes gross now. It tastes more artificial, as if sugar-free gum isn’t artificial enough. And it has an unpleasant aftertaste that lasts for at least 20 minutes. I was loyal to the brand. LOYAL!! And what did it get me? NOTHING. Now I have to find a new gum. *sigh*
I can’t think of anything else that happened in 2019 that’s worthy of mention on the blog, and the bit about the chewing gum probably wasn’t worth mentioning as it is, but I am annoyed. This might actually be worse then the time Trader Joe’s discontinued their blueberry oatmeal and their feta/spinach/kale pie that I ate at least once a week. I’ll probably think of more interesting things after I post this entry, but I’ll stop for now. I hope everyone has a happy 2020 and none of their favorite food products get ruined!