Dec 212010

2010 is drawing to an end, and in only a few days we’ll be hosting our last (and biggest) party of the year with our annual Nightmare Before Christmas party. As I sort through the various Christmas Cards (none of which will be reciprocated this year – sorry folks), I stumble across the occasional Holiday Letter. This is kind of a tradition on the Andres side of my family. I have quite a few of the ones that my Grandmother sent out, and every year my Mother and Uncles do their own versions that they include with their Christmas Cards. I even did a few myself, but with my immersion into the world of blogging it seemed like most of the people who I would send out that letter to would already know what was going on. When you consider the fact that I kind of suck at getting out cards to begin with, putting the additional pressure of writing a letter to include with them on myself seemed kinda pointless.

So it goes.

I am often struck by the fact that my family seems to know so little of what is actually going on in my life when I read their few sentences about me. I am not blaming them, mind you. There is enough culpability to go around for all in that particular regard. They don’t call me, I don’t call them, and we really only see one another during the holidays. Out of all my blood relatives, I’ve always been closest to my sister Lu and she and I don’t even talk all that much these days due to the fact that she’s in nursing school.

I guess this is my long, drawn out way of saying this is my Holiday letter. Enjoy.

As I look back on 2010 I think, for me, it was a pretty good year. I mention the “for me” in particular because I know a lot of people personally who it sucked mightily for. My Mom could have died due to a botched outpatient procedure and damn near lost her foot in the process (fortunately all that was lost was part of her pinkie toe). My friend Don struggles daily with a defective liver and lost his wife unexpectedly in the middle of all that. My friends Rob and Lexy decided to end their marriage after less than two years.  Jareth has been unable to find work since losing his job at Wal-Mart in February and had to move back home (and we have no bedroom for him as we converted his old one into an office, so now he’s sleeping on a mattress on the floor). I mean, really, there’s been a lot of suck out there.

But for me? Not so much, really. If anything, the year was pretty much a steady “ok” with occasional bouts of “totally awesome.” There were some low points, but they were few and far between. For the most part I think I can say I moved in a positive direction in 2010. Am I where I really want to be? No, not by a long shot. I made progress, though. That’s really what matters.

As I look into 2011, though, I can’t help but follow the example of countless others before me and make all sorts of vows about how things are going to be different. I am disappointed in myself for letting my creative side slide a bit in the latter half of the year. My podcast hasn’t been updated since May. I stopped doing my morning pages. ShrinkGeek hasn’t had a post on it in more than a month and the original team of 7 owners has now dwindled down to just 3 of us. I did manage to get a few shows in this year, though, and in one of them (Dead Man’s Cell Phone) I gave what several people have told me was one of my best performances. So there’s that, anyway.

My health has slid a bit this year, too. I managed to keep up with the running until Summer hit, but between the heat and the fact that I had continued my descent back into full-time smoker I found my motivation in that regard severely lacking. At this point I feel like I need to start training all over again. That said, I HAVE managed to quit smoking again and as of January 3rd will be clean for two months. My weight has stayed pretty much the same all year. In fact, in the last few weeks I’ve gained more weight than I care to think about at the moment. I continue to struggle with my relationship with food, and I wonder sometimes if I really shouldn’t seek some kind of professional psychiatric help in that arena. Despite having been on Weight Watchers for almost 10 years now I still have a hard time saying “no” if there is food in front of me to eat.

It’s very bizarre.

I am frustrated by the road blocks I have hit in an effort to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree. Despite what I thought was a rather moving letter sent to the director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of South Florida I have been denied admission to that school due to an abysmal pass/fail ratio on my part. I wrote that appeal letter around the same time that I quit smoking, and I’ve gotten absolutely no response. I’ve even followed up with the man via email. Nothing. I’ve gotten tired of waiting, so I’m putting in an application at the University of Maryland University College. It’s completely online, which is going to work great for me, but it’s also more than double the cost of what I’d pay per credit hour for a Florida school.

What can you do? I want a degree. Hell, I feel like I need a degree. I’ve worked my way into a great job with Grow, but I have this constant fear that I’d be unable to find something comparable locally if I were to lose it. I don’t have a safety net, and as the primary breadwinner for a family of four that’s not the best feeling in the world.

Oh, yeah…and my beloved Pants (2000 Mercury Villager) died in a bad way a few weeks ago and I had to go out and buy a new car. I really like what I got (a used 2009 Toyota Corolla), but I haven’t had a car payment in about 15 years and I’m not really relishing the fact that I’ll have one for the next five.

But like I said, despite the fact that there were some downs for the most part 2010 was a good year. Financially I’ve made major steps toward responsibly paying down my debts. Alex started attending the arts program that I graduated from and decided that he no longer wanted to be an average student (he’s been on the Dean’s List every grading period so far). Krystalle and I are still together, and in the last year we’ve made a conscious effort to not only spend more time together but to be more social than we have in previous years. I’ve finally done a show with a company other than Jobsite (not that there’s a damn thing wrong with working at Jobsite…I just wanted to get out there a bit more in the community). Jareth finally managed to get his GED and his going to apply for admission to Saint Petersburg College. We have all remained healthy, for the most part, and thanks to the Health Care Reform laws I was able to put Jareth back on my insurance starting in January.

Yes, it was a pretty good year.

And with that, while I’m sure there is much more I could report on, I must get ready for work. Hope you’re having a great holiday season, and if you’re local feel free to stop by and say hello on Christmas Eve.

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