Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in 2017?
Coding. I’m already on the way, having started a web developer boot camp, but I’d like to be able to build all the software that isn’t available to me. I also want to know more about how software “ticks”. I was a budding programmer back in school, but I lost interest. Now that everything has some embedded code in it, I need to be able to unlock it!
Previously (10Q #8 2015)
How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?
Stay organized. Before starting a project, organize it into chunks so you can make milestones–you might have more checkpoints, but the trial moves faster that way. Celebrate (even if in a tiny, subtle way) every achievement. Rest when you’re weary, but keep on truckin’!
Previously (10Q #7 2015)
Describe one thing you’d like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?
I am very nearly out from under the mountain of bad debt that fell upon me over the past 8 years, and the sweet fragrance of freedom wafts gently through the air. That being said, I would like to see myself with a solid cushion of savings in the bank by this time next year. After freeing up a lot of outbound revenue streams, I’ll be redirecting that flow to interest-bearing accounts and finally starting to generate some wealth! I have a small brokerage account through which I invest little bits of stock, and my 401(k) is growing as well as my HSA!
Financial freedom is on the horizon!
Previously (10Q #6 2015)
Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? “Spiritual” can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.
I have to admit, this year hasn’t been as eventful so much as last year was. Both Barbie and I have been keeping our noses to the idiomatic grindstones, but I find a certain Zen in creative construction that the more pragmatic of us can find elusive.
My latest constructive project was Project Spoofy, an internet-connected digital photo frame that I built specifically with my Granny in mind. It had been sitting in the corner of my living room for a few months before I managed to ship it back east ahead of my previously-mentioned emergency trip. I took an afternoon to show off and set up the system for her while I was there, and the joy and pride that it brought her–seeing all these forgotten photos of her family–was the emotional and spiritual payoff of several months of preparation.
I should also note my first trip to the world-famous Hollywood Bowl featuring music from some of my favorite film scores (we went to go see John Williams conducting the LA Philharmonic, an experience that I have long dreamed of having). This, combined with the open-air venue made for an experience I shall never forget!
Previously (10Q #5 2015)
Describe an event in the world that has affected you this year. How? Why?
Could we just skip the 2016 US presidential campaign? This is the news that has dominated every media outlet for the last 16 months, and especially the last 8 or so. I’m just about sick of it.
Hillary Clinton should have charges brought against her for mishandling classified information (the same “crime”, by the way, that Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are accused of).
Donald Trump is, well, Donald Trump. He’s also either extremely brilliant, completely insane, or fortuitously incompetent.
Gary Johnson has the right stuff to be an amazing executive, but is woefully uninformed on the big picture kind of stuff.
Jill Stein is hopelessly ignorant–even more so than Trump.
Previously (10Q #4 2015)
Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?
It’s a sad fact that my Big Mama is rounding Turn Four. She had a major episode last month with dangerously low blood electrolyte levels, and I made an emergency trip back to see her–just in case. Big Mama has long been the stalwart matriarch of my maternal lineage, the Baxters and the Morrises–and has been a good friend to the Eargles even after my parents’ divorce; so it should come as no surprise that it’s a big deal when she gets sick. Big Mama doesn’t pick sides, she loves her family–even the divorcees–and she’ll put anyone who wants to engage in petty squabbles right in their place. (Funny story here: when I went to visit her in the nursing home, she demanded that my dad come visit her, too. “I don’t care if [my mother] doesn’t want him here! She’s not the one in this bed! You call him and tell him to come over here!”)
It’s been rough on all of us, and we’re just taking it day-by-day. I try to stay in touch with various members of my family, just to keep tabs on what’s going on. The worst part is the fact that no one can accurately tell me what’s going on. Sometimes it seems like she’s on death’s door while other times it seems as though she’ll be on her feet and out the door tomorrow. For me, I look at it the most optimistic way I can: She’s 92 and has lived a good life. She’s the head of a loving (if rather dysfunctional) family, and she’s made her peace with God. She’s strong, but she’s tired, and she’s hanging on as much for our benefit as she is for her own. I’m glad I got to see her a few weeks ago. Maybe she’ll hold out for at least a few more so I can see her again.
Previously (10Q #3 2015)
Is there something you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?
I am actually especially proud of getting myself nearly out from under the financial quagmire of the past 8 years. My credit is improving every month, and my long-term commitments are finally on the cusp of being repaid! It’s been a very long row to hoe, but I’ve made it!
Previously (10Q #2 2015)