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)
Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?
The biggest thing to happen in the past year has been Barbie’s return to school. As she has been putting herself through a post-baccalaureate program in speech and language pathology at Chapman University, I have been having to pick up the slack at home–taking care of the dogs, cooking, doing much of the housework, etc.
It’s nice to have the free time to myself on the weekends–it allows me to do more projects–but it has also been a bit nerve-wracking as I’ve been expected to take on more than my share of the household responsibilities. It is also nice to know that Barbie is really trying to improve her station, and move up in her field. I’ve even been inspired to take on some supplemental classes myself, learning more about modern coding and bringing my technical skills up-to-date.
Previously (10Q #1 2015)
Yes, it’s a cliché, but Christmas really is my favorite time of year. Despite the extra obligatory travel that I’ve experienced in a broken family, the Christmas season is usually the one time that everyone comes together (whether physically or via technology). I have so many silly “Christmas” traditions that I observe, too–like the 25 Days of Christmas Specials (I had that idea before ABC Family did), Merry Angstmas, Festivus, gluhwein, beignets–that it makes the whole season more of a month-long festival!
President Thomas Whitmore’s rousing Independence Day speech as interpreted by yours truly.
You don’t get much littler than that. 8 months old. Christmas 1983.