Theater Masks

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

This Year

We've had some positive moments this year, to be sure, but we've also had several disappointments.

Perhaps the biggest change for me this year was that I was moved from teaching seventh and eighth grade to teaching sixth grade. I had never considered teaching younger than I was before, but I went into it with an open mind. Turns out, I love sixth grade. The kids are so enthusiastic and they're much more accommodating than the older kids are. With a new supervisor at school as well, I haven't been "targeted" as badly as I was last year, so school has definitely been easier this year (despite my numerous problems with other aspects of the place).

Writing has been a source of a lot of frustration for me this year, unfortunately. I finished another book, got it to my agent, and she returned a boatload of edits for me to work on. We've switched from shopping Connie around to shopping Before White, but we seem to be heading dead end after dead end. It's made me question myself a lot more than I expected I would. Still, with Caitie's support, I'm continuing on, always hoping a new day will finally bring the email I've been waiting and waiting and waiting to arrive.

Caitie's job has been pretty stagnant. She's still working at Direct Brands publishing. She's been moved around several times and job security is as mythological as a phoenix. Hopefully her situation will change sooner rather than later.

In July, Caitie had us go to the doctor for a checkup. Turned out I was pre-diabetic. He told me to get a Fitbit or Jawbone Up bracelet, diet and lose weight. I did this, started walking 10,000 steps a day and counting my calories. By November I had lost about 25 pounds and gotten rid of the diabetic diagnosis. I need to continue - I have a ways to go of course, but I do feel better. Of course, December is a TOUGH time for keeping up with this!

On the plus side, Caitie and I did get to go on a WONDERFUL vacation this year - our first in four years. We went on a cruise to the Caribbean and had a fantastic time. Memory has sharpened that week now to make it perhaps even better than it actually was, but we can't wait to go on another cruise as soon as possible.

In February of this year, my sister gave birth to my second niece, Lindsey Helen Hafner. She's adorable and has the biggest smile I've seen on a baby. We went to visit them yesterday and she loved playing with the strings on my sweatshirt, laughing gleefully for a good twenty minutes as she batted them about, pulled on them, and tried to stick them in her mouth in what I can only consider to be one of the first games she's ever played.

My other niece, Lily, is turning three next week. She's amazing - she can carry on an actual conversation with you, and she has a bright and cheery personality.

This has been a slow year for reading for me. I think I've been reading the same book for the past four months. It's not that it's a bad book, it's actually quite good, I just have a tough time getting motivated to read while school is in session. (To be fair, I have also read three other books in the interim). I wish I had kept track of the books I read this year so I could name a favorite, but alas, my memory simply isn't that good.

We have gone to several movies this year and seen some really good stuff - Star Trek, Catching Fire, Frozen, This is the End. We have several big ones coming out in the next couple of weeks (American Hustle, Anchorman 2, August Osage County), so hoping they're as good as we expect.

This year we also joined the Kelsey theater as subscribers. We've seen some great shows there so far - Forum, Spamalot, Carrie - and a couple of duds - Big River (unfortunate because I love the score - just not a good cast), A Flea In Her Ear (a farce that was performed well but just wasn't very funny). Hope the rest of the season is solid!

During the summer we went to Ohio for a long weekend. We saw a Marroon 5/Kelly Clarkson concert (very fun) and went to a friend of Caitie's wedding. I love going to Ohio - I always get the feeling that I'm really ON BREAK when I'm there.

Every summer we watch the show Big Brother. This year I participated in an online version of the game. Thirteen of us were put into a virtual house and we played challenges just like on the show. I sent literally thousands of emails playing the game, and as of right now I'm going into the final three this week. I have a pretty decent shot at winning this. It makes me wonder how I'd do at the actual game!

At Thanksgiving we went to Georgia to see my cousins. It was a LONG drive, but it was great getting to see them. We haven't seen them in four years, so it was wonderful getting to spend some time with them.

We've had the chance to spend many evenings with friends, playing games, eating, drinking, laughing and sharing with them, and we're beyond grateful for that.

That's our year in a nutshell. Nothing earthshaking, nothing that really altered our lives all that much for the good or the bad. Hopefully next year will bring publication for me (finally), a job switch for Caitie, more vacation time for us, and new adventures together.

Have a happy holiday and a very happy New Year!

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