I had a mild epiphany last week. It was while I was hobbling down a corridor, using a cane to get around, because I sprained my ankle back in December. I was grumpy over that, a work thing, and I'd just looked in the mirror in the washroom and realized that Cathy's tease about my longer beard really bringing out the grey was accurate.
I understood then that I really was settling into becoming a cranky old man quite nicely. That was pretty inevitable. I've been accused of being a cranky old man since university. Now I was just beginning to look and feel the part. I actually felt better after that. There's something very zenning about realizing you're right on schedule for this kind of thing to happen.
So yes, 53 will be the Year of Gumpy Old Man. Bring it on.
As for 52, well, while most of 2022 was the Year of the Water Tiger by the Chinese calendar, it was very much the Year of the Dog for Cathy and I. We might have gotten the puppies in 2021, but 2022 was the year we spent making sure the puppies grew up to become good dogs. This was not always easy, as some very expensive vet bills show. There were three weeks this year that, between the two of them, were among the most stressful weeks we've had in years.
They give big love, but sometimes with that big love comes big stresses, panic, and guilt as well. Iqaluit is in the middle of its usual January cold snap. Temps have been pushing -50C with windchill for a good chunk of the month, meaning it has been too cold to have them outside for more than a few minutes at a time, and certainly not long enough for their usual walks. Even with coats and booties, you don't mess around with temps like that. So they're getting a little binky. But honestly, they really are good dogs.
We are also, tentatively, trying to work out the logistics of taking them down south with us this summer. We'll see.
What else happened during 52? It was nice to get out for a vacation. Never taking that for granted again. Always a delight to be bossed around by my 7-year-old niece for a week. Through a delightful bit of unplanned synchronicity, there was a gathering of my university friends in town, some of whom I've not seen in decades.
I went back to New York for the first time in seven years and attended my first comic con in 3.5 years. That was fun, but a little....odd. It was weird travelling solo again, and NYCC was great but very intense. It felt very much like everyone was going out to comic con for the first time in years, and it was urgent that it be the best con ever. There was an odd energy to it. Oh, and Reed Pop completely screwed the pooch on their mask mandate. 20% of attendees wore a mask. Maybe.
As for the challenges, mom gave me a last minute freak out by breaking her hip. She's home, recovering and appears to be in good spirits, so I'll take that. I managed to sprain my ankle in December and I'm still getting over that. When something pops in your ankle, that's "bad." I probably have another 4-6 weeks of hobbling around before it's 'normal-ish.' Oh, and we both got COVID in August, which was delightful. It was a mild-ish case, and we 100% attribute that to having been vaccinated six weeks earlier. We just got our booster last week. Keep your shots up-to-date, kids.
So what's the plan for 53?
Whenever I get my ankle back to normal, I really do need to start getting back to the gym and getting healthier. Not just physically, but mentally. A few hours a week at the gym does wonders for me, and between the pandemic and illness, I haven't been able to get into any kind of routine.
Not strangle the dogs. I love them, but there are days.
The ongoing project of trying to be a better husband to Cathy. I did okay this year, but it's always a work in progress.
Keep writing. I understand the blog is relatively dormant, but I'm doing some writing for myself. Most of it is crap, but it makes me happy. Cathy introduced me to the idea that I could write and not publish or have to try and sell it. I can write just to make myself happy. Crazy-talk, but it works.
Although I did get a request to update the Moving to Iqaluit FAQ. That's fair, so I will do that this year.
I suspect this year will be one of geek reckoning. If you've ever wondered how long it will take to fill a room with books, art, Legos and toys, the answer is about 12 years. There's no more room for toys of Legos, and we're rapidly approaching the dreaded "a book has to go for every new one you bring in" stage of things. Art is a little different in that I've long since passed where I can display everything. That's why I have portfolios (like most comic art collectors). But I am going t adjust what I buy. I need to be much more strategic in my purchases.
Having said that, I got an Art Adams commission this year. If you’re not a geek, that means nothing. If you are a geek, you’re probably going “coooool.” I’ve only been in love with his art since I was a teenager. Meeting him was a thrill. Having him hand this over to me was otherworldly.
Finally, the world outside is crazy and it's not likely to get any less crazy any time soon. I'm going to have to watch it again, because I know I missed things trying to figure out what was going on. But I think I will try and spend at least part of this, my 53rd year on this insane planet, following Waymond's wise advice.
"The only thing I do know is that we have to be kind. Please, be kind. Especially when we don't know what's going on."
(Yes, you can be grumpy and kind. It's a big multiverse. Embrace contradictions....)
Dogs days are over - Florence and the Machine
Honey, we can’t afford to look this cheap - White Stripes
Cover me (live) - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band*
Dianne - Joanne Barker
Stella Hurt - Elvis Costello and the Imposters