Sunday, December 31, 2023

Year-End Survey 2023

Here's my year-end survey for 2023!

1. What did you do in 2023 that you'd never done before?

  • Provided a sensitivity read on request.

  • Reviewed an academic paper for someone.

  • Put on a three-hour band performance with my band--twice! (Once for a Harley-Davidson dealership's month-end party, and once for our own friends and family concert.)

  • Had a professional massage.

  • Went to a Trans Town Hall.

  • Sold a car. (I know, right?)

  • Attended a charity livestream for Infloresce for an entire 12 hours.

  • Participated as one of the 92 singers in the Gem Choir.

    Warning, sad stuff and medical stuff:

  • Had to have one of my toenails removed. (It grew back.)

  • Took my first ever Covid test. (It was negative.)

  • Uh . . . I had a routine colonoscopy.

  • And the big one: I experienced the death of a parent and everything that went with saying goodbye to my mom. And have performed the duties of an estate administrator.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year, these were my resolutions, and whether I kept them:

1. Read more.
[I kept this one, but only because the year before was abysmally low. I only read SEVEN books this year.]

2. Finish writing my book In Bloom and make progress with test readers, hopefully approaching agents before the close of the year. (My current agent only reps my nonfiction.)
[I did not keep this one. I didn't finish writing the book. I did write five new chapters, but ALL of it was in the first five months of the year.]

3. Get back into Dance Dance Revolution for some better stamina.
[I played a few times but nothing regular. I would NOT say I kept this one. I played twice in January, twice in March, and four times in October. Yikes.]

4. Finish the photo journal aspect of my website and complete another section's revamp (I'm thinking I could start the writing section).
[I finished the photo journal and all the albums but still have a LOT of uncategorized photos that I intended to incorporate before considering this done, and I didn't start any other section revamps. This was NOT met.]

5. Keep up with communication. Make it a priority to get through all conversational e-mails every week.
[I would consider this to be successful. I currently have ONE unanswered e-mail in my box. That said, people just kinda don't e-mail me anymore, so it's been pretty easy. I got my inbox down to FIVE e-mails within the first 10 days of January and have stayed below five the entire year.]

6. Continue to post my YouTube videos once a month, my writing cartoon once a month, and my fantasy webcomic once a week.
[SUCCESS! I have posted 12 YouTube videos (each toward the end of every month), 12 writing cartoons (each on the last day of the month), and 52 fantasy comics (each Friday, and was never late).]

7. Be more active about documenting everyday life on various social media. I have been keeping stuff off the internet too much and now I don't have the kinds of records I am used to having.
[Marginally successful. I still am doing too much of my day-to-day in phone calls or Polos to like two or three people. But I did manage to get some of my long-held rants and rambles into the journal this year.]

8. Spend quality time with my friends. I'd like to continue game night and we are planning to have a vacation house adventure in March.
[SUCCESS! I actually spent a LOT of time with friends this year and prioritized it. I enjoyed it and have learned to feel less guilty about not "getting things done." But I still haven't completely shaken this. My friends and I did have a lovely vacation during Spring Break.]

9. Continue to grow the repertoire and experience of our band.
[Partial success! We learned some new songs this year and had four performances. I practiced music often and feel like I learned a lot.]

10. Practice ukulele more and get through my recording series of Steven Universe music.
[I practiced ukulele a LOT during certain times of the year--especially before a comic con--and made some recordings, but I did not get through recording videos of the performances at all. I found that I don't really enjoy it.]

New Year's Resolutions this year:

I've been thinking about this a lot. I documented the hell out of my slate of TEN resolutions throughout the year, and was super ambitious about how much I wanted to do (as usual). Guess what? Still really didn't help get stuff done.

Part of it was obviously how much time, energy, and heart was stolen from me in the second half of 2023 because of my mother's death. But I can't "blame" that entirely, even if it did occupy a lot of my attention and take the wind out of my sails in ways I'm still processing.

I know I need to be kind to myself, but at the same time, I'm definitely disappointed in my lack of progress, especially on the things that I seem to resolve year after year. I am good at accountability, but not if I don't have structure. I flip-flopped a bit over whether I'd rather just have no resolutions and "see what happens" or whether I'd rather switch up the accountability a bit, and I think I'm going to try identifying specific goals that have time attached. "Do X more" doesn't seem to work for me. So here's what I'm going to try for the coming year:

1. Health Goals:

a) I don't want a weight goal, though I'll keep an eye on it. I'll be happy whatever happens.

b) I want to drink more water. I resolve to drink a cup of water before my first cup of coffee of the day, and then after that I'll have one cup of water in between every other beverage I drink. I will not define a specific number of glasses or amount a day.

c) I want to eat more fruits and veggies. I resolve to eat one meal with fruit and one meal with veggies every day. (Both.) I will aim for GREEN veggies but may occasionally go for a veggie that is not green.

d) I will continue to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. This will be tracked with the app on my phone.

e) I need to get a dermatologist and a regular dentist this year and go to regular appointments. I have no known issues at this time and I'd like it to stay that way.

f) Should I start a sport? Maybe I could start taking tennis lessons? This is a maybe.

2. Personal Project Goals:

a) Website stuff. I will get all my digital photos sorted into the proper years by the end of February. I'll get them processed onto my website by the end of March. I'll scan some more photos from hard copies where applicable and attempt to have that done by May. By June, I'll leave it open-ended as to what website project I'll do next. I want to get the writing site converted but I don't have a concept yet for what that will look like. That said, I'm going to start January 1 collecting memorable things from Facebook Memories and saving them in a folder to incorporate into the essays on my eventual expanded writing site, because I've written some cool stuff there that almost no one gets to see.

b) Writing stuff. I'll try to write more often but will commit to writing one weekend day OR one weekday after work. I will assign this to Tuesdays and Sundays. I can work on my novel until it's done, work on my next in-progress novel, write short stories, or if I really am not in the zone, do some submissions and/or editing older projects.

c) Music stuff. I will practice for the band as needed, but there are no issues with how much I practice for that. I want to work on ukulele music that I haven't learned yet. I'll take January to review what I know and get back up to speed, then starting in February I'll learn the rest of the songs on my list that I don't know. I'll downgrade my expectations for recording them and just pick up where I left off making recordings without worrying about fun costumes or elaborate effects. I just want to learn the music. I don't want to make a specific structure for this but I'll hope to get these done long before the end of the year.

d) Regular content. I resolve to continue posting a new Negative One webcomic every week and a new So You Write webcomic every month. I'll post a new asexuality video every month. I'll keep sporadically making Not-So-Giant Women with Daria but that depends on her schedule so I can't commit to a post schedule.

3. Reading Goals:

I won't resolve to read a particular number of books, but I will resolve to dedicate time to reading at least twice a week. I'll try to do that on the days I'm not already doing the writing stuff.

4. Relationship and Communication Goals:

a) I'm going to focus on the documentation I want to do for daily life stuff and resist the temptation to just tell other people about it first.

b) I'll continue to answer e-mails promptly and keep my e-mail box clear. I'll respond to the social media comments I get quickly and not put them off or forget about them.

c) I'll continue to prioritize being present with friends and family and making time for them.

5. Other Goals:

These aren't really resolutions, I don't think, but I intend to get my mom's house sold this year, and I want to watch a couple TV shows I've been putting off watching. I don't want to call these resolutions. They don't really have that feel. They're just things I need/want to do.

However, in order to really make time for these goals, I am going to resolve to not play time-wasting games or zone out to listening to news AT ALL this year. If I just need to relax and not do anything, I can read instead. I'm pretty tired of my own excuses on this one and I am not gonna take any shit from me. :)


3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I am not close with my cousins, but I heard my cousin Alyssa gave birth to baby Melody. :)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My mother, Marcia, passed away from liver failure at age 68.

My brother-in-law Yusuke also lost his father this year. I met him just once.

And my lovely friend Ronni lost her mother. So did my online acquaintance Melodie.

And my bandmate Heitor lost his father. It was not a great year for parents this year.

5. What countries did you visit?

I did not leave the USA this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2024 that you lacked in 2023?

More quiet time by myself to do projects.

Consequences for Trump and his ilk.

Resolution of the in-progress stuff with my mother's estate.

No trees falling and almost hitting my house.

Quiet neighbors.

As always, a book deal.

7. What dates from 2023 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 12–March 18, 2023: My Davenport vacation with my friends.

July 5, 2023: My mother died.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Keeping my head above water during a personal tragedy.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Wasting time and not living up to my own expectations. One of these days I'd love to exceed them, but I am a pretty tough critic.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

The closest thing to this that I suffered was having to have the minor operation on my toe in February. I had to grow a new toenail and for the entire time that it was growing back I decided not to look at my toe, so I never saw what it looked like without a nail. :)

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The last comic book I was missing to have a complete collection of Steven Universe variant covers.

And maybe also my new bird feeder.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Civil liberty fighters and queer rights activists who are not letting this country go. Yet.

My queer friends.

Everyone who worked to counter the false narratives about the election.

My band members! We worked so hard this year and improved a lot.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

As usual, Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, weird liars like George Santos, and their supporters.

Warmongers, torturers, and kidnappers participating in these terrible wars.

People who spread lies and conspiracy theories (many of which have their roots in antisemitism).

All the bastards who have been feeding the fire on "trans women are men who want access to single-sex spaces to do harm to REAL women" and "LGBTQ+ people are groomers."

Fake friends.

People who use tragedy to capitalize.

Every single fatphobe.

People who blamed oppressed people for their own oppression.

People who expect me and others to clean up the messes they made.

All the weird assholes who keep jerking me around when I'm trying to sell furniture at my mom's.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Besides rent, I dumped over $10,000 covering my mom's bills until I got paid back by her estate once the courts got the paperwork sorted. Since I got that back, it doesn't really count. Beyond that I spent the most on my Davenport vacation and, of course, Steven Universe merchandise.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Birthday with Meggie

My band's first paid gig

Our incredible Davenport vacation

Being on an asexual book panel with Cody and Ashabi

Getting the final issue of my Steven Universe variant collection

Getting published in an anthology

My 100th Steven Universe T-shirt

First gardenias of the year

The Infloresce Livestream and the Gem Choir

Learning "Aserejé" (a very silly, very fast Spanish song that was very difficult but FUN to sing)

Seeing my wonderful sisters after our mom died

Metrocon 2023

Time with family during summer vacation

A Pride donut

Cookie Cats with family

Halloween Party

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Introducing new friend Ben to Steven Universe


Cookies for Christmas Eve

16. What song will always remind you of 2023?

"Sweet Time." Please listen.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?


ii. thinner or fatter?

Literally within a pound of this time last year, so. No difference.

iii. richer or poorer?

Technically quite a bit richer, but I'm not sure how that will shake out when everything is settled with my mom's estate.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Writing fiction, reading, sleeping, completing projects, being creative, practicing ukulele, documenting things I failed to document.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Getting mad about things I can't control, dealing with dirty work at my mom's house after she died (but it was necessary), being patient with people who treated me badly, playing mindless games for too long while catching up on news drama.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

I spent Christmas by myself decompressing, but the day before Christmas, Jeaux and I hosted my dad and Connie to have a fancy meal with us, and the day after Christmas I had a cookie party.

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve?

Writing this blog entry, LOL. (I spent a lovely morning having donuts with Adam and Meg and a lovely afternoon talking to Steve on the phone, though.)

22. Did you fall in love in 2023?

None of my relationships with other people could be described as "falling in love." I maintain that I have all the love I want in my life.

23. How many one-night stands?

I should probably just delete this question from the survey. But then I'd have to re-number and ew.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Steven Universe is still my undisputed favorite, but this year I enjoyed Our Flag Means DeathHeartstopperFionna and Cake, and Koisenu Futari (which we have not finished watching).

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?


26. What was the best book you read this year?

I read very little sadly, so I will name Refusing Compulsory Sexuality: A Black Asexual Lens on Our Sex-Obsessed Culture by Sherronda J. Brown.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I loved a bunch of the music I listened to during the Infloresce stream, and enjoyed the hilarious comedic stylings of Tom Cardy, but to be honest I think I was most pleasantly blown away by Rebecca Sugar's sweet, poignant, gorgeous album Spiral Bound.

28. What did you want and get?

No major hurricanes hitting my area, lots of time alone, the final comic book I needed for my collection, performances with the band, a work/life balance that continues to be comfortable, a Covid-free year, a published short story, a lot of quality time with friends and family, good health, a happy home, love and humor, good entertainment.

29. What did you want and not get?

Another novel completed, positive resolution for social justice issues, basic good behavior from people who should know better, surprise Steven Universe content (hehe, no I didn't expect this, I just wanted it), opportunities to play with little babies, enough sleep.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

I didn't watch any movies this year except RatatouilleYellowbeardEverything Everywhere All at OnceDungeons and DragonsAcross the Spider-VerseNimona, and Barbie. My favorite was definitely Everything Everywhere All at Once.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 45. I made myself some fancy pancakes in the morning and also had them for lunch. And I cleaned two bedrooms. Got nice birthday phone calls from Dad, Mom, and Patricia, plus texts from Lindsay. Mom brought me a margherita pizza from Mandola's and hung out a bit and also gave me some pants. Later that weekend I celebrated my birthday with a big party. Meggie and I made 7UP cake and chocolate cake for our double birthday, and we had 8 people over to eat nacho concoctions, play Cards Against Humanity, eat cake, hang out until 3 AM talking.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

In general, if the people who were supposed to communicate with me did so clearly and stood by their word. There was an awful lot of terrible communication this year that frustrated me a lot.

That said, the year would have been pretty badass if I'd gotten a book deal. Better get moving on that!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2023?

Steven Universe tee shirts, jeans that fit better, oversize shirts that can be tied around the waist if I'm not cold, and a side part that's partly held in place by one barrette. I have also been putting my hair up while I'm hanging out alone a LOT.

34. What kept you sane?

My family to lean on when my mom died--it sounds silly but it helped me way more than I thought I would need, to have them there, you know?

Also, beautiful cartoons, and the internet.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Oh, you silly survey.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Trans rights and all the frigging liars in government.

37. Who did you miss?


38. Who was the best new person you met?


39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2023.

Don't eat hair.

Just kidding.

Peace is possible.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"If I leave you, it doesn't mean I love you any less."

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