First off, in retrospect, 2010 went a LOT better than 2009. For any of a number of reasons.
The faire season was a lot better, barring one or two sour notes. I adore the new doublet and cape that Angel made for me and I got a lot of compliments on it. I've got a lot of ideas to make the coming season better, and plans for costumes and characters to visit upon other faires.
A down note, with 2011 consequences, is that my recruiter says that I cannot enlist until 6 months AFTER my probation ends on the 17th of this month. Which means that I cannot enlist this month or next as I had wanted. And that also means I need to find/keep employment and scrape up another semester of classes from RCCC's shrinking list of useful courses. And it kinda throws off the whole schedule I had worked up for college and graduation. Argh. But I can work around it, even if it delays some things. We are a long-lived people, my people.
The holidays were a bit of a cluster, I'm not gonna lie. We've had a lot of snow that didn't help. My brother and his wife deciding to spend a week or so in the Bahamas right after Christmas didn't help, heh. But it was a good Christmas, I think. Despite all the hectic and sudden schedule changes, there was familial harmony, as is usual for my family(s). The snow prevented the family from going to Bristol Christmas weekend, based on the idea of not wanting to get snowed in at my Grandmother's. (Praise Report: She was diagnosed with, treated for, and recently verified free of lung cancer. All in THIS year.) So I went to Greensboro to attend Tig's "Orphan's Christmas" which was a good time. Even when the power went out. (Did I mention the snow?) The food was excellent and the company was....eclectic? Heh.
New Year's did not go 100% as planned but I went over the the Fishers' place for fireworks, which is the standard NYE event. Alas, I did not have an adventure in NYC like some people I know, but I had a good time nonetheless.
This past weekend finally wrapped up Christmas with all of my family. But it didn't start that way. In the middle of last week, a loud vibration started making a lot of noise out of the rear of my car. I attempted to diagnose the issue using my (admittedly limited) knowledge of vehicle mechanics. The noise rose in pitch with the speed limit, and was unaffected by changes in gear, so that ruled out the transmission. I turned off all the interior electronics and fans, to eliminate the stereo, speakers, and fans. I checked all my fluids, just in case. No dice on improving the situation. But I had eliminated most possibilities and was left with the wheels or tires, most probably the right, rear section of the car. The next day I asked around to all my mechanically minded friends and family. There was a theory that the tire might be wearing unevenly, so Mike was kind enough to help me look things over with his floor jack, air-powered wrench, and delightful assortment of mechanic's tools. While we were looking at the tires, we changed the oil, woohoo. The tires checked out ok (if old), as did the rear brakes (again, if old) so we were left baffled. Randy had taken the car for a spin earlier the day before, and thought a bearing had started to wear. Bearings are not things you delay in fixing. So Friday he took the car with him to work to have it looked at.
Now. Let me explain something about this past weekend. I have never had so many invitations to social gatherings in any one weekend in my entire life. Two events (birthdays no less) on Friday. At least 4 gatherings on Saturday and 2-3 on Sunday. If we hadn't done sushi with John on Thursday, there'd have been one more in the mix. Now I had planned to visit as many of those gatherings as I could, with the plan of driving. Yeah. That plan got asploded. And I was, perhaps understandably, frustrated. But I didn't handle it as well as I might have and was a little short with the parental units.
So anyway. Transportation issues. All the frustrations with poor communication (in which I was an active participant) and Friday morning I had had enough. I said, essentially, "Fuck it. I'm hopping the next train to Raleigh." Which I did. And it was a good idea. I had my phone, but Raleigh and me don't get along when it comes to phone signal. I had my laptop, but I had no idea what the wi-fi availability would look like. So I was sorta reachable, but it seemed a lot more like dropping off the face for a little while. I got to Raleigh about 4pm, and Amaris and Andrea picked me up not too long after that. Cook-Out, cleaning, dressing and we were heading out to...well, I had no idea. I know food was in the plan, but I didn't know any of the other details, other than Amaris said it would be "RIDONK" and since this is a relative term for Ms. Hames, I was a touch apprehensive. And no reasonable human being could fault me. But it was her party, so whatevs. For her birthday/Christmas I had taken it upon myself to fill a horrible lack in her life. She had no hip flask for the subtle containment of alcohol. This was a travesty, now solved. And, being me, I gave no empty flask! But we were off into Raleigh. We stopped into a couple of art galleries, which were intriguing, but way too full of hipsters. But then again, Raleigh herself is FULL of hipsters. Eventually we gathered the gaggle we had collected and headed over to the Market Restaurant. The food was good (really) but the entrée had too much negative space in its artfully set plate. It was tasty, though. And they had a pumpkin cheesecake. Om nom. Dinner was a bit nuts, too, as there was a lot of us and we ended up taking up about a half the restaurant. It was small; we were many. Around 10:30 we finally finish the meal and then on to dancing (what the heck). At that point we dwindled from 20+ to five. And went...dancing.
Now, to say that dance clubs are not my usual scene is a bit of an understatement. I believe that the last time I stepped into a club that centered around a dance floor was in 2001. I couldn't even drink then. I was also less old and less broken.
But a few sips of scotch and a chugged down Jack and Coke later and my joints felt a little less stiff and I started to get into the music. Perhaps the most ironic part of the whole thing was that around 1:30am we were starting to wind down, but I was ready to keep going. Music puts me in a groove sometimes, gives me strength, life. I'm not an extrovert. I don't energize when surrounded by people. I'm usually drained when around a lot of people (especially people I don't know). Given that Amaris was the only person in this venture I knew well, and I was only acquainted with one or two others there that night (Dana, Beth), I ought to have been outright exhausted. But music, man. Get me lost in some music and I'll got for days.
Anyway, 2:00-2:30am and we're making our way back to cars. Part of my plan for the weekend was to make it to Hickory for a family gathering with my dad, that side of the family, and our "Mountain Cousins." The snow we have now as supposed to come this past weekend, so I find out on the train ride home that morning that the gathering was postponed/cancelled. Oh yeah, I finally fell asleep around 4am. Amaris picked me up around 6:20am. I was on the train at 6:50am. Did I mention that I was up at 7am on Friday? And I was up and (gasp) cheerful. Or at least not a monster. Why? I needed that trip. I got the heck out of dodge, broke out of the usual habits. Some of it may have been the company, too. But less than 24 hours, barely more than 12, and I felt a lot more relaxed about everything. Randy had called in the evening the night before to let me know that the Honda had been fixed. So I get back into Salisbury and hop in my car and drive up to Hickory. The big gathering might have been called off, but my brother and sister were still up there. We had an impromptu meal and Christmas there, caught a bit of some football and then just after dark started to set in, I say my goodbyes and thank yous.
I made my way down the hill back home with every intention to head down to Charlotte to a 12th Night party (12th Night of Christmas is January 6th, Three Kings' Day) where many of my rennie friends would be, but I got home, sat down, and was done. Not near enough sleep! So tired was I that I left my phone in the car! Which means no alarm. But I slept in and it was glorious.
And then came the snow. It was really pretty on Monday, but the roads are crap right now. A lot more ice in this storm than the snow we got for Christmas, and the back(ish)-roads that I live on aren't cleared. I'm hoping that they clear up soon. I'm eager to get back into classes and work. Honestly, I'm getting a touch of the cabin fever. But I've been doing a lot reading on my new nook(not capitalized on purpose). And getting a lot of use out of my new TV. Both Christmas presents. I just need to find some excuses to break out my awesome new fedora!
I'm looking forward to 2011. There's a lot of good things coming around the horizon. I'm hoping to make more personal health improvements. I'd like to make some stronger improvements than in years past, but I am improved. And improving. I'm approaching 30. I turn 29 in a few months. And I am going to be AWESOME by the time I hit 30.
bring. it. on.