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Letter to My Future Self, 2015 Edition
Etna
oraxia
Dear Future Xia,

Oh look, managed to get this in before the end of January. Amazing!

2015 was yet another crafting desert.Still working on that sock from the day I met Pavel (actually, I may not have knit anything more on it since last year's End of Year post), and still working on that Drachenfels shawl/scarf thing (but nearing the end and hoping to finish it by the end of the month). I did, however, go take a pointed pen calligraphy class and have even practiced a couple of times during the year, making some use of it for card-writing/addressing purposes and also experimenting a tiny bit with brush pens (because I keep scratching up the paper with the nibs). Does cooking count as craft? I took a sourdough class in SF with Carmen, too. I need to remember to feed my sourdough starter... and the kombucha SCOBY Val gave me...

Sleep problems persist, but I have a better pillow now and I have data in Sleep Cycle, the sleep-tracking app that I installed at the beginning of 2015. And blue light filtering glasses, which seem to be helping a little. Baby steps, baby steps...

Weight has started to come back (like 10 lbs.), but I'm trying to get back on the starvation wagon again now. It's clear that I'll never get to relax in terms of eating ever again, which is its own special kind of Hell, but all anybody ever really wants for me is to be thin, not happy, so onwards I trudge. (Ugh.)

Okay, meme time! Let's go.

The Meme:
1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
I went to Vegas and drove/operated an Excavator :D Oh, and I saw Penn & Teller live, too :)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not really. Still need to work on my posture, it is terrible (and actually might be getting a little worse).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Christ, were there ever babies D: Deb popped out twins (a boy & a girl), Kerry popped out another boy, and Nataliya popped out a girl. Anastasia is ready to pop soon, as well. I think Kari may have had another little one, too? BABIES EVERYWHERE! Ayy.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Uncle Somdev (really my dad's cousin's husband, which... isn't exactly an uncle, but that's what I called him). I found out when we got the Christmas card from Aunt Lee, and although I didn't know him super well, he was an adorable old gent, and I will forever refer to those trees with all the yellow flowers in Hawaii as "scrambled egg trees" after his comment. He will be missed :(

5. What countries/places did you visit?
Vegas, baby! :D Other than that... nothing special.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Still a house. And maybe a new job. And better posture.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Meeting Carmen (plus first date), taking Carmen with me to Hawaii, going to Vegas... That's about all that comes to mind immediately.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Buh. I guess moving to a different work group so I can do more code-based work, except... well, it's not magical, so I don't know.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Um. Cooking failures, I guess? Wow, 2015, maybe you were a little boring in terms of achievements? Seriously, though, I tried making aquafaba meringue cookies, and they got burnt and tasted funny. Huge mess.

Oh, no, actually... My biggest failure has probably been trying to get that D&D campaign off the ground and just not being able to do it (and not for lack of trying, but I just can't get enough material prepped). I still really, really want to put this campaign together, but I'm afraid it just isn't going to happen until I get my life in better order :( At least Max is planning to run a Numenara campaign this year, so... that'll be something.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not that I can think of?

11. What was the best thing you bought? What was the worst?
Glass lid for my wok (with a vent)--stovetop wok popcorn is best popcorn :D The water bottle Carmen got me to try and convince to drink more water is pretty useful to have around the house. I am tempted to add the waffle maker that I got for Christmas from my folks, but I have technically not used it at my apartment yet, just in Hawaii... (But they were fabulous, fabulous fresh waffles.)

Actually, I got a slew of awesome gifts this year from people o_0 I feel like I was a little off my gifting elf game this year, so I feel extra guilty because the gifts were particularly amazing this year @_@ (Well, okay, Carmen actually forgot to get me a Christmas gift, which was special kinds of awkward and sad, but he doesn't exchange gifts with his family anymore apparently, or with his friends...)

Not much on the bad front--I just didn't really buy anything big/notable that I can think of :/

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Max & Eva, for stepping up and becoming my regular climbing buddies (and to a certain extent, Carmen as well, although he isn't a regular as the other two).

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Nothing out of the ordinary, really.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food, random stuff, and probably still Kickstarter.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Because I love Star Wars :P

16. What craft/project will always remind you of 2015?
Pointed pen calligraphy, because this was the year I learned how to do it.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder?
Happier, I think?
b) Thinner or fatter? A little fatter, but I'm working on it :/
c) Richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Camping! We didn't camp at all this year D: Also, I wish I'd been in a better mindset and position to make more use of the Android class I took with Carmen :( But I just don't have anything app-y that I'm excited to make right now... Also, I wish I'd done more drawing. I miss drawing.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Whatever it is that happens that seems to make all my time disappear so that I can't ever get anything useful done. I am seriously beginning to suspect I may be blacking out or something.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Carmen came home with me. We took a couple of visits to the beach, but did not succeed in managing to rent a paddle and board for stand-up paddle-boarding. I introduced him to shaved ice, we drove around the North Shore a bit to see the waves. Hiked Koko Crater, too.

21. What was your favorite month of 2015?
Maybe October-ish. There was a Six Flags trip right over the transition from September to October, then Vegas, and then Halloween (I was a green crayon at work, because Deb's back in the group costuming business; I made the crayon stencils).

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Yes, even if I'm prone to being cynical about it.

23. New games you played?
Heroes of the Storm (HotS). Played with Carmen's group, and I'm about as lousy there as I am in all the tower defense type games, but I enjoy trying as long as people don't start getting pissy at me for "playing like a bot." I don't have the time to put in to get better than "bot" level playing, people -_-

I finally took a look at Okami, which I'd picked up from Jen when she was getting rid of stuff. Yes, it's an ancient PS2 game. PS2 is the only console I own (unless I can get my parents to ship me my apparently non-working SNES... we tried plugging it in over the holidays and it wouldn't boot. Would be awesome if I could sort out how to repair it). No, I most definitely have not had enough time to finish it yet. Over the course of a year, I've been able to put in only a couple of hours into it... a lot of that being me trying to remember the controls from last time I picked it up :( I suck at games.

Also, right before we left for Hawaii, Carmen picked up Creativerse. It's a MineCraft clone with "pretty" graphics, and while I still like MineCraft better, the magic here is that it can be a multiplayer server that's hosted elsewhere for free, and I could play with Carmen. I don't think anyone else plays MineCraft anymore :/ And nobody seems to still have a running server. I miss Mike's server, and my awesome treehouse. But I have a kickin' Christmas-festive gingerbread house in the forest on Carmen's Creativerse server, so that's something.

24. What was your favorite new (to you, at least) TV program?
I quite liked Daredevil, but then during December I discovered Galavant, and I did not know I needed a ridiculous musical TV show in my life. (Apparently I do. Very much so.) Still need to watch Jessica Jones...

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No?

26. What was the best book you read?
Haven't read much paper books, sadly.

Webcomics-wise, though, I did start reading Wilde Life, by the creator of the completed webcomic Zap!, as well as started reading Stand Still. Stay Silent., which is by the creator of the also now completed webcomic A Redtail's Dream. They're both nice new comics (to me, at least), which I've been keeping up with :)

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Basically Weird Al's album, Mandatory Fun. Awesome :D

28. What did you want and get?
New companion, a.k.a. Carmen :)

29. What did you want and not get?
House. New job. More time and/or a time machine. More sleep.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Mad Max: Fury Road. Technically saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens in January of 2016 for my birthday, but I also very much enjoyed that :)

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Had pizza with some high school buddies on my actual birthday. Went to see the new Star Wars movie for my birthday (but since I didn't want to make a mess of my schedule, did it on a different day).

Also, WAFFLES. You don't know how truly wonderful fresh waffles are until you haven't been able to have fresh made waffles for decades (TWO) because every fresh waffle that happens, happens to have eggs in it. Screw counter space, I will find a home (and more uses via this book I just ordered) for this waffle maker!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A house. Also, friends (excluding boyfriend) that I feel will actually be there for me if bad stuff happens--whether they will or won't, I currently feel none of them would. And a time machine.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
T-shirts and jeans, mostly? And whatever has landed in my closet through the sporadic purchasing whims of Mom. Egh.

34. What kept you sane?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
You know, still not that much of a celebrity crushing type :/ Nobody is coming to mind right now.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Diversity/inclusivity. I've pretty much determined that I'm part of the problem, and I don't have the resources (in the form of time and actual people who experience a lot of inclusiveness issues) to truly address this. I really suck at this :(

37. Who did you miss?
Kari, also Alisa & Mog, the latter two I haven't seen since Japan in 2011. Not sure where Kari was this year, but it wasn't in Hawaii :( But hey, at least I caught Adrienne this time!

I mean, I technically miss lots of people, but I guess I always think of this question in terms of who I missed seeing on my trip back home to Hawaii, because it keeps it more reasonably answer-able.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Carmen (boyfriend), and also new cubemate Mac. Good peeps.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:
The ants aren't going anywhere until the drought subsides :(

40. What new restaurants/foods did you discover this year?
Most notable? The gastronomy adventure that is é by José Andrés. Crazy times! Weird food! Really makes me want to do a little mad science in the kitchen with that gastronomy cocktail kit that's been languishing in my closet...

Food discovery? Aquafaba. It's the water from canned beans/legumes (usually chickpeas), and it can be manipulated to take on characteristics of egg whites, meaning you can actually make vegan meringue with it. Provided you don't burn them to your cooking service and then end up with shards of sugary hard meringue foam everywhere like I did :( I really, really want to try making macarons with this stuff, and experiment with it to see what else I can use it as an egg protein substitute for!

Local restaurants... Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya and Pepple's Donut Farm. Also Teaspoon, which might be becoming my new favorite bubble tea place. (Except I still have the free bubble tea per week punch card from Jazen, so that's where I'm going most often, haha...) Did I know about CREAM last year? Maybe not, actually. That may be new from this year or from the end of last year, too. They can make me a vegan ice cream sandwich, although I wish they had more vegan ice cream flavor selections than just vanilla or mint chocolate chip.


And I guess that's pretty much it. Here's to hoping for a better year in 2016!

Signing Off,
Oraxia of 2015

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(Deleted comment)
I feel like it would work out if I just... could get things together, but the problem is that I've created something in my head that is too big to hold in focus all at once, which means I have to write it down somewhere to keep it straight and from morphing into illegibility as soon as I'm not focused directly on it. Boardgames are nice, but I haven't really been able to do that, either, because all the people with the boardgames keep having babies, and babies don't mix well with small pieces or cards. Or game boards. Babies do not mix with any of these things unless you're willing to get them warped with slobber or ripped up :/

I do a lot of Kickstarters for webcomics, sadly. I have occasional forays into interesting equipment (mostly for camping, which I also haven't done much of recently due to the baby-lanche) or show stuff (MST3K, Con Man... which was actually IndieGoGo not Kickstarter but counts in the same category). I guess I have a game or two on my profile. Actually, Lovecraftesque seems like it might be able to fix some of the GM setup problems if it ends up working out.

HotS. Yeah. DotA had a lot of the same problems. People are mean. So I tend to play with people I know, but that ends up blending you with the people that the people you know happen to know... and when you're not up to caliber, they complain about you to the people you know. Sigh. That's kind of the beauty of VainGlory--limited communication system. I can continue to play horribly and nobody else can really give me grief for it except myself.

Carmen is unfortunately not fond of walks >:[ Believe me, I have tried! I also tried to get him into Ingress (because that's a good game for encouraging walking), which didn't work, either. He'll go for a run (ugh) every now and then, but no walks :( Also, he has a (much) cleaner apartment than mine...

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