Happy New Year! (2015)

New Year’s morning, 5:41 am, and I’m hiding out in my room because if I make too much noise the dogs hear me, decide that the day has begun, and wake up their owners (my hosts) to be fed.  So my last week here, since this cause-and-effect relationship was observed, has been: wake early, lie in bed for a while and meditate, rise early enough that even the dogs won’t believe it’s morning (e.g., 4:20), tiptoe into the bathroom and shower quickly (running water in the pipes would just sound like ambient noise like the sprinklers or heating system), and skip shaving or blow drying my hair. Then I tiptoe down to the kitchen and heat water for tea and oatmeal (no coffee, because of coffee bean grinder and coffee maker noises, but tea will tide me over), then tiptoe back upstairs and eat, read Twitter, maybe get a little Elder Scrolls Online in, until one of me hosts sends me a “We’re up” text message.  Then I am free to move about the cabin.

This means my waking/rising times are about the same as they were pre-job-evaporation, so it’s no great hardship; I suspect the building Launch Day tension would have me up that early anyway.  But I’m *really* looking forward to being able to shave immediately after showering.  I’m not a beard person, and now I’m seriously contemplating getting the damn thing lasered off.

New Year’s Eve in the suburbs is way different from the same event at my old condo.  At my condo, there were 2-3 sets of fireworks that I could see and, more importantly, be kept awake by, that started at 9:00pm. (A ghastly hour of the night, not fit for man nor beast.)  And drunken revelers would be staggering past from the nearby Father’s Office bar, talking/yelling/crying/hooting/retching, all evening until around 2am.  My usual holiday tradition of ambient white noise music and earplugs plus earplugs was usually good enough for the revelers, but no help against the booming of the fireworks, so it was best not to even try to go to sleep until 9:30.  Not really a problem, except that as an early riser I couldn’t count on being able to sleep any later to make up for it — and there was still the risk that the reveler sounds would wake me despite the protective measures.  Let’s just sum all this up by saying Festive Party Nights were not my friends.

Here in the burbs, there’s none of that. We hung out with friends for sake and snacks from about 2pm to 7:30, had a great time, they left, we stayed up a bit longer, then Mark and I were in bed (separate ones) by about 9:00, while Jane stayed up to wait for kids to come home from New Year’s parties.  (Side blessing: kids now old enough to party somewhere else.)  Slept through the night, until my usual wake up time (a bit early, but good enough).  Way more relaxing.

So, this week has been continued prep work: reading unread manga volumes (that I’ll leave here on loan to my niece), sorting through paperwork, making arrangements to switch my phone from AT&T to T-Mobile. (I’ll have to pay a termination penalty, but it’s totally worth it. It’s enough cheaper in the states, to make up the cost of the penalty, and their International Plan is *waaaaaaaay* cheaper.)  I’m still waiting for AT&T to approve the unlock and charge me money, but that should come soon.

Yesterday, I got pumped full of diseases: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hep A & B, and Japanese Encephalitis.  Was kind of expecting some kind of reaction to all of those travel vaccines, but my immune system is taking it in stride (so far).  I’ll get the second shot of the Hep and JE in New York on the 27th, the day before I fly out.  And then I get one last Hep shot in 6 months, which will leave me immune for life.

My one remaining issue will be Malaria, but there are no vaccines for that.  Just a pill that you take every day you’re there and for a month after you leave.  I’m going to talk to local expats, and see how risky that really is; I’ve never been a fan of daily meds, and the CDC says there’s no risk in cities.  Oh, and travel diarrhea from local alien bacteria.  Yaay, that. 🙁

On Monday, Jane and Brianna and I went to see Samurai Arms And Armor Exhibit at the the LA County Museum of Art. (Mark drove, but went to the nearby spa instead.)  I’m not sure how long the link above will work, once the exhibit is over, so here’s a few pictures that I took myself:

LACMA Samurai Exhibit

LACMA samurai exhibit main hall

LACMA Samurai Horsemen

LACMA Samurai Horsemen

The Flying Buddhist Nun

The Flying Buddhist Nun

Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are

When you need a bottle opener in battle...

When you need a bottle opener in battle…

A separate gallery had swords and things, but, truthfully, we’ve all seen samurai swords.  You don’t need more pictures of those.


Ok, it’s now 1:25, and I just got back from handing off my Nissan Leaf to friends who were glad to take over the lease (with 21 months left on it).  So, I am now carless and, for the first time in, what, 30+ years, keyless.  No car keys, no house keys, no office keys.  It’s weird, but very freeing.

I’ve never been a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions.  Not that I’ve cared much one way or the other, but resolving to improve something on just one day never really moved me much emotionally, so I’ve just not generally bothered.  This Mark Twain quote, captured by @LettersOfNote, kind of sums it up for me:TwainNewYearsBut given the sheer volume of change going on in my life, and the unavoidable stress of it, and how much I’m going to have to adapt, I think I might just make one this year.  So… I resolve to always strive to be open: to new experience, new ways of existing, new people, new comforts and discomforts.  I’m going to have to be, if I’m going to survive this, so I might as well put that intention front and center.  Be open.  Not “leave your comfort zone”, or “stretch”, or all the other euphemisms and synonyms that imply struggle, but rather the reverse: the absence of struggle.  Not leave my comfort zone, but let go of it.  Stop resisting, stop avoiding potential discomfort in favor of the enjoyable known.  Just be, in each new environment, with whatever is there.  It will doubtless be work… but the work is an illusion.  Just let go and simply be.

Or, alternatively, travel to new, exotic lands, and hole up in my hotel with my books and vids and Elder Scrolls Online and become a International Hikikomori of Mystery in one new locale after another.  But I think the other way is probably better.

Launch is tomorrow.  Wish me luck.


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4 Responses to Happy New Year! (2015)

  1. Mark says:

    Good luck! May all you new years resolutions come true and may we always sleep in separate beds.

  2. Florida says:

    What a great NY’s resolution! Seems a tad more profound than my dumping Internet Sudoku……….what a time waster!!! Anyway, I started to call you for our annual Xmas chat, then realized I could also get a lot of info from your blog – and with pictures! Thank you! I also realized that you are now with friends all the time since you have no home of your own at this time, and except for from about 3 AM to about 6:30 AM (my wake up time), you are probably occupied with them.

    For my boring life (compared to yours), I spent 3 days over NYs with friends (4 couples) in Mendocino County (Philo) at a really fun vacation home. We did a lot of over eating and for some, over drinking – but very fun, nonetheless.

    I think you are visiting Lorrie and Shawn in Albuquerque right now – at some point before you leave for Thailand in a matter of a few weeks, I still hope we can have our Xmas phone chat. Please call me when/if you get the chance…………..

    • Charles says:

      Mendocino sounds like fun. Perhaps I can call after I get to New York in a couple of weeks? I should have some free blocks in those two weeks. And, if it doesn’t happen then, I can Facetime with you from Thailand after I arrive, without paying for the phone call. (I also have Skype, but I don’t know if you do.)

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