2010: A Year in Rant…er…Review

The quintessential and clichéd way to begin an entry like this is to declare, “What a wild ride it’s been…” And with other years, and other people, that might be entirely applicable. 2010 was an entirely different beast, however. I can’t say it was wild by any stretch, but strange things did happen – some good, some life-changing, and others terrible. I’m not even entirely sure how this entry will play out. So, I thought I’d summarize my year – to the best of my ability – and reach a conclusion. I have some idea of what that conclusion is; still finding the words to voice it, though. Here we go.

Good ol’ Baby New Year ’10 began with a “THUD!” in the form of a road trip, one I took in order to see a girl again. Funny what men will do in the name of the opposite gender.  Wars have been started for and about the fairer sex. And in my case, near crashes and snow storms. The former of which should’ve been my first clue that this trip was a bad idea.

A mere ten miles outside of home, a car spun out in the fast lane. I caught sight of it before it 180-ed in front of me, put on the breaks just in time, and then veered around the “ruh-tard” by inches.  In a flurry of curses, I pulled off the Wilsonville exit to catch my breath. That should have been my cue to turn around in the complete opposite direction.  But I didn’t, I continued on unimpeded, blind in my resolve.

The good? By the time I made it down to SoCal, I was able to see my grandparents, Dad, Evil Stepmother, uncles, aunts, and cousins again. A new tea shop was notched off with friends, I saw Air Supply in concert (I know…”WTF!”), did a mad-dash through Disneyland, and – of course – spent quality time with said girl.

The bad? Just about everything else.

Fast-forward to the spring. I hate that time of year, and it has no fond feelings for me either. I’m not sure what happens to me when things “spring” forth anew, but I tend to go completely batshit. Not “rifle-on-a-clock-tower” nuts…but still impressively annoying. Usually, my changes in mood (of which there are many) result in loud declarations and hermitism.  In essence, Seasonal Male Menstrual Syndrome.

The trigger this time around was social networking sites – the Internet’s drama lubricant. Several friends of mine who followed me on Twitter found my plethora of tea updates boring and annoying. They had a point. Not everyone is as fascinated as I am about dead, dried leaves steeped in hot water. As a result, these several friends “unfollowed” me. I didn’t take that well.

To me – at the time – unfollowing was akin to a friends’ list removal. It was a very clear sign, in my mind, that I was an irritant. Instead of puttig up with online disapproval and “butthurt”, I ranted, then deleted all my social networking incarnations – Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Buzz, everything. My only outlet to the “Intel Inside” world was my website.

I kept this e-embargo up for the worse part of four months. Parallel to that, I sunk into a deep and denial-based depression. I rarely went out and rarely corresponded online. I went to work, I slept, I drank tea; rinsed, repeated. The one bright (and sometimes frustrating) spot in all of this was the adoption of a furry, cuddly, and whiny Maine Coon mix named Georgia.

But we won’t go into the flea epidemic she brought upon us. You can read about that HERE.

There was another momentary distraction in the wake of my netizen exile. The parents required help in June for a cross-state move to Wyoming. I was asked to take time off from work in order to help with the endeavor. At first, I was ambivalent to the travailing trek. I was a wuss, completely useless as a mover. Added to that, I wasn’t a fan of readjusting my sleep schedule (I worked nights) to accommodate the request.

My mood brightened on arrival. The process of moving went rather quickly, and the rest of the trip was spent bonding with the bros and stepdad over various microbrews. What started as a weekend I dreaded became a three-day trilogy of remembrance. To this day, it’s one of my more memorable trips.

That reverie wouldn’t last long upon my return to Oregon. I was greeted with a lay-off.  My job was posted on Craigslist, or at least a part-time version of it. My occupational existence of the last six years changed with a blip of the computer screen. Luckily, the parting was somewhat amicable given the circumstances, and I tried to view it as a necessary evil.  Finally, I got the kick in the proverbial pants I needed to move on with my life.

On the suggestion of my mother, I attended various job and networking groups to “get out there” again. With six years gone, I was a little rusty on my job-hunting skills. Wrestling with the unemployment office was also becoming an arduous experience.  By the end of summer, I was down to the wire financially. My bro/roommate was (thankfully) patient and understanding during the process.

In the interim, one of the biggest recommendations made by the job groups was to put my online presence back together. I returned to Twitter and Facebook, actively updated my blog again, and put feelers out there among friends that I was seeking employment. Unfortunately, due in part to my long absence, my social circle had decreased by half. Part of the blame rests with my outburst and subsequent hermitism. That sudden realization – and my car going “kaput” – made August a very dark month.

My brother changed this a bit with the declaration that he wanted to adopt a puppy. Not just any type of puppy, a Saint Bernard. I joined him for the jaunt to Camas to pick out the little fella. In the litter there were many to choose from, but one in particular stood out; a fuzzy, forehead-dotted little critter that was licking my shoe. I pointed to him, my brother picked him, we named him Abacus, and the rest is history. (My cat can’t stand him. We’re working on that.)

September saw two more gestalts to the ol’ routine (or what was left of it). My sister also decided to move to Wyoming and – again – I was drafted to help with the move and clean-up of her old place. While I can’t claim the task was easy, it was a welcomed distraction from the work-related/wallet issues. By coincidence or fate, right as we were about to take to the road again, my first unemployment check arrived. A summer-ton weight was lifted from my shoulders.

Partial gainful employment appeared a couple of months later in two forms thanks to the feelers I put out three months prior. I landed two temporary gigs doing floor sets and meeting setups, and a return to an old art gallery cashier job in October. Things were looking up.

November rained down soon after with the arrival of mounting debts. Red tape held up my unemployment benefits, and I was making nowhere near enough to pay my bills. Searches for additional part-time work were next to impossible given my limitations in availability. I could only work on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Other days affected my art gallery gig.

Additional help would arrive once the red tape with the unemployment office cleared up. And – again – thanks in large part to a very patient and humble housemate.

Which brings us to December. Sales at the gallery were good; I had many writing posts under my belt. I sampled new teas from far-flung locations, and still found time to hang out with friends. The only speed bump was a speeding ticket. Christmas came and went, spent in the company of intermediate family and candlelight services. (Although, my first present on Christmas Day was a computer virus.)

And – now – here I sit, reflecting on the “Year That Was”. In the middle of concocting this narrative lump, I had to backtrack as other significant moments popped back into memory. “I almost forgot the dog!” I inwardly exclaimed. Had this been scribbled on a piece of paper, it would look like a jigsaw puzzle.

So what does 2011 promise?  I have no clue, and I’m not just saying that to be cheeky. My temporary “contract” at the gallery ended today, and I’m back on the job hunt. I will hopefully start up a novel of some sort, while simultaneously juggling a blog/review schedule. My “Tea Want” list has grown to thirteen – including (but not limited to) a British-grown and blended Earl Grey. Not that many of you care. (*Cue chuckle*) Beyond that, I don’t care. It’s a start.

Conclusion? 2010 was a ride; not a wild one, not a slow one. I liken it to driving my Ford Focus. It doesn’t look pretty, doesn’t stand out, but at least I can see where I parked.

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Friday, December 31st, 2010 Musings

4 Comments to 2010: A Year in Rant…er…Review

  1. Goodness, what a fascinating and challenging year you’ve had! I feel for your situation, I was laid-off about seven years ago and it took me quite a while to get back on my feet and in some ways I am still trying to get there. The temp art gallery gig sounded really cool, that would be on my dream job list if I had one. Wow, I didn’t know Air Supply was still around! I used to love their music. A Maine Coon and a St. Bernard?!? I think you’re in for an interesting new year! I hope it is a prosperous one as well 🙂

  2. A Girl With Tea on December 31st, 2010
  3. Well…I’d certainly hate it if the year was boring. And, yep, Air Supply is definitely still around. They even came out with a new album last year. I would’ve totally reconsidered my pet-owning decision, but it’s too late now…and far more interesting. Happy New Year!

  4. Geoffrey F. Norman on January 1st, 2011
  5. Thanks for coming back to Twitter, you were truly missed. Looking forward to reading more from you. I’m obsessed with tea and your animals are only going to add more comedy value to your writings – I had a Maine Coon and he was a stealthy thief (he spent his nights hiding everything that I’d left on my desk… ). Be careful that your cat doesn’t try to manipulate your dog, could get ugly.

    Cheers to a new year full of new adventures.

  6. Jamie on January 1st, 2011
  7. Twitter is only used for tea talk, and – for that – I’ve been successful. Glad to have come back to it as well. Thanks for the comment and compliment. 🙂

  8. Geoffrey F. Norman on January 1st, 2011

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