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Happy New Year!
  • We had a cool yule, spending the 25th with my brother’s family at my mum’s, and then Boxing Day at Matt’s. The three younger girls raced around getting over-excited and having a whale of a time, while Ellie hung out with the adults. We watched Doctor Who, and played loads of games, notably Harry Potter Cluedo, Totopoly, and a lot of this:


    Today we’re off out to let the girls choose new bikes, then back home for a bit of football and chilling.

    Oh yes, I got lots of nice books for xmas - David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist, Richard Flanagan’s The Naroow Road To The Deep North and Do No Harm by Henry Marsh amongst them.

    New Year’s resolution is the same as last year - to learn to drive. In my defence, it took 7 months for my provisional licence tyo get processed by those assorted gibbons and ne’er-do-wells at the DVLA in Swansea. Anyway, this year it’s nailed on.

    So how were your Christmasses (such a great looking word)? New Year’s? What are you doing today? What’s happening in 2015?

  • We had a really tasteless luau-themed NYE party at my neighbor’s house last night.

    Christmas was good, relaxing. I got lots of kitchen gadgets. Today we’re having dinner with our neighbors—he’s doing some Cajun-style roast ducks. I’m currently cooking a Jamaican-style oxtail stew and simmering a pot likker for some collard greens. Rice and beans will also be making an appearance before I’m done.

    My resolution for 2015 is to eat a lot of sandwiches.

    Happy New Year everybody!

  • Christmas was mostly very boring and tiring, but hanging out with my nephew and niece and a couple of hours spent in Belgian village bars with my brother were redeeming factors. Also I got chocolates.

    New Year’s eve was fairly nice as these things go - having previously turned down two invitations that I thought would be too stressful I ended up having an excellent dinner at my place with my officemate and her family (who were also staying over) and another friend. As 2015 began we watched the beginning of a DVD of the Clash film Rude Boy that I didn’t even know I had. I am not a fan of the fireworks craze that takes over the city usually, but I had a great view on the sky turning all sorts of colors and then being engulfed in thick fog from my window.

    Out of curiosity I looked up the resolutions I had posted a year ago and it turns out that despite thinking they were ‘wildly overambitious’ I nearly fulfilled them all (including moving, getting a divorce and socializing more) - the process was gruelling and took a big dent on my mental health, but I have been feeling tentatively better in the past three days or so and will take this as a sign that 2015, while looking very uncertain, might be less shitty.

    I don’t really have any resolutions like I did last year, I think. Maybe listen to more music in French, and find a way to think more clearly and enjoy life more somehow.

    Happy new year to Nick, Jim and everyone!

  • Happy New Year, all.

    I spent my first ever Christmas away from home drinking and sightseeing in the Philippines, and didn’t do anything Christmassy at all. I’m now sitting in Manila airport about to fly back to Japan, working through the second day of a New Year’s hangover and dreading the prospect of returning to below zero temperatures.

    I don’t know if I had a resolution last year, but mine for this year is to write more, and to finish the novel I’m working on. We’ll see how that goes.

  • It’s been tradition for the dozen or so years since I left high school for all my friends to gather in our home town on christmas eve to eat, drink, be merry and play darts/pool at our favourite pub - and so, much to my partner’s annual chagrin, I always drag her back there before christmas and then we go to her parents’ house for christmas day afternoon and the following couple of days. Saw my newborn nephew for the first time, hung out with all my family and had a great time, but sadly ended up failing to see any of my schools friends for one reason or another. I think they must just finally be growing up and running out of time to hang out with me in old pubs :-(

    New year’s eve we stayed at home playing mario, as is our secret tradition.

    This year I am going to be busy and excited and stressed and not at all sure how my life will look come next winter. We’re expecting a baby in May/June and, if everything goes well and we do get there, we have about four different potential plans for organising our lives after it happens, one of which might involve me quitting my job at the end of maternity leave and becoming a stay-at-home dad and finding some kind of way to earn a bit of extra money on the side (which probably doesn’t involve 5 day weeks managing ICT services and being stressed out about work all the time, which is how I’ve spent the last few years). So that would be a major change on top of the already major change of having a child, but we’re stopping short of settling on any plans because we’re not sure how we’ll feel once we’re there, so who knows.

    I want to exercise every day, even if it’s just some token push-ups, and I want to spend less time browsing the internet. That’s it.

  • Christmas and New Year were quiet, with the exception of a weird time on Boxing Day which I may or may not post about in the depression thread. I’ve been on a running bender ever since. 5 days in a row last week and planning for 5 this week, with some serious distance. Resolutions? Run more…? there’s an ultra marathon in March that I’d love to run, but I haven’t got the time to train properly for it. It’s 100k, which is way outside my comfort zone, though ever since I started running, the idea of an ultra has been tempting. I ran 11 today and yesterday and will run either 11 or 6 tomorrow, and then either 14 or 21 on Sunday.

    Resolution 2, ferment more stuff. I started another batch of Kim Chi on NYE, and it’s already making the kitchen stink. yay.

    Resolution 3, something about the weird Boxing Day thing, but I’m not sure what it actually is. I think the resolution is to “do something” rather than nothing…

    Happy New Year, imaginary friends!

  • Clare, if you end up running to Melbourne at some point, let me know.

    I didn’t do much for New Years. This year is a real unknown for me—Kirsten submits her thesis in March, so we’ll either be permanent residents of Australia (on our way to citizenship) by June/July or else we’ll be moving back to the US. I’m sorta ambivalent about this, but it would be nice to get citizenship to keep our future options open.

  • Woah Alistair, congratulations on the whole having a baby thing! You and, from what you’ve mentioned about her, your girl seem like you’d make pretty awesome parents.

    2014 was a pretty awful year and ended with a somewhat stressful Christmas (that experiment of getting my parents and S.’s mother together for the holidays will not be repeated any time soon!), but at least it ended - and the very last evening of the year really couldn’t have been much better (we spent two days in a very luxurious hotel a half-hour bus ride from home, with some very relaxing time in the sauna and a very delicious 5-course menu and all that - and the first day of 2015 was beautiful hiking weather), so I was pretty optimistic that 2015 would be better. So far, it’s not living up to its potential fully, but that’s just a bit of work stress combined with a bit of a cold, plus there’s still 51 weeks ahead!

    I’m not really into resolutions and that sort of thing, but I guess I will try to work on the work/life balance thing a little, which basically means becoming more productive and efficient during working hours to enjoy guilt-free time off. And going to Strasbourg! I also wanted to say something about doing some kind of hike or other outing every weekend, but somehow I have a hunch that I might break that one by this weekend already…

  • Yes, congratulations Alistair!

  • Congratulations indeed!

    2015 has already taken a turn for the really shitty here in France - these days it appears being cautious in one’s optimism is wise.

    (I do support going to Strasbourg as a resolution - the other one sounds good too, though!)

  • Yeah, that was not a good start into the new year at all. All the more reason to come to France to support the French economy in these difficult times! (Okay, the reasoning is shaky, but don’t talk me out of it!)

  • Support the city’s new Indian restaurants, yes

  • Congrats, Alistair! That’s big news!

  • I am going to be a terrible parent but she will probably be pretty good at it. I’ll be all “no TV until you’ve finished your childhood” and “christmas presents are overrated” and all that. Plus by the time they’re ready to leave home I’ll be about 50 years old and a grumpy old replica of my father, minus the scottish accent. Luckily I have a partner who counterbalances me somewhat.

    We’re really excited though :-)

    Anyway, I’m already not doing so well on my “less internet” resolution so I need to revisit that one and maybe just only look at my phone if it rings or something. I’ve been doing the token push-ups, at least.

  • I made zero resolutions this year. I guess if I had to make one general one, it’d just be “try to do better in everything you do”

  • Yes, more congratulations!

    I guess I have resolved a few things: I want to actually end up going to yoga rather than being snowed under at work all the time (so I’ve switched yoga huts to a place with a more schedule more conducive to my lifestyle, which I hope will help) and I want to cook more of the meals that I eat (so I’m switching my work-at-home days so that every second day I should be home early enough to cook rather than not having time/energy three days in a row - if I could make a meal + a leftovers every second day or most second days that would be awesome).

    My third goal is to have the hours I work stand in some sort of relationship to the hours I actually get paid to work, but I expect I’m just gonna be doomed on that front.

  • And more congratulations from me! babies are kinda cool, as are bigger kids :-)

  • Awesome on the baby, alistair! Big news and a big year for you.

    jeb said: I made zero resolutions this year. I guess if I had to make one general one, it’d just be “try to do better in everything you do”

    This is usually my goal every year. I feel like I am maybe actually getting better for once.

    Not a resolution but a plan: I want to take a solid two months straight off from work this year. It’s been over 7 years, I think I’m due a sabbatical.

  • Shit. Yeah you are.

    Come visit beautiful Wisconsin!

  • Also, alistair, be careful about what’s on your mp3 player around the due date, as there’s a danger you’ll forever associate a crappy track with the birth of your child.

    When Ellie was born, I clearly remember chain smoking (ah, those were the days) and listening to Bright Eyes, especially a really long song called, and I wish I could change this, Let’s Not Shit Ourselves.

    For Grace, it’s a better memory. Walking through a Korean marketplace on a scorching hot late May morning to see her the day after and having Danielson’s Did I Step On Your Trumpet’ on the headphones. Which at least has a more, well, joyous sound to it.

    So, try not to choose that week to reassess The Eurythmics’ back catalogue is all I’m saying.

  • Haha, that’s from my favourite Bright Eyes album! Good advice though, thank you. We’ve been working through a stash of classical records lately and deciding which ones to keep and which to send to the charity shop. Whoever owned them before I bought them (in a bulk lot) was a biiig fan of Beethoven, so there are quite a few in the “get rid” pile, and I could live without that stuff being ingrained in my memories. Only halfway there though, so there’s plenty of time for me to develop an interest in something even more aggravating.

  • Super congrats Alistair!

    A new year’s resolution is far too ambitious for me, I’ve just got this list of fifteen films that I want to have watched by the end of February. I think that’s well manageable.

    Last year I was aiming to have my provisional license and be able to do a pullup by then end of the year, and actually if it hadn’t been for a sudden flurry of work I would’ve achieved the former - as it is I’m aiming for by my birthday in March for that. The pullup? Hahahahahaha.

  • HELLO I am BACK FROM THE DEAD, wherein I was not dead at all but instead I only go on a real computer (where messageboards are most friendly) maybe three times a week, so: Happy new year, now that it is two weeks in.

    In 2015 I would like to learn how to use my serger. My mom got it for me off a coworker years and years ago and I didn’t have a spot for it on a table so I put it in the closet. Figuring it out would assist with the next thing.

    Make six new garments - I made 13 for myself last year, but I’m giving myself the wiggle room to make more embellished/involved pieces. Trying to map out a) items I need to fill holes in my wardrobe and b) the colors I want to use before I start, so I don’t end up with a pile of nice pieces that don’t go with anything else I own. Aiming for bright colors this year because most of what I made last year was neutral or dark.

    Read 30 books, like every year, including dumb novelty books and comics and whatever.

    Fitness related: fifteen pushups (I can do twelve now so I might up it), running 5K in under 35 minutes (currently at 39, I am slowwwww), and the chaturanga-up dog transition without body touching the floor (I did this exactly once in my whole life and it was last week).

    Hooray for babies and driving and traveling etc!