December 2022: End-of-Year Review

December began when I was walking home from work in the pitch dark and looked up at the moon. Much to my shock and delight, the Moon and Jupiter were together. I couldn’t capture them adequately with my phone, but here you go:

The moon and Jupiter, very blurry and fuzzy due to the bad camera, taken by Kaye Boesme
What lovely brightness.

In December, I was only in the office for the first half of the month. Due to the timing of the winter solstice, the way that my workplace structures its holiday break recess, and the need to be mindful of using up PTO, I decided to take more time than usual. My plan during any year would be to take the 20th and 21st, and I added the 19th and 22nd (we had the 23rd off workplace-wide) because it didn’t make sense to work on the Monday and Thursday only to be absent from the office until 3 January during our mandated recess period.

A wreath with rosemary and bay. A wood sign that says God Jul is attached to it. Photo by Kaye Boesme.
The rosemary and bay wreath outside my door right now.

As I mentioned in my post on the winter solstice, this worked out very well because it meant that I could flexibly accommodate my mother visiting and the winter weather issue we had this past weekend. Plus, we were able to do an actual in-person solstice ritual together for the first time in a few years. Happily, I was able to make a clean break by completing in-progress work projects by the 16th so I could have a clean slate for prioritizing January.

My mom made me some julekake (cardamom bread). (Those are her hands.) It’s gluten-free. It’s a bit firm/the flour ended up a bit dry, but now that she’s shown me how to make it, I can play around with the flax meal/flour blend ratio to get it to behave a bit better for the braiding.

My big personal goal in December was to finish the print formatting/revisions of The Soul’s Inner Statues, which I completed earlier this week, barring a few minor changes I’m thinking through before I actually upload the file to Draft2Digital — for print books, you have only one free change to the file every 90 days, and I’m hoping to have a high chance of hitting the mark. If I notice too many errors after I order proofs, I’ll have to wait that 90 days before submitting the corrections unless I want to pay, hence what I said in that post about my uncertainty about its release date. My secondary goal was to ensure that I could commit proper levels of focus to the reading groups I’m in, and that has also gone well. I decided that some of my ideas for what I would do this month were overambitious and that I should dial back. I wrote out a list of things and prioritized them, and I realized that a lot of my ideas did not make the cut unless I wanted to be scattered and ineffective.

My stretch goals were to restart doing #lexember (a conlang-a-word-a-day thing), to get away from backlit screens by 8 PM, to finish reading books I was partly through, and to establish a weightlifting practice during the winter recess. At the bottom of my December brainstorm, I wrote, wow, Kaye, if this is you holding back, no wonder you’re so anxious and tired. Needless to say, I have done 9 Lexember words instead of 31. I did not get away from backlit screens — this is one aspirational thing that will likely be easier after my girlfriend and I move in together in 2024. My phone is usually on me so we can text or call each other in the evenings. Due to the bustle of the holiday season and doing something weird to my IT band on the outside of my knee in spin class, I spent the first few weeks of the month resting it, and now I have a mild illness and am avoiding people because that’s the courteous thing to do — my girlfriend thought her allergies were acting up (she also has a dust mite allergy and had been exposed to large amounts of dust, so it was an easy cause-and-effect error to make), only she has a good immune system, whereas mine is hyperactive, so I’m suffering a bit more than she did.

The one thing I really nailed is getting through a lot of my barely-opened-up reading backlist in December. I had already hit my 2022 reading goal, and it was an opportunity to linger over things. Something I haven’t finished reading yet is a book by a retired Unitarian Universalist minister called Natural Religion: Reconnecting to the Real World. It’s reductive and keeps falling into tropes and stereotypes about indigenous spiritualities, and it’s as tepid as the vast majority of the noncommittal UU sermons I have heard — the big issue I have with the UU, which I was raised in alongside paganism, is that it’s so scattered that it falls into the chasm of nonbeing due to being flaky and hyper-accommodating in how it applies its seven core principles. Not a lot of theological meat or deep development of ideas. But who knows, the second half of this book might surprise me.

What I enjoyed reading more were the bhakti poems from women a millennium ago in South Asia. And I also read Platonism and the World Crisis, a collection of papers put out by the Prometheus Trust, and I loved that it was addressing contemporary issues. It was a bit eerie that it was written before the fire calamities started, which is evident when natural disaster examples are used. There was a very innovative and interesting interpretation of the Laws in it. I’m often irritated by how much people push the idea that Platonism is an ossified thing and not still growing and developing, as if nothing after Late Antiquity is valid at all, and it’s nice read something that doesn’t make that assumption. In 2023, I want to push back against that more often. If you want to see my reads — and, where possible, my notes and marks in the reviews — here is my 2022. I read a wide range of things, mostly nonfiction.

Duolingo Greek is also going well. I’m apparently a “Galactic Legend” — the app has congratulated me on being involved and supporting the co-learners I know with encouragement. My hope in 2023 is to finish all of the Greek modules, and I’ll reward myself by either getting a tutor or joining a (probably virtual) adult learning class.

Apparently you can get into the top 2% by committing about 15 minutes a day.

I rejoined Spotify this year because my phone and laptop have space to handle its local storage — it stores a lot more locally than it initially lets on that it will, and my old hard drive wasn’t good for that, so I canceled my subscription for a while. It only has 11,415 minutes of playback this year, representing maybe 4-5 months. My top five genres are Electronica, Neo-Classical, Art Pop, Dance Pop, and Progressive Rock. I don’t actually know what Art and Dance Pop are or what I am listening to that’s in those categories, but there you go. “Bones of Man” by Equador was still my top song, and predictably, Equador was my top artist. Still Corners’ “Mystery Road,” Hælos’ “Pray,” Marina’s “Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land,” and Hiatus’ “Arrival” were my top five. My “listening personality” is apparently the Nomad because I listen to a lot of genres and then put specific pieces on repeat binge-listens. One heavy underrepresentation is that I love the lyre music from SEIKILO Ancient World Music on YouTube, but they only recently got on Spotify and don’t have most of their pieces there.

I’m not sure how much to trust the top artist feature because the way I listen to songs is different from the way I listen to instrumental music (classical, neoclassical and so on; note that my definition of “classical” includes kora and sitar and so on). With instrumentals, it’s often the full album because the album is a total unit, and the way artists are assigned is often by track, not by album, because different people are featured as the performers, especially on albums that are performing several different works. And then there’s the composer, who is usually not the same as the artist. Spotify is not really a great way to track that.


This was also a month for me of engaging with consumerism to a level that I considered moderately impure/miasmic because I was juggling a lot of mental noise and decisions, plus engaging with consumerism is dangerous due to the dopamine hit and the problem of hedonic adaptation. I take this very seriously because I’ve had extended family members who have struggled with addiction, and some of that is genetic, so I need to be very careful with all kinds of indulgent behaviors. (I don’t drink or use recreational drugs, for example.) I haven’t had comfortable seating in a few years due to my dust mite allergy (they’re everywhere), and the small things that remained were concessions to the need to have somewhere to sit even though they gave me some allergy symptoms. I knew that, this year, I had a tight “I will be home” window during which it would be easy for me to receive scheduled deliveries without needing to take PTO (although I did end up having to take an extra day because a delivery came early), as my workplace only allows us to work from home on our designated work-from-home day — we aren’t even allowed to work from home if something happens to our living spaces and we need to let in a handyman.

The safe surfaces for dust mite allergies are nonporous ones, including glass, metal, wood, and leather. Anything fabric must be able to be washed on high heat, and mattresses/pillows need special tightly-woven fabric covers so the fabric pore size in microns doesn’t allow dust mite colonies to take root inside. (Strangely, IKEA is the one place I have found that sells natural-fiber sheets and bedding that explicitly say it can be washed on high heat. All of that fancy bedding popular with people nowadays is verboten because it’s gentle cold/warm cycle.) So I finally replaced a loveseat I had gotten rid of after my dust mite allergy diagnosis and replaced one of the “I guess I’ll keep this and deal with the allergens so my mom has somewhere to sleep when she visits” pieces of furniture, which had been in my plan for a few years, but which I hadn’t been able to actually put into my budget before. Fake leather wasn’t a viable option because it only lasts a few years before going off and thus puts more stress on landfills (and on me, as I rent and have to hire a hauler because the municipal large item disposal services are only for property owners), so I went with real leather. So it was a lot to juggle in my mental space, and, again, the acquisitive headspace I was in was not good for ritual purity. But now it’s done, and I have comfortable lounging surfaces again that do not aggravate my dust mite allergy. I’m not sharing photos of my spaces here because that’s a bit personal, and I’m setting harder boundaries between public and private — there are a few photos on my private Instagram, which almost nobody reading this has access to.


For the first quarter of 2023 (January-March), I’ve decided to prioritize five different life areas, and these are my goals in each of them. There are some that I have either partially or completely redacted because they contain identifying information about my in-person or digital whereabouts. This is the public Internet, and (again) I’m emphasizing privacy a bit more, so I’m not sharing that. The way I do goal-setting is to avoid as much vagueness as possible and to put effort into establishing the actual habit of what I’m doing — I don’t think anyone is successful at vague goals.

Relationships:

  • Sign up for the full moon yoga classes at {redacted}.
  • Plan an anniversary overnight at {redacted} with my girlfriend.
  • {Redacted.}

Finances:

  • Get back into meal prep to streamline my onsite days and avoid food waste.
  • Do a 30-day shopping ban by buying only groceries in January to reset my dopamine/hedonic baseline and spending mindset.

Creative:

  • Write myths/prayers for a deity in a fictional story so I can be prepared to edit the story and weave these things in a bit more tidily in the second draft of it.
  • Edit the librarian novella.
  • Re-outline the klamoda story for a third-draft extensive rewrite.
  • Self-publish the print version of Soul’s Inner Statues.

Work:

  • Begin every weekday with Sunsama, which has been very helpful for staying focused and goal-oriented.
  • Adjust to the new quarterly performance goal framework we’re using.
  • {Redacted.}
  • {Redacted.}

Spirituality:

  • Read the Poems of the Elder Edda, Astronomical Mindfulness, and Heathen Soul Lore Foundations.
  • Do three novenas for Nantosuelta (January), the Dísir (February), and Frigg (March) to try out how that structure works for deeper devotional moments.
  • {Redacted.}

That should be an achievable set of goals. I will try to do more calisthenics and gym stuff like I had intended to do this month, but that will be a gentle and gradual process. I’ll replace my financial goals with broader health goals for Q2, I’m thinking, but that may change as April approaches.

Have a good new year, everyone. 🌱

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s