The week of Christmas felt more normal and relaxed. By Christmas our family crises had settled, and we enjoyed our traditional Thanksgiving-Christmas dinner, a long nap, and finally in the evening, opening the tree presents.
My family gave me books, of course—mostly theology and spirituality, plus the Bruce Hornsby Anthology so I could study some piano rock. They also gave me a few cans of Wolf hot dog sauce (a favorite of mine that’s hard to find), Ali Shan oolong tea (recommended in Fredrik Knudsen’s tea stream), and a Nature Creation herbal relief pack to study its tea blend potential.
On Tuesday I drove two hours to see my old college roommate Jason. I met his adorable and friendly dog, and then we had a picnic and a walk at a nearby park, having our usual in-depth conversation about life, which we continued back at his place until he considerately kicked me out at five so I wouldn’t have to drive the whole way back in the dark. This sent me home into a beautiful sunset.
Wednesday I flew back to Chicago, saw my apartment building from the plane, and took a nostalgic train ride home, remembering the rides back in my college days. Besides my college friends, the only thing missing was the old Ogilvie food court.
My gift labels this year were tea bag tags I made based on customer-created teas from Adagio that contained the recipients’ names. I attached the tags with strings to the wrapped tea tins. I chose a variety of flavors in case we wanted to share them, but for various reasons that didn’t end up happening. My favorite blend was The Amazing Kimberly, simply because it was such a fun project idea—two friends designing blends inspired by each other.
I fit in a bit more investing research. I started a spreadsheet to test how I could rebalance my portfolio by changing my contributions to different assets. That helped me decide that mutual funds probably fit my medium-term investing needs better than ETFs. I’m putting this project on hold now for my project planning project, but I expect to come back to it soon.
I’m spending the first two weeks of January planning out my year. My motivation is the cramped project schedule I ran into at the end of last year. It was a problem that these days feels very preventable. Planning the whole year is also a natural extension of my expanding planning scope over time, from hourly to daily to weekly and now yearly. Monthly has been there all along with my project months, but now I’m planning my projects with more care and context.
I’ll plan the fixed schedule projects first, such as Christmas and taxes. Then I’ll plan other high-priority projects around them, balancing the various areas of my life. I’ll also define some monthly or quarterly routines, such as invoicing. Of course, the plan is all subject to change.
Twilight was an engrossing listen with intriguing lore, some thrills, and an uncomfortable amount of wish fulfillment. It did take about half the book to get going though. My friend Jeremy has been begging me for years to read this series, and in December I didn’t have anything else pressing to listen to, so I decided to finally go for it. I liked it enough that I’ll probably continue the series … eventually.