Lots of people write newsletters at the holiday season, and in that tradition I thought I would take some time to reflect on the things that happened to Xy and me in 2004.
The year seemed to begin and end with tooth problems. In January I had most of my lower right wisdom tooth removed. The dentist couldn’t get it all out, so he sent me to a specialist who used a giant drill to take out a chunk of my jawbone. Now Xy has been having a pain in a troublesome tooth that’s been making her miserable, and she’s scheduled for a root canal some time next month.
Speaking of pain, Xy is still teaching in the public schools here in New Orleans. Since the teachers loop at Xy’s school, she’s teaching the same kids she had last school year, only now they’ve moved up from 5th grade to 6th grade. As for me, I completed my fifth year as a multimedia artist at Xavier University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching.
We finished ROX #90, “Fat,” the longest and most expansive episode in the ROX series so far.
I started blogging in late March and I’ve been hooked ever since.
In April the Canal Streetcar line started back up after a forty year interruption in service. The first car started off at 3:00 AM on a Sunday morning, just a block from our house. I was there but I didn’t ride the thing; it was just too crowded.
In May, I predicted that Bush would win the presidential election six months in advance! I must be psychic.
In late June, Xy and I had a fabulous excursion to the Midwest. We stayed for a few days in the Springs Valley area of southern Indiana. It’s a sentimental area for us, because we had our honeymoon in French Lick; in fact, this visit was intended to commemorate our tenth anniversary, but it came almost a year late. On the same trip, I took the train from Indianapolis to Milwaukee. Despite my prediction about President Bush, I’m not a Republican. I’m a Green, and I was one of the Louisiana delegates to the National Green Party Convention.
It seems like we did a lot of work on the house this year, but it was really nothing major — just the standard amount of fixing and whatnot that goes into an old house like this. My boss helped me wrangle a leaky toilet, we had some plumbers fix a leaky pipe, I painted some walls inside and out… Xy tried a porcelain crackle effect on the alcove in our hallway, but that was pretty much a disaster.
Xy seemed to get her face scratched an inordinate number of times by one of our adopted cats, Folds; I evicted the cat for a few months but she has eventually wormed her way back into our life.
Xy’s parents visited us in August — a great time to visit New Orleans! — because her father was in the National Scrabble Championship. We had fun with them, and Mike made a very respectable finish at #118 in Division 1.
Florida got beat up pretty bad by hurricanes this year, but Ivan came awfully close to New Orleans in September. All the smart people left; we were stupid and stayed, but we got lucky. The devastation that we’re now reading about in Indonesia and other parts of Asia? That could happen in New Orleans if we got hit by a big hurricane.
After Ivan missed us, I got a Big Green Egg. It’s the world’s best grill and smoker. I cook about half our meals on it.
I tried writing a novel in November for National Novel Writing month. It was hard. And you won’t be reading it anytime soon, because it sucks. Big time.
We just finished our other big trip of the year, which was to Kiawah Island, South Carolina, for the 9th Seddelmeyer Family Reunion.
Throughout the year, there were unfortunately lots of murders here in New Orleans. Two in particular touched our lives. A guy from the D.A. asked me to enhance a video of a Vietnamese grocery clerk getting killed in her store. And a boy nick-named Pissy was killed just a block from our house by a another teenaged boy who once helped Xy with her groceries.
On a somewhat more positive note, every single couple we know has a baby now, and most were born in 2004.
Our love affair with the culinary delights of New Orleans continued this year. Our favorite meals were eaten at Ralph’s on the Park, Restaurant August, La Crépe Nanou and the Parkway.
We watched more movies on DVD this year than ever before. Our favorites: Birdman of Alcatraz, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, City of God, The Deer Hunter, The Dresser, The Duellists, Fail-Safe, Fitzcarraldo. We’re proceeding from A to Z through an alphabetical list I’ve compiled, and right now we’re halfway through the letter H.
We also saw a few movies in the theater; the only one we really liked was Sideways.
And then there were the books. I read thirty-odd books in 2004, some good, some bad, some short, some long, some I didn’t even finish. About half of them I read aloud to Xy. I think the ones we liked the most were Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, The Clearing by Tim Gautreaux (both written in 2003) and A Widow for One Year by John Irving (a couple chapters left, actually). I also really liked The Scar by China Miéville, which I read for the Octavia Books Science Fiction Club. (I still haven’t missed a meeting after three and a half years.) I found the character of Bellis Coldwine oddly compelling, despite the fact that she might best be described as a “pretentious bitch.” I guess I can identify with that!