Thursday, January 05, 2017

Year in Review 2016


Well goodness, hello.
If you’re reading this, we’ve BOTH made it to 2017.  Let’s make ourselves at home.  I hear they have bananas.  (you know, for now.)
If you’re unfamiliar, each year in January I take a second to recap my previous year’s hopes and aspirations, and make a plan for the coming year.  It’s been nice to look back at these, so that’s what’s about to happen here.  You ready?  Let’s go.

2016’s goals:

1.  Pass the JLPT 4 (Japanese Language Proficiency Test, level 4). 
Did I do this?  Maybe?  Very possibly not.  There are only two testing dates a year for this exam.  In July I sat the exam and passed each section individually… but I did not get enough cumulative points to score a pass for the whole shebang.

I sat for it again in the beginning of December.  I felt confident going in, I felt WAY less confident coming out.  Results post in February, so… this one remains to be seen.  If I failed again, I will sit the exam *again* in July.  Third time’s the charm?  I take some small solace in the fact that at least if I failed, then the guy who unabashedly cheated off of me (SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL?!**) also failed.

and I'm particulately proud of the suite
I put together that not only
celebrates a marriage of two people,
but a marriage of two cultures.
2.  Do something I'm proud of with FINvites.  
I put together 2 large wedding packages during the past year, and had a slew of smaller pieces I created for clients throughout the year.  I am pleasantly surprised at how I managed to keep a queue of work going for this little business even though I’m so far away from it’s home-base physically… So I’m proud of that.  We’ll mark this in the win column.

speaking of... nudge nudge wink wink, instant download valentines are up in the Etsy!

3.  Another 4 Fabu Arts. 
4 Fabu Arts has been a goal of mine each of the past few years, and it’s always my favorite goal to look back on.  It’s another check in the win column.  
My baking game leveled up impressively, if I do say so myself.  

Spice cake with gingerbread cookie villiage.

With the PokémonGo craze rolling in, I made an adorable Bulbasaur costume for Mac, and an equally adorable Charmander stuffie that’ll rest on your shoulders.  

I made not one, but two(2!) piñatas for birthday celebrations.

And I began the journey of teaching myself flash animation.  The Mister got me a Wacom Cintiq Tablet for Christmas, so this learning will certainly continue.

4.  Maintain the pant size, and loose 10 lbs.  
Welp.  That’s a half-nope.  I maintained the pants size, I did NOT lose any weight.  Any.  I’m actually up a few lbs at the moment, because Christmas happened and the cakes I made were not just pretty, but also delicious.  But I mean, I can still get into my pants without having to do that thing where I lay down on the bed and wiggle the zipper while sucking in with all my might, so I’m okay with it.
mmm... kinda.

So that’s 2.5-3.5 out of 4 goals marked *win*  I’ll take it!

Now let’s take 2017.  There’s a lot that’s on the docket to happen, and I’m going to take a slightly different direction with goal setting this year.  For one, I’m done setting public weight-loss goals for myself.  Instead of constantly reminding myself and others that I’m not where I want to be, maybe I can start to get comfortable and happy with myself as I am.  So what goals will I set?

  1. Take an actual. Vacation-only trip. With just my husband. That’s planned ahead of time.  Specifically, a trip To Disney Land Japan. 
There are a lot of reasons this has not yet happened, and all of them make me mad at us as a couple.  We have to plan ahead, set aside money, make reservations, and then punch the people who want to steal our time in the face.  This can’t be spontaneous in any way, which is still something our American-ness mucks up CONSTANTLY.  We sit on planning crap until it’s too late, and rather than stressing out, spending a ton of extra money, and trying to mash a square peg into a round hole to make things work, my immediate reaction is always “eff it, no, I’m staying home.”  

So I’m putting it out into the ether.  I’m “secreting” this.  I have never been to a Disney park.  I want to go to a Disney park.  It’s not a temple, which is great because I love the many temples of Japan, and they are beautiful, but I’ve seen so many that they’re losing their wonder and that’s unacceptable.  I need a different thing to visit and enjoy.  And I want to go with just my husband, because there’s already going to be a million people there, I don’t want to have to keep track of more than one person.  Disney 2017.  This is the year, dammit.

2. Continue to learn Flash animation as a guilty pleasure which I feel zero guilt about.
I love making art for people.  LOVE.  But I realized somewhere around October that this past year I didn’t make a single piece of art which wasn’t intended for someone else.  I put my drawings up on Redbubble and Etsy for sale.  I made a bunch of trinkets for craft fairs.  I created designs for FINvites.  I painted and baked for friends and family.  I even started cross-blogging for a Japanese ex-pat site.  I love that I made all of the things I made, but it also affected my creative flow because I’m too concerned about what others will think about that art instead of just making what I want to make.  As such I’ve decided animation must be JUST for me.  I will likely share what I make.  But I’m not making a single animated thing for anyone else.  In just the little time that I’ve had to play with the tools The Mister gave me for Christmas, these little blips of animation have made the wheels of creativity turn at a speed I haven’t felt in a while.  And I’ve felt motivated to actually make the ideas I’m thinking of, which is perfect.  To keep me growing in this skill, I’d like to have at least 15 seconds of animation created for each month of the year.  (that sounds like not a lot, but I promise at 24 frames a second it is.)

3.  4 Fabu Arts.  
 As with previous years, this can be any 4 things that I create.  This can include animation, but I have a feeling the animation will serve to pave the way for lots of things.

4. Get settled in a home that is conducive to a PUPPY.  
I’ve long had a life plan which stated when a critter in my family turned 6, another critter would be added, because I know in my heart of hearts that on the unfortunate day that I will have to come home without a Mac-dog, if I have to see dog-things that do not have another dog to claim them, I will be irreparably broken.  I gambled on this when I agreed to come to Japan with The Mister, knowing Mac would be 9, and as a big dog, well into “senior” category, when we returned, but it will wait no longer. 

We’re officially on the last stretch of The Mister’s 3 year contract.  We’re hoping that it wraps up a little shy of the actual 3 years and we repatriate in the fall.  There’s a lot of work involved in this - figuring out where exactly we’ll be calling “home,” getting Mac and Bubs on planes, me trying to find a job which I can be happy in that will also work with whatever plan we settle on when we come back to the US, and I’m sure, a number of arguments with the people who handle our relocation.  We have an actual team of people who will help us accomplish this goal, but sadly that doesn’t make it an easy process.  So wish me luck.
Either a puppy will be adopted and added to the McD family before the end of 2017, or we will be ready for a puppy and waiting for the right one to become available for adoption.  Ideally, we’ll even be fostering a senior pup, because I’m still riding high from the feel-good that Little Miss Addie Pants gave us back in 2014.  

In short, I’m setting 2017 up to be a year that I take care of things that I need to be a happy person.  Because I would like to feel good enough about my life to get back to sharing it on this blog in a consistently fun and amusing way.  

What are your goals for 2017?  
Tell me in the comments!

*Full disclaimer:  I don’t know that this is a return to regular blogging.  Part of me wants to, and another part of me needs to be real honest that I don’t want to come back to this regularly until I know I can regularly write fun accounts of life in a positive voice.  I’m working to stop stalling out in grumble-cakes town, but that’s not something I’m going to do online.  That’s Ms. Lippy time.

**I just need a minute on this because I likely won’t be going back to write about this test on it’s own.  There is a set of rules that comes with your ticket to sit this test, and one of them outlines that cheating is strictly forbidden and results in immediate failure of the test if you’re caught cheating.  But if you’re caught cheating, the person you’re cheating OFF of is seen as an accomplice, and ALSO fails.  So even though I watched this guy LEAN OVER in his chair to look at my answer sheets, if I would have called him out I would have for sure failed that stupid test.  Lame to the lamest.