Posted: December 23, 2022
Greetings! I hope you had a most excellent 2022.
In August 2021 (my previous year’s letter is here), Juliette and I moved out of our house to begin a remodel. The contractor originally thought he might have us back in November that year. Ha!
We were in our temporary house until March 2022. We moved home as soon as our house was minimally habitable. That meant a bedroom and fully functioning bathroom – and not much else. It took until November – 15 months and 2 weeks from the start – for them to complete the last task and close out the remodel. We’re glad to be back and we love what was done, but, jeesh, that was so freaking stressful and disruptive.
Here’s a photo album that shows the before and after of our remodel.
In May, as soon as the city completed its final house inspection, we were off to the Austin Animal Center to adopt a cat. A grey tabby (his shelter name was “Gray Cat”) crawled right into my lap and started licking my hand. Of course, we had to bring him home.
So, meet Franklin. He’s a bit under two years old. He’s a hoot. He plays fetch with me. I’ve got these foam balls the size of a ping-pong ball. When I throw one, he chases after it and brings it back to me. Until he gets bored, at which point he just stares at me and expects me to do the fetching.
Juliette and I continue to work from home. Around September, my company closed its Austin office and made us all virtual workers. I’ve been doing that for two years by this point, so it really didn’t change anything.
I continue serving as a commissioner on the Austin Library Commission. It’s been a rough year for libraries, with all these news stories about book bannings and staff abuse. I had the opportunity to foster some good news in Austin. I chaired a working group created by the commission, to address the library threats. Based on our recommendation, the Austin City Council adopted a “Freedom to Read” resolution to support our local libraries and oppose book banning.
Speaking of libraries, from July to October, I spent Saturdays visiting various branch libraries, volunteering to register voters.
To perform that service, I had to take training and become qualified as a Volunteer Deputy Registrar for Travis County. Yep, all just so I could help somebody fill out a voter registration form. Stuff like this – and the lack of online registration – are some of the ways Texas engages in voter suppression.
I did this because I was really frustrated about so many bad things happening in Texas – the gun violence, the failed electrical grid, the attacks on trans kids – and I was hoping more voters might help turn things around. Alas, all the incumbents were re-elected in the state.
My pandemic hobby was learning to make bread. I still keep up with it. I’m not quite at sourdough or baguette level, but some of them have come out nice. Here’s a recent loaf.
In last year’s letter I talked about my withdrawal from Facebook. This year, I’m dropping Twitter. Yeah, it’s the Elon Musk thing. (As I write this letter, Twitter is hanging on by its fingernails. Who knows what shape it’ll be in when you receive this.)
You may have heard of Mastodon, which is a community-driven alternative to social media. I’ve become active there and I’m enjoying it very much. If you join, please connect with me @firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to hear from you sometime. My contact info remains:
512-573-5174 (mobile, text ok) email@example.com
Take care, and best wishes for a splendid 2023.