Last January and the one before, I tackled 36 pre-set questions about the year that just ended and the one newly begun. I considered doing them again this year but decided the framework provided by the questions didn't quite fit what I wanted to talk about. So this year, I'm looking back at them as a guideline, but no longer following the Q&A format. It's still interesting to see what I planned a year ago versus what I accomplished as well as how my plans and hopes for this year have changed. Then of course there are the things that happened, both good and bad, regardless of whether I had any control over them.

In terms of travel, I went to France, including Lyon for the first time and Paris not for the first time. I was there to attend the annual conference of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), which is held somewhere different every year. I also went to Monterey, California, for the Left Coast Crime convention. Then there were some trips to Toronto, mostly to attend Board meetings of the Ex Libris Association. In 2015 I'll still be on the Board so will continue to attend those, and I hope also to make it to New York City for the International Association of Music Librarians annual conference (again held in a different location every year - I attended one in Montreal a few years back and really enjoyed it). The Canadian Library Association annual conference will be in Ottawa this year, so I certainly plan to attend that.

I've been wanting for some time to get back to New York, where I haven't been since I was about nine. On the other hand, I don't expect to make too much progress in 2015 on other places I want to visit before I die. These include Canadian provinces I've never visited, as well as other countries: Scandinavian countries, some other European countries, and possibly Australia and New Zealand.

Last year I answered a question about what I'd like in 2014 that I lacked in 2013 by talking about my computer set-up. While my outdated desktop is still set up and I do occasionally play a game of solitaire on it, my new laptop has made day-to-day life considerably easier. I can read the files people send me without having to go through excruciating contortions. I can do Sudoku and Kenken puzzles on it. I can download books that are only available in electronic form (though I still prefer reading the printed variety). When I travel, I can take advantage of free wi-fi on the train, in my hotel room, and from assorted other venues.

These days, I seem to have a bit more home-alone time, especially on Sunday afternoons. I still find the "ought to-dos" drowning out the "would like to-dos" and "would-like-to-tries" and "would-like-to-just-veg-outs" but overall I'm not all that short of free time. I also still enjoy my Wednesday mornings out and about, doing errands and just exploring on my own. I also managed to take another Learning in Retirement course at Carleton, this one on culinary regions of Italy.

My partner and I continue to take in cheap Tuesday movies and visit the art gallery (and sometimes other places) together. We get out for a walk together every day and sometimes manage to "do lunch" somewhere. We go to Ottawa Baroque and other concerts and the two major summer music festivals. And we spend time with the kids and grandkids. Most of the time, life is good.

It's been awhile since we took in a play together. But in April, we're going to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Gladstone Theatre. Maybe we'll get to a few other plays as well.

In terms of home improvements, we did finally get the rusted-out pillars at the front of the house replaced and an issue with the sump-pump remedied (water was pooling outside where a pipe had corroded - which was admittedly better than pooling or flooding INSIDE, but still worrisome). There's always more to do, of course, but I won't go into my wish list here.

Some new TV shows I got into? "The Librarians" (Sunday evenings on Space) was quirky and interesting - I hope it returns for a new season. In the crime-drama genre, Broadchurch, and Shetland. This year I'm also going to be following Grantchester for a while, anyway, as I think it has possibilities.

I did quite a bit of reading, too. Especially crime fiction and biography. In 2015, I'd like to do a little more reading (and re-reading) of the classics. But I'm not going to commit to anything specific at this point - that would be too much like homework!
There's a lot of talk about resolutions at this time of year. As I mentioned last year around this time, I don't really do resolutions. But I don't think planning is necessarily a bad thing. So instead of talking resolutions, I'd probably talk about goals.

Should goals be "SMART"? If I remember my managementspeak, that stands for "Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound". I don't really like those criteria either. So I'm going to outline my idea for STUPID goals instead.

S is for "Shadowy". Often you might set a goal and then realize part-way to working towards it that it's not quite what you wanted after all. If you're "SMART" you remain hell-bent on attaining that no-longer-so-desirable goal. If you're "STUPID", you recognize that there has to be some flexibility and fluidity built into your goal-setting exercise. For one thing, you don't necessarily know at the outset what additional options and opportunities may crop up along the way.

T is for "Tense-appropriate". Sometimes it makes sense to live in the moment and appreciate things as they come. But I also seem to get more interested in history as I get older - both my own personal history and the history of the world, the universe, the ecosystem and so on. And that's necessary for looking to the future as well. You don't know if you're genetically susceptible to a particular condition or illness if you don't know anything about your ancestry. Some people, of course, may not WANT to know. I do - up to a point.

U is for "Unexpected". What's the point of resolving or even just planning to do something if it's something you automatically would have done anyway? Well, maybe it's something you can cross off your list and feel you've accomplished something, but that's about the only rationale I can think of. Instead, why not plan on doing something it hadn't occurred to you to do until you sat down and started thinking about what you want out of the rest of your life?

P is for "Personal". I'm sure we all tend to hear the voice of our mother or teacher or other authority figure whispering in our ear that we OUGHT to make our bed as soon as we get up or go to confession every Sunday but is that what's important to US? If it matters to the person doing the planning, then it matters.

I is for "Idealistic". The idea of setting goals is to try and make something BETTER. Better for you and/or better for those you care about, even if you've never met them and perhaps aren't even likely to.

D is for "Down-to-earth." Even if you're being idealistic, there's no point in saying that, for example, you're going to put an end to global warming and wage heavy peace in the Middle East because one person alone cannot possibly do that. Why set yourself up for failure? Unless, of course, you're STUPID.



October 2017



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