Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reflections on 2010 Part II

Oh, so this wasn't enough for you?  Fine, I'll try to do better this time.

I've now typed out two entire blog posts and deleted both of them.  They just sound whiny and selfish.  Suffice it to say that this year has been tough.  An unstable job situation, extremely unstable financial situation, living in an apartment after 10 years of home-ownership (no, we didn't get foreclosed on, but we sold our last house and moved to a new town and have not yet been able to get into a new house), our 9-year-old dog died after a lengthy illness that was almost certainly brought on by the family stress of the last year and a half, and generally feeling extremely out of sorts and off kilter because of all the stress.

Towards the end of the year, things did begin to look up.  My job situation is - I think - beginning to smooth out, although I am still not working 40 hours per week (I am only guaranteed 32 hours per week, and even that doesn't actually always happen).  I also have a new part-time job opportunity with a friend of mine from high school in an online Japanese "Eikaiwa" company.  These companies help Japanese people - usually business people and students - to strengthen their English speaking and writing skills.  Specifically, I will be editing and sort of "grading" submitted writing samples, to help clients with their English writing skills.  The company is just getting off the ground, so I don't know what to expect in terms of monthly income, but it is an exciting opportunity nonetheless.

We also have finally bought a home, and that's certainly something to be excited about after more than a year in an apartment.  It happened rather suddenly.  A week earlier, I would have told you we had no chance of buying a house until at least the middle of 2011.  Then, almost overnight, we had put in a bid on a house about a mile down the road, in a neighborhood we had looked at several times.  I won't go into all the details, but we got the house for a steal because the owner wanted to unload it.  I think we are paying something like $20,000 - maybe even $25,000 - less than what it originally went on the market for.  Our monthly payment will be only slightly higher than our current apartment rent.  The house is two floors, three bedrooms and 2.5 baths, partially finished basement (which probably adds another 500 square feet), fenced yard, and mud room.  We're really excited about it and we feel like we've made a good investment as well, because we are getting the house for so much less than it's worth, and at such a low interest rate.

So anyway, 2010 wasn't a particularly banner year in our household, but we at least have some reason to hope for 2011 to be better.  And can you really ask for much more than that?  


Scott said...

Also, I forgot to add that I quit smoking after about 3 years of the habit, in late October. That's another good thing to add.

Paradoxically, however, quitting smoking seems to have had a strange impact on some of my favorite past-times, most notably writing, blogging, and Biblical scholarship. Since quitting smoking, my blogging and writing has really dropped off. You'll note I posted no blogs at all in November, and this is only the 3rd in December. You'll also note that there has been nothing religiously-oriented since October. That's because I've gotten burned out on religious scholarship.

I have no idea why quitting smoking would impact my writing and scholarly habits. The only thing I can come up with is that part of my routine of studying and writing used to involve late nights at the computer, with "smoke breaks" every 30 minutes or so, which I really looked forward to, and where I sort of talked through my ideas and thoughts to myself. After the smoke break, I would return to the desk to continue studying and/or writing.

Since I quit smoking, there are no late night smoke breaks, and I think that this, perhaps, has impacted my creativity and overall interest. I dunno. I hope it's just a phase.

Anonymous said...

I really wish you had posted the whiny and selfish posts so I could have called you an ungrateful douche bag. Oh well! :)

It has been a long year for you that's for sure, and I know it's not been easy living on top of one another in the apartment like you have, so there's that too. I hope 2011 is better for us all.

Except it won't be for me, and I'll be lucky to keep my job since the next big "housing crisis" economic avalanche is going to happen to state and local governments. I'm screwed, buttwad, but your future is probably brighter!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Or maybe that's supposed to be "stewed" as in "you're stewed, buttwad". Oh well, whatevs.

Trent N. said...

Scott - I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and I can't tell you how much I enjoy it (I have turned some friends on to it as well).

I know you probably don't take requests, but there is a topic that I would LOVE for you to write about.

Topic: Were the major tenants of the Christian faith copied from earlier pagan religions? Did the architects of Christianity plagiarize such things as the virgin birth, miracles and resurrection directly from folks like Horus, Mithra, Dionysis, Krishna and the like. Some of the similarities that I have read about are too similar to ignore.

Problem is, when I try on my own to investigate this topic on the web to get at the truth, I get conflicting information (mainly because all websites seem to have a bias or agenda to promote). I think I can get the "straight" story from you and would love to see you tackle the subject.

To me, this is a powder keg of a topic that certainly never gets discussed at my church (or any other i'm sure). When I tell my Christian friends about the possibility that Jesus was not the first to claim virgin birth or resurrection, they are absolutely floored!

Would love your take on it. But If not, no biggie, I love all of your topics.

the Rev said...

A week off, recovering from an Open House last night, & nothing to do but catch up on reading, was extremely happy to find 2, yes 2 posts from the Schmoo as unread in my GoogReader this AM, and the first one was riveting -- so short, yet profound! Certainly glad things are working out better 4 u all, usually if we just hang in there they always do -- just takes a lot of hanging sometimes.

My year has had a similar arc as yrs, definitely had some bumps -- no, some downright huge mountains 2 scale, but at year's end, couldn't be coming to a more blessed end. New home 4 us 2; old one finally sold after 3 ys; all w/ a healthy dose of personal / familial stress thrown in. But now we're finally able to put down some roots in the Ville.

As for the above commenter, the assimilation of pagan traditions was inevitable considering the Gentile emphasis on the spread of the Gospel. As a good preacher, I draw illustration from the world around me in order to teach the Truths of faith; so yes, somehow I'll draw a comparison w/ Mt.Dew and Twinkies to talk abt communion. That the early apostles / Church would draw from pagan traditions was more than an interest in assimilating them (e.g. claiming them for Christ); it was for teaching (e.g. using them to teach Christianity in a way people could understand). Like Twinkies.

Hey, Schmoo. I guess if it means more blog posts ... smoke 'em if u got 'em.

Scott said...

Elissa, you can move into our new basement if you want. Of course, my office is going to be in the finished portion of it, which means you have to live in the unfinished portion, by the sump pump. But it's roughed in for a bathroom, so you can put one in if you want to!


Scott said...


Thanks so much for posting your comment. It's always nice to discover you've "reached" somebody. Definitely makes the effort worth it.

You've brought up an interesting topic to look at, and I will put it at the top of my list to write about. Perhaps this will be a good way to get me back in the groove.

Scott said...


Glad to hear things are getting better on your end too. We'll have to try to meet up sometime. I come to the 'Ville from time to time.

I like your take on the Gentile/pagan influence on the gospel tradition. There's something there to consider, I think. My take will probably be different, but I will keep this idea in mind as I work on this topic.

the Rev said...

Yeah, definitely next time ur down this way, let me know.