Well, thank goodness that's over! 2016 just sucked from start to finish. It was a bad, bad year.
And now I'll try to be positive and upbeat in my end-of-year round-up. Being nothing if not predictable, I'm sticking with the same headings...
My Year in... Blogging
I notice that this is the fourth-least bloggy year since I began here - 108 posts for the year, behind all but three previous years (one of which was the first 'year', which started in September!). That's not terrible, being an average of 9 posts per month, but I think I'll try to aim higher for next year. There just hasn't been much to write about!
My Year in... Work
There's an awful lot I can't talk about at work, including some stuff I can't even talk to LC about, which is far from ideal.
But of the things that I can talk about... it's going okay. Not spectacularly, or even hugely well, but it could be much much worse. And there's at least some prospect of it getting better in 2017.
There was no call to travel in 2016, but I fully expect that to change in 2017. I suspect I would have had at least one journey to make late in the year, but other factors meant I just couldn't go anywhere.
My Year in... Health
Most of the year was actually pretty good, verging on very good. And then the end of November saw things get much worse for a spell - another round of IBS just making things suck.
My Year in... Gaming
On paper, 2016 was actually a pretty successful year - I ran both Firefly and D&D games, hosted a good number of sessions, and as far as I know people had fun. And yet, I spent most of the year feeling dissatisfied with gaming this year.
Part of that is a growing move away from D&D 5e as one of my games of choice, part of it is down to too many pointless arguments on ENWorld (culminating in my walking away from the site), and part of it was just a general malaise with gaming in general. It probably didn't help that the Christmas Game had to be cancelled due to delays with the house move.
My Year in... Band
Band has been much like last year - it's been mostly enjoyable, though the bit of it that I least enjoy remains the competition season that is increasingly the band's raison d'etre. Our results in the competition season were deeply mixed.
One firm conclusion I came to at the end of the 2016 competition season was that even if I spent another season with the band, I wouldn't be using the buses except where it was essential to do so - for Forres, Ireland if the band goes, and probably for the World Championships. I just found that environment increasingly toxic as the year went on.
All that said, it is extremely likely to be a moot point - I fully expect to be leaving the band early in the New Year. I do feel I should at least try, to see if the commute is practical, but my distinct impression is that it won't be, for exactly the same reason it wasn't practical for me to travel to the BB in Chryston when I moved to Falkirk - yes, the journey can be done, but it sucks enough to spoil the event as a whole. So we'll see, but I really doubt I'll be there come February.
My Year in... Resolutions
As always, the wrap-up of annual goals, and setting of goals for next year, are handled in another post.
My Year in... Travel
This was a year of several short trips.
The first trip of the year was a long weekend down south to celebrate Grandma's 90th birthday (that is, dad's mum). That was a good weekend, and a good chance to get caught up with the various cousins. Good to see them again, especially at a happy event.
Then, in April, LC and I took our annual trip, this time to Arbroath. This trip is mostly notable for being almost entirely unmemorable - it was fairly cold and fairly wet, with relatively little to actually do thereabouts. Plus, the dates didn't really match up - due to a quirk in LC's school's holidays, the Easter break didn't include either our anniversary or LC's birthday.
This was then followed by a trip that was paradoxically both more enjoyable and sad - we spent a long weekend in Banff to scatter LC's grandad's ashes. That was a gloriously sunny weekend, and was strangely restful. Odd that that should be one of the highlights of the year, but there it is.
Our only trip abroad this year came in July, when we spent several days in Amsterdam. That was another good trip, and one I highly recommend. I also highly recommend the iAmsterdam card, which we found to be hugely beneficial.
And then August saw us spending a week in a place called Brighouse Bay in Dumfries and Galloway, celebrating Dad's 70th birthday. This was okay, but as with so many family events there's an inherent weakness in the system: they are (necessarily) geared heavily towards the needs of the children, with the consequence that those of us without children are left to our own devices. And when those devices include a visit to a genstone museum the amounts to "here's some rocks", that's not exactly ideal!
Finally, October saw us spend some time in London, on a trip that was most memorable for the chaos surrounding the house move. The highlight was our visit to the Harry Potter studios; the low-point was probably our visit to the Sherlock Holmes museum (it's fine, but not worth the price). Oh, and "Aladdin" was good.
My Year in... Faith
This was a poor year. I completed a third read-through of the whole Bible, but the honest truth was the most of it felt more like a chore than a pleasure, especially since it included two full repeats of the New Testament and the Psalms, which are by now very familiar texts.
The other issue is that LC and I currently find ourselves without a church: we've gradually moved away from the church in Chryston on the grounds that we'll want to find a new church in Livingston, but we haven't as yet achieved that. Which is not ideal.
So, this will need to be something I address in 2017.
My Year in... Love
There's nothing much to say here. For much of the year, we've been feeling the strain of being stuck in the flat, which has had the effect of putting everything else on hold. Plus, LC's commute has been far from ideal, and when combined with the extra-curricular demands placed on teachers generally, that has not been good.
So, that's another reason I'm welcoming 2017!
My Year in... Growing Older
2016 was the year I officially became 'vintage' (previously I was 'retro-chic').
Probably the single biggest highlight of the year was the birthday party that LC put together to mark that occasion, which I've talked about before. It was obviously good to see so many friends and family again, including some I've not seen for too long, and a good night was had by all. Huzzah!
My Year... Overall
As I said right at the top, 2016 has just sucked, and I'm not going to sugar-coat that. Unfortunately, some of the reasons it has sucked are either things that are ongoing or have left a legacy of problems that will continue to hurt us for the foreseeable future (Brexit, Trump). But in some areas, and in particular in some key areas, the problems that have dogged 2016 were particular to that time and circumstance, and so should not be repeated. Hopefully, 2017 will be the year we start to put things right again.
As with last year, this will be my last post of this year, so I'll end off by wishing anyone who still reads my nonsense a very happy New Year, and all the best for 2017.