Thursday, December 31, 2009


Well, the first of a new year is generally a time to look back, but I thought today I might look a little further back than usual. Below is my journal entry for January 1, 2006.

January 1--Sunday: Day 1 of the new year. We slept late and ordered pizza for lunch. Josh and Heidi were here. Then I watched some football and worked on my REH’s mental state article. Made very good progress on that. Played a little chess online here and there.

I’m basically pretty glad 2005 is over. What a steady series of shocks and problems we experienced. First, Lana’s mom died, and she lost an uncle and a friend as well. Then I had my motorcycle wreck and am still not completely recovered from that. Josh wrecked his bike, as well, and hurt himself a bit, but has recovered. Worse, he wrecked his Diamanti and it was totaled. Fortunately he was OK. He got another car at least, which was much cheaper and which he mostly paid for himself, but he seems to like it. We also had problem after problem with my Thunderbird. I put a lot of money into it early in the year, although it ran well at the end of the year. My sister Dolores died of colon cancer and it was a hard death. I'll never forget her last moments. For weeks I saw her face every time I closed my eyes. My own health did not fare all that well, either. My high blood pressure seems well controlled with medicine but my triglycerides went way up, to over 800, and my cholesterol increased some too, ending up over 200. Part of that was due to the blood pressure medicine. I haven’t felt my best in a long time.

And, of course, there came Hurricane Katrina in August. We got lucky in that we didn’t lose anything physically other than Lana's car, but we were forced out of our home for over three months, and even once we got back things have not been the same. We relocated to Austin for two months, which I didn’t find terribly bad, although Lana hated it. I got to work at the University of Texas, which was nice, and I got to spend time in a new environment. But for a couple of months I didn’t really see Josh, except for once when I flew into New Orleans. He stayed in our apartment, and he was unable to get back into school so he lost a semester. He finally did get a job that paid him quite a bit.

At one point, I got a grant and thought I was actually going to end up making some money. That thought died when Xavier fired over half its faculty. Although I was given a contract, Xavier took my grant money to pay it. The fear and depression over all this has been terrible, especially the sadness of seeing so many friends gone and worrying about how they will make it. And I don’t really have any idea what my future will be in the New Orleans area. I don’t know how well I have recovered from having my lifetime career so threatened. And to top things off, Cross Plains, Texas nearly burned down in December wildfires, although the Robert E. Howard House was spared. Still, there may be no one left to take care of things there considering how much fire damage there was in the town.

As for writing, 2005 was a non-fiction year and it was quite successful as far as money is concerned. I made decent money on the Salem Press articles, and on the fantasy articles for the Greenwood Encyclopedia. I also got the grant because of my writing on the Darwin book, which means I have made more money from that book now than from anything I’ve ever actually finished and had published. It may well have also saved my job because they got rid of a lot of people who didn’t get such grants.

In the coming year I hope to get back into fiction, but I don’t know how much time I’ll have considering the big work loads we are going to have at Xavier, what with release time cancelled and half our colleagues gone. I’d like to submit my three Talera novels somewhere, and have plans to work on that soon. I also need to continue work on the Darwin book and get it ready to submit for publication. I’d like to submit the writing Guidebook as well. Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to get motivated. So much stuff is up in the air about my life and career and I’m just a little tired. The other thing I’d like to do, though, is get myself a little more healthy, which means getting my triglycerides under control and getting off my prescription medicines, and eating a better diet.

So there you have it. That's what I remembered about 2005 on January 1 of 2006. Tomorrow I'll make another such journal entry. Not sure yet what I'm going to say. But maybe in a few years you'll see that one too.



nephite blood spartan heart said...

Glad you guys only lost a car (relatively) in all that.

My how time flies.

David Cranmer said...

Damn, that was one very busy year Charles. Hey, do you still play chess online?

And HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, Lana, and your family.

Randy Johnson said...

Happy New Year to you guys. I'm sure this last year, relatively speaking, might have ben better than 2005. Let's hope the next one will be good for us all.

Miladysa said...

Happy New Year x

Cloudia said...

Aloha, Friend!
Hauoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)
Keep the rubber side down, biker brother-
Comfort Spiral

ArtSparker said...

Isn't it something...there are these big things like death and disaster to deal with, and then one has to deal with automotive problems, sometimes at the same time. For me anyway, there is an automatic reaction of wanting to get out of jail free ticket for the quotidian annoyances, followed by amusement at this response. Looking forward to reading a less eventful journal entry for this year...I'm just saying...

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

There are some times that just look better in the rear view mirror ... here's to a great, successful, and wonder full New Year for you and Lana, and all the great folks that follow "Razored Zen".


Steve Malley said...

Jeez Louise, that's what I call a hard year! Glad those since have been a fair bit better... :)

Sidney said...

Hope 2010 is a great year.

Jo said...

Omigoodness, half a decade ago...!

Happy New Year to you and Lana.

BernardL said...

Well... Happy 2010 then, my friend. :)

Vesper said...

What a year 2005 has been for you... And already four years ago. Almost unbelievable!

Happy New Year!
I hope 2010 brings you and your loved ones good health and lots of dreams come true!

(I'll be back to read your other posts. I'm so sorry I missed them.)

Rick said...

That was too spooky, Charles! Talk about a blast from the past!

jodi said...

Charles, after that year, things just have to be looking up. The health issues concern me--You are too young for that stuff. Hope you have gotten those numbers down. Happy 2010, I think it's gonna be a better one!

j said...

I have looked back at old journal entries and realized that I was a stronger person than I realized. Does reading your 2006 entry make you feel that way as well?

Happy New Year Charles. I hope that 2010 brings you great things.

j said...

I also meant to tell you that I am sorry that you lost your sister to Cancer. Having been at the bedside when my Aunt passed away from liver and colon cancer, I understand what you mean by seeing her face. That was a moment I will never forget.

Charles Gramlich said...

David J. West, yes, we were really lucky. A lot of buildings around ours had roofs torn off.

David Cranmer, I occasionally do at Gameknot but not too often. I’ve been so busy the last two years I’ve had almost no time, though I enjoy it. We should play sometime though.

Randy Johnson, most years have been, my friend.

Miladysa, And to you!

Cloudia, thankee. And same to you!

ArtSparker, yeah, it’s almost weird when you have a major thing going on and some minor thing crops up. Surreal.

Don, thanks. Yes, I’m looking forward to 2010 so far. I know some good stuff that should be happening.

Steve Malley, much more peaceful and quiet. I sure do appreciate them.

Sidney, I’m 2 hours into it and it’s better so far.  I think it’s going to be OK.

Jo, I know. Time flies.

BernardL, thanks. I appreciate that.

Vesper, It’s amazing how much time has passed. It seems like yesterday some times.

Rick, a blast of hurricane force winds!

jodi, My blood pressure is under control and most other things look fairly well health wise. I’m getting old and rickety, though.

jennifer, It makes me very happy that time is over! Yes, my sister was really skin and bones when she died. It was just surreal how much she had lost.

Lana Gramlich said...

Happy new year, baby. If we survived 2005, I think we can survive anything.

Bernita said...

"For weeks I saw her face every time I closed my eyes."Yes. I know that flashback.
Looking back at hard years makes one wonder how we ever survived them, but Lana's right. Surgite!
May 2010 for you and Lana be golden.

ivan said...

Oh what the hell. I am hungover.

Wearing a funny hat still.

Crappyi New Year! But a great one for you and Lana.

Mariana Soffer said...

I liked you post men, but got nothing new to say (hep)
Whish you a great new year.

David Cranmer said...

I'm signed up at RedHotPawn as Paladin One. If you ever get the bug again. With my work sometimes moves can be once a day but lately I have been able to play in real time.

the walking man said...

I think you did well in writing it all down instead of like me just keeping the journal entries in my head.

Best to you and Lana, Charles.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

That was a great idea for a post. I wished I'd kept a journal - I always gave up after a few days.

Spy Scribbler said...

Wow, Charles. That's inspiring in a weird sort of way. I mean, you survived. Time trooped on. And it sounds terribly scary and uncertain, and yet things do somehow work out, for better or for worse.

I'm hoping for an awesome Twenty-ten for all my friends!

Lisa said...

After every trial there is relief. Challenges would make you stronger and wiser.

Happy 2010 Charles and Lana Gramlich.

Harry Markov said...

Wow, 2005 was a really harsh year for you, but man oh man did you survive and make most of it. Looking forward to upcoming posts on the matter.

ivan said...

Jim Croce:

If I could put time in a (Klein) bottle? No beginning,no end.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana Gramlich, I think you're right sweetness.

Bernita, indeed. One of the great commonalities of the human experience is that we have all suffered terrible loss. And terrible joy.

ivan, I drank two beers last night. Actually, one and 3/4rs. Not much party in my step anymore.

Mariana Soffer, and to you!

David Cranmer, back when I was playing I was doing the once a day thing. Cool.

Mark, it starts to run together after awhile if I don't write it down. I have a notoriously bad time sense. Everything either seems 10 years ago or yesterday.

ARCHAVIST, I tried to start a journal for a couple of years before I finally did it. Eventually it stuck, though.

Natasha Fondren, I guess you're right. It does seem amazing how well we did, considering. Humans are tough creatures, I guess.

Ocean Girl, thanks, and same to you!

Harry Markov, yep, we came through the eye of the needle on that one.

Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

Okay, Charles, let's just get this out of the way...Happy New Years. Here's to the twenty teens and what they might bring. I have to say the last ten years were a mixed bag.

Mary Witzl said...

Happy New Year, Charles.

2005 was a tough year for us too, though we didn't have Katrina to put things into perspective. Hope 2010 will bring us all prosperity and happiness -- and cars that don't break down.

sage said...

Happy New Year--and it's got to be better than 2005.

ANNA-LYS said...

Happy New Year, Charles ;-)

Erik Donald France said...

Man, that is one tragic entry. Jesus, I hope the one for today was not as heartrending. In any case, best wishes for a fantastic 2010! And to y'all's good health!

laughingwolf said...

all the best in 2010 to you and yours, charles...

nice post, btw...

i don't even want to recall most things in my past, they were that bad :(

Charles Gramlich said...

Stewart Sternberg, I guess most decades will be a mixed bag. I'd like to have a good solid 10 though. Same to you.

Mary Witzl, agreed!

sage, I would think so.

ANNA-LYS, and to you!

Erik, my one for 09 was much much better. Though every year has it's thing.

laughingwolf, sorry to hear that, my friend. HOpefully some good will follow.

Tom Bailey said...

You made it through that year too and I think that you have an amazing year ahead of you. In reading some of the grant adversities and other adversities of that year I think you are looking back so that you can use the past as a way to move your current life forward.

You clearly write well and there are tremendous possibilities that exist for you in that area. You write well and have a creative way of doing it so you have possibilities for the new year there is well.

You seem set to have a year of powerful possibilities for yourself.

Best regards,
Tom Bailey

L.A. Mitchell said...

Isn't it amazing how much the human spirit can endure in one year? I didn't know you in the blogosphere back then, but I'm so glad you *re*shared it all with us now.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,
Happy new year! Thanks for posting the journal entry -- very interesting. 2005 sounds like a doozy! I don't know what the next year holds, but I have all my fingers crossed.

Charles Gramlich said...

Tom Bailey, I'm hoping for a good one. I think I'm at a good point in my life so I just have to keep my energy up to take advantage of the opportunities I have.

L.A. Mitchell, thank you. I appreciate that.

Michelle, me too. Let's all collectively hope for good.

X. Dell said...

2005 was a crappy year for many of us, but yours seemed downright horrific. On top of the historic disaster of Katrina to deal with, you also suffered personal loss and personal injury. I'm not a bit surprised, however, that you could fight through that. More power to you.

Charles Gramlich said...

X Dell, thanks, dude.