Welcome to Sunday Summary, the meme in which I attempt to summarize the week that came before.
Here we are with the first post to this blog for 2023. As I start to write this week’s “Sunday Summary”, it is Friday night and I am attempting to get a jump on things as I doubt that I will have much time to write tomorrow or Sunday. The lovely Kanchana and I are planning to ring in the New Year in the main resort town on the west coast of our island and it seems like I still have a million and one things to complete before catching the bus around noon on Saturday.
The most time-consuming part of putting together my Sunday Summaries (or any blog, for that matter) is choosing images, uploading them, and then inserting them into the article. For once, I am attempting to add all the photos first and then I will write around those as the final step. We’ll see how that works!
The major activity of the week involved daily blogging throughout the week. Having finished my annual Christmas stamps series with a “Best of the Rest” article on Christmas Eve, I wrote about three New Year’s stamp issues that had nothing to do with Chinese rabbits before starting the Stamps of 2023 articles which will dominate the year to come. I have already published articles detailing the stamps to be released in January by France, Belgium and Åland and hope to have one about the United States’ new issues ready by the time you read this. I also wrote about some vintage New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day postcards that, if the scheduling feature works, will have appeared on Postcards to Phuket shortly before and after midnight as we switch from 2022 to 2023 (or, where I live, from 2565 to 2566 — yes, I am from the FUTURE!).
Recent Posts on MJJ.com:
Recent Posts on Postcards to Phuket:
Here are my year-end blogging stats:
|A Stamp A Day||2||2,301||69,791|
|Asian Meanderings / Mark Joseph Jochim.com||83||115,929||3,918|
|Philatelic Pursuits.com / Philatelic Pursuits||24||35,566||124,712|
|Postcards to Phuket||17||19,268||1,887|
Work was a bit strange as it was already a short week coming off the Christmas holiday and going into the New Year holiday. The previous was just a regular weekend — one that I spent with my beautiful partner in all things wonderful — and the latter was to start on Friday although Wednesday was the actual last teaching day. I struggled to return to the regular curriculum without the singing practices that dominated my lessons over the past three weeks or so. It was a return to phonics and vocabulary but the children were all in holiday mode as was I. There was only one class all week during which I felt everything went well and I was firing on all cylinders; that was the final lesson of the entire year!
Thursday was given over to a morning-long party. All of the kids’ parents brought huge amounts of food — very little of which was remotely healthy — and the kids dressed in regular street clothes. Well, regular in that the girls were almost invariably wearing pink or purple dresses emblazoned with characters from the movie “Frozen” (one that was different looked just like a Christmas tree). The majority of the boys wore red Spider Man t-shirts. I did my word of the day at the morning assembly (“Celebrate!”) and the K3 students had a dance party of sorts before they ventured upstairs to their classrooms.
The Chinese teacher brought her young son to school with her and the three of us began making the rounds starting just before 9 a.m. We made appearances at all nine of the regular kindergarten classes (somehow, we completely forgot about the two nursery classes). Most of the classrooms were filled with sweets — mockolate bars dominated (this is Thai-made “chocolate” that doesn’t melt) and there were also plenty of super-sweet cupcakes, donuts, and brownies. Some rooms were loaded with deli meats such as hotdogs on a stick and a few featured ham & cheese or chicken with mayo finger sandwiches. A couple of classes had bowls of fruit (mostly grapes with seeds) that went untouched by the children and I think I only saw a bit of Thai food (kao pad) once. Oddly enough, every classroom had chicken nuggets and most small pieces of fried chicken.
As soon as we entered a new room, a teacher would thrust a plate of food at us and several gave me bags full of containers that had been pre-selected for me to take home. Several times, we arrived in time to watch the kids select numbers for their gift exchanges but not a single wrapped present was opened at school I suppose they take them home and wait until New Year’s Day before tearing through the paper.
It was all over by noon and I had to make two trips to my apartment in order to carry all the treats I had been given throughout the day. As of this writing (late Friday night), I still have a considerable amount remaining. However, I may have to throw out some uneaten dragon fruit as that is starting to turn a weird yellow color!
Producing & Playing
Much of my leisure time this week was fairly productive. I finally have OneNote set-up just the way I want it and, hopefully, it will take the place of a myriad of apps that I use to record my life — I will still use the separate Journal It! for my semi-regular diary entries as I like it’s appearance more than I can tweak in OneNote but am phasing out my usage of Microsoft’s To Do and the confusing Notebook app.
With my reorganization of the OneNote desktop program, I had more time to do other things. I (finally!) finished reading The Burglar Who Met Frederic Brown by Lawrence Block and began reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London. I was somewhat surprised when I realized that I had never read this (or White Fang) and am well on my way to remedying that. In 2023, I may try to tackle a few more classics and focus more on non-fiction than I have in recent years.
I only completed 21 books out of a goal of 25 (84 percent) which is the least amount of books I finished in nearly a decade. Last year, I was upset having finished 46 and the year before it was 50. Maybe this is a sign that I am getting old (or just spend too much time blogging). Even the page-turners do not grip me the way they used to and I can find myself nodding off during the most exciting of scenes. Perhaps trying to read earlier in the day would help. We’ll see but I am debating whether to enter an abysmally low number in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2023 just so I can come out on the plus side.
I will not be taking my external hard drive (the one that contains my entire music collection) with me to the hotel we have booked for the New Year’s Eve weekend so I can now report that I listened to a total of 770 tracks from 167 different albums in December (up from 550 tracks/50 albums in November). The stat for the entire year of 2022 is 10,780 songs played from 1,325 albums which is a duration of 34 days, nine hours and four minutes. Out of the 64,205 tunes currently in my music library (with many more waiting for my comprehensive details and tags so they can be added), only one album (out of 4,117) does not have any artwork. This is a recording of a concert that I attended and somewhere between my two homes in Thailand there exists some photographs I took at the show, including one outside of the theatre clearly showing the marquee. I want to use that photograph for the cover artwork but have yet to find it. By the way, if I wanted to listen to all of the songs that have been added to my player, it would take me just over 216 straight days to do it.
There wasn’t a new episode of Yellowstone this week but I did get to watch S01E02 of 1923 which was my sole viewing experience of the week. I didn’t even look at YouTube.
I did take a couple of long walks to the beach during the evening hours, usually after eating dinner. One night, I went into a mini-mart and was surprised to find racks full of packets containing stamps, coins, and currency. I will have to return some day when I am in a bit of a buying mood.
Kan and I had some nice meals together during Christmas weekend and I tried to eat something other than 7-Eleven food most days during the week. I returned to New York Burger for the first time in a couple of weeks and did the same for a meal at Jerry & Cream the next night. During my walks to the beach, I checked out a number of menus along the way but found nothing that appealed to me. Not even “Snapping Soup” could entice me.
Lovely Lady Kanchana and I are now together more often than we are apart. What’s not to love?
Everything above (and these few words) were written early on the morning of December 31, 2022 (or, in Thailand, the Buddhist year 2565) as I am desperately trying to finish some end-of-the-year tasks before journeying to join my dear sweetheart in Phuket’s main resort town of Patong for our first New Year’s Eve together. Other than standing beachside for several years watching fireworks, I have not celebrated New Year’s Eve in a party atmosphere since the Chris Fritz Extravaganza at Kansas City’s Bartle Hall on the night bridging 1989 and 1990! I have never been in a relationship during this holiday either (Valentine’s Day will be another first for me).
But will tonight be a big party night or just another quiet one sitting in the dark on the beach listening to the waves? Neither Kan nor I are big drinkers. In the past six months, I think we have had two drinks together — a pair of Coronas a couple of weeks ago and cocktails on Christmas Eve. Also, the Thai government officially banned/cancelled the holidays this year due to His Majesty the King’s daughter being extremely ill (and both the King and the Queen contracted COVID-19 while visiting the princess). Nobody seemed to tell the tourists, however, as it certainly has not been the dark and quiet December the Prime Minister mandated.
I have decided to end this “Sunday Summary” here and detail the joyous (whether muted or not) New Year’s Eve in the morning hours of January 1 while Kan is fast asleep. To avoid having to rename this one (and make a new featured image), I will schedule this post to publish sometime early New Year’s Day (possibly, before we even return to the hotel). Watch for my second post — whatever is fit to print about our celebration — sometime on the 1st or 2nd of January (possibly with some resolutions if I can muster any up).
Happy New Year! I hope that the week, the months, and the year to come all meet your expectations and exceed them, at least to the extent that you wish them to be!