Learn anything cool in 2022? [NOT 29/12/22]

Hi, friends!

I hope your day went well. Topic to kick off the NOT is did you gain a lot of info about a specific subject area this year? One of my friends got pretty into entomology this year. Another got super into baking bread of various types.

Furthermore — if you feel like you learned a lot about something, would it have mattered if you learned it sooner than this year?

I learned a fucking ton about gardening this year. 2020 was me just giving it a shot and getting lucky with lettuce and some sweet peppers, 2021 was me learning about what the fuck to do for amazing tomatoes and peppers, and a little about cool weather veggies.

This year? Not only did I branch out into beans, I failed (again) at squash but actually learned about it better. I experimented with ripening several pounds of tomatoes in cardboard boxes on the kitchen floor (great success!) and wow did I learn tons about fall/cold weather crops. Like if you told me in 2020 I would be eating salad greens on Dec 29th that I could keep alive through 20 degree weather? I would have asked where you got your drugs from.

And I kinda wish I knew more about this sooner, like twenty years ago sooner. I have an anthropology degree and never really had a good understanding of what people ate during winter in pre-modern times. Like sure stockpile grains and beans, plus animal products, but I had no real concept of what peasants were eating in December in the Middle Ages. Or really any isolated area or before trade networks were consistent enough to be like hey a boat just docked in the harbor and has imports. A lot of the ethnographic research focuses on hunter/gatherer groups, so it would be reading about people drying salmon, etc. Which, totally cool. But not really applicable to a lot of parts in the world.

And it’s not that kale or spinach calorically is going to keep someone alive, but anyone who makes stews knows the difference in taste and quality it makes. It just feels like the sort of experiential knowledge that would help me to have better understood how people lived. Kind of like how I had taken a ceramics class in college and a lot of my friends in grad school had not and I could explain some things differently to them about how certain stuff was harder or easier to make than they thought.



  1. I learned a few gardening things too.  Overwintering peppers was a great lesson & saves time & money not having to buy seeds.  Winterizing the greenhouse has saved a bunch of money.  I learned how to install heated floors & true hardwood floors with a floor nail gun.  Mostly I learned that I am still an idiot in most things but now willing to admit it which is progress?

  2. i mostly learnt im not much of a humanitarian this year

    at some point i learnt to compartmentalize….and i learnt it hard

    nowadays i can hold my temper…..and it only came at the cost of all my fucks


    fucking bargain!


    no but seriously…..i feel like i should be caring more about shit

  3. I learned a bunch of things this year:

    More about Crypto than I really wanted to know, but didn’t care to ask.

    A (recent) painful epiphany: I realized that the smug, self serving, self assured managers I disliked the most are who I would have been if I had been coddled (by circumstance and life in general) and hadn’t gotten my ass kicked by life and university (well deserved I might add.) This hasn’t made me like them less, but I kind of pity them a little.

    How to play craps.

    I can be a (slightly) better son to my aging parents.

  4. For me, it was navigating Dad through the hell that is the American “welfare state”/Medicare->nursing care->End of Life/Hospice system…

    Feel FREE to TL/DR, I just need to vent a bit!😉💖


    SOOOOOOOO many lessons added on to what I learned, back in October/November of 2013 (and beyond!), when mom’s situation blew apart (that day I got the call, saying she was being taken to St. Cloud Hospital, with Diabetes, Gangrene, and had her toe amputated that night—and then the subsequent months of hell, as my friend died of suicide (the END of that November🙃), and I later lost my job after asking for time off to have my own pancreas surgery…

    Because of Mom’s stuff back then, I knew how to get Dad’s stuff started–the paperwork & documents I was gonna need to gather, who to call to find out what needed to be signed–so I could talk to Dad’s caseworker, etc…

    Basically, for a lack of a better way to put it, it kiiiinda feels like I just did a year’s-long masters program, in “Navigating a loved one through infuriating bureaucracies, while getting said loved one to their desired place.”

    It was fucking hell, ngl!!!

    And at the same time?

    The shit i learned going through all of it with dad is going to make *that journey* with Mom someday, soooooooo much easier.

    AND the fact that Dad *got* to exactly where he wanted to be, and I had SO MUCH great help in getting him there?

    Means that 1. I got SO MUCH really good closure, for SO MANY THINGS that have literally confounded me *since my earliest childhood memories* (and THAT is an amazing motherfucking GIFT to have happened to stumble across, as dad went through the dying process!💖💞💝), *AND* the absolute HELL that was this past year-ish gives me SO MUCH additional insight, into the fucking ALBATROSS of a system, that my kiddos’ families have to navigate, to get them help & support services!

    The way these systems are set up, there are barriers which have to have been put into those systems’ navigation processes–in order to FRUSTRATE & OBFUSCATE people into simply giving up & quitting even TRYING to access the help they are allowed!

    Those systems are fucking BRUTAL y’all!!!

    And I AM someone privileged!!! I *HAVE* FMLA time, family support, and prior KNOWLEDGE so I WASN’T starting from *Absolute Zero* trying to get Dad the help he needed!!!

    For my kiddos’ families? Navigating this shit *without* that knowledge, while they worry about their CHILD’S ability to live/survive/Thrive?!?!???


    Emmer will be having MANY “Come to Jesus” moments with her co-workers & college classmates, over the coming decades, Y’all–explaining what “our kids families may be FACING, when you think they’re *being difficult or uncommunicative*!!!🤨🤨🤨

    This was one of the hardest damn things to traverse, and was fucking HELL sometimes… and I was just needing to worry about Dad, Lily, and *myself.*

    If I was exhausted? I only had to take care of Lil & ME, food, shelter, & “life basics”-wise as I got Dad through the bulshit parts…

    I didn’t need to feenld a FAMILY, worry about childcare, or care for *MULTIPLE* others… I was SO lucky, going through that hell, and SO incredibly privileged, throughout all of it.

    And TOO damn many other folks DON’T get that lucky.

    So YEAH, huge lessons learned, TONS to process, ponder, and then to see where finesse & maybe some pressure & force can be used, to find ways to make the CRAP PARTS so much easier for the folks behind me to navigate better, easier, & smoother💖

    Because when you can TALK to the folks around you, as you navigate that level of hell–just HELL–and you can TELL your support network that “The last time I was under *anywhere* near these levels of stress were back when….

    And THEN you can tell your support folks that “…and back THEN, when I *was* this stressed–my Psych provider wanted to put me into inpatient, ‘…Because this treally *IS* That Much Stress for one person to deal with–except that I KNOW you’re doing this all on your own, Need to make Rent, and literally can’t AFFORD to lose the time off work that inpatient–or even partial inpatient/day treatment would take,’”…


    When I was able to VERBALIZE to my support-network folks, that ^THAT^ was the sort of stress & pressure I was feeling those times, these last few months–the sort of hell that had my *previous* psych practirioner wanting to put me into inpatient treatment, because it really WAS *THAT BIG & THAT STRESSFUL*!?!?

    THOSE were the moments when I knew how incredibly privileged I was… I had the words… my feelings of “this is TOO BIG & TOO HARD!!!” had honest-to-God been validated by someone who WAS trained to professionally assess them…

    Yet, too damn often, folks navigate this bullshit system, without that sort of validation, and they’re often told they are being WEAK, or “lazy,” or that it’s somehow their fault if that bullshit system is impenetrable.


    • I went through it with my parents, and it was pretty rough, but for the most part my siblings and I are on the same page, and when we’re not in accord I just bully them into doing things my way. They get on my nerves sometimes but they’re still basically decent, Trumpism aside.

      Then my wife went through it with her father. That was a nightmare. He was 94, had a business and two houses, was deeply in debt because he was too old to manage anything, and basically left everything a tremendous mess. We got lucky and a relative left him enough money so my wife could hire an attorney to help clean up the shitpile, but it took an awful toll on my wife. Her only sibling is a drug-addled lunatic who’s done four stretches in jail, so no help there. My mother-in-law is 87 and a horrible self-centered narcissist who’s deaf and developing dementia. I still don’t know how my wife dredged through years of bills and paperwork to fix all that.

      Put your affairs in order, people. You ain’t gonna live forever, despite the fact that my in-laws apparently thought they were. Well, MIL ain’t dead yet, so the jury’s still out.


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