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I am dreading this recap this year, for some reason. Yet I am still doing it because TRADITION. I think I may start liberally tossing questions out the window. So BE PREPARED FOR THAT.

(This yearly recap originated with Linda of All & Sundry. If you’re so inclined, you can read past versions of my responses: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.)

Oh! And if YOU do this yearly recap, always or for the first time this year, send me a link in the comments won’t you? I love reading these.

  • What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

I quit my job to write a novel. (Which I have not yet completed, BLARGH.) (Prediction: I sense that the topic of the previous parenthetical may reappear below.)

  • Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year, I said:

This year, I want to prioritize my husband, quality time with my kid, balance in my life… and I also want to really work on personal fulfillment. That sounds… vague and a little frou-frou and a lot privileged, but I think it will honestly help with the first three priorities. At least, I hope so. And I’m going to try.

I do think I have made solid steps on all fronts, and I attribute all progress to leaving my job at the end of March. I feel very fortunate that I have this little pocket of time during which I can be part-time novelist/part-time stay-at-home-mom. The reduction in stress has helped me be more present with my husband and daughter, and helped me really focus on contributing to my family in new ways. It has not been easy, for me, to give up on being a financial contributor. That has altered the identity I always felt I had, and it has been a challenge to adapt. But I do think I’m contributing in new and different ways, or at least contributing more in areas where I wasn’t before.

This year, I am going to finish the novel. That’s my primary goal. It’s taking so much longer than I anticipated just to eke out a first draft. I need to find some way to speed up the process. Because the first draft is only the beginning.

  • Did anyone close to you give birth?
  • Did anyone close to you die?
  • What countries did you visit?

Same as last year: Not really a big year for travel. I visited three states besides my own: Illinois, Florida, and my home state. All with Carla.

I can’t really imagine the answers changing in a big way anytime soon.

  • What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Better ability to prioritize my time. A fully drafted novel. Making my time with Carla richer, somehow, rather than making a bunch of slipshod and ultimately frustrating attempts at “activities.”

  • What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 31, which was my last day of working in the office.

  • What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Taking a leap of faith and quitting my office job. (OMG, broken record much?)

  • What was your biggest failure?

Not getting enough words on the page each day! I can trot out a 7,000-word blog post of a morning, but I seem to spend hours and hours coming up with a measly 200 for my manuscript! What gives? If I can do it elsewhere, why can’t I blather and drivel my way through a first draft?

  • Did you suffer illness or injury?

I am currently enjoying a bout of asthmatic bronchitis, which is super fun. Other than that, nothing too crazy.

  • What was the best thing you bought?

Scrivener!!! It is a tool for writers and I loooooooove it.

  • Whose behavior merited celebration?

This goes 100% to my husband. He is a rockstar. I can’t even express all the ways he’s shown up this year without drowning my keyboard in tears, so let’s move on.

  • Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I mean do you really have to ask, non-sentient Survey created years ago with no knowledge of our current times? I think I’m going to cross this one out because it makes me sad and bewildered and fearful and shaky.

  • Where did most of your money go?

This question sucks. I really want to say something fun like “a new ski lodge in Aspen!” or “a twelve-week trek around Europe!” I guess I could say my potential earnings went toward financing my lifelong dream but that makes me feel dizzy and sick to my stomach so MOVING ON.

  • What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Last year I said: The holidays this year. Carla is so excited about EVERYTHING, and it is so fun to see that.

As with last year, I didn’t even KNOW what excited was! She has been super over the moon about everything. And she gets stuff now. Like, she understood the little countdown-to-Christmas calendar I put in her room, and the last couple of days she switched the numbers all by herself before I even got to her room. She has been really gung-ho about Hanukkah, and has helped her dad light the menorah and say the prayers. She loved decorating the tree and every night for a week she would pick up a present that she knew was for her and squeeze it and hop up and down and say, “It’s so HARD to WAIT until Christmas to open my present!” I mean, a tree full of presents and she didn’t realize most of them were for her, and yet she got So Worked Up about this one tiny thing. She loved all the holiday books I pull out each year, and expressed interest in Santa and Baby Jesus and the Maccabees alike. She loved the stockings, and asked questions about how Santa could do such and such. She loved painting ornaments for her grandparents. She loved collecting the Amazon boxes from the front stoop and putting them in the guest room to await her grandmother’s arrival. She loved singing Christmas carols. Everything this year was just SO. MUCH. FUN. I hope we have at least a couple more years of this pure, unadulterated joy in the season. It’s a mood lifter for sure, and helps make all those I-want-them-to-be-fun-and-meaningful-but-are-really-kind-of-tedious projects seem worthwhile and enjoyable.

  • What song(s) will always remind you of 2016?

I have to say the Frozen soundtrack. Carla hadn’t seen a movie in her entire life until Christmas 2015, and once we started we couldn’t stop. As toddlers are wont to do, she fell in love with Frozen and we have watched it eleventy billion times. PLUS we bought the Frozen soundtrack (we call it “Carly Songs”) on CD (yes, I still use CDs in my car) and we have listened to THAT at least seventy gazillion times. Also: Justin Beiber’s “Sorry” and “Let Me Love You” by DJ Snake featuring The Beibs. “Waves” by Miguel (the Kacey Musgraves version). “One Dance” by Drake. Carla does a mean dance move to Drake, and sings along very sweetly to “Let Me Love You” and “Waves.” Also also, on the classical front, I have grown very attached to Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2. I have some fantasy that I will learn to play it. (HA.)

  • Compared to this time last year, are you:
  1. a) happier or sadder? Happier but more fearful about the future, I think?
  2. b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. Which kind of sucks because I lost 12 pounds after I left my job. I have since gained it back. But I kind of hate this question because I just do. I am scowling at it.
  3. c) richer or poorer? I am skipping this question because math.

This is a question I don’t care to answer anymore, I think. Are these really the benchmarks by which I want to measure the year? No, no I don’t think so. MORE SCOWLING.

  • What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing. (Always.) Submitting my work for publication. Figuring out a better time management system.

  • What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Yelling. Procrastinating. Writing poor-quality apocalyptic poetry. Wasting time on my phone. Feeling too hot or too cold; that’s really annoying when the house maintains a stable temperature.

  • How did you spend Christmas?

Here at home, with my husband and Carla, and my husband’s parents. It was lovely and fun. Also lovely and fun was adding my sister and niece the day after Christmas, but that amped up the freneticism by several degrees. How does adding ONE additional child to the mix make things exponentially more crazy?

  • Did you fall in love in 2016?

Ugh. Every year this one makes me gag a little, but I definitely fell more in love with my husband. He has been supportive of me and my dreams in a way that shatters me. I hope I make him feel even half as loved and understood and… seen as he makes me feel.

And, as we allow the tears to dry a bit, I fall newly in love with Carla with each new stage in her life. Three has been challenging, but it has also been utterly delightful as she becomes more independent and imaginative and curious and affectionate and funny and fun and inquisitive. I just adore her.

  • What was your favorite (new) TV program?

What a year for TV! Standouts from the year include the OJ Simpson mini-series, The Night Of, Westward, and the Gilmore Girls revival (even though I hated GG as much as I loved it – many flaws, no?). I also loved the latest seasons of The Americans, The Great British Baking Competition, Shark Tank, Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, The Middle, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. What can I say? I like feel-good shows to balance out the gritty stuff slash real life. Oh! And two series my husband and I watched and loved that were new to us this year were Master of None and Catastrophe. God, I love TV.

  • Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I can’t even. This question has got to go.

  • What was the best book you read?

I READ SO MANY BOOKS THIS YEAR! Contenders for best book include A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, The Round House by Louise Erdrich, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, and A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin. There have been others, but those are the standouts. For me, all had great stories with interesting, well-rounded characters, and truly beautiful language that enriched the story without getting in the way. Then sometime in November I fell into a Sue Grafton wormhole and have been reading my way through her Kinsey Millhone series (again) because it’s fun.

  • What did you want and get?

A chance to write a book. More time with my daughter. More time to exercise. More time in general, I guess. Less stress. And also this gorgeous green coat from Boden that unfortunately didn’t fit so BOO to that. My hips are not British enough, it seems. Oh! And I got the sheet music for Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, and have been painstakingly picking out the right hand notes. That’s really all I’ve managed.

  • What did you want and not get?

A finished first draft of my manuscript because I am SLOW.

  • What was your favorite film of this year?

Let’s see. My husband and I took a break from watching TV to watch all of the Daniel Craig James Bond movies. That was fun, but I wasn’t as… enamored of the most recent (last?) film as I was of the earlier ones. (To be fair, Daniel Craig seemed less enamored of it as well.) Did I watch anything else? Of the (many) kids’ movies I’ve seen this year, Brave is my favorite, followed by Wall-E and then probably a tie between Tangled and Frozen. I did not care for Zootopia, and Robin Hood – a childhood favorite – sadly did not live up to my memory version. (Robin Hood himself is still by far the foxiest cartoon I’ve ever encountered, though. No pun intended.)

EDITED TO ADD: My husband and I watched Sicario just last night, right under the 2016 wire, and it was really well done. Dark and disturbing but a heart-thumping, thought provoking film.

  • What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35 this year, and I can’t really remember what I did. Which is a pattern at least a few years running, so I am getting rid of this question.

  • What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Same as every year (don’t I ever PROGRESS as a person?!?!):

Being able to just LET GO and not freak out about EVERYTHING.

  • How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Same as last year: I have full-on embraced the leggings-as-pants “style” that I used to disdain. COMFORT IS KEY. In your face, Past Me!

Also, this year I started doing Fabletics (I joined Fabletics? I am not sure of the proper verbiage here. It’s just a subscription service in the vein of Stitch Fix. Sort of. Third cousins.), and so have added some very cute workout ensembles to my wardrobe, which means that sometimes I switch up my leggings with legging-like yoga pants. You can spot the difference because I wear tennis shoes with the yoga pants version.

  • What kept you sane?

My husband. Exercise. Being able to write every day most days.

  • Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I adore Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan of Catastrophe. The characters they play are adorable and funny and in-your-face in a way I find charming. Sterling K. Brown. Constance Wu (her and her character as Jessica Huang on Fresh Off the Boat) because she seems fearless and take-no-prisoners and also is hilarious and beautiful and talented. Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore. Okay, so maybe these are primarily TV CHARACTERS and not necessarily the actors themselves but whatever.

  • What political issue stirred you the most?

Nope. NOPE. Not even going to. CUT.

  • Who did you miss?

Same as last year, although – shocker – blogging more frequently myself has helped a teeny bit: I guess I most missed the bloggers I used to interact with regularly, back when I blogged frequently and they blogged frequently. I suppose I should figure out a way to do Twitter (which makes me uncomfortable for some reason).

  • Who was the best new person you met?

As last year, I don’t know that I met many new people this year. AM A HERMIT. Oh wait, that’s not true. I have made a couple of (tentative strides toward making) mom friends through Carla’s new school.

  • Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Write it down, don’t write it right, for the love of all that is holey.

  • Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

(I don’t know if the following makes sense as a lyric or as the answer to this question, but it’s in my head, so I’m going with it.)

Don’t you give up, nah nah nah / Never give up, nah nah nah / Let me love you.

Happy New Year, Internet! I hope 2017 goes a hell of a lot better than we fear!

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2015 Round-Up-a-Rama

Well, I have resigned myself to the fact that I Must Do This Yearly Recap, even if it’s the only post I do all year. (To be FAIR, I did write eight other posts in 2015.)

(This yearly recap originated with Linda of All & Sundry. If you’re so inclined, you can read past versions of my responses: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.)

  1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

I became an aunt! Which also means I threw a baby shower for the first time. (I think it turned out okay!) I taught myself some very beginning basics of graphic design. I spent a night away from my daughter (and in a different state, even!). That’s all I can remember.

  1. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year, I said:

I think last year’s are pretty good priorities for the year ahead: baby, husband, balance. But I’ll add a couple of things:

  • I want to do better about accepting that I am me, and I am not perfect, and that is okay. And if other people can’t deal with that, fine. I can’t live to make other people happy.
  • I want to try to DO things with Carla. Most of the time I spend with her is in the evenings or on weekend, which means that most of the time I spend with her is spent doing errands or housework. I would love to do OTHER things, like crafts or museums or walks or… I honestly don’t know what. Just things that we can do together that extend beyond the routine.

I think I have been better – with room still to improve – on the husband front. Balance is something that has gotten out of whack in the past six months, but I am working on a plan to improve that. I still feel like I have A Lot of Work to do on the Being a Good Mom front. But for the most part, Carla is happy and well-adjusted and healthy and growing and generally pretty awesome, so I am at least not COMPLETELY effing things up.

I do think I’ve made some progress on the “accepting I am me” thing. It’s hard. But I am just trying to be more honest about my needs and it has worked out fairly well. I’m not perfect at it, and it doesn’t work perfectly, but it’s progress.

The trying new things with Carla HAS gone well. We started her in swimming lessons, which we now do almost every week. She goes to a little gymnastics group most weekends. We have been to the zoo several times, to the history and art museums, to the farm, to the spray park, to many playgrounds. We have made pizza together and cookies and chocolates and played with play doh and paint and sidewalk chalk. It has been a lot of fun and I don’t regret a single minute of it.

This year, I want to prioritize my husband, quality time with my kid, balance in my life… and I also want to really work on personal fulfillment. That sounds… vague and a little frou-frou and a lot privileged, but I think it will honestly help with the first three priorities. At least, I hope so. And I’m going to try.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! My sister had a baby!!!

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

  1. What countries did you visit?

Not really a big year for travel. I visited three states besides my own: Illinois, Florida, and my home state. All with Carla.

  1. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

More time for my husband. More time for writing.

  1. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Nothing jumps out at me.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I am going to go TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS with this one, and say: making incremental improvements to our house. We re-did the front landscaping (which I mentioned last year as my biggest failure), and we got a new dishwasher and a new kitchen faucet (and a new faucet in the guest bathroom to boot) and I feel like we have finally gotten into a rhythm with normal house maintenance stuff that makes me feel like the walls aren’t going to cave in around me at any second.

  1. What was your biggest failure?

Being too yelly.

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing out of the ordinary.

  1. What was the best thing you bought?

We bought a NEW CAR last January, and it is awesome. It has seat warmers, which is just about the best invention ever. It’s my husband’s, though, so I don’t get to experience it every day. And our BRAND NEW DISHWASHER is awesome, too!

  1. Whose behavior merited celebration?

This goes 100% to my husband. Not that my parents (whom I have listed here in previous years) weren’t ALSO wonderful. But my husband has been… amazing. First of all, he graduated from his fellowship – which means he finished TEN YEARS of training. And he started with a practice and has been working his tail off to build a patient base and establish himself. And even with all that, he’s been incredibly supportive of me and just a fantastic father to Carla.

  1. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I can’t even.

  1. Where did most of your money go?

Taxes, loan payments, mortgage, savings, daycare. Plus, you know New Things, like the aforementioned car and dishwasher. New things ain’t free, yo.

  1. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Last year I said: The holidays this year. Carla is so excited about EVERYTHING, and it is so fun to see that.

I didn’t even KNOW what excited was! She has been so delighted about the holidays and so delightful! I’ve gotten really into decorating and trying to make things special for her because she enjoys it so much.

Also: NEW NIECE!!!!

  1. What song(s) will always remind you of 2015?

Hmm. I have a constant rotation of Adele, Justin Beiber, and The Weeknd on autoplay in my head… but I don’t honestly know the title of any of the songs that are lodged in my brain. And I definitely listened to the Taylor Swift 1989 album a billion times. I love the whole thing. There were some others, this past summer, but damned if I remember them in any way.

  1. Compared to this time last year, are you:
  2. a) happier or sadder? Sadder.
  3. b) thinner or fatter? Fatter.
  4. c) richer or poorer? Richer. Dual incomes, baby!
  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing.

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Same as last year: Fretting. Crying.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

In my house, with a real tree my husband and Carla and I picked out together and decorated together, with my parents. It was low-key and simple and there was lots of wine and it was very, very nice.

  1. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Ugh. Every year this one makes me gag a little, but I definitely fell more in love with my husband. He’s a practicing physician and getting to that point beside him has made me love him in new and better ways.

  1. What was your favorite (new) TV program?

The Leftovers. And, new to me though not to anyone else, Louie.

  1. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I can’t really think of anyone I hate.  

  1. What was the best book you read?

Did I read any books this year? I feel like I STARTED a few, but not sure how many I finished. The Martian? Oh – and there was the new Tana French book, right? I liked that one.

  1. What did you want and get?

A Fair Isle sweater from Boden!

  1. What did you want and not get?

A white Christmas.

  1. What was your favorite film of this year?

Um. Did I watch any films? I think I watched Spy with Melissa McCarthy – that was pretty cute. Oh! And Carla and I watched her first Disney movie (The Little Mermaid) together which was a super fun experience.

  1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Practically the same answer as last year:

I was 34, and I cannot for the life of me remember what I did for my birthday.

  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Same as every year (don’t I ever PROGRESS as a person?!?!):

Being able to just LET GO and not freak out about EVERYTHING.

  1. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

I have full-on embraced the leggings-as-pants “style” that I used to disdain. COMFORT IS KEY. In your face, Past Me!

  1. What kept you sane?

My husband. My iPhone. Talking to my parents every other day.

  1. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don’t even know.

  1. What political issue stirred you the most?

Nope. Not even going to.

  1. Who did you miss?

I guess I most missed the bloggers I used to interact with regularly, back when I blogged frequently and they blogged frequently. I suppose I should figure out a way to do Twitter (which makes me uncomfortable for some reason).

  1. Who was the best new person you met?

I don’t know that I met many new people this year.

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

You can live in disrepair for a long while and come to believe everything is okay. But life can be immeasurably better if you fix what’s broken.

  1. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Wish we could turn back time to the good old days / when our mama sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.

 

Happy New Year, Internet! I hope to see much more of you in 2016.

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2012 Round-Up-a-Rama

Just a few hours left of 2012, Internet! I’ve been reflecting on the past year and how quickly it went by… and thinking forward with happy anticipation to 2013. I have no doubt that it will bring as many joys (and terrors) and changes as 2012 did, and I hope it affords me more time for blogging so I can share them with you.

May the coming year bring you and your loved ones health and happiness, Internet!

(If you’re so inclined, you can read past versions of this end-of-year survey: 2011, 2010, 2009.)

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Made a big career change! Working outside the home!

Started my own garden! Which I just now realized I never actually posted about! (You’re welcome?)

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Yeah…I didn’t make or keep resolutions. I did try to keep other people’s resolutions for a while… but even that didn’t last all that long. I did manage to give up sugar for a whole month… and alcohol for a few months here and there. And I did pretty well on the exercise front, until I started this new job. (Seriously – how do people with jobs find time to exercise… or raise kids… or do anything besides work and eat and sleep?)

I don’t think I’ll make resolutions for the coming year, either. There are, however, things I would like to accomplish. I would like to exercise more. Eat better. (This has been The Autumn of Carbs, which is quickly turning into The Winter of More Carbs.) Enjoy the happy part of anticipation rather than perseverating on the nervous-marking part. Make sure that my marriage remains a top priority, no matter what else is going on in our lives. Blog more regularly. Have another garden. Paint the kitchen, dining room, and the upstairs bedroom as well as put up artwork around the whole house. Re-organize the storage area in the basement. Okay, this is degenerating rapidly into a list of housework.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Some SUPER CUTE Internet babies were born this year. Plus! A dear friend had her first little baby. I even got to hold her, when she was just a month old, and she was adorable.

 4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. We are so fortunate.

5. What countries did you visit?

As I do every year (these days), I’d like to swap out “countries” for “states.” Because saying “none” is so sad.

Florida

Illinois

Massachusetts

Montana

New Jersey

New York

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Virginia

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

A baby.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

July 1- the day my husband started his fellowship!

July 29 – the day I started my new job!

October 9 – my husband’s grandmother’s 90th birthday!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Going for and getting a new job.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Blogging. It has been a sad, dreary year for posting on my end. I don’t like that.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I did fall down the stairs the other day, Internet. Fortunately, it resulted in nothing more than the biggest butt bruise I’ve ever seen and some sort ribs. Oh. And then I was dust-busting our kitchen floor and I rammed my forehead into the corner of the island. Then there was the time I was sweeping the front porch and somehow jammed my big-toenail into my toe, breaking it nearly off. But other than that, I’ve been pretty healthy.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I love our grill. But I think the best purchase I made was a bunch of seedlings and packets of seeds and planters and potting soil from The Home Depot. I loved gardening and I hope to do it every year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I’m going to go out on a limb here are say that I feel my own behavior merited celebration. At least, personal celebration. Making a change in my professional life has been overwhelmingly POSITIVE and I am happier and more fulfilled than I have been in years. I am very proud of myself for pushing beyond the boundaries of comfort and making a big change.

Okay, I also really need to give a shout out to my husband. He is so supportive and has been so clam and positive as we’ve faced so many changes. He’s been going through his own Major Life Changes, too – what with starting a new job himself – and he’s dealt with change with much more grace (and less over-analysis) than I have. He’s been understanding about my limitations and my fears and. Well. He’s an excellent partner. I really couldn’t have gotten through this year without him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Oh Internet. What with Hurricane Sandy, the assorted horror of various shootings and their fallout, not to mention the freaking presidential election, I spent a good deal of time feeling appalled and depressed. And fearful.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Nothing exciting: taxes, loan payments, mortgage, savings.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I don’t know if this was a year of excitement. It was a year of fear-that-probably-SHOULD-have-been-excitement. But that’s just how I am. I force my way, trembling and pale, into change rather than leaping into it with enthusiasm.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2012?

Diamonds by Rhianna

Feel So Close by Calvin Harris

Mama Told Me by Big Boi featuring Little Dragon

One More Night by Maroon 5

‘Til My Last Day by Justin Moore

Tornado by Little Big Town

We Are Never Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift

We Are Young by Fun.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier!

b) thinner or fatter? Fatter.

c) richer or poorer? Eh, poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Exercising. Reading. Embracing change.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Freaking out about things I couldn’t change. Resisting taking action to make big changes in my life. Sleeping.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

This year, my in laws joined us up here in the north. My MIL hosted Christmas Eve and Christmas at her apartment, but we didn’t have to travel anywhere which was AWESOME.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?

I think I fell pretty hard for gardening. I also really fell in love with our city’s symphony. It’s such a wonderful organization that does so much for our community – not to mention, it produces truly transformational music.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I still love all my old standbys. But as for new shows, I really like The New Girl and Girls. They both have characters that annoy the grape jelly out of me, but they’re both so smart and thought-provoking and enjoyable. My husband and I also started watching Southland, which I really like.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I can’t really think of anyone I hate.  

24. What was the best book you read?

This year was THE WORST for reading. I was terrible. And the books I read were terrible. I mean, I enjoyed them, for the most part (Fifty Shades of Grey being the primary exception). But the content was so DARK and HORRIBLE that I asked myself, dozens of times, while I was reading, “WHY are you reading this?”

That said, I think my favorite book of the year was The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. It was such an interesting premise and such a new take on my favorite type of book (the dystopia) and I really enjoyed the characters and the situations they found themselves in… I just loved everything about it. I’ve found myself thinking about it many times since I finished it, and I bet it will be one of those books that I re-read again and again.

25. What did you want and get?

A new work situation!

26. What did you want and not get?

Just like last year, I wanted to get the house all painted and finished. I don’t think we did a single bit of painting this year. But that will change in 2013! Mark my words, we will do some painting! And hopefully even put up the molding in the dining room. And get all our artwork up on the walls. And maybe reconfigure the office. Oh boy. There’s a LOT to do.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. SO GOOD. It may also be the only film I watched in 2012. Certainly the only one I saw in the theatre.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 31, which seems awfully insignificant. And I cannot for the life of me remember what I did. Pretty sure I was in the throes of Work-Related Panic which kind of overshadowed any celebrating. 

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

It was a pretty great year… but I think it would have been more satisfying if I’d gotten to the Acceptance part of the Big Life Changes Are Imminent thing a little quicker. Okay, a lot quicker. I did a lot of honest-to-goodness freaking out between, oh, January and November. Life would have been a lot easier and more pleasant if I’d been able to just let go of Life as It Was and move smoothly into Life as It Could Be.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

My normal pajamas-and-workout-clothes prevailed for most of the year… Now I’m trying out the I’ve-Had-This-for-Ten-Years-But-I’m-Trying-to-Make-It-Work-Appropriate look. Also, the same five lots of dresses with tights and boots.

 31. What kept you sane?

My husband. The internet. My mother. Lots of sleep.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Ummmm. I can’t think of anyone. I really loved Rooney Mara’s portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But I don’t think I thought about her beyond the movie.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

This year has been RIFE with issues and many of them got my blood boiling.

34. Who did you miss?

My parents. I didn’t see them nearly often enough this year.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

I’ve met some fabulous people through work. Smart, talented, driven people who challenge me intellectually. Sweet, fun people with whom I hope to build lasting friendships. This working-outside-the-home thing is pretty awesome.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

Change may be terrifying, but it can also be wonderful.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“Your love pours down on me, surrounds me like a waterfall. And there’s no stopping us right now. I feel so close to you right now.”
Happy New Year, Internet!

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I did not make resolutions this year. This is not because I object to resolutions; I simply have difficulty KEEPING resolutions. So I’ve found that the solution to that perplexing problem is to refrain from making resolutions in the first place. Genius, I know.

But! I am not opposed to bogarting other people’s resolutions.

When my best friend from back home told me she was giving up sugar for January, I jumped right on board.

My logic: If I don’t make it through January, I only have HER to blame, for picking such an unreasonable resolution. Right? RIGHT?

Anyway, I need to take more initiative when it comes to my health, and abstaining from sugar for a month seemed like a good idea. I don’t expect to give up sugar forever. But I do think this will help re-calibrate my sugar-desire mechanism. Or whatever it is that one re-calibrates.

(And by sugar I mean sweets. I am still eating fruit and drinking juice [in moderation] and using products that may have sugar or a sugar derivative in them, like ketchup.)

(I’m not even TRYING to aim for perfection here, Internet.)

Since I will only be traveling once this month (woo!), I thought it would be a good idea to get into exercising. After all, my in-laws gave us an elliptical and a treadmill. So it’s rather stupid NOT to use them. Especially because they are set up very nicely in front of the basement TV.

So far this week, I’ve exercised every day AND I’ve steered clear of sugar.

But I do have Things to Report. (Yes! Already!)

Thing 1: I didn’t realize how much I was depending on sweet things. I never really cared about sweets – well, not THAT much – until I met my husband. But he has a MASSIVE sweet tooth, and he converted me to sweettoothism as well (although I’m nowhere near as devout as he is). But I always thought that I was so much more of a chips and cheese gal that sweets weren’t really a big part of my life.

Nonetheless, it turns out that I really MISS sweets. I guess they had become a bigger part of my life than I realized? (Although, thinking back, I do seem to remember lots of Reese’s eating going on this year.) I find myself prowling around the house, hungry, trying to figure out how to satisfy the gnawing sweet-hunger I’ve developed. Usually I stave it off with chips or alcohol.

Thing 2: But! Now I am giving up alcohol for January as well, just because my friend is. And because I am clearly a masochist. Now I will have to really load up on the chips to compensate!

Thing 3: I tried to use my computer on the treadmill the other day. I do a lot of reading (for work) and I figured I could walk and read at the same time. Of course, my treadmill doesn’t have a laptop holder. So I thought I would just hold the laptop in my arms. It would be a good workout for my arms, to hold it for 30 minutes whilst climbing an imaginary hill.

Then one of my clients IMed me. So I IMed her back.

And fell off the treadmill.

Don’t worry! I didn’t drop my computer!

Thing 4: Last night, I made a “milkshake” with orange juice, crushed ice, Greek yogurt, a dash of vanilla, and a little drizzle of honey.

I do not recommend it.

It was gritty and tasteless. But I made a LOT of it, so I drank three glasses.

Thing 5: My husband and I tried a new recipe – broiled salmon with Thai sweet chili glaze from Once Upon a Chef. It was delicious and SUPER EASY. We paired it with steamed broccoli.

I felt SO HEALTHY after eating it, too.

Thing 6: It feels very virtuous to say “I’ve exercised and abstained from sugar ALL YEAR LONG.”

It feels less virtuous to be reminded that the year, so far, is only 5 days old.

Thing 7: I have an urgent and inexplicable craving for Brie. Wrapped in phyllo dough and crisped in the oven until the Brie oozes out the sides.

My friend better not say she’s ALSO giving up cheese.

 

 

How are your resolutions – or non-resolutions – coming so far, Internet?

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Favorite Posts of 2011

Internet, I did not write a whole lot in 2011. Nor did I read a lot. There was a lot of The Unbloggable going on, plus the whole Home Buying situation, plus lots of work travel and associated other busy-ness. Whine whine whine, excuse excuse excuse. I will try to be better, Internet! I really will!

Anyway, that means that I probably missed out on some of the very best things you wrote this year.

So I have a request: Will you please hop into the comments and give me a link to the best thing you wrote this year? Or a post where you had lots of interesting comments? Or a post that surprised you with its popularity?

If you are for some reason embarrassed to do this, I would also love to learn what OTHER blog posts were among your favorites this year.

I’m feeling very quid-pro-quo today, Internet, so I will leave you 5 of my favorite posts from this year – favorites because I was proud of the writing, or because I loved reading the comments, or because I find the topic really fascinating, or because I was surprised by how many people weighed in, or because I totally forgot I wrote the post in the first place.

And I will ALSO leave you 5 of my favorite posts from OTHER bloggers – favorites because they made me think or cry or laugh or all three. (IMPORTANT NOTE FOR NOT FEELING LEFT OUT PURPOSES: Let it be known that these are only a SMALL SELECTION, tiny really, of the blog posts I adored this year. An EENY MEENY sampling.)

Happy reading!


Posts I Read at LEAST Once This Past Year That You May Not Have Read But You Really Should Read

“They don’t need the bright side, they need the support.”Here We Go Again

“… one of my possibly-never-to-be-healed breaks is this dark abiding fear that one day my husband will decide I am too much.”Where the Catholic Sun Doth Shine

“If I could have you in my life for one more day, I would definitely, definitely spend that day naked and in coitus.”Hilarity in Shoes

“…underneath that there’s a deeper, and greater, fear: that even if I do manage to produce something I deem acceptable, that ultimately it’s meaningless in the end after all.”The Startup Wife

“I imagine unspooling, breaking open.”All & Sundry

“…grief hums in the background of my life, simultaneously silent and ear-splittingly loud.”Mommy Interrupted

“Poop in unexpected places.”Reading and Chickens

 

 

Posts I Wrote That You May Have Not Read the First Time Around

It will be this way again, but it won’t be this way forever.

In which a full ice tray is the key to a happy marriage.

The Things about you that aren’t really a big deal except that a few arsehats make you self-conscious about them.

How is it possible that any marriage works with such VAST DIFFERENCES between your family and your spouse’s?

What does it really mean to be happy?



Now it’s your turn Internet! Give me something good to read! (Um. Please.)

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(This yearly recap quiz originated with Linda of All & Sundry.)

 

Snow is falling gently outside my living room window, carpeting the lawn in my very own backyard. The year is winding down.

It was a good year in so many ways.  But overall I spent this year involved in many internal struggles. Struggling to match up who I thought I was with who I am; struggling to reconcile who I want to be with who I can be; struggling to maintain my own sense of safety and security in the face of uncertainty.

These past three months have been especially trying. I’ve felt unmoored in a lot of ways – caught up in forces I couldn’t control, battered on all sides, afraid of sinking.

But I’ve managed to still the seas – at least the internal ones – and I think I’ve (at least temporarily) found a way to feel okay in open water.

Anyway, I have squared my shoulders and I’m ready to march into 2012 and face whatever it has in store.  Before I do, I want to take a quick look at the past 12 months. Won’t you join me? (Here are links to round ups from last year and the year before.)

 

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Bought a house!

Decided to – eventually, mind you – have a baby!

 

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

As I say every year, I’m not much of a resolution person. But I do want to make a concerted effort to curb the worrying in 2012. Magical thinking does not prevent bad things from happening. But incessant anxiety does prevent you from really enjoying the good things when they happen.

On a more frivolous front, I also really want to learn how to bake a cake from scratch. A real cake – with layers and frosting.

 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Aside from Internet folks (who seem to produce some of the most beautiful babies in the world), not really!

 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Sadly, we lost my husband’s grandmother this year. She lived a long and full life, but death is never easy.

5. What countries did you visit?

As I did last year, I’d like to swap out “countries” for “states.” Because saying “none” is so sad.

California

Florida

Illinois

Maryland

Montana

New Jersey

New York

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Texas (for the first time ever!)

Virginia (for the first time ever!)

Wisconsin (for the first time ever!)

 

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

Security.

 

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

June 15 – the day my husband matched into his fellowship program!

October 14 – the day we closed on our house!

 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Writing over a check for half our savings and not keeling over, dead of a panic-induced heart attack.

9. What was your biggest failure?

My failure to keep stress and worry at bay.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Well, I had a few colds and a stomach flu or two… and I managed to boil my toe over Thanksgiving… but other than that, it was a remarkably healthy year!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

This house. I love it.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband’s. He surprises me constantly with his generosity of spirit and his depth of kindness. And his ability to understand me, to stick with me when I’m anxious and stretched thin, to hold me tightly and assure me that everything will be okay – well, it’s lovely.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I do not want to go here, Internet. Thinking about it just makes me… appalled and depressed.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Aside from boring things – like taxes, rent, down payment, loans, etc – most of our money went to… more boring stuff: travel for my husband’s fellowship interviews.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

If by “excited,” you mean “scared witless,” then it’s obvious: Buying a house!

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2011?

All of the Lights by Kanye West

Codex by Radiohead

Good Feeling by Flo Rida

Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO

Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People

Someone Like You by Adele

We Found Love by Rhianna

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Hmm. I’m not SAD. But I don’t feel as vividly HAPPY.

b) thinner or fatter? Thinner, by a very little bit.

c) richer or poorer? Poorer – buying a house tends to do that to a person!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Exercise. Cleaning. Being zen.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Fretting. Worrying. Stressing.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

In Florida with my in laws, eating beef tenderloin outside by the pool.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?

I fell in love with this house. I’m so glad we were meant to be together!

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Oooh! I usually have so many shows I love. But 2011 was the year I grew obsessed with The Closer and Brenda Lee Johnson. That show is SO GOOD. I caught up on the two episodes I missed over Christmas and I can’t believe I have to wait until the summer for the next six episodes! Nor can I believe that the series is coming to an end! SAD.

 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No, not that I can think of. I got frustrated with several people this year. Really frustrated. But I don’t think it ever edged over into hate.

 

24. What was the best book you read?

I didn’t read very many books this year – I fell far short of my 50-books goal. And when I took a look at my GoodReads list of books I’ve read this year… Well, there were several I can’t even remember reading.

But I DID read some really good ones.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Half Baked by Alexa Stevenson

Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls

Nurtureshock by Po Bronson

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

And, while I’m not quite finished with it yet, I am going to put The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht right at the top of the Best of 2011 books. I got it for Christmas and it is FANTASTIC.

 

25. What did you want and get?

A new house!

 

26. What did you want and not get?

I really wanted to get the house all painted and whipped into shape. HA. That did NOT happen.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

I don’t think I saw a film at all this year. At least, at the theatre. But I did enjoy Crazy, Stupid Love and Bridesmaids and the final Harry Potter movie.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned THIRTY this year! THIRTY! It still seems like an impossibly adult age, and I’ve spent much of the year reflecting on the nagging feeling that I should somehow BE more adult simply because of my age.

Anyway, my husband and I spent my birthday in Pittsburgh, where he was interviewing for a fellowship position. He set me up with a massage and a beautiful dinner and we had a lovely time together.  I still dislike Pittsburgh, though.

 

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I’d spent more time just enjoying life, rather than worrying about the future.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Pajama rama.

 

31. What kept you sane?

My husband. The internet. A dear blog friend who understands me more than I thought possible for a person I’ve never met.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Kristen Wiig. That woman is FUH-NEE.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

The Planned Parenthood debacle.

34. Who did you miss?

Strangely enough, the people I missed the most this year are some I’ve been working with for years. Because of some big changes earlier this year, I lost touch with several of them. And I’ve felt their absence in my life.

 

35. Who was the best new person you met?

The best new person I met was also through my work! She’s another freelancer who works with my top client, and she’s smart, talented, and extremely sweet. We clashed a little at first, but I’ve come to know her better – as a colleague and as a friend – and really like and respect her. I hope our relationship lasts for many years.

 

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

There will be a beneficial outcome. (I’m still trying to learn this one, every day.) As you know from reading this blog, I spend a lot of time looking inward. This year I dedicated even more mental energy than usual to looking at myself, analyzing what I do and why I act the way I do.  Shining that light on myself unearthed some unpleasant things. It’s not pleasant to look at yourself in the full glare of a bare bulb.  I have many flaws, I do. One of those flaws is that I sometimes can’t see my own strengths. If I focus more on those things that make me strong, good, capable – I think I can move forward with more courage, more hope, less fear.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“Turn up the lights in here baby. Extra bright – I want y’all to see this.” – Rhianna (“All of the Lights”)

Happy New Year, Internet!

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Well, Internet, it’s 2011.

I spent the last couple days of 2010 and the first few days of 2011 doping myself with Tylenol and amoxicillin, trying to kick a nasty case of strep throat. Basically, I rang in the New Year as a pathetic lump. A pathetic, whiny lump.

Let’s all hope that this isn’t a harbinger of things to come.

Anyway, it’s past due for my Traditional Year-End Round-Up. If you can call doing something twice in a row a “tradition.”

I had great fun reading through last year’s round-up and measuring it against 2010. Not as many life-changing things happened for me in 2010 – no moving, no name changes, no honeymoon. But I did a LOT of traveling this year, both physically and emotionally. And on that oblique note, let’s get to the Round Up…

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Weaseled my way into Joined a book club.

Traveled to Napa for a girls’ weekend.

Went to Palm Springs.

Went to Asheville, North Carolina. (Which I have an entire, picture-filled post about that, due to “technical difficulties,” I have NOT posted. SIGH. Just pretend you read it, okay?)

Gave a business presentation to a group of 10 people.

Went to an NFL game.

Made Thanksgiving dinner from scratch.

Held a baby.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I’m not a big New Year’s resolutions type person. So… I didn’t make any and I didn’t keep any. I did, however, achieve my goal of making Thanksgiving dinner. (I have a bad feeling that this survey is going to involve a lot of references to Turkey Day.)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Oh my yes! One of my husband’s groomsmen had a baby boy… Two close college friends had their second baby girl… A high school friend had a baby boy… A high school friend of my husband’s had a baby boy… A couple we recently met had a baby boy… A childhood friend had a baby girl… Another childhood friend had a baby boy… A bloggy friend had a baby girl… And many other bloggers I read religiously have also had adorable children, I suspect primarily so I can visit their blogs and coo over the cute little cheeks.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. Thank the good Lord for that.

5. What countries did you visit?

Sadly, I did not leave the country this year. Not like I leave the country regularly, or anything. I mean, I’m no globetrotter.

However, I have been to the following states this year – some of them multiple times:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia

That’s got to count for SOMETHING, right?

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Same answer as last year (apparently simply writing it down and posting it on one’s blog doesn’t make it magically appear): Thinner thighs.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The strep throat or possibly the Tylenol are making my mind very fuzzy Internet. Not good for an end-of-year recap post. But I’m having trouble coming up with specific dates.

So let’s say the big ones: My husband’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas – all great days.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Making Thanksgiving dinner – from scratch – with only one incident involving acrid smoke.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I didn’t exercise as much as I planned and wanted to.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

2010 was The Year of Food Poisoning, where I wound up curled into a shivering ball on the bathroom floor not once but twice. Lovely.

And, of course, it ended with me lying on the bathroom floor in a shivering ball. Because my brand of strep begins with a fever and vomiting. Lovely. Let’s hope that 2011 brings me a stronger immune system.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Tickets – plane tickets to see my parents and my in-laws last February and experience a wonderful two-week vacation… Plane tickets to Napa to spend a weekend with three high school friends… And tickets to a football game for my husband’s 30th birthday.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband’s. He is so incredibly busy at work, and yet he always – always – makes time for me. This year has been tough in many ways, and he was always there to offer his level-headed, logical opinion… To give me a shoulder to cry on… To hold me… And to make me laugh. I am so very lucky to have him in my life.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

This is a loaded question this year. So I’m going to say… The behavior of people on airplanes appalled me. For the love of god, put your carry-on suitcase in the bin the RIGHT WAY so that there’s room for other people’s stuff.

I swear, the instant people set foot in an airport, they seem to forget that there’s anybody else in the universe. BLECH.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel, definitely! Which is a good thing!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The two vacations we took this year. Both were AMAZING.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2009?

Runaway by Kanye West

Love the Way You Lie by Eminem, featuring Rhianna

Teenage Dream by Katy Perry

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Hmm. I’d say that this year held sadness and happiness in equal portions… So I’m probably at about the same level I was last January. Maybe a measure sadder. But I think I’m less lonely than I was last year, so that’s good too!
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner! Okay, so I’m only thinner by a few pounds. But it’s something!

c) richer or poorer? Richer!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Well, I wish I’d exercised more. I wish I’d been more giving. I wish I’d done more writing for myself. And I wish I’d done more socializing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With my husband, my parents, my brother, and the dog and cat! It was a fabulous Christmas!

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

No. But I did fall MORE in love with my husband. It was a different sort of year than our first year of marriage – not quite as exciting and new. But I learn more about my husband and how smart and strong and kind he is every day. My love for him grows and grows.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I can never pick just one! Mad Men… The Good Wife… The Big Bang Theory… Blue Bloods… Dexter… Friday Night Lights… The Office… Parenthood… All great shows!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope!

24. What was the best book you read?

I read over 30 books in 2010; a lot of them were great reads. But I think the best book I read was Incendiary by Chris Cleave.

25. What did you want and get?

A watch! I mentioned it in passing to my husband a long time ago, and he surprised me on Christmas with a beautiful watch.

Cute shirts!

Cute bracelets!

A warm, cozy bathrobe!

26. What did you want and not get?

A pedometer. But really, if someone had given me a pedometer as my big Christmas gift, I might have been disappointed. It’s hard to get really excited over something that measures your footsteps.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Social Network. Possibly because it was the only non-3D film I saw in the theaters this year and automatically gets an extra gazillion points just for that.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29 in 2010, and it was the best birthday I’ve had in YEARS. My birthday fell on a day during our fabulous two-week vacation last spring. My parents went ALL OUT and we not only got to ski on my birthday, but they took me out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in all the lands. PLUS they showered me with presents.

And THEN we went to California for a week with my in-laws… And in honor of my birthday, they took me to a beautiful spa for lunch and a massage and my mother-in-law bought me adorable red sandals. Then we went out to dinner at a delicious restaurant.

Such a great birthday!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

The ability to switch off my brain when it goes into Worry Mode.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

All about comfort.

31. What kept you sane?

My husband and my mother.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Eminem.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

34. Who did you miss?

My brother.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

I’d have to say my book club girls, collectively. They are all super friendly and fun and I look forward to our book club sessions every month.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

I worry too much.  And worrying doesn’t help ANYTHING. (Although I knew that before.)

Also, that an iPad may be cool, but I don’t really see its usefulness. Seriously.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now.” – Airplanes by B.O.B.

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