Posts Tagged ‘I can’t believe this is the tenth time I’ve written this recap’

Our Christmas decorations have mostly been put away. The guest room and bathroom have been cleaned and all the laundry has been laundered. My husband and I have thoroughly organized our wrapping paper mess, I have cleaned out the shelving unit in the basement, and I have purchased new bins for Carla’s craft cabinet. Our home, if not the year ahead, is ready to be filled with great things. What better way to cap an excellent end to the year than with this annual bloggy tradition? (Autocorrect wanted to change “bloggy” to “bloody” which makes me giggle.)

And guess what, internet? This is the TENTH RECAP I’ve written in the history of this little blog! That seems like… something, right?

So settle in for… well, for more of the same, if you’ve been around for any of the previous recaps. However, just for a little change of pace, I have finally done away with all the questions that have irritated me for the past DECADE, so you have that to look forward to. (Don’t worry, I kept the original survey mostly intact, just with the offending questions struckthrough [strikedthrough? strikethroughed?] because I am nothing if not tethered to tradition.)

(Why don’t I just come up with some questions I WANT to answer? Would that be so hard, Self? NO, no it would not!) (And yet, will I come up with new questions? Probably not.) (Sheesh, I am so powerless to Tradition. This is the way I’ve always done it, therefore this is the way it should be done for all eternity!) (Also, am a teensy bit lazy.) (Do YOU have questions you want me to answer?)

(This yearly recap originated with Linda of All & SundryIf you’re so inclined, you can read past versions of my responses: 201720162015201420132012201120102009.)

And do post a link to your end-of-year round-up when you get a chance, will you?

  • What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Well, the only thing I can think of for this response is that we did our estate planning. Which isn’t a particularly exciting accomplishment, but I suppose it’s worthwhile. Oh! I also went to Alaska, which is quite possibly a Once In A Lifetime sort of a trip.

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

Last year, I said:

I did NOT finish the novel. I did NOT find a way to speed up the process. In fact, I became mired deeply in the realization that this part of it is Slow Going. But [finishing the novel] is a good goal to put back on the list.

Also, I want to work on my patience, especially when it comes to my husband and my daughter. I want to work on exercising more regularly, because it greatly improves my mental health. I want to work on eating better. I want to read more.

I did NOT finish the novel in 2018. But I made some good progress, and I am plugging ahead. Maybe 2019 is The Year.

I think I made some good steps towards more patience, although I still have a long way to go. I definitely succeeded at exercising more regularly and eating better (well, for MOST of the year; there were a few months in there where I simply ate whatever I wanted in mass quantities). And I read the most books I have ever managed in a single year (31). That’s nothing compared to other people, but it’s a big one for me.

As for 2019, I have decided to make some very specific goals, which I hope means they are easier to accomplish.

  1. I want to learn German. Maybe not fluent German, which seems like quite a stretch. Especially for someone who took four years of high school French and another year in college and never actually learned more than basic vocabulary. But I want to learn enough that I don’t feel like a complete floundering oaf when I visit Munich and Vienna later this year.
  2. I want to finally, after seven plus years in this house, hang up the gallery wall that I’ve been planning to do. All of the photos and artwork exist, in frames, in my basement. The lovely blank wall is just sitting there, ready for decoration. I just need to DO IT.
  3. Last year, I lost 10+% of my body weight. And then gained it all back. I would like to do the former again without the latter.
  4. I want to cut back on the amount of time I spend on my phone. My Reach Goal is to put my phone in my bedroom when I arrive home with Carla after school and not touch it until I set my alarm before bed. But I’d be happy to just keep it out of my hands until she goes to bed.
  5. I want to invite friends over for dinner. I ENJOY this. But I always think about it and then never invite anyone over and they magically never invite themselves, so I am going to remedy that.

That seems like a good place to start. The bigger goals are in play, too – let’s not forget about patience and quality time and THE NOVEL. But throwing in a few specifics shouldn’t hurt.

  • Where did you travel this year? (This is my own interpretation of a question I could never answer which was How many countries did you visit this year?)

This year, I visited six states besides my own: Alaska, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and my home state out west.

  • What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

I am a broken record about this, but A FULLY DRAFTED NOVEL.

  • What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I think I’m going to delete this one from future years’ surveys because I can rarely remember any specific dates. I mean, there was my tenth wedding anniversary, which is pretty special.  And my fifteenth college reunion was pretty cool. My kid turning five. My brother getting married. There were really great occurrences this year, but the specific dates aren’t really lodged in my brain, is what I’m saying.

  • What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I don’t think I have particularly BIG achievements. I was proud of the freelance work I completed. I made a photo/memory album for my mom’s seventieth birthday, which I felt great about (and which seemed well-received by my mom). I read more than 30 books (this is a LOT for me). Nothing earth shattering, though.

  • What was your biggest failure?

What I have said the past two years applies here:

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?

Also, I made some really great progress toward physical goals – more exercise, better/healthier eating habits – and then I erased my efforts by returning to lackluster exercising and lustful overeating, which I’d really worked to defeat. Well. Onward.

  • Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thankfully, nope.

  • What was the best thing you bought?

I have no idea. The Barbie Dreamhouse we got Carla for Christmas? That seems to be a big hit.

  • Whose behavior merited celebration?

Last year, I said:

Every year I think it’s the same, so maybe this question should go on the reject list.

So I am officially erasing this question.

  • Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
  • Where did most of your money go?
  • What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I think the most exciting things that happened this year were the big surprise birthday weekend my dad and aunts put on for my mom’s birthday and my college reunion. I got super excited about both of them, and both turned out to be even more fun than I’d anticipated.

  • What song(s) will always remind you of 2018?

“SoulMate” by Justin Timberlake

“God’s Plan” by Drake

“Feels Like Summer” by Childish Gambino

“Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse Theme Song” by someone who knows the true meaning of “earworm”

  • Compared to this time last year, are you:
  1. a) happier or sadder? 
  2. b) thinner or fatter? 
  3. c) richer or poorer? 
  • What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing (evergreen item)!!! Keeping up with out-of-state friends. Doing fun things with Carla outside the house. Going on dates with my husband.

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

Same as last year: Yelling. Looking at my phone. Looking at headlines and freaking out. Stressing about things I have no control over.

  • How did you spend Christmas?

Carla and my husband and I had a quiet Christmas just the three of us. We opened presents, Carla played with her new Barbies and Dreamhouse happily as my husband and I cooked dinner together. There was a tiny bit of leftover snow outside. Our tree was lovely. It was quiet and very very nice.

  • Did you fall in love in 2018?
  • What was your favorite (new) TV program?

Oh, how I love television!!! I re-watched the entire series of The Closer, which I absolutely adore. But this question is about NEW television. The Good Place is probably the top of the list, but I also really, really enjoyed How to Get Away with Murder, which I know came out many years ago but is brand new to me. I also watched Silicon Valley for the first time, which is a fun show. And I really enjoyed The Sinner as well. There are probably a lot more I should be remembering but I can’t think of any.

  • Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
  • What was the best book you read?

Best book of the year was The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. It was lyrical and funny and heart-rending and I loved it so much.

A very close runner up would have to be The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel, which was a perfect collection of short stories. The language was so beautifully crafted and the stories were so surprising and tightly drawn.

Then The North Water by Ian McGuire, which was on a subject I did not know I cared for (maritime disasters!) and the plot was lively, the language was vivid, and the whole thing was full of fascinating historical detail.

I also really enjoyed History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert,and The Line That Held Us by David Joy – each of which had a LOT to recommend it, from great plot to beautiful writing to thought provoking subject matter and complicated characters.

  • What did you want and get?

Freelance assignments from great clients. Really fun vacations. Wonderful new experiences – I mean, Alaska on its own was absolutely amazing. Lots of really fantastic quality time with my husband and Carla.

  • What did you want and not get?

Second verse, same as the first:

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

Also, the ability to overcome my desire to eat anything I want in mass quantities and instead find some way to consistently eat reasonable amounts of (mainly) healthful food.

  • What was your favorite film of this year?

Um. Did I see any movies? I remember really wanting to see The Big Sick and Crazy Rich Asiansbut I didn’t actually see either. My husband and I did take Carla to see The Grinch, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

  • What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
  • 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 2018?

I think I spent most of the year in skinny jeans and boots. That counts as a fashion “concept,” right?

  • What kept you sane?

My husband. Exercise. Books. Recipe blogs. Writing partners. Alone time. Good TV.

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

Kristin Bell in The Good Place is my everything.

  • What political issue stirred you the most?
  • Who did you miss?

Same as last year:

I have had a lot of serious loneliness for some of my good friends who don’t live in my state. My best friend from forever, who lives two time zones away. My dear friend from medical school (not that she or I actually went to medical school; our husbands did) who has two beautiful daughters and a wonderful husband and who is, herself, fantastic. I wish they lived nearer. Some college friends I miss.

  • Who was the best new person you met?

I met a new mom this fall who is super smart and fun and engaging. I hope we hang out more in 2019. Also, my husband and I met another couple recently who seem super cool.

  • Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

I took on a lot more freelance work in 2018 than I have since I started writing the novel, which had two results: 1. I had less time for my personal writing, which is Bad. 2. I had a greater sense of accomplishment and contribution to my household, which is Good. So… I guess my life lesson is that sometimes your desires and your needs are in direct conflict with one another, and you have to find a workable balance.

  • Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Everyone’s excited / You’re always invited / To the Dreamhouse / Oh the Dreamhouse!

Happy New Year, Internet! I hope your 2019 is amazing!

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