Happy new year! As you might know, this means it’s time once again for the great New Year’s blog survey, which I originally got from Sundry and have been doing for several years now (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). I usually enjoy doing this survey with a glass of champagne in hand, on New Year’s Eve or thereabouts. Unfortunately, I dilly-dallied around this year and am now filling it out on January 2nd, which means I have nothing but water and salad in my life like some horribly clichéd January dieter. Guilty as charged. Champagne, maybe we will meet again in February. My grumpily sober answers await you:
1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
I visited a few places I’d never been, got a new and exciting sports injury, and — for the first time ever — peed on a stick hoping to see two lines. Quite a different feeling from fearing the two lines, isn’t it?
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Lasy year, I wrote: “I plan to do Project 365 again (a photo a day all year), make more time for writing (some here, some in my journal, some academic), and train for and run a full marathon.”
HA. A HA HA HA. A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Phew. I did most of Project 365, but lost steam near the end of the year. I haven’t yet uploaded and numbered my photos from the last month or two, and I’m certain I missed some days. I’m afraid to look, actually. I did maybe make slightly more time for writing, but not consistently. The full marathon was completely off the table after another round of PT for my hip and then the whole TTC thing. So, a big fat D+ for me on those plans.
This year, I’m not going to make any specific resolutions. I am going to do some thinking about the intentions I want to have for the year, which I’ll probably reflect on and write about here soon.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! One of my local friends had a baby this summer — I took photos. Many of my online friends had babies, too, and many are pregnant at the moment. Babies all around.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What places did you visit?
Athens & a few islands, Greece; Rome and Florence, Italy; Atlanta, GA; Kingsport, Knoxville, and Nashville, TN; Charleston, SC; and Richmond, VA; St. Louis, MO; Omaha, NE; Sioux Falls, SD; Delaware County, IA.
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
I would like to buy a house (we plan to start looking this spring) and get pregnant/have a baby.
7. What days from 2014 will you always remember?
Our entire trip to Europe, I think. November 1st, when my BFF got married. September 19th, for good, but unbloggable reasons. Christmas Eve, for bad and unbloggable reasons.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Would we call gaining 12 pounds during the months of November and December a great achievement? No? Hmm. I had some good things happen with my teaching this year, so let’s say that, then.
9. What was your biggest failure?
This is the first year that I set out to do Project365 and did not (I think) complete it. I still have to check my photo stream and camera roll to be sure, but I am almost certain I failed it. I feel kind of bad about that.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got two colds this year after a several-year streak of being free from colds and other sickness. The most recent one lasted for over two weeks! I’m sure you recall my endless whining about it, as it had the indecency to fall during NaBloPoMo and I had nothing else to write about. I also learned I have only one open/functioning fallopian tube, so that was fun news. But here’s the best one: I am pretty sure the shoulder pain that has gotten worse instead of better over the last 6 months is a torn rotator cuff, which may necessitate surgery. WTF, body? GET IT TOGETHER.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Tickets to Greece and Italy, my new car, my iPad mini, my winter coat.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Everyone who supported and helped Hugo, Marianne, and family. This just really gave me hope for humanity in general. Marianne, Hugo’s mom, has been so incredibly strong through all of this, too. If you don’t know all about Hugo, check out that Facebook page. The kid is amazing.
13. Where did most of your money go?
Other than general overhead, I suppose, it mostly went to the trip and to my new car. Both totally worth it.
14. What did you get really excited about?
Traveling, trying to conceive, my BFF’s wedding, the new Tana French book.
15. What song will always remind you of 2014?
“Fancy,” “All About that Bass,” and “What if I was Willing” were all heavy hitters on my running playlist this year. Don’t be intimidated by my impeccably hip taste.
16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Less happy, but I wouldn’t say I’m “sad,” exactly.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. Hoo boy. The holiday bloat reached new levels this year.
c) richer or poorer? The same, except I have more debt now (thanks to having to buy a new car). So, poorer, I guess.
I…I think I basically just answered “sadder, fatter, poorer” to those. Fucking hell.
17. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing. Same as last year, I think. Let’s see if I can do something about that this year.
18. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Obsessing over TTC stuff and reading message boards. This way lies insanity.
19. How did you spend Christmas?
CW and I went up to Iowa to spend the holiday with his family again, but this year, we got there a little differently. We spent one night along the way in St. Louis, specifically so we could see the movie Foxcatcher on it’s limited-release opening weekend. The next night, we stopped in Omaha and spent the night with my BIL and his girlfriend, visiting a couple of breweries. Then, we went up to Sioux Falls to spend two days with CW’s two BFFs from college and their families. From there, we drove to his parents’ farm in Iowa where we stayed for the rest of the trip. Our stay there involved an awesome night of caroling, a lot of family get togethers, and plenty of time spent playing games and watching movies. It was relaxing and lovely. But I’m happy to be back home.
20. What was your favorite TV program?
I’m trying to think about what I’ve been watching. This Fall season was all about Nashville and How to Get Away with Murder. Earlier in the year, the standouts were Game of Thrones and Hannibal. I’ve also re-watched quite a bit of Gilmore Girls, all of Buffy, and the first three seasons of Friday Night Lights (which I’ll get back to soon). Hard to pick a favorite, but I’m leaning toward Hannibal. That show is so messed up and beautiful and weird and creepy. I love it.
21. What was the best book you read?
Here are my favorites, in the order that I read them:
The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
Chase Us, Sean Ennis
Attachments, Rainbow Rowell
The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith
The Secret Place, Tana French
The Circle, Dave Eggers
I also re-read all seven Harry Potter books, but I’m not counting re-reads for the purposes of this question. It’s not hard for me to narrow down a favorite here: Donna Tartt whooped everybody’s ass this year.
22. What music did you get excited about?
The new Jenny Lewis album, Vagabond.
The new Decemberists album, What a Beautiful World, What a Terrible World, which technically hasn’t come out yet, but I love the first single, “Make You Better”:
23. What did you want and get?
A fabulous honeymoon, a successful experience teaching in an experimental setting, an iPad, a generally happy year.
24. What did you want and not get?
25. What was your favorite film of this year?
Here’s what I saw in the theater: The new X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, Gone Girl, Foxcatcher, The Hobbit: Journey or Battle of Whatever. I liked Gone Girl best of all these.
Of movies I watched at home, I also really liked Much Ado About Nothing (the Joss Whedon one), American Hustle, The Grand Budapest Hotel, About Time, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Inside Llewyn Davis.
I hated The Master, FYI. Paul Thomas Anderson, please, for the love, SETTLE DOWN.
26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I ran a solo 12K, proctored a final exam, had a happy hour drink with my friend B., went out to dinner with my husband, and ended the night with champagne and gelato at home. I turned 37.
27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
How many ways can I find to wear leggings instead of real pants?
28. What kept you sane?
Coffee. Bourbon. Cooking. Twitter.
(Same answer as last year.)
29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I don’t feel really strongly about anyone in particular. I still like Cumberbatch. Mads Mikkelsen is fascinating, but not in a crush-type way. I just am intrigued by him.
30. What political issue stirred you the most?
The discussions of rape culture, feminism, and racism that have been happening this year have been pretty important, I think.
31. Who was the best new person you met?
I met a few new people outside my normal colleague circle and got to know others a bit better, which has all been for the good.
32. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
No matter how much you know and how much you can read and learn, you still can’t control certain aspects of your life.
And, as I say every year, qui patitur vincit.
33. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I don’t wanna bore you with how I feel,
but when the walls came down, the shit got real.
I never thought I would ever be here,
looking out on my life as if there was no there there.
There’s a little bit of magic, everybody has it
There’s a little bit of sand left in the hourglass.
My own mortality, I contemplated;
Down in the valley I got hypnotized.
It left a mark that hasn’t faded.
That’s when I realized:
There’s a little bit of magic, everybody has it
There’s a little bit of sand left in the hourglass
There’s a little bit of magic, everybody has it
There’s a little bit of fight left in the end.
— Jenny Lewis, “Head Underwater”