Year in Review: 2018

Look, we’re two full weeks into the new year and I’m sure no one cares. However, I have not missed a year of this annual survey since I started it in 2007 so buckle up!

Previous years’ answers are available here: (200720082009201020112012201320142015, 2016, 2017). Over time I have modified and  deleted some of the original questions, but here’s what I’m working with this year:

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

I wore a bikini in public, made a child’s Halloween costume, joined a running team, and started an SSRI.

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

Last year, I wrote that I’d like to: “Get a general practitioner so I can stop going to urgent care, spend less on frivolous purchases. Keep up my yoga practice. Race in another 5K and a 10K, as I’m now in a new age group!” And although I didn’t think of it as an official resolution, I decided that my leisure reading would only include books by women authors. I did really well on these!

For this year, I don’t have a real resolution. I am going to sprinkle a few monthly challenges into my year, including Dry January (currently going on right now, yay?), a month of daily blog posting, a no-spend month, a run streak month, a decluttering month, and more to be determined later. My leisure reading will focus on the voices of women, people of color, and LGBTQ writers.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! Lots of internet ladies and a few work friends. So many little babies I need to hug.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not this year.

5. What places did you visit?

Atlanta (shopping), New Orleans (for a ladies’ weekend WHICH WAS AMAZING), Iowa (family visit), St. Louis (quick friend visit on the way home from Iowa), and Florida (family Christmas visit). I think that was it?

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

I’ll repeat last year’s answer, which is still true: “A sane president, mainly. I would also appreciate more time alone and a more organized house.”

7. What days from 2018 will you always remember?

Nothing comes to mind as I sit here. I may think of a day later, but if I do, it wouldn’t really qualify as a day I’ll “always remember,” so.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Figuring out that my overwhelming anger might be a symptom of anxiety. This was news to me! I hadn’t been feeling “anxious,” but whaddayaknow? Anti-anxiety meds made me significantly less angry. I mean, I still have swarms of bees coming out of my mouth on a daily fucking basis, but life is better.

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9. What was your biggest failure?

Healthy eating continues to be a struggle, as I mentioned last year, but I feel like I have improved my thinking on this front. I don’t feel like I had any “failures” this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had some back problems off and on this year, which are awful when they surface, but I am doing better with strength exercises that really help. My biggest health issue was in October — STOP READING IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH — a spider bite (?) I acquired on a trip to the pumpkin patch that became infected and developed a huge, painful, horrifying abscess on the back of my leg. The doctor, ahem, took care of it for me and did a bacterial culture and it turned out to be MRSA and long story short, I still do not feel clean.  Thanks for nothing, festive fall family activities.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My trip to NOLA was pretty amazing. And daycare.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mine, frankly.

13. Where did most of your money go?

Daycare. I’ll just keep repeating this answer every year until they start kindergarten.

14. What did you get really excited about?

Traveling with my BFFs, having our new friends move onto our cul-de-sac two doors down, and running a fast (for me) 10K in November.

15. What song will always remind you of 2018?

Not a new song, but Lil Mama’s “Lip Gloss” got a lot of play on my running mix.

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

a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Same.
c) richer or poorer? Same.

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

Socializing with local friends.

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

Eating my feelings.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

We spent the week-ish before Christmas visiting with family in Florida. My in-laws have a place there and the rest of the family came down and stayed in a nearby hotel. It was stormy the entire time, so we spent a lot of the trip indoors (or driving through insane rain and winds to visit an aquarium). For the actual holiday, we were back home with just the four of us. The kids can talk and ask more questions about Santa this year, and they were absolutely ALL IN on the Christmas magic, which was pretty great.

20. What was your favorite TV program?

I continued to love The Great British Baking Show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Good Place. I also enjoyed Marcella, Jack Ryan, Atlanta, and Mindhunter, which were new ones for me this year. Very excited for Game of Thrones to make its return soon!

21. What was the best book you read?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Just perfection.

Here are some other highlights from this year, which was entirely devoted to reading women’s words:

  • Hunger – Roxane Gay
  • The Turner House – Angela Flournoy
  • The Wangs vs the World – Jade Chang
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – Michelle McNamara
  • The After Party – Anton DiSclafani
  • The Witch Elm – Tana French
  • Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith
  • Why I Wake Early – Mary Oliver

22. What music did you get excited about?

Far too little. I kind of shifted from music to podcasts for most of my listening time this year. So…my favorite podcasts from the year were My Favorite Murder, The Ali on the Run Show, and The Popcast with Knox and Jamie.

23. What did you want and get?

Democrats in the House!

24. What did you want and not get?

Impeachment.

25. What was your favorite film of this year?

I saw and enjoyed: Black Panther, A Quiet Place, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I also saw a lot of movies I didn’t enjoy all that much and, I’m sure, many I’ve completely forgotten! No standout favorites this year.

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

Went with the family to Krispy Kreme on the way to work/school, ran 12K (an almost-yearly tradition on my birthday) and got a manicure. My in-laws arrived that afternoon to spend a couple of days with us on their way down to Florida, so we had pizza and cupcakes that night. I turned 41.

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

Lots of skinny jeans with blazers, for some reason.

28. What kept you sane?

Last year I wrote, “Coffee, running, and Twitter,” which is still true. This year I’ll add C3l3xa to that list.

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

I very much enjoy Celeste Ng not only for her novels but also on Twitter. Anna Friel. Still Lin Manuel Miranda.

30. What political issue stirred you the most?

What didn’t?! Jesus, what an absolute trashfire. But probably children in cages at the border. That, probably. I mean, unless it was Brett Motherfucking Kavanaugh. #angrybees

31. Who was the best new person you met?

I feel like I’m forgetting someone, but nobody stands out? Eeep.

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

Take that spider bite to the doctor POSTHASTE.

And, as I say every year, qui patitur vincit.

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

Not sure I have a song lyric this year. How about a lyric poem? This may be more “aspirational” than summative, but here you go:

 

“I Worried”

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

— Mary Oliver

What’s Going On

Fall semester starts today, technically, but for me it starts tomorrow. I’m in back-to-school mode, which is one of the best modes of all. I love the start of a new school year, don’t you?

Here’s what’s been happening this spring and summer:

I went to New Orleans with my BFFs! we all turned 40 this year, so we decided to ring in the new decade with a ladies’ trip. We rented a lovely and perfect house on the bayou where we could hang out at night listening to the noises of the wildlife or relaxing in the hot tub. In town, we ate all the delicious food and drank all the beautiful drinks and had generally an amazing time. We need to do this every year now.

My kiddos started a new daycare/preschool. They started attending at the beginning of the summer, during the “summer camp” mode, which meant they got to have splash days and popsicles on Fridays and they loved it. Now the daycare’s new preschool year has started and E&L moved up to a new class and started taking Gymnastics (they offer classes as part of the preschool extracurriculars) and it feels like basically the next time I turn around they’ll be off to college. They’re doing wonderfully. They’re mostly daytime potty trained at this point now, too — one twin completely; the other uses a pull-up at naptime — and that’s probably not something I’ll write much more about here on the wide-open internet, but suffice it to say: YAY.

We took our summer road trip to Iowa to visit my in-laws and survived the long days in the car thanks to my iPad and Netflix’s selection of animated movies available for offline viewing. The kids had a blast playing on the farm and riding all the various farm vehicles with Papa.

I’ve been reading exclusively women writers this year, and although there are a couple of books on my shelf waiting for when the man-ban is lifted, it’s been completely refreshing. These are a few of my favorites so far.

So what’s new with you?

Gin Me

Last night I:

Got approximately zero sleep due to a sick, sad, and restless toddler who turned out to have an ear infection.

Spent some unknown number of hours cuddling said toddler on the futon in his room trying to get him to let me put him down in his bed.

Finally convinced him that I needed to leave the room “to go potty,” which he accepted. (Him: “Pee? Potty? Pee-poop-pee! PEEEEEE?!”)

Today I:

Forgot to put on shoes before I left the house and realized when dropping the well toddler at daycare that I was still wearing my slippers, so I had to make an emergency stop at Target before school.

Found out my fly was unzipped in between classes.

Left work early to come home and take care of my sick Buddy so CW could get some of his work done.

Ate chips and salsa for lunch and a piece of leftover apple pie as “lunch dessert.”

Watched like four episodes of Daniel Tiger.

Had to have a long spousal discussion about who stays home when a child is sick.

Perfect Little Convergence

Thanksgiving weekend is a perfect little convergence: you have Thanksgiving leftovers commingling with new Christmas trees and decorations, Christmas music, etc. I had a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich for lunch (cranberry sauce is key) and later a slice of pumpkin pie while admiring our newly lit and decorated tree. What a life!

By Late November, we finally get some colder weather and colorful leaves, so it was a lovely day to go to the park with the kids and hike the trails, slide the slide, and ride the bee.

This afternoon, we put up Christmas decorations! I’ve been so looking forward to it.

Because the kids are basically two tornadoes of destruction, we used only non-glass ornaments this year and let them “help” us decorate the tree. It was so much fun. And also really difficult and short lived. (Is that how life is now?)

Never mind. The look on their faces when we lit up the tree is worth everything. I also hung up all my magical paper snowflake garlands* after they went to bed– they’re all over the house and I can’t wait to see what E&L think of them tomorrow morning.

*ICYMI I basically am Buddy the Elf.

Little Updates

I finished season 1 of The Good Place, and if you were placing bets on when my husband would drop out, I think he made it through episode 11 of 13. I really loved it!

We are now watching The New Girl as our together show — I’m pleasantly surprised that CW is enjoying it!

The kiddos slept until 6:00 today and everyone was SO much happier. Thank goodness. I don’t in any way assume that our early mornings are over, so instead I’m treating this as a special little gift and appreciating it all the more.

This may warrant a full post, but the big question arose in our household yet again this year of whether mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes would be too many potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. There is a correct answer.

Tomorrow, I am off work but the kids have daycare. I call that a perfect storm of awesomeness. What should I do with myself?!

Sunday Run Day and Other Mischief

The children are currently supposed to be napping but are very much awake, romping around in their cribs, throwing their stuffed animals out, and clearly conspiring. I can’t even blame the time change, because with Fall Back, they should want to nap, not be extra wakeful. I checked Swistle’s guide and everything. Harumpf.

One child (I’ll let you guess who) woke for the day at 4:45 this morning, so it already feels like I’ve been awake for like three days right now.

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Looking for beep-beeps, woof-woofs, and meow-meows.

Stuff I have done: 4-mile double stroller run, 2 loads of laundry, cleaned out fridge, load of dishes, and a whole-family trip to the grocery store to pick up our week’s worth of food. I am tired. Let’s just say that today has already involved a lot of Daniel Tiger and is sure to continue in the same vein.

On a good note, it is pizza night and I am making homemade pizza tonight, with Field Roast, which is THE BEST. Highly recommended, even for non vegetarians. This week I’m also trying a crock-pot Mexican corn chowder recipe (which is new to me so if it turns out good, I will share) and a big pot of chana masala. Hello, comfort foods.

Scorpions and Toddler Conversations

Thing I learned today: there is a scorpion emoji.

Another, related thing I learned today: there was a scorpion in my bathroom.

I say “was” there because the scorpion is no longer in my bathroom. I smashed it with a Birkenstock and flushed it down the toilet because women get shit done. Also because there was no one else home. We’ve been intending to get some professional exterminator service going for our house, but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet because, you know, twin toddlers and full-time jobs. Well, who needs the professionals when we’ve got me and my Birkenstocks? Seriously, though, the pros are called and are coming. If I never see another goddamned motherfucking scorpion in my goddamned motherfucking bathroom again, it will be too soon.

In other exciting developments, L finally has a recognizable, consistently used word in his repertoire: hi. He loves to wave and say hi to people, dogs, and even his favorite tree, the enormous weeping willow at the end of our street. All are worthy of a friendly greeting from Buddy. I love it.

E has had a few words for a while now, mostly dada, uh-oh, ball, bye-bye, and, occasionally (but not often), mama. Since having their ear tubes placed about 6 weeks ago, we know they can both hear well again and they’re starting to talk more as a result, which is so fun. L “talks,” babbling-style, all day long, just chattering on to us about everything that goes on. Of course, we can’t really understand him at all, but he has the cadence and tone of real conversation down! E loves to point things out and have us identify them by name, while she pays careful attention. They both especially love to notice, point out, and have us identify all kinds of animals. It’s really fun to watch them learn.

Do you think they will understand if we tell them to stay out of mama and dada’s bathroom because there are goddamned motherfucking scorpions in there?