Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 In Review

Oh hey, this is fun.  For me, anyways.  I've always been a sucker for polls, surveys, and quizzes.  I'm stealing this one from Rage Against the Minivan's Kristen, who stole it from  All & Sundry’s blog. 

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Planned and carried off kids' birthday parties, including homemade cakes.  Linden had homemade cupcakes and a bowling party, then homemade cheesecake at the family party.  Oak had a cheesecake sampler bought for his party at a--I don't even know what to call it.  They serve pizza and have this huge climbing structure for kids.  Then I made, per his specific request, a "vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and strawberry filling" for the family party.   It was topped with fresh strawberries that I got for free, because when I tried to buy them at a farm stand, it turned out it was also the owner's husband's birthday, so she gave them to us as a gift.  

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't do New Year's Resolutions.  I'm tempted to try that thing all over Pinterest where you keep a jar with notes of good memories throughout 2014 to read next New Year's Eve. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My oldest nephew and his wife had their first baby, a lovely little girl named Olivia.  So I'm now a great-aunt.  Freaky.  Two friends also had babies.  One had her first, and named him Charles David, which is my dad's name.  (Coincidence.)  The other had her second, a boy.  Given that this time last year their 2 year old was in the hospital with brain cancer, it's all amazing and good at their house.  

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.  My dad gave us a few scares, but made it through another year.  This makes 3 since mom died--we seriously doubted he'd survive that first year.  My sister's marriage has been dead for years, but they finally addressed it and separated. 

5. What countries did you visit?
Ha.  Ha, ha, ha.  I believe we drove twenty miles into the next state a few times for Lithuanian dance practice.  

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
More time in nature.  More time with my dad.  More weekends out of town.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
We celebrated those birthdays with our kids for the first time on April 17 and June 3rd.  Also, not a specific date, but in early September, my husband was hired as a winemaker after five years of un- and under-employment. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting up enough courage to talk to my doctor about my rages despite the intense shame. 
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being Karyn Purvis.  Just today I got sucked into STUPID power struggles with both kids at different times, and lost my temper completely with my son. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing significant.  Linden had pneumonia and the Winemaker had mono, so I was fine with missing out on both of those.  

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My mother-in-law gave me a birthday check, and I spent it on a French Press, super cute pot holders, and a great pair of black boots that I found at Goodwill for eight bucks.  Eight bucks!  All of those items still give me joy six months later. 

12. Where did most of your money go?
Our biggest expenditures were property taxes. medical bills, and grapes.  Guess which one I'm happiest about?  My personal money was, as always, frittered away on lattes, crafting supplies, See's chocolate, and second hand clothing. 

13. What did you get really excited about?
Gelling as a family.  It feels different now than it did a year ago.  Our first camping trip.  Being on a team at work with my best friend there and several other people I am appreciating more and more.  My school's decision to lease an iPad to every student.  My nephew's baby.  My husband's new job.  My daughter learning to read.  

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?
  The Cups song ("When I'm Gone") and "What Does the Fox Say?"  Both of which I was introduced to by my middle school students, and then got to introduce my own kids to.  And then heard over and over and over again. 

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Quite a bit happier.  I was in a really horrible place of anger and shame by the end of winter break last year.  I wish I was ALL BETTER, but instead I am just BETTER, and that is still pretty wonderful. 
– thinner or fatter? Fatter.  I've been eating a lot of sweets this fall, and I currently weigh my record high weight.  I'm noticing that it doesn't bother me as much as the previous record did,  in part because it seems to be hanging around my belly instead of on my face. 
– richer or poorer? Richer.  Two jobs instead of one.  We still keep running out of month at the end of our money, but that's partly due to now having to pay child care (gah!) and partly due to a revolution of rising expectations, to use a phrase I loved back in my history major days.  Basically, now that we have two incomes, we think we can pick up pizza every week or so, shell out for sharp instead of regular cheddar, etc.  

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Camping and hiking.  Reading. 

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Pinterest and Facebook time wasting.  I love both of those sites for certain purposes.  Killing two-four hours of time five days a week for most of October and November is not one of them.  

18. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve at the in-laws.  Christmas morning as a family.  Christmas evening was weird.  The sister that always hosts is in an apartment this year, as they are building their dream home.  The next obvious sister is working on a messy and complicated separation from her husband of 30 years.  That left us, with our wild kids and tiny house  So we had one sister, her two grown kids, my dad in his wheelchair, and my mother-in-law over for dinner.  We meant to get together with the other sister and her family after dinner, but between my dad's health and my kids' freaking out that I was going out in the evening, that didn't really happen. 

19. What was your favorite TV program?
I don't watch TV anymore.  I'm not holier-than-thou--see previous notes about the obsessive internet use.  But it's just not something I worry about fitting in to my day.  

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Thanks to Goodreads, I can actually tell you.  I was blown away by the mysteries of Tana French, especially The Likeness.  Can Not Wait for the next one.  I also got into Laura Lippman's mysteries, although she's not as incredible.  I tried the Dexter novels, and am enjoying them much more than my previous attempt at "I'll read the books the TV show everyone likes came from," which was Sookie Stackhouse of True Blood.  I really enjoyed The Nineteenth Wife, soap opera and mystery with a veneer of literary propriety.  For YA novels, I really enjoyed the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, Chime, by Frannie Billingsley,  Winger by Andrew Smith, and the Divergent series. Two nonfiction pieces I enjoyed were The World's Strongest Librarian and Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.  Finally, I have to admit that this year I read the first three of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.  Don't LOVE them, but find them strangely compelling.  The fourth is upstairs waiting for me to read it.  

Geez, this is not a very literary list.  What can I say, I like mysteries and YA fantasy. 

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
The Head and the Heart, Amos Lee (or was that 2012?), the Lumineers.  Also Macklemore, specifically "Thrift Shop" and "Same Love."  I don't follow music much either.  Pop culture queen.

22. What was your favorite film of the year?
I saw one move in the theater, and maybe four at home.  POP CULTURE QUEEN, I TELL YOU.  So yeah, that would be Catching Fire for the win.  Did I mention I like YA fantasy?

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I made my family go hiking with me.  We went on a two mile hike that included two waterfalls, so it's not like it was unreasonable.  Linden wore a sweet little summer dress, which kind of cracked me up.  I turned 44 and have started referring to myself as "middle aged," much to the chagrin of my friends who went to school with me.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Ooh.  Hard.  Some things that float to mind are spending more time with my dad or being more Karyn Purvis at home.  (Sandwich generation guilt.)  I think that spending more time reading and writing and less time scrolling through FB and Pinterest might have helped.   Regular camping trips. 

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
I don't know if this question even applies.  I've been wearing jeans to work a lot.  The same two pair.  Over and over.  

26. What kept you sane?
Zoloft.  Friends and sisters that listen without judging.  Reading blogs by women I can relate to.  My husband's super yummy wine.  Forgiving myself for my messy house, my kids' screen time, and letting my sisters carry most of the weight for caring for our dad.  The sustaining love of my husband and the growing love of my kids. 

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
I know I've said it a lot, but getting medication to deal with my moods was such a hard thing for me, and has made such a huge difference in my parenting, and thus my self respect.  I've never minded the idea of antidepressants; my shame was around the anger I felt--like being SAD and NUMB are okay, but being MEAN and SCARY were huge secrets.  I'm still pretty ashamed of my anger, but am so relieved I finally told someone who could help me with it.  

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