Tag Archives: year-end quiz

Jan
31
2013
2012: Year in Review

The 2013 calendar on my wall suggests another year is over. I marked the end of 2010 and 2011 by answering the following set of questions. The questions annoyed me this year. I hope that means the dying embers of my “I have to track everything” fire cannot be stoked back to flame. I’m cultivating a new mellow vibe. Next year I will sum up 2013 by how I feel at the end of the year, not by how many boxes I can tick off a list. I don’t plan on doing this quiz again, so let’s send it out with a bang (or a whimper).

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

Enrolled in some adult education, started making ice cream, created an ice cream blog, published a memoir piece, gave up trying to de-link my name and this blog (note to co-workers: while I mutter profanity under my breath at the office, I write it out loud here), “won” a craft contest, and had a tarot card reading.

The tarot reader was kind, but these cards basically said, “get off your ass and make a decision already.”

 

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

Yes and no, and not really. The monster in my head set 30 goals for 2012. You can see them here. I have a different mind-set about goals right now (stay tuned). I have no desire to paste my 2012 goals here and painstakingly document which I met and which I did not. Does it matter that I didn’t run a 5K in under 30 minutes when I trained really hard, completed two races, and ran faster at the end of training than at the beginning? Does it matter that I went to bed an average of 20 minutes earlier in 2012 than 2011 or that I got 33 minutes extra sleep per night on average when I’m still tired a lot? Isn’t it disturbing that I can tell you those figures?

Looking at last year’s goals cracks me up now. How did I get to a point in life where I could suggest “scheduling weekly unstructured time” without irony? How did I type “go cold turkey on perfectionism” as one of 30 goals with a straight face?

One of my goals was to “locate my inner voice.” Wait…shh! What’s that? I think I hear something…

“ENOUGH WITH THE GOALS…TAKE A FUCKING NAP ALREADY.”

I like my inner voice.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I’ve been meeting quite a few childfree people lately. And I’m getting old. So I’d be really shocked if anyone close to me got pregnant/gave birth.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I spent several horrible days believing one of my in-laws was not going to make it, but thankfully (and possibly miraculously?), he did not die.

5. What countries did you visit?
If the U.S. doesn’t count, then 0.0.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Enough money to retire. Not kidding.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I could talk smack about the ice cream class or some other happy event, but the only day from 2012 that “will remain etched in my memory” (which I interpret to mean “never going to forget the date of the event”) is November 6. That was the day my Mom told me she had cancer.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I guess I’d say making new friends. I had really started to worry I wasn’t capable of doing that.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Negativity? Not being a good-enough listener?? Not getting enough sleep??? Tracking my failures so vigorously???? Fuck this question.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Ice cream machine!

12. Where did most of your money go?
Seriously? Mortgage. It will always be mortgage (or rent), won’t it?

13. What did you get really excited about?
Ice cream!

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?
A whopping 9.5 percent of my music collection came out in the last ten years. Here is the only new music I bought all year even though I’ll almost certainly not associate it with 2012 long-term.

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

a) happier or sadder?
Both. The more I know, the harder it is. The closer I get, the farther away it seems. You know?

b) thinner or fatter?
Fatter.

c) richer or poorer?
Richer, bitches (it’s all about retirement, baby).

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
What I wanted to do.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
What I didn’t want to do.

18. How did you spend Christmas?
In Erie with my family. Spent the first few days of my vacation frantically trying to finish my first cross stitch ever. I won a Subversive Cross Stitch in the Craft Whores contest and selected the bad boy below for my brother, only to be surprised (and horrified) that it was a kit I had to make myself. This was one of my brother’s favorite phrases in our misguided youth. By the time I got this in the frame, it also turned out to crystallize my thoughts about cross stitching eloquently.

peace on earth

peace on earth

19. What was your favorite TV program?
I’m addicted to watching House Hunters International while saying “fuck you” with jealous venom. You guys need a vacation home in Belize? Of course you do. Fuck you. Accountants can easily find work on Grand Cayman? Fuck you. You’re really going to complain about the lack of double sinks in a vacation home? Fuck you. Special shout out to the guy with a 2 million dollar budget who expressed disappointment that there were no windows in the closet: OMFG, FUCK YOU!

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
If I wanted to read, I’d go to school.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Holy repetitive quiz, Batman. See #14.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Jesus, I don’t get out much, do I? We streamed Moonrise Kingdom for our 2nd annual pajama night and were not amused (we have a 0% success rate for avoiding movies in which a dog bites the big one on our “happy family PJ movie night”).

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I guess I’m too old to remember what I did on my birthday. I know I ate cake, but that’s only because I have a blog. I turned 39, and I don’t plan on aging further.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Errr! How does this question differ from #6? 

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Not naked

26. What kept you sane?
Fear of anti-depressant side effects.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
A lot of the stuff I thought was important (or at least devoted a lot of time to) is really, really not. Like tracking every last detail of my life…ahem…like end of the year surveys such as these.

Dec
31
2011
2011: Year in Review

I like traditions. I’ve been reading Linda’s yearly recaps for years so it seemed natural to do this little quizzy thing myself last year when I started the blog. Even though trying to come up with answers to some of these questions makes me realize how piss poor my memory of day-to-day stuff is, here is my 2011 recap.

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

Started writing memoir and linking up to Write On Edge, an online writing group. Completed my iPod shuffle challenge (listened to my entire music collection without skipping a single song). Saw Paul Simon in concert. Saw a Broadway musical. Came out of the childfree closet. Had one of my posts “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress.com. Learned how to make videos out of my pictures. Celebrated my husband’s 40th birthday. Finally rented a dog-friendly beach house.

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

Here are the goals I set for 2011, along with my assessment of how well I did. Since this whole blog is basically the articulation of my goals, I’m going to discuss my 2012 goals separately.

-Get more sleep. Not so much.

-Exercise in the morning rather than the evening. Jesus, no. But I did do a decent job of keeping up with running anyway.

-Keep running (see last year’s post for specifics). I ran with a winter running group, and improved my personal best at this year’s Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Race, but I didn’t run any races longer than 5K after that. Even though I tried several times, I also couldn’t break a 30 minute 5K.

-Get stronger (see last year’s post for specifics)Oops.

-Be more productive (see last year’s post for specifics). On one hand, I don’t feel like I’m more on top of things now than at the beginning of 2011. But I also added things (blogging, meeting new people, thinking about a career change) without taking anything away. So while I still think I need to become more productive, this year I feel I need to do that by letting unimportant things (and my perfectionism) go, whereas last year I was just piling unrealistic expectation upon unrealistic expectation. I need to give myself a break.  

-Become a better photographer (see last year’s post for specifics). I signed up for the County’s photography class in summer and fall, but it was cancelled both times. I also wanted to make better use of my pictures. To that end, I did a massive photo digitization project in 2011, made videos for Chuck’s and Dave’s birthdays and our anniversary, and I framed and hung some of my photos in our powder room (post forthcoming). 

-Take a French class (see last year’s post for specifics). Non.

-Be more social (see last year’s post for specifics). It’s difficult for me to assess my progress in this area, and given my introversion I don’t think it’s fair to be too negative. We did host two get-togethers at our house and have made a pretty big effort (for introverts anyway) to meet new people and stay in touch with friends.

-Eat dinner in the dining room and not in front of the TV. Not even once. In my defense, the dining room table was inundated with stuff for big projects (photo digitizing and the Advent Calendar) most of 2011.

-Walk Chuck in the evenings (see last year’s post for specifics). I feel like I did better at this in 2011 than 2010, especially while I was still doing my iPod shuffle challenge. But Dave would probably beg to differ. Dave still does more of the evening dog walks than is fair.

-Fucking chill (see last year’s post for specifics). This might be the most important goal, but it’s vague. We did take a nice, relaxing (non-driving to visit family) vacation this year. But I wasn’t good at leaving work on time or taking time to relax, or avoiding angry reactions. And I also experienced more anxiety in dealing with people than I’d like.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I hope not, because I don’t remember any babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What countries did you visit?

Outside the U.S., zippo. I entered the public lottery for Wimbledon tickets next year, so fingers crossed for a trip to London in 2012.

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

An inner voice on career that says something other than “this is not it.”

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

New Year’s illness (see #10), seeing the D.C. fireworks for only the second time in my 15 years of living here, my birthday weekend in Erie, seeing the look on Dave’s face at his 40th birthday celebration, walking on the beach with Dave and Chuck during our week at the beach and feeling peace.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finally getting all of our pictures (mine, my family’s, and Dave’s family’s slides) digitized. I also feel pretty slick for pulling off 40 gifts for Dave’s 40th birthday. Honorable mention for reaching my 15th anniversary at work.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not getting enough sleep.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Dave and I both got horribly sick over New Year’s (days after I had bragged about my hand washing and good health in my 2010 review post). Not a good way to start off a year. It was the first time I’d vomited since 1994 (if only I could say “vomit free since ’93…”). I also had a pretty annoying cold in June.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Photo digitizing services from Foto Bridge (post about this is long overdue).

12. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, savings (early retirement, baby!). The photo digitizing, beach vacation, and 40th birthday celebration for Dave were also fairly large (but totally worth it) expenses.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Blogging (finally getting some readers and also finding some great new blogs), taking a vacation, making new friends.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I’ve been obsessed with Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel for most of 2011, but I have to be honest, the song I will most associate with 2011 is a ridiculous song by Beetlejuice of Howard Stern’s “Wack Pack” fame. Dave and I have been saying “Let it roll” all fucking year (although the best part is his emphatic “yeah!”). Sorry about this:

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

a) happier or sadder?  YES! I find the more I work on my issues, the more emotion-ey my emotions are. So I’m happier and sadder.

b) thinner or fatter? pretty much the same

c) richer or poorer? financially better off

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

Sleep, relax, read

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

Being anxious, looking for stuff, trying to do things perfectly

18. How did you spend Christmas?

We always spend Christmas in Erie with my Mom. The twist this year–we went to my brother’s in the afternoon. So Mom, Dave, and I decided to open presents Christmas evening, making 2011 the only year ever that I didn’t open presents right after waking up on Christmas morning.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Switched at Birth. Makes me want to learn sign language. I also started watching How I Met Your Mother on my Mom’s Roku over Christmas vacation and I’m hooked. And also pissed that Dave convinced me not to start watching it back when it started in 2005.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I’m pretty open on this here blog, but this shit is embarrassing. I finished (wait for it…) one book this year. I partially read a couple of other books, and my list of books I’d like to read grew even larger, but…I guess the Sweet Valley High sequel has to be my favorite (and least favorite!) book of 2011. Good lord.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

As we learned through my iPod shuffle challenge and re-ignited obsession with Simon & Garfunkel this year, I need to infuse some new music into my collection. I don’t think I have any favorite music from this year. I (like everyone else on the planet) liked that Adele song “Rollling in the Deep.” I’m going to train Pandora to feed me great new music in 2012.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

The embarrassment continues. We saw The King’s Speech in the theater and I believe that’s it. We rented Blue Valentine and Crazy, Stupid Love on streaming video. And we are going to see the Muppet movie tonight (best New Year’s Eve plans ever, eh?). I’m guessing the Muppets will win me over for favorite film of 2011.

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

I ran a tenth of a mile for each year. I went to the Erie Zoo with my Mom, Dave, an old friend from high school and her two kids and rode the red panda on the carousel. I turned 38.

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

More time to spend however I want.

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

Sahalie butterfleece sport pants.

26. What kept you sane?

(Who says I was sane this year?) Having this place to write shit down. Dave. Loving on my dog.

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

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Still need to learn to apply this to my life.

Dec
30
2010
2010: Year In Review

With just a couple of days left in 2010, I thought I’d summarize my year. I found this year-end quiz years ago at Linda’s and have enjoyed reading her recaps ever since. This is the first year I’m filling out the quiz myself–it seems like a good way to reflect on the past year and kick off the new year.

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

I ran a 10-mile race and came in within my time goal. I finally ran a half marathon after many aborted attempts (most ending without even completing the Couch to 5K first step!). In 2009, I completed all but the final two weeks of training for a half marathon in my hometown (had a flight booked and everything) before injuring my knee and having to bail on running the race. I was devastated. The disappointment colored everything for the last half of 2009. Being able to start running again and complete the race in 2010 was a huge accomplishment and a big relief, quite frankly. The constant paranoia and nagging worry about every little twinge was getting exhausting.

I also started wearing my gorgeous engagement ring regularly after stupidly letting it sit in a drawer for 11 years.

I also started this blog, which was something I’ve wanted to do for a while.

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

Yes, I usually make resolutions. For the first time last year, I set some specific goals rather than more vague resolutions. Here are the goals I set for 2010, along with my assessment of how well I did.

2010 Resolutions

Get back into running without injury

This one is a resounding yes, thank jug of milk. In addition to the two races mentioned above, I also ran a 5K in September (missing my 30 minute time goal by less than 30 seconds) and the 10K associated with the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I’m also pretty proud of running throughout the year, even in some pretty horrific winter weather. The winter running group I joined helped motivate me to get those long runs in during January through March, when I really just wanted to burrow into my bed and hibernate.

Get more sleep

I’ve always had trouble falling asleep and there is no amount of sleep that satisfies me. I have the absolute wrong internal body clock for normal work schedules, to which my employer unfortunately expects me to adhere. Going to bed at a reasonable hour is something I have less willpower to do than abstaining from dessert (this is saying something). No matter how exhausted I am the next morning, I stay up late that night. This is some deep-seated shit–I resent the hell out of what I consider to be inadequate free time, particularly on weekday evenings, so I just take the free time from my sleep. You might think, just go to bed earlier, what the hell is your problem? I sort of agree, but since I’ve been unsuccessfully working on this for about 20 years, I have to acknowledge the depth of the issue. If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about myself, it would be this. Because I am tired. Last year I had concrete plans for meeting my goal of getting to bed earlier and getting more sleep, which I won’t detail here because this is going to be long enough already and because I didn’t really successfully do any of them. I failed at this one pretty miserably.

Reduce time wasting activities

As I’ve written about in the explanation of this blog, I’d like to be more productive. I’ve done pretty well on this one, although there’s always room for improvement. Using the timer, which I’m sure sounds crazy to most people, has really been helpful for me. If I’m not very intentional about how I use my time, I can end up watching five hours of Law and Order reruns without blinking an eye.

Read a book per month

This one’s really embarrassing, especially given that the friend who gave me the final push and encouragement to start this blog is a voracious reader whose own blog is focused on books. In 2010, I read a grand total of four books. Oops.

Go off birth control

Birth control is certainly effective and convenient, but after 17 years it just felt like the right thing to take a break. Why it was so hard to commit to doing this is now a mystery to me. My doctor insisted it was fine to stay on and we bantered about it for several years. 2010 was finally the year I stopped listening to her and decided to just give stopping a go. While having more frequent (the key thing I miss about Seasonale was being gloriously period-free for 8 months out of the year) and less predictable periods is annoying, I can’t imagine going back now. This decision was a slam dunk.

2011 Resolutions

My goals for 2011 follow. With the exception of the critical sleep goal being first, they aren’t in any particular order.

-Get more sleep (no, seriously)

-Exercise in the morning rather than the evening

-Keep running:  run a 30 minute 5K, join winter running group, run the Cherry Blossom in April, run a 10K or longer race in fall

-Get stronger:  strength train at least twice per week, work up to Cathe Friedrich’s STS by September (and complete STS September through November)

-Be more productive: schedule someday tasks (like closet cleaning, photo organizing) for specific days, write blog posts twice a week, keep using the timer to stay on track and schedule daily tasks

-Become a better photographer: learn how to use my 6-year old camera already (rather than point and hope), finish culling and organizing digital photos, make prints and/or books of good shots, frame a good picture of each place I’ve lived

-Take a French class: I studied French all through high school, minored in it in college, and studied abroad in a French-speaking country, but have almost completely lost it. When we went to Belgium for our tenth anniversary in 2009, I couldn’t really communicate noticeably better than Dave (who studied Latin). So pissed at myself for letting this go.

-Be more social: I’ve been coasting friendship-wise for years and haven’t made much effort to meet new people or reach out to friends. This year, I plan to host at least a couple of get-togethers and just generally make more of an effort to reach out to people.

-Eat dinner in the dining room and not in front of the TV

-Walk Chuck in the evenings: it’s pretty lame that I have to make this an explicit goal, since this is actually supposed to be my job, but I’ve slipped to evening exercise recently and Dave’s been taking up the evening dog walk slack. It’s not fair to him.

-Fucking chill: don’t over schedule, make time for relaxation and Dave, take a real vacation with Dave (even if it’s just a long weekend), leave work on time, do not check work email from home, think/take deep breath before you react in anger

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Erin had her second son about 6 months ago. He’s rolly polly and super cute. I hope I’m not forgetting anyone else, because that would be embarrassing.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
Holy crap, none.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
I’ve been scratching my head over this one long enough that I’m going to go with the only thing that keeps popping up–I’d like to have more peace and clarity of thought.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Snowpocalypse and the associated snow days in February,  running the Cherry Blossom in April (and being beaten by a juggler) and having brunch with Dave after, finally finishing the Presque Isle half marathon in July and seeing Dave, Chuck, and my nephews Ned and Sam at the finish line, Mom’s back surgery in July, getting all dressed up for our fancy anniversary dinner in October, the Rally to blah, blah, blah, and seeing Dave perform at his first gig (he’s not in any of the currently-posted videos) and the group “Wonderwall” sing-along.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing the half marathon

9. What was your biggest failure?
Allowing myself to be overtired all the damn time, and cranky behavior when tired, and/or frustrated, and/or overwhelmed.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Babied my knee all year like it was fine china, but didn’t re-injure it. No illnesses, not even a cold (knocking on wood as it’s not 2011 yet). I can’t recommend hand washing strongly enough.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My Garmin GPS running watch. I don’t have to spend runs trying to calculate my own pace anymore. The best thing someone else bought for me was the iPad.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Our single biggest expense is and presumably always will be our mortgage. We also carpeted the stairs to make them easier for Chuck to navigate and put super cool iridescent green tiles in the kitchen.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Running, starting a blog

14. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Interpol’s Success and the Bed Intruder Song

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?  YES! I actually had changing moods this year. Given that my highs were pretty high, my lows (which were, uh, shall we say monthly) were a little more noticeable
b) thinner or fatter? frustratingly the same, on the bright side I’ve kept the weight I lost in 2009 off
c) richer or poorer? financially a little better off

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read, go to movies, sit on my porch, sleep (I should be in bed right now.)

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying, getting bent out of shape, checking work email when not there

18. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas in Erie with my Mom.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
InfoMania, because it’s one of the few that Dave and I both enjoy watching. In terms of what I looked forward to most, I’d have to say In Treatment and Parenthood (I know, WTF, Tracy? I got sucked into watching the relationships among the adult siblings, not so much the parent/child stuff, but that’s actually kind of compelling too, go figure).

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I guess I could list all four that I read? Quite frankly, I don’t think any of them really rise to favorite level. Happiness: the Science behind Your Smile was a pretty cool book. I can see how some people could find the research evidence on happiness depressing, but I actually found it helpful, in a ‘you just need to get a grip’ kind of way.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
It’s been harder to discover new music that I like as I’ve gotten older. This year, we went to several shows and that was fun. I went with Dave to see some of his favorite bands, which is only fair given the number of times he had to go see the Police with me in 2007-8. I discovered that the Wedding Present (one of Dave’s favorite bands) was doing a ‘Bizarro’ anniversary tour. When I emailed Dave to tell him, his response was “What would I do without you?” Saving that email forever.

Dave’s never seen Rush before, so I got tickets for their show for his birthday. I didn’t get tickets earlier because I worried they’d play a lot of newer stuff, and I love Rush, but I don’t love them that much. Then I heard that they were playing Moving Pictures in its entirety on this tour and I felt like a moron for not getting tickets sooner because we were on the lawn.

We also saw Interpol. I don’t like to see shows when I’m not familiar with most of the songs. I thought I only liked a handful of Interpol songs. Surprisingly and happily, in preparing for the concert, I discovered that I like their music a lot. You have to let the songs sneak up on you.

We also saw Dave’s guitar teacher’s band, The Grand Candy, a couple of times. He encouraged us to flip him the bird during his song ‘Birds Are Not Free,” which was the most cathartic concert audience participation experience ever.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I have to say Inception since it was the only movie I saw in the theater. Dave and I watched Up on cable and thought it was pretty good, although we both pretty much cried throughout a good deal of it (hello, unwelcome look into my possible future).

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
We went out for a nice dinner and to see my one movie of the year (see above). Dave also made me Harvey Wallbanger cake from scratch this year and it turned out that the doctored-up box version is better. I turned 37.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More weekday free time

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
This question kills me. How about ‘not naked?’ Not sure what the question is getting at. Is ‘closet full of clothes that don’t fit right and no initiative to remedy it’ an appropriate answer? If so, then that.

26. What kept you sane?
Running and Dave (and by Dave, I mean sex)

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
I sort of woke up a little this year. This is it, this is my life, and I’m only going to get out of it what I put in (cue ‘The End’). I have to own this thing and I don’t have to agree to do everything that people ask me to do.