2009 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
I volunteered at the Cleveland Food Bank; I took a cooking class; I bought an original piece of artwork (btw, I have No. 68/100); made my own batch of Christmas cookies; opened a joint account with The Boy; got started on my MBA; and met someone that I had seen on TV.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
A lot of my explanation is in this entry. “I wanted to complete the set number of tasks – all predetermined.  In the first two years, however, I have found that I’ve accomplished some on the list, and some I’ve never thought about putting on the list.  I guess this is the driving principle force behind creating the list: that you discover that goals change the fundamental person that you are.”

In short: I’ve discovered its not necessarily the “things” you do that determine what kind of person you are, so much as the “why” behind the things.  2010 is going to be about figuring out what kind of person I will be when I accomplish my tasks.

Is there any coincidence my Saturn Return feels like it’s coming early to an age I thought would be my “Golden Age” of 26?  I always projected that my favorite age would be 26 – I thought that I would be more mature, more enlightened – and it just feels like 2010 is going to be that way.

Bigger still, does this mean that when I turn 29, I will reach an entirely enlightened state in which all of the problems that I’ve been fighting since 15 will finally fall away?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

The Boy’s college hall-mate and his wife had a baby girl this year.  But we heard about it from our friends in Ashland.  I’m still not sure what day is the actual birthdate.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thank goodness, no.

5. What countries did you visit?

I was boring, and I stayed in the States this year.  Come to think of it, I didn’t do any serious traveling this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

Working on this meme, I see that I would like to make a serious effort to make an account of my time on earth.

I”ve faced facts and realized that I will not be the next Dooce, Pioneer Woman, or Sundry, and I probably won’t have a cult following on my blog.  But I have a traceable impact that I can access whenever I want, and that matters more to me.  In that vein, I’m sure I will work on more “private” entries of happenings I can’t make public, but still need to write down.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

November 8, 2009.  It’s the day that I will mark as my anniversary that I quit smoking. For real.  For good. Forever.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

It’s a toss up between the immeasurable, un-quantifiable personal change and growth that happened while I was busy living life, and that I quit smoking.  Really quit smoking.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Every opportunity that I let pass me by because of fear – be it the fear of embarrassment, failure, success…whatever fear it was, I let it conquer me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Just the respiratory infection I had this year, but it was really minor.  I survived the Swine Flu Scare, 2009.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The item that will probably bring me the biggest return-on-investment this year is the mutual fund that will eventually be my “down payment fund”.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Hero of the Year definitely goes to The Boy this year.  I realize that he is one of the most important people in my life, but this recognition goes above and beyond.  In 2009, he quit smoking, lost 35 pounds, and committed to an entire life change that revolves around health, fitness, and general wellness.  I was something that I never thought I would ever see happen, but I am so pleased that I did.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I try not to get too personal on the blog, but I will say this: the marital situation that I am in with The Boy is “not fun”.  It is an issue that I have lived with for the last three years, with no visible end in sight.  The pain wrapped up in this issue is one that I live with every day.  If I didn’t feel like The Boy was The One, I would end the relationship.  It’s that simple.

I think I handled the wedding of his younger brother as gracefully as I could, given the situation. And in the time that has passed since the wedding, I’ve been as gracious and tight-lipped as possible. But the whole situation just sucks, and it’s hard.  Our families try to be understanding and caring during this time, and if they judge, they don’t say anything to me.

However, and I don’t know if it was mal-intended or not, but there was a family incident where I definitely felt like I was “not family” and my 7-year relationship with The Boy was summarily dismissed because he and I were not married. (Despite that he and I are working very hard to be educated, established, and make smart choices before we make anything official.)  I was shocked. I was hurt. Most of all, I was embarrassed.

Like I said, I don’t believe that the circumstances surrounding the exact incident were indented to produce the consequences that they did.  But, the fact that it did happen, the fact that it was a deliberate decision made by a particular person to commit the act, changes my feelings for the person.  I wish my feelings hadn’t changed, because I care greatly for the person, but my reaction is so visceral and so painful, that I think it will take a very long time for me to “get over it” if ever.

I really, really hope that when I look back in this in a year, I can laugh, rather than cry.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Most of my money went to debt-repayment this year.  And will probably continue into next year, but now I have a better handle on it.

15. What did you get really excited about?

I got really excited to se Summer Solstice 2009 come to fruition.  I’m still latently hoping that there will be a SuSo2010. If there is, though, the startup will begin in only a few weeks.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

In years past, I have always had a song that has been the Blah, Blah Year song, but this year, probably The Hazards of Love by the Decemberists.

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

Happier or sadder? This has been a recent (last two weeks) feeling, but happier.  More at peace.

Thinner or fatter? Fatter, a little.  But I’m working on it.

Richer or poorer? The general state is a feeling of being poor.  But I am a lot better off financially this year, than last year.  Let me put it this way, I can sleep at night.

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

I wish that I had spent more time doing the things that I summarily dismissed doing because I was worried about other people’s impressions.

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

Wasting my time worrying what other people would think.  A little outside awareness is a good thing, but I let too much of it cripple my life.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With The Boy, at our annual Christmas Party; with our dear friends in Columbus, with The Boy’s family on Christmas Eve, and my family on Christmas day.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Um, in a platonic way, sort of.  I found a girl friend, which I think was something long-overdue.  So, I guess, yeah, I’m smitten in that way.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I discovered NCIS this year, and it became one of those “seminal series” that I love wholly, like The X Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer before it.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Not that I can think of.  In fact, I consider that a good thing, as I can be a pretty harsh judge of character mostly.

24. What was the best book you read?

The Trump Card by Ivanka Trump.  Please don’t write this book off just because of the author.  In fact, I think this book will change your opinion of her.  It’s such an important book for anyone who wants to be successful at what they do, no matter what they do.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Plushgun, Pins and Panzers

26. What did you want and get?

I think The Powers That Be finally heard me and gave me so much to “get accomplished” that I stopped freaking the fuck out all the time anymore.

27. What did you want and not get?

I really wanted to be re-accepted to Phi Mu, but that didn’t happen.  In a way, I’m still bitter about it, but I’ve resigned to using it as a lesson learned about missing/throwing away critical opportunities.  So, missing out wasn’t all that bad.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Between Coraline, Zombieland, Public Enemies, and Pirate Radio.

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

I turned 25 this year.  I spent it very quietly at home.  But, I’m hoping, with K turning the big 3-0 this year, and her birthday almost a week from mine, we might be able to plan something a little more exciting. /hoping

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

More income.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Fashion Matters™

32. What kept you sane?

Being too busy to notice I was going insane.  I had no time to go nuts: shit had to get done.

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

Mark Harmon, hands down. Full stop.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Mmmmm.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Again, the erosion of personal freedoms in exchange for the government legislating this nation under the very thin veil of the alleviation of the fear of Fear.  It makes me crazy.

35. Who did you miss?

I actually did a few short-takes and missed both my grandma and my uncle, both of whom died 7 years ago, and I tried not to think about too much.  Feelings are sneaky.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
K.  Definitely K.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

Two things: not missing opportunities, and not worrying what other people might think of me.

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

No Matter What, by Jakob Dylan

I just need to remind you that the brave — they carry on.

No matter what, there is a new day on its way; and no matter what, there is more love to be made. No matter what, there is a heartache on its way, and no matter what, there is more love to be made.

Overheard on BBM

The Boy: Garrison Keillor is what Colin Meloy is going to look like when he gets old. …When the War Came from Lake Wobegon

Me: Draw up the cover art [for that album], stat.

The Boy: Instead of Carson Ellis drawing everybody in the cover art looking like sickly, poorly drawn Englishmen, I shall draw the Decemberists as robust Scandinavian-Minnesotans. …The kind of drawing that’ll put hair on your chest.

Me: /blog’d

December 28, 2009 – Friday Five

  1. How likely are you to return or exchange a gift you don’t like?
    Lately, pretty likely: I’m getting very tired of clutter, and with my lacking sentimentality, I don’t want to hold onto things just because they are gifts.  That said, I will still thank the giver for their thoughtfulness and the time taken to purchase the gift and give it to me.  I am grateful when people gift to me.
  2. Who is the most gifted person you know?
    Most gifted…most gifted….  Well, I think that Ada of The Brothers is the most gifted, in the sense that everything the kid touches turns out successful.  There are few people in this life that have that ability.
  3. Of gifts you gave this year, which was really the closest to perfect for the recipient?
    I always do really well with The Boy’s gifts.  I also think that the gift I got K this year was a big hit.
  4. What’s your favorite kind of gift to receive?
    My favorite gift is usually the one that I wanted myself, but never got around to buying.  The other gift is the one that I didn’t know I wanted/needed until I got it.
  5. What’s your favorite kind of gift to give?
    My favorite gift to give is the one that the person didn’t know they wanted or needed it until they received it from me.

December 27, 2009

Much like last year, I went absolutely apeshit last night buying Christmas decorations and wrapping supplies for next year.  A lot of it was bought through my MK account, knowing that a lot of the supplies will hopefully go towards next year’s gift baskets.  Unlike last year, however, everything came into the house, directly into storage, rather than rolling around my trunk for six months.

The rundown went something like this:

  • $120 spent, at 50% off.
  • 4 bags of gift bows,
  • 14 rolls of wrapping paper (I have not done the math on the collective footage of paper)
  • 6 decorative gift boxes
  • 6 collapsible boxes
  • 20 spools of 25ft, wired ribbon
  • 3 boxes of 15-each mini ornaments for my mini tree
  • 3 stores ransacked: Wal-Mart, Target, and K-Mart
  • 2 sandwiches and a lovely dinner with The Boy at Panera
  • Tons of fun spent with The Boy, much like last year

The clear winner in the day-after-Christmas ransacking was – of all places – KMart.  Wal-Mart was picked pretty clean of gift boxes and wrapping accouterments, Target was just about out of everything except the specialty glass icicles that The Boy loves so much, but KMart was magical.  I was really surprised, quite honestly: I don’t shop at KMart, ever, except for once a year.

Both Martha Stewart’s and Jaclyn Smith’s lines were very lovely this year, and I thought that MS color combo of royal blue and antique gold was lovely. The Boy assumes that after next year, the final year of red and gold, he’s going to switch to either the blue and antique gold motif, or to a more all-metallic motif (copper, pewter, bronze, and gunmetal).

I also purchased a pre-lit tree for my parents for the den.  They have decided that the formal tree (the one that I lovingly Christmas-Nazi’d) will stay in the living room, but the tree where all the gifts are opened will be in the den.  It’s a lot cozier in the den, I don’t blame them.

I know that everyone thinks I am nuts, but I am already starting to plan for 2010 Christmas.  I had a lot of good ideas for this year, but didn’t think through the execution as well as I had liked.  This year, I have a plan.

December 26, 2009

So, Christmas 2009 has come and gone, and now we turn our faces towards the dawn of a new year.  I suppose that one cannot move forward without at least some acknowledgment of the past.

I don’t really know what the take-away is for this year.  It was a 50/50 Christmas.  K presented me with some of the most wonderful, thoughtful gifts I’ve gotten in a long time (Sweet Bird of Youth with Mark Harmon almost-nude…anyone? …Anyone? Whatev, I sometimes find myself screeching “Heavenly” with a terrible Southern accent randomly – it’s a Tennessee Williams thing). The Boy surprised me with a beautiful diamond necklace that I was going to buy myself, and my parents bought me some toys for my hopeless chest.

Broadening my reflection, the changes of the past year have definitely changed me: I’m sufficient, I can make my own money, I’m going to be okay.

But while toasting at Yule, my struggle to find an oath for 2010 came to me: it’s not about the particular tasks to accomplish, but the driving force behind them.  Why complete a 101 in 1001?  Because at the end of the 1001 days, you hope that you are a changed person, hopefully for the better.

I wanted to complete the set number of tasks – all predetermined.  In the first two years, however, I have found that I’ve accomplished some on the list, and some I’ve never thought about putting on the list.  I guess this is the driving principle force behind creating the list: that you discover that goals change the fundamental person that you are.

My oath for the coming year is that I need to foster and nurture not the individual goals that remain on my list, but the reason for the creation of those goals.  Why do I want to get personalized stationery? Why do I want to complete a Project 365?  Why do I want to learn to drive stick-shift?

I like who I am when I am keeping in touch with my friends at Christmas, I like having a lifestyle change in taking care of myself by quitting smoking; it makes me feel like a better steward to the planet when I give my time to the Cleveland Food Bank and old towels and sheets to the Geauga Rescue Shelter.

My goal for this year is me.  How do I become me?