2011 Year-End Recap

It’s time for the 3rd Annual StyckyWycket look-back.  I’m recapping the year with a series of 27 questions, that really get to the meat of what happened.  For other year-end recaps:

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Attended my first Lebowskifest.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I tried starting a second Day Zero Project, but to be honest, my heart wasn’t really in it. I couldn’t even find 101 things that I wanted to to. It was the perfect project for me three years ago, but I don’t think it’s as applicable today. For 2012, I’m going to scrap the Project, but have a small list of things that I want to get done in 2012. But, as far as “resolutions” go, I don’t have any nebulous ones.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one close to me, that I talk to on a regular basis, but two of my fellow high school classmates did.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No one close to me, thank god-particle. But the husband of my mother’s friend passed away very suddenly, and I get very sad every time I think about it.

5. What countries did you visit?
I stayed stateside again this year, but plans are in the works to head to Niagara Falls this year…like last year. We’ll see how that pans out, I guess.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
More disposable income. More financial security. A better attitude and more patience and self-confidence.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The end of July, because I got to meet a long-time, transnational heretofore-only-by-internet friend and his wife as they toured the United States.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting myself into a personal training regime, and also seeing a therapist bi-weekly. Both have done wonders for my body and mind.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Biggest failure? Probably squandering opportunities I didn’t see for what they were, I guess. I realize that it’s a nebulous answer, but I don’t have anything that sticks out right now.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Two bouts of strep throat in a year, which blew majorly. Also, the various strains and sprains of working out with improper form.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Probably the fee I paid for the Zentangle class I took this summer. I really enjoyed the gateway it opened up for me.

12. Where did most of your money go?
A toss up between the basic bills (added a car payment to the mix at the end of 2010), and continuing to pay down debt.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Finally getting to meet my longtime friend and his wife. Also, seeing Anthony Bourdain live. Seeing Charlie cross the finish line of his first official 5K was really exciting, too.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
The only real music that I listened to this year were songs off of my workout playlist. Everything else was podcast or audio-book related. I can tell you the songs that I loved hearing when they came up, though:
Home, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Gimme Sympathy, Metric
Help, I’m Alive, Metric
Young Blood, The Naked and Famous
Teenage Dream, Katy Perry
Creature, Phantods
Dog Days are Over, Florence + The Machine
Don’t Cry Out, Shiny Toy Guns
Club Can’t Handle Me, Flo Rida

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Getting happier.
– thinner or fatter? Fatter, I think, but much, much stronger.
– richer or poorer? Still pretty cash poor, but I’m doing better than last year.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I’d spent more time making art. I also wish I’d spent more time actually studying for the classes I was in, rather than trying to cram in everything in the last three weeks. That would have made life a lot easier….

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying about what other people thought.

18. What was your favorite TV program?
I discovered the Cooking Channel, and Simply Baking is one of the only cooking shows that’s gone on my DVR, so I think that says a lot. So, when I did have time to watch TV, that’s what I lazy-watched. Of course, Justified came back for season 2, so I watched that religiously.

19. What were your favorite books of the year?
The Nerdist Way, Medium Raw, and Emotional Blackmail. I also read The Help, which was good, but not my favorite. I need to get into reading more fiction.

20. What was your favorite music (podcast) from this year?
I listened to a lot of Nerdist and Extra Hot Great podcasts: I think those stayed on my iPod and got listened to religiously throughout the year.

21. What were your favorite films of the year?
I loved seeing True Grit, and also really liked Sherlock Holmes.

22. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I celebrated with a good friend of mine a joint birthday at Lola. I turned 27.

23. Who was the best new person you met?
I got to “meet” a lot of people this year, but the vast majority were not physical, and the one I finally “met” in person, I’ve known for 13 years. So, the best new person I met physically, this year, without knowing previously, was probably Sunshine.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Probably better documentation of my year as it went by: more pictures, more blog posts. It’s easier to remember when you have pictures and words. Breaking my spender would have helped out, too.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Jeans, Woot Shirt, long-sleeved undershirt, and boots on casual days. Business casual-to-almost-formal at the office. Dark denim, boots, and jackets on up-dressed days. Very few dresses.

26. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Don’t feel the troll.

Friday Five for December 30, 2011 – Closing Time

Quiet plans for New Year’s Eve. Maybe next year, I’ll start thinking early about where I want to ring in the new year. That said, I’m turning into an old fart who doesn’t really have a lot of interest in watching Ryan Seacrest trot out a bunch of tired celebrity whores for NYE. I’m a fuddy-duddy like that.
Fresh start soon, even if it is more of a construct than an reality. I’m certainly looking forward to hitting the proverbial “reset” button.
Onwards, to the Friday 5!
  1. What business establishment’s recent closing was the most disappointing for you?
    I never shopped there, but there was a home design place across the street from my office called Aspen Wood Glass Co. The front doors were beautifully-crafted wood doors for the showroom. I see it every day on my way to work, and it bums me out that they couldn’t make it. Then again, they could have moved showrooms to a new location. Who knows? /hope
  2. At what place of business or service are you most likely to be the day’s last customer out the door?
    Lately, it’s been the Starbucks in Willoughby where I go to get my Friday Night Iced Chai Soy Latte Fix. I’ve moseyed in there as late as 10:45.
  3. What place of business or service seems to be closed at times inconvenient to you?
    My doctor’s office never seems to be open when I get ill or injured. I should just start saying that the Chardon Fast Clinic is my PCP.
  4. Where in the real world (not online) will you most likely spend your last 2011 money?
    Wherever Charlie and I go for dinner tonight on our date.
  5. What business or service has been the biggest blessing to you because it is always open?
    God bless internet shopping. Love it!

Source: f.riday5.com

Closing time: open all the doors and let you out into the world. 
Closing time: turn all of the lights on over every boy and every girl. 
Closing time: one last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer. 
Closing time: you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. 
Closing time: time for you to go out to the places you will be from.
C
losing time: this room won’t be open, tell your brothers or your sisters, “Come.”
So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits; I hope you have found a friend.
Closing time: every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

After-Christmas Grab

Since Lara posted her Christmas haul, I thought I would share mine, too.

So, here’s what you’re seeing (clockwise from top left): 27 rolls of wrapping paper, underneath 10 bags of bows; six packages of different-sized boxes, 4 sleeves of tissue paper, two boxes of label tags, 8 sleeves of label tags, 3 rolls of Scotch tape; 18 spools of curling/wrapping ribbon, different colors, sizes, and lengths; 25 spools of cotton/wire ribbon.

Now, that said, this is the accumulation of about three years of day-after-Christmas clearance grabbing, but the box of curling ribbon was purchased this year, as well as the gift boxes and tissue paper.

These boxes stack taller than I am, pretty much.

I should have had a cat lay in front of these boxes to show a scale comparison.

Christmas, 2011

It’s been a nice Christmas, I must say. The only complaint I have about the weekend is that there was way too much charcoal into the censer at midnight mass. Through the whole service my eyes, nose, and sinuses burned. I spent most of Christmas day sneezing the rest of the soot out of my face.

As is tradition, I spend Christmas Eve with Charlie and his family, doing midnight mass at his high school alma mater and opening presents after, and Christmas Day with my family. Instead of dinner, though, my mother planned a big brunch with strata, bacon and sausage, orange and ginger scones, frothed orange juice mimosas (make them in the blender), and  yeast-risen pancakes with apple cider syrup. I thought that Christmas brunch was nice, but I ended up having to scavenge for dinner.

I’m very pleased and grateful for all of my gifts. It was a very foodie Christmas this year: Charlie’s mom and dad got me a chef’s coat with my name embroidered on it, my brother remembered that I mentioned that I thought having a Japanese-style cleaver so he got me one (it’s really, really sharp!), and my parents got me the Jeni’s Ice Cream cookbook. Charlie got me these Kraken Attackinprints, matted and framed, along with a watch case and and Om Nom plush. I also got some clothing, and gift cards, all of which will be totally useful.

I finished out the holiday season with my annual after-Christmas clearance grab, wherein I buy up all of the gift wrap and accouterments I can get my hot little hands on. I’m pretty well-stocked on wrapping paper and bows, but I did need boxes, ribbon and tissue paper. I was very efficient this year: I managed to get everything I needed for under $50. I’m in the neighborhood of 150 sheets of tissue paper, and 16 rolls of ribbon, and I also got some extra mini storage boxes to boot.

I’m so excited to start using my gifts, and so glad that I got to spend these holidays with my family and friends.

Friday Five for December 23, 2011 – More 2011 Review

Last year, Charlie and I went to the Holiday Lantern Tour hosted by Hale Farm & Village. Last year was nice, there was snow on the ground, and it continued falling through the tour, but it was bitter cold. This year, there wasn’t any snow on the ground and it was muddy as hell, but at least the cold wasn’t bitter. The premise of the tour is that you step out of 2011 and into Christmas Eve, 1861, and get to visit different places around the village on that night.
I’m a huge reenactment nerd, my favorite history-lesson era is the pre-Revolutionary War, I love most everything about Victorian times, but I also enjoy the Civil War era, so the Lantern Tour is right up my alley. It pretty much cemented me getting a reenactment costume (that I was going to get this year for Halloween, but didn’t pan out), which I will not only wear for Halloween, but probably also to 2012 Yankee Peddler.
Last year, as my memory token, I got a pressed-glass ornament, this year, I got a hand-blown drinking glass made on the farm that I will use at work. I’m thinking about also ordering a basket for my blankets in my bedroom, and maybe a ceramic pitcher that I can use as a vase for flowers.
Onwards, to the Friday5!
  1. In 2011, what did you do far too many times?
    Rationalized too many bad choices.
  2. In 2011, what did you rediscover?
    I both discovered and rediscovered Zentangle. Since finals week, I need to re-rediscover Zentangle. But now that I have a 5-day weekend, I think I’ll b able to do that.
  3. What 2011 event will you still be paying for in 2012?
    Closing out some debt. Nothing major, but it will still be there through January.
  4. In what unexpected place did you find a friend in 2011?
    The Internet, that great Small World in the ether.
  5. As 2011 comes to a close, what in your life is trending upward toward a much better 2012?
    I made an oath at Yule this year that I was going to pursue more me-positive things, truly believing that by doing so, the Universe would answer. I fully expect to hold up my end of the bargain.

Source: Friday5