Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Year in Review: 2013

This survey makes the rounds at the beginning of each new year, and it's my favorite of the "end of the year" memes. I've done it before (in 2011 and in 2012) and now it's time for 2013 to get her day in the sun. (Thanks, as always, to Kate, from whom I originally stole this survey, and who has inspired me to strike some of the sillier questions from the list.) 

Fancy New Year's Eve dinner party. Cheers!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before? 
I made and fed (and eventually killed) a sourdough starter. Also, I was a counselor at a week long writing camp for high schoolers, which was pretty incredible. 

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 
I made one resolution - to write the first draft of my book - and I did it! I also wrote drafts two and three, just to be on the safe side. For 2014, I am doing a series of 12 monthly challenges, which excites me, even if no one else cares. ;)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 

Yes! Three new lovely people entered the world this year - Caroline, Ben, and Sebastian. I already adore each of them, though so far I have only met one. 

4. Did anyone close to you die? 
My cousin Danny died suddenly, in a car accident, at the end of October. My family is still reeling from the loss. 

5. What places did you visit? 

For being so broke, we sure got around. Actually, getting around might have contributed to our brokeness. At any rate, Nathan and I went to Albany for Ella and Phil's wedding, and to Rhode Island for Miles and Briana's wedding. I also went on a few solo trips - once to Eugene to see Kealy, and twice to Long Island to see my family. We were also lucky enough to have a few visitors in Wilmington - my youngest sister and her best friend spent a weekend with us, and Amy and David visited for five days, which was the best thing ever. 

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? 

Money. We were both marginally employed for most of 2013, which led to temporary financial ruin. Things are already looking up for 2014, thank goodness. 

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched in your memory, and why? 
June 10 - finished the first draft of my book. 
September 26 - Nathan's graduation from paramedic school
November 10/11 - our first wedding anniversary/11th relationship anniversary 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Making so much progress on my book. This was definitely the year of the first draft. I'm also proud of our fancy new chicken coop, which we designed ourselves and built from scratch. And, of course, I'm proud of Nathan for getting a paramedic position so soon after finishing school. While this is technically his achievement, I like to think I played some small part in his success. 

9. What was your biggest failure? 

Sending out holiday cards and our annual newsletter on time. They are, in fact, sitting on the coffee table as I type this. Better late than never... 

10: Did you suffer illness or injury? 
I hurt my back in mid-November. I'm still not sure how, but I didn't run for almost two months and started seeing a chiropractor. It's feeling a lot better, but not quite 100%. Generally I enjoy getting older, but developing back problems at the tender age of 31 hasn't been as thrilling as you might think. 

11. What was the best thing you bought? 

Plane tickets. People > Things 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Nathan. He worked so hard while he was in paramedic school, and I am continually impressed and inspired by his work ethic and accomplishments. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Dumb question. 

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills, bills, bills. Also credit card payments, which is technically also a bill. 

15. What did you get really excited about?

Writing. Graduate school. The amazing successes that many of my friends have earned with their gorgeous, beautiful, and important poetry and prose. Watching HGTV while visiting my parents. 

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
"Blurred Lines." Listen, I know it's rapey and all, but it was on ALL SUMMER, and also inspired my friend Nicola's Halloween costume. Plus it's catchy. 

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder? About the same, though considering at this time last year we had just gotten married, I'm feeling more mellow and less manic. This is a good thing. 
b. thinner or fatter? About the same, though after my break from running and the holidays, I'm looking forward to eating vegetables and going to the YMCA again. 
c. richer or poorer? Richer, but only barely. Now that Nathan has a job, I am referring to this period of our lives as the "slow uphill climb out of debt." Keyword is slow. 

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

Writing new things and submitting them to journals. The book dominated my desk time so while I have a rough draft, I don't have anything that's polished enough to send out. 

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

Reading Internet hate forums. Get Off My Internets, I just can't quit you. 

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With my family, on Long Island, listening to my father parrot Tea Party rhetoric, watching Fox News, and drinking endless cups of coffee at the kitchen table with my mother. It was actually pretty fun. 

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Again, as always: I fell more in love with the same person. (Aw...)  

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Parks & Rec is still my favorite. We also finished Breaking Bad, caught up on Mad Men, and got pulled into House of Cards. On the nights that Nathan is at work, I watch Buffy on Netflix. I started from the beginning sometime last year, and now I'm almost done. This feels like a major accomplishment, though I won't actually count it as one. 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate at this time last year?
Dumb question. 

24. What was the best book you read?

I loved The Art of Fielding. Also Bobcat, and The Interestings. I just started keeping a spreadsheet of the books I've read, which has kind of sort of changed my life. It has columns for author, title, rating (1-5), genre, month and year in which I read it, and a short, one sentence review. This spreadsheet is probably the real highlight of 2013. 

25. What music did you get excited about?
This question is terrible for me, because I'm so bad about music. I mostly listen to Pandora, and mostly to the Avant Garde Jazz station. It's my favorite writing music. 

26. What did you want and get? 
A first draft. More chickens. A filing cabinet. 

27. What did you want and not get?
Home ownership. 

28. What was your favorite film of this year? 
Current movies that I saw included Catching Fire, Blackfish, and All is Lost. I liked all three of them. 

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 
I turned 31 and wrote a time capsule, a tradition I hope to continue. As for what I actually did, I went out to breakfast with Nathan and Erica, drank mimosas at the beach with Nathan, and then had a birthday party at our house - a breakfast themed potluck, for which we had more mimosas, a frittatta, and other delicious food. But mostly mimosas. I couldn't even look at orange juice for a month afterward. 

30. What one thing would have made your year more satisfying? 
Striking, because this is basically question number 27 rephrased. 

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? 
A solid attempt. I now own and occasionally wear bright red lipstick, and while I was home for the holiday my mom took me to get a cut and color at an actual salon. I also now own two pairs of skinny jeans. My style remains colorful, classic, and comfortable, and I'm happy with this combination. 

32. What kept you sane? 
The YMCA. My friends, especially Erica. 

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

Striking, because I am not fourteen. Though I do have a crush on Wendy Davis. 

34. What political issue stirred you the most? 

Y'all, I have nearly given up on politics. I still yell about reproductive rights and am very happy about marriage equality progress, but that's pretty much it. I would like to get more involved with local politics, because that seems like the one place I could possibly make a difference. 

35. Whom did you miss? 
Amy and David and Eralda. My mom. 

36. Who was the best new person you met? 
I really like the new batch of MFA students. It's hard to pick just one! 

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. 

The future will come whether or not you worry about it. So don't worry about it. 

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

Some days I don't know if I am wrong or right
Your mind is playing tricks on you, my dear
'Cause though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore