Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year in Review - 2011

Just like last year, here is my look back at this year, inspired by Sundry's annual list:

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

Something that I've always wanted to do: Go flying. I signed up to take a flying lesson, which I thought would be sitting in the passenger seat and taking the controls for a few minutes, but much to my delight, I actually flew the plane. So, so fantastic, and I'm hooked. Whee!

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

I'll look 'em up and add here, and comment on each.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My cousin-in-law's sister, my friend, Karen, had her first child, an adorable baby boy, Lincoln.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

I lost my last grandparent this year, and it had a profound sadness for that reason. My friends also lost their very special dog, Smokey, earlier this year, and it just completely leveled me. I had a bond with her, which was probably true with anyone who knew her, but to me it was special.

5. What countries did you visit?

None, sadly. Still have the travel bug, but the financially responsible thing hasn't allowed world travel. Party of one. SINK looking to go DINK. In part, for this reason.

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

Less drama, in general. More joy. Happier times for family & friends. And if I'm being honest, in my heart of hearts, knock-my-socks-off love. It's been a while since I've felt that, and there's nothing like it.

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

Nothing stands out, but if I have a memory revelation, I'll add it here.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Re-starting a 401(k) plan. I've had two in the past, and used those funds for college. And after that, I was helping my mother in her retirement rather than saving for my own, so I made some adjustments in the last year to change that.

9. What was you biggest failure?

Letting a few people get under my skin, and letting it show. Not because I find them particularly valuable of such a pathetic little honor, but because I don't. Gaining back some weight that I had lost last year, and not making a bigger commitment to my health.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Well, since I can be occasionally clumsy, injuries are sort of a matter of course for me. Probably my most brilliant this year was dropping a window sash on my leg. I also got that awful cold/sinus bug that went around in the fall this year. But no major illness or injury, thankfully.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Like many people, the iPhone 4S. I was still using my original 3G from several years ago. I never upgraded to the 3GS or the 4, so I finally upgraded to the 4S this year. I asked Siri once to bring me George Clooney, and she told me that she's sorry, she can't send me to the Cayman Islands. She's funny.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Since buying my home in 2004, my mortgage and all related house expenses take the biggest chunk. And I also started a retirement account this year. Other than that, I spend a bit too much on eating out, since I typically buy lunch each work day. Since I don't have any expensive hobbies (unless I start flying lessons, that is), this is my one thing.

13. What did you get really excited about?

See #1. It was one of the coolest things that I've done. Ever.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I'll get back to you.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- happier or sadder? About the same.
- thinner or fatter? Fatter. I don't own a scale (I refuse), but clothes are tighter, and it's obvious.
- richer or poorer? About the same; maybe a little better off.

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

Made more time for me, and getting to a few more of my "bucket list" things. Travel. Made healthier choices. Clutched fiercely to joy and not let stress take hold.

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

See #9. Letting people get to me that don't deserve to take up that much of my time & effort.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Annual Christmas Eve dinner with family, and saw the new Sherlock Holmes film on Christmas Day. I love me some Robert Downey, Jr. I also had some lovely evenings with my closest neighbors as part of the limited gift exchange that I did this year. I chose to forego gift exchanges with friends in lieu of charitable giving, and making commitments to just spend time together in the coming year. The dearest things to me don't cost money, just time & effort.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Gotta go with Modern Family, again. Love that show. It's just pure comedy.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I didn't do a lot of reading this year, but I got through several books that I enjoyed, including the very poignant, A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. And I think I also read another one of Jon Katz's books, which are always a good read.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I don't have a particularly great answer to this. I listened to more NPR than anything. But when not doing that, you can usually find a compilation on music on my iPod, including DMB, Kings of Leon, Snow Patrol, etc. A new artist that I discovered is Brian Ellefson, who plays out at my uncle's winery, Matthews Estate, among other places.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I didn't see many new films this year, as I tend to see most films via Netflix, but I did just see the new Sherlock Holmes and enjoyed it. I also saw The Ides of March, but haven't yet seen The Descendents. I tend to see anything with George, of course, not just because of the obvious aesthetic reasons, but because he's wicked smart and deliciously funny. He's dating someone with my first name, and the Ides of March is my birthday. Coincidence? I think not.

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

Had a spa day, which is a new tradition the last couple years and I'm a big fan. 40! Whee! Although, I told people that I was turning 50. If 40 is the new 30... That and they would then think that I looked awesome. Ha.

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

A less sucky economy and all that goes with that. A sober mother. Not for a few weeks or months, but for good. The most difficult aspect of my life is this area.

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

Sundry plans to drop this question for next year, which is good for the non-fashionistas like me. My closet is largely Eddie Bauer, CAbi, and a little Ann Taylor for flavor.

26. What kept you sane?

An awesome boss -- such a blessing. Spending time with anyone who gets me, when it's easy and fun. Humor, found in a variety of sources.

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

Not really new lessons, but just reaffirmed several existing ones:
- That no one will ever truly be able to put you first but yourself
- That you can't wish/hope/pray/whatever sobriety for someone else; they have to want it
- Life can turn on a dime, so spend it in a way that is in alignment with your key values & interests
- Once out there, words can't be taken back; so treat them like the cash of your reputation

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