1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Defended a dissertation. Signed a book contract. Housetrained a dog. Worked with woodstain.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolutions for last year: Complete my dissertation. Defend my dissertation. Graduate! Finish my Singing in the Rain quilt. Grow some vegetables in the garden. Make more clothes. Keep up with my work-out routine. Paint the bathroom, bedroom, and living room.
I did indeed complete my dissertation, defend it, and graduate. I still have not finished quilting my Singing in the Rain quilt because quilting on a tiny home machine is really frustrating. I did grow some vegetables in the garden, including cherry tomatoes and zucchini, but mice ate all my zucchini. Flowers were much more successful. I did not make any more clothes this year, unfortunately. I also was not great at keeping up the work-out routine, though I was swimming pretty regularly before the pool closed for the holiday break, so there’s that. We also did paint the bathroom, though not the bedrooms or living room. Oh, well.
For this year I want to accomplish the following: get a new full-time teaching position, complete my manuscript, complete the Singing in the Rain quilt (I’m so close it’s ridiculous), complete my professional webpage, and make some serious headway on my fiction. I also think I’m going to do a separate post on goals for the house.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, but a whole bunch of folks are currently pregnant. 2014 will be a bumper baby year.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Chop lost both his grandparents and his cousin this year. That was awful.
5. What places did you visit?
I went to Ann Arbor for what will likely be the last time ever. We also had a great, great weekend trip to Galena in October for my birthday. It was incredibly beautiful and I hope to remember it forever.
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Steady employment. State budget cuts mean that a lot of the courses I usually teach have been axed. It sucks. So does job-hunting. I really want to get to a place where I don’t have to worry about either for a bit.
7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 15th. Defended my dissertation.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Successfully defending my dissertation and graduating with my Ph.D.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not yet finding a more permanent teaching position.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. So far it hasn’t been too bad and I am extremely grateful for this.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new roof. Seriously, it makes me so happy every time I drive up the street and see it. Also nice that our bedroom ceiling no longer leaks every time it rains.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Chop, as always. He is the most patient and kind person who ever lived.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My own. I’m pretty frustrated with myself as this year winds down.
14. Where did most of your money go?
New roof, new furnace, new dog
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Finishing grad school! Getting a dog! Teaching a really, really awesome group of students.
16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
“100” by Brandi Carlisle
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
about the same
ii. thinner or fatter?
iii. richer or poorer?
poorer. but we have a roof and a furnace and all that jazz.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Screwing around online, watching terrible television on netflix
20. How did you spend Christmas and NYE?
Christmas morning we went to Rockford to visit Chop’s family. Christmas evening my family gathered at my aunt’s house, then my parents and sister came to our place afterward. New Year’s Eve Chop and I stayed in, ordered pizza (as is our tradition) and watched a marathon of Burns & Allen.
21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
I love my dog more than I would have thought possible.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Stuff I really enjoyed this year was Girls, Mad Men, and Boardwalk Empire. Chop made me watch the entirety of The West Wing and I despised it. I also started watching American Horror Story over Christmas break and have been enjoying its sheer batshittery.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
24. What was the best book you read?
I really enjoyed “The Little Stranger” by Sarah Waters.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Really loved Brandi Carlisle’s new album. Also Jake Bugg and Lorde.
26. What was your greatest culinary discovery?
Hmm. I started making this really awesome balsamic vinegar beef thing in the crock pot. Also made some killer peanutbutter cookies that will be adding to my annual Christmas cookie baking extravaganza.
27. What did you want and get?
A completed dissertation and a puppy.
28. What did you want and not get?
A stable job.
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I don’t know that I had an absolute favorite but I really enjoyed Side Effects and found Silent House pretty clever for the most part. It was a netflix-y year for me and movies.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33. For my actual birthday I just worked and had a normal day, but the weekend after Chop took me to Galena. Galena in October is the prettiest place on Earth. I’m hoping to make October trips up there a tradition.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
I got really into wrap dresses. I also wear dog-hair-covered yoga pants way too much these days.
33. What kept you sane?
Swimming and gardening. I was also so pleased to have my desire to write fiction come back toward the end of the year. I spent a lot of October-December writing again, which was wonderful. I felt like I found myself again. Teaching, too, is great for keeping your mind alive. My students inspire me in a lot ways, as corny as that sounds.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Can’t really think of anyone for this.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The government shut-down was crap. On the brighter side, we finally got gay marriage in Illinois. Embarrassingly late is better than never, I guess.
36. Who did you miss?
I miss my friends I used to talk about writing with.
37. Who was the best new person you met?
Can I say my students? I had some great students this year.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.