So, I’ve been away from blogging for quite some time, but Spring is upon us and I’m feeling like dusting this old thing off and catching up with the dumb happenings with my house and my sewing and whatnot. I also felt bad when I realized I that I never did a ‘Year in Review’ for 2014–a tradition I’d otherwise kept up with for ten years! I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. Better late than never.
1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Completed a book manuscript. Wrote almost 200,000 words of fiction. Learned how to grout tile. Went to the emergency room (twice!)
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolutions for last year: get a new full-time teaching position, complete my manuscript, complete the Singing in the Rain quilt, complete my professional webpage, and make some serious headway on my fiction.
I’m actually pretty pleased with myself, looking at that list. Aside from my Singing in the Rain quilt (which will apparently never be finished) and my professional webpage (which I lost interest in once I was fully employed again), I did all of this. I’m now working full-time, not in one position but in two and I couldn’t be happier with both positions–they’re completely different from each other but both allow me to do stuff that I love. I actually gave up another job I was working on top of these–that was certainly a first. I went from being unemployed to being over-employed to now being ‘just right’ employed, and I couldn’t be happier. I also completed my manuscript (!!!) and did indeed make serious headway on writing fiction. I wrote more fiction this year than I have in the past ten years, no joke. Woo for 2014!
It’s a little late in the year to be making resolutions for 2015, I suppose, but I’ll keep up tradition and give it a shot. Things I would like to accomplish this year: complete revisions on the manuscript (we’re in that phase now), complete this current fiction project I’m working on plus complete the first draft of the next one as well, complete the remodel on the basement, actually buckle down and do the master bedroom, hang some damn pictures in the house and, heck, why not, finish the Singing in the Rain quilt.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several friends had babies this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
We were very, very lucky in 2014 and had no deaths.
5. What places did you visit?
This was not a year for traveling (2015 will be very different). Just how it shakes out, I guess. I don’t believe we traveled anywhere farther than Rockford to visit the in-laws.
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Good health. My arthritis got really bad in 2014 and then seemed to aggravate some other health issues as well. I ended up pretty sick for the back half of the year. I’m on some new meds now which seem to be helping a lot, though they make me incredibly tired all the time. More energy would be nice for 2015 too.
7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I completed a major fiction project on my birthday. That was pretty phenomenal considering how few fiction projects I’ve actually ever completed in my life.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing the book manuscript. Also, writing all that fiction. 2014 was the year I became a writer again.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I interviewed for an amazing job and ended up losing out to an internal candidate. It turned out to be for the best in the long run, but at the time I found out I wasn’t getting the job, I was devastated. Like I said, though, things worked out. I’m now so glad I didn’t get the job!
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Quite a bit, actually! Not a good year, health-wise.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
We paid to have phase two of our kitchen done and it was, by far, some of the best money we’ve ever spent. I’m so, so, so happy every time I use our kitchen now. The guy who did the work for us was great, too. In terms of stuff we bought, I also gotta say I’m really pleased with our new sectional sofa from Ikea. It works so much better for our living room set up than the old sofa/loveseat combo we had cobbled together. Ooh! I also really love our new storm doors. It’s the little things, man.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
It’s always Chop. I seriously won the lottery with that guy.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The news was full of folks who made me appalled and depressed. It always is.
14. Where did most of your money go?
House stuff. The kitchen actually wasn’t that bad (less than $2,000 for the new cabinets and the labor and finishing work), but it all adds up. We replaced both the front and back storm doors and did not go cheap which I think was the right decision. We also shelled out some bucks to reglaze the bathtub and freshen up the tub-surround grout. Money well spent but still money spent.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting the kitchen finished. After almost three years living with it half-done, it was incredibly satisfying to finally see all the parts in place.
16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
“Unbelievers” by Vampire Weekend.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
ii. thinner or fatter?
iii. richer or poorer?
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Work on the house. We did a big chunk of stuff this summer, then just let it languish through the whole school year since we were both so busy/pretty tired. Looking forward to getting back to work on our poor wee house this summer.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Screwing around online. This was my answer last year, and it will probably always be my answer. Alas.
20. How did you spend Christmas and NYE?
Christmas morning at the in-laws, Christmas evening at my aunt’s house, then my family came over for gift-exchange afterward. Same as last year. Looking forward to hopefully shaking up that tradition come Christmas 2015 when we (fingers crossed) have the basement renovation finished and will be hosting for both sides of the family.
21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
I fell in love with my jobs. Seriously, I feel for the first time that I’m in the exact right work situation for me. I love it.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
I watched Shameless, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, The Americans, and finally caught up with the rest of the planet on Breaking Bad.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. How nice is that?
24. What was the best book you read?
I was blown away by “From Hell” by Alan Moore.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I got really into that one album by Vampire Weekend and listened to it pretty obsessively all spring.
26. What was your greatest culinary discovery?
Became obsessed with this little Thai place that serves an amazing strip steak called an angry tiger. I find myself craving it periodically.
27. What did you want and get?
A full-time job. It ended up being two half-time jobs, but I couldn’t be happier. I love doing both so much. I also wanted a completed kitchen and finally got it. I feel very, very lucky this year.
28. What did you want and not get?
I would’ve liked to have completed more work on the house. I also was sorely disappointed that I couldn’t grow my flower garden again in 2014 due to a combination of worsening arthritis and a beagle who likes to dig. That genuinely bummed me out.
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34. It was a low-key year. Chop got me a bathtub reglazing, which was the best gift ever, and we had my family over for dinner. Low-key birthdays are nice.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Better health. I spent the whole second half of this year feeling terrible much of the time.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Teaching clothes and pajamas. Almost zero in-between. Put on my teaching clothes in the morning, switch into pajamas the minute I got home. I should probably try to shake things up a little more in 2015.
33. What kept you sane?
Writing and teaching. I felt awful physically, but writing and teaching and doing work I love and sharing it with other people was immensely satisfying this year. It did a lot to distract me from feeling bad and help me focus on how lucky I am in a lot of other areas of my life.
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?
Honestly, I spent the majority of this year in a writing bubble. It was a year of sticking my head in the ground like an ostrich when it came to political issues.
36. Who did you miss?
My sister and some of my close friends. I fell out of touch with a lot of people this year. Whenever I get busy, I let this happen, and I hate it.
37. Who was the best new person you met?
I made a handful of really awesome writing friends this year. I also met some truly amazing students. So many lovely people in 2014.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.