Tuesday, January 01, 2013
2012 in Review
1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I didn't so much try a new activity as much as I pushed myself to try a little harder in several areas that are, to use a tired phrase, outside my comfort zone. In January of 2013 I will automatically at least attempt to sightread in Latin without parsing the pronunciation first. Hell, I sightread Psalm chant in English without parsing it first. (I'm definitely braver about my chanting abilities than I was in January of 2012.) This is brand new and wild in its own small way.
I also got better about following up on invitations from people who asked me to meet up for coffee or pizza. I'm starting 2013 with friends who text me from time to time, which is a good stretch for me.
I knitted, knitted, and knitted, and gave it away with a bit more confidence that I created something others really would enjoy. Hearing from people who love what I made, who find it comforting or happy or warm or everything all at once startles me in good ways.
I also said "no" a lot more often.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
The resolution was to put my head down and just keep on going. The challenge, of course, is that when a big fluffy dog charges into your life, it's impossible to look only at the ground. My dog has taught me to be joyful, if not as exuberant as a dog, every time that I wake up, and I think that's my goal for 2013, too. Meanwhile, I have taught the dog to allow the mistress to be a tad groggy before the joyful bit.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one close, but a lot of people whom I wish well became parents this year, and watching their joy is beautiful.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, just a few days ago, and I'm still coming to grips with her death. It wasn't a surprise - years of addiction and dangerous lifestyle choices meant we all knew her death was coming - but still very saddening. Thirty-two is too young to have given up and too old to believe you're invincible.
I'm staring down the barrel of a family's member's cancer diagnosis from a few days before Christmas, too. There's every reason to believe that treatment will be successful, but the double mortality whammy is, well -
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Teeth - I'm in pretty much daily pain from years of unaffordable dental work. I'd like to be able to eat apples, broccoli, steak, etc. properly again. Fingers crossed that I can afford to at least get started on all of this in 2013.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 12, 2012 - a big fluffy dog, Fritz, galloped into my life. I have learned a great deal about life from this dog, and he is a daily reminder to me that there's a lot to love about my life.
December 14, 2012 - Connecticut. Twenty-eight people.
I don't remember the date, but I will always remember that President Obama came out in favor of gay marriage on a Wednesday, because I went to choir practice that night feeling like I could look all of the homosexuals in the group in the eye after the previous night's election.
My summer whirlwind - no dates, just one very fuzzy, happy blur, one worthy of Fritz.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finally starting to get the sense that I can pick out the harmony line. Sometimes.
No, that's not true - more often than I could a year ago.
In 2012 I also read a great deal more than in 2011, which gives me a pleasant feeling of satisfaction as well as pleasure and pride. I read a few books I didn't much like, but only a few. I even reread a few pages of Moby Dick... but only a few.
9. What was your biggest failure?
My right arm - that old weakness - I know that massage therapy helps a lot, and I had an offer of very inexpensive massage therapy for it, and I spent my time elsewhere. I like where and how I spent the time ("It's not so much do what you like/ as it is that you like what you do" - Sondheim) but I really need to remember that the time invested in health is just as well spent.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Other than exhaustion, no, for which I am deeply grateful.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Does dog food count? It's so wonderful to be looked after by a dog again.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
In my life or in the world? In my life, an old friend who sent me some out-of-the-blue care packages of unexpected but thoroughly delicious surprises, such as seasons one and two of Downton Abbey. In the world - the Duchess of Cambridge, nee Kate Middleton, for redefining class and grace, President Obama, for voluntarily signing on for four more years he knew would and will be difficult.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Congress. Students and "real people" who refuse to learn the difference between it's and its.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Debt. My undergraduate loan almost down to three figures, which is exciting.
15. What did you get really excited about?
England, but the music of Holy Week was a close second. (see #16)
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Sure, sure, I heard a lot of "Dynamite" "Gangnam Style" "Call Me Maybe" but really, it's this setting of Ubi Caritas that will forever be this year:
First of all, it's just ethereal, gorgeous, incredible, breath-taking... and I can sing the second soprano line without a single hitch.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– Happier or sadder? Neither, but I'm getting better about noticing the joyful bits. (Thanks, Fritz!)
– Thinner or fatter? Thinner. (Thanks, Fritz!)
– Richer or poorer? Financially or emotionally? ;-) Musically, I am far richer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sitting quietly in beautiful spaces.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Day? Quietly. Joyfully.
21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No, but I am feeling a bit less frustrated with a few folks. (Thanks, Fritz.)
24. What was the best book you read?
Chains by Laurie Hulse Anderson
Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
I notice that my friend Freshy led me to two of these, which makes me think that I should ask her for suggestions more often.
Jeanne reminded me that it's all right to read books you dislike. In that category, I nominate Cries and Whiskers by Clea Simon, in which not a single character attracted me, not even the cats.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
See #16. A close second would be the album Lungs by Florence + the Machine, which powered me through a great many lecture outlines, paper gradings, long forms to be filled out on-line, etc.
26. What did you want and get?
A dog. To get the hell out of Indiana and just be me for two weeks. A dog. A new coffee cup. A dog.
27. What did you want and not get?
More ethnic food
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Tricky, as I actually saw some films this year and I liked all of them. Probably The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Cake with family, and not much more - it was too hot to do much, and without air conditioning, I didn't have the desire to do much, either.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not having to remind myself that life could be far worse. Financial security would have meant getting the air conditioning fixed, eating more ethnic food, visiting the dentist, etc. I had far more than many others, and I'd rather be joyful with a little than miserable with a lot, but I would like to get back to a happy medium between mindfulness and abundance.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Rediscovering clothes I haven't worn since Sam took me for regular walks. A struggle to find dress shoes that are attractive, comfortable, and won't make me trip on stairs.
32. What kept you sane?
Music. Laughter. The book of visages. Did I mention that I adopted a dog this year?
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Matt Smith. It's complicated.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The ban on gay marriage
35. Who did you miss?
My Gran. So so so many times I really wished that I could pick up the phone and call her.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Another library volunteer - see #1
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Find the good and praise it.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"I want a dog/ a chihuahua/ when I get back to my small flat/ I want to hear somebody bark"
Pet Shop Boys