Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taking Stock, 2008 Edition

More money or less?
Marginally more, thanks to a merit raise that ended up being wiped out by inflation.

Biggest way to waste time?
You know, I put Katamari away for a long time, only to take it back out late this summer, at which point I promptly played it until I got little blisters on my thumb, driven by an unreasonable urge to roll up the North Star. Other than that, I don't know that I really wasted a lot of time.

Best use of time?

Ash and I have taken up hiking. We bought some boots and everything, and we're working our way toward being able to do some camping/ hiking trips, hopefully this summer, if we can get our work schedules to cooperate. We've been having a lot of fun tramping around the trails in some local parks, enjoying the outdoors and having lovely talks about everything under the sun.

Best movie?
We didn't watch a lot of movies this year, so it's a very small pool to choose from. In comedy, I loved "Kebab Connection". But for sheer movie roller coaster fun, Dark Knight is the first movie in a long time that I would have been willing to pay full ticket price to see again.

Listened to?
Lots and lots of NPR. I think I worked my way through almost all of the This American Life Podcasts, and I listened to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" during all of my physical therapy sessions.


The unholy trinity of Jen Lancaster, Laurie Notaro, and Ayun Halliday helped keep me laughing in a rough year. I also re-read Pride and Prejudice, Les Miserables, and Oliver Twist, and made heavy use of my library card, reading pretty much anything that caught my eye.

Fatter or thinner?
Thinner. Then fatter. Then a little thinner. Then fatter. I'm working on thinner again now.

Smarter or stupider?
More cynical? Oh, wait, that wasn't an option. I guess smarter, because I feel like the scales were lifted from my eyes in several matters.

Best buy?
Our new mattress. Not only is it much plusher than the 20+ year old Sears mattress we were sleeping on, it is also bigger. After all that time sleeping in a full bed together, it felt downright spacious to upgrade to a queen. Now, after four months of sleeping in the queen bed, the full bed in Ash's mom's guest room felt so small. Ash and I kept elbowing each other and telling each other to move over and quit hogging the bed.

Best bargain?

Stupidest purchase?
I can't really think of anything, perhaps because we made a concerted effort to not buy things this year.

Drank the most?
Blue Moon, fueling my performance as a member of the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers at Pub Quiz every week.

Best drink?
I had a really lovely Sangiovese recently. Ash and I actually went to a couple of wine stores in Michigan, looking for a bottle to give as a gift.

Ate the most?
Well, I hate to admit this, but I ate a lot of Spaghetti-Os (with meatballs!!). I don't know why, it just hit the spot for a long time. I probably ate them for lunch at least twice a week for several months.

Worst food eaten?
I made this goulash one night, sort of free-styling it like I usually do. I am a cook who does not really measure things or use recipes, per se. Usually, I use a recipe only if I've never made something before, and even then, I often tinker with them.

Best food eaten?

I think the best thing I ate all year was the meal that I ate at Meat-tastic with Ash. I can't pick one thing as "best", because everything was so good. The seafood was amazing, and the lamb was practically melting in your mouth, but then, so was the filet, and the salads were to die for. I ate until I thought it might start to come out of my pores, and I still wouldn't have stopped if it had been physically possible to continue eating.

New friends found?
One of the best parts of this year has been the way my group of lunch buddies has morphed into a group of friends. Funnily enough, the one girl who I thought I would really dislike when she first started last fall is the one who I am probably closest to. In fact, up until this past week, I was one of only two or three people who knows that she's pregnant. She and her husband didn't even tell their parents until Christmas. Keeping the secret is killing me, but I don't think she's planning to tell anyone at work for another three or four weeks.

Old friends lost?

Not that I can think of.

Resolutions not kept?
Heck yes. For the record, these were last year's resolutions:
1) Get a thicker skin at work. I cannot continue to let a certain recurring problem get under my skin the way it has the past several months.
2) Get to work earlier in the morning so that I can leave earlier at night.
3) Learn something new-- a new skill, for example.
4) Get back to blogging regularly. I miss the creative outlet.

And the results?
1) The recurring problem I referred to no longer gets under my skin, and I'm getting better at not taking things to heart so much. Having said that, I still get too hot under the collar about certain things.
2) This has been a hit-and-miss thing. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don't-- more often, I don't. And when I do, I have a hard time leaving earlier, thereby defeating the whole purpose of getting there earlier.
3) I learned to swim breaststroke properly. Does that count? I think it does.
4) Not so much. I am just fried at the end of the day, so I want to flop on the couch and watch TV, or else I want to read what other people have written.

Missed chances?
I can't think of anything, but I wonder if that means that I'm missing something because I don't know that it's important-- you know?

This year, I kept hearing a line from a Patty Griffin song, playing over and over in my head: "I must confess, there appears to be/ way more darkness than light". That small snippet of song articulates my fears from the past year more than anything else. I have never worked as hard as I did this year, and yet I feel like I was running in place all year long. It's hard to keep believing that things are going to get better when it seems like they just keep getting worse.

Biggest success?
I think I had a lot of small successes this year, but no huge ones. I got a lot better at my job and did a few things there that I was really proud of.

Biggest failure?

I have made no progress whatsoever toward getting my house and life organized.

Healthier or Sicker?

Welllll... up until September, I would have smugly answered "healthier!", and I tell you, I was absolutely certain that the reason why I didn't catch any of the usual viral crap was the flu shot that I got for the first time in many years last fall. However, I also got a flu shot this year, and I've essentially been sick off and on since mid-September with some nasty viral crap. The bug I caught in November took me out of commission entirely for three days, then kept me miserable for at least a week more, and to be honest, I don't think it's ever entirely gone away.

Best spontaneous fun?

The morning Ash and I got Tim Hortons and went for a walk around a park in his hometown. It was very early in the morning-- we got up so that we could stop and see his dad before he left for work, because otherwise we wouldn't have had a chance to see him at all as we were passing through town on our way to a wedding. It was, in fact, earlier than I usually get up for work back home. We took our coffees and walked around the misty park while the sun rose higher and higher in the sky. It was quiet and peaceful, so full of still beauty that it made the moment seem surreal.

Learned the most?
I know more about government contracting than I ever want to know. I would wager that I know more about government contracting than almost anyone else in my company. Yet, I probably know only a tiny fraction of what there is to know. I do not like contracting with the Federal Government.

What I definitely don’t want to see in the next year?
More of the same, and especially more of the whole "Dumb as we wanna be" culture. I am ready for a new wind, for a new beginning. I'm ready to hope for good again.

TV puke?
More or less everything. I didn't really get into anything on TV this year, with one exception (see below), because it all seems like such crap. Even the shows that everyone else thinks are fantastic make me irritable. Like Lost. I think that show is worse than Heroes... Heroes from this season.

I love The Soup. I watch it almost every week, and every single episode makes me gaffaw like a lunatic. Every episode. I *heart* Joel McHale, maybe even more than Jon Stewart.

Biggest change?

This was the year I lost my ability to believe in a better future. But then I found it again. I am so ready for the Bush years to end, and I fervently hope that Obama can lead this country back to a better place.

Biggest loss for mankind?
After this terrible year, I simply haven't the heart to try and answer.

Biggest Disappointment?
The way John McCain ran his presidential campaign. I lost a lot of the respect that I used to have for John McCain. He tried to exploit some of the worst parts of our society to gain power, and I am still angry about Sarah Palin.


At 8:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I just say how much I am with you on Joel McHale and Jon Stewart?

Le Sigh.

Getting back in touch, miss you bunches!

That chick from your trademark class who's in Minneapolis...


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