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2017 Wrap Up

I decided to answer some end of the year questions again, because why the hell not? Two weeks early, but I’ve been done with 2017 for a while, although this month did bring at least one pleasant surprise, so maybe it wasn’t a total shit sandwich.

Anyway, they’re still the same questions form last year, tweaked from a list found on the All & Sundry blog many years ago, because they were some good questions. So here’s my 2017. Time to think about yours, if you’re into that sort of thing. What did you do this year and what did you learn? What do you hope next year will bring?

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before? I didn’t do too many new things this year, though I went on a long night time bike ride adventure with my friend and her hubby back in May. I’m not an experienced bike rider, so I found it kind of terrifying. I’m glad I did it. I’m not doing it again.

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

Last year’s were: I’m going to spend time with the people I adore.  I’m going to spend time alone. I’m going to write and work on things I love. I’m going to keep running regularly and participate in some races. I’m going to try not to say yes to things I don’t want out of a warped sense of obligation. I’m going to say yes to things that sound like fun to me, even if they scare me a little. I’m going to ask questions and seek answers. I’m going to say what I need to say.I’m going to keep working on building myself and my boys back up.

I’m happy to say that I did all those things. I think I’ll keep those. Still a work in progress.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. Though I did follow April the Giraffe’s labor for a while.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My aunt died in September. She was a lovely person and the last remaining member of my dad’s family. My siblings and I all went to our childhood hometown for her funeral and raised (and downed) a glass of Irish whiskey to her, as one must do to properly send off any good Irish woman.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the USA again this year. I visited Florida, Massachusetts and New York, though. So at least I left Texas!

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Last year I said I wanted optimism and my faith in humanity restored in 2017 and neither of those things really happened. I’ve heard 2017 described as a “dumpster fire” by multiple people and I agree with that assessment. But there have been glimmers of hope. Come on 2018!

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory?
The year started off roughly, but the Women’s March on January 21 was uplifting and invigorating. November 5th felt like a particularly good day to me. I did the 10 mile Run for the Water in the morning, and felt strong the whole time, even though it was humid as hell. My sweet boys were at the finish line cheering for me and giving me happy hugs. Then I refueled with sausage, beer, chicken dancing and friends at Wurstfest. And I slept really well that night. I love good nights of sleep. So that day stands out as a good one. December 2nd was a pretty special day for me, too :)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I was surprised by a really low and sad time that started in January and seemed to hang on for a way too long time. I think my biggest achievement this year was that I actually worked hard to get through it. My go-to for most of my life has been to hide from or run away from dark times. But I felt like I needed to face this one. It seemed like leftover grief from multiple things that I needed to work through. So I did. I wrote a lot of it down and went to therapy. I ran a lot, I spent time alone and time with my boys and my friends and I took a lot of walks. The fog started lifting in the summer and was a memory by October. That feels big to me. I feel stronger and better than I have in a long time.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I didn’t follow through with making doctor and dental appointments for myself. I took my kids, but not me. I know I have to do better with this. It’s a dumb fear and I let myself get away with not addressing it. I’m going to make myself do it next year. Probably.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A couple of stomach bugs, colds and weird rashes, but no big ones, luckily. Hence, nothing *forced* me to a doctor’s office.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought a really cute coat, in raspberry pink, my favorite color. And I got it on Thred Up so it was a steal.

12. Where did most of your money go?
My kids’ summer child care, plus Target and HEB. Oh…and some pricey car repairs on my 10 year old minivan. Blah.

13. What did you get really excited about? I was really excited about going to Houston with Madame V to visit Shakira and go see the “Guys We F*cked” podcast women, live and in person. It did not disappoint! We had the best time. I was also very excited about my Thanksgiving plans, which consisted of the Turkey Trot and chance to catch up while trotting with two dear friends, and later (post nap and brunch) a movie and FULL TURKEY DINNER at the Alamo Drafthouse with two other awesome single mom friends who were also child-free for the holiday. Then karaoke. Best Thanksgiving ever!

14. What song will always remind you of 2017?
Tom Petty’s Don’t Come Around Here No More. I know it’s from 1985. But with Tom Petty’s death this year I revisited it and played it often. My youngest son now loves it too. It is part of our current family soundtrack. And it totally fits my feeling about 2017 and much of what happened in it. I mean, see question 17. “Whatever you’re looking for… HEY! Don’t come around here no more.” Oh yes.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier
– thinner or fatter? About the same
– richer or poorer? Same

16. What do you wish you’d done more of? Getting good nights of sleep. I worried too much and stayed up into the wee hours doing it on way too many nights. I also didn’t leave Austin from late April to mid September, so I think I need to get myself out of town more next year.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of? Dating men who treated me like a consolation prize or an afterthought and were otherwise consistently underwhelming. Two in 2017, plus one unGoogleable who I’m pretty sure is a sociopath. No more, thank you.

18. How did you spend Christmas/Hanukkah/Major Holiday of your choice? I’m writing this prior to Christmas, but I have plans to spend the holidays with my kids and family in (hopefully) sunny Florida.

19. What were your favorite TV programs? I loved Glow so much. 80s music, costumes and hair, Marc Maron, Lady wrestlers….it was everything I ever wanted in a tv show. Thank you Netflix.

20. What were your favorite books you read this year? We read a lot of good ones in my real book club (as opposed to the fake one where we just drink and eat things) – The Goldfinch, The Sisters Brothers and A Gentleman in Moscow were my absolute favorites.

21. What was your favorite music you heard this year? Ah man, I have kids, so the radio in my van is always playing pop songs from former Disney child stars or Bruno Mars. And not gonna lie…I love them. So that said, my favorites this year were Selena Gomez and Kyga’s It Ain’t Me and Demi Lovato’s Sorry Not Sorry, ’cause payback is a bad bitch and baby I’m the baddest.

22. What were your favorite films you saw this year?
Ladybird was perfection. See it!

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 46. Daaaaaaamn. It was a great day, despite that. I took the day off from work. Ran 10 miles, came home and got a special delivery of Bailey’s from Shakira. That girl knows me!  Also got a couple other surprise deliveries of treats, both fun and delicious.  Drank Irish coffee while watching multiple episodes of Love Boat on YouTube. Found an episode with Andy Warhol in it. That. Was. Nuts. Had pizza with my kids and some friends to round out the day. It was a very happy birthday.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not having a man who freely admits to grabbing women by the pussy (and lest we forget, those are his actual recorded words) as president would have been nice. But I think the backlash helped inspire the woman’s march and later the outing of many lecherous shitbags who’ve been getting away with harassing and assaulting women for too long. And then there was #metoo. So maybe it’s been helpful in a weird way? It’s still deeply disheartening and unsatisfying. He’s the worst.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Librarian up to no good. Always and forever.

26. What kept you sane?
Who says I’m sane? (I’ll never answer this one differently, either)

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017. Real change requires a lot of slogging through muck. There was a lot of muck for me and many others to go through in 2017. And a whole lot of slogging. Are ‘slogging’ and ‘muck’ actual things? Well, the muck felt oppressively real to me and the slogging seemed unbearably slow and difficult, often without much in the way of tangible results.  I do feel better off in a lot of ways than I did last year at this time. And much stronger.

Boom, baby! Let’s bring on 2018!

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End of the Year Questions – Part II (Shakira)

I read Gigi’s entry on this topic and decided I would give it a go. Partly because I love a countdown at the end of the year (I remember being glued to the TV to watching a countdown of music videos on MTV back when MTV actually played such things) and I also love a montage. Sitting down to think through my year is like a mashup of both. Also, who doesn’t love talking about themselves?

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I went on five ski trips in 2016 – between the two of them, I was able to ski the penultimate weekend in Arapahoe Basin (A-Bay to me and my buddies) in May, and then the second weekend A-Bay opened in October, meaning there was barely five months during between trips. How freaking amazing is that? Skiing in October also meant that I did something else I’d never done before – watch my beloved Longhorns play football between my laps around the mountain.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I never make New Year’s resolutions, but Sterling and I decided on financial, physical, professional, personal and relationship goals. I just looked back at the list and uhhhh…

I’m just gonna re-set the same goals for 2017. How’s that?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not in 2016, but my friend MaryAnn gave birth on Christmas Eve 2015, so that’s pretty close.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?
I didn’t leave the U.S. in my travels this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Confidence. And a manual transmission Aston Martin Vantage V8.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory?
November 8.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
One of the attorneys on our very small team left in April, and I had to do my job plus hers for several months. I am extremely proud of the way I handled it. I received multiple awards and shout-outs from colleagues over the course of the year, ranging from a formal plaque in my office, to a gigantic box of Godiva cookies, to emails and instant messages saying some version of “Thank you. You’re the best.” The best compliment by far might have been when my boss said: “We hit the jackpot with you.” (I almost fell out of my chair. And here’s hoping that’s reflected at review time in April.)

9. What was your biggest failure?
Sterling and I utterly failed at curbing our spending going out. However, see #12.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I took a spill one night at a bar while dancing. There may have been booze involved. I was also kind of making out with my husband so that’s still a win. My knee is a little wonky but it doesn’t impact skiing so I’m rolling with it. I also endured the annoyance of a colonoscopy because I learned that colon problems may run in my family. Clean bill of health, but I will have to get regular colonoscopies every five years. Wooo.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I’m going to cheat a little bit on this, and give two answers:

1 – Our house, purchased in November 2015. Even though it’s not 2016, it *almost* is. I had to include it because it’s hands-down the best thing I’ve ever purchased in my life. I also think it counts because Sterling and I spent most of the year saying to each other, “I love our house” and “I love where we live.”

2 – For something truly purchased in 2016, it’s the Garmin watch I gave Sterling for his birthday. We make it a practice not to give gifts on the standard occasions, instead getting a gift for the other when we feel like it. (This makes gifts an unexpected delight.) In this case, I knew he wanted this ridiculously expensive watch to add to his collection, so I bought it for him. I decided his birthday would be a good time to give it to him. This way I could tell everyone at his party that I am a cool wife. Kidding. Kind of.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Again, a little embarrassing, but true. Going out to eat and drink. Being DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) means that you spend stupid money doing stupid things just because you can. But sometimes being stupid is really fun.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Every vacation, especially skiing. Aside from skiing in Angelfire and A-Bay, we went to Dallas on a Race Armada poker run, Boston for a wedding, Scottsdale for Friendiversary with Gigi and Madame V, San Antonio on a Race Armada rally, Austin for various visits/holidays and Tulsa for Christmas. (Okay, I admit, I was not that excited about Tulsa, but at least it was cold for a day and felt like Christmas. And I got a bottle of Bailey’s in the white elephant gift exchange. Winning.)

14. What song will always remind you of 2016?
See #21.

Also, “My House” by Flo Rida. I know what the song *really* means, but to me and Sterling, it means that all our friends are coming over to celebrate. We had a huge group over to the house for his birthday in January, and then we went to Clé. We walked outside and every person’s exotic/supercar was parked all over the neighborhood, including a Lambo hard-parked in the neighbor’s driveway. It was like we had our own entourage. That’s the rally life.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Sadder. I am having a really hard time getting past the election results and what it means for our country and my relationships with some of my friends.

– thinner or fatter? I am just about the same. However, I hate this question.

– richer or poorer? About to be poorer because I have to pay property tax in 30 days. But it’s worth it, because have you heard I love my house?

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing, meditating (I keep trying to learn), doing new things like riding bikes or going to see a play, and trying things that take me out of my comfort zone. I read an article yesterday about Mischa Barton (yes, random, but I just downloaded the first season of the O.C. to re-watch and so when an article about her popped up in my twitter feed, I had to see how Marissa Cooper was doing as she approaches 30) and she said she heard somewhere you should re-invent yourself every seven years. Because my law career started in 2007, I’m overdue for a reinvention.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being hard on myself, stressing out about work, worrying about the future. (Again I am copying Gigi somewhat, but it’s true. Therefore, Gigi, you and I have some work to do. Perhaps another Friendiversary is in order.)

18. How did you spend Christmas/Hanukkah/Major Holiday of your choice?
I spent Christmas Day driving back from a visit to Tulsa to see Sterling’s family. That’s about seven hours in the car. That time was spent asking each other dumb questions, gossiping, sipping a Starbucks coffee (to pretend it was still cold outside, like Christmas should be, but I digress), listening to music, exchanging texts with Gigi and Madame V, and reading the Internet. All of it. Once we got home, we turned around and went to our new favorite neighborhood bar, Clutch. We walked in and immediately found a group of our friends, who yelled merrily and gave us hugs. It was a pretty good day.

19. What were your favorite TV programs?
Designated Survivor, Timeless, Botched by Nature, Marriage Boot Camp

20. What were your favorite books you read this year?
These are all the books I gave five stars on goodreads:

A Much Married Man, Wicked Pleasures, One Fifth Avenue, Crazy Blood, Leaving Time, Orange is the New Black, More Than You Know

You can see that I enjoy a very high brow type of literary greatness.

21. What was your favorite music you heard this year?
“Five More Hours” – Deorro and Chris Brown. Sterling became obsessed with this song around January sometime, and it became our theme song for partying all year. I requested it from DJs, turned it on in Ubers, played it while baking and meal prepping on Sundays.

22. What were your favorite films you saw this year?
Film-watching is not one of my strengths, but Sterling and I watched a psychological thriller called The Invitation a couple of weeks ago. It was amazing.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I celebrated all weekend because my birthday fell on a Sunday. Friday night I was supposed to have dinner with the in-laws, but my flight from Chicago was delayed until 6:30. Pretty sure we were the last ones out that night, due to the weather. We had to de-ice before takeoff, as it was snowing pretty steadily. Poor Sterling worried about me from the moment I flipped my phone into airplane mode until we landed. I should have paid for wireless and emailed him—oops. When I did get home, we went out for drinks at Clutch.

Saturday, we drove to Austin and stayed at the W with our Race Armada friends. I met up with a group of people—Gigi and Madame V included—at Lavaca Street Bar downtown. Old school.

Sunday, back to Houston for brunch at Cyclone Anaya’s. Sterling and I continued the party after brunch. The night ended with a shopping spree at CVS that included three flavors of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The next morning we discovered toothpaste on the cat.

Not a bad showing for 39.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I am going to echo Gigi on this one: The first female president being elected.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Classy and hip for work. Refusing to act my age, sexy bordering on slutty when I go out. Wait, Gigi told me on my birthday to stop talking like that (slutty). Okay, sexy and fierce when going out.

26. What kept you sane?
My husband. I kept a diary of my happy moments on this blog, starting in February. Here’s what I said about him on our anniversary, and this pretty much sums it up:

My husband is worth of mad love for many, many reasons. He’s handsome, smart, funny, sweet, hard working. He takes care of me. He’s a true partner in our relationship. He makes me feel like I’m the only woman in the room. But the best thing about him? The reason I married him and am happy to go through this mad journey called life together? He lets me be me. Every day. Not only does he let me be me, he loves that version of me. Even when it’s not the best version.

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Our country hasn’t come as far as I thought we had in terms of civil discourse, racism and respecting others who are different. We need to be involved, keep the faith and speak up for what we believe is right.

(I am not sure these are life lessons, but two significant things I learned in 2016:

If my husband leaves me or dies, I am selling everything I own and moving to Colorado to ski as much as possible. Basically, I am a true alcoholic’s daughter, which means I create backup plans constantly.

My husband thinks I am one of the strongest people he knows. I think that is fucking cool.)

 

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End of the Year Questions

Five years ago, I found an end of the year wrap-up quiz on a really good blog called All & Sundry Mourning. I thought the questions were interesting and it seemed a good way to remember what happened in the nearly-over year and prepare to move forward into the nearly-here one. This is a mildly tweaked version of her quiz, which may be a mildly tweaked version of someone else’s, if I read her explanation correctly.

So here is my 2016. What was yours like? If you want to share your answers, I’d love to read them.  Either way, I recommend taking some time and thinking about the year that was.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
So these things may not seem like a big deal, but as I haven’t been much of a traveler in my life (so far) they were novel and exciting for me.

I went to Scottsdale, Arizona with Shakira, her hubby and another fabulous friend for our 20 year ‘Friendiversary’. In Scottsdale, they sell liquor in the Walgreens, even on Sunday and there were many apartments that looked like they were right out of the Three’s Company 70s. It was fabulous.

I took all three of my kids on a plane trip by myself to visit my family in Florida. None of them were experienced flyers, so it was exciting for us all. Please note that Southwest Airlines makes a fine Bloody Mary.

I stayed in a hotel room by myself for the first time ever on a work trip in September. One of my all-time favorite things to do in life is watch tv in bed, but I don’t have a tv in my actual bedroom, because I suspect it would encourage my latent agoraphobia to blossom, so I especially adored this part of the trip. It’s the little things, baby.

Unrelated to travel: I saw the movie Elf.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions at the end of last year, since 2015 was a shitstorm for me. But I’m feeling stronger, so it’s time to make goals:

I’m going to spend time with the people I adore.

I’m going to spend time alone.

I’m going to write and work on things I love.

I’m going to keep running regularly and participate in some races.

I’m going to try not to say yes to things I don’t want out of a warped sense of obligation.

I’m going to say yes to things that sound like fun to me, even if they scare me a little.

I’m going to ask questions and seek answers.

I’m going to say what I need to say.

I’m going to keep working on building myself and my boys back up.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A dear friend had the most wonderful, smiley and cuddly baby in April. I’m so glad I get to know this little girl!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
David Bowie, Prince and George Michael. Plus Carrie Fisher. Ugh, this year was brutal. And yes, I’m aware that I did not know these folks personally and the actual year didn’t kill them. And yet….there are still a few days left in 2016 and I’m hoping that all of the Duran Duran guys and Judy Blume are taking their vitamins.

5. What countries did you visit?
I kept my magic to the good ol’ U S of A! I did go to Canada in my head for a while in November, though.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Optimism. The year 2016 may have killed my optimism. And my faith in humanity. I hope those things can be resuscitated.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory?
The day I started my job. The day I got my second divorce. The day I ran the half marathon with my sister (that one’s easy, ’cause it was my birthday).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting my high school prom picture etched in glass to create the “I’m So F*cking Impressed” award. It’s best idea I’ve ever had. Looking forward to celebrating the ISFIs in the near future. It’s gonna be bigger than the Oscars!

9. What was your biggest failure?
My morning routine with my boys is a colossal failure. It does not go smoothly AT ALL. EVER. I need to rework it in 2017.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a couple of colds and some allergy issues, but nothing major. KNOCK ON WOOD. The year isn’t over yet.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My house.

12. Where did most of your money go?
See 11. The rest goes to HEB, Target and Trader Joe’s where I buy all the foods that come from mythical creatures, plus cheap wine.

13. What did you get really excited about?
I was extremely excited about my Friendiversary and Thanksgiving trips. I was very excited to eat and drink with abandon after I ran the half marathon. And I was pretty excited to return to Stars Hollow, via my couch, to watch the Gilmore Girls update. The dorkiest thing I got really excited about was catching the Pikachu with the Santa hat while playing Pokémon Go with my son.

14. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Phosphorescent’s Song for Zula. It didn’t come out this year, but I listened to it a lot. I mean, these lyrics:

“Some say love is a burning thing
That it makes a fiery ring
Oh but I know love as a fading thing
Just as fickle as a feather in a stream
See, honey, I saw love. You see, it came to me
It put its face up to my face so I could see
Yeah then I saw love disfigure me
Into something I am not recognizing ”

and

“I am not some broken thing
I do not lay here in the dark waiting for thee
No my heart is gold. My feet are light
And I am racing out on the desert plains all night.”

Yep.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:


– happier or sadder? Happier. Wow.

– thinner or fatter? A little fatter. (Why? Why?!?)

– richer or poorer? Considering I didn’t have a job last year, I’m much richer!

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Playing outside with my kids. Going to the movies. Sleeping.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. Crying. Reading internet comments with mouth agape at the level of stupidity, unkindness and atrocious spelling contained in them.

18. How did you spend Christmas/Hanukkah/Major Holiday of your choice?
I drank all the booze and ate all the food. Hmmm…wonder why I’ve gained weight? On Christmas Day I had my boys in the morning, then I went to a great party and got to spend time with some of my dearest people in the evening. We had an impromptu George Michael dance party, possibly to the chagrin of some of the men in attendance. It was a good one, except for the part about losing George.

19. What were your favorite TV programs?
Stranger Things. Offspring. Fargo. Catastrophe.

20. What were your favorite books you read this year?
The Book Thief. M Train. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

21. What was your favorite music you heard this year?
I went to see/hear way more live music in 2016 than I have in a long time and those experiences have been the highlight of the music part of my year. At one show the band did a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity and it was sublime.

22. What were your favorite films you saw this year?
Keanu and Bad Moms. Comedies for the win! I didn’t go to the movies enough this year, though. Gotta put that on my list of resolutions!

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Ugh…I turned 45. Just typing that makes me want to lay down. My fabulous sister came to town and we went to Houston and ran a half marathon together. Then we had dinner and many margaritas with Shakira and her hubby. It was a truly great birthday, except for the whole being halfway to 90 part.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The first female president being elected.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Librarian up to no good.

26. What kept you sane?
Who says I’m sane?

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. And I have a voice that may be rusty from squelching it down for so long, but it is still there. I feel unsure sometimes, a residue from years of feeling like I was all wrong, but I am learning to trust my instincts again. Even though it has been painful at times, getting the chance to rebuild my life and make it my own is an amazing thing. I am lucky.

OK, 2017, let’s do this! Happy New Year to one and all!!!

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