2016 in Meme

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Ran a marathon; spent 3 weeks in Belgium; took a vacation with the entire family; launched an intranet; took a bootcamp class; found Divvy Red (twice in one day!); used a hospital-grade pump; facilitated a strategic planning discussion; ran 1,000 miles.

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

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several friends had babies, particularly in the first half of the year, and several more are expecting in the new year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I lost friends, but my year was nothing compared to the losses experienced by many people close to me.

5. What countries (or new places) did you visit?
No new places, but plenty of travel: 3 weeks in Belgium, 2 trips to DC/Virginia (conference + friend visit + wedding), and trips to Ann Arbor (wedding), Orlando (conference), Michigan City (family beach rental), Long Beach (friend support), Iowa City (family weekend), and Carlsbad (vacation).

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Let’s just carry my 2016 list forward for another year: more dates with my partner, more time with friends, and more sleep. And more dancing.

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My marathon, and the day after the election.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My marathon, obvs.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Same as last year: I’m sure there are aspects of early parenting that we’ll regret. I wish I were more patient, and that I did a better job of communicating at times.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A couple of random bugs, but nothing serious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I’m slavishly devoted to my Get To Work Book. I also bought a new bike, but I haven’t had a chance to ride it yet.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
A lot of people complained about their social media and friend circles becoming toxic during the election. I feel incredibly fortunate that this wasn’t the case for me – and that many of my friends have continued to engage, to push buttons, to keep those of us inclined to armchair activism moving forward in this post-election season.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The President-Elect and all around him.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food and drink and rent.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I wouldn’t say that I loved marathon training, but I did love many hours of podcast listening, especially Criminal, More Perfect, and Revisionist History.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
We sing a silly song from one of the Winnie the Pooh movies a lot. Otherwise, I didn’t actually listen to all that much music.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Sadder

ii. thinner or fatter?
Fitter

iii. richer or poorer?
More debt, but also more money.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
The same things every year: spending time with the toddler and his papa. Sleeping. Watching movies. Reading books. Dancing. Drinking. Spending time with friends and family.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Driving. Trying to convince someone that he really, actually does need to sleep.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We drove out to Rockford Christmas Eve, made a quick trip to the Nicholas Conservatory, and had Indian food for Christmas Eve dinner. The toddler got to have a snowy Christmas morning adventure with Pop, and I got in a quick run before Jenn and her family came over for packages and snacks. The toddler absolutely refused to nap and was in complete meltdown by dinner, so he had to miss the delicious food. We headed home on the 26th after a quick trip to the Discovery Center.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
With podcasts and early morning long runs

22. How many one-night stands?
Zero

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones, Man in the High Castle, Westworld

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year
Some elected officials

25. What was the best book you read?
Bring Up the Bodies was so good. Fates and Furies was way better than expected.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I really didn’t listen to much music this year.

27. What did you want and get?
Different responsibilities; a good training cycle; new friends

28. What did you want and not get?
More responsibility; a PR

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I watched maybe 4 movies this year. It wouldn’t be fair to try to pick a favorite.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 36. I took the toddler to our parent/child class at the Waldorf School down the street, then N treated us to brunch at the Cherry Circle Room. We took a walk and had cupcakes at Molly’s. We had literally just come back from vacation, so a low-key day was just fine.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Different election results. More sleep.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Workout clothes + comfortable layers

33. What kept you sane?
My sister

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
So many people lost their heroes this year – I’m afraid to name mine.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The entire election was a shitshow.

36. Who did you miss?
My people.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
This was the year that some of my work/professional friendships got real, and I’m so, so grateful for that.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:
Listen more than you talk.

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2013 in meme


Photo by Nicolas

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Went to the Bahamas, Traverse City, and an electronic music festival; attempted to integrate cats; biked over 1,000 miles; knit cables; tried miracle berries.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I’m most proud that I’ve kept up with the year of no pants. I think next year’s list is less aspirational, though it has some big ones.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yep, but many fewer friends than in previous years.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I lost one friend.

5. What countries (or new places) did you visit?
The Bahamas with Karen, new parts of Michigan with Nicolas, and Portland with Annette. I also saw a lot more of Chicago, Seattle, Indianapolis, and St Louis.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Certainty.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My divorce was finalized on June 5.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Trusting my gut; quitting smoking (again); back-to-back PRs.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Judgment.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was sick in January, February/March, August, and December. I had all manner of menstrual weirdness that seemed to resolve itself after tests in May. I’d like to think my insides were scared straight. A nagging hip thing started to flare badly in July, and was diagnosed in December as a hypermobile SI joint. I have done a terrible job at keeping up with my PT.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My Divvy membership, which made hacking my commute possible.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I’m really proud of a number of my friends for the awesome things they’ve made happen in the last year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Same as last year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food and drink; running and biking (race registrations, gear, travel, Gu)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Sand cats and biking in Chicago.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Happier

ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same, though my weight has shifted around a bit.

iii. richer or poorer?
Richer in lots of ways.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More time at the beach. More naps. More reading.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Driving.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family in Rockford

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope.

25. What was the best book you read?
Haruki Murakami: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Brad Kessler: Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese
Ryszard Kapuściński: Travels with Herodotus

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Another year of a lot of electronic music: Darkside, Moderat, Modeselektor, Four Tet, Trentemøller, Tensnake, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and FM Attack.

And oh yeah: Nicolas Jaar, Nicolas Jaar, Nicolas Jaar, Nicolas Jaar.

27. What did you want and get?
Love.

28. What did you want and not get?
A sand cat.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
In the theater: The East; Blancanieves; Upstream Color.
At home: Samsara; Baraka; Bill Cunningham New York.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Drove to work very early, stopping to pick up an absurdly foofy free coffee in my vintage dress and with my hair in rollers. Gave a presentation to the entire library at 9am. Got new passport photos taken. Quick post-work run before dressing up for dinner with my best girls at Karyn’s on Green. One solo drink at Neo. More celebrations over the weekend, which was spent with my (new) guy. Not a bad way to turn 33.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time – on the beach, in the water, on my bike, in the forest, with my loved ones, unplugged.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
No pants in public.

33. What kept you sane?
Running. My girls. Love.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I might have mentioned Nicolas Jaar.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I spent a lot of time thinking about urban planning than any specific political issue.

36. Who did you miss?
There are a number of people that I expected to see all the time since moving to Chicago that I just haven’t.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
This year was more about solidifying friendships with people I met previously. I met online friends Heidi and Patrick for the first time IRL, and I made friends at work.

Best non-person: the sand cat, which we visited often, and my sponge:

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
I’ve lived by this quote from my friend Susie: “Lead with your fractured heart. It can be broken more, yes, but it has practice — like bones and other things, we mend and move on. Use it or, well, what’s the point of having it in the first place?”

See also: 2011, 2012

2012 in meme

#newyears pantsuit #vintage
Kissing 2012 goodbye in style at Karen and Annette’s, 31 December 2012

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Ran 750+ miles (just barely), moved to Chicago, ate at several Michelin starred restaurants, almost walked to Mexico.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
9 out of 12 ain’t bad. More on this later.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I have a new niece! She is a chublet and I adore her.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My uncle passed unexpectedly in January, but we weren’t close.

5. What countries (or new places) did you visit?
No new countries or cities as far as I recall. I spent far too much time on the 405.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A better budget, and the dedication to stick to it.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Shane and I decided to separate on February 25.
I left Ann Arbor on March 27.
I broke my arm on July 4.
Those are the defining features of this year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Keeping my head above water and in doing so, finding a life for myself that is impossibly richer than I ever imagined possible.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Sobriety, weight loss, protecting my skin, protecting my heart, being financially responsible. My body also said FUCK NO to an IUD twice.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I spent half the summer in a cast.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought a lot of fantastic vintage clothes this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I am constantly amazed by the people on the lakefront path. Every time I run or bike there, I spend part of my workout composing a post about how motivating and inspirational they all are.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A close friend is going though something appalling and inexcusable.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food and drink and dresses.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Nicolas Jaar

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Happier

ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same, unfortunately.

iii. richer or poorer?
Financially poorer, but richer in nearly every way.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More running. More time at the beach. More naps. More coffee dates. More reading. More sex. More live music. More miles on Orange. More travel.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family in Rockford

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
I fell balls deep in love with Chicago, and was pretty dang smitten as well.

22. How many one-night stands?
A lady never tells.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I didn’t watch much TV this year, honestly. I’m rewatching Fringe.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Yes.

25. What was the best book you read?
The Wild Palms and Bluets

26. What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
Nicolas Jaar

27. What did you want and get?
A whole new life.

28. What did you want and not get?
Love.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I saw Skyfall in the theaters three times, but The Fall was the best new-to-me film of 2012.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Drank way too much in Carlsbad the night before, slept it off in the car, waited an inordinate amount of time at Port Pizza with Pop, tried to walk to Mexico with Michael, fell in the Tijuana Estuary, watched The Fall, went to bed early.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Nothing. I can think of lots of things that would have made this year easier, but nothing that would make it more satisfying.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Vintage-inspired.

33. What kept you sane?
My girls.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
The entire cast of Skyfall, please and thank you.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I’ll be honest and remorseful when I say that I didn’t have the energy for politics this year.

36. Who did you miss?
Shane.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Karen, and all the great people I’ve met through her.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
As I wrote in July after breaking my arm, “love isn’t binary, that family isn’t defined by blood, that community isn’t bounded by physical space, and that what you put out into the world will be repaid tenfold if only you’re brave enough to let it.”

See also: 2011

2011 in meme (better late than never?)

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Ran two half marathons and a ten miler. Wrote a eulogy. Said goodbye to a close family member. Got a tattoo. Participated in a worldwide Secret Santa gift exchange. Ate bone marrow. Did a push-up. Taught a graduate course.

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

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not as many babies as in 2010 (good lord), but yes.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
We lost my grandpa in September.

5. What countries (or new places) did you visit?
I ran to Canada and back – does that count? Other than that, no new countries or cities.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
More real mail and more nights on the dance floor.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
We lost Grandpa on September 18.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Are you tired of hearing about running yet? Because the two halves were a really big deal for me. My first semester of teaching was also effing hard, but really good.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I basically always wish I could’ve been more prepared for the first (and all subsequent) days of class.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was sick most of May, and took this awful antibiotic that made my mouth taste like metal for weeks. Other than that, no significant illness or injury.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My newest Queen Bee bag is thus far my favorite of all of the QB bags I’ve purchased in the last five years. And that’s saying something. Also my crinolines and vintage dresses.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My sister is great – great person, great sister, great wife, great mom. I’m so proud of the woman she’s become.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Basically everything done by our government was appalling and depressing with the exception of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Apart from the normal expenses: food, drink, travel, and running.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Moving to Chicago. Getting back together with bourbon and Neo.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
We’ve already established that I mostly listened to old music in 2011.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
A draw? The last month has been hard.

ii. thinner or fatter?
Thinner and, more importantly, stronger.

iii. richer or poorer?
Richer, I guess?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Drinking and dancing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Drinking.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In Rockford with the family, a welcome respite from the endless move.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
With Chicago, yes.

22. How many one-night stands?
I left my heart on the dance floor a few times.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
New: Sherlock. Old: Fringe. Always: Law & Order.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope.

25. What was the best book you read?
Netherland

26. What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
The Radio 1 Essential Mix

27. What did you want and get?
Strength and good health. New friends, and time with old friends. A decent amount of travel. A new, much better job with a really great boss and big boss.

28. What did you want and not get?
A productive garden devoid of mosquitos.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Nothing to report here, actually, and that makes me sad.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My 31st birthday was sandwiched between a tough (but ultimately successful) job interview and the first day of my first semester of teaching. Shane tried to surprise me with dinner at Eve, which turned out to be a huge disappointment. We hopped over to Vinology and had a totally lovely evening.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Air conditioning in the summer.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Vintage day dresses.

33. What kept you sane?
Running.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Daniel Craig.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I’m not all that pleased to admit that I spent most of 2011 checked out as far as politics are concerned.

36. Who did you miss?
Chicago and DC friendos, my sister.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I met Michael, the Black Pipes, and a lot of fun MPub people – and Kristen, who I’d known online but met in real life for the first time. I got to know the ladies of the A2BC, who I will miss now that we’re somewhat disbanded. Also Max is much more of a person than he was this time last year, and that’s awesome.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
I can’t point to specific factors that resulted in this epiphany, but around October I realized that I’ve spent the last two years – possibly longer – turning inward, avoiding connection, enabling my introversion rather than reaching out into the world. I’m trying to change that.

Ten on Tuesday: Headlines From the Year You Were Born

All news shamelessly sourced from Wikipedia.

  1. January 1: Changes to the Swedish Act of Succession make Princess Victoria of Sweden Crown Princess and therefore next in line to the throne, ahead of her younger brother.
  2. January 11: Nigel Short, 14, becomes the youngest chess player to be awarded the degree of International Master.
  3. March 22: The Georgia Guidestones are erected in Elbert County, Georgia.
  4. April 24-25: Operation Eagle Claw, a commando mission in Iran to rescue American embassy hostages, is aborted after mechanical problems ground the rescue helicopters. Eight United States troops are killed in a mid-air collision during the failed operation.
  5. May 18: Ian Curtis, singer/songwriter of acclaimed post punk band Joy Division, is found hanged.
  6. May 18: Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 57 and causing US$3 billion in damage.
  7. July 16: Former California Governor and actor Ronald Reagan is nominated for U.S. President, at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan. Influenced by the Religious Right, the convention also drops its long standing support for the Equal Rights Amendment, dismaying moderate Republicans.
  8. August 17: In Australia, baby Azaria Chamberlain disappears from a campsite at Ayers Rock (Uluru), reportedly taken by a dingo.
  9. November 21: A then-record number of viewers (for an entertainment program) tune into the U.S. TV soap opera Dallas to learn who shot lead character J.R. Ewing. The “Who shot J.R.?” event is an international obsession.
  10. December 8: John Lennon, an English musician and peace activist, is murdered in New York City.

Please note that there were no Wikipedia-worthy news items from my actual date of birth, which I share with Albert Pujols.

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Ways to Prepare for a Big Storm

I’m a Midwest girl, born and raised, so my idea of a ‘big storm’ involves snow.  A lot of snow.  We don’t get big storms like Irene here, you see.  We get bad storms, tornadoes, and flooding, but we don’t generally get all of those things at the same time and for extended durations.  When we do, they come up quickly, without much warning, and it takes a while to recover simply because we’re not used to things like this.  It happened in July 2003, when a freak storm took out trees all over northern Illinois, leaving many without power for the better part of a week.  We lost all the food in our fridge, but were  thankful to not sustain damage on the house we would close on at the end of the week.

I’m more intimately familiar with big winter storms, the sort that blanket everything in a foot of snow in a few hours, making it difficult to do anything other than hunker down with soup and blankets and a good movie.  In case of winter storms:

  1. Hope and pray that your employer at least occasionally closes for inclement weather.  Mine doesn’t.
  2. If your employer doesn’t close for inclement weather, try to make work-from-home arrangements.
  3. Obsessively listen to the news in hopes that for once, your employer has changed their mind about closing for inclement weather.
  4. Decide to be a bigger person than your employer and cancel class – even though it’s online – because who wants to be the jerk that makes everyone go to school when the campus is closed?
  5. Arm yourself with a snow shovel, bag of salt, yak trax, many layers, and ibuprofen for the inevitable shoveling aches and pains.
  6. Start praying that the plowing company actually shows up this time AND doesn’t plow your car IN rather than out.
  7. Seal the windows with plastic, though you’ve probably already done that at the first sign of temps below 20.
  8. Start a pot of soup when you get home from work.
  9. Complain about how no one can drive in the snow EVEN THOUGH IT HAPPENS EVERY YEAR.
  10. Update the Netflix queue and hope that the internet stays up.

Ten on Tuesday is a listserv-driven meme thingamagig.

Ten on Tuesday: Great Snacks to take to the Beach

So I may have mentioned that we’re not good at relaxing – particularly relaxing on the beach. We’re just not. So you’ll forgive me when I admit to speculation on this list, as the only snacks we’ve actually taken to the beach are sodas and ice cream.

  1. Ice cream, though I’d suggest buying it at a concession stand rather than bringing it from home.
  2. On a related note, pick up some delicious fried foods: cheese curds, green beans, etc.
  3. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy
  4. Doritos. Do you really need a reason to eat Doritos?
  5. Jelly beans – small and unlikely to get coated in sand.
  6. Sandwiches, preferably carefully wrapped so as to avoid the sand issue
  7. It probably makes sense to eat things that come from the beach, right? Like fish, grilled by the beach?
  8. At all costs, avoid foods that might taste like they contain sand or otherwise have a sand-like texture. I like pears, but not on the beach.
  9. Also avoid sticky foods that will require hand-washing and/or attract bugs.
  10. A cooler full of ice. Granted, this isn’t technically a snack, but it is pretty essential for snack enjoyment.

Ten on Tuesday is a listserv-driven meme thingamagig.