Yearly Questions: 2016

I’m so set on answering this yearly set of questions that I have even set a reminder for myself in my calendar. OK, I didn’t get to this one before the clock struck 1 (on New Year’s Day at least), but I figure it still counts if I do this before I go back to work from Winter’s Break.

So here goes, questions about our lives in 2015 and resolutions for 2016.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

I can’t think of anything new that I did in 2015, and I’m OK with that. I tried to be myself, and do everything more successfully than before. If I had to choose a word for 2015 (and I don’t know how much I believe in doing so in advance, but it is interesting to do in retrospect) it would be authenticity.

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

I actually really look forward to making New Year’s resolutions. My competitive nature makes me eager to measure myself up to my own performance, and my introspective side enjoys analyzing why I might have failed. With that in mind: here’s how I did on last year’s resolutions.

  1. Pay off $10,000 of non house related debt. We got rid of a lot of high interest debt in 2014 although our total (non mortgage) debt load only went down by a few thousand dollars. This year I think we can pay off a big chunk of debt.
    If I look at my overall budget tracker from last year (and yes, I am that person who can tell you down to a penny how much she has in debt), we only paid off $5,166.55 in debt. However, that is counting the more than $16K in new windows we got a no interest/no payment loan on, so we really paid off $21,510.53 in 2015. I’m counting this as a win.
  2. Keep my nails well groomed, hands and feet. Although regular mani/pedis are expensive (and contradict the above), having them done help me not pick my hands and feet, so I feel more professional and adult. This won’t be a hard resolution to keep; having spa treatments is not like going to the dentist after all, but I want to hold myself to it.
    Semifail. When I felt like going to the salon was in the budget I happily went. However, I still pick at my nails, especially when stressed or they aren’t done, and I have realized that it is more worth it to me to be debt free than it is to have pretty hands and feet.
  3. Walk every day, and document it. I think this will be a good self care project for my (mostly) fortieth year, without adding loaded expectations of going to the gym or losing weight. Afterwards I want to put together a book of pictures documenting where I was and my journey along the way.
    Yeah, not so much. I realized that the important thing about this goal was not the walking, it was more about getting out of the house. Even that I failed at, however, as there were some days that it was hard enough to just get off the couch. Eddy doesn’t help in this regard, as he is also prone to being a couch potato. Major fail on this one, and I wish I had done better.

Resolutions for 2016? Yup, indeedy.

  1. Pay off $15,000 of non house related debt. I think we can do this in 2016.
  2. Visit a new place every month. I feel like we always go the same places when we want to do things and there are so many places to visit in the Northwest! I’ll be blogging about them each.
  3. Read my to be read shelves. There are 33 books that I haven’t yet read on these two shelves I’ve dedicated to my TBR pile, and I’d like to plow through them. I’ll keep track in at least one blog post.
  4. Blog each major life event as it happens. I got pretty behind on blogging this year, and realized how much we like to go back and look at past posts. I’m all caught up now, and I’d like to stay that way.
  5. Walk, go to the dog park or to the gym at least once a week. Let’s be a little more reasonable here.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No new babies to snuggle, boo, but we did get a toddler to cuddle! Hurray for cute babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

George Allan, otherwise known as Uncle George, who was a very important person in my childhood.

5. What countries did you visit?

Spain, again (rolls eyes at how jaded I sound). And France, again!

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Last year I wanted to work towards having more patience with my kids, having more energy for my life, and learning new things at work. I am not lacking for anything in my life (maybe except for the aforementioned patience, so this year I will work on being more present.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Owen graduating from 5th grade. Our trip to France.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I predicted that 2015 would be a year where I learned a lot professionally, and that is very true. I feel like I really grew in my job and my career and I am looking forward to continuing on that same path.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I’m just going to quote myself from last year: “Last year I wrote “I’m still not patient enough with my kids but I would add that I need to work on being more present than patient. Too often I get distracted from giving them my full attention, and soon they won’t be so patient with me.” Unfortunately this is still so, so true.” and why I am working on being more present this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Fibromyalgia can kiss my ass, but sometimes instead it ends up kicking my butt. Nothing new, nothing changed.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The garden for the house. Carolyn is a genius and has really transformed the front yards.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I’m quoting again from last year, this for a better reason: “My kids. They are super awesome, and I try to tell them that as often as I can. As cranky as I can be, being their mom makes me really happy.” I marvel at them constantly: they are funny, kind, cranky like me, inquisitive, musical, athletic…they amaze me and I love them so much.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Mine. I need to not be such a bitch.

14. Where did most of your money go?

The house, again, mostly in the garden. Otherwise (according to American Express), the biggest part went to travel, then groceries, then Walt Disney World (we are going in January! Yay!).

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

Work. My kids. That’s basically my life these days.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Adele’s 25 album, thanks to Kate singing it on repeat!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Sadder or happier? Still about the same! I don’t think that there are things that can change or I can even acknowledge, so we’re just going to celebrate the status quo.
b) Thinner or fatter? About the same. My focus this year (and last) is on having a healthy body, not necessarily a thin one.
c) Richer or poorer? Globally, if you look at all our debt including house debt, we are poorer. If we look at car, student loan and consumer debt though, we are definitely less poor, thanks to paying off debt.

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

More leisure activities: more crafting, more reading, more time exploring new things.

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

Yelling. And spending time on social media (Facebook), or aimlessly web surfing as a habit and distraction.

20. How did you spend the holidays?

With my kids and my husband and my mother. Opening presents, watching good TV and eating.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Nope– not any more than in 2012, 2013 or 2014!

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I really didn’t watch a lot of TV this year, but what I did was either on HGTV if my kids were home or Bravo if they weren’t. Fixer Upper is a favorite as is Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

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


24. What was the best book you read?

I’m still as big a fan of schmaltzy novels as ever, and am currently rereading Kristan Higgans Blue Heron series.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Kate discovered Adele, does that count?

26. What did you want and get?

Pioneer Girl, from Beth. A new suitcase from Eddy for Christmas.

27. What did you want and not get?


28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I only saw a few movies in 2015 (in the theater), the majority of them with Amy. The only one I can remember seeing is Magic Mike XXL, and while it wasn’t particularly good, it certainly was memorable.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I spent the day at work, again, for my 41st birthday. My team made less of a fuss over me than last year (which was fine!) although they did manage to surprise me with a cake.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Less pain, especially the random, aleatory Fibromyalgia pain. More sleep.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Still working on refining my wardrobe to go with my favorite look: Hanna Andersson, Eileen Fisher etc. Leggings and tunics, jeans and nice tops, knit dresses. And scarves and clogs. The same color palette as before, with a focus on high quality and less fast fashion.

32. What kept you sane?

Still blessed to have everything I had last year: my kindle. My kids (without whom I’d probably be saner). A few dear friends.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Well, Josh Lyman and Mr Darcy are perennial favorites. Joe Manganiello is a new addition to the list, as is this guy, who was (I believe) single-handedly responsible for the most engagement on a single social media post in 2015.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Donald Trump, who I am half-heartedly convinced is part of a conspiracy to convince Americans that Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush is a reasonable choice. The choice between Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton.

35. Who did you miss?

Friends who I never get to see whether they are here or there.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I’ve met a few new people, but it’s my existing relationships that have grown the most.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Understand the motivation. Whether this is why a person is acting the way they do, or the reason why I can’t manage to do something, understanding the motivation behind it is key.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Hello from the other side…I must have cried a thousand times…Like I said, Kate discovered Adele.