Well hello there! How was your Thanksgiving? Sick of leftovers yet? I’m not!
I’m back from a long holiday weekend with a favorite year-end tradition: the year in review meme. I borrowed the idea a couple of years ago from my talented fiance, and it’s become my most anticipated blogging tradition. Without further ado, I present 2009 in review. And if you decide to post your own version, let me know so I can stop by and check it out!
01. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Wrote a book
Visited Hilton Head, S.C. and Omaha, Neb.
Joined a book club
Several medical procedures: vision exam (including pupil dilation), MRI, spinal tap
Lived in a loft
Conquered my soda addiction
Learned the purl stitch (knitting)
Made genuine, authentic, Julia Child-inspired French onion soup
02. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more?
I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions last year except to stay on track with my writing career and better myself physically, emotionally and financially. More freelance clients and the near completion of my book have helped solidify my status as a writer, and I’m excited about further growth in 2010.
03. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Cherryh and David Butler are about to welcome Lincoln into the world, and Kinsey and her husband, Jeff, welcomed the beautiful Maren in late October.
04. Did anyone close to you die?
In terms of loss, 2009 was one of the more difficult in memory. On April 13, 2009, the incredibly brave and strong Greg Young succumbed to Hodgkins lymphoma. Greg’s brother, Andy, and sister-in-law, Jamie, are two close friends, and it was unimaginably difficult to watch the Young family and Greg’s friends attempt to absorb this gaping loss. Yet they’ve tirelessly worked to continue to raise money and awareness for leukemia and lymphoma research, and I consider the chance to help them in that campaign to be a precious gift.
Also this year, we said goodbye to my grandma, Rose Ryan, after a too-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Although she had been robbed of her memory for more than a decade, I thought of her often and hoped that somewhere, deep inside, she found some measure of comfort that allowed her to survive the debilitating disease. Her funeral was difficult and emotional, but I hope that she is finally at peace in her heaven, an exact replica of her beloved Red Lodge, Montana.
Rob’s family lost Lorene Schamberger, his grandma on his dad’s side. My greatest regret is that I did not spend much time with this amazing woman who welcomed me not only into the family, but into her home when we visited western Kansas. Her rapid passing was devastating to her family and friends, and I miss her Christmas letter that detailed family events and milestones.
05. What countries did you visit?
USA. Can’t wait to answer this next year!
06. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A new last name.
A published book.
More shelving and storage space, including a kitchen island.
A story published in a national magazine.
07. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 12, 2009, was the day I received notification that my book proposal had been accepted and I would be sent a contract to write a local travel guide set to be published in spring 2010.
08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Securing the book deal and finishing the book. Toward the end of the manuscript completion, my stepmom asked me if I’d do it again knowing all the work and dedication that goes into a project of that size. My answer? In a second. It’s been my dream to be a published author, and to be able to also intertwine my love of Kansas City is an incredible opportunity.
09. What was your biggest failure?
No failures, just room for growth. I’m still a horrible procrastinator, but I’m working on it. Slowly. Realllly slowly.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had quite a health scare in August 2009 when I was diagnosed with “pseudotumor cerebri,” a condition in which tumor-like symptoms cause excess cerebral fluid to press on the brain, resulting in optic nerve swelling and, in my case, horrendous headaches. Left untreated, the condition causes blindness, so I was lucky to be diagnosed early and am responding well to medication and other treatment that is expected to cure the disease. Having to undergo testing including an MRI and spinal tap to rule out a spinal fluid infection and brain tumor were beyond frightening, but the experience put a lot of things in perspective and I was again reminded that I’m surrounded by amazing family and friends who will be by my side in good and bad.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our loft (even though it’s rented) and my iPhone. I can’t live without it!
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
The aforementioned family and friends, who made several difficult moments this last year exponentially easier to process. I’d be remiss, however, not to give a special shout-out to the always amazing Rob, who was not only by my side during the year’s more serious moments but was also a motivating force during my largely increased workload. There’s not much I could accomplish without him.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Humanity in general makes me weep. Crime, hatred, ignorance, intolerance—what a better world we’ve have without these plagues.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Books + magazines.
Craft supplies (namely yarn, knitting needles and class fees.)
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Writing a book and gaining some new freelance clients that have helped push my writing in a new direction. Also, in late October, it hit me that wedding planning is now a priority, and I’m so excited to plan a heartfelt, memorable ceremony and reception with my husband-to-be.
16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Ohhhh lord. I hate this question. “Fireflies” by Owl City immediately comes to mind, because it’s one of my favorites, as is “Relator” by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson. I was also thrilled that the Backstreet Boys released another studio album, and although I loved the first single, my favorite on the CD is “Undone” (track 11).
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
ii. thinner or fatter?
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercising. Knitting. Volunteering. Saving money.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With lots of family and good food. What better way to spend it?
21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
I fall a little more in love with Rob every day.
22. How many one-night stands?
23. What was your favourite TV program?
Mad Men, Biggest Loser, Intervention, Hoarders, Check Please! Kansas City
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I have some changed opinions of people, but I try not to hate. I am, however, a champion grudge-holder.
26. What was the best book you read?
SERIOUSLY? Just one book? Sheesh.
“In The Woods” by Tana French was superb. I’ve recommended that and her follow-up, “The Likeness,” to several people. The mix of suspense, carefully thought-out characterization and fast-moving plot make for an absorbing read. I look forward to her future works.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I rediscovered a love of Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Doobie Brothers and broadened my musical spectrum to include Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson and Regina Spektor.
28. What did you want and get?
Want: A book deal.
Get: A book deal.
29. What was your favourite film of this year?
I wish I could say “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” but I was sorely disappointed. So instead, I’ll opt for “Where The Wild Things Are.”
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
27. Had dinner with Rob and his mom, Dee, and stepdad, Roger. My birthday party was a low-key gathering at Firefly, as I had just started treatment for the pseudotumor cerebri and couldn’t get too crazy.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More weight loss. It’s an uphill battle I’ve experienced for years, but I’ve made progress toward the end of the year that’s proved to be incredibly motivating.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Classic with trendy accents.
33. What kept you sane?
Shopping trips with Dana.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jon Hamm. Rowr.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Local politics in Kansas City. Several wrong-headed moves have resulted in a personal loss of faith in the system, and I hope 2010 brings a new perspective and some civic improvement.
36. Who did you miss?
Grandma Ryan, parents, brother + sister-in-law, Naina, Len, Nikki
37. Who was the best new person you met?
Ashley Marsh. She is bubbly, talented and exudes an incredible warmth that puts you immediately at ease. I’ve loved working with her and having her as a neighbor, gym buddy and newest book club member!
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
So much of life is spent dwelling over petty issues, disagreements and concerns, yet when those sorts of irritations disappear, you’re left with what’s important: family, friends and the individual impact you’ve had on the world. None of us are guaranteed a certain amount of time on Earth, so what matters is fully living in each moment and taking the time every day to dwell on what’s really important. Things can change in an instant, and it’s so much more rewarding to look back on a life of accomplishments rather than a life filled with the bitterness of regret.