1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
I started a (wee) business. I planned a bachelorette party and helped plan two weddings. I did the flowers for four weddings, one fancy wine cave dinner, and an elopement. I refinished two floors, stripped wallpaper, painted cabinets, and rearranged paving stones. I picked and used or canned a buttload of locally- or yard-grown fruit. I saw an up-close magic show and became a mostly-willing magician’s assistant. I designed and painted sets for a professional play. I attended a Harry Potter-themed birthday party. I got really close to being employed by my dream employer. I walked 966.4 miles and cycled 1,713.8 miles (that I tracked, as I didn’t track what I did in January or February).
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any resolutions (other than to resolve our situation, which, as of the end of 2011, is not officially resolved) but in 2012 I hope to finally be able to be in a financial position to pursue IVF.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several friends had babies. I made blankets for them and got to eat some of them.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What places did you visit?
Since we basically had zero money, we only ended up going to Colorado twice (once using gift cards for our plane tickets and the other time we got our tickets as a gift). We drove to LA so Dan could audition for Jeopardy and flew to San Diego for my cousin’s wedding (I did the flowers in exchange for our tickets).
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
The same as last year: a job, to live in the Bay Area and no longer be sponging off my mom, to get pregnant.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Our friends had their baby on our wedding anniversary. I was the matron of honor in a wedding in April, and a bridesmaid in another wedding in October. And Larry didn’t come back.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Officially starting my business and having someone who only knows me from the internet believe enough in my work to sponsor my vendor listing on A Practical Wedding. I was really proud of myself for painting the sets for the play. I stayed really physically active. And I spent from early September to the end of December essentially by myself five days and four nights a week, stuck in this small town and holding down the fort.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I feel like a pretty huge failure, to tell the truth. Getting so close to being hired and yet not hired by my dream employer was one of many gigantic punches in the gut this year.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Actually, I think 2011 was the healthiest year of my life. With the exception of a few weird bouts of indigestion that lasted a few days each time, I don’t think I’ve been sick, and the only injury I can recall was from wearing my flip flops to walk about 400 miles. There are some benefits to being virtually isolated from other people, namely: I can’t catch germs if I’m not around people who have them.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
We bought almost nothing this year but essentials. New bike tubes so I could continue to ride my bike, I guess.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Bills, food. I managed to live for nearly two months off the money I made from the wedding I did in September.
13. What did you get really excited about?
Laurel’s wedding, seeing the play for which I did the sets, when Larry didn’t come back so Dan could continue to work at his job.
14. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Larry, for abandoning his job. Thanks, Larry! Dan’s, for spending nearly four months couchsurfing so we could afford for him to do the job he started in early September. Everybody who has let Dan stay with them so he can afford to do the job he started in early September. Friends who fed us from their garden. My mom, for a variety of reasons. My sister-in-law, for a different variety of reasons. Everyone who came out after DADT was repealed. The people of Mississippi for voting down the Personhood amendment.
15. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
All of the people attacking Planned Parenthood and abortion rights. The Duggars, for continuing to famewhore (including publishing photos of their miscarried fetus).
16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
“Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, because I didn’t hear it until 2011 and it was particularly apropos in a number of situations.
“This Year” by Mountain Goats has been my personal theme song for the latter half of the year.
17. Compared to last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier, I guess, because Dan is working even though he hasn’t officially been hired permanently yet. We’re pretty sure it’s going to happen, so yay!
– thinner or fatter? Definitely thinner, though not intentionally. I haven’t fed myself especially well these last few months of being alone, and that combined with some stressful stuff that happened in November and December means I have one pair of jeans (purchased about a month ago) that fit. Everything else looks like clown pants.
– richer or poorer? About the same, because we’re building our savings back up now that Dan’s been working. Better prospects for future wealth, I guess.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Getting paid to do work.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wallowing in despair
20. How did you spend Christmas?
We flew to Colorado and spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas with Dan’s family at his parents’ house. I drank a lot of bourbon and cleaned up a lot of chocolate dog vomit.
21. What was your favorite TV program?
Dr. Who, Fringe, and Friday Night Lights
22. What were your favorite books of the year?
I read a lot of books, both with my eyes and with my ears. Not sure I can pick favorites, as so many were good.
23. What were your favorite films of the year?
We didn’t see very many in the theater (King’s Speech, Super 8, Thor, Captain America, Contagion, Tintin), but we recently saw Hugo and I found it utterly delightful.
24. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I fell in love with flowers, I think. And getting to be creative. All this time with just me without Dan around has finally endeared me to Princess Robin.
25. What did you do for your birthday in 2011?
I tried to have a picnic birthday party, but it poured rain, so I hung balloons to look like trees and sky and put paper birds on the walls and we had an indoor picnic instead.
26. Did you make some new friends this year?
Yes! I reconnected with a few old friends and made some new friends on the internets. I got to meet some internet friends in real life, and I also made a few new meatspace friends who are kindred spirits.
27. What did you want and get?
To be thinner, though I would have preferred it happen in perhaps a less lonely and more healthy way.
28. What did you want and not get?
Aside from a steady paycheck and a fetus? I’m still waiting (10 years and counting!) for a t-shirt that has Teddy Roosevelt on it saying BULLY!
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my work had gotten the publicity it was promised, as I think I might have been able to book more weddings.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
January – March: Multiple layers for cold house
April – October: grubby stuff for doing all the work on the house/yard/painting projects while staying cool. It was Really Hot for several months in a row and I only had one pair of shorts for a fair amount of that time. I wore right through them.
October – December: Multiple layers, plus having to buy a new pair of jeans because all of my pants are too big now. Boobs are still the same size, so I don’t even know.
31. What kept you sane?
Exercise. Alcohol. Dan. Same as always.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
George Takei, for his acerbic wit.
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Gay marriage and DADT.
34. Who did you miss?
Some of our Colorado friends for sure. I miss getting to chat with my little sister all the time now that she’s in Ireland and no longer planning a wedding/needing big sister advice.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011
I don’t know if I’ve learned anything especially dramatic or useful this year in terms of life lessons. I guess I mostly learned that people can surprise you in unexpected ways, both positively and negatively, and part of being an adult is rolling with the punches that both life and other people will bring.