(Previous years: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)
1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Sent my kid on a plane trip by himself. Took six work trips. Visited Michigan. Had a child hospitalized. Drove the 101. Helped my child learn to read. Dissected a squid. Went to therapy, and dumped a therapist. Bought my kids matching outfits. Filed a homeowners' insurance claim (due to a hailstorm). Wore a bright lip color. Caucused. Voted (and volunteered for) a woman for president. Sobbed over the results of a presidential election. Feared for our democracy.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I said that I wanted to "buy a smaller 'real' camera that isn't quite so unwieldy and will be easier to carry around with us and grab to shoot with, so hopefully the photo thing will improve, and I want to keep blogging at least as much as I blogged from May through October of this year. We are going to try to potty train Annika. And I want to work with Torsten to find a balance that works for us now that we've hit a routine... the kids are getting older, there are no more babies in the house, we have school and daycare more or less figured out, work is reasonably stable... so now is the time to figure out some stuff about how our family life works best and how we can establish a division of labor and routine that make us both feel supported and not overwhelmed."
So, let's break those down:
1) We did not buy a real camera, so the photo thing didn't really improve, but Torsten did get an iPhone 7 Plus with the dual lens camera, and that has helped.
2) I blogged four times this year and not at all since May. So. No.
3) Annika did successfully potty train. Win.
4) The work-life balance for both of us was the big one, and I feel really good about it. We did a shit ton of really hard work, and it has paid off. We're in a really good spot with our routine and our relationship.
I am not sure about next year. Mostly I want to keep a good thing going with our routine, and do some travel.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Susie, Miriel, Arwen, Stephanie, and a work colleague/friend.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
I didn't leave the country this year, but I did a lot of domestic travel: to Albuquerque, Michigan, and the Bay Area with/to see friends; to the Pacific Coast, Maine (with bonus Boston visit including time with Jonna), North Carolina, and Charleston with family; and to Jacksonville, Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Memphis, Baltimore, and DC for work.
6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Hope for our country's future. OK, this isn't a fair answer because I had a LOT of hope for our country's future for about 10 months of this year, and now I have very little. An endless travel budget.
7. What moments from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Seeing Torsten put in incredible amounts of work to get our family routine to where it needed to be, and the culmination of that with him accepting a new job with a solid work-life balance a couple months ago. Realizing Trump was going to win Wisconsin and thus the election and sobbing hysterically, and then having to tell the kids about it the next morning. Watching my kids' relationship with each other grow and deepen, and seeing how kind and thoughtful they are both turning out to be. Leaning on my friends hard when I needed to, and having them lean on me.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Continuing on my response from last year, I learned to channel my accommodating/fix-it impulses into speaking up and making things better for everyone, including myself, instead of trying to take on full responsibility for burdens that are typically shared. I invested everything I had to give into my marriage and my family and got incredible results. I unpacked some shit that was depleting my emotional resources and became a much better, and less yelling-prone, parent as a result.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Failing to anticipate and emotionally prepare for the election result.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major, but this has been a BAD fall and early winter for stomach bugs, and it would be awesome if that could end any time now. Also, I got laryngitis this year for the first time ever, and that was deeply unpleasant.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A meal service that provides us with pre-cooked, nutritious meals three days per week so the cooking burden is lessened. New chairs for our living room and a table for our patio. Therapy.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Torsten's, like every year. I said up above that I invested everything I had into our family, but so did he, and I'd say he had the harder work to do. He stepped up like a champ and I am so grateful and proud.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
People who are irrationally and unconsciously (or consciously, for that matter) motivated by white identity and perceived threat to their desired world order.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Same answer for the sixth straight year: our mortgage and childcare.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our family. Torsten's new job. The prospect of Hillary Clinton as president.
16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
c) About the same
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleeping. Working out. Volunteering.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Assuming that racism and myopic white men were no longer in charge of the world.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
We came to visit my parents in North Carolina (where we still are). First we left the kids with my parents for a few days and Torsten and I drove down to Charleston, which was delightful. We came back up on Christmas Eve and had a nice peaceful Christmas with my parents and some family friends. My sister and her brood came down the next day and we repeated the whole shebang with significantly more chaos and cousin love.
21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Gilmore Girls. Parenthood. I'm really with the times, I know.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
24. What was the best book you read?
I'd say A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, with runner-up credit to Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Like pretty much every year: I'm not sure I made any.
26. What did you want and get?
A happy family with a solid, comfortable life routine. A lot of travel. A lovely tenth anniversary gift from Torsten.
27. What did you want and not get?
Hillary Clinton as PEOTUS.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I think we only saw one movie in the theater this year, Finding Dory, which I liked but didn't love.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My parents were supposed to fly in that day but we had a massive unexpected blizzard and their flight got cancelled. I woke up early in the morning to their phone call about it, then spent the next couple hours hashing out an alternate travel plan for them. We were housebound all day due to the snow, so we couldn't pick up my birthday cake and had to cancel our dinner plans, and had to try to work all day while our kids were home with a snow day and no childcare. Basically the day was pretty unpleasant and I called it a do-over and celebrated properly a couple days later once the roads were clear and my parents got to town. Torsten did give me a gorgeous necklace as a gift, which salvaged things pretty well. I turned 32.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
In my own little personal life, honestly, nothing. On a broader level, more enlightened voters and people who are interested in things like data and objective facts, and a different election outcome.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Dresses in the summer and skinny jeans with sweaters in winter. Necklaces and earrings almost every day.
32. What kept you sane?
Same as the last two years: My little family. My group of best friends.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm bad at this.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I don't even know what to say about this that I haven't already said. In addition to the horrifying racism, self-centeredness, and myopia of way too many voters in this country, I'm pretty appalled not just by the hostile foreign state that interfered with our election, but also by the number of people who don't seem to care or even seem to welcome it because it helped achieve the outcome they wanted. I'm extremely concerned about NATO, Syria, and foreign policy in general, as well as about things like basic civil rights and freedoms domestically. In sum, pretty much everything about politics stirred me deeply this year and while 2016 was a terrible year for many people, I'm extremely concerned that 2017 is going to be significantly worse.
35. Who did you miss?
Similar answer to the past seven years: Most of my friends and family, since many of them live far away. Particular shoutout to my delightful local bestie who then moved to Singapore, since she became a new addition to the list of friends I am always missing.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Some moms of Callum's kindergarten classmates who've become good personal friends of mine.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Misinformation is dangerous. Don't underestimate the power of denied feelings. (I really believe this election outcome was due to white men having lots of FEELINGS that they don't understand about no longer being the only demographic group with a seat at the table, and that's confusing for them because men don't have feelings because aren't feelings those inferior things that women keep having that hold them back, along with their periods? I don't know what's happening but it doesn't feel good and I'm pretty sure I should express those unpleasant feelings by voting for the guy in the preposterous hat who says the insane things that make me FEEL good even though I don't have feelings so I'm going to point to a lot of fake claims with no supporting data to justify my vote because it's not possible that I'm voting based on FEELINGS that I don't actually believe I have.) Do the best you can and stay your course and try to help people even when everything feels overwhelmingly daunting.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
As last year: I don't think there is one. There pretty much never is.
Happy New Year, everybody! Fingers crossed our system of government is still intact at the end of it.
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