Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The end of the year, again

Well, I did Sundry's end-of-year questionnaire last year, so, well, let's call it a tradition. And also, speaking of Sundry, my latest post is up at Bodies in Motivation, so head over there too and make sure to leave your tips on how you keep your snacking in check.

OK, the questionnaire. Here we go.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Got married. Had surgery. Went to the Caribbean.

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 wanting to stay healthy. We all know how I've plateaued, but I still lost weight and generally was much healthier than I used to be. And I've been much better about going to the gym. For next year, not so much with the major resolutions, but I would like to get one or two nice pieces of art to hang on our walls.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, a friend's wife who has also become a friend herself.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?

England, Germany, and the Dominican Republic.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Unfortunately, looking back at my answer to this question from last year, I am still lacking 2.5 of the three things I said I wanted. So, I'll say the same again. A housekeeper. A meeting with a few bloggy friends, particularly this lady. A house that we own. And I will add a 2009 bonus: a car. And a need for one.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 1, because that was our wedding day. November 4, for obvious reasons.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
In general, I feel like I'm much more sure of what I want, both for myself and for Torsten and me as a couple, a unit. I have more direction and I'm more sure of myself and less influenced by other people's opinions. I feel like I've just grown up.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Plateauing so spectacularly on Weight Watchers. Is that an oxy moron?

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had surgery, does that count?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I'm kind of stuck on this. We got some great wedding presents, specifically our china and our camera, but we didn't buy them ourselves. Still, I'm going to go with that.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
OK, I'm going to go right ahead and be partisan here, and say that the American voters' behavior on November 4 merited celebration.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
In an effort not to be TOO partisan, I will forego listing the obvious politician, and instead say WalMart. I already knew that as corporations go, they're pretty much as evil as it gets, but Torsten and I watched a documentary about them the other night that was just disgusting. A sampling of facts:
  • They create false user IDs so they can go into their employees' timecards and delete any overtime hours they worked.
  • They conducted research on parking lot safety and learned that they could dramatically increase customer safety through the use of inexpensive security guards and the monitoring of their security cameras, and yet opted not to do it--and the crime rates in their parking lots are staggering.
  • They have a "rapid-response" team with corporate jets whose sole job is to break up any possible union organizing activities among employees, including firing any employees who are seen whispering together.
  • They left toxic pesticide packages torn open in a parking lot next to a storm drain that led to a river that provides drinking water, and refused to do anything about it even when contacted by attorneys, until the story made the news.
  • They force their factory inspectors to cover up sordid conditions for the workers.
  • They have the worst health coverage of any major corporation in the country, and actively encourage their employees to turn to taxpayer-funded state programs to get their needs met--and their employees qualify for those programs because their incomes are below the poverty line.
  • They employ illegal immigrants to clean their stores and lock them in the buildings overnight.
I could go on and on. Oh wait, I already have. But seriously. It's nauseating.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Housing, in the form of paying rent and saving for a down payment.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting married! And Obama winning.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

Heaven, by Bryan Adams.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
Happier, thinner, and richer. Again, the trifecta! It makes me wonder how long it will be until I find myself wasting away euphorically, surrounded by piles of gold coins. Just kidding. But it does make me wonder when the curve will start trending downward.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Going to the gym. Although I've gotten much better about that recently. Here's hoping it sticks.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I actually don't know. I'm trying to think of what I did to excess this year, and I can't think of anything. Which doesn't mean that I didn't do it--I've clearly just blocked it out. Denial is an excellent skill.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my parents' house in North Carolina with Torsten.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

Only more so, not for the first time.

22. What was your favorite TV program?


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

24. What was the best book you read?

That's a very good question. I read quite a few books this year, thanks to the Kindle. Two of my favorites were The Great Unraveling by Paul Krugman and Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. Both of them stuck with me for a long time after I'd read them.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Um, I'm not sure I made any. That's a little embarrassing.

26. What did you want and get?

27. What did you want and not get?

A house. A dog. A baby. But I don't want that last one YET. I just want it GENERALLY at some point.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Oh, dear. I don't know. Apparently I'm just not that tuned in to pop culture.

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

We were in Chicago, and we went for brunch, then walked up and down the Magnificent Mile, then flew back to DC. I turned 24.

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

Really, nothing. It was great. There are some things that I want and don't have, but part of the greatness of them is looking forward to them. This wasn't the year to have those things, and I know that. So, I'm going to stick with nothing. Losing more weight would have been satisfying, but not immeasurably so.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Similar to last year, I think. Textures, bright colors, subtle patterns.

32. What kept you sane?
Torsten. Not having things that really stressed me out.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm sure I won't be alone in saying Barack Obama in response to this.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
All of the ones connected to the election. For more on my feelings about this, see here.

35. Who did you miss?
My friends and family who live far away, specifically my best friend.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I met several great people this year, but I have to say that it was especially fantastic to finally meet La!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
I was going to say something about how you shouldn't worry too much about what other people think as long as you yourself are happy with your decisions, but then I looked at last year's and realized that I said something similar then, so maybe I really learned that lesson last year? Or I guess really it's just ongoing. Also, don't freak out about stuff that doesn't matter that much. Like tiny wedding details, or the fact that I'm not a size 2. Everything will work out eventually.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I'm going to stick with my response from last year here, and say no, I refuse. Happy New Year a day early, everybody!


  1. good survey, i'm stealing it. :)


  2. I so love this survey... I did it for the first time this year.

    Wow, reading through your list I am really inspired by all that you've done - it's amazing what a year can hold, isn't it?

    Happy New Year & many blessings in 2009!

  3. You know, I really DO like reading these, which seems most unlike me, AND YET.

    Here's to another great year. I'll give you, AND ONLY YOU, a pass on that happier, richer, thinner thing :-)


  4. This is a really great set of questions! I'm sure it was fun to complete and I certainly had fun reading your answers. 2008 was a pretty damn memorable year for you ... think you can top it in 2009?

  5. Do people in general still love Obama?

    Pretty much everything I've been reading from the US has been angry about how he's been fucking over gay people pretty much continually since he got elected and how everyone is angry about that, but then I am probably not using the most mainstream sources.

  6. You really did have a great year! That is so awesome and here's hoping 2009 is just as wonderful for you!

  7. Aw, bunny! I miss you so much! I can't wait until I'm unemployed. Happy happy new year and I heart you and UGH! XOXOXOXOXOXOOX


  8. Well damn, you had a pretty good year.

    Interesting bullets about Walmart. I mean, I always knew they were evil but some of the specifics are appalling. We had a shooting at our local Walmart parking lot just this month, in fact.

  9. I'm so jealous of your "happier, richer, thinner" for TWO YEARS in a row! I can only claim one of those for myself, which is a complete drag. But, you work hard at all you do, so you certainly deserve it!

  10. I've seen this one around the interwebs. It's good!

    What a year, right? A good one. :-)

  11. I HATE Wallmart too. Completely refuse to shop there ever. It helps that the nearest store is 20 miles away.

  12. Crap, I mean Walmart. However you spell it they are a-holes.

  13. AAAAaarghhhh Walmart! They are so EEEvil. Glad you're spreading the word.

    Busy year you've had huh?

  14. Out of all your wonderful answers, what struck me the most was that you're only 24. You're so expressive and wise beyond your years, Jess. You're an old soul and I'm so glad to share part of your life's journey with you.

  15. Sounds like you had an amazing year! But we already knew that :-) Hope your 2009 is just as great!

  16. Great questionnaire. I might have to steal it myself. Getting married and having surgery all in one year are a lot :)

  17. I love this questionnaire, and wish my blog wasn't broken so I could do it again this year. Anyway, I think it sounds like you had a lovely 2008 - and I wish nothing but good things for you in 2009! xoxoxo

  18. I just wanted to tell you that I loved reading this. Loved.

  19. I wonder if it's too late to do this survey...