Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: Checkpoint

Let's keep a good thing going.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

I'll start with the ugly one: buried a friend. Not my parents' friend or grandparents' friend. My friend. I'd prefer not to do that again.

Took my kids to Las Vegas.  Took my husband to Las Vegas.  Went on a car trip with 6 people in said car (to Las Vegas).  Made an actual Christmas list for myself.  Sent a kid to middle school.

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


Last year: I'm about 6 months behind in my photo organizing (a perpetual annual goal), because the bazillion Disney photos terrify me.  But I'll get to it as soon as Christmas is down and the house is put back together.

I did manage to get this done.  Buuut, I'm now 6 months behind on THIS years' pictures.  So, lather, rinse, repeat.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope.  My niece did, but she's all the way in South Carolina, so not close to me geographically.  But an exciting little addition to the family, I must say.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

I really didn't want to visit this question this year.  Sadly, yes.  My friend, Erica @alldressedup, a very wonderful gift from the internet, passed away in April.  It still hurts to say out loud.  It probably always will.

My cousin, Mike, also died this summer, very suddenly and very surprisingly.  We weren't close, but he was family, so it's a significant loss.

And then there were way too many famous people who figured into my formative years.  Even though these weren't personal losses, well, they were personal losses and they make me sad.
2016 took too much is what I'm saying.

5. What places did you visit?

Las Vegas, Nevada.  St. Louis, Missouri.  Chicago, Illinois.  Kaukauna, Wisconsin.  Austin, Texas.  Many points in between.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Same as last year: More surplus dollars.  A boatload of patience.  More and closer friendships, both in person and across the internet.  I need some buddies.

Adding this year: Will power, fortitude, self discipline, and better ways to communicate.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

June 2, the day Sammy graduated from elementary school and Sabrina had to say goodbye to her favorite teacher.  July 27, they day we took Chicago by storm.  July 31, the day Elvis came to my great aunt's 80th birthday party.  August 22, the day I sent Sammy through the doors of middle school for the first time.  (And obviously the day of the answer to question number 1, but we'll try to keep it positive from here on out.)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I have no idea.  Did I accomplish anything?  Probably helping/teaching Sammy to study for his first ever semester exams and him doing really, really well.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Well, this one's on repeat, too: Letting frustration win, again and again and again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Coupla colds (one during the Las Vegas trip, but, eh).  Sabrina kicked my big toenail right outta my foot.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Let's see. The new comforter that makes my bedroom feel like a hotel.  A futon and TV stand to finish off the playroom.  The last 2 window blinds I need for the whole house, although they're yet to be hung.

The Hamilton soundtrack.

I'm actually proud of the things I didn't buy, but instead put on a Christmas list, both  account and giving other people some actual ideas for gifts to give me.  Not that anyone had to give me anything.  But they asked, so I did.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

This is a tough one to answer because as we wind up this year, it feels like nobody behaved very well, at least at large.  The Ladies Internet continues to be compassionate, insightful, and kind in so many ways.  Lin Manuel Miranda.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

We'll just chalk this one up to politicians.  Nuff said.

14. Where did most of your money go?

What money?  Day to day stuff.  Amazon Prime.  Taxes.

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

I can't think of anything that warranted 3 reallys.  Our trips were giddily anticipated.  Christmas morning because I thought I did a really good job this year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

"Can't Stop the Feeling," Justin Timberlake. I can't stop that song.

Anything Hamilton.

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

a) happier or sadder? I wouldn't call it sad.  I'd say more cautiously concerned and slightly gunshy.

b) thinner or fatter? Like I'm going to get up and go measure. My clothes fit, so, eh.

c) richer or poorer? I think this one is basically a wash.

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

This remains ever the same: Catching myself before I get annoyed with the kids, particularly for interrupting me.  Spending time with lady friends.  It bears repeating, I need more friend time.

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

Worrying.  Now and forever.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2016?

After 2, it's becomes a tradition: we hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for my side of the family, whoever happened to be in town.  This year, it was my parents and my brother's family in from Washington state.  I made fancy prime rib again and my oven will not forgive me for a long time.  We went to Mass together and it was lovely.

We came home, cleaned up, somehow got the kids into bed, and let Santa do his business.  I watched the NORAD Santa Tracker a little too late and finally went to bed.

Christmas morning started off perfectly.  The kids adored their gifts from Santa, we had donuts and pigs in a blanket, and generally enjoyed life for about 40 minutes until Sammy started feeling poorly and went down fast with a stomach bug.  He didn't let that stop any of us, and we spent a nice day ay my parents' house, opening presents and eating while Sammy holed up in a bedroom with lots of movies.  He bounced back the next day, so even though Christmas Day wasn't what is would have hoped, he wasn't down for long.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Weird forever.  And so this answer shall stay.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I really like American Wife and Speechless.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2016?

What birthday?  OK, I had one, but that doesn't mean I have to think about it.

24. What was the best book you read?

I'm enjoying Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple right now. The Hamiltome.

25. What did you want and get?

A smooth transition to middle school for Sammy.  A more relaxed holiday work season for Chris.  Somewhat less little girl drama for Sabrina.  A fancy coffeemaker for me. (Somebody has to set the bar low.)

I did finally get the window blinds and futon I listed here last year in the not get section.

26. What did you want and not get?


And where is that rich benefactor?

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

We  just saw Moana this week, and I just loved it.  Big thanks to @Pamie and @Lin_Manuel.

28. Did you make some new friends this year?

I feel like I'm getting closer to some of the moms of my kids' friends (isn't there a better term for this?).  Must initiate more random coffee/lunch stops.

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

A jet pack.

Always, always, always: the ability to communicate anything to my children and have them understand instantly.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

I like what's in my closet and I shall wear it.

31. What kept you sane?

Laughter.  Texting.  The Ladies Internet, for sure.  Caffeine.  Prayer.  Same, same, same.

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

Hamilton kind of took over significant portions of my life, so I'm going to say Lin Manuel Miranda here.  Not in the traditional fancy sense, but in the I really want to be your friend and hang out sense.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Ugh.  I'm trying to stay upbeat, so we'll let this one lie this year.  I hope to have beautiful, positive things to say 12 months from now. Hopehopehope.

34. Who did you miss?

Everyone I lost and everyone I don't see often enough (which is most everyone).

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

You do you and keep working on who that is.


  1. I'm so sorry for your losses this year.

    Love your answers for number 6 - all things I, too, want in abundance.

    And we are taking our daughter to see Moana tomorrow. I can't wait!

  2. I still can't believe Erica is gone.