Happy New Year! How are you feeling? I am feeling surprisingly okay for someone who bought twelve bottles of champagne for a party last night and was then gifted at least that same number from generous guests. I always forget that people are kind and wonderful and come bearing booze, and this—coupled with the fact that I am historically terrified of running out of alcohol mid-party and thus always overbuy—means we could probably open a small neighborhood bar in our kitchen right now. Not that it's exactly a terrible problem to have or anything. I know, I know: do your fingers hurt from playing that tiny violin for me?
Because I have not yet downloaded my pictures from last night—apart from the one at the top, which Sean took on his phone—and because, quite frankly, it would require entirely too much mental acuity for me to locate my camera charger and plug it in, I am going to talk about 2011 instead, and I am going to do it in the laziest format ever, which is just to answer a bunch of questions that I stole from Sundry's site right here. Yes, I am basically interviewing myself, which feels like something only a blogger would do, but if ever there is a time for introspective reflection, I think we can all agree that it is at 8pm on a hungover New Year's Day when the greatest physical exertion one has had in the last twelve hours has been popping the slowly deflating helium balloons with a 2012 cocktail stirrer.
So here goes.
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Hmmm. Had dinner a few feet from Gwyneth Paltrow. Took a chance and quit my job to work for a startup. Tried queso. Went to London for the Royal Wedding. Started working full-time from home. Welcomed a magazine crew into my kitchen and wrote my first story for a national publication. Threw a surprise party. Went skydiving.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Oh god, I did not. I did not keep any. I resolved to do something new in San Francisco every month, and I'm pretty sure I didn't. I resolved to solve something every day and I kept that up for about a week. I resolved to renovate a bathroom and I made over my home office instead. I resolved to go to bed when I was tired, and most nights I stayed up on the Internet anyway. I resolved to go to India and I wound up in South Africa. I resolved to read fifty books and I read twenty-eight and a half. I failed spectacularly at all of my 2011 resolutions, but I take comfort in the fact that a few of them were pretty stupid resolutions in the first place. This year, I'm just going to work hard, be kind, and let things happen.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Oh man. Charlie. Does that count? I think that counts.
5. What countries did you visit?
England, France, South Africa, and the Netherlands. Within the US, I went to Austin, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Dallas, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Savannah, Charleston, Maui, and New York.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
The time, energy, and budget to renovate my bathroom.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm figuring "dates" is different from "days that contained unforgettable memories" here, right? I can't remember any actual dates from 2011 except, like, my birthday and my wedding anniversary. Also the season premiere of The Bachelorette, but we're all just going to collectively forget that I said that.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Oh! There's something I've forgotten to tell you! I'm starting a new job on January 3rd. It's confusing, I know, because it feels like I just started a new job, but the company I've been working for over the last six months was recently bought by a much bigger company here in the Bay Area, and when it all went down, I was interviewed for a new position there. The interviews—which were such a surprise that I only had a few hours to prepare for them—took place the day before we left for South Africa, which, as you can imagine, wasn't stressful at all, particularly since I was already freaking out about a) a sick cat, b) quite possibly being deported from the country upon arrival, and c) potential unemployment if the interviews didn't work out. To my immense excitement, however, I was offered the job last month. On the downside, my commute is going to be about an hour's drive each way—no more working from home, sadly—but on the upside...well, on the upside is pretty much everything else. So it's a last-minute entry into 2011, I know, but I'd say being offered a job with the kind of company I've only ever dreamed of working for is my biggest achievement this year. Also that the cafeteria there serves two different kinds of bacon. Crispy and non-crispy. You never have to choose.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Uh. Let's just say that I am not the gardener I always dreamed I could be.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Four days on safari.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, bills, savings. Wow, I fell asleep writing that sentence. Can I change my answer? I'm going to go with the all-night mescaline binges with Justin Bieber.
13. What did you get really excited about?
I got really, really, really excited about making my house into a comfortable, attractive, personality-filled home. That sounds dorky, I know, and not particularly noble—yeah, congratulations on solving world peace and winning a Pulitzer and all, but I turned a frame into a whiteboard, BOOYAH—but I derive immense pleasure from slowly making each room in my house exactly how I want it to be, particularly when I am DIY-ing it in some creative, crafty, requires-many-trips-to-Home-Depot sort of way. Thus, I got very excited about making my gallery wall, and even more excited about making my living room side tables. I also got really excited about my brother Luke moving to the Bay Area in August. I see him every week or so now, which hasn't happened since I was eleven and he was two; needless to say, we have a lot more to talk about these days than we did then.
14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Oh hey, I just wrote about that.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
This is all very complicated.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. Having a short fuse. Losing mindless hours on the Internet.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
Wishing I hadn't wrapped my stupid presents in brown kraft paper.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
Downton Abbey. Friday Night Lights. Real Housewives of Beverl—wait no, Holly, stick with the smart-sounding ones.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I've got a post brewing about the twenty-eight and a half books I read this year—I know, I know, don't fall off your seat in excitement—but I think the one that stayed with me the longest was Great House by Nicole Krauss. The one that I was saddest to finish was This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Catfish. Until it kind of happened to me.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 31 and I ate a lot of cheese. I also used a Groupon for a spa and sat in the steam room for so long that I no longer even had pores. They gave me a free glass of champagne afterwards, but I'm not sure if it was because it was my birthday or because they were worried I was going to sue.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I could be writing this right now with my fluffy Charlie sitting on my lap.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Derelicte. That's what happens when you work from home; the yoga pants are a cliche because they're true.
26. What kept you sane?
My husband. My parents. My friend Alison. The UPS man who would often be the only person I'd talk to all day.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Things work out.