Things Are Gonna Change, I Can Feel It

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 resolutionsbut 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.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friend A'Dell had the most adorable baby girl, who I got to hold when she was only four days old. 

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.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Only, like, seven zillion colds. Oh wait, seven zillion and one.

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?

Exercise.

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. 

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I think we all know that I'm going to answer this with two words. And those words are Evan and Dando.

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.

1
Brittany
Jan 02, 2012

The line, "I resolved to renovate a bathroom and I made over my home office instead," made me actually laugh out loud. It was like you were bound and determined and putting effort into making sure you did not complete one New Years Resolution! But doing one new thing a month in your home town is an awesome resolution. I might steal that one!

Brittany
http://adam-n-brittany.blogspot.com/

2
Karin Maier
Jan 02, 2012

Charlie most definitely counts. I like you new years resolutions for this year. Very do-able. Mine is spending less time on the internet...clearly I am already failing. Will log off just after posting this comment. Really.

3
Anna K
Jan 02, 2012

Things Do work out. They always, always do. And huge congratulations on the job!

4
Valery
Jan 02, 2012

This is a new years resolution I can finally get behind: "This year, I'm just going to work hard, be kind, and let things happen." Well said.

5
jen
Jan 02, 2012

congrats on the new job, though it kind of stinks you won't be spending all day in your gorgeous home office anymore!
i answered this same list of questions on my blog for the last couple of years and it's fun to go back and read my responses to the same questions year to year.
happy new year!!

6
Meagan
Jan 02, 2012

Congratulations on the new job! If it's where I think it is (I'm in the Bay Area, too, so I've heard rumors of a company with amazing cafeterias), I'm so jealous! I would love to work there myself, someday. I hope you enjoy it (especially the bacon). :)

7
Kate in Ohio
Jan 02, 2012

Great list. I thought about answering them, but for "what countries did you visit?" I might have to change it to what grocerie stores did you visit since that seems like the only thing I do. For # 12, it would be groceries. Two growing boys eat a lot.

Anyway, I like to live vicariously through you. Congrats and good luck on the new job! Here is to an amazing 2012!

8
the egg
Jan 02, 2012

love everything about this post! cheers to 2012. hope you can add jackson hole to your list of places your visited!

9
A.
Jan 02, 2012

I would very much like to be able to say that a life lesson I've learned is "things work out". Maybe 2012 will teach it to me.

10
Rae
Jan 02, 2012

The title of this post took my breath away, just because that's exactly how I've been feeling lately. Things are going to change this year, I just know it.

11

"This is Where I Leave You" was, far and away, my favorite book of the year.

Congrats on the new gig!!! And Happy New Year!

12
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 02, 2012

Rae, it's a line from Beck's "Loser" which, now that I think about it, might not be the best anthem for a new year.

13
Camels & Chocolate
Jan 02, 2012

Year-end recaps are my favorites!

I'm sad I missed yet another soiree at that fancy new (is it still new?) house of yours that I have yet to see.

I didn't know Luke relocated! How fun.

I am so super stoked for you and your awesome new job. It really does sound like a dream opportunity.

And most importantly...

THE BACHELOR PREMIERES TONIGHT.

14
Emily
Jan 02, 2012

Derelicte. Hahaha - I am right there with you. I've been working from home since August and my style has since de-evolved into something...interesting? It's a semi-resolution of mine to make an effort even though I see -3 people each day.

15
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 02, 2012

Kristin, if you think "The Bachelor Premiere, 8pm, ABC" was not the FIRST THING I wrote in my 2012 planner, you are mistaken.

16
Shelley
Jan 02, 2012

Happy new year! I love your blog and am excited for you about your new job, if only to have a reason to buy new work clothes. : ) I loved his book too - but it's written Tropper. Not a big deal and I won't be offended if you delete this, because I hate when people make corrections on my blog!

17
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 02, 2012

Ha! Shelley -- you're totally right, it IS Tropper. Slip of the keyboard -- have gone back and changed it. Thanks for pointing that out!

18
EC
Jan 02, 2012

love your new year's post, and yes, charlie so counts. a bit envious of the new job, thinking of where it might be, but even if I am wrong, at least it has a cafeteria! so feeling the need to change jobs lately, cafeteria is on the list now. as for the bachelor, I feel kind of creepy getting excited about it, since "he" played soccer with my girls back in the day when they were little kids, so what I am saying is I am old, old enough to be his momma, um, eewww. I will leave the drooling to you younguns! happy new year!

19
rebecca
Jan 02, 2012

I too think I know where you'll now be working. That's quite a commute, but I hope you realize that books on tape totally count toward your goal of 50!

20
Sara
Jan 02, 2012

I love the resolution to try new city things! I live in San Francisco and have been dying to try out the trampoline place, House of Air, so that's first on my list.

Another one of my (million) resolutions is to be more organized....so, do you have a good day planner to recommend? I've been bummed by the options and I'm already 2 days behind on my resolution now! Ack!

21
Alecia
Jan 02, 2012

Happy New Year! Good luck on your new job.

22
Kelsey
Jan 02, 2012

This was such a great post, Holly. It actually made me a little choked up. Cheers to a great 2012, sister.

23
findingmagnolia
Jan 03, 2012

Oh, I love this. And as for #4, the answer is yes, Charlie counts, and I'm not just saying that as a crazy cat lady who has one too many cats. We just moved from Kansas City to San Francisco, and my little girl has had a very hard time adjusting to her new life without all of her cats here (two of the three were on a four day flight delay). They become part of your family, and life doesn't feel quite right without them. I hope that 2012 brings comfort to you along with all the other good things that are coming your way.

24
A'Dell
Jan 03, 2012

That was SUCH A FUN DAY! I'd kind of forgotten that she was only four days old, wow, was I crazy or what? (Also, what a perfectly timed trip to Texas, on your part.)

Happy 2012!

25
ThePoeLog
Jan 03, 2012

Tell Zucks we all say hi. Too bad there won't be any more work excuses to go back to queso heaven (that would be Austin). Good luck with the new gig. Glad they scooped you up (Get it? Queso? Scooped? As in tortilla chips?? Yeah, that was a stretch)

26
Emily
Jan 03, 2012

Oh, I am still so sorry about Charlie. Hambone's been gone for more than a year now and I still think about him and wish he was here. SIGH.

Happy new year, though - sounds like it's going to be a promising one! I am speaking here of the possibility of BEFORE and AFTER photos of a bathroom. NOTHING MAKES ME HAPPIER THAN BEFORES AND AFTERS, HOLLY. Nothing!

27
Jane
Jan 03, 2012

Happy New Year!
Congratulations on the new job. I hope your work environment is as inspiring as your home office.

28
Marcheline
Jan 03, 2012

Just for a second there, I thought you had spray-painted some strippers gold, pasted them to the ceiling, and hung little bells from their nipples, in honor of the New Year. I mean, doesn't everyone?

P.S. I'm with you on #6.

29
Rachel
Jan 04, 2012

This was such an amazing post. I don't know whether it's the phenomenal weather we are experiencing, but combined with reading about all the happy changes in your life, I just feel so...HOPEFUL! 2012 is gonna be big. I feel it.

30
danielle
Jan 04, 2012

omg! i've been reading your blog forever and today I as on pinterest and someone had 'pinned' your 60 years of memories to the DIY and Crafts section! You're officially a phenomenon!

31
Didi
Jan 05, 2012

Hey, Holly! Happy New Year. Congrats on the job. You certainly accomplished a ton of great stuff in '11. Had to laugh about your book consumption. I always intend to read X number of books, too, but never do. So many books, so little time and all of that. There is a thread on the ChickLit site were posters vow to read extreme numbers of books (in excess of 100). Makes me feel...not very well read!

Sounds as though you have the same taste in books as I do. I also read _This Is Where I Leave You_ (so very sad) and _Great House_ is on my TBR list.

Have you considered, given your lenghty commute, of listening to audiobooks? I just began to listen to them last year. Joined Audible and am really enjoying this new (to me!) medium. I just finished _The Sculptress_ by Minette Walters and am now listening to _The Book of Lies_ by Mary Horlock. Both of these I *highly* recommend.

I hope you do the book post you mentioned. Perhaps we need a Nothing But Books (and Bonfires) Bookclub?

Best,

-Didi

32
Alicia C.
Jan 09, 2012

Congrats on the new job! I'm so sorry about the commute but if you are using public transportation, maybe you can use that time to read the 21.5 books you didnt get to from last year. :) my book goal is to read some more classics. I apparently skipped the english classes where we read all of the good ones. Have a fabulous 2012!

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