Happy New Year's Eve from under a blanket on my couch, where I am about to have the most crazy, insane, balls-to-the-wall, rock n' roll evening ever, and by this I mean I have bought a special yogurt. Yes, you heard me right: a special yogurt. I also have a frozen pizza in the kitchen and a load of laundry on the go, plus a 70% chance of being able to live stream a fireworks display on BBC iPlayer at midnight, if I can figure out how it works. Do I know how to live or do I know how to live?
We'd had grand plans to go up to London tonight for dinner with friends, but I've been feeling really rotten for the last couple of days and spent most of yesterday laying low in bed, so we ended up having to cancel. As a consolation prize, I bought myself the special yogurt, which is not really so much a "yogurt" as it is a liquified chocolate bar in a small pot. Look, here is a picture of it so you can see how wild and untamed I really am.
I mean, come on, "a milk chocolate dessert with milk chocolate buttons"? That's two mentions of milk chocolate, in case you're counting, which I think we can all agree is pushing the boat out a little, even for New Year's Eve.
Because I am feeling sort of crummy, and because I delight in the usual sort of list-making and stock-taking that runs rampant this time of year, I thought I might attempt that question-and-answer thing I did last year. If this sort of self-conscious navel-gazing is not really your thing, I won't be offended in the least if you skip it, and I will instead send you over to this Guardian story about the Worst Ideas of 2012, which is the most entertaining end-of-year wrap up I've read over the last few days and will hopefully fill the time until your own fireworks start and/or you have to put on a sequined dress and go out and drink champagne and kiss strangers. If any of these questions tickles your fancy, feel free to answer in the comments so I can see what you've been up to too.
1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Had an article published in a national magazine. Met Evan Dando. Survived having seven children in my house at one time. Changed clothes in a public place. Went to Graceland. Finally stopped decorating my living room. Played croquet. Found the most perfect picnic spot in San Francisco. Quit Diet Coke and artificial sweeteners. Renovated a bathroom. Went to a football game. Discovered a natural-looking nail polish color. Zumba.
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions and will you make any for next year?
Last year, I resolved not to make any resolutions—easier not to break them, which I invariably do by February—and instead just to "work hard, be kind, and let things happen." I definitely did the first and the last, and I'd like to hope I did the middle one too, so maybe I'll just go ahead and make that my resolution for 2013 as well. Ah what the hell, I'm feeling hopeful; let's amend it to "work hard, be kind, let things happen, and go to the gym more."
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Leah had the most adorable chunky monkey in July, whose cheeks I have to physically restrain myself from sandwiching between my palms and squidging whenever I see him. Also Reese Witherspoon, but I suspect we are only besties in my head.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness. Knock on wood, salt over the left shoulder, etcetera.
5. What countries did you visit?
England twice. It was a bigger year for US travel; I went to Salt Lake City, Boulder, Denver, Breckenridge, Lake Tahoe, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Minneapolis, Big Sky, Yellowstone, Pyramid Lake, the Big Island of Hawaii, Palm Springs, New York, Connecticut, a tiny bit of Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine. Also San Diego a bunch of times to see my parents.
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
More time for this blog. I have very, very little interest in "building my brand" or any of that malarkey, I just really enjoy having a creative outlet of my own to write the things I feel like writing when I feel like writing them. My job has kept me incredibly busy this year, and has used up a lot of the ooh-I-feel-like-writing headspace that I used to have left over for my blog. I'd like to get a bit more of that back in 2013 and gain back a little of the inclination (and the inspiration) to write more.
7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
You know, I cannot remember a single one. This is why I have a day planner.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
This is going to sound silly, but I worked really, really, really hard at my job this year. Like, I'm starting to think that maybe I never worked that hard at any of my other jobs because I definitely never left them feeling as exhausted and satisfied as I do at the end of every day now. Most evenings, I feel like I've gone ten rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson, except I've been fighting him with my brain, and also I've been blindfolded, and also he's had a back-up team of ten other guys while I've only had one of those kindly white-haired old coaches you see in boxing movies who holds my mouth open and pours water into it occasionally.
Surprisingly, I don't even mind how physically drained I am at the end of every day, because I absolutely love what I'm doing, and I love that I'm doing it in such a fast-paced, exciting environment. So I guess my biggest achievement would be putting my all into my job and being lucky enough to get even more out of it. Ugh, that sounds like I'm writing a performance review or something. Hmm, hang on just a second while I copy and paste that for my actual performance review...
9. What was your biggest failure?
In May, I went to England, ostensibly to research a book I wanted to write. I took pages and pages and pages of notes, got super fired up about it, came back to the states with my head full of ideas and dreams of complicated post-it-notes-on-posterboard plot outlines, and then......nothing. I did absolutely nothing. I didn't even buy any post-it notes. I didn't even steal any post-it notes from the stationary cupboard at work. Major fail.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Hmm, apart from a weird 24-hour thing at the beginning of the year and my current low-level malaise, not really, no.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Probably my ticket for my impromptu trip to Knoxville in February. Although I haven't tried that chocolate buttons yogurt yet, so my answer may still change.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Travel. Mortgage. Savings.
13. What did you get really excited about?
I kept getting sent all these 40% off coupons for the Gap! It was crazy! I bought, like, three sweaters for $12 at one point!
14. What song will always remind you of 2012?
"Bright Whites" by Kishi Bashi. "Lights Are Changing" by the Bevis Frond. "Wetsuit" by the Vaccines. "Another Girl, Another Planet" by the Only Ones. "Salvation" by Langhorne Slim and the Law. "Baby Lee" by Teenage Fanclub.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
Happier and fatter. Maybe a little richer, thanks to those 40% off coupons.
16. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Eh, I suppose I should say "exercise" or something, but I was actually a lot better about exercising this year, and you know, in general, I just I had a very satisfying year. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I feel really happy and content, which I realize is a very, very short distance from "smug and annoying," a state I hope to never accidentally cross into, but I can't think of anything right now that I wish I'd done more of. Oh okay, I guess there's always room for more exercise.
17. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Commuting. Worrying. Having a short fuse.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family in San Diego, yet again ruing the fact that I decided to wrap my presents in kraft paper. Do I never learn? Every year I do this, expecting them to look all understated and hip and cute, and every single year they look like hastily-made care packages from World War Two.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
Arrested Development, ten years after everyone else. I also really loved this season of Mad Men.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Oooh, I did a post about this last year and I have a similar one brewing for this year, but for now I'd say it's a tie between The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. So basically, any book with five words in the title, the first word being "the," which was written by a man whose name begins with a J.
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Only two of those songs are actually technically from this year, but my answer to question 14 still stands.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I think maybe....Argo? I can't really remember watching anything else, although I know I did. Why, what did you watch? I probably should have watched that.
23. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I was 32 and....wow, what did I do? I worked from home, and then we had champagne and went out for dinner, I think. I wore a leather jacket that I wish I'd appreciated more, because a few months later it got stolen out of the back of my car. Sean wrapped up a tire and gave it to me, and then later he built me a tire swing.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A shorter work commute. Hands down.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Sweaters from Gap that were purchased for 40% off? I don't know, does anyone actually answer this question seriously? "Well, Internet, it's a tie between peplum and the maxi skirt, to be honest, although I did have to think long and hard about eliminating the arm party as my personal fashion concept of 2012."
26. What kept you sane?
Sean. That man is a human Xanax. Sometimes he does this thing where he's like "Squeeze my finger as hard as you are annoyed.....come on, that's all? You can't squeeze it harder? Huh, you're obviously not that annoy---OWWWWWW, okay, okay. Well, do you at least feel better?"
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
It all works out in the end. This is basically the same lesson I learned in 2011, but you know, I really don't think you can learn it enough.