1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
- Worst car accident of my life
- Cut my hair for the first time since I was in grade school. (It's been long enough that counts.)
- Got kitty cats!
- Learned more about nuclear energy and its by-product than I ever expected to. (Shockingly, it's not as terrifying as it's been made out to be.)
- Went to Mono Lake.
- Bought a WRX.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I got most of the major ones done. There were a half of the challenge goals that didn't happen, but that's okay -- I didn't expect they'd all get done.
On the done side:
- Got rid of sucky old job
- Got new job. (I didn't start until the new year, but I signed all the paperwork before the clock ticked over so I'm counting it.)
- Got a garden plan.
- Got rid of the broken, badly done concrete.
- Finished reading one of my books on Nobunaga.
- Read all my book of the months, plus a few extras thrown in on the side.
- Travelled more in California. I got a chunk of the Missions visited, plus Mono Lake and Hetch Hetchy reservoir.
I'm not tracking the "not done" side because I spend most of my time looking there. For now, I'm looking at what I did get done.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Got pregnant, yes. Given birth, not yet.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
*whew* This has been a year for deaths. People I know directly, or people who are close to people I know.
So I remember when for the future: My uncle John, who was my mother's last surviving member of her immediate family. He'd been very ill for some time, but it's still always sudden. He lived out of state my whole life so I saw him rarely, but I'm still deeply saddened to know he's not still out there.
Orville Ellsworth, who was a family friend from longer than I can remember. He and his wife were a constant through all my years growing up, and his house still holds many fond memories for me. I hadn't seen him much in recent years since they had moved to Washington state, but knowing that he's no longer here makes the world a little less bright for me.
Mrs. Briscoe, who was a part of my childhood at my grandparents' ranch.
Jackie Thomas, who ran the summer camp I went to when I was a teenager. That makes our relationship sound so distant, but she was friends with my mother, and just someone who was always around. She passed away just yesterday, as I wrote this, and it's quite a surprise. I found out after the memorial service for Orville.
Joyce, Eric's mother. I only saw her a few times, but she was a delightful lady.
And while some people wouldn't count it, I certainly do: My lovely green Integra was killed in 2011. She was the bestest car in the whole world, and I still miss her.
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Hard to answer this one. The previous years have been filled with so much struggle and badness, but from where I'm sitting right now I kind of have everything I've been saying I wanted for a while. So for the moment, I kind of want to take a breather and enjoy what I have before I start the next uphill battle.
7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 11. Tohoku earthquake. (Or, more properly, the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.)
July 26. Alas, my poor Integra. ;_;
October 24. Good-bye, evil workplace. I'm glad I'm gone from you, though I wish the parting could have been more pleasant.
It's been a year of large, memorable dates.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I don't really have any achievements I take pride in for 2011. It was sort of a bitter, embattled year. I suppose I'm proud of the plum canning I did, and the talk I gave on Japan and earthquakes.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I gave too much away to a job that I knew I didn't value, even as I destroyed my health and sanity for it.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Whiplash. Not my favorite.
I got to carry a glass splinter around in my hand for two weeks because I couldn't get the time away from work to get it removed.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
My lovely blue WRX. Awesome car.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I'm sure there are many people, but I can't think of any right now.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Alec Sulkin landed on my shit list for his comment comparing the Tohoku casualties to Pearl Harbor. I think at this remove holding a grudge is ridiculous and petty, and I refuse to support works by anyone who does so.
The foreign news media in general was absolutely appalling in their reporting on the aftermath of the earthquake/tsunami and their unnecessarily encouraging panic over the reactor meltdowns. "Appalled" barely covers my reaction.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Bought a new car. Paid more in taxes than expected. Did two gardening projects that were non-trivial in costs.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I just got a new job. My cats are looking real nervous about the wild cackling.
16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
"Big Girls Don't Cry", by Fergie. "I'm going to miss you like a child misses their blanket" sums up my feelings about my lovely Integra.
"F*cking Perfect", by Pink. A counterpoint to the siege on my soul that was my last job.
"Everything's Gonna Be All Right", by Sweetbox. I'd never heard this song before it showed up in the ParaKiss movie, but I instantly fell in love. I suspect somehow I will always remember the ParaKiss movie came out in 2011 thanks to remembering walking out of the movie theater feeling all happy from the movie only to get my bubble burst by the lights being out in the vending machines. The earthquake, and its power crisis. After, in my life, as distressing thing after distressing thing happened, this song became my anthem. "Whoever thought the sun would come crashing down/My life in flames, my tears concrete the pain... I try, I try to be positive/You're a fighter, so wake up and live"
"Good Life", by One Republic. My mantra. I sang "please tell me what there is to complain about?" until I meant it. Life is good, even in the rough times, if you insist on it. Some days it takes a lot of insisting.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? So. Much. Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Hm. Bit thinner, as I dropped all the weight I'd been gaining from stress eating once I stopped working in hell.
iii. richer or poorer? Bank account balance is a little lower, but I'm richer in everything that matters.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Translating. I did pretty much none. I miss it.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Dealing with the stupid bullshit at work.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Hm, bit past so... Went to church in the morning, then over to my aunt's for family dinner in the evening, and had fun dealing with cats and wrapping paper in the middle. Nothing spectacular stood out, but it was still a wonderful Christmas.
22. Did you fall in love in 2011?
No time or energy. No way.
23. How many one-night stands?
Why do I even leave this in every year? The answer's going to stay the same!
24. What was your favorite TV program?
Merlin, oh my word, so brilliant this season.
Young Justice. Beautifully done.
Kamen Rider OOO. Solid start to finish. Best Kamen Rider series to date.
The other usual suspects: Glee, Supernatural. Warehouse 13 persists in being fun. I've enjoyed The Secret Circle more than I expected. Alas, Stargate Universe. I, at least, loved you.
Meh, this is less than easy to answer with everything in off-season right now. It's been a good year for TV. During the fall season there would be something I thought particularly fun landing on my DVR every night.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Not so much hate, but Alec Sulkin did irritate me enough that I refuse to watch any of his work. Most of the time I separate the person from the product, but I decided this is one time I'm going to hate the work because of the maker.
26. What was the best book you read?
I found Shingon: Japanese Esoteric Buddhism particularly informative.
Trying to remember what I read this year... The latest Toby Daye book was excellent as always. I believe this is the year I went through Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series. Those in particular stood out in my mind. I read a comparitively large number of books and enjoyed most of them.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Listed above, under the songs I'll always associate with 2011.
28. What did you want and get?
A shiny blue WRX.
The sweetest kitties I could ever ask for.
Out of the awful old job. And, in the eleventh hour (or the second to the last day of the year), a new job - back at the company I've been wanting to return to for years, no less.
29. What did you want and not get?
This has, oddly, been the year of getting what I want. Just usually in the exact opposite of the way that I want it. I can't really think of anything that I particularly wanted and didn't get.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I... did I see any movies this year? ParaKiss, of course. Captain America -- that one was quite good. I think I saw another movie, but I can't remember what at the moment.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Life, the universe, and everything. I slept late, went to lunch with friends, looked for a job, and went to dinner with my parents.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
My boss not having been an asshole? Yeah, I think that sums it up. The new hire being experienced enough to be useful would have been nice. Though that too falls under "my boss not having been an asshole", because he was the one with the stupid hiring practices that prevented us from hiring someone up to the job.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
No fashion whatsoever.
34. What kept you sane?
The support of my friends and family. My parents deserve a huge shout-out, as do slothman and obsessivewoman, rhylar and his lovely wife, and fresne, of course. And many others who did countless little things to help and just generally put up with me not being my best.
Also, Friday game. Helped incredibly.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Huh. No real answer here.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I'm not really remembering the issues from this past year.
37. Who did you miss?
Eh, the usual crowd of past memories.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
I don't remember meeting anyone.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
Ho. The lessons. Oh, the lessons.
It's okay to not know everything.
I re-defined "perfectionist". A perfectionist is someone who sees perfection in everything. Or maybe it's better to say it's someone who accepts perfection can be in anything. I'm the exact opposite. I see imperfection in things that are perfectly good just the way they are. This realization allows me to shift more to accepting perfection. This opens the door for allowing everything to be happening exactly right even when it seems like things are going horribly wrong. It's a weird way to look at things, but it's really helped me roll with the punches and accept things just the way that they are a lot better. And once I did that -- presto! -- things that I thought were inconveniences or roadblocks suddenly became helpful.
Instead of complaining that things weren't the way that I wanted I started thinking about how I'd be and act if things were the way I wished they were. And then I asked myself what was keeping me from acting that way, and if the answer was "nothing", then I went ahead and did it. So for example, I'd be driving home from work all upset and wishing I had a job that didn't leave me upset all the time so I could think about fun things instead of bitter ones. But really, the only thing stopping me from thinking about the fun things was that I was spending my time thinking about unhappy things. And when put that way, why bother wasting the time on the unhappy things? Just focus on the fun things. The rest can handle itself.
So this is how the year went:
January: Still sick from the cold I'd had since Thanksgiving, and a fun stomach ailment that I had back in college came back for a visit too, just for giggles. Despite that I had a sudden, unrealistic, firm project deadline that left me scrambling the entire month to get it done. I did, but the burn-out cost was high. Very, very high. One good thing, though: Thanks to going to a security conference I decided to look into getting into information security, which I think is a reasonable career direction for me at this time.
February: After working my ass off all January wouldn't it have been nice to take things a little easy in February? Yeah, well, guess what's not going to happen. Instead the first part of the month was spent prepping for a release (which, IIRC, went less than smoothly), followed by the traditional week or two of patching all the new problems that got introduced thanks to the release. The last week of the month wasn't too bad, except that I was so burnt out that people had to keep weaponry away from me. Seriously.
March: So glad I happened to have had the day off and was out of town for the Japan earthquake because if I had been at work that day, I would not have been able to have coped. Particularly because there was a major crisis at work. The time off was helpful getting me a little less completely fried. Still, the rest of the month was lost to following the news from Japan, and dealing with my uncle passing away.
April: I honestly cannot remember a single thing from the month of April. According to my LJ, I went on an earthquake walk and the President of the US flew by my workplace. Good thing I wrote those down, because outside of that, the month is a complete blank in my head. I really wasn't joking about how bad the burn-out from the previous several months had been.
May: I went on vacation. It was the end of the month, and you know what? That's all I cared about.
June: This was generally a fairly pleasant month. Life was not horrid. I made jam.
July: July was nice enough, until it suddenly wasn't. I made jam, did the Obon dances in Mt. View again, and had a lovely time at SDCC. Then I came back, my car was destroyed, and I got kittens. It was a good thing I'd already arranged to get the kittens before going to SDCC, because after the accident I was really not doing well.
August: Seriously, after the accident I was really not doing well. I managed to get through another work release (when I would really have preferred to be taking care of the aftermath of the accident), muddled through the insurance claims, and bought a new car. I was not as exuberant about the new car as I would have liked, but I did the best I could. My memory was shot through the month.
September: Still trying to pull things together. Still in pain from the accident. Boss started getting weirder. Unsure of what the problem was, but it was clear that he had an issue with me, but thoroughly unclear what the damage was.
October: More with the boss going crazy. More coworkers expressing grumpiness about the boss going more crazy. Then the boss tells me to leave.
November: Life without going to the evil workplace is... well, living. I'd forgotten what that was like. The month was spent dealing with lower stress (very unbalancing, after all the time being Atlas), looking for a job, and generally reconnecting with my life.
December: crazy, crazy. Lots of movement on the job hunting front, then radio silence into the holidays. And then, at the very end, a lovely offer. And on that note, we end the year.