2009 - on reflection...

by tosca on Sunday, January 3, 2010

I apologise in advance for the long post. You don't have to read it and I won't care if you don't. Thanks for the idea Eyre (although hers is more thoughtful because she's that kind of person) - that and she has fantastic pictures of half-naked men. Wowsers.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
First overseas trip and it was a humdinger of a choice, too. New Orleans for Mardi Gras (the 'Come out and play in New Orleans' clip is how it really was for me there).

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year
I think I only had 4: travel overseas, swear less (note I didn't put 'stop swearing altogether'), apply for a particular job and be more patient with people. First one yes, second one yes, third one yes and fourth one not so much. Meh. I'm still convinced most people are incredibly stupid, and willingly so. I don't usually make resolutions because I'm not disciplined enough to see tasks through, so last year was a first for me. This year I have 4: visit Brisbane (Australia Zoo), see Neil Gaiman's talk (March 2009), buy a mandolin or banjo and learn to play, pick up the guitar again - this time with actual lessons instead of goofing around. I tend not to do deep and meaningful when it comes to goals.

3. How did you spend New Years' Eve?
Was meant to be a bad movie night with the nephews and then the plans got changed somewhat when my younger brother came down and took them with him. So I spent it making up a Bourbon Peach Cobbler (admittedly more of the bourbon went in to me than it did the cobbler but hey, know me before you judge me)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My friend died of cancer. She was 40 years old. I miss her.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Patience. Empathy. Clarity of thought. Purpose.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 18th. The day Trace passed away (which was also, weirdly, the day I had a job interview).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
It wasn't on my own. It was with colleagues. We've increased our subscriber numbers for our NextReads newsletters and our Reviews section on the website leaves me giddy with excitement everytime I see it. Personal achievement? First overseas trip all on my own - look ma, no hands!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being supportive of siblings, probably. Two in particular. Amped out at one - and I'm not apologising for it. Long overdue although not handled well. The youngest said she was pregnant - no father in sight, won't say who it was and my first response was, 'I can't do it. I can't raise any more children.' Not my greatest moment. Am looking forward to baby shopping. Something about all of those cute clothes gets to me. That's about as clucky as I get.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Beginning of the year it felt like I always had a freakin' cold, shoot, one went on for 3 damn months in spite of tonnes of antibiotics *rolls eyes* Just couldn't kick it. Then, when the website project was over, it just went away. Psychosomatic? Meh.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I'd like to say return tickets to New Orleans/Memphis but got those in August 2008. It would have to be seeing a palm reader in Marie's Laveau's House of Voodoo on Bourbon Street in the Vieux Carre (French Quarter). How's that for pickiness?

12. Where did most of your money go?
Books. Coruba. Dinners with friends. New Orleans (it was worth every cent and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat).

13. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Poker Face by Lady Gaga. Not that I like her music/image. More because the market was saturated by anything Gaga-related and that, more than anything, made that song (and her music in general) stick in my head.

14. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Hanging out with the nephews - nothing like the boys to make me realise all the adult stuff is sometimes just so much rubbish.

15. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Complaining. Less talk, more action.

16. What was your favourite TV program?
NCIS (has been for the last 2 or 3 years) and Being Human.

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hate's such a terrible word - it puts out such negativity in the world. The answer is yes, I do. A first cousin and her partner broke into my home. If I see her again it'll be too soon. It does convince me some people are totally stupid - they stole my safe...and didn't take the instruction manual to open it. Last I heard they still hadn't managed to crack it. I get the last laugh, truly I do, because inside is just the crappy junky jewellery pieces I never wear. Anyone who knows me knows that I wear lots of crap plastic beads and stuff so those ones must be real bad.

18. What was the best book you read?
I remember what my 2008 pick was. Haven't really decided. Read over 100 books in 2009 and can't, at this point in time, pick one. I've got it! 'I can't keep my own secrets: six-word memoirs by teens famous & obscure: from Smith magazine' edited by Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith. A book with nearly 800 authors (aged 13-19) where they tell their state of mind (or life view) in six-words. Powerful and compelling and, when you think about it, so simple yet so damn hard to do. Since having read it I try and think what six-words I'd use to describe where I'm at everyday. My idea of kicks and giggles.

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Greatest? Nope. New bands/musicians I've been listening to, yes. Most recommended by siblings: House of Shem, Sweet & Irie, Three Houses Down, Gin. All NZers. I would like to learn to play bluegrass - either banjo or mandolin (maybe both) and, as a result, have found I really like Earl Scruggs' music. I also found out that Steve Martin plays a freakin' mean banjo and toured with Earl Scruggs' and others as 'Men with banjos who know how to use them.' Lead me to reading his autobiography, as well (Martin's that is, although nary a mention of his ability to play banjo, strangely enough). Re-discovered a love of Zydeco music that I got to test out and hear more of while in New Orleans.

20. What was your favorite film of this year?
I'm drawing a blank here. Have watched as many films as I've read books in the last year. And probably cried during most of them - I'm an inveterate movie-crier. Damn hormones.

21. What did you do on your birthday?
Long weekend of annual leave. Mooched around, read oodles of books and generally unwound. That is my idea of heaven.

22. What kept you sane?
Loud music and lots of it. Books. Great people. Weekly quiz night with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (we intend to win the national pub quiz champs this year and take out top spot at Finn McCool's). Regular dinner nights with friends. Lots of coruba.

23. Who did you miss?
Joanna. First cousins born 3 days apart who were exceptionally close as children. Didn't keep in contact so much as adults although we always had our birthday phone calls. A tradition for just over 20 years. In May 2008 I didn't get my phone call. By August I knew why. I miss her still and she's been gone a year and a half now.

24. Who was the best new person you met?
Online or IRL? Online: far too many to name. And all who've led me to some very eclectic music, movies, websites and books with their innumerable links, thoughts and ideas. IRL: can't think of anyone. Is that too sad that I get more enjoyment out of the bits of eccentric stuff I see on Facebook, Bebo, Twitter than from actual people in real life? Meh.

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
Be present in the moment. Give the person you're with all of your attention - when your mind races ahead to formulate answers before they've finished speaking, you miss what they're really saying. Take a deep breath before speaking. Listen - sometimes when people speak they just want to be heard.

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