I started doing this year-end meme six years ago -- and, although I feel like many of the answers don't change much from year to year, it's still a great way to look back and keep track. (All of my New Year's/Year in Review posts have now been tagged with the label "Year in Review," if you ever want to check out the older posts.) Feel free to use the questions on your own blog (& let me know if you do!).
1. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
As I have said in the past, I don't really make new year's resolutions anymore -- they tend to be pretty much the same ones, year after year. So here are the perennials, and the progress I made (or didn't) in 2016:
- Lose weight. Alas, I am (once again) more or less the same weight as I was this time last year... I go up a few pounds, I go down, I go up again. :p
- Exercise more. (And hopefully lose more weight...!) We really fell off the wagon on this one. :( Not as many places nearby to walk (at least, that we've yet discovered) in our new neighbourhood, and in our new place, we got into new habits that didn't include walking. I still think about finding a yoga class at a local rec centre or yoga facility. Just need to find one and give it a try...
- Write more in my journal (blog??). Haven't written in my paper journal in years -- although I did keep a bit of a journal on our road trip this summer, tracking our mileage & expenses, where we stopped, the hotels we stayed at & restaurants where we ate, etc. Blogging: I didn't post quite as much as the 150 blog entries I wrote in 2015, let alone my all-time high of 172 in 2008, my first full year of blogging. But I still scratched out a very respectable 133 (including this one), which averages out to about 11 posts a month. I'm satisfied. :)
- Read more of the books that have piled up around the house. (Need to do better at this... the faster I read, the more I buy, it seems... yikes!) I set myself a goal of 24 books read in 2016 (via the Goodreads reading challenge), and (thanks to Christmas vacation!) I met it! All the books I read have been reviewed on this blog (or will be soon -- I still have the last 3 to do). I will probably set a similar goal for this year, since it seems to be realistic. My best "books read" count since I started keeping track a few years ago was 27 in 2015. Which, I am sure, is WAY lower than my tally would have been in pre-Internet years.
- Tackle some of the clutter that never seems to go away. ("Some" being the operative word...) This is one resolution that I think I can say a definite "Yes!" where I've made progress! Downsizing from a 1,200 square foot, three-bedroom house (not including basement, garage & garden shed) to an 875-square-foot condo (plus one not-very-big storage locker), I pretty much had to. We had one of those junk removal services come to the house (twice!!) before we moved -- and the first time, they had to take away a full truckload & come back for more (erk!). And that doesn't include the dozens and dozens (maybe hundreds) of boxes and bags of books, clothes and other household items we took to the thrift store ourselves to donate in the weeks and months before we moved, and the bags of junk we simply threw out with the garbage. I could probably still pare things down a bit further (and dh would probably concur -- that storage locker isn't very big, and it's full to the brim...) -- but really, I think I did pretty damned well for a lifelong packrat. ;)
- Finally do something with the spare bedroom that was to have been the nursery (get new furniture & linens to replace dh's college apartment castoffs). This is now a moot point, since we've moved and no longer have a spare bedroom/would-have-been nursery. We do have a second bedroom in our condo, but it is very specifically an office/library. Dh's college apartment castoff furniture & the double mattress & boxspring that was our very first bed in our very first apartment all went in the junk removal truck. I will probably remove this item from the list after this year.
- Set aside the nephews' scrapbooks for awhile, & start a scrapbook for dh & me (that will hopefully be finished in time for our 25th anniversary in 2010). And maybe (finally) start Katie's, too. Sadly, I have not done any scrapbooking since fall 2009. And I donated the bulk of my scrapbooking supplies, including most of my substantial collection of pretty patterned paper, to the thrift store before we moved (sob!). I did keep all my unfinished projects, tools & a few other things, though. (They are sitting in containers down in the storage locker.) So who knows, I may pick it up again at some point in the future. (As I said last year, I'd better finish the nephews' books before any great-nieces and nephews start showing up!) ;)
(Officially) Retired!! (lol) Downsized my stuff in a major, major way (see above). Moved into a condo. :) Got a smartphone and a PVR (and learned how to use them). Took a long road trip with dh.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope, no new babies within my circle of close family & friends. Oldest Nephew & his Fiancee/Bride bought a puppy just before their wedding. :)
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Dh's uncle (his father's sister's husband) died last spring (just as we were settling into our condo), and his aunt in Italy died early in the summer. I only ever met her once -- she visited Canada shortly after we were married. That was about as close as it got. (Thankfully, knocking wood...)
5. What countries did you visit?
The U.S., including Michigan, northern Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. And North Dakota, very briefly ( a few minutes en route from Minnesota & crossing the border back into Canada :) ). Within my own country, we drove from my parents' home in Manitoba through northwestern Ontario, over the northern shore of Lake Superior -- a three-day trip. Isolated, but stunningly beautiful in spots.
6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
A little more stability. I've had quite enough upheaval and newness to last me for quite a while, thankyouverymuch. ;) And I still haven't been able to travel as much as I would like to (roadtrip notwithstanding). I guess there's always next year...!
7. What date(s) from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 22nd -- the day we moved out of our house (our home of 26 years) & into our condo.
October 1st -- Oldest Nephew's wedding!! :)
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Surviving!!! I do NOT do well with change -- and there was an awful lot of it to absorb.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Last year I said, "Not speaking my mind enough, and drifting instead of taking the initiative to get things done that I wanted to do." I think that would apply again. :p
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a few more colds than usual earlier in 2016. I am chalking it up to stress and allergies, related to moving (lots of dust flying around!! lol). And my gallstones reasserted their presence after lying relatively dormant in recent years. I've also had some nagging "female issues" on & off that Dr. Ob-Gyn has been keeping an eye on. But thankfully, nothing serious. (Knocking wood again...!)
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our condo. :) Our new furniture (especially our table, chairs & china cabinet!). And my dress for our nephew's wedding. I loved it!!
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
I had trouble thinking of something to put here. Isn't that sad??
Thankfully, all the year-end review shows on TV reminded me about Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip, who (as I blogged earlier this year) was diagnosed earlier this year with terminal brain cancer. He could have chosen to just stay home and enjoy what time he has left with his wife (herself a breast cancer survivor) and their four (!!) children. But earlier this summer, he went out on one more (perhaps final) cross-Canada tour with the band, which thrilled their legions of fans. By September, fans had raised more than $1 million for a fund in Gord's name to support brain cancer research.
And in October, he surprised everyone by releasing a new solo album, accompanied by a graphic novel. The Secret Path tells the story of Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack, a 12-year-old indigenous boy who died in 1966 after running away from a residential school in northwestern Ontario, trying to return home. Proceeds from the album and book are being donated to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation project at the University of Manitoba (my alma mater). The book and the music also inspired an animated film, broadcast by CBC, which can be viewed (along with a panel discussion) at cbc.ca/secretpath.
There's a sad but inspiring half-hour interview that Downie did last fall with Peter Mansbridge of CBC TV, which was rebroadcast over Christmas. You can watch it at http://www.cbc.ca/news/thenational/gord-downie-exclusive-interview-1.3804422 .
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The people who bought our house. :p 'Nuff said. :(
(Need I say it?) Donald Trump & co. It still boggles the mind that he was elected president of the United States.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Buying the condo, and new stuff for it.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
While it was hard to leave our home of 26 years and shed so much of our stuff, it was also exciting to move into our lovely new condo. I knew as soon as we walked in that this was "the one." I still sometimes look around & think, "It's mine!! We LIVE here!!" lol ;)
Nephew's wedding in October, and all the activity related to it (including the bridal shower in July).
My family reunion in July, and getting to meet my 4th cousin from Scotland! We first "met" online through our genealogy research. Our great x2 grandfathers were brothers (born in Ireland but moved to Scotland); mine left Scotland more than 150 years ago. To have these branches of our family reunited again after all these years was cool beyond words.
16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
It's not a song FROM 2016, but "Changes" by David Bowie. Possibly because Bowie was one of many musical icons from my youth that we lost in 2016 :( but also because some of the lyrics seemed to apply. "Turn and face the strange," indeed.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
Happier, and about the same for both b & c.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Travelling, besides our road trip. But there's always next year...
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Several times in the past, I've said, "Worrying. It never does much good anyway..." I think I need to remind myself again this year...! :p
20. How did you spend Christmas?
I'd like to say it was in the usual way, and it was, sort of. We were with my family (my parents, sister & her boyfriend) in the cold & snow of the Canadian Prairies. There was lots of good food & some fun card games. But... (see my recent post about Christmas).
21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Yes, with Oldest Nephew's new puppy. :) (Which does NOT mean we are getting our own dog! ;) )
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Poldark! I also got hooked on the final season of "Downton Abbey." Of the new fall shows, I am enjoying "Designated Survivor." And I still love The Big Bang Theory, Bob's Burgers and Modern Family.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you did not hate this time last year?
No -- although our buyers and their lawyer did not exactly endear themselves to us. :p
24. What was the best book you read?
I read a lot of good books this year (see #1), and reviewed them all here, using the label 2016 books. I read more novels by my old favourite D.E. Stevenson, re-read some of the Poldark novels by Winston Graham (in conjunction with watching the BBC/PBS TV series), and savoured a new Flavia de Luce mystery by Alan Bradley. :) A few infertility-related books, and a few on feminist themes. And lots of memoirs and biographies, probably my favourite genre. ;) Hard to pick favourites, but I think my #1 pick would have to be Bruce Springsteen's memoir "Born to Run," which I reviewed here.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
As in the past, I must admit, I don't listen to a lot of new music...
26. What did you want and get?
I did not particularly want to move into a condo -- but if dh was determined that we should do it, I insisted that it had to be a two-bedroom unit in a lower-rise building, preferably not on a main thoroughfare. We ARE on a main thoroughfare, but we don't face it. We do have two bedrooms, and it's on the fourth floor. And we have more natural light and closet/cupboard/storage space than just about any other unit we saw during our search. Overall, we are very happy with our new home.
Also -- we got several pieces of our new furniture (a table, chairs, a china cabinet, TV stand/entertainment unit and a narrow bookshelf, which we use for our CDs & DVDs) custom made by a local furniture maker. We used to visit their workshop, many years ago, and for 30 years, I have lusted over the ads they regularly run in the TV guide that comes with the local paper. I was tickled to finally fulfill my longtime dream and buy some of their stuff! (In fact, we may be back in the new year... our 30+-year-old end tables & coffee table are looking a bit worn... ;) )
27. What did you want and not get?
Still waiting on that sunspot vacation. ;) And more travel in general. I was hoping for a return trip to New York, but the year ran away on me. I may just wait and see how the U.S. election aftermath shakes out before venturing Stateside again, though. :( Particularly to downtown Manhattan. Tiffany's, I love you, but the neighbours leave something to be desired.... :p ;)
28. What was your favourite film of this year?
We saw just 16 movies in 2016 (versus 23 in 2015) -- although we may see one more on New Year's Eve (SIL mentioned the possibility of going to the movies). What can I say, it was a busy year...! They were all pretty good: Star Wars: The Force Awakens; The Big Short; Brooklyn; Hail Caesar; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Captain America: Civil War; The Nice Guys; Florence Foster Jenkins; Star Trek Beyond; The Secret Life of Pets; Snowden; The Girl on the Train; Inferno; Dr. Strange; Arrival; and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Hard to pick a favourite, but I'm sentimental so I would have to say "The Force Awakens." As I said at the time, THAT was the Star Wars sequel I waited 30 years to see!
(ETA: Make that 17 movies in 2016 -- we went to see "Passengers" on New Year's Eve.)
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 55, and we went to our favourite steakhouse for dinner.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A little less anxiety/angst, from both dh & me. Much of it was totally unnecessary -- but then, anxiety is rarely rational, is it?
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
I spend most of my days now in yoga pants (or shorts, in the summer) & T-shirts, lol. So I'm not sure I have a "personal fashion concept"??! Let's just say most of my clothes these days come from Old Navy. ;)
32. What kept you sane?
Staying busy and getting out of the house most days, particularly during the LONG winter. :p
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The U.S. election and all its related fallout, including the rise in outright threats and discrimination to none-white non-Christian non-hetero non-males. :p The increase in blatant sexism and anti-women behaviour and attitudes is something I take very personally; the silver lining, as I see it, is that a lot of young female eyes were opened as to why feminism was not an outdated and no-longer-needed thing, that sexism and discrimination against women is sadly still very much alive and well, and needs to be battled against constantly.
Also -- having many family members & friends on both sides of the political spectrum -- I find it difficult to post about politics on social media -- but one issue I have no qualms about posting on is the rise of "fake news" & how to spot it, and the looming threats to press freedom and the First Amendment. This is an(other) issue that is highly personal to me, as a one-time journalist and communicator, and SHOULD be one that goes beyond partisan loyalty. Contrary to what some would have us believe, there ARE such things as facts, and they ARE relevant!!
35. Who did you miss?
As always, my daughter, and my grandparents.
The Little Princesses. Only getting to see them twice a year, and occasionally on Skype, sucks. :p Time goes by too quickly, and they are growing up way too fast. :(
36. Who was the best new person you met?
I really haven't met an awful lot of new people lately; at least, none that I see often.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
I do not like change. I am not "good" about change. There was a lot in my life that changed this year, and in most cases, I had to be dragged to it kicking and screaming, or at least with some reluctance. But sometimes good things can come about because of change, no matter how difficult the process. And as I often like to say, it's not always a case of life being better or worse because of those changes. It's just different, and it can be good on its own terms, if you let it. :)
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
As above: "Turn and face the strange." :)
(Not to mention "Look out you rock 'n rollers... Pretty soon now you're gonna get older," lol. Believe me, it happens!! lol)