Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Year in Review

Time for another Year in Review post for 2017! 

I started doing this year-end meme seven 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 an easy way 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?

I don't really make new year's resolutions anymore -- they tend to be pretty much the same ones, year after year (although I have modified some over time, and even deleted ones that no longer apply). Here are the perennials, and the progress I made (or didn't) in 2017:   
  • 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...!)  Ummm... nope. :(  Still haven't found a good walking route or gotten back into a walking routine in our new neighbourhood.  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. As for blogging, I recently marked my 10th (!!) year in this space. I didn't post quite as many 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 138 posts (including this one), which is slightly more than last year's 133, and averages out to about 11.5 posts per 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 2017 (via the Goodreads reading challenge -- the same as last year). Unlike 2016, however, I did not reach my goal, falling quite short with just 17 books or 71% of my goal. (All books read were reviewed on this blog under the tag "2017 books.")  Better luck next year??  Despite not reaching my goal, 24 books/2 per month seems to be realistic & do-able (although I would certainly like to read more), so I will probably set that target again for this year. 
  • Keep the clutter at bay.  (Goal slightly reworded from previous years.) Having downsized 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) in 2016, there's a lot less clutter than there used to be (still some -- but definitely not as much...!) -- and I think I've done a relatively good job at not adding to it too much since we moved. (With the possible exception of my book collection...!).  
  • Start a scrapbook for dh & me (that will hopefully be finished in time for our 25th anniversary in 2010).  Finish the nephews' books. 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 a couple of plastic bins down in the storage locker.) So who knows, I may pick it up again at some point in the future...    
2. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Had a root canal -- an experience I wouldn't care to repeat...!  

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not close-close. The closest would be dh's cousin's daughter (she had a girl -- her FOURTH baby in under 7 years!!) & SIL's niece (she had a boy).   

4. Did anyone close to you die?

While I attended WAY too many funerals/visitations this year (I lost count at six), most of them were for people we weren't directly related to -- inlaws & relatives of dh's cousins, a friend of FIL's, stepMIL's 96-year-old father. The sad exception was our hairdresser of 15+ years, who was married to a childhood buddy of dh's (he was an usher at their wedding).  She was diagnosed with cancer early in 2017 and died seven months later at the far-too-young age of 55. :(   I think of her often.  

And while they weren't "close," musicians and other influential public figures from my youth continued to drop like flies :(  -- including George Michael (at Christmastime last year), Kenny Shields of Streetheart, Walter Becker of Steely Dan, Gregg Allman, Tom Petty, Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, Malcolm Young of AC/DC, and saddest of all for me, David Cassidy. :(  

5. What countries did you visit?

We did not leave the country in 2017.  (While the United States is less than a two-hour drive away, I have to admit, I have no great desire to cross the border while you-know-who is in charge...)  Aside from our usual summer & Christmas trips west to see my family, we spent our wedding anniversary in Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario), and three fun (but too short) days/two nights in Ottawa, our national capital, with dh, BIL & SIL.   

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

Better health...fewer dental issues!!  (lol -- see #2 & #10). Although compared to many people, I definitely don't have a lot to complain about...!   

7. What date(s) from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

None immediately spring to mind...? 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Continuing to roll with the punches...!  

9. What was your biggest failure?

Over the past several years, I've 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 still applies. :p   

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Dental problems in the spring, and gallstones continued to bother me on & off throughout the year. I'm considering having them removed in the new year. And I got a bad cold just after Christmas, the first one in quite a while. I am still sniffling my way through that...! :p  

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A membership to a world-famous local art gallery, that has already paid for itself in visits & enjoyment.  New coffee table & end tables to match the other pieces of furniture we bought last year. Another kick-ass dress to wear to Younger Nephew's wedding this coming spring. :)  

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Princes William & Harry, and Duchess Kate of England, for speaking out about mental health, including their own challenges & experiences. Also Prince Harry for his work with the Invictus Games (which were here in Toronto).  AND -- for proposing to Meghan Markle, and giving us another royal wedding to look forward to!  ;)  

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? 

(Surprise!!) The Donald & Co. It still boggles the mind that he was elected president. 

The former property managers of our building, now removed & replaced. Let's just say it was for good reason. :p  

14. Where did most of your money go?

Beyond usual expenses -- and books, lol -- dental work!!  We realized after the fact that the dental benefits package we selected did not include crowns, and only partly covered my root canal.  (Universal health care in Canada does NOT include dental work!)  We maxxed our benefits out pretty quickly & had to pay the rest out of pocket. Ugh. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our Ottawa trip. :) 

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?

I don't pay much attention to popular music these days... but I've heard Shania Twain's latest song, "Life's About to Get Good" a few times, and it has stuck with me. I'm not a huge country music fan, but I have always admired her. For one thing, she's Canadian; for another, she's not that much younger than I am (!), and for another, she has survived a ton of crap in her life. (See my thoughts about her memoir, here and here.) I love her resilience and optimism in this song & in her life. :)  

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

About the same, for all three.    

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? 

Travelling. But there's always next year... 

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

As I've said before, "Worrying. It never does much good anyway..."  

20. How did you spend Christmas? 

As usual, we spent Christmas with my family on the Canadian Prairies. Recent post here

21. Did you fall in love in 2017? 


22. What was your favorite TV program?

Poldark continued to enchant, albeit with a limited run. We got Netflix this summer, & I loved "The Crown" (both seasons) and "The Keepers."  I still love The Big Bang Theory, & Bob's Burgers. 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you did not hate this time last year? 


24. What was the best book you read? 

While I didn't read a huge amount of books this year (see #1), most of the ones I did read were pretty good.  As in past years, there were more novels by my old favourite, D.E. Stevenson;  re-reads of some of the Poldark novels by Winston Graham (corresponding with recent/upcoming seasons of the BBC/PBS TV series). :)  But, as usual, I read a lot more non-fiction than fiction.

It's very hard for me to pick a single book as "the best," but I think I would probably have to pick "The Rules Do Not Apply" by Ariel Levy, a short but stunning memoir of pregnancy loss and how it affected the author's life. Other contenders would have to include
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?

See #11.  I also asked for, and got, a new Kobo e-reader for Christmas (my old one was 7 years old and a dinosaur by comparison), and a new blowdryer for my hair. I don't use one every day -- I generally let my hair dry naturally -- but there are times when it's -20C outside & I need to go out and my hair is still damp. And I think I'm safe in saying that my previous blowdryer was older than a few of the readers of this blog (yikes!!). ;)  

27. What did you want and not get?

Still waiting on that sunspot vacation. ;)  And more travel in general. I was also thinking about getting a new laptop. There's really not anything wrong with mine, other than that it's 7 years old, the battery is shot, and it's a little heavy to lug around on trips -- there are lighter weight models available now. We'll see for 2018.  

28. What was your favourite film of this year? 

We saw 16 movies in the theatres in 2017 (as compared to 16 in 2016 and 23 in 2015)(listed here in the order we saw them in):  Rogue One, LaLa Land, Hidden Figures, The Shack, Going in Style, Maudie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. II, Snatched, Wonder Woman, Despicable Me 3, The Big Sick, Logan Lucky, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Victoria & Abdul, Murder on the Orient Express, and Thor: Ragnarok. As with books, it's hard to pick a favourite -- we enjoyed them all -- although some were definitely better than others. These would include Rogue One, LaLa Land, Hidden Figures, Maudie, Wonder Woman, The Big Sick, Logan Lucky (surprisingly entertaining) and Thor:Ragnarok. I'm not much into superheroes and I'd never seen a standalone Thor movie before (although I've seen all the Avengers ensemble movies), but this one was pretty good -- funny, even. :)   

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 56 -- we went out for dinner, and then BIL, SIL, both nephews & their girlfriends/fiancees AND the dog came to our condo for cake & coffee!   

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A little more meaningful human contact with adults other than dh. (And my dentist, lol.) . 

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017? 

It hasn't changed much in recent years.  Since retirement, I spend most of my days in yoga pants (or shorts, in the summer) & T-shirts, lol.  Lots of Old Navy. ;) 

32. What kept you sane?

A good mixture of downtime and getting out of the house.  

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

See #12. 

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

As I said when answering this question last year, the whole issue of freedom of the press is very near & dear to my heart. (I went to journalism school, worked on a smalltown weekly paper before I got married, and thereafter spent 28 years in corporate communications.)  It's more fashionable than ever to bash "the media"  (led by you-know-who in Washington) -- but I firmly believe that most journalists and mainstream media outlets have honorable intentions and strive to get the facts and get the story right. That said, journalists are human -- mistakes get made. Stories evolve, and the truth and our understanding of it often emerges slowly -- particularly when others are trying to cover it up and hinder investigations. Carl Bernstein, one of my personal journalist heroes, often talks about how journalists strive to uncover "the best obtainable version of the truth." I think that's a great way to describe it.  

The other political issue that is near & dear to my heart is the whole issue of equality and women's rights, which are (once again) under threat. The Women's March last January was one of the most inspiring and heartening things I've witnessed in a long, long time, followed by the explosion of the #MeToo movement later in the year. Long may this long-overdue progress continue! 

35. Who did you miss? 

I never stop missing my daughter, and my grandparents. 

I miss our old hairdresser, N. (see #4).   

The Little Princesses. Getting to see them just twice a year sucks. :p Time goes by too quickly, and they are growing up way too fast. :( 

On a similar note, I sometimes miss the adorable little guys our nephews used to be. They're still adorable, of course ;)  but they're hardly little anymore -- both in their mid/late 20s, 6 feet tall or more, and married/engaged. The years went by in a flash. They were 6 and 9 when we lost Katie, and 9 and 12 when we made the decision to stop pursuing fertility treatments.  As I've said before, I think we've been a pretty good aunt & uncle to them... but there are things we could have done with and for them, but didn't, because we assumed we'd be doing them with our own kids someday. If I could have a do-over, I'd invite them for more sleepovers, more cookie-baking & decorating sessions. I'd take them on more trips to the zoo and the amusement park. I'd have them over more often to carve Halloween pumpkins & dye Easter eggs. I'd attend more baseball games and karate demonstrations, and make the trip to accompany them trick or treating on Halloween when it fell on a weekend. (Maybe with the great-nieces and nephews to (hopefully?) come?) 

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. I would love to have a good different answer to this question in 2018. 

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017. 

Take care of your teeth -- seriously!  I wish I'd started flossing years earlier (although I don't think anyone even knew what dental floss was when I was a kid.) Believe me, it's better (& less expensive) than a root canal, lol.  ;)  

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

With illusions of someday
Cast in a golden light
No dress rehearsal
This is our life

("Ahead by a Century" by the Tragically Hip) 

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! I feel like I know you so much better. I loved some of the same books as you (The Rules Do Not Apply and Killers of the Flower Moon) and can so commiserate with so many of the things you said about resolutions, and the museum membership. Wow, you write a lot of posts per year, I am in awe! I love these prompts, and the idea of revisiting them each year to see what's changed and what's still consistent. Happy New Year to you!