After filling in the same year-end questionnaire in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, I skipped it last year. It felt right at the time, and I had every intention of doing so this year as well. But then I changed my mind. I think about how I look back on 2013 and at first my mind kind of hangs on the awfulness of the beginning of my summer, the relapse that left me so ashamed and truly hating myself in a bleak way I’d never quite experienced before. I think, wow, 2013 was kind of rough. But then I think, I have 6 months on my sobriety counter right now. That’s half a year of getting healthier and happier and regaining what what lost.

2013 wasn’t so bad at all, really. It had its ups and downs, like every year. And here I am at the cusp of 2014, feeling strong and so goddamned hopeful. So let’s do this thing.

1. What did you do in 213 that you’d never done before?

The thing that stands out is our family vacation in July. I have so many wonderful memories from that trip.

boys at the Bly ranch

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Here’s what I wrote last year:

I want more of the same. I want more of this unspectacular, unassuming life. I want more messes, screeching voices, and floors strewn with foot-stabbing Legos. More laughter, eye-rolls, and ridiculous jokes. More wrestling matches, more campfire smoke clinging to dirt-smeared jackets, more foggy mornings spent gazing out at the river from the cabin. More checks sent to me because I may not be curing cancer but goddamn, I get paid to write, and how awesome is that? This is all good enough. This is all I could ask for.

This all happened. Every bit of it.

For 2014, I hope to continue the fitness program that’s been so incredibly good for me in recent months. I hope to diversify my work a bit. I hope to stay healthy. I hope to show my family how much I love them on a daily basis.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Many casual friends and acquaintances, but no one particularly close.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?

None. I think the only real traveling I did was a brief trip to New York in March.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

More life balance, I guess. I don’t know how possible that is right now, with me freelancing and the kids home so often. Maybe when both boys are in school full time next fall … but really, this one comes down to me.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

June, because it was my lowest point and thus a springboard.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Pulling out of that tailspin and fully committing to sobriety. While I know better than to feel complacent, I do feel immense amounts of gratitude. I also re-embraced healthy eating and exercise, which I had been allowing to fall by the wayside, and I’m increasingly happy with the person I see in the mirror (and not just because she’s by-god rocking her old skinny jeans).

9. What was your biggest failure?

See #7, and the backsliding moments that led up to that day.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Counseling sessions. A personal trainer. A Hitachi Magic Wand. (What?)

12. Where did most of your money go?

The mortgage, savings, college accounts, Honeycrisp apples.

13. What did you get really excited about?

I was super geeked about our summer road trip. I couldn’t WAIT to see Gravity. (Expectations: met!) I’m pretty excited about the fact that JB and I are spending a no-kids week in Vegas in January.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

There’s this Matisyahu song called “Live Like a Warrior” that’s a little cheesy but also awesome and I love the lyrics:

Some things you should let go, they’re only gonna pull you down,
Just like weight on your shoulder they are only gonna make you drown
We all swing high, we all swing low,
We all got secrets people don’t know
We all got dreams we can’t let go,
We want to brave, don’t be afraid

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner, for sure.
– richer or poorer? Financially better off — although maybe not at this exact post-Christmas post-December-heating bill moment in time.

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

I wish I’d stepped outside my comfort zone more often.

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

Losing my temper with the kids.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Here in Eugene, at our house on Christmas morning and my brother-in-law’s for dinner. It was lovely.

xmas morning

xmas breakfast

our dorky kids hosing the dinner photo

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Same answer as in years past, but with extra emphasis because of it being the final season and all: Breaking Bad. I also obsessed over The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and we’re currently re-enjoying Battlestar Galactica from the beginning.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

The Fault in Our Stars, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Silent Wife, Tiny Beautiful Things.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I only bought singles in 2013, it seems. Maybe OVERWERK’s “Daybreak,” because I’ve played it so many times in my workout mixes.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

Why can’t I think of ANY movies I’ve seen this year? Uhhhh. Uh uh uh. Safety Not Guaranteed, Django Unchained, Mud, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Iron Man 3, Catching Fire … I feel like I’m forgetting a lot.

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

I was 39, and I literally cannot remember what we did. Something low-key but nice, I’m sure.



Here were the other birthdays are actually far more important to me than my own: Dylan, who turned 5, John, who turned 40, and Riley, who turned 8:

dylan birthday sledding

dylan family party

JB birthday

Riley birthday

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

A good girlfriend. Hell, a bad girlfriend.

25. What kept you sane?

Making my health a priority. Feeling a (false?) sense of being connected to other people via social media. My husband, who really and truly just gets more amazing every year.

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

It’s all about being present. Talking about the painful shit helps. Time heals, as does sweat. Good makeup brushes make all the difference. Always, always, always empty the dishwasher before going to bed.

sunset at the cabin


50 Responses to “New Year’s quiz, 2013”

  1. Donna on December 31st, 2013 9:47 am

    Re:25 not at all false, we love you!!

  2. Melissa on December 31st, 2013 10:10 am

    I’m with Donna, virtual connections aren’t false. I know a chick in Eugene who you might like if you want me to set you up on a play date. Her boy is 4. Happiest of New Years Linda!!! (Serious about the blind play date/girls night offer.)

  3. Cari on December 31st, 2013 10:40 am

    Thank you, as always, for sharing. What strikes me is how happy and healthy you look in all of these photos. I’m happy for your happiness, which feels odd to say as we have never met, but I’m still very happy for you and your family. Eugene agrees with you. Wishing you a wonderful New Year.

  4. Alison V on December 31st, 2013 10:43 am

    I love reading these. Great pictures. I think you may be aging in reverse – seriously – you look fabulous.

  5. June on December 31st, 2013 11:22 am

    Best wishes to you and your family. I enjoy reading your summaries every year… was glad to see that you did one again this time. I just posted mine, too. High-five on the 6 months.

  6. Valria on December 31st, 2013 11:51 am

    Linda what a beautiful post and family. Here is to a great 2014.

  7. NancyB on December 31st, 2013 11:55 am

    Happy 2014! thank you for sharing the rundown of 2013. I think we’ve laughed and cried and shut our eyes and cringed in horror together through the year.
    Love your pictures – I bet your kids just adore you both.
    I bet you could call any one of us on the phone or send us an email and we would sit and talk to you like we’ve known you forever. Thank you for sharing yourself and your family with us!

  8. Kris on December 31st, 2013 1:10 pm

    Hands down, you’re my favorite blogger. I wish you a year full of love and happiness, peace and light.

    You’re amazing, Linda. I wish you a very happy new year, and send a huge thank you for just being you.

    My husband and I are dying to move from Wisconsin to Oregon, and you give me hope that we can one day make it happen. So again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being you and staying open and sharing yourself with us. I think your life has touched mine and so many others, and I hope you never, ever forget that. <3

  9. Jen on December 31st, 2013 1:27 pm

    I look forward to these answers every year! I hope 2014 is so very good to you and your family. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

    And I agree with everyone else…seriously, where are you hiding that fountain of youth?!?

  10. Annie on December 31st, 2013 1:29 pm

    Ahhh, I actually teared up at #24. It’s so true. And why is it so hard to find and make friends when you’re older? (I’m like you & work from home)

  11. Eric's Mommy on December 31st, 2013 2:12 pm


  12. Koa on December 31st, 2013 2:49 pm

    Oh, well. That was the best post of the year. I’m the girl in Eugene that Melissa is talking about. hah. Making grown up friends is sucky hard, but my gosh from the moment she told me to read you, last year, and I started doing it, I’ve been a crushy fan. The way my son does new friends is great – he goes hey mom, take me to the park, I want to meet a new friend today. Then he goes, Hi. What’s your name? My name is Jed. How old are you? Oh, that’s old. I’m allllllmosssst 5. And he runs off merrily with the new friend. I’m a former marketer, current fledgling blogger/freelancer, trying to find a job that actually pays money not likes, and in a weird twist used to work for a company that the former company your hb worked for (BowTech) shared building space with when they were first launching. Eugene is a small world. Though it’s weird that as much as Melissa tells me to just accidentally bum into you in a coffee shop, I don’t. Though I’d be too weird shy to say anything. Maybe I would say hi, what’s your name? My name is Koa. I’m 42. And the fun would begin. Oh, if I had any mad skills, I’d msg you with an invite to coffee, but I’ll just do it here in front of thousands of other people.

  13. Anon on December 31st, 2013 3:47 pm

    Love! Especially the last one. All the best to you and your family in 2014. Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. N on December 31st, 2013 4:56 pm

    I love this and I love my Hitachi Magic Wand. Every woman should have one. :)

  15. Gillian on December 31st, 2013 6:43 pm

    this is why i’ve read you for nearly the better part of a decade. thank you, as always, for your humor, your honesty, your hopefulness, your alarmingly accurate descriptions of raising small children, and sharing part of your life with us.
    happy new year, indeed.

  16. Kristen on December 31st, 2013 7:04 pm

    This post gave me the warm and fuzzies. Happy New year to you and your beautiful family, Linda.

  17. MM on January 1st, 2014 8:02 am

    I’m a long-time lurker, rarely post comments anywhere but this moved me. First, you look great, you made me laugh & made me sad…your ability to be so damn honest with the world is something I wish I was brave enough to do. I can’t/won’t be so brutally honest but you made me think about how I’d answer–warts & all (I don’t have warts of any kind, for the record!).

  18. Maria on January 1st, 2014 8:11 am

    So glad you did this. So say we all.

  19. Kizz on January 1st, 2014 10:18 am

    I’m looking at all these fantastic pictures and remembering the times you were intensely frustrated not to have pictures of your family that included you and pictures of the four of you together where no one was melting down. There’s more than one here of all four of you looking at the camera and smiling and just shooting beauty out your pores. I love seeing this and knowing that persistence paid off, you’ve got what you wanted!

    Happy New Year!

  20. Bethany West on January 1st, 2014 11:36 am

    Happy new year from Roseburg!

    I really enjoy reading your blog–it’s a delight to discover the beautiful prose you create whenever you post a new entry. I have been moved by your honesty and the connection you offer, and hope to keep reading for many years. It’s also fun to see another Oregonian talk about this crazy weather we’ve been getting. Holy salted ice, Batman! It’s been cold!

  21. sooboo on January 1st, 2014 1:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. I feel like I learn so much from you and your wonderful descriptions of your experiences. Happy New Year to you and your family! Oh, and I wanted to mention that I watched Gravity last night (husband was too sick to go out) because of what you wrote here and we loved it! What a great movie to see on the last day of the year (meaningful and distracting). Thanks!

  22. Sarah on January 1st, 2014 2:42 pm

    I love reading these. Happy New Year from a fan!

  23. Becca on January 1st, 2014 4:50 pm

    I’m so glad you did this this year! I loved reading it. You look beautiful and so happy. Happy new year from a reader who’s been reading your blog since 2007ish :)

  24. steph on January 1st, 2014 5:29 pm

    This was great! You are great! Here’s to a wonderful, peace-filled, and joyful 2014!

  25. Joy on January 1st, 2014 5:47 pm

    Happy New Year to you! I loved reading all your answers.

    I have to ask an real, honest-to-goodness question: How do you always get your hair to look so amazing? It’s like you always stepped out of the salon, wether it’s a photo here or on Instagram. Man, I have hair envy.

  26. lydia on January 1st, 2014 6:18 pm

    I love that you continue this tradition each year. I’ve seen your questions around on other blogs, so you’ve inspired others, too.

    Happy new year! Here’s to an amazing 2014 for you and your family.

  27. H on January 2nd, 2014 7:34 am

    This is lovely. Thank you for sharing.

    I desperately need new winter boots and my eye went straight to yours. Do you like yours? If so, what are they?

  28. Twinmamateb on January 2nd, 2014 7:35 am

    Email Koa. Do it now. She sounds nice and at worst you put makeup and skinny jeans on for coffee instead of yoga pants, right?

  29. el-e-e on January 2nd, 2014 7:54 am

    Wonderful year and even more to come in 2014. Thank you, as all these nice people have said, for sharing your life with us in such a poetic way. You’re an amazing writer and person!

  30. Shawna on January 2nd, 2014 8:29 am

    Eeek! I have a dishwasher full of clean dishes open and drying right now and they’ve been that way since last night! An interesting piece of wisdom to consider. :)

    Happy New Year Linda! I’ve been reading you since your diaryland days (big red lips anyone?) and still enjoy your posts as much now as I did then. This internet-connection thing may be stretched thin over a long distance, but it sure is long-lasting!

  31. Melissa on January 2nd, 2014 10:06 am

    #24….me too. You always hit it right on the head. Doesnt seem like it should be that hard but if Im not the only one then it must be.
    Cheers to a beautiful 2013 and an even better 2014.

  32. Jennifer on January 2nd, 2014 11:41 am

    Great photo progression. I can see “baby” Charlie turning into a little kid. Love as how the only thing on the boys’ plates (so far) on Christmas dinner were rolls. Your BIL looks more and more like Dylan every day! It’s the smile I think. Maybe also the hairline, ar ar ar. In 2014 I’ll be doing a bike tour of Oregon, overnighting in Eugene on Aug 22. Maybe we can meet! Go on a little bike tour of your city even! Have a great year, Linda and family.

  33. A Wholly Original Piece in Which I Tell 2013 to F Off | Is This Thing On? on January 2nd, 2014 12:05 pm

    […] of my favorite writers have done this little year-end survey and I thought it might be a good way to summarize and […]

  34. Her Ladyship on January 2nd, 2014 12:46 pm

    Love this post! And on a completely shallow note, I HEAR YOU about honeycrisp apples. I will bore anyone kind enough to listen stupid about how awesome those are.

  35. nerr on January 3rd, 2014 2:01 am

    that was nice to read. i found you in 2013 so that is one of my favorite things in 2013.

  36. MyFrogs on January 3rd, 2014 10:38 am

    Ok now we all want to know if you’re going on the coffee date! Haha :)

  37. Hajel on January 3rd, 2014 12:42 pm

    I loved your 24 and 25 answers! You sound so authentic, I’m glad I stumbled on your blog, it was through the Rage Against the Minivan’s blog , where she also did the countdown. I was inspired to try my hands at it and did a re-cap at Keep being inspiring and here’s to a beautiful 2014!

  38. 2013 Quiz | Caitlinface on January 3rd, 2014 7:47 pm

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  39. Life of a Doctor's Wife on January 3rd, 2014 9:35 pm

    You and your family are beautiful, and – this sounds so corny – but you have a beautiful heart that comes across so loud and clear here. There was something about your response to that last question that just filled me with unexpected emotion.

    So much happiness to you in 2014.

  40. C on January 4th, 2014 11:58 am

    Wishing you all the very best from a person on the other side of the country that could’ve really used a good friend in 2013 too. May your 2014 be blessed to the absolute max of awesome. :)

  41. Amy on January 7th, 2014 8:19 am

    I’ve been following your blog for five years I think. Anyway you have never looked better! That picture of you and your family is fantastic!

  42. Lola on January 13th, 2014 1:03 pm

    I love that you keep doing these. :o)

  43. Sherri Strader on January 15th, 2014 3:31 pm

    I feel like a lame stalker. I read you for years while you were in Bellevue, I too fell in a funk and would love to read any archives you have.

    You were my blog friend, though I rarely commented, you were that dearly needed friend that I read each day,I will read you daily again.

  44. Frannie on January 19th, 2014 7:55 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for so long…I had a life event last year and could barely stay focused to read or do thngs I loved since I was newly separated with no viable reconciliation and two toddler sons (1 and 2 at the time.) Complete upheaval, and things I endured that were set to destroy me, but I am rebuilding and i have a great therspist, I’ve grown. I enjoy these posts. Feeling back to good.

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