This is my 6th year doing this New Year’s quiz, good god. If you’re interested, here are my answers from 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.

You should do it too, it’s a fun way to look back on your year. If you post it in your blog, will you add your link to the comments here? I’d love to see your answers.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Flew across the country with one of my kids. Attended a fancy movie premiere. Started seeing a personal trainer. Climbed a giant-ass skyscraper. Bought a bicycle. Went camping as a family (partial family, actually. Next year, Dylan!). Completed a triathlon. Learned the Thriller Dance, and danced it in a group. Started training for a half marathon. Saw one of my children turn one, and the other turn four. Signed up for a college class at 35.

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’d like to maintain my commitment to healthy eating and exercise, make an honest attempt to create more meaning in my career, and find the balls to step outside my comfort zone more often. I’d say I did a good job at the first and third goal, not as much on the career goal as I believe I meant it at the time. I don’t think I’ve done a very good job at shaping my current job to be more meaningful to me, even within the confines that make it difficult to do so.

That said, I have done a lot of soul-searching about what sort of career I might find more meaningful in the future, and I’ve started thinking very seriously about the steps I want to take in order to get there. So: half credit?

My resolutions for 2010:

• Complete at least 4 physical events that are extremely challenging to me (ie, a 5K no longer counts)
• Have at least 16 school credits under my belt
• Teach Riley to swim
• Be home in time for dinner at least 4 days a week
• Incorporate more whole foods into our diet, and less processed junk
• Make some kind of headway on a novel
• Go on an overnight trip with JB
• Grow at least one vegetable this summer that doesn’t die, DAMN

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not outside of the internets, no.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

I have a feeling my answer is going to be the same on this one for quite a while: none outside of the country in which I currently reside.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

Ideally, less time spent in my evening commute. And perhaps a winning lottery ticket.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don’t know that there’s one specific date that stands out.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Right now it feels like the commitment to running, but that’s probably just because I’m in the midst of it. I’ll say my willingness to do what it takes to meet a challenging goal, whether that’s taking swimming lessons, paying a horrifying tuition fee, getting up in the morning to run before work, etc.

9. What was your biggest failure?

The same thing I’ve said for the last several years: the moments when I’ve been less than the parent I want to be.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No. Not a single cold, even.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

By far, my ongoing personal training sessions have been the best money I’ve ever spent. Those sessions are continually teaching me I’m capable of so much more than I give myself credit for, and that positive energy has influenced every aspect of my life.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Nobody in particular comes to mind.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I’m going to say those balloon boy parents, and here’s why: I watched live footage of that fucking balloon with my eyeballs pressed against the computer screen, on the verge of TEARS for that kid. I mean, I almost had a heart attack when it started swooping around and looking like it might crash, I was absolutely RIVETED and TERRIFIED and helplessly shouting at the helicopters to DO SOMETHING DAMMIT. Goddamned shyster famewhores, I hope the dad gets prison-cornholed by a large hairy man named Bluto.

14. Where did most of your money go?

The mortgage, daycare, the gyms JB and I go to, groceries, the assorted workout flotsam I’ve accumulated over the year, date nights.

15. What did you get really excited about?

I’m really, really, really excited about starting school again. Check back with me in a couple months, I may take that back.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Oh god, this is awful: a Chris Brown song. I know, right? We hate Chris Brown! But I will always think of this as the song that reinvigorated my long runs and pushed my 5K times in 2009.

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

— happier or sadder? Happier, I think.
— thinner or fatter? Thinner, a little. Stronger, at any rate.

— richer or poorer? Financially poorer, definitely.

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

Packed up the kids and left the house when it was clear things were disintegrating into a pile of boredom and crankiness, and what was needed was a change of scenery.

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

Losing my temper and yelling at a tantruming child.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

At the grandparents’ house in Coos Bay.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

I think this question is maybe intended for the single ladies, yes? I’m going to say I re-discovered cheese-pretzel Combos, and if that ain’t love, I don’t know what it is. (An UNHOLY, NEAR-SEXUAL OBSESSION, maybe.)

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Probably The Wire, which we finally finished (WOE).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


24. What was the best book you read?

I can’t possibly remember what I read more than two months ago, but recently I’d choose either Born to Run, Fat Girl, or Hunger Games. (I’m sorry they sound like they are part of a common theme; they aren’t.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Hmm. I think maybe the station Pandora serves up when you seed it with The Dollyrots.

26. What did you want and get?

A year of mostly healthy children (excepting the month of October which we will never speak of again), stronger muscles, more energy, a happier, more fulfilled husband, some personal clarity about what I want to be doing in five or ten years.

27. What did you want and not get?

I wanted to write a novel. I didn’t.

(I wrote about a chapter and a half, decided I was either writing a terrible book, or the wrong book for my abilities and interests, or some ill-advised combination of those two things, went back to the drawing board, started in two other directions, and stalled out completely. I would like to pick that ball back up in 2010, if only because it makes me crazy that I haven’t given that goal 100% effort yet.)

I also wanted to publish a book of funny parenting poems. I didn’t.

(I had some initial interest from an agent, which got me all in a lather, and I put together a proposal and eventually pitched several other agencies, but nothing came of it all. On the bright side, I learned how to write a proposal, and I now know to wait on the agent-interest-excitement until there’s maybe, like, a contract.)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Avatar in 3D. Boom. Game-changer, no lie.

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

I think I worked that day and then there was cake? Nothing too exciting, obviously, but I’m sure it was a nice one. I turned 35.

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

A shorter commute.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Heels On Work Days, Yoga Pants Every Other Day.

32. What kept you sane?

Same exact answer as last year: this blog, as always. Exercise. Laughing kids.

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

I’m all hung up on the word “fancy” again. Is this my Touareg speaking to me? If so, can you stop occasionally telling me about a TYRE PRESSURE MONITORING FAULT, because 1) it’s TIRE here in the America, and 2) man, talk about a first world problem, you wussy-assed Euromobile.

Anyway, I think I’ll go with George Clooney, because I saw him recently in Up in the Air and my god, that man is a dreamboat.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Healthcare in this country, and how it sucks a lumpy dick.

35. Who did you miss?

My kids, when I was at the office and work was driving me crazy. Work, when I was at home and the kids were driving me crazy. Etc.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Luciana, our adorable Brazilian babysitter who is always available, is the sweetest thing on the planet, has a wonderful little girl she usually brings along, and is—most important of all, obviously—fantastic with the kids.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

I wrote some over here. It’s most second-to-last post, as my contract is drawing to an end, so go visit. Play me out, keyboard cat.

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

You know what? Forget this song bullshit. Let’s go with a quote instead, and I’ll use one from my favorite source of inspiration lately, running legend Dean Karnazes. This is less a summing up of my year, and more a statement I find meaningful to my life:

If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not constantly demanding more from yourself—expanding and learning as you go—you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.



I’d add to that: don’t forget to be as ridiculous as humanly possible, as much as humanly possible.





(Credit where credit’s due: I originally found this quiz on

It makes me happy that while I did eat each and every cookie I wanted to while we were visiting family this week (and believe me, that was a shit-ton of cookies), I didn’t throw my exercise routine out the window.

I’m glad that I’m able to comfortably and easily hike to the top of a long, steep hill in order to enjoy the view.

I like that I feel more adventurous these days, more willing to clamber over rickety fences and tromp around in the woods and explore dusty old barns.

I ran nine and a half miles on Christmas Eve, and I am so goddamned proud of myself for that—for all the work it’s taken to be able to run that far, for all the work I’ve yet to do.

I feel like I enjoy small things more than I used to. That I’m more centered. That I see more beauty in the world.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be fully comfortable in my own skin. But I am happier, stronger, and more excited about the future than I’ve ever been.

2009 has been a hell of a year. I’m going to make 2010 even better.


Next Page →