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The year ain't over till the fat lady posts - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
The year ain't over till the fat lady posts
1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?

Got pregnant! Also, before that, addedentry and I went abroad together with friends (which was great).

2. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister-in-law had her fourth child; and several friends (including jinty!) had their first babies. And one of my team-mates at work became a dad.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes: my grandad, at the beginning of October. I didn't write anything about it at the time because I was too upset. He was 84 and he'd been ill off and on for a couple of years, so it wasn't completely out of the blue, but every time he'd been ill he'd got better again and I think we all somehow thought he'd carry on forever -- he was so full of enthusiasm for everything, so interested in everything -- and I still can't really believe he's not there any more. I want to write about him properly, about his life (my mum's actually trying to write a biography of him -- he did so many interesting things) and how much he inspired me, but I don't really know where to start.

4. Did you keep all of last years resolutions, and have you any resolutions for next year ?

No, and no. Last year's resolutions were a bit of a sorry affair anyway:

• Go running at least once a week

Actually, I did more or less keep this up until I was about 20something weeks pregnant, at which point it started really hurting my ankles (just the extra impact from the extra weight, I guess) and I decided it was time to stop.

• No coffee in the afternoons at work

I kept this up for a while... then went off coffee completely when I was about 8 weeks pregnant and haven't touched it since. So that's a sort of accidentally-kept resolution.

• Get offline by 9

Hopelessly failed to keep this one. Except for the weeks when I was so sick and exhausted that I was falling asleep before 9pm.

• Only take baths at weekends

I did stick to this until I got to the point where I wanted to have baths to ease the aches and pains.

• spend no more than 5 pounds a week on buying lunches at work

Hopelessly failed on this one too due to sickness, tiredness, lack of organisation, and (more recently) being hungry all the time.

As for this year, there doesn't seem much point in making resolutions which are supposed to apply to the whole year when for the majority of the year I'm probably not going to be able to do anything except eat, sleep, feed the baby, change nappies, and cry from exhaustion.

5. What countries did you visit?

France -- we went to Brittany with barnacle and monkeyhands, which was absolutely lovely, probably the most relaxing holiday I've ever had (and probably the last holiday I'll ever be able to afford).

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you didn't have in 2010?

A baby? :-} I would say "a bit more energy and motivation" but there doesn't seem any point in wishing for the impossible. Right now I'd settle for a functioning digestive system.

7. What date in 2010 will remain etched in your memory?

I'm not sure I can remember any actual dates, but there have been plenty of memorable days, for good reasons and bad (I think I've already mentioned them all).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I don't think I really achieved anything in 2010, unless you count getting pregnant, which doesn't really feel like it involved very much "achievement" on my part. I certainly haven't done anything at all since about July, and I don't really remember anything about the first half of the year.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Work. I mean, generally. There was one disastrous project (I was named as project leader for political reasons & then everybody else who was supposed to be working on it turned out to be 100% committed to other things which were more important; it was due for completion in October and still isn't finished) but also lots of minor failures to get things done quickly or as well as I'd like, and lots of days when I feel like I didn't manage to do anything except avoid being sick or bursting into tears where anybody could see.

Outside work, the biggest failure was Low Carbon East Oxford -- I was supposed to be its Secretary but the whole thing was so full of fail in so many ways (not enough people/commitment, too many conflicting ideas and no real focus) and I just lost the will to try to keep things going, thereby becoming part of the problem i.e. being one of the flaky people with not enough commitment. I still feel guilty about it, they're still expecting me to do something about it (even if only hand it over to someone else), but I have even less energy/motivation now than I did before, and every time I think about it I feel sick and guilty and miserable.

10. Did you suffer any illness or injury?

Only the "natural" illnesses resulting from pregnancy, which a) don't count as illness because pregnancy is wonderful and magical and the best time of any woman's life blah blah blah, and b) I've whinged about enough already.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Heated gloves -- the best £30 I've ever spent. Seriously, they are lovely and they stopped me feeling so miserable about cycling in the freezing cold. Being able to get into work with my fingers not in pain and even able to move is brilliant.

12. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Nobody I know personally, but the mainstream media continues to appall and depress me (if you have no idea why this should be the case, try reading Angry Mob or Primly Stable for a while). Also, the police, if some of the reports of the tuition fees riots are to be believed. The Tories' behaviour depressed me, but "appalled" kind of suggests there's some kind of surprise involved. :-/

13. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage and food, boringly (but unsurprisingly).

14. What did you get really really really excited about?

Nothing. I was briefly excited about the election, but look how that turned out. :-/ I kept being told that I must be really excited about being pregnant, but at the beginning I was mostly too busy throwing up to feel anything other than exhausted, and by the time the sickness had worn off, so had the novelty, and besides by then I was just too tired and depressed to feel excited.

15. What songs will always remind you of 2010?

I can't think of any. I feel like I've been oddly out of touch -- or perhaps that should be out of time -- with music this year; I've listened to a lot of new things, and found lots of things I've liked, but they've either not made as much of a lasting impact or they haven't really associated themselves with this year particularly (if you see what I mean). The older I get, the less music seems to be tangled up with times and places and the more it seems to stand on its own. I think it's because of the more general effect that the years aren't differentiated from each other as much any more -- they all just merge into one interminable failure to get anything done.

16. Compared to this time last year are you:

A. Fatter or thinner? Considerably fatter, for obvious reasons!
B. Happier or sadder? Sadder.
C. Richer or poorer? Not sure, probably about the same.

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Seeing family, particularly my grandad. Seeing friends -- I really should have socialised more while I was still capable of doing so. Sleeping.

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Faffing fruitlessly and unsatisfyingly on the internet -- refreshing the same pages again and again, playing stupid word games, etc (it doesn't relax me, it doesn't make me happy, it doesn't achieve anything, it's a total waste of time). Lying awake being unable to get back to sleep because of worries and sickness and aches and pains (and the noise of mice in the loft).

19. How did you spend Christmas?

At home with my parents (as always), which was lovely and relaxed, but for the first time a) my sister wasn't there (she was spending Christmas with her partner & his family) and b) addedentry was with me, so it did all feel quite different. We only had the tiny Christmas tree so I didn't get to hang any of my favourite decorations, which is only a small and silly difference, I know, but... it felt as though I wasn't one of the children any more for the first time (not before time, you might say, when I'm 32 and expecting a child of my own!), and that made me sad because I didn't realise that the previous Christmas would be the last 'proper' one, so while it was still a lovely day I still felt a bit melancholy about the whole thing.

20. Which LJ users did you meet for the first time?

None, as far as I know.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

No more than I was already in love.

22. How many one night stands?

I have not exactly been in a position to have one night stands recently...

23 What was your favourite TV show?

Glee! To be fair, it was my only TV show (we don't have a TV) but it was also brilliant. I'm looking forward to the next series (if you've already torrented it all from the US, no spoilers please).

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I don't think so. Hating people is awfully tiring and doesn't achieve much.

25. What was/were the best book(s) you read?

Hmm, tricky. Here's what I read, if you're interested, but I'm not sure anything immediately stands out as "the best". Charlie Brooker's "The Hell of it All" made me laugh out loud a lot; Alan Garner's "Thursbitch" was excellent (and I got to hear him speak at Oxford Literary Festival, which was great); and I was pleased to discover Alice Thomas Ellis.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Dar Williams. I listened to one track because cleanskies mentioned it and it sounded interesting, and since then have listened to two of her albums ("Mortal City" and "The Honesty Room") hundreds of times.

This has also been the year of Spotify; I paid for 'premium' membership so that I could use the mobile version and the Linux version (I know this seems kind of perverse, but the Linux version is still only available if you pay; I believe this is because they haven't worked out yet how to make adverts work in the Linux version) and thus listen at work more easily. It's £10 a month and I reckon it's good value -- for the cost of one or two CDs a month I've listened to hundreds of albums I wouldn't otherwise have heard.

27. What did you want and get?

Well, we wanted to have children, so I guess getting pregnant counts again here. :-) I also wanted the kitchen to be less full of fail, and we did finally get round to getting an oven/hob and new worktops (after only 15 months in the house...).

28. What did you want and not get?

Energy and motivation. No, I'm not waiting for it to be handed to me on a plate, I know it all comes from within so it's entirely my own fault if I don't have it, but I haven't felt as though I've had the resources to create it.

29. What was your favourite film this year?

I can't remember if I saw any films this year! (Oh yes, I did finally watch "Casablanca". I've got quite a lot of catching up to do, as you can tell.)

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

I was 32 and addedentry was 33; we took the day off work so we could just relax together, but I can't remember what we did exactly. We didn't have a party or anything; maybe we might have done if we'd realised it was the last year we'd be able to have parties. :-/

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

More energy and motivation.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

I've never really had a "personal fashion concept" but recently it's been "anything that doesn't hurt" (and, for the last month or so of 2010, a million layers of thermals). I really don't feel as though my clothes are anything to do with my identity any more. Affordable maternity trousers are basically all either blue denim low-rise jeans or baggy pants with elasticated waists, neither of which is really 'me'. On the other hand, wearing hideous clothes all the time has made me realise that nobody actually notices what I wear, much less gives a damn, so from now on I should be able to save a lot of time/money/effort by just wearing the same pair of faded tracksuit bottoms for the rest of my life.

33. What kept you sane?

That's rather begging the question. Insofar as I have stayed sane, though, it's thanks to family and friends.

34. Which celebrity did you fancy the most?

Er, sorry, I'm not actually 14 any more...

35. Which political issue stirred you the most?

Climate change; electoral reform; education. But increasingly I just feel depressed about all of them: the vast majority of people don't give a fuck about climate change, electoral reform isn't going to happen now (and even if it did wouldn't change the things that matter), and the education system in this country just seems completely broken. I certainly don't expect any of these things to get fixed in my lifetime and I'm not sure how I'm going to convince a child that there's anything much out there to hope for. I guess I should just be grateful that she won't be able to get a good enough education to notice that there's anything wrong.

36. Who did you miss?

My grandad. And a couple of friends who I haven't seen for far too long and keep failing to meet up with.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

I'm not sure I met any new people! Did I? If I met you in 2010, I probably just feel like I've known you for longer, and that's probably a good thing. :-}

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned this year?

I learned that I can really only do one thing at once, and I should concentrate on doing the thing I'm doing rather than trying to do something else at the same time.

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

No, sorry, my mind's gone blank.

40. Did you enjoy this year?

I enjoyed bits of it, but on the whole I think I'd have to say no.

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Comments
shermarama From: shermarama Date: January 6th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hadn't realised Charlie Brooker had done books; I should have a read myself. (Unca Charlie would be kind of on my shortlist for Question 34 there, not on account of anything physical but due to, well, fancying his brain. Or something.)
j4 From: j4 Date: January 7th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
The book is just his columns, so they are probably all online, but it was great to have them all in one big bundle of bile!

I know what you mean about fancying his brain -- anybody who can make me laugh that much has definitely got something going for them. (Also he is really quite fit as well, ahem, maybe I am still 14 after all...)
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