I started doing this year-end meme eight 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.") 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 2018:
- 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...!) Massive fail on this one. :( Still haven't gotten into a regular walking routine here (& probably won't even try now until the weather improves) or found a yoga class, as I keep saying I'm going to do...!
- Write more in my journal (blog??). Haven't written in my paper journal in years. As for blogging, I recently marked my 11th (!!) year in this space. And I actually did wind up writing more in my blog this year (158 posts, including this one -- an average of about 13 posts per month) than I did last year (139). In fact, 2018 has been one of my most productive blogging years since I first hit "publish," coming second in terms of numbers of posts only to my all-time high of 172 posts in 2008, my first full year of blogging. Go figure!
- Read more of the books that have piled up around the house. Once again, I set myself a goal of 24 books read in 2018 (via the Goodreads reading challenge -- the same as 2017 & 2016). After failing to reach even that modest goal last year, I was happy to hit #24 by mid-November, and will finish out the year with 27 books read to my credit. (All books read were -- or soon will be -- reviewed on this blog under the tag "2018 books.") I'm hoping to keep up (or even increase) this pace in 2019, although I will probably stick with the same target again, since it seems like a pretty realistic one for me.
- 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 -- and a lot less space for it to accumulate. But the piles of books are growing, and I'm running out of spare hangers in the closet, which tells me it's probably time to do some weeding again...!
- Return to scrapbooking & complete unfinished projects. (Goal reworded from previous years.) 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...
Enjoyed a long-anticipated and rare girls' weekend away with two former work colleagues in a part of the province I hadn't seen before.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. (But with two adult nephews now married, we are hoping to see some great-nieces and nephews in the not-too-very-distant future...!)(They will get no pressure from me on that front, though!)
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, sadly, my wonderful father-in-law, at age 89 on Aug. 9th. :(
5. What countries did you visit?
We did not leave the country in 2018. (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...)
6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
More travel, even just day trips. More new experiences. I am very much a creature of habit, I will admit, but I do like getting out & exploring too, and whenever I do push myself to do it, I come back exhausted but also exhilarated.
7. What date(s) from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 14th, Younger Nephew's wedding. :) August 9th, the day FIL passed away. :( August 5th & 7th, November 14th and other related dates -- 2018 marked 20 (!!) years since the stillbirth of my daughter.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting through FIL's diagnosis, decline, death & funeral, with all its reminders of my rollercoaster pregnancy and stillbirth, covering almost exactly the same timeframe, exactly 20 years earlier.
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." Unfortunately, I think that still applies. :p
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No -- but I'm definitely feeling older these days, with parts of me (knees in particular!) getting creakier and not working quite as well as they used to...! :p
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Tickets to see Paul McCartney with my sister. :) Expensive, but well worth it!
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Canada's ice dancing sweethearts (if not each other's, lol). Seeing them win an unprecedented second (third, if you count the team competition) gold medal at the Olympics in February was a huge moment of national pride for Canadians.
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who turned tragedy (a mass shooting at their school by a fellow student in February) into triumph with their March For Our Lives in March, and their ongoing campaign for sensible gun laws in the U.S.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Donald Trump & Co. Need I say more?? :p
Ontario Premier Doug Ford (older and meaner brother of the late crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford), who is following in Trump's footsteps, and sorely testing the theory that Canada is a kinder and gentler place than the United States. :p
14. Where did most of your money go?
Beyond the usual bills -- and books, lol -- we had a few large expenses during the year. There was our nephew's wedding (including my new dress & the alterations -- which cost as much as the dress itself! -- and gifts -- bridal shower, wedding & housewarming). We spent a lot more on gas & road tolls, travelling back & forth across the city more frequently over the spring/summer months to visit FIL. And I wound up buying a new laptop and printer when my old laptop started acting up more frequently.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our nephew's wedding. Seeing Paul McCartney with my sister. :) The opening of a new subway extension at this time last year, with a station nearby, making it much easier to get downtown.
16. What song will always remind you of 2018?
"Havana-na-na-na..." I can't even tell you what company used that song for an ad, but it's an earworm I wish I could get rid of...!
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
More or less the same, on all three fronts.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Travelling. FIL's illness & passing threw a bit of a monkey wrench into even our plans to travel to see my family this summer. And then going to see them in the fall instead precluded a trip anywhere else. But there's always next year...
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Sitting around the house. :p
20. How did you spend Christmas?
As usual, we spent Christmas with my family on the Canadian Prairies, where a white Christmas is practically guaranteed! (Still here for New Year's!) Ham dinner & presents on Christmas Eve with PND & the Little Princesses, stockings and turkey on Christmas Day.
21. Did you fall in love in 2018?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
We enjoyed the Thursday night lineup of The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, Mom & a reboot of Murphy Brown (albeit it hasn't been quite as good as I'd hoped).
Designated Survivor, season 2, wasn't as gripping as the first season -- but I kept watching anyway. ;) It was cancelled by ABC, but has been picked up by Netflix.
And I enjoyed the latest seasons of Victoria & Poldark on PBS, and The Handmaid's Tale on Bravo.
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 (albeit more than I did last year -- 27 -- see #1), most of the ones I did read were pretty good. As usual, I read a lot more non-fiction than fiction: 9 fiction books to 18 non. Four of those 9 novels were by my old favourite, D.E. Stevenson, for our online fan/discussion group. On the non-fiction front, I enjoyed several excellent biographies/memoirs (one of my favourite genres); feminist writing, including several books on the subject of women and anger; and several books related to current U.S. politics and the Trump presidency.
It's always very hard for me to pick a single book as "the best," and this year, there were quite a few that would contend for that title. They would definitely include:
- all the books I read on women & anger (variations on the theme, all very well written and absorbing);
- "Educated" by Tara Westover (my review here)
- "Prairie Fires" by Caroline Fraser (my review here).
As in the past, I must admit, I don't listen to a lot of new music. I did enjoy rediscovering Queen -- they weren't one of my favourite bands when I was growing up -- but they were THERE -- and seeing "Bohemian Rhapsody" at the movies (and being able to sing along with just about every song in it) made me realize all over again that I was soooooo lucky to grow up listening to some pretty fabulous music. :)
26. What did you want and get?
A new computer. A white Christmas. :)
27. What did you want and not get?
Still waiting on that sunspot vacation. ;) (Or any kind of vacation that doesn't involve visiting family, lol.)
28. What was your favourite film of this year?
We saw 15 movies in the theatres in 2018 (compared to 16 in 2016 and 2017, and 23 in 2015)(listed here in the order we saw them in): Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Post, Darkest Hour, The Shape of Water, Black Panther, The Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ocean's 8, The Incredibles 2, Christopher Robin, Crazy Rich Asians, Fahrenheit 11/9, A Star is Born, First Man, and Bohemian Rhapsody.
As with books, it's hard to pick a favourite -- we enjoyed them all! "Bohemian Rhapsody" didn't get great critical reviews, but we both enjoyed it hugely -- also "A Star is Born" (both featuring great music!). I also enjoyed "Crazy Rich Asians," possibly even more so than the book. Nice to see a good rom-com again! :) And while the sequels will never top the originals, I LOVED seeing Mark Hamill & Carrie Fisher again in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."
Least favourite? That's easy: "The Avengers: Infinity Wars." A real downer, not at all what I expected, and NOT what I needed on Voldemort Day. :p
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 57, and it was two days before our nephew's fiancee's bridal shower. The weather was absolute crap, but I still managed to get out of the house for a manicure & pedicure, lunch & bookstore visit, and then dinner out later. :) 58 coming up shortly (!).
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A little more travel beyond the limits of the Greater Toronto Area.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
It hasn't changed much in recent years. Comfort counts more than being fashion-forward! Since retirement, I spend most of my days in yoga pants (or shorts, in the summer) & T-shirts, lol. Lots of Old Navy. ;) And they opened a Lucky Brand store at the mall near us. Love their stuff!
32. What kept you sane?
(This question assumes sanity on my part, lol. ;) ) Once again this year, I would credit a good mixture of downtime at home, and getting out of the house. We were tied to home more than usual because of FIL's illness, which added to our enjoyment of the times when we were able to get out & do a few fun things.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
UPDATE See #12.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
In last year's answer to this question, I expounded on the issue of freedom of the press and media bashing. The shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland on June 28, and the murders of five employees (including four journalists), made me LIVID in a way I very seldom get. I could literally feel my blood pressure going through the roof as I watched the early reports on television, and wound up dosing myself with a "stress release" blend of essential oils trying to calm myself down. I was thrilled to see that they were among TIME Magazine's featured "Persons of the Year" -- "The Guardians and the War on Truth."
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. It was great to see so many women elected to Congress in the U.S. midterm elections this fall!
35. Who did you miss?
FIL. We still go to visit stepMIL every couple of weeks, but the house feels strangely quiet & empty without him there.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
As I answered last year, I really haven't met an awful lot of new people lately; at least, none that I see often/regularly. I would love to have a good different answer to this question in 2019!
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.
This year brought home to me, once again, that while the days & weeks sometimes drag, the months & years go by far too quickly. Enjoy them while you can!
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I will have to think of this one....