Thursday, January 3, 2013

Yearly Retrospective: 2012

Hello, 2013! The last few weeks have been crazy: I went to Disney World with Keith and his family for a week, and I rode the new Little Mermaid ride! My friends got hitched at the Belmont Mansion, and I was a bridesmaid. And through it all, Keith and I lived in a construction zone while our water-damaged floors were torn up and replaced. In case you were wondering, breathing wood chips for a month DOES make you sick. Oh yeah, and CHRISTMAS happened! It's been fun, but I'm exhausted. Can I have my normal life back, but with pretty new floors? Please? Let's return to normalcy with this questionnaire. I've faithfully done it every January for the last ten years, so why stop now?

I got a really long, shiny black car took two limousine rides to the airport in 2012. Yeah, life is good.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?

I started living with someone I love, became a dog owner, went on a hot air balloon ride, learned to knit, rode Tower of Terror at Disney World (NEVER AGAIN!), saw Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes AND the Polyphonic Spree perform live, received a free custom-made dress cuz I'm a blogger(!), and wore Day of the Dead makeup.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

In lieu of baby pictures, I give you a CUTTLEFISH! I had to take, like, 50 pictures to get a good shot.
That was okay because I am completely obsessed with cuttlefish. They look like adorable baby Cthulhus!
No other creature has those winsome eyes, tiny fluttering fins, and magic color-change action. They're the best. 
4. Did anyone close to you die?
My grandma died in May. I don't have any grandparents now, and I feel strangely un-tethered. Our old traditions that depended on my grandparents, like visiting Illinois for the holidays, are gone. It's time to make our own new traditions. Like Mexican Fiesta Family Christmas, with Settlers of Catan.

5. What countries did you visit?
Keith and I went to Curaçao in October. I drank lots of piña coladas, and we won more money at the casino than we spent. I also went to Destin, Texas, and Disney World this year. It was a good year for travel!

I'm in Curacao. I forgot my razor, but you'd never know it cuz my hair is finally armpit length. HAHA! IT'S TRUE. 

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

I'd like to host game nights and potlucks for our friends more often. Now that Keith lives here, we're going through a cozy honeymoon period of domesticity. I want to open our doors and extend that warmth to our friends, too. Oh yeah, and a trip to New Orleans would be nice. And diamonds!

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
On January 1, I was sitting at my kitchen table, sipping coffee with my friend Mercedi, when Keith called me out of the blue. He said he was still madly in love with me, and he wanted us to get back together. I was shocked, and at first I was like "Umm, NO. Are you crazy?!" But with that call, he kicked off one of the most exciting and happy years of my life so far.

This photograph was made possible by Verizon Wireless and The Events of January 1, 2012.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Let's be serious for a second: I'm so proud that I identified my boundaries, stuck to them, and held out for the kind of relationship I really wanted. When I was younger, I probably would've gotten caught up in the drama and romance of the situation, and jumped back into a bad relationship. But I kept a cool head. I knew I wasn't ready to get back together with Keith until he addressed the things that had caused problems for us in the past. Looking back, I'm amazed (and a little embarrassed!) that I asked for so much. But Keith took my needs seriously and made a lot of changes. We've both grown so much this year.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I was too impatient.

Also in 2012: The funniest game of Eat Poop You Cat I ever played.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing serious, just chronic sinus pain. That's not even remotely interesting, sorry.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I'm the master of my domain! Librarian Tells All is so much snappier than Stuff Jen Did. Thanks, GoDaddy. It was the best $9.95 I ever spent.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Every time I turn around, Keith has done something awesome or met a new milestone: He quit smoking, got a super-awesome new job, moved in with me, paid off debts, saved money, spearheaded a new project at work, single-handedly planned a last-minute trip to the Caribbean, and did cool stuff with his top secret invention project. I am so damn proud of him.

Keith is petting a pig. Why am I posting this picture? ABSOLUTELY NO REASON!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I don't like it when friends turn on friends because their significant other says they aren't "allowed" to be friends anymore. Was that vague enough for you? Yeah, alright. Moving on...

14. Where did most of your money go?
Living with a man is expensive because when he buys a new TV, you have to buy new furniture, too. So my biggest purchase was this little beauty from Pre to Post Modern.

Dear Broyhill Brasilia credenza,
I love you forever.
Yours truly, Jen

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

Disney World, tall boots that fit according to shoe size and calf measurement, learning to knit, and finding out that people are actually reading this here blog. I was thrilled when a woman told me, "I've been literally thinking about something you wrote all day. As soon as I read it, I had to call my friend in New York, and we talked about it for an hour." It feels good to know that I've created a dialogue through my blog.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Dirty Projectors!

Phrenology: Favorite pseudoscience of 2012!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Happier!
Richer or poorer? The same, but splitting bills with Keith certainly helps.
Thinner or fatter? Living with a man = weight gain.
Older or wiser?  That isn't for me to judge.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Painting, but there isn't enough room in our place for my easel right now. And I wish I'd started going to the gym with Keith sooner. We've started going together a few times a week, and it's fun. I like counting his reps: "Nine... nine... nine."

Dear Paint,
I miss you.
Love, Jen

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I wish I'd been more patient.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Being impatient.

22. Did you fall in love in 2012? 
Oh yeah. And let's be real: Sometimes, loving someone else isn't all sunshine and roses because they had a bad day, and they take it out on you. Or they eat the last Cliff Bar in the morning (that would be ME). And you love them anyway. This love feels different: More solid, and not at all conditional.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I spent nearly half of 2012 watching The X-Files. Mulder is gone now. Should I keep watching? I'd kind of rather watch Merlin now, instead.

"Hey Scully? Why are we squatting?"

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
"Hate" is kind of extreme. It's not like I sit around consciously thinking about it all the time. But yeah.

25. What was the best book you read? 
I loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and I still think Daughter of Smoke & Bone is the next Twilight/Hunger Games/insert YA title du jour here.

In 2012, I added just one new bridesmaid dress to my collection.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This year I really listened to Polyphonic Spree for the first time. And I loved it.

27. What did you want and get?
On my 2011 Yearly Retrospective, I said I wanted an enthusiastically willing partner. I got that this year.

28. What did you want and not get?
Diamonds, a second road trip to Atlanta, and health insurance.

Helloooooooo, diamonds! Can we be friends?
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Hobbit! It's amazing in 3-D, with the higher frame rate. I've loved Martin Freeman since Tim and Dawn couldn't stop flirting on The Office, and I'm excited to see him in a blockbuster.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My parents helped me paint my hallway and dining room, and then Keith took me to the Melting Pot on my actual birthday. The next weekend, Keith and I had a joint birthday party. He turned 30, and I turned an age that makes me just want to smile mysteriously and change the subject. LOOK, OVER THERE! IT'S A BAT, OR SOMETHING! We had dinner at Las Palmas and went bowling with friends, then ended the night watching Birdcloud play at Mercy Lounge.

Parental paint party! Aren't they cute?
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I was strangely shy this year. I wish I'd been better at promoting my projects. Even when people showed interest in my work, I just smiled and asked them about themselves.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
I never change:  I like to wear vintage scarves, cardigans, skirts, and tights! But my style is becoming simpler and more classic. I'm drawn to stripes and blazers, which I didn't like much in my youth. I wore lots of yellow this year, and I made an effort to balance the bright colors in my wardrobe with camel and gray. I started styling my hair more. Highlights, curling irons, deep conditioning treatments, and--when I was hanging out at home--pigtails.

Also in 2012: New dining room paint color, chandelier, refinished table, and reupholstered chairs!

33. What kept you sane?
Blogging gave me a creative outlet, and because of the blog, I just met a really fun and interesting group of women.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
My crush on Cillian Murphy is nothing new!

He's so pretty, it almost hurts to look at him. Source
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I don't like to be too political here, but I'll say this: During the presidential election campaign, I felt like the Republican party was completely out of touch with the needs and concerns of young voters, non-wealthy voters, and especially female voters of child-bearing age. I'm hopeful that the election results showed them that their approach wasn't working.

36. Who did you miss?
I always miss my sisters, Erin and Kelly... and Samantha.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I was thrilled to meet the rest of Keith's family. His Grand-Dad, Marty, is hilarious. He immediately made me feel welcome. And I was so excited to meet Lauren, the seamstress behind Lladybird! Lauren encouraged me to continue my knitting, and she invited me to join the Nashville Bloggers group. Through her, I met the ladies whose blogs are listed on the right sidebar. I felt like a total fangirl, because I'd been reading and admiring some of them for months.

True story: When I was sewing these, I was being a persnickety perfectionist. I hadn't met Lauren yet, but
 I'd been reading her blog for a while, and I kept thinking What would Lauren do? She wouldn't halfass this!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
Honor yourself by establishing boundaries. Know what's okay with you and what's not, and remember that it's alright to say no. If you say no, you need to stick to it. Inconsistency is not conducive to healthy boundaries.

If you quietly stop hanging out with people who make fun of you for not going out drinking all the time, you won't regret it or miss them.

Have pillow fights and slow dance in your living room as often as possible.

Deep conditioner is important.

Be nice, especially to other women. Friendships with women are so important.


  1. This whole post is one of the many reasons why you are so amazing. You are so honest and funny. One of my happy moments of the year is meeting you and all of the other talented Nashville blogger ladies. :)

    1. Aww, thanks! Wasn't it exciting to go to that first meetup at The Stone Fox? I was happy to talk to women who understand things like today I was checking my stats, and WTF why so many visits from Italy? or blogging sucks in winter because the lighting is poor. :)

      Also: I'm so excited about your birthday sleepover!

  2. This post is awesome! I loved reading about your 2012 & all the great pictures (especially the one of Keith petting a pig because of reasons). I also love your pillow sewing anthem. WHAT WOULD LAUREN DO indeed! Hahaha!!

    More knitting dates for 2013, please!

    1. Aw, shucks! Thank you. This seemed like a good time to post pix that I like but don't fit into normal blog entries. Like Keith's pig-friend. :)

      I'm working on cowls for pretty much every woman in Keith's family, so YES! More knitting dates are definitely needed. You knit on Mondays and Thursdays, right?

    2. Yep! Monday in East Nashville at Ugly Mugs, and Thursdays at Haus of Yarn. Yay knitting dates! :D

  3. Lovely blog by a lovely young woman!

  4. That's amazing that from day 1 of 2012, your life was immediately ons new track! Also I agree...finding an uncomplicated non-dramatic relationship is the cats pajamas!

    1. It's weird, isn't it? Such an unforgettable day... :)
      I missed you on Saturday! I hope I can see you again soon.

  5. That's amazing that from day 1 of 2012, your life was immediately ons new track! Also I agree...finding an uncomplicated non-dramatic relationship is the cats pajamas!

  6. Love the pictures and I love that you had a year with so much love and many new experiences. It may be hard to top 2012. I've also never heard of Eat Poop You Cat, so thank you for the link.

    1. Thank you! Definitely try Eat Poop You Cat next time you have friends over. The more people, the better, but it's always hilarious no matter what.

  7. Great post! I'm glad to have been there for some of your highlights and shared in hearing about others. You are a lovely lady, Jen!

    1. Aw, shucks. :D

      I love you, lady. We're going to do so many awesome things together in 2013!

  8. I just discovered your blog a few months ago and I really look forward to reading it. I love the diamonds you picked. I, too, have diamonds and sapphires!

    1. Welcome! I'm glad you found me here. Ooh, tell me about your ring! Is it antique or new? Keith and I are shopping around right now, and I'm curious about the durability of antique jewelry.

    2. I am a poor decision maker. I got very overwhelmed with the process, so I ended up going very simple and built on from there. At the time, I could not find an antique I liked, so we got new. I'll send you a pic. :)


What do you think? Your comments always make my day.

P.S. All trolls will be fed to the bookworms.