Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Yearly Retrospective: 2014

Happy New Year! How has the first week of 2015 treated you? So far, so good. I've been recovering from the holidays, catching up with friends, and contemplating these questions. I've completed this survey every year since the dark ages of Live Journal. I think I first did it in 2002. Some of the questions seem pretty dumb now, but I hate to break with tradition. How else would I remember that The Futureheads were my greatest musical discovery of 2005?! But on a more serious note, this survey always helps me focus on what I really want to get out of each year. So without further ado, let's sum up the year!
Best day of 2014. This was snapped on the balcony at the Biltmore Estate.
1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Basically, 2014 was the year Cosmo wrote an article about me becoming a housewife. I signed mortgage papers, installed a ceiling fan (by myself!), made hand-sewn draperies, was in the same room with British nobility (that is, I attended Lady Carnarvon's talk at the Antiques and Garden show), learned to trim hedges ("Am I holding the shears upside down?"), developed a fierce fondness for Dole Whips at Disney World, and was featured in the April issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

'I Chose To Be a Stay At Home Wife'
2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 
I don't make resolutions. If you really want to do something, don't wait until January 1.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
YES!!! I became an Auntie in 2014, and I'm thrilled by the new addition to our family tree! I haven't posted pictures of my nephew because I want to respect the privacy of my sister and her family. So you'll have to trust me when I say he's the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. He lives in Hong Kong, so I haven't met him yet. I'm hoping to change that in 2015.

This is cute... but not as cute as my nephew.
4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
I didn't use my passport this year. Does the World Showcase at Walt Disney World count?

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Overall, I'm happy with my life. But I'll never turn down travel and projects at home! I'd like to meet and hold my baby nephew, visit New Orleans (I've been saying that for years!), design and build bookshelves, tile the kitchen backsplash, and renovate the bathroom.

This is the bathroom that I want to renovate, and that's my Mom posing like a mudflap girl on the edge of the tub. Before we closed on the house, my parents broke into the house to poke around. *sigh* Kids Middle aged people these days! When I say "Broke into the house," I mean "Walked in through an unlocked door." But still! I was shocked. Dad sent me this picture as proof of their shenanigans. 
7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
On April 17, we closed on the house. Closing was rough because the seller was reluctant to do things the bank required her to do in order for closing to occur. On April 16, we weren't sure we'd be closing the next day. At the last minute, though, her realtor stepped in and took care of her obligations.

Pure joy. An hour later, I was stripping off the wallpaper in the guest bathroom. No joke.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I still can't believe I pulled these rooms together. They slowly went from being ideas in my head, to mood boards, to fully realized spaces. It was incredibly satisfying to turn the vision into reality! Now if we could just find a nice pair of chairs to face the sofa, and build the bookshelves for the other side of the room...

9. What was your biggest failure?
I haven't finished painting and fixing up the horrible pink water closet in our bathroom. I washed the nicotine off the walls to prep for paint, took down the fixtures, and then ran screaming from the project. I can't stand to be in that tiny scary hot pink closet for more than a few minutes at a time! It's like being inside an electric womb!!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A vague allergy-like cold kept me sick for most of September and October. Boring.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The Ballard Designs Orb Chandelier is 72 billion times better than the florescent lighting we had before.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Keith has trouble making BIG decisions, like choosing a house. After a few months of house hunting I was so frustrated. I knew that if I left the decision up to him, we'd never move out of the condo. But when I knew we'd found the right house, he trusted my judgement. Even though it was a fixer-upper. His faith in me and his trust in my vision meant so much. On top of that, he goes out of his way to tell me he appreciates everything I do to make our home nicer and his life easier, and he's always happy to help me with projects that I couldn't do by myself. I feel so loved. I couldn't have married a better man.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
In the middle of our house search, our realtor disappeared for a month. He gave us no warning that he was going to spend a month in Europe. Really?! 

14. Where did most of your money go? 
See #7.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My best friend moved back to Nashville!! When she told me she was finally coming home, I was so happy and relieved that I cried. Also, spending 10 days in Disney World with Keith's parents. My mother in law knows all the ins and outs for avoiding crowds and lines. She planned the perfect Disney trip.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
In October, I spent ten days at Disney World with Keith and my in-laws. Every morning, my mother in law blasted this song to wake us up. When I got home, I couldn't start the day without it.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder: Happier!
Richer or poorer: Richer!
Thinner or fatter: Same.
Older or wiser: Older. Ugh.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Same answer as always: Travel! Bigger trips are hard to plan around Keith's work schedule, but I'd like to take more small weekend road trips. So many good bands come to Atlanta but skip Nashville.

JELLIES! I made one excellent day trip to Chattanooga to visit the Chattanooga Aquarium (where I
snapped this pic) and have lunch with my in-laws. I'd love to do things like that more often in 2015. 

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Scrubbing tar, nicotine, and spilled Coca-Cola off of walls. And ceilings. And cabinetry. And tile floors. And wire closet shelving. And myself. *shudder*

20. How did you spend Christmas?
It was the first time I've ever hosted a major holiday event for family. My parents, Keith's parents, and his brother Sam came over. Keith and  I cooked, and in the evening we opened presents and walked around looking at Christmas lights while my mother in law sang Hooked On a Feeling. 

I love living three doors down from this.
22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
I stayed in love in 2014. That's even better.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I watched Gilmore Girls for the first time... and ended up marathoning the entire series in about a month. I love to hate Emily Gilmore. And yes, I know that I'm like 20 years behind. 

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I feel like I'm in a silently antagonistic, long-term relationship with the former owner of our house. Why did she put a dark backsplash in a dark kitchen? Why didn't she trim the hedges, like, ever? Why did she smoke in the house?!

25. What was the best book you read?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. READ IT.

It's also worth mentioning that I spent half the year revisiting an old favorite: The Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I think Agent Pendergast is one of the most unique and under-appreciated characters in modern literature, and I love the way the authors weave together history, the supernatural, and hard science that's been twisted until it seems supernatural. Want to read them? Start with Relic!

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I mostly stuck with old favorites this year.

27. What did you want and get?
See #7!

28. What did you want and not get?
Keith is involved in an exciting project, the Haven Lock. Haven received over $116,000 in pledges on Kickstarter, but wasn't fully funded. That was a disappointment. Happily, the project is still  moving forward, but with investors rather than crowd-sourced funds. Still, it would've been really cool for him to be part of a successfully funded Kickstarter!

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I SAW A BEAR! But let's back up. In July I turned 33, and Keith and I celebrated with a trip to Asheville. The best day of the Asheville trip was spent at the Biltmore Estate, where I saw a bear running down the road between the mansion and the winery. Also, I saw a lot of fancy old stuff, and gargoyle butt cracks on the roof of the mansion. The Biltmore feels magical, especially for someone like me who loves history, architecture, art, and antique furniture. It was the happiest day of 2014.

George Vanderbilt paid stonemasons to carve butt cracks on his gargoyles. Talk about attention to detail! 
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Meeting and holding my baby nephew. I haven't met him in person yet. 

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Umm... It was very 2013. Most of our money went to the house, so I didn't buy a lot of new clothes.

33. What kept you sane?
Knitting! This year I knitted about a dozen baby gifts, a handful of scarves, and four pillows. This pillow is my favorite knitting project of 2014, and my first completed project with cables.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I am embarrassingly interested in everything Kate Middleton does. I was glued to coverage of the Australian and New York City tours, and so disappointed that she was too ill to make her scheduled official visit to Malta.

IMO, this Alice Temperley dress was the Duchess' best look of 2014.
Alas, I'm the only person who seems to think so. Source
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I was disappointed that Tennessee approved Amendment 1. It's scary to consider starting a family in a state where abortion is one step closer to being illegal, even when the mother's life is in danger. No one thinks that will ever apply to them, but it happened to one of my professors. She had strokes while she was pregnant, due to preeclampsia, and needed an abortion to save her own life. It's rare, but it happens. So approving Amendment 1 was not cool, Tennessee. Not cool.

36. Who did you miss?
My sister Erin.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I don't know. The nice people at Brentwood Interiors who give me generously sized fabric samples?

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:
Don't skip breakfast. Just don't.

Use primer. On your walls and on your face.

Friendships with single friends do change after you get married.
a) Be sensitive to your single friends, and don't neglect to give them a +1.
b) When you were single, you didn't realize how much time you and the girls spent talking about guys... but it was a lot. Now when you get together with the girls, they go on and on about their dating lives, then look at the clock and say, "Oops! Time to go!" They don't ask what you're doing, because you aren't dating anymore. If you start to feel ignored, lonely, or angry, say something. It will be awkward at first, but your friendships will become so much stronger as a result.

Are you hanging something on the wall? Is it heavier or bigger than an 11" by 14" picture frame? Use anchors.

When you and your partner allow yourselves to lean on each other, your partnership becomes stronger.

1 comment:

  1. Tried to comment and my computer went wonky on me...and now it will only let me comment as my website. Basically, just wanted to say that the mushy parts of your recap are my absolute favorite. I love mushy, happy things! Yay!! My second favorite part of the recap was learning that your parents are criminals...accompanied by the mud flap photo. Priceless! :) Hope 2015 is every bit as wonderful as 2014 was (and perhaps even more-so)! -Lisa MH


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