Year in Review

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My resolution for 2015 was to “stop worrying.” While I didn’t stop altogether, there was much less space in my head overall to waste a ton of time worrying. There are only so many hours in a day! Actually — who am I kidding? I still worried a ton. It’s like the things to worry about got way more serious and catastrophic but I didn’t have the time to really worry about them? Or maybe once you have a child you just learn how to block stuff out a lot more or you would never be able to get through the day? I don’t know.

Keeping it simple, my resolution for 2016 is to be nicer to the cat.

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Did anyone close to you become a parent?

Other than me (wow), my brother and sister-in-law had their second child and she’s a delight.

Did anyone close to you die?

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(Not dead here. Just snoozing.)

One morning just after Thanksgiving, my old dog’s legs splayed out like he was on ice and he never really recovered. He was going on 16? 17? Who even knows? A pound dog taken in by CAAWS then taken in by me who survived a severe & acute GI hemorrhage, a week in the vet school ICU, blood and plasma transfusions, a blood clot in his spleen and a splenectomy, near liver failure, a two-week hunger strike, and cancer of the nether regions to name a few. His name was Zuko and was crazy from the jump since I brought him home in the spring of 2001. He terrorized the cats and the mailman, failed out of obedience school because he couldn’t figure out how to walk around the cones, ate MaryLiz’s jewelry and garbage out of many cans, scratched a human cornea, ruined a house full of wall to wall carpet and then easily a dozen large area rugs, tried the patience of everyone who ever met him, basked in the sun, and loved me through the darkest days. The end was quick and merciful and happened at home thanks to a vet with a kind and gentle heart. I loved/hated/loved him and miss him.

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What places did you visit?

I visited the midwest for my son’s birth and NYC and the beach.

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

A cleaner fridge and a more orderly home in general. I am no minimalist, I have realized and come to terms with, but I’ve gotten better about giving away what just takes up space for no good reason, and I want my child to grow up in a relatively orderly environment. Also I would like 2016 to have more cupcakes from my favorite local coffee shop. Every time I ate one in 2015 I was reminded that cupcakes are a pleasure.

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What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The birth of my son. Seeing Hamilton.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

Not really! How wonderful. Other than a bonkers cough that lasted over five weeks and I thought would be the end of me. Apparently coughs just take a long time to get over. Who knew?

What were the best things you bought?

Tickets for Hamilton the second they went on sale — one of my smarter moves in life.

And though I didn’t buy it — my parents did — this used piano is probably my other favorite purchase of the year.

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Whose behavior merited celebration?

Obama just being Obama. And Michelle just being Michelle.

Where did most of your money go?

Childcare.

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

Baby’s first smile, baby’s first clap, baby’s first laugh, baby’s first sitting up, baby’s first crawl, baby’s first understanding of silly games. I am realizing that the dumbest, simplest things are the most exciting things ever when he is figuring out how to do them. It’s just the best.

Also this plate of food cooked by my mother on Thanksgiving was very exciting.

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What songs will always remind you of 2015?

Baby, Don’t You Cry (the pie song from Waitress) because I sang it to my baby every night before bed. The Hamilton soundtrack.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Yoga. Turning forty is no joke. Yoga was my most consistent “hobby” of 2014, and I only went a handful of times in 2015.  I did take a lot of walks this year with the baby and remained appreciative of the beauty all around us but I probably should have been running instead! Things are definitely falling apart in strange and alarming ways.

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What do you wish you’d done less of?

Watching my baby sleep in the baby monitor when he was totally fine and I should have been sleeping too. Dumb!

How did you spend Christmas?

The usual routine, which I like a lot: Mass, delicious lunch prepared by mom, family, lounging. Obviously, that it was my son’s first Christmas made it extra fun.

What was your favorite TV program?

  • Funniest shows I loved this year: Playing House and Catastrophe and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Broad City
  • Most underrated show if you don’t count every storyline involving the dumb, annoying dad: Shameless … the kids are SO good and I remain in love with Lip Gallagher.
  • Overall favorite Feel Good Show: Jane the Virgin
  • Favorite new-to-me show that produced most tears shooting forth from my eyeballs: Call the Midwife
  • Best police show full of kick-ass ladies: Scott & Bailey
  • Returning favorites that moved me the most: Transparent and Last Tango in Halifax and Getting On and Rectify

What was the best book you read?

I honestly don’t have a great memory of books I read this year because I did a terrible job keeping track and started so many I never finished. I definitely loved The Marvels by Brian Selznick, who has never written a book that hasn’t basically blown me away.

What did you want and get?

Good reports every doctor’s appointment.

What did you want and not get?

I can’t really think of anything … overall it was a really good year.

What were your favorite films of this year?

I only saw four movies in the theater this year – The Duff, Mockingjay: Part 2, Star Wars, and Creed … for someone who doesn’t really know all that much about Star Wars other than seeing them as a child, I really loved this movie on a visceral level. And Creed just moved and thrilled me beyond measure. I’m sure I watched some movies at home but at this moment do not remember any of them.

What did you do on your birthday?

My son was only about five weeks old, so I was very delirious, but two friends basically insisted that I join them for sushi and The Duff. This was very sweet but in truth I remember almost falling asleep at the sushi bar and barely remember the movie. Hashtag This Is 40.

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

I guess I am just so grateful for life as I know it that I can’t even answer this question. This might sound gross but is very true.

What kept you sane?

Family, friends, co-workers who are so very awesome. Also, I really do not know how I lived without podcasts as part of my daily life so I am going to attribute much of my sanity this year to this wonderful medium as a whole, much of which I have yet to experience.

  • It is not an overstatement to declare that Totally Mommy saved me in the early days/weeks/months of parenthood.
  • Theater People is the most satisfying and delightful podcast in existence if you’re a theater fan and same goes for Extra Hot Great and TV.
  • thirtysomething podcast … Right or wrong, I probably have logged more hours watching this show than any other in my lifetime, which is weird on a lot of levels, not least of which is that I was 12 when it premiered and watched it in real time and a billion times since. Hearing the writers and actors of this show dissect it all these years later is a joy. The hosts are definitely still getting their legs under them and ask way too many getting-into-the heads-of-the-characters-based questions for my taste, and for what will amount to a historic oral history of the show, that they haven’t figured out a way to get decent audio is criminal — I realize I am taking it all bit seriously — but honestly. All of those complaints aside, props to the hosts for making this happen in the first place. If you owned the soundtrack on cassette and then compact disc and still cherish your tattered copy of thirtysomething stories and sang hallelujah when you found it streaming on Hulu Plus, this podcast is for you.
  • When I need to laugh, all I need to do is turn on Ronna and Beverly, which honestly makes me laugh so hard that sometimes I feel like I need to pull over in the car. If “laughter is carbonated holiness,” as Anne Lamott says, then this podcast is kind of like church for me these days.
  • How to Be Amazing ~ Michael Ian Black is just a really good, thoughtful, funny interviewer and he could give lessons on this to many other podcast hosts in my opinion. Solid.
  • Broadway Inspirational Voices podcast, hosted by and featuring interviews with members of this gospel choir, is another must-listen for Broadway fans. One of my goals is now to see this choir live.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

The cast of Hamilton. Especially Leslie Odom, Jr. and Renee Elise Goldsberry, the co- MVPs.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Black Lives Matter.

Whom did you miss?

My siblings, nephews, niece, and friends & their children who live far away.

 Who were the best people you met?

Not to be a broken record, but my son. He is so funny and magic and fun. He is the best.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

All from Hamilton

Life doesn’t discriminate

Between the sinners and the saints

It takes and it takes and it takes

And we keep living anyway

We rise and we fall and we break

And we make our mistakes

And if there’s a reason I’m still alive

When so many have died

Then I’m willing to wait for it

:::

When you smile I am undone,

My son. Look at my son.

Pride is not the word I’m looking for.

There is so much more inside me now…

You outshine the morning sun,

My son.

When you smile, I fall apart

And I thought I was so smart

:::

There are moments that the words don’t reach

There is a grace too powerful to name

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4 Responses to Year in Review

  1. Jennifer says:

    First, my most sincere condolences for Zuko’s loss. What a splendid life you gave that crazy pup.

    Second, I am ridiculously happy for you. You deserve all the wonderful things. :-) Give that wonderful son of yours a hug from Jennifer & James in Houston.

  2. Anne says:

    I just love you so much and am so happy to soak in all this joy. You deserve every, every minute.

  3. Rae says:

    Oh honey… My heart goes out to you about Zuko. I’ve been reading you since forever (Draw the Girl), and I remember when Zuko was a new member of your family. What a lucky dog to have you as a Mom, and how lucky for you to have such a sweet, crazy pooch. Hugs and prayers and happiness, dear lady.

  4. Ari says:

    I miss you! Please update again soon!

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