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Happy New Year to all. May 2011 be a year of wonder and delight, and may it lay the foundation for still brighter and better things to come in the years that follow!

I found and snurched a year end summing up meme from mayogate and filled it out. It was kind of an odd fit for me, but it was kind of intriguing to fill out.

2010: The Year In Review Meme

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Had some long, meaningful and revelatory conversations with my middle brother. Now I can say with certainty that we are good friends as well as siblings.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't make them. If I have a goal I want to reach, the time to start is now whenever that may fall, and the time to finish is when it is achieved.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, but I have a niece or nephew due in May!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. I've been lucky.

5. What countries did you visit?

In person? None. I sent a daughter to France and my son flies to Rome today.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Less chaos and more moments when I can be the fun parent instead of the disciplinarian.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory?

Generally speaking that's not how I remember things. Colors, textures, feelings, expressions, conversations, yes. Dates, no. Exceptions to the rule: Significant events like family weddings, births of my children, the day I had my heart attack, and the day I closed my finger in the van door (that last only because it happened to be the day after my birthday, so it was easy to pinpoint).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Helping my kids get through it reasonably happy with their world and themselves. We all like to remember childhood as a time of little responsibility and few worries, but growing up is hard and sometimes it hurts.

Oh, and there were a few times when it would have been justifiable homicide when I didn't kill them either. I didn't even bite their ankles!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Every year I try to become one of those people who gets up in the morning and accomplishes great things before the kids get home from school. Every year finds me getting those things done after they are in bed, and then staying up to the wee hours.

You'd almost think I should stop trying to fight my essential nature and go gracefully...

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Oh, a bang, a cut, a burn, a sniffle here and there. Nothing of any real significance.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Lessons for my kids and many, many books.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

The Whirlwind of Destruction really improved her self-control this year. It's still woefully behind that of her age mates, but the effort is phenomenal, and the basic wiring for impulse control is way below par, so I'm very proud of her gains. She has truly phenomenal emotional intelligence for an eight year old.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Oh, that's easy. Name a star of a voyeuristic reality TV show. Add in the minister in Florida who was planning to burn the Korans.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, food, lessons, and books.

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

My middle daughter was in a fantastic production of songs by American divas from 1900 to the present, and sang and played beautifully. The Whirlwind (who looked fair at one time to be totally without a sense of pitch) knocked 'em dead with a very on-key solo in a fairly difficult number with plenty of accidentals.

As happens every year, some of my swim students outdid themselves to conquer their fears or their troubles with co-ordination to pass their levels beyond all expectation. For some of them it was the culmination of several summers of effort.

I'm always excited about my husband. That's why I married him.

Some writers I admire have said lovely things about some things I've written.

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2010?

*sigh* Lady Gaga Fame Monster. Not because I wanted to hear it all that often, but because it was the soundtrack of so much of my middle daughter's life, along with tons of Evanescence, Mindless Self-Indulgence, Paramore, and Christina Aguilera.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

1. Happier or sadder? No change. I'm an optimist, and I try to enjoy each moment as it comes, so I tend to be pretty cheerful most of the time.
2. Thinner or fatter? Just a shade thinner.
3. Richer or poorer? Monetarily? Poorer. Having a kid in college will do that. In the things that count (love, friends, community, knowledge, memories)? Richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing, reading, spending time with my husband (prevented by our responsibilities, not for lack of desire to do so or effort to achieve it on the part of either party).

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Having to be the parental drill sergeant and interrogator. This is not what I got into parenting for, but I find it's a big part of the job these days.

20. How will you be spending/did you spend Christmas?

With my mother's-side family. It was big, it was a three-ring circus, it was bountiful and joyous.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Eldest daughter and my husband. Son never calls, he never writes... Meh, it's totally age and sex appropriate.

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?

Been in love since 1978. It keeps growing though. Does that count?

23. How many one night stands in this last year?

Never had one of those. Don't intent to start...well...EVER.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Didn't have anything new this year. Watched SGU, Sanctuary, hockey, news. I don't watch much TV these days. I'm too busy with the Whirlwind and the chaos in her wake.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I have real trouble actually hating people. Usually the best I can manage is pity, because if they are that awful, something really nasty must have made them that way, and I'm glad I'm not them.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?

There was a book I read in Greece as a seven year old, that I dimly remembered with great fondness but little detail. I have been trying to track it down for years, and this year I went on a book search site and found out that it was Marianne Dreams by Catherine Sparks. Finding it and rereading it was the greatest book-glee of my year.

My dad published another volume of poetry, and that was the book I most enjoyed solely on its merits. My dad has a spare, polished, elegant style that I really enjoy.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jo Graham's Numinous World series.

I don't get as much time to read as I'd like.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

More like rediscovery. I finally got my favorite classical pieces uploaded to my 1 Tb drive, so I have been listening to them more, and really enjoying them. My folk and rock music have been on drives for years. Favorite classical musician? Handel. Others are too numerous to mention, but I don't go much for Romantic period and later, especially some of the discordant and 12 tone stuff. There are individual pieces I like, but the class as a whole doesn't move me.

28. What did you want and get?

Uh...a Blu-ray player for Christmas? Books? CD's? I have everything I need and I try not to be too greedy or too materialistic.

29. What did you want and not get?

My middle daughter to understand that setting limits is not an exercise in dominance, but an act of love. Some kids get this concept faster than others, and bucking those limits is totally age appropriate for teenagers. I'll keep wanting, and hopefully one of these years, I'll get it.

30. What were your favourite films of this year?

Uh... I saw Avatar and The Princess and the Frog. Neither grabbed me. Both were fine. I wanted to see The Kings Speech, but it was not in wide release yet.

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

A small celebration with my husband and the two of my kids that still live at home, my husband made a nice dinner with a diabetic-friendly dessert and I got a few gifties. The big excitement was that my husband (as he does every year) took the day off so we could spend it together. I turned 52. I don't believe it, but that old lady in the mirror keeps insisting it's true. I don't know why all the mirrors are broken and show her instead of me!

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

A Democratic landslide in the November elections. Not that I expected it, mind you, but it would have been really satisfying!

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


34. What kept you sane?

My husband. When you deal in kid [il]logic all day, having a fellow grown-up to tell you that you aren't nuts or totally OTT anal is very calming.

I think cat poo on the floor is smelly and disgusting and should be cleaned up immediately, and that just because it is on her brother's sweatshirt that would not fit in his chest of drawers and she has perfume fatigue is no reason to ignore it.

What do you think? Yep. My husband thinks so too.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I'm not into the cult of celebrity. Perhaps which one I find the most intriguing would be a better question, but even then I don't have that much to say.

That said, I think Obama is a much better President than he is currently getting credit for, and I think he's largely being blamed for the economy that he inherited. I like him better now that DADT is gone, and I didn't want tax cuts for the rich, but then there's that whole politics is like sausage metaphor...

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Anti-Islamic fervor and prejudice, as typified by - but not limited to - the near-ground zero non-mosque hysteria. Islam is no more responsible for extremists and terrorists who happen to be Muslims than Christianity is responsible for extremists and terrorists who happen to be Christian.

I think Fred Phelps and his band of protesters are pretty awful too.

Blind and irrational fundamentalism is dangerous and hurtful no matter what religion it springs from.

37. Who did you miss?

My two grandmothers, my paternal grandfather. My father-in-law. Captain-the-dog.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Just one? All the ones with open hearts.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010!

Having a child with severe ADHD, which causes some behavioral issues that will take years to resolve, has taught me - year after year - that one cannot die of embarrassment, and that one should not judge the parenting of another by the behavior of their child. I was greatly comforted this year to hear that her classroom teacher says that she is the most florid case of ADHD she has seen in 30 years of teaching, and that she is the one child that she has had in all those years that is the most difficult child to know how to deal with and control. It's not that I'm just blowing the level of difficulty all out of proportion because my other kids have been so much easier and so much better behaved. The counselor that we have her seeing, who spends much of her day every day working with ADHD kids, and who is the mom of an ADHD kid herself, tells me to hang in there, I'm a great mom, but she's...difficult!. Still, there are tactics I have had to use on this kid, public scenes I've participated in, moments of extreme and spectacularly awful behavior on the part of the Whirlwind that must make community members who are not in the know think I'm a truly spectacular failure as a parent.

I'm a lot less judgmental now than I was 5 years ago, and I've never really been into judging others to start with.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

At this point in my life
I'd like to live as if only love mattered
As if redemption was in sight
As if the search to live honestly
Is all that anyone needs
No matter if you find it

You see when I've touched the sky
The earth's gravity has pulled me down
But now I've reconciled that in this world
Birds and angels get the wings to fly
If you can believe in this heart of mine
If you can give it a try
Then I'll reach inside and find and give you
All the sweetness that I have
At this point in my life

-Tracy Chapman, At This Point In My Life

She say don't give or sell your soul away
'Cause all that you have is your soul
Don't be tempted by the shiny apple
Don't you eat of a bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
'Cause all that you have is your soul

-Tracy Chapman, All That You Have Is Your Soul

and for my beloved husband:

Remembering your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way
Back to you
If you'll be waiting
I've longed for you
And I have desired
To see your face your smile
To be with you wherever you are

-Tracy Chapman

Not that I think Tracy Chapman's the best thing since sliced toast. I just happen to think that these particular lyrics sum up the year pretty well, and I happen to be in that kind of mood today. Tomorrow it might be a Great Big Sea song, some Steeleye Span, a Handel oratorio, one of the songs attributed to Henry VIII, or the Beatles. I'm pretty eclectic.



Latest Month

November 2017

A Few Words from the Wise

Speak to him, for there is none born wise.

-The Maxims of Ptahotep


In mourning or rejoicing, be not far from me.

- an Ancient Egyptian Love Song


But your embraces
alone give life to my heart
may Amun give me what I have found
for all eternity.

-Love Songs of the New Kingdom, Song #2


To Know the Dark

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.

-Wendell Berry


Up in the morning's no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

-Robert Burns


Visit to the Hermit Ts'ui

Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers,
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.

-Ch'ien Ch'i


Mistress of high achievement, O lady Truth,
do not let my understanding stumble
across some jagged falsehood.



Every Gaudy colour
Is a bit of truth.

-Nathalia Crane


I counted two-and-twenty stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks.

-Samuel Coleridge