The Year in Review 2015

31 December, 2015

Another year gone? Already? If you say so. I wonder if I have anything to show for it…

# What did you do in 2015 that you’ve never done before?

A front somersault of sorts. And some mental health juggling.

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

Well, there was a plan to work consistently and meditate consistently. Hahaha. But there will be new, let’s say, intentions, for 2015.

# Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, and I still haven’t met the only new arrival from the year before. Expat problems.

# Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully.

# What countries did you visit?

Final addition to my collection of Nordic countries: Iceland.

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

A bit more energy would be good. Some more income would be helpful. Better health. The Good Life, y’know?

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

No memorable dates whatsoever. Or a very bad memory. Or both.

# What’s your biggest achievement of the year?

Asking for help when I needed it (kicking and screaming but still)…and progressing in aerial rope.

# What was your biggest failure?

Um, actually, I’m not going to call anything a failure. It is what it is.

# Did you suffer illness or injury?

Name a body part and I’ll tell you what’s been wrong with it. (Left eye, right intercostals, left forefinger, right ankle, left elbow, and knee, and shoulder, and you get the picture. Circus hurts, as does stupidity.)

# What’s the best thing you bought?

A folding laptop table has certainly been the most used and useful, for standing/floor-sitting while working.

# Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Friends are where it’s at. Lots of nice people in the world.

# Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Have you seen the news this year?

# Where did most of your money go?

Rent. Duh.

# What did you get really, really excited about?

Aerial rope tops my list of circus-related excitement. And my excitement has mostly been circus-related.

# What song will always remind you of 2015?

“Always” is promising too much, but for example:

# Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Richer or poorer? Thinner or fatter?

  • Hmm. Kind of happier. At least a little more balanced.
  • Probably poorer, again.
  • Roughly the same weight but slightly more muscular?

# What do you wish you’d done more of?

Relaxed and worked. Trained and rested. Ha.

# What do you wish you’d done less of?

Played minesweeper. (Seriously.)

# How did you spend Christmas?

On my own, overeating and watching telly and internetting and doing tons of laundry. It was quite nice.

# Did you fall in love in 2015?

I most certainly did not.

# What was your favourite TV program?

Apart from the same old, I watched an awful lot of history and science documentaries. I find them soothing. And Then There Were None over the holidays just now was really good until the final bit that was somehow unsatisfying, but that’s Christie, not the adaptation.

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

Hating is so energy-consuming and I’ve had little energy.

# What was the best book you read?

The one I enjoyed the most must have been Mia Kankimäki’s Asioita jotka saavat sydämen lyömään nopeammin.
Honorary mention to Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.

# What was your greatest musical discovery?

I can’t remember any discoveries. Do Bach and Queen count? I thought not.

# What did you want and get?

Good circus teachers.

# What did you want and not get?

A free-standing handstand. Or a walkover. Or [insert acrobatic move].

# What was your favourite film of this year?

Inside Out, no competition.

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

Popped in the V&A, had lunch at Timberyard, met up with a friend for a lovely chat and ice cream, went drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. A nice day.

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

Being injury-free would have been great.

# How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2015?

I’m now one of those people who wear skinny jeans to do aerial rope. I regret nothing.

# What kept you sane?

Who says I was sane?

# What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

If any, I can’t remember.

# What political issue stirred you the most?

Conservatives/right-wing politicians in power scare me.

# Who did you miss?

Good teachers who went on to do other things.

# Who was the best new person you met?

Circus people are still lovely.

# Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff. Relatively speaking.

***

I imagine tonight will be much like Christmas was. Cheeeeeeeese. Happy new year!


The Year in Review 2014

30 December, 2014

This blog seems to have little purpose besides my annual summaries, but it’s time for one of those so here goes.

# What did you do in 2014 that you’ve never done before?

I met in person someone I’d become friends with online. I flew on a trapeze. I spent Christmas abroad (at home). Transitioned to minimal shoes (loving it).

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

I found this one-word focus thingy online (can’t remember where) and chose the word “kindness” for 2014. I then tried to figure out what that might mean in my life, wrote it down and didn’t look at the paper again until now. It’s been a bit hit and miss: I definitely increased my exercise time, treated myself to a lot of performances (mostly dance but a mix of cabaret/circus/theatre/music, plus exhibitions) and pushed my (anti)social boundaries, especially since summer (last spring is a bit of a blur – I must have…existed..?). I’ve meditated more but not at all consistently, I haven’t followed through with my creative ambitions, figured out a career or even worked much at all.

I think there should be resolutions. I think they need to be very concrete and measurable. They will include finishing a dissertation (and breaking that down into doable baby steps). Other than that, I’ll try to make the resolutions about things I love rather than necessities like finding a job – also a must.

# Did anyone close to you give birth?

Finally yes, a friend of mine had a baby boy. I haven’t met him yet, though. Expat problems.

# Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, a body count of 0.

# What countries did you visit?

Denmark, and lovely it was, too. Would definitely go to Copenhagen again.

# What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Before I get on to this year’s answer, here’s what I’ve wanted for two years in a row:

A proper kitchen (afraid not), a proper washing machine (equally unlikely), better time management (joking, right?).

Guess what? Two out of three in 2014. Not bad, not bad at all. I’m going to keep better time management on the list and add a sense of purpose and a career plan.

# What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I moved house on 12 August. I won’t remember that in years to come, but it’s the only date I can think of.

# What’s your biggest achievement of the year?

Going with a list again: I moved house, finished fieldwork, rediscovered Flying Low, rediscovered circus, started handstand classes, relaxed some dietary restrictions (mostly successfully). I tried to make use of where I live, seeing and doing things – I even went drawing a few times. Oh, and I got back up after last year’s big fall.

# What was your biggest failure?

I completely lost motivation for my PhD. These things happen.

# Did you suffer illness or injury?

Stress-related body-fuck-uppery has been a frequent companion. Got a pretty impressive knee wound from falling last spring. Currently nursing a weird patella pain that just won’t go away. Countless harmless bruises from training. Oh and ear infections. Haven’t had those since I was a child. Suddenly I can see why the year’s been less than optimal.

# What’s the best thing you bought?

Maybe my first tablet? It hasn’t been as brilliant as I hoped it would, mainly because I bought it too cheaply (meaning it wants to speak Chinese). It’s certainly the most expensive thing I’ve bought, apart from travel. Which reminds me: annual ticket to ride, that’s been good so far. And if they count as things, circus classes are top of the list.

# Whose behaviour merited celebration?

On a personal level, friends old and new have shown kindness and a couple of teachers have made a big difference to my confidence. On a global level, news go in one ear and out the other and I really couldn’t tell you what went on this year as opposed to last year or ten years ago. It’s all mush.

# Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

I read some comments on a news website. Mistake. (I read some news. Mistake.)

# Where did most of your money go?

As ever: rent, transportation, tuition fees.

# What did you get really, really excited about?

Circus. Mainly doing but also admiring people who actually know what they’re doing. La Soirée and Timber! are recent highlights.

# What song will always remind you of 2014?

Looks like youtube is not working (again) but this was my August soundtrack:

# Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Richer or poorer? Thinner or fatter?

  • I’ve had a couple of sad days recently. I’m hoping they’ll pass. Impending change and insecurity will do that, as will failure to reach work goals.
  • For various reasons, poorer. Not “only oatmeal from now on” poor, but I can see myself reaching that point in the not too distant future.
  • About the same, I’d imagine. There have been fluctuations.

# What do you wish you’d done more of?

Worked. Worked worked worked. Many other things besides (yoga, singing, even more dancing, reading – all things I did, just want to do even more), but for very practical deadline-meeting and earning-a-living reasons – worked.

# What do you wish you’d done less of?

Grinding my teeth, sitting, worrying, doing nothing instead of doing something, spending time glued to a screen (oops).

# How did you spend Christmas?

Mum came over and we explored Christmas in a big city. It was interesting and we had a good time. I missed having some proper quiet time though.

# Did you fall in love in 2014?

With circus, especially aerials, yes.

# What was your favourite TV program?

I got into Stargate Atlantis but haven’t watched after the move. Recently discovered Adventure Times. Other than that it’s been the same old: QI, Doctor Who (like Capaldi, still not keen on Moffatt), Bake Off…

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

Nah. I have very little respect for some people but that’s not the same as hate.

# What was the best book you read?

Tough call. I didn’t read all that much, but Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (I also saw the plays!) and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson were both excellent. However, I think the one I enjoyed the most was Mantel’s Fludd. It’s an oddly charming and funny little book, much recommended.

# What was your greatest musical discovery?

OK Go was not exactly a new discovery, but their latest album was this year’s new thing for me. For bouts of homesickness, Reino did the trick:

# What did you want and get?

A new home.

# What did you want and not get?

Flexibility (of the physical kind, although mental would be good too), among other unrealistic wishes.

# What was your favourite film of this year?

I quite liked What We Do In The Shadows, and remember enjoying The Wind Rises.

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

A dance class, and dinner with new flatmates. They gave me a onesie. I’m older than I can believe.

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

Take away the impending doom of “what next”, inject a few measures of motivation and discipline, and it would not have been a bad year as such.

# How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2014?

I bought my first ever pair of skinny-ish black jeans. Other than that, sweatpants all the way. Tights for more circus-y activities.

# What kept you sane?

Movement. Nothing beats a good class. A bad class is better than nothing.

# What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I didn’t, really. Don’t mind feasting my eyes on acrobats, though.

# What political issue stirred you the most?

Privilege. Becoming more aware of how it works. Racism, sexism, ageism, all the bad isms.

# Who did you miss?

We get younger as we get older and so I confess: I miss my Mummy. More of my family and friends should live closer.

# Who was the best new person you met?

Circus people are lovely.

# Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

As nice as day dreaming is, day doing gives better results in the long term. (Honestly, I don’t know where the year has gone. It’s just…gone. I need a bit more to show for the next one.)

For once, I’m quite early with this thing. I have no plans for New Year’s Eve apart from continuing my festive eating marathon, peering out the window for fireworks and drawing up plans to make next year a better one. I hope yours will be everything you hope for.


The Year in Review 2013

31 December, 2013

It’s that time of the yearagain.

# What did you do in 2013 that you’ve never done before?

Wore contact lenses. Danced blues. Wore a lot of colourful nail polish. Got into fan culture.

None of the above are related.

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

I don’t think I made any actual resolutions, but I inched my way towards some changes I’ve been meaning to make for a long time. The plan is to keep inching away.

# Did anyone close to you give birth?

A consistent no, this one. I did observe some kittens and their mothers via a webcam – does that count?

# Did anyone close to you die?

Death didn’t come, unexpectedly or otherwise.

# What countries did you visit?

Norway, again. The same town as last year. What’s that about?

# What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

I think last year’s answer will do just fine:

A proper kitchen (afraid not), a proper washing machine (equally unlikely), better time management (joking, right?).

I might even do something about some of these this year. Oh, and I need a plan. A plan would be useful.

# What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I have an etchproof memory. Dates don’t stick with me. But I did spend most of September in Scotland, I think I’ll remember that.

# What’s your biggest achievement of the year?

I’m not into value judgements atm so here’s a list: I finished a thing that I started (long-distance studying), I sorted out very necessary stuff for my PhD and upgraded, I did a fair bit of dancing and some of it in places that required me to get over my (well-founded, in those instances) inferiority complex and just get on with it, I learnt to lead a swing out,  I took positive steps to cure my back problems, I got over my eye phobia, I started to meditate semi-regularly… Many of these (not the studying) boil down to going against my natural timidity/cautiousness/pessimism, which can only be a good thing. Even taking a risk that led me to fall.

# What was your biggest failure?

I can think of some things that didn’t go to plan, or didn’t happen the way I hoped they would, but that’s neither here nor there. I don’t think they’re useful stories to indulge in.

# Did you suffer illness or injury?

The old stuff kicked up a notch, but for once I have something of note to report: I fell from shoulder-height onto my hand, bent my elbow the wrong way and for weeks had actual proper bruises to boast about. There were x-rays. Also, pain-induced insomnia.

# What’s the best thing you bought?

Certain theatre & workshop tickets. Or the contact lenses that allowed me to enjoy those theatre tickets to the full. Or my new glasses (back to rimless lightness, yay). Or the mattress cover that made my bed a little less springy.  I don’t want to choose, but that list is probably in order of importance.

# Whose behaviour merited celebration?

I seem to have given up on the news completely but I met someone through work who made a big difference to my ability to do my job and just in general became a source of inspiration.

# Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

People do terrible things to the planet and everyone and everything on it. You know how it is.

# Where did most of your money go?

Nothing has changed: rent, transportation, tuition fees.

# What did you get really, really excited about?

Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable. I could easily gush about it for hours, and have done.

# What song will always remind you of 2013?

Bohemian Rhapsody will always bring back my time in Scotland. As will this:

Also this:

# Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Richer or poorer? Thinner or fatter?

  • I am, possibly, strangely, almost disconcertingly (especially considering the next bullet point) somewhat happier. Or more hopeful/optimistic. Just now, anyway.
  • Poverty awaits.
  • I started the holiday period thinner. This “problem” has now ceased to exist. ;)

# What do you wish you’d done more of?

Singing. And I hardly touched the violin. And I could have danced all night… But also, I wish I’d worked a little more. I’m far, far too good at procrastinating.

# What do you wish you’d done less of?

Well, procrastinating, obv.

# How did you spend Christmas?

With mum. The usual.

# Did you fall in love in 2013?

With Punchdrunk, yes.

# What was your favourite TV program?

Hmm. I kind of got into Once Upon a Time, although it has many flaws… Doctor Who was still enjoyable, but problematic… The Great British Bake Off was nice but not as good as previous series… Tudor Monastery Farm became a bit same-y compared to what they’ve done before… Oh I don’t know. QI is pretty reliable year after year.

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

Not at all.

# What was the best book you read?

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

# What was your greatest musical discovery?

I liked Ricky-Tick Big Band & Julkinen Sana, and I’ve been listening to some blues.

# What did you want and get?

Effective back treatment that made dancing (and walking, and everything) a lot more enjoyable at least briefly.

# What did you want and not get?

Bygones.

# What was your favourite film of this year?

I didn’t see much, so Star Trek 2 is the winner by default.

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

I can’t quite remember…I’ll need to check my old diary (not with me right now). Just hung out on my own, anyway.

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

Lack of a mid-life crisis, perhaps? Although it can be quite healthy as well.

# How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2013?

Corduroy. Jacket and trousers. Sometimes at the same time.

# What kept you sane?

Dancing. Meditating. The occasional, well-timed chat with a friend. Plus medication, of course.

# What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I rediscovered Robert Carlyle.

# What political issue stirred you the most?

Right-wing politicians doing their best to dismantle the welfare state.

# Who did you miss?

Imaginary friends.

# Who was the best new person you met?

I met many lovely people. Some I danced with, some I talked with, some tried to make me better. They were all the best.

# Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Breathe. Pay attention. Be kind. Not so much learned as realised that I want to learn.

And with that, happy new year! I seem to have adopted noisy neighbours for the night, so I might stay up for the beginning of this one.


Stay cool

15 November, 2013

How do you know winter is finally approaching? A glass of water left overnight at room temperature is a little too cold to drink in the morning. Also, my sprouting jar had steamed up.

In other “cool” news, our cooker broke down, we’ve been without for a week and will be for another. I’m starting to feel slightly malnourished.

I’m trying to keep cool about all this, cool being the operative word.


These shoes were made for running

17 August, 2013
shoes

The orange is brighter than in the picture; I easily spotted a passing pair of the same shoes because of the glow.

I opened the box a week ago, eagerly modelled my new running shoes (see above), walked around in them all day and then left them waiting for their first run. They say time passes faster the older you get; no kidding. Today I finally ran a 5K or thereabouts and gave a sigh of relief: they’re okay. The size is right and importantly, they’re wide enough. Reasonably cushioned but still light. I should do a longer run, the true test of a running shoe, but I doubt that’ll happen because the shoes may be all right but my back and nerves still aren’t. Ouch.

I haven’t run for a few weeks, hoping the pinched nerves would find more room while I rest, but no such luck. Ah well. Running is nice, or rather it would be if I didn’t keep stopping and losing all my fitness, but I’m more likely to meet cats if I go for a walk. It’s nice to have someone to talk to. Highest cat count for a walk in my neighbourhood, from a week ago: 4, of which two were very talkative and interested, one was mildly curious and one couldn’t give a toss. (The same walk also taught me that bumble bees really lurve lavender. Never seen that many in one place, and they seemed quite delirious.)


Resilience (definition):

23 July, 2013

Two and a bit balls of yarn into a cardigan, realising you’ve made a mistake reading the pattern and have to unravel over a third of what you’ve knitted, clear the tangle of unravelled yarn, pick up dropped stitches, recount them and get back to work. And actually doing it.


I am truly deserving

16 July, 2013

It’s not that bad. Not really. I guess. Not now. I’m just foretelling. That’s the way this ship is sailing.


I generally prefer generalism

5 July, 2013

I’m a wee bit behind on my reading, but I just managed to skim through an old copy of New Statesman and found Ed Smith’s column on why we should appreciate generalists. If you’re dead set on a singular career path, this might not strike a chord with you, but for a butterfly like me – well, it’s sweet music to my ears. (In the same issue, Richard Mabey says wise things about trees.)

Thus endeth the first (last?) episode of Friday Reading Recs. Go forth and have a lovely weekend.


Once more, breach, etc.

25 June, 2013

I’m going to indulge myself and go off on a feminist rant. Feel free not to read on.

Quite often in partner dance classes, at beginner level, in a drop-in class where anyone could be an absolute beginner, I choose to lead rather than follow, despite being a lady-person. It’s usually not a problem – it’s quite common that there are more women than men so leaders are in demand. But two things make me sad:

1) If there are more men, some people think it’s somehow…impolite? that I still want to lead, meaning that leaders don’t get to dance all the time – something that followers experience regularly. As if I weren’t allowed to come to a class I’ve paid for to study the thing I want to learn.

2) Many of the women I lead comment on how brave I am to be leading or that they could never do it. Why. On. Earth? It’s a beginners’ class. The guys who lead start from scratch as well and I dare say dancing – leading or following – isn’t a gender-specific skill. I can’t think of any skills that are, actually, at the heart of things.

Leaders are taught to be decisive and clear and think ahead. Followers are told to switch off their brain and not think. Is it so wrong to be a woman who wants to make decisions? Every once in a while? It’s not like you need (to be) a dick to think.

 


My inner toddler is having a tantrum

4 June, 2013

So I have a deadline and Work To Do and Things To Sort Out and what do you know, I’m having the worst case of I-don’t-wanna I can remember in years. And it wouldn’t be so bad – I’ve always managed before, somehow, to pull myself together at the last minute – if it weren’t for the realisation that it’s a lot more difficult to fake your way through grown-up stuff than it is to survive, say, exams and such. That if this shit hits the fan, there’ll be Consequences.

Still. I don’t wanna. And the builders across the road making an awful racket aren’t exactly increasing my motivation.

I think I’m going to go for a run. And possibly pull an all-nighter in the quiet darkness, knowing full well that I’m too old to get away with it…


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