The Year in Review 2016

1 January, 2017

I need to change the name of this blog to something that better reflects my annual blogging habits. A blog written by hardly anyone and read even less. Still, the year must be recorded, thusly:

# What did you do in 2016 that you’ve never done before?

Well I finished a bloody PhD. Don’t try this at home, kids. (Also dyed my hair, which has given me more enjoyment.)

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

Whatever my intentions (sic) were, I don’t seem to have written them down anywhere. That pretty much sums up the year: I have no idea what my intentions were. My resolutions for next year are of the easily said than done variety: a) get a job, b) get a home, c) get a life. In any order. Okay and I need to sort out my sleep, and training, and life goals. How’s this for a resolution: Sort It Out.

# Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope.

# Did anyone close to you die?

Close, no, although death was touring the area.

# What countries did you visit?

I “visited” Finland from the UK and UK from Finland. That doesn’t really count now does it?

# What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

A home. Some income-generating work. Training opportunities. Meaning.

# What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

24 June. Day after Brexit vote. Midsummer’s Eve. I flew to London. (That’s the one I’ll remember, if anything, rather than, say, the exact date of my viva a few days later.) There are a few others, to do with moving and graduating, that I remember at least for now. How unusual!

# What’s your biggest achievement of the year?

See above re finishing a PhD. It was quite a dash to the finish…and then the next finish…and then the last one…with anxious waiting in between.

# What was your biggest failure?

Is drifting a failure? Is needing so. much. sleep. a failure? Not sure. I don’t know if I could have done more. It’s not like I’ve had a lot of energy to spare.

# Did you suffer illness or injury?

Stop training and you stop injuring yourself. Write a dissertation, though, and your neck and shoulders may never recover.

# What’s the best thing you bought?

It’s been a year of getting rid of things – moving countries will do that to you. I did buy new glasses, though. No more rogue reflection!

# Whose behaviour merited celebration?

I think at this point I have to say all the people who let me stay in their houses throughout the year, and who offered to write me references or otherwise help.

# Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Last year I wrote: “Have you seen the news this year?” *slow clap* Little did I know.

# Where did most of your money go?

Airlines, rail companies, postal services.

# What did you get really, really excited about?

I didn’t.

# What song will always remind you of 2016?

I don’t know that any will, but I can’t seem to get this with the late great George Michael out of my head now:

And then of course there’s this:

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

  • Happier…and sadder. Or relieved but worse for wear.
  • Poorer, baby, always.
  • I guess I’m about the same. Same clothes, anyway.

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

Circus and all that entails. I should probably say job hunting, but who wishes to do that?

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

I acquired a serious nonogram addiction. Katana is great, but god how it devours time. Not unrelated, staying up late has been an issue.

# How did you spend Christmas?

With Mum, eating, and admiring our lovely tree.

# Did you fall in love in 2016?

I did. His name is John and he’s a cat. (Literally. Not in a “cool cat” kind of way. A genuine feline.)

# What was your favourite TV program?

It wasn’t the most satisfying season of GBBO ever, but did it have to be the last one? *sob*

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

Not hate exactly, but there’s fear and anxiety. Such an uplifting year, politically, don’t you think?

# What was the best book you read?

I didn’t read very much, and nothing particularly gripping. Gerard Russell’s Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms was interesting in an educational way.

# What was your greatest musical discovery?

My musical what now?

# What did you want and get?

Someone to take my old room. A cat-sitting gig. A visit to an adventure park. Did I mention my PhD yet???!!!

# What did you want and not get?

Lots and lots of circus. A cat of my own. A job.

# What was your favourite film of this year?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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

I hung out at my aunt’s, on my own, and saw a folk music concert in the evening.

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

Having my own bedroom all the time and not just when I’m lucky and other people lend me theirs.

# How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2016?

If it’s not stretchy viscose I’m not wearing it. In a word, slouchy.

# What kept you sane?

Cats. (Having said that, my affection towards cats has led other people to question my sanity.)

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

I didn’t.

# What political issue stirred you the most?

I’ve felt most personally affected by Brexit and how unemployment and, really, the unemployed, are treated.

# Who did you miss?

All my UK mates.

# Who was the best new person you met?

I’m going to have to say John the cat.

# Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

There’s always room for one thing more in the cupboard. It ain’t over till it’s over.

***

Here’s to a better new year.


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.


The Year in Review 2012

31 December, 2012

It’s that time of the year, again.

# What did you do in 2012 that you’ve never done before?

Move abroad and suddenly everything is new, from taxes to voting to how you do the dishes. Also, I attended a conference. And wore false eyelashes. Not at the conference, though. Played Scrabble on Christmas Day. (By the way, I can’t believe I forgot to mention swimming with my head down last year. I’d never done that before, and it definitely should have gone on the achievements list as well, and my swimming gear may well have been the best thing I bought. I mean, I’m still proud of my aquatic adventures a year later – how on earth did I fail to mention them?!)

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

Didn’t make any so had none to keep. I might think of some for next year, possibly in the sleep more, worry less vein.

# Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not at all.

# Did anyone close to you die?

Not particularly close, but an old relative did pass away.

# What countries did you visit?

Norway, Ireland, Finland. Feels odd, that.

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

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

# What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I won’t remember it a year from now, not without reading it here first, but I did emigrate on 7 January. For the record, 12/12/12 was utterly unremarkable.

# What’s your biggest achievement of the year?

I gave myself a lot to do and I managed to do most some of it. And, more luck than achievement, I secured funding to keep going for another year. But honestly, the year has been more about survival than anything else.

# What was your biggest failure?

I didn’t read enough. Not for work, not for leisure. This needs to change. Oh, and I didn’t go to the theatre once. This also needs to change. And I can think of a lot of other things that didn’t happen, or didn’t happen enough, but “failure” doesn’t seem quite right. OK, how’s this: I failed to either manage or to give up on managing my time. Yet again.

# Did you suffer illness or injury?

Enough with the colds already: on my third one since August, now. And they’ve been proper fever-cough-sneeze fests, too. Had a bit of a back episode in late spring/early summer – same old but worse than it’s been lately.

# What’s the best thing you bought?

The filter kettle is certainly the one I’ve used the most.

# Whose behaviour merited celebration?

This question gets more and more difficult each year. Professionally, there were people without whose generosity I couldn’t have done my job, as it were. Other than that, let’s say all the people who voted for the Green president we didn’t quite get.

# Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

You know all the news this year about bombings and killings and human rights violations and polluting, et bloody cetera? Those people.

# Where did most of your money go?

Rent, transportation, tuition fees. Not necessarily in that order.

# What did you get really, really excited about?

Music, whenever I had the time; singing & playing rather than listening. And, for a while anyway, Norway.

# What song will always remind you of 2012?

We’re a special kind of people known as show people. And we’d be a tough act to follow. And pretty much that whole musical (Curtains, that is), because I was in it.

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

  • It’s not good to answer these sort of questions when half your brain has just come out through your nose. I’m ok. Could be better.
  • I’m probably a little poorer but not too bad.
  • The way I’ve been eating this Christmas, you’d think food was going out of fashion. Does that answer your question?

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

Oh, you know, everything. Laziness and an overdeveloped need for achievement don’t go well together.

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

A lower sugar consumption might have meant fewer visits to the dentist this Christmas.

# How did you spend Christmas?

Eating, sleeping, watching Laputa. Just hanging out with my mum, a walk, sauna, that sort of thing. I already mentioned the Scrabble (courtesy of my brother & his SO).

# Did you fall in love in 2012?

Had no reason to.

# What was your favourite TV program?

Caught up with Doctor Who (finally – I hadn’t seen Matt Smith yet; I rather liked him, and the different Doctor-companion dynamic, once I got used to it), although now I’m again a Christmas episode behind. QI is always enjoyable. Developed a bit of a thing for Derren Brown when I discovered all his old shows on the C4 website. And of course, how could I forget (well quite easily, actually, since it was only a few episodes many moons ago): Sherlock. Love it.

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

Nope.

# What was the best book you read?

The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin. And if you count work, Embodied Interaction (no I haven’t read all of it, shh).

# What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn’t listen to anything much. Baltic Crossing is probably my only “new” discovery, and very good they are, too. But I did sing and play, even if I didn’t have time to do as much as I would’ve liked, so that was something.

# What did you want and get?

A chance to stay abroad, doing what I’m doing, for another year.

# What did you want and not get?

An office. Mod cons the way I (or most Nordic people) understand them. And, every now and then, a life (as opposed to a to-do list).

# What was your favourite film of this year?

I’ve been to the cinema exactly once, so The Intouchables gets an unfair advantage. It wasn’t bad, though.

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

I went to Tampere on my own and failed to get very excited about anything. It’s a nice place, I just wasn’t in the mood. I was four years older than the first time I completed this questionnaire. Time flies.

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

Space when I needed to be alone, company when I needed company. The balance didn’t always quite work out this year.

# How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2012?

“Smelly”. No, seriously, I live in an old house with a very old washing machine. All my clothes smell like they’ve come straight out of a charity shop. Another fitting (pun intended) attribute: “too small”. I’m not proud of it, that’s just the way it is.

# What kept you sane?

Flatmates.

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

“Fancy” is a bit strong, but I definitely had a celeb crush on Derren Brown (yes I know he’s gay it doesn’t matter shut up).

# What political issue stirred you the most?

I have little idea what’s going on in the world these days. The presidential election (the one I got to vote in rather than the American one) made me hopeful for a wee while even if the outcome was predictably not what I dared hope. China scares me. So does the Middle East. And Russia.

# Who did you miss?

The people back home.

# Who was the best new person you met?

It’s not a competition.

# Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

I am what I am; you can’t go home again; you get out of life what you put in..? Well not really – it’s been more “you need a proper winter for spring to feel like spring”.

No party invitations this year so I predict an early night. Enjoy your New Year’s Eve and what’s more important, have a lovely New Year!


Best of

1 January, 2009

Happy New Year! May it bring you all the change you want, all the stability you need and the ability to enjoy both.

One more, then I’ll stop, I promise. I just feel the need to look back a little more. Thus I present you with

The Best of 2008 (idea and most categories borrowed from someone else) (as many things as I can think of, or feel like adding, in each category):

GIG
Tim Minchin in London. I also recommend the impro nights at The Comedy Store.

MUSIC
I keep saying this. Reino with his Rhinos. But hey, why not try Piiskaajat?

FILM
Despite what I said before (Once, and Wall-E and Vicky Christina Barcelona) I’ll go with Happy Go Lucky and Porco Rosso (which is not a new film but I saw it last year). Actually, not a bad year in film after all.

COMEDY
Flight of the Conchords has been great YouTube entertainment; Tim Minchin (aah), Ed Byrne…I even saw Tom Wrigglesworth, who deserves a mention because I saw him live, he has a funny name and he wasn’t half bad.

ART
Pekka Halonen at Ateneum was great, and I liked some of the minimalist Americans at Kiasma.

MUSEUM
The Museum of Worker’s Housing as they call themselves was great. I later found out that relatives of mine used to live in similar housing in the area.

BOOK
See earlier post. Nothing to get excited about. Although I’m a fan of the English Prepositional Idioms by Frederick T. Wood, lent to me by a friend.

CITY
I really like Tampere. Maybe I should move there.

INVESTMENT
It wasn’t the new laptop which has caused a lot of grief. It wasn’t the digital camera I finally got, although it’s nice to have one. It wasn’t even my new pair of glasses, which I’m growing to like quite a lot. It was my fantastic new tap shoes.

RESTAURANT
When in London, try Just Falafs. In Tampere, Veganissimo is the place to go. In Helsinki you could go to Bar 9.

TOOL
Friends’ video cameras. Although I hardly used the actual tapes, it was important to know that most things were on record. (You know, choreography-wise.)