hollyslowly: Lawrence of Arabia; Ali helps Lawrence put on a coat. (No man needs nothing.)
[personal profile] hollyslowly
A reflective meme from [livejournal.com profile] apiphile.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?
Hmm. I attended an eight day class with about 32 other non-profit professionals and got a certificate in management at the end of it. Somehow became in charge of a program at work. Flirted dangerously with paying interest on my credit card, because paying off my damn student loans broke my frugal button apparently. Took my family to the beach--first time my parents had been in nineteen years, the first vacation they've had other than day-trips in the same time. Yoga. Learned to bake, and made things consistently throughout the year, including stuff that people actually begged me to make again. I think my crowning achievement in this arena is learning to make bagels. Had two laser tattoo removal treatments. Voted for a presidential candidate who lost.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any, unless you count my solemn and angry vow to Win My Goodreads Challenge this year. Last year I only managed 41 out of a goal of 52 and drank long the dregs from the bitter cup of failure, but I clocked in at 59 books (21,518 pages) for 2016. I suppose any resolution for 2017 will be along similar lines. I will read more nonfiction next year. I want to re-watch all existing Star Trek series in chronological order--Netflix is helping a sister out on this one. More hiking.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
One of my closest friends, whom I've known since middle school, gave birth to the cutest baby I have ever seen. He is precious. Still don't want one of my own, though. Fortunately she and her husband are both nerds and so accepted the onesie I bought him that looked like a Star Trek uniform.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My great-grandmother, who was 94.

5. Which countries did you visit?
Didn't leave the US. Actually, I don't think I left my state, although I have done a fuckton of driving this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
A 6-month emergency fund. No car repairs.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Election Day--specifically the moment around midnight when the 538 liveblog announced that unless Clinton won Arizona, Trump would be our next president, because that is the moment I accepted the shitty thing was happening.

Christmas Eve, because my dad showed me the baller book case he made me. (For your reference. Nerd breeds true. Also, how fucking talented is he?)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I did quite well at work, despite feeling increasingly useless since we added a staff person last March. Perhaps another resolution should be "figure out what kind of job you want, and then apply for it."

9. What was your biggest failure?
My sister is struggling, and I can't help her. I imagine this will continue to be my biggest failure next year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No injury, but I did have a mystery illness that cost me several hundred dollars in doctor visits, blood tests, and scans. You may ask, "Holly, what was your mystery illness? After all, surely they were able to determine what was wrong, with all the poking and prodding and disbelieving of your symptoms!" And I may reply, "Funny story, I still have no fucking idea!" Best guess is a combination of salivary stones, allergies, and sinus infections. I felt like hungover death for about three months.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A $25 ticket to a Brian Fallon show in January and the t-shirt I got while there. A couple of albums--2016, the year I started paying for music again. A baker's rack to go in my small kitchen, because my cabinets aren't deep enough to fit my pots and pans, and a set of silicon utensils. Aforementioned beach trip. A Litter Genie. A tire-plug kit. Three excellent pairs of shoes. So many books.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
I sure as shit celebrated the grandstanding letter from Anthony Romero/the ACLU on Nov. 9th.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Too many to list. Aside from national and international figures, some relatives deeply disappointed me this year in a way that blindsided me, and I have not gotten over it. My life is Bitter Smithing: The Film ("And he never forgave, and he never forgot").

14. Where did most of your money go?
In approximate order: rent, unending car repairs, Mystery Illness, Questbars.

15. What were you really, really, really excited about?
My friend Sara and I went to visit our other friend who lives in a different state and we all went to the (touring) Broadway version of "The Lion King." I cried twice. That was in April. It feels like 10 years ago.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Frank Turner's "Get Better."

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder?
Sadder. Derek, I agree with you--somehow I feel like I've aged a decade since January.
b) Bigger or smaller?
About 20lbs smaller.
c) Richer or poorer?
Not sure--about the same, I guess. 2017 will have to be the year of Fiscally Responsible Holly, because 2016 most emphatically was not. Though I did get a raise that, gasp, was not just an inflation adjustment. I always turn off my retirement contribution the last month or six weeks of the year so I can buy Christmas presents, but I did some clicking in my budget spreadsheet and figured out that next year, when the raise goes into effect, I will be able to contribute at the same level I am now while keeping my take-home pay the same as it is when the contribution is turned off. I don't know if that makes sense, but I did a happy clapping when I figured it out.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Hiking. Reading. Learning.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Faffing about on the Internet.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family. My mom and I always bake tea rings for the get-together with her side of the family on Christmas Day, and I look forward to it all year. We made lots of other little things, and I made bagels for my dad, which made him really happy. Tried to comfort my sobbing sister, quite ineffectually. Christmas Day was pleasant.

21. What was your favourite month of 2016?
It's kind of a wash. I would say June, because of the beach trip, but when we got home I had to buy a new distributor for my car.

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?
No.

23. Did you have any one night stands?
No.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
Veep, probably. I just started watching Grantchester on Amazon Prime and I really like it. I hope my answer to this question next year is the new season of MST3K.

25. How will you see in the New Year?
Going over to a friend's house in an hour or so. Though honestly my goal is to be in bed by 10:30.

26. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Maybe not hate. I am deeply disappointed in a lot of people.

27. What was the best book you read?
So my coworker told me about BookBub this spring, which is an aggregator of eBook deals--you tell it what genres you're interested in and what your price limit is, and every day it emails you with a list of 5+ books that fit your criteria. I have read SO MUCH this year from that. Some of them, granted, were terrible, and I can understand why they were only $2. But the best books I've read this year were:

--Black Water Rising, by Attica Locke
--The Carnivia Trilogy, by Jonathan Holt
--The Eight, by Katherine Neville
--In the Middle of Somewhere, by Roan Parrish
--The Club Dumas, by Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte

28. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Well, I started listening to Hozier. I don't know if that counts.

29. What did you want and get?
A raise!

30. What did you want and not get?
America's first female President.

31. What was your favourite film of this year?
The Nice Guys. Rogue One. I'm pretty sure I saw fewer than 10 movies in the theater this year.

32. What did you do on your birthday?
What did I do on my birthday? Oh, yeah, I went to that fundraising conference with my boss, the thought of which precipitated my quarter-life crisis this summer. She got a phone call 20 minutes into our 2 hour drive home telling her that her brother had dropped dead of a heart attack. Had Chinese with my parents. Pigged out with my friends the day after.

33. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Let's not dwell on this.

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Johnny Cash in 3" high heels.

35. What kept you sane?
Wellbutrin.

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I think the answer to this is "no one."

37. What political issue stirred you the most?
Domestically, let's take the election as read. The Dakota Access Pipeline Fuckery (official name). The continuing war on Planned Parenthood. Abroad--every time I think about Syria I feel sick.

38. Who did you miss?
My grandmother, still. It's been three years since she died. I found the last birthday card she sent me when I was tidying up some books.

39. Who was the best new person you met?
I enjoyed my classmates in the certificate course.

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
I'll let my bro John Steinbeck answer this one for me: "When a man says he does not want to speak of something he usually means he can think of nothing else."

41. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"I got me a shovel / And I'm digging a ditch
And I'm going to fight for this four square feet of land like a mean old son of a bitch"

Date: 2017-01-01 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apiphile.livejournal.com
So the weight loss, was that because of the illness, or was that a Thing You Achieved? I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I REMARK ON IT.

Date: 2017-01-02 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] formanymiles.livejournal.com
It was An Achievement! Remark away!

Date: 2017-01-02 01:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apiphile.livejournal.com
Then MASSIVE congratulations to you! I didn't want to say owt if it was the illness because I know how upsetting it can be getting complimented on something that's happened as a side-effect of shitness.

Date: 2017-01-02 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] formanymiles.livejournal.com
Thank you for asking; that was so thoughtful. And thank you! I sort of want to lose five more pounds, but I've maintained this precise weight since June, with only a bit of fluctuation either way and without much effort on my part, so this is probably where I'll stay.

No, I somehow managed to use a food tracker app this year without triggering disordered eating, which happened the first time I gave it a go. A side effect I have not enjoyed is having to buy all new pants :(

Date: 2017-01-03 08:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apiphile.livejournal.com
Oh hey, if you're maintaining it as a set weight that means your body thinks it's the weight you should be! Awesome :D And HEALTHY. Congratulations!

I've been on and off using MFP for that function, although that + stupid medical fuckery set off shittily disordered eating - I'm picking it up again now because I figure with the surgery out of the way it's less likely to result in me going batshit crazy-nuts restrictive... (argh yes, the Remeasure. I hope it's not done you in the bra department as well, I always used to lose weight off the boobs and then be struck with THE HELL of bra shopping).

Date: 2017-01-04 12:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] formanymiles.livejournal.com
I DID THE THING!

MFP is the one I've been using. I think the difference for me this time versus last time was that I actually read about nutrition (a bit) and so I wasn't thinking so much about restricting calories at first as eating enough protein. Which reminds me, I need to buy eggs today.

I really need to buy new bras, sadly. I keep having to tug mine down to stay in place, and also the underwire is escaping. I can ignore the underwire (I was once STABBED IN THE BOOB by it, as I am sure all bra-wearing humans have experienced), but the constant tugging is driving me nuts. But bras :(

Date: 2017-01-04 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apiphile.livejournal.com
Abbi was saying the same thing about macros and MFP and so on, actually - it's the first time she's been able to track what she eats without it being a trigger for shitty eating because she's also been concentrating on keeping things balanced rather than eating "little". I just came off the whole protein-banging thing because it was beginning to stress me out (also I was reading that the settings I had it on were effectively useless for me; at that point I was basically pissing most of the protein right back out) so now I'm back down to Recommended Proportions & just eating whatever ... appeals? Which at the moment is "mostly nothing".

OH GOD THE UNDERWIRE HELL. I guess... uhh... if you get the refitting over with real quick you can just scoop up a bunch online and not have to deal with bras again ever?

Date: 2017-01-06 01:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] formanymiles.livejournal.com
I'm living on protein bars and bagels at the moment because, as I may have mentioned before, I intensely dislike cooking. I found a cheap protein bar that I like and that fills me up, so I've had that for breakfast and lunch the past week and then bagel, cream cheese, and eggs for dinner. The thought of caring about food is just somewhat exhausting. Do you see a nutritionist or anything as part of the doctor-related stuff you had to do for surgery?

I'm imagining how I would spend lottery money if I had it right now, and it would be to buy a swimming pool's worth of bras so that I might dive into them, Scrooge McDuck-like, and never emerge again.

Date: 2017-01-06 04:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apiphile.livejournal.com
Listen I feel that 100%, I have the Huel bars (THEY FINALLY MAKE THEM AS MEAL REPLACEMENT BARS I AM SO HAPPY) for precisely that reason. Emergency food in my case, where emergencies are anything from "can't be arsed" to "will be out for hours probably ought to sustain myself". How're you off for sources of green vegetable or fruit matter? Juice? Soup cartons? Shit like that? You can pretty much nuke them.

Same here but with glitter.

Date: 2017-01-07 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] formanymiles.livejournal.com
I excel at fruit. Apples, grapefruit, and bananas mostly. Not great at leafy greens :( I do eat quite a lot of carrots though. I'd probably be better with veg if I enjoyed smoothies as a meal replacement, but I dislike drinking my calories. Even a smoothie with lots of Greek yogurt in it in addition to Green Things leaves me feeling ravenous an hour later. I don't get it.

Soup, though. I'm snowed in at the moment and giving thought to baking some bread and having tomato soup for dinner. Aw, no cheese though.

Glitter sounds like more fun, stipulating that I am not required to clean up the little glitter trails left behind me.

Date: 2017-01-08 05:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apiphile.livejournal.com
Well I guess they don't need to be a meal REPLACEMENT so much as a meal accompaniment. Protein bar plus smoothie? Also there's usually very little actual MATTER in a smoothie, which might be the other reason it doesn't fill you up (Also not that much in the way of calories). ANYWAY, DOESN'T MATTER: FRUIT IS FUCKING GREAT, ISN'T IT? I love fruit.

... does cheese go in soup? I don't really know very much about this. I just usually boil vegetables in stock until they get frightened into weeing their nutrients into the water.

"clean up" listen glitter is forever

Date: 2017-01-08 07:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] formanymiles.livejournal.com
Oh, that's a fair idea. I will definitely do that. At last, kale will be palatable. (Who am I kidding, I'm just going to eat a lot of spinach.) FRUIT IS THE GREATEST. Also, nuts.

It doesn't go in soup TYPICALLY, but I was thinking of making a cheese sandwich to eat with it, which is how we always had tomato soup when I was a kid.

I'm going to think of soup as veggie wee for the rest of my life, god damn it.

Date: 2017-01-08 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apiphile.livejournal.com
SPINACH IS THE BOMB THO. I mean, treating a smoothie as a meal is clear nonsense. It's a drink! A snack at absolute best. Something nice and coincidentally containing some vitamins and shit. Oh yeah - I used to hate nuts and have become well into them recently, almost like I have... stopped... eating so many sources of fat. HRM.

Oh cool! I'm still trying to unlearn a load of stupid puritan food insanity from my family, unfortunately. I've nailed "it does not have to be organic", "salt is good", and "you will not die if you don't eat a vegetable for three days (you may feel like you are dying but that is because you are old)" but other stuff like what's allowed to constitute a meal is still an ongoing fight.

well it is.

Date: 2017-01-08 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] formanymiles.livejournal.com
One morning a few weeks ago I couldn't deal with anything - I am not, actually, a functional adult - and had trail mix for breakfast. All the delicious fats in it made my brain light up. I felt like a super computer until lunch. I just ordered a bunch of different nuts and seeds off Amazon - cheaper to buy in bulk from them rather than a 12oz bag at my grocery store - and am going to try making some non-grain granola when they get in. Nom nom nom. I eat a LOT of Greek yogurt, but I sort of want to get away from oat-based granola because I am eating about 3x as much bread as I was prior to learning to bake.

As may have been evidence by my smoothie conundrum, I have also not quite figured out how to just eat what I want for a meal without trying to justify my choices. MFP has helped a lot with that, though, with the little pop-ups about fiber and vitamins and such.

On a totally unrelated note (though your icon did prompt me to think of it), have you watched Taboo yet? I've got the first episode downloaded as of about five minutes ago. The trailer looked like Tommy was Heathcliff Unleashed, which I am notably into.

Date: 2017-01-09 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apiphile.livejournal.com
Hey, I had Huel for two fucking meals today, functioning is overrated. Also, I really, really, really really, really want granola right now. It feels like FORBIDDEN FRUIT. I would literally rather have granola than chocolate. *cries*

I have also not quite figured out how to just eat what I want for a meal without trying to justify my choices.

I ate six meals today because apparently that's how often I need to eat. I can't. Quite. Deal with this. (I OVERSHOT MY FIBRE ALLOTMENT?)

No! I both really want to (Tommy!) and know that I cannot (MOVING IMAGES BAD). It's vexacious.

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