Random thoughts / Year in Review

I love New Years. I love the feeling of a new start, the opportunity to look back over a concrete period of time, and look forward to another.  But I’m feeling oddly reticent to post a “this is what I did this year” post because it feels like boasting or something. I’m also feeling a bit clingy about my uberlist for this coming year. But I think looking back over the year and seeing what you’ve accomplished is a useful thing. And I keep lists of all sorts of things and then look back over them when the year ends. So here goes- don’t judge me.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you may remember that each year for a while now, instead of creating New Years resolutions, I create a huge to-do list instead. Here’s the list for this last year.  This year I finished 66% of that list, which is 3% up from last year. Woo hoo!

Also this year I:

Did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) not just once, but twice, because I have insane friends. Both times I completed 50,000 word novels, both of which need a whole ton of editing, but were, overall, good foundations for something.

Made 125 items, including (but not limited to- I can add) 13 quilts, 7 baby quilts, 42 stuffed animals, and 10 scarves.

Read 53 books.

Went to 7 concerts,each fantastic. Some videos, for your entertainment- from the actual shows we attended where possible.

Ozzy Osbourne  I screamed so loud when this song started that I almost broke my voice. His voice has held up amazingly well, and he was completely coherent and intentionally funny.  And he totally sprayed the crowd with a fire hose. It was fantastic.

Erasure  His dancing in this is the best. thing. ever. And no, we were not this close, but we had an amazing view from where we were. And I screamed and jumped up and down almost the entire show, and I’m not really exaggerating about that.

Henry Rollins doing spoken word. (Warning, there’s a couple of cuss words in that video.) I hadn’t heard Rollins do spoken word before this, and I totally fell in love with him. He’s brash and bold, and cusses for dramatic effect, but he comes across as so genuinely goodhearted and interested in people. I wish there was a video of him talking about his trip to N. Korea, it was so fascinating. (This video wasn’t from the show we attended.)

Soundgarden  Goodness sake, his voice is devastating. And we were almost this close this time. This band opened for them, and  was a source of unending amusement (and irritation) because the lead singer could NOT STOP MOVING. He spun, he kicked, he manhandled his mic, he tossed it in the air, caught it, did the splits,- all in a row, while singing. He didn’t stop at all. It was just. so. much. Skip to about 2:15 in the video to watch him interpretive dance. And his band was crowded into this tiny little area, like they were so used to practicing in a garage that they couldn’t spread out. They were like a bad Scott Pilgrim rival band. The comparison between them and Soundgarden was just embarrassing.

Prince This is from an LA show, not the one we went to, but apparently any video taken at the Oakland show has been taken down. But see that arrow part of the front of the stage? That’s where we were sitting. It was ah. mazing.

Imelda May She is so gorgeous, seriously. And her voice is amazing.

We are Augustines  This isn’t usually my kind of music, but Billy McCarthy (the singer) was so completely genuine and raw- it was like he opened up his soul on the stage. (And reading background on the band and the music, that’s kind of what he’s doing.) He completely won me over. (This wasn’t from the show we attended, but I can’t find any video from it.)

Saw Cats. (!!!! Seriously, I’ve wanted to see it since I was 10. )

Started officially homeschooling Z for kindergarten.


Enough of that. On to some random thoughts!

Catherynne M Valente: Author of the last 3 books I’ve read (The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden, The Orphan’s Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice, This Is My Letter To The World: The Omikuji Project, Cycle One ) , the book I’m currently reading (Myths of Origin: Four Short Novels), and two I read earlier in the year and loved passionately (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland–For a Little While ).  To say I’m addicted would be a bit of an understatement. I love (LOVE!) her writing- her use of language is so skillful- I want to crawl inside the sentences and live in them. Not in the worlds she creates with those sentences (though those too, please), but the sentences themselves.  I mean, just listen:

“Do you know what it means to sing? Are there songs of the spiders, gossamer and glissand? It means to open up your mouth and unstop your chest and push your heart, your blood, your marrow, and your breath our of you like children.” from The Orphan’s Tale: In the Cities of Coin and Spice

“You see, the future is a kind of stew, a soup, a vichyssoise of the present and the past. That’s how you get the future: You mix up everything you did today with everything you did yesterday and all the days before and everything anyone you ever met did and anyone they ever met too. And salt and lizard and pearl and umbrellas and typewriters and a lot of other things I’m not at liberty to tell you, because I took vows, and a witch’s vows have teeth.” – from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making.


The two The Orphan’s Tales books are like intricate puzzle boxes; each story opening up into another and another and another, with characters and events intertwining in complex and dazzling ways while somehow managing to stay distinct and clear. At the end of the second book, I had the thought that she achieved what How I Met Your Mother has tried  (and not accomplished) to do- to tell the whole diverse, intersecting, digressing, intertwining history of a group of people that leads, finally, beautifully, devastatingly, to the event they seem to be conjured to create.

I could go on and on. Really, I could. I could just copy out whole passages from any of the books, the sentences are just luscious.

Cats: Like I said above, I’ve wanted to see this musical since I was 10 years old, which was right around the same time I decided I wanted to dance, and later I practiced to the soundtrack and dreamed of dancing in Cats on Broadway. So finally seeing it was a bit emotionally loaded. Plus the music is totally musically manipulative. So yes, I will admit to tearing up a little. I realized, watching it, that the whole thing, including the choreography is copywritten, and so the choreography is the same as it was in the 80s, and that shows. It’s lovely as a period piece, but what was subtly sexy in the 80s reads as cheesy now, but not cheesy enough to be camp. And I don’t think Cats should be camp anyway.  But I’d love to see someone rechoreograph it, something more along these lines. I think Wade Robson would be perfect for it, in fact (not that he choreographed  the dance in that video)- universe, can you get on that please?

Tangled: We finally saw this, and it was really cute. I appreciate that they made Rapunzel a strong character, but fallible at the same time.

Cars 2: The girls got this for Christmas, though Z saw it in the theater. While I realize that they were trying to make a completely different kind of movie than the first Cars, I found it interesting that they didn’t pay attention to the lesson of the first film- that sometimes you need to slow down. It was just so fast, so go go go go go- the girls didn’t follow half of the story, and the parts that I thought worked the best were the snippets with the core characters being themselves- like the scene in Italy with Luigi’s family. That being said, they enjoyed it, and it was clever. Anyway, that’s my critique.

Sherlock Holmes 2: LOVED it. I’ve realized that I would watch Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law do just about anything so long as they did the Sherlock/Watson shtick. Read the phonebook? There. Drink tea? Absolutely. Juggle? Yes. Basket weave underwater? If only.

I don’t really have any more random thoughts. I’m glad that school will be starting up again at the end of the week, not having a schedule the last couple of weeks has really thrown me off. I simultaneously had a million things to do, and nothing to do. So it will be nice to be back to knowing what and when needs to get done.

It’s officially a New Year. I hope it’s full of glorious, wonderful, joyful things for you. And for me too.


2 thoughts on “Random thoughts / Year in Review

  1. Cindy on

    You are truly amazing! I look at what you do and feel like I’m not accomplishing anything…well not entirely true but you know what I mean.

    Thank you so much for the picture! Your mom gave it to us yesterday and I treasure it. When you said you wanted to mail something I thought it would be something that fit in a little mailing envelope and I was very surprised. I love the frame too and it’s perfect for the picture. I actually went on your friend’s website that was posted on the back of the frame and she’s amazing. Words can’t express enough how much this means to me and how well it fits into the beach theme sewing room.

    Give everyone a hug and know that we love you. Oh, and I gave your mom a big hug to give to you from me!

    P.S. Your dad was a little freaked out when Larry told him that I’d picked out a new wife for him after I was dead. It did sound a little creepy but it was all done in a joking manner when Larry and I were talking about it. Needless to say Larry didn’t explain or tell them any of his bizarre comments that were so funny during that same conversation so I came off sounding like a real weirdo! Love me anyway okay?!

  2. Cousin Kim on

    Wow. A 65% completion rate is a great job. I decided this year I really should push myself for a 100% completion rate…but I don’t believe in beating myself up when I fail so I’m not a good taskmaster. Good luck with 2012!

Leave a Reply