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About Leah (It's not my real name!)


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January 5, 2011

Where Does the Time Go

Guerilla-style attack of the Sundry year-end meme! Go go go!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
I did a truly grown-up thing by making a decision about money/childcare/career/parenting and then researched daycares to find one that we truly love. I can't imagine where we'd be without Daycare Lady and what she's teaching Wombat (in addition to feeding him and changing his diapers). I also finally let Simon convince me to help start a bookclub, and for all my years of resistance, I've really, really enjoyed it. The reading is great and all, but spending some good talk time with people I adore and respect is the best part.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

According to last year's survey, I said, "VAGUELY, that I'm resolved to stop using 'I'm a new mom' as a cop-out for accomplishing things I should be able to accomplish if I'd just shut up and get out of my own way." I did stop using new motherhood as an excuse, but that doesn't mean I didn't have plenty of other excuses lined up at the ready. 'Tis a lifelong battle...

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
In February the guitar player in Simon's band had a baby boy with his wife, who has been my mostly companion at their gigs for about four years now. Their boy means mine is no longer the eye of the swirling tornado of affection, but that's okay because now he has a new little dude friend in a what has formerly been a social circle populated exclusively by little girls. Another one was born to one of Simon's oldest friends and her husband, who already have an older daughter that Wombat talks about EVERY DAY because he luuuuuuvs her.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Another year, another dead cat. So it goes, so it goes...It's like you can't swing a dead cat around here without hitting a dead cat! (Too soon?)

5. What countries did you visit?

The best I can do is that we visited the painfully cute Patch Land, via Kirby's Epic Yarn for the Wii. (Thanks, Nintendo and Brand About Town!) A few days ago Wombat woke up demanding to watch Kirby, not realizing it's a game, not a show. Simon said, "How about Wonder Pets?" Wombat said, "Um, no." Simon said, "How about Yo Gabba Gabba?" Wombat said, "Um, how about Kirby!"

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
I'd really love to find a way to balance all the different types of work I do while still having time for all the non-work stuff I enjoy. Not sure how I'm going to make it happen, but it will probably involve lists. Lots and lots of lists. (I'm also still hoping for that big sack of money. Large bills are fine.)

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
5/22, all of October, 11/13, 12/11. I plead the fifth on "why."

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

In August I flew across the country by myself to attend BlogHer (my fifth!) in New York and I was not kidnapped by a cabbie. (Still haven't posted those photos...) In November I few across the country by myself again to attend the Live Positively blogging conference presented by Coca-Cola (post and photos forthcoming, I swear), and considering that I still hate flying and I used to be (and still am, to a degree) a person who'd rather just stay home than put herself in any situation in which something might go wrong, this was a big huge honking deal and I'm so proud I said yes and then soldiered through instead of just holed up safe at home. Going to Mighty Summit also took some bravery (and I had to drive myself a long way in the dark on backcountry roads to get there, which was kind of a biggish deal too), but it was one of the best things I did all year, hands down.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Time management. I worked a lot of weekends last year because I'd either overcommitted or underperformed during the week, and I'd really like that to stop immediately, kthnxbye.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I barfed! I got pinkeye! Isn't that enough?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Last year we bought a membership to the California Academy of Sciences, and this year we decided to switch it up and get a membership to Children's Fairyland and the Oakland Zoo. Even better was that we bought them through a Groupon-like site called Living Social (do they have those everywhere or just here?), so we got our money's worth in a jiff. Oh man do I love me some Groupon and Groupon-like sites.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Simon remains the person I'd most like to be when I grow up, but I have to give this one to Wombat, who has become such a kind and helpful and polite and happy little person. He cleans up his toys when asked, he always says "please" and "thank you," and although he most certainly has a mind of his own, he's generally a pleasure to be around, which is no small beans considering he's terribly two.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Sarah Palin continues to be a thorn in my brain. Gah. Just GAH.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgages. Although daycare comes in a distant second, just to keep things interesting. Whee!

15. What did you get really excited about?
Getting that last-minute invite to Mighty Summit was a shot in the neck and a kick in the pants, in the very best way. Prepping Wombat for his birthday and Christmas--teaching him the songs, explaining the concept of presents--was a complete joy. Friends having parties of any and all kinds--weddings especially!--make me giddy for weeks before and after.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Wombat's got an ear for music, and in the last six months he's come home singing half of them in Japanese. If I had to pick one song for 2010, it would be "Zousan," because it's the first one he picked up at daycare and because my favorite version (aside from Wombat's) is by Elizabeth Mitchell, who we were lucky to see in concert in October, further solidifying my girlcrush on her entire little family. (If I could pick an entire album that reminded me of 2010, though, it would be the album of original songs written, recorded, and released by Simon's band. If we weren't semi-anonymous here, I'd be shoving it down your throat every day, and you know what? You'd like it and buy a copy for everyone you know. The whole thing was a labor of love among (extraordinarily talented) friends, and I couldn't be prouder of everyone involved.)

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

--happier or sadder? I'm pretty darn happy. Life is hectic and messy sometimes, but my base is stable and my core is strong, and those are the things that matter at the end of the day.
--thinner or fatter? Strangely, I continue to hover at high-school weight but I feel like a slobby sack of flesh. So I guess you would say I'm lighter but fatter, if that makes sense. When I was seventeen I was eating lots of chicken nuggets, but I was also dancing for several hours every day, which makes me suspect that all my muscle has been replaced with flab. I have a dozen pajama pants that feel just fine but only two pairs of jeans that aren't out to kill me, constrictor-style. Instead of Blogging Biggest Loser I need Blogging Biggest Toner-Upper.
--richer or poorer? Again, strangely, richer. After the company Simon contracted for shut down in February and he was out of work for a few months, I went back to full-time work and full-time hand-wringing because my wages don't even almost begin to cover the mortgage payment let alone food and gas and diapers and Internet. We made some tough decisions (he skipped BlogHer for the first time since 2007) and worked extra hard and fell on some good fortune, and even after adding daycare costs to the mix, we've miraculously come out of 2010 with some cash in our savings accounts. Cheap bastards win again!

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

Nothing so lofty this year: I wish I had more sleep.

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

Wasting time doing stupid stuff on the Internet when I could have been accomplishing something that would make me feel good about myself.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We went to Utah again, and it was glorious. Would recommend. Will repeat.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
As last year: Every single day. I'm very lucky.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

We haven't watched a lot of TV this year (!), but I do love my ANTM and SYTYCD and Bachelor, and now that Simon's recapping Toddler and Tiaras every Thursday for MamaPop? Hoo boy. Watch out. (If you haven't read that entry, you must. Also the one about Hugh Grant's middle name being Mungo. That's comedy.)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

If I do, I can't say I've spent more than ten minutes thinking about it. Life's too short.

24. What was the best book you read?
Our last read for book club was Under the Banner of Heaven, a journalist's history of the wackadoo fundamentalist LDS church (and, by extension, the mainstream Mormon church as well), and since those are My People, at least geneologically, it was absolutely fascinating. Jon Krakauer is a master of his genre, and I was impressed and enthralled and enraged and informed in a way I never was growing up in the midst of modern LDS culture. It's a fascinating and worthwhile read, whoever you are. (Ooh, and of course Alexa's book, which I went on and on about here.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Three-way tie: the aforementioned Elizabeth Mitchell; then Derby, who I chanced upon randomly, unprepared to be blown out of my socks by their musical smarts; and finally The 88, whom we saw opening for Jason Faulkner in October and who, in this listener's humble opinion, outplayed and outperformed him by miles and miles. Last night I watched their live set from Wolfgang's Vault, and this is what I'm currently crushing on. (Simon is jealous of the lead singer to a ridiculous degree that has involved him fluffing up his hair and buying big glasses, even though he got Lasik almost five years ago.)

26. What did you want and get?
Spending lots of good, fun time with family and friends from all over.

27. What did you want and not get?
A Canon 7D and the skills and time to use it properly.

27a. What did you not want and not get?
Financial ruin and emotional bankruptcy.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
We saw a lot of good things (via Netflix), and although I hate to admit it, the best thing we saw was probably Inglorious Basterds. I hate Quentin Tarantino and his ass face, but man can he make a film. Also, the first ten minutes of Up are moviemaking genius, no question about it. (Some off-the-beaten path recommendations, if you're interested: Synechdoche, New York (a Charlie Kaufman movie, and that's all I need to say); World's Greatest Dad (written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait and starring Robin Williams, it was extremely hard to watch but also BRILLIANT); Malice in Wonderland (low-budget and kind of dumb but clever in enough places that it was fun).)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned thirty-one and we went to Children's Fairyland and then Teddy came over and we had a giant pizza.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
As it was last year: having the time to record everything I wanted to record, in words and pictures. There's never enough time.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
For the first half I was working full-time, which meant I had to be presentable on a fairly regular basis (jeans and a reasonably fashionable top and jewelry), but since the end of May it's been all about slippers and sweatpants.

32. What kept you sane?

The Internet. Being able to work alone at home yet stay connected to the entire world via email and Flickr and Twitter and blogs and even, gag, Facebook, has made me the non-nuts person sitting before you in slippers and sweatpants today.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
At the risk of Simon running out to buy a new red Gibson hollow-body, I'll whisper Keith Slettedahl, from The 88, even though I'm convinced his "singing mouth" is 100 percent affectation.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The It Gets Better campaign is just what we need right now. It's just what hundreds of thousands of other people needed back before it was too late, but with this I think we're headed toward a kinder, gentler, more understanding society.

35. Who did you miss?

I miss all the bloggers I haven't had time to keep up with on a regular basis. I miss my family. I miss Simon's family. I miss my grandpa because I think he'd get a real kick out of the songs Simon wrote for his band, especially the truckin' one.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Meg Keene, of A Practical Wedding, is my cheerleader and ass-kicker and I'm ready to let her push me around in 2011. :) Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind was the star of Mighty Summit, and she's a doll through and through. Maile Wilson of Epiphanie Bags fame is smart and ambitious and driven but also remarkably generous and thoughtful and gorgeous inside and out. Becky Ussery of Dance Party for One was a force at the Coca-Cola event, and it was nice to finally meet Georgia Getz (aka BOSSY) there too. And I finally got to hug Jonna and Lawyerish in person, and it was like coming home. I love you girls.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
You don't have all the time in the world, so make what you do have count. Also: you can't make goals you don't set.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"You are my sunshine(s), my only sunshine(s). You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know dear(s) how much I love you(se). Please don't take my sunshine(s) away."


Hey, we got married on 5/22... =)

Damn straight you did! :)

I love "you can't make goals you don't set." LOVE IN ALL CAPS, even.

That hug was definitely a highlight of my year, too. (Too creepy?)

I love that I know why one of your dates was special.

I'm so excited to see you give Derby some love! A friend of mine is in that band and I'm constantly passing out their cd to people. Yeah!

Regarding #11- do you know about this: http://dealery.com/san-francisco/


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