Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Wig that Was: 2017 Year in Review

Oh my gosh, I’ve never been this late on one of these before. make no mistake, it may say January in the header, but I wrote this from a hotel bed in Lima, where I was for a work trip, and that that’s where I found a chunk of time -in April for heaven’s sakes- is a testament to where my head was at in 2017 (and has continued well into 2018). 2017 was a year filled with travel, good food, good company, stressful moments, new experiences and relative calm. I wouldn’t say I got my desire for a year with no changes but that’s okay- I’ll take the adventure. 

201Year in Review 

1. What did you do in 201that you'd never done before? 

Dyed my hair purple, participated in a protest

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

Let’s take stock:  

  • Take better care of my health

I’m gonna call this a half-win. As advised, we gave up juice/pop almost entirely. We don’t buy soda at all anymore, and have replaced it with flavoured sparkling water. We may have imbibed a handful of times while on vacation or whatever but I’m super proud of TB. Going from one pop a day to one pop a quarter is really impressive. We got some tests run, but the results didn’t give us any answers so we really should pursue that. Not to mention things like eye exams, neurology appointments, dermatologist visits etc. But we’ve been cooking at home more and subscribe to a monthly veggie/fruit box so I’m calling it a draw. 
  •  Eat 12 new ingredients and add 12 new recipes to our arsenal.  
I’ll admit, I didn’t really count this one out, but I think we did well. TB’s perfection of grilled tofu has been a great addition to stirfrys lately, he makes a mean baked omelette/quiche thing that we’re into, we practically lived off of our stuffed zucchini boats and deconstructed cabbage rolls this winter and our deconstructed sushi bowls have been a winner as well. I don’t know if we succeeded with 12 new recipes, but I think the error there was numbering them- the spirit of the law was upheld. 

  • Go on more social outings.  
I feel good about this one, too. We made our first outside-of-work friends and went drinking with them, dancing, to a haunted house, etc. We went dancing with colleaguesdinner parties, drag brunchI even met some folks over the World Wide Web and we went for drinks. We definitely improved over last year and I hope we keep that momentum going. 

  • I’m going to try and do something Spanishy 3 times a week. 

Ay Dios mioCome se dice “this was a bust”? 

  • Drink more water.  
I’m dry as a desert.  

  • Use up more samples. 
All this travel has actually made this work. I’ve used up a bunch and I’m still going! 

  • Pay off our American credit card by September (coincidentally enough, when it starts collecting interest) 
Hahahhahahahah *dies deeply in debt* 

Okay, so, real talk. 2018’s resolutions 

  1. 4 glasses of water a day 
  1. 6 books read 
  1. Pay down our debt by half 
  1. Gym twice a week 

Short. Simple. Challenging. 

3.  Did anyone close to you give birth? 

Oh, I’m 35, one week in 2017 there were 5 pregnancy annoucements on my facebook feed. I don’t even keep track anymore. A coworker in February, Lots of 2018 babies a-comin’, too. 

4.  Did anyone close to you die? 

No, thank god, though we almost lost Lily in April (20 seizures in 24 hours, poor bunny). 

5.  What countries did you visit? 

Lots, actually. Besides the requisite visits back home, I went to Cancun, Mexico and Lima, Peru for work and the UK (England and Scotland) for our long-belated honeymoon. 

6.  What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017? 

Would have loved a stronger Canadian dollar and a better eating plan. 

7.  What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

January 21: the Women’s march 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

I was pretty pumped about completing my first big international work meeting in June. I also felt really good about planning our UK trip, which was a huge undertaking. 

9.  What was your biggest failure? 

I still feel badly about my poor Spanish skills when I’m faced with a situation that could have used stronger skills. I also really didn’t budget appropriately and now future Amanda is paying for past Amanda’s carelessness. 

10.  Did you suffer illness or injury? 

No, thank goodness! Fit as a fiddle. A bottom-heavy fiddle who doesn’t care for stairs. A cello, maybe

11.  What was the best thing you bought? 

I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I honestly think the best thing I bought was this clothing grab bag. It came with what I thought at the time were maternity jeans but, in actuality, were the most wonderful highwaisted elasticized jean the world has ever known. I’m wore them on the plane yesterday and I *never* wear pants on an airplane. Ive since bought 4 more pairs, 1 cropped, 3 regular. 2 are hanging out in their wrapping still, to preserve their perfection and so I’m never without them.  

12.  Whose behavior merited celebration? 

TB got a temp job at the embassy this year and I was really proud of him. He struggled at first because the idea of being in client services (he helped people with visas) made him feel like he was taking a step backwards, but he powered through it and really did well and made some much needed christmas cash, allowing us to fly home for the holidays.  

13.  Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 

I had to stop watching the news around February, I was just getting filled with anger and despair and it was overtaking my daily life. The daily horrors of the #metoo revelations made me hate everyone and question everything. The world was a phenomenally depressing place at times in 2017. It still is, but I feel like we’ve licked our wounds and are fighting back.  

14.  Where did most of your money go? 

UUUUBBBBERRRRS. We don’t drive so the convenience and efficiency of ridesharing was a huge expenditure for me this year. I’m embarrassed to say what my “year end roundup” said my total number of Ubers was. So I won’t. Also online shopping and take-in. Even with a grocery store across the street, we still managed to decide what we felt most like making for dinner was a phone call to the pizza place. Ha ha, just kidding, we’re millennials, we never use the phone.   

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 

Lots of stuff! Our honeymoon, the Yayoi  Kusama exhibit, seeing John Mulaney live, our various familial visitors, seeing Mean Girls the musical, having Matt Good play my dream concert, my first trip to Peru (now on trip #5… maybe not so into the traveling anymore) 

16.  What song(s) will always remind you of 2016? 

Gypsies Tramps and Thieves- Cher 
It Ain’t Me – Selena Gomez & Kygo 

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

i. Happier or sadder? 
ii. Thinner or fatter? 
iii. Richer or poorer? 

i. About the same? Which is to say, content. 
iii. Ugh, sitting here in 2018, accounting for 2017’s mistakes, erring on the side of poorer.  

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

Reading, studying, knockin’ boots. <-- um, good job, 2016 Amanda. I’ma stick with that. Also, budgeting.  

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

Fuck you, Gardenscapes 

20.  How did you spend Christmas? 

The novelty of “coming home” for christmas has not worn off. Lily had multiple outfit changes, a la BeyoncĂ©, and looked fetching in all of them. We ate my dad’s classic cinnamon buns and I was incredibly spoiled by my family (to the point that I made them agree to tone it down next year). The turkey et al was aces, we did our annual dog walk in the snow, and my sister and I dressed exactly alike, which was kind of a dream. and while there was some annoying extended family antics, the day was genuinely nice and warm and fuzzy.  

We made some big decisions this year, starting with the declaration that this would be the last year that TB and I spent the day apart on purpose. This conclusion was made clear by the realization that the two extended family we do have over for christmas don’t really care if we do anything on Christmas Day per se. In addition, TB’s family has decided to stop traveling for christmas, too, which puts us all in the same place for the 25th without actually spending the day together. So, next year we’ll do extended family stuff on like the 23rd, do our immediate family thang in the morning of the 25th and then bring together TB’s and my clan for dinner, which I’m so looking forward to.  

21.  How did you spend New Years? 

I heard through the grapevine that my MIL isn’t all that keen about her birthday, whether it’s because it’s on New Year’s Day or it’s a “relentless march of time” thing or whatever so I decided we should do something nice. I made a reservation at Beckta and we all went out together on new year’s eve. Guys, it was so. Good. No use pretending that it’s not my least favourite day of the year, but it’s easy to bury one’s irritations in piles of duck tartare and sweetbreads. Afterwards, my extrovert SIL went to hang out with friends and the rest of us went back to my inlaws to play party games and watch the ball drop. Utterly delightful, and getting to be a tradition. 

22.  Did you fall in love in 2017? 

With the aforementioned jeans, yes. 

23.  How many one night stands? 

I could use a new night stand actually. <---- Never changing this answer. 

24.  What were your favorite TV programs? 

Since my sister gave it to me for my birthday, we’ve been steadily making our way through all of Roseanne, which really ages well (well, maybe not the mild trans/homo phobia, but it’s still pretty accepting, given the era), Better Call Saul is still amazing and it should be a felony that it’s only on for 10 lonely weeks of the year. For some reason, we eschewed the latest season of things we’d enjoyed (stranger things, orange is the new black, master of none) in favour of lighter fare like Great British Bake Off (which we ploughed through like we were Paul Hollywood in front of a Victoria sponge with lime curd) 

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

Wouldn’t say hate, but there are people I “unfollowed” on instagram and facebook that has made my life a lot easier and happier (too canadian to just unfriend them on social media outright) 

26.  What was the best book you read? 

I haven’t been able to answer this question for so long! Okay, so it took me three tries to start, but We Were Liars was totally worth the initial struggle. Definitely the book that stayed with me the longest, and it’s been awhile since a book made my jaw literally drop. I was all about the thrillers this year – Gone Girl was the book that made me get back into reading and I’m forever grateful to it. I followed it up with the Girl on the Train, which, while not amazing, was super fun because I read it while in the UK, and ended up basically tracing her route some days, which was a nice immersive touch. And then there were none was faboo, too, and showed me why Aggie still sells so well, decades later. 

27.  What was your greatest musical discovery? 

I’m just going to accept that I stopped listening to new music after 2008 and I refuse to pretend anymore. I listen to singles, not albums anymore. And we’ve been making our way slowly through old and new vinyl. Actually, add that shit to the list of resolutions : listen to more records.  

28.  What did you want and get? 

A healthy dog (no full seizures since April 2017, no seizures at all since October!!) 

29.  What did you want and not get? 

A body that fits into the clothes I own. To get our damn art on the walls. 

30.  What was your favorite film of this year? 

Oh My Gaga you guys, I didn’t expect it to be so lovely but IT was wonderful. It’s TB’s and my favourite Stephen King book and the casting on the kids was just.. so good. It was also the first movie we saw in DC so it holds a special place in our date night history. Also, the Disaster Artist was as good as we hoped it would be. Shame about that Franco guy.  

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

All the fanfare around “Canada 150” meant that I went home for my birthday, which is funny because I ended up completely ignoring all the downtown foofahrah in favour of a litany of suburban/rural delights. We started the day with a artisan’s fair with my dad, sister, TB, my bff and one of her good friends who I hadn’t seen in forever. Then we got free cake, commemorative Canada coins and an annoying photo shoot with the statue of James Naismith. Then we had all you can eat sushi, followed by the best nap of all of our lives. Then my sister, bff and I met back up with our mutual pal in my bff’s van (the bangbus, RIP) where we went down to the river, watched fireworks with the most perfect view and got cheap drunk with community centre priced alcohol. When the uber home turned out to be $120, we called Stew-ber (my dad in a car) and got picked up in a random parking lot, to which we’d already ordered pizza. And then I was 35. 

32.  What would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? 

More sleep, more friends, less routine. 

33.  How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? 

Miss Frizzle goes to Washington. I really became known for my novelty prints this year, which was super fun. Ive tried to dress a bit more eclectic this year, employing my #sevendaysofspoopy to dress in something Halloween-themed for a week and #dressmas, where I wore christmas themed outfits throughout December and documented it on instagram. “Shopping my closet” has become a challenge, especially as my weight fluctuates, but ive enjoyed it.  

34.  What kept you sane? 

Fuck you, Gardenscapes. 

But seriously, my coworkers are amazing sounding boards and advice givers and being able to rant to them and unload on them has been a huge help. Online communities have been aces, too. 

35.  Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? 

18 years running: Paul Rudd. Also, maybe not the hottest men on earth but Johns Mulaney and Oliver are just great. 

36.  What political issue stirred you the most? 

God, is there even one “political issue” anymore? In DC it feels like a haunted house, where every day you just turn the corner and something else terrible pops up in your face, laughing maniacally. I honestly don’t even know what’s going on in Canadian politics because the US is so all-encompassing right now. It’s maddening. 

37.  Who did you miss? 

My mom and my grandparents until the end of days 

38.  Who was the best new person you met? 

Oh Gosh, this is actually a hard one! I met Jay randomly outside the embassy one day, because she saw me watching a women’s day protest and just started talking to me. Turns out she and her husband Dee lived at the end of our street, coincidentally. We became fast friends, though they just moved to California last month. My colleague Alex is incredible and became my work wife pretty much instantly. My colleagues have become my friends, which is super lovely and I’m so incredibly lucky. And the folks I met IRL off the internet are all great, even if we’re introverts for whom organizing an outing is akin to planning an intricate military offensive. 

39.  Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017. 

If something isn’t bringing you joy, you’re allowed to change how you interact with it. 

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

What am I gonna do? I can’t survive on my Amerika 
If the worst is true, is it just a waste of time?  
What am I trying to find? Are you alive, oh my Amerika? 
Perennial with the Earth And freedom, love, and law, and life 

-“Amerika” Wintersleep