Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year Once More

I answer these questions on my blog each year.  2009, 2010, 2011.  Here we go again...

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Brought home a baby from the hospital.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I resolved to walk the dog more often, spend less time on the computer, work more during the day to have more free time in the evenings, do more yoga, and give proofs of love.  I was better at keeping some of these than others...  Poor Cooper's walks definitely diminished in frequency these past six months (but I'm going to resolve to do better next year!).  I definitely spent less time on the computer than I did in 2011 (the computer was my lifeline in many ways in 2011--it's just that too much of a good thing is not good for me).  I tried to give proofs of love (especially thank you notes), and will make that resolution again.  I did pretty well at working during the day--the big challenge will come when I go back to teaching in January.  Yes, I will be making more resolutions for 2013.  I'll keep you posted.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me and many of my online besties, including Brandy, Laura, Molly, Keleen, and several others who read here (xoxo).  It has been wonderful to be able to have such a community of support not only after Eliza's loss, but also after Zuzu's birth.  My heart goes out to bereaved parents who are expecting in 2013, those who are struggling to get pregnant again, and especially to those who experienced a second heartbreaking loss in 2012.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
David's grandpa died in January of 2012, about six months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  My friend Brad died the week of Thanksgiving after fighting a battle with leukemia. He was 33 years old.  #fuckcancer

5. What countries did you visit?
We did not do much traveling this year--first year since David and I have been together that we didn't fly somewhere on vacation.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A house big enough to accommodate visitors and a better system for organizing digital photos.

7. What dates from 2012 will remained etched upon your memory?
June 29, 2012.  Caroline Audrey's birthday and the best day of my life.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The first thing that came to mind was Zuzu's birth, but that doesn't seem like an achievement so much as a moment in which we got really, really lucky.  I'm also glad I've been able to breastfeed for 6 months, but, again, I know that's mostly good luck as well. I do feel like I've managed to savor and really enjoy Zuzu's first six months, in spite of ongoing grief and the general stress of having a newborn, so I think that's an accomplishment.

9. What was your biggest failure?
An academic article I submitted for publication got a "revise and resubmit" rather than accepted.  I was super bummed about it for about two days, but now that I'm revising it, it's so much better that I have to grudgingly admit the reviewer was probably right.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Oh, mercy.  Mastitis when Zuzu was 7 weeks old.  Highest fever of my life (peaked at 103).  Also I had a stomach bug and a bad cold both in November (right after starting back to work, naturally).  Here's to a barf-free new year!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Freetime cloth diapers and the Nose Frida.  Best gifts were my new sewing machine and laptop!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
David's--for being such a great dad and hubby, especially when it comes to changing diapers and getting up in the middle of the night.  Cooper's for being such a good dog.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Little Mac's.  We are growing increasingly concerned about the risks of having an occasionally-aggressive and mostly antisocial dog (even though she's very small and can be sweet sometimes).  We even had a sad discussion about this with our veterinarian.  For now, our solution is doggie gates and a crate, but we will see.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Meeting my insurance deductible.  Buying baby supplies (and a few clothes...).  Professional photo sessions.  Saving for a new house and a college fund.  Daycare!  And the usual... gas, mortgage, Target.

15. What did you get really excited about?
The baby.  And fitting back in my jeans (with only a slight muffin-top... sigh).

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Glen Hansard's "Song of Good Hope":

Well, if we're gonna make it
Cross this river alive,
You'd better think like a boat
And go with the tide,
And I know where you've been
Has really left you in doubt
Of ever finding a harbor,
Of figuring this out, 
And you're gonna need
All the help you can get,
So lift up your arms now,
And reach for it, reach for it

And take your time, babe,
It's not as bad as it seems,
You'll be fine babe,
Just stay close to me
And may good hope walk with you through everything
May the song of good hope walk with you through everything

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- happier or sadder?  Immeasurably happier.
- thinner or fatter?  Fatter. I'm still about 8-10 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight (hence the muffin top).
- richer or poorer?  Poorer.  (Hey there, daycare check!  Worth every penny, though.)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I'm glad to say that all I wanted to do this year was have a healthy baby and soak up every moment with her.  And I did that.  I wish I'd exercised more post-baby, but it just wasn't a priority.  Maybe next year?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying.  But I think I say that every year.  And it's always impossible.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
On the Great Tour of the Midwest--Christmas Eve with my parents, Christmas night with David's family.  Celebrating Zuzu and missing Eliza.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
With our new baby girl.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Homeland.  (It's also Barack Obama's favorite TV show.  We should totally hang out.)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hate's a very strong word.  And, no.  I'm spending my energy elsewhere.

24. What was the best book you read?
I read a lot of books, especially late in my pregnancy when I wasn't working and needed a lot of distraction.  A lot of fluffy lit, but a few good ones.  I reread Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, which was even better than I'd remembered.  I read the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths, which were intriguing.  I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which was disturbing but memorable.  I read Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton, which was haunting in a good way.  I'm currently reading Wild Girls, which was written by a girl who was in my PhD program with me (after she got her MFA).  She publishes under Mary Stewart Atwell, but we call her Polly.  Once she and I had a disagreement in class about how we were reading a passage of Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (an excellent novel if you're interested in a sensational nineteenth-century mystery).  I highly recommend both books.

25. What was your favorite musical discovery?
The Lumineers (I know, me and everyone else in the United States).  Their "Dead Sea" song is my favorite.  I like to tell David that he's my Dead Sea now.

26. What did you want and get?
a baby girl

27. What did you want and not get?
both my baby girls

28 What was your favorite film of this year?
I managed to see Argo and Lincoln and thought both of them were really fabulous.  I'm hoping to see Les Miserables before school starts.  I also loved watching The Hunger Games, even though the book was (obviously) way better.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went with David and Zuzu to the drive-in movie to see the new Batman flick.  It was a nearly perfect night.  I was 32, which is weird because I sort of feel like time stopped when I was 30 and Eliza died, but I also feel much older than 32 (like 75), and also like I was just in college four or five years ago, which makes me about 26.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Visible abdominal muscles and Canadian-style maternity leave (a full year).  Okay, that's two things.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Maternity wear + post-pregnancy wear = a lot of leggings and tunics; or, Easy Access for Nursing and Pumping

32. What kept you sane?
Mr. Duckworth, my e-mail buddies, and this blog

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Kate Middleton (I have very mixed feelings about her pregnancy, which I think are quite perfectly expressed by this article)

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I did not follow politics too closely this year.  I was one of those close-minded folks who had already made up her mind about the election and just wanted to vote for my candidate and be done with it.  This fiscal cliff bullsh!t makes me want to pull out my hair.

35. Who did you miss?
Eliza, of course, and David's Grandpa Gene.  Also my grad school friends who have moved to other cities for new jobs.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
New friends Melanie, Kim, and Kristin.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Perfect is the enemy of good.  I should stitch that shit on a pillow.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Glen Hansard's "Bird of Sorrow":

Tethered to a bird of sorrow
A voice that buried in the hollow
You've given over to self-deceiving
You prostrate, bow, but not believing
You've squandered more than you could borrow
You bet your joy on all tomorrows
For the hope of some returning
While everything around you is burning.

Come on we gotta get out, get out of this mess we've made
And still, for all our talk,
We're both so afraid
Will we leave this up to chance
Like we do everything?
Love is gonna find us again
Love is gonna find us, you gotta be ready then

May love find you in 2013.  Here's to a new year.


  1. You have had quite a year. I'm so sorry for your losses but thrilled you have a beautiful baby girl. It is difficult to find a place where you can grieve yet find joy. Have a great 2013.

  2. Because you're hilarious, here are my favorite parts... also things I can relate to:

    1. $ went to... And the usual... gas, mortgage, Target.

    2. I sort of feel like time stopped when I was 30 and Eliza died, but I also feel much older than 32 (like 75)-- honestly. I can't count the gray hairs anymore.

    3. Visible abdominal muscles would've made your year immeasurably more satisfying.

    4. Perfect is the enemy of good. I should stitch that shit on a pillow. --Word.

    5. That article about Kate's pregnancy: LORD YES. I agree wholeheartedly.

    "What this tells us is that society needs to change its attitude, acknowledging that pregnancy does not always end in a live birth. We not only need to collect more comprehensive statistics on pregnancy loss, we also need to treat miscarriage as an important social phenomenon that affects most women."

    Or stillbirth. Or infant death. They're all more common than the media cares to admit. And it makes us all look like lepers and that makes me totally sad beyond my already sad nature of missing Andrew.

    Here's to 2013. Please be good.

  3. I loved reading these and all your answers. Happy 2013! I hope this year brings an end to fiscal cliffs and muffin tops, more baby time and lots of love.

  4. I saved this to come back to when I was feeling wordy and clever... And, well that hasn't happened. But I am a glutton for punishment (fyi- I typed gluten first, and realized my mind's not quite right, lol!) and thus I went back and read the rest of your summations... Ugh. So heartbreaking to read 2009 and then 2010... And then 2011.. You know? It just sucks.

    But I'm glad I found you and I'm so pleased David continues to be an amazing dad and I'm so frigging thrilled Caro is here and that Eliza sent her. I love your girls, so much.

    xox right back.