Weekend Assignment #249: Looking back at 2009

Yes, you read the post title correctly. In this Assignment, Karen is asking us to get a bit creative and project one year into the future:

Weekend Assignment #249: Today is January 2, 2010. Tell us about the most interesting things that happened in 2009, in the world and also in your life in particular.

Extra Credit: How did you do on your 2009 resolutions, if any?

Change may have come to America in 2008, but we didn’t really see it do very much until the year just ended. And of course, it hasn’t happened fast enough for some people, nor has it always been the specific kind of change that people wanted to see, but one thing that doesn’t seem to change is that it’s impossible to make everyone happy all the time. But reports that the end of the world was imminent after November 4, 2008 – most of which came from my uncle via e-mail – turned out to be overstated, as they usually are, thank goodness. (I almost said “end of civilization” instead of “end of the world” in that sentence, but sometimes it feels like “civilization” has been on leave of absence for quite a while already…)

There’s been some good news about big-picture stuff this year. We saw large numbers of troops start coming home from Iraq, although some went to Afghanistan instead. It’s been reassuring to see the national unemployment numbers reverse and the economy start strengthening again, even if it has meant the price of gas has gone back up to the $3/gallon range. No one we know personally is involuntarily out of work or in danger of losing their house now, and that’s worth a sigh of relief. We’re hopeful that the health-care reforms that we’re starting to see will bring even more relief – not just to our wallets, but to our peace of mind and well-being too.

Here in California, we had the wettest winter in years, and we actually got tired of rain by February, even though we knew enough to appreciate it. We especially appreciated it later in the fall, when we were NOT dealing with major fire outbreaks every week. On the other hand, traffic still sucks, taxes went up, and there was a short-lived movement to recall everyone in Sacramento, from the governor on down. California has a reputation for being forward-looking kind of place, but sometimes it’s confounding how slowly some things change around here.

It hasn’t been a year of major changes for my family, though, and we’re really OK with that. Tall Paul and I are still in the same jobs we’ve been in for years and not terribly motivated to look for others (not doing the same thing, anyway). We did get a new car, since the auto industry’s struggles and the bank bailout (which finally started filtering down to where it benefited people besides CEOs) turned out to be good breaks for us; it’s an Accord, so we’re still an all-Honda family, and it’s not that big a change. We didn’t move, since we’ve still got some time left on that 18-month lease, and we’re already talking with the landlords about extending it for another year and a half, so we hope we won’t be changing our address again for quite a while longer! We’re all in an uneventful phase of life health-wise, it seems, which is fine by me, and Tall Girl seems to have stopped growing at last; she never quite made it to six feet tall.

One of my wishes for 2009 was meeting some of my fellow book bloggers in person, and we had a terrific get-together during the weekend of the LA Times Festival of Books. My trip to Chicago in July for BlogHerCon was a bit stressful due to my anxiety about crowds of strangers, but I had the chance to put a lot of blogs together with their people and have had some real friendships come out of the experience, so I really appreciate my mother-in-law’s making it possible for me to go! Thanks to the connections that blogging has opened up for me, I had several opportunities to do some freelance writing and get paid for it this year. While I’m still timid about making a full-scale change in that direction, I’m very glad to have waded in.

I went to Chicago on my own, but the family made a trip to my in-laws’ cabin in the Sierras this summer for the first time in three years. We also had the chance to have all the kids together in DC for a few days; it was my first visit to our capital, and after two years living there, Chris was able to give us a non-touristy tour – and introduce us to his girlfriend.

It’s funny, but looking back at the year starting with the larger view of national and world events and working down to the more personal, it seems like my family stayed fairly steady at the center while change whirled around us – and at this point of my life, I really don’t have any complaints about that. 2009 wasn’t a big-event year, although I had a semi-milestone birthday (45) which we did get to spend at Disneyland, and our boys turned 10 (The Boy), 25 (Chris), and 80 (my dad).

As far as resolutions go, you know I officially don’t make them, but I did manage to read 55 books this year, and I was very pleased by that improvement, although by book-blogger standards, it’s still pretty weak.

(I wonder what will actually come to pass out of everything I’ve written here. At this point, all I can vouch for is the trip to BlogHerCon, the birthday, and the traffic continuing to suck. I’d love to see the economy get better and a rainy winter in California. Reading 55 books this year is probably a total pipe dream, to be honest.)

If you’d like to predict and prognosticate for 2009, get your marching orders at Outpost MΓ’varin.

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  1. Here’s to hoping for a stronger economy, no major wildfires, and gas staying below 4 dollars! πŸ™‚ Too bad you guys aren’t having our winter; we have had the 4th wettest on record so far. I send some rain and snow your way to make sure your predictions come true.

    I like that you are recalling all of Sacramento. I wish we could do that in Springfield.

  2. At least you have one post ready for 2010 πŸ™‚
    I HOPE that I’m in the same job, and the girls are in the same schools, and, most importantly, we haven’t had to move again!

  3. Mike – You may want to make sure that rain and snow doesn’t arrive in time for your trip to San Diego – I think you probably want a few days away from it :-)! Gas prices were just nuts last year – $4.25 a gallon in June, $1.75 in December. I don’t mind if they go back up a bit more, but the roller coaster drives me nuts.

    Considering that we got our current governor via a recall of our last one, recalling the entire state government seemed almost plausible. I can understand why you’d like to do the same in Illinois.

    April – Good point. If I can remember this one, I’ll review it next year :-).

    It’s nice knowing for certain that we won’t be moving this year – I hope you don’t either!

  4. Amy – That’s what’s nice about the start of a new year; it feels like anything can happen! Of course, as you say, we’d like what happens to be good stuff :-).

  5. KFB – I’m not too good at writing fiction, so I tried to keep it (mostly) plausible :-). The year still has 51 weeks left, so there’s lots of time for things to come to pass…

  6. What a brilliant post, Florinda! I can see it happening that way too. πŸ™‚ Most of it anyway.

    Your side comment about the number of books you read being weak compared to book blogger standards reminded me of something my coworker said the other day. His resolution this year is to read two books. A fellow coworker who reads way more than you or I do laughed about it later, but I gave her a dirty look and told her we should be encouraging him. Two is a lot for someone who hasn’t read one book in a year since who knows when.

  7. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I’m still suffering book-blogger guilt over “only” 35 books last year – can you tell :-)? But it struck me as I finished a book last night that one more reason I need to make more book-reading time is that when I read in bigger chunks, it stays with me better, in addition to letting me get through more books faster! You’re right, though…some people barely read at all. Thanks for the perspective!

    As for the predictions…I guess we’ll know by this time next year. Go and read Mike’s Weekend Assignment post, though – it’s much funnier than mine.