The Meme Thief brings back the old year for New Year’s!

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
I went to my first conference of any kind – how nice that it was a blogging conference! I also made my first visit to Chicago, and hope it won’t be the last.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, since I don’t see anything sacred about January 1 as a day to change habits or make improvements in one’s life. But I did accomplish a couple of my goals for 2009: I read more books, and I met more blogging friends off-line. I’d just like to keep on keepin’ on in 2010, and make incremental improvements where I can.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one in my immediate circle did, but I did get to meet a few new babies this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My husband’s grandmother passed away at the age of 97, but I didn’t know her well (I’m his second wife; we’re not sure she even realized he wasn’t still married to his first wife).

5. What countries did you visit?
Disneyland doesn’t count, does it? I spent my birthday there.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A family vacation – and it WILL happen! We’re planning another three-generation trip for June, but we won’t be on the road this year…we’re flying to the East Coast to play tourists in Washington, DC (my son has lived there for almost three years, but I’ve never been) and New York City.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 16, President’s Day: We were involved in a 12-car pile-up on the 101 Freeway, which resulted in minor injuries to the four passengers in our car, but my husband’s 2001 Honda Civic was totaled.
April 25: I spent the day on the UCLA campus, enjoying the LA Times Festival of Books in the company of book bloggers.
July 4: Holiday weekend plans were knocked out of whack by my mother-in-law’s emergency hospitalization (she’s fully recovered).
July 24-25: See #1.
October 24: The 24-Hour Readathon.
(Hmmm, is it coincidence that there’s a blog record to go with every one of these? I suspect it’s not.)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting my husband to join Twitter. It was a pretty low-key year, to be honest.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Struggling to balance my family life, my work life, my reading life, and my blogging life, although it’s really more of an “ongoing challenge” than an outright failure. Again, it’s been a pretty low-key year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
The pinky finger on my right hand has given me occasional problems ever since I slammed it into the door during our car accident, and I’ve had some bad carpal-tunnel flare-ups. (Too much time on the computer, I’m sure.) Other than that, I’ve been in decent shape.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Thanks to my mother-in-law’s generosity, a Kindle e-book reader. Oh, and my husband got a very nice new car, but since the old one had to be wrecked first (see #7), it wasn’t under the most pleasant circumstances.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Those who displayed compassion and civility.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Those who have never learned to play nicely with others, especially the ones who work in the federal government and the news media.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, cars, food, and my stepchildren (who are totally worth it).

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Based on the number of posts I wrote about it, I’d have to say BlogHer’09. As for things I didn’t blog as much about, I got my 15-year-old stepdaughter good and hooked on Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series, and discovered that working out on the Wii Fit was much more fun than work.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
“Say Hey (I Love You)”  by Michael Franti and Spearhead. It’s not even close to any of my preferred musical genres, but it makes me smile any time I hear it.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

Probably about the same for all, give or take.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Going places with my husband; we always have ideas about playing “local tourist,” but we don’t do enough with them.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I wish this wasn’t my answer, but here goes – being a slave to my Google Reader.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home with my son, my husband’s kids, my father, and my husband’s mother. I cooked dinner, and we played around with some of ouur Christmas gifts. It was a pretty nice day.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
I stayed in love with the same guy I fell in love with in 2005 ☺. That guy, over to the right.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I can’t pick just one, but I’ll narrow it down as far as possible:
Old favorite drama: Lost (I loved Season 5, am anxious to see how it wraps up in Season 6, and will miss it enormously when it ends)
New favorite drama: White Collar (back in January to finish its first season – hope it stays strong!)
Old favorite comedy: The Office (continues to make me appreciate my own job)
New favorite comedy: The Big Bang Theory (well, new to me this year, but I got the first two seasons on DVD for Christmas!)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nah, and I’d probably decline to answer publicly even if I did.

24. What was the best book you read?
I answered this question last week ☺.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Decent radio isn’t completely dead yet, thanks to The Sound LA.

26. What did you want and get?
A bunch of new books.

27. What did you want and not get?
More time to read all those books.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Well, I saw Star Trek three times, and I can tell you for certain that it was my husband’s favorite (although he’d say it’s a “movie” as opposed to a “film,” and I have to agree). As far as films for “grown-ups” are concerned, I really enjoyed The Invention of Lying, and I’ll be posting my very positive review of Up in the Air later this week.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
See #5; it was my 45th.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Spending less of it in the car, commuting to and from the office. On the other hand, the fact that my job continues to be there is definitely satisfying this year.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
The Year of the Dress – and of finally finding comfortable jeans.

32. What kept you sane?
Who says anything did? Seriously, though, blogging helps a lot, and so does a husband who knows how to make me laugh.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
None in particular – I don’t give them a lot of thought, really.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I was less politically-inclined this year, and more politically frustrated. Partisanship and self-interest, feeding ineffectiveness, are really getting under my skin.

35. Who did you miss?
My son. I’m proud of him for being on his own, but I’m concerned sometimes that he’s 3000 miles away and perhaps a bit too much on his own. I also miss some friends who drifted away from blogging this year, or who aren’t e-mailing much any more because they’re on Facebook instead (although I’m kind of guilty of the same thing, except in my case I’m here or on Twitter, not on FB).

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Most of the people I “met” this year were people I already knew – quite a few of my online relationships got an offline dimension, as we had the chance to meet in person. I really like spending time with people without the “getting to know you” small talk, and it’s even easier to think of them as friends now.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
I think I’m mostly working on trying not to forget the old ones. It’s been a decade of huge changes for me – one that got me to a better place eventually, and I really want to stay there.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“…And four or five years slipped away.” (Jimmy Buffett, “He Went to Paris”)
It was only one year, but after 2008, it was a rather anti-climactic one personally. Not a lot of drama one way or the other – which I’m OK with, to be honest – but it seemed like it all went by pretty darn quickly.

Care to pick one or two of these questions and share your own answers in the comments? I’d love it if you would!

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  1. I want to play 'local tourist' more this year too. 🙂 Your planned trip to the East Coast sounds like fun!

  2. A visit to Washington DC sounds wonderful, Florinda. I've always wanted to go there and play tourist. My parents met there. Well, they met in Maryland where my mom worked and lived technically, but my dad was stationed and living in D.C.

    The balance thing is definitely an ongoing struggle. We keep trying though with the hope that someday we'll hit it just right. 🙂

  3. I like this meme!
    I like White Collar, too 🙂
    And I'm totally with you on the political stuff. I haven't been writing much about politics because it's just so draining and feels futile.

  4. Eva – We don't usually have weather as an excuse for not being out and about, living in Southern California. I guess I should tear myself away from the computer more often :-).

    I'll actually be in New York City twice next summer, after not having been back there for a LONG time.

    Wendy (Literary Feline) – I've never been to DC, but it definitely seems like time (especially since my son has lived there for almost three years!). We're planning to focus around the Mall and the Smithsonian, which should occupy our short time there quite well.

    The thing about the balance problem is that once you DO manage to hit it, something knocks it out of whack and you have to re-adjust again :-).

    April – I've seen the meme a few places. It's probably not too late for you join in :-).

    I'm reading a book right now that's stirring my political fires a bit – we'll see how long that lasts.

  5. DC is great!! You will have a wonderful time.

    I strive for balance daily. Some days I am more successful than others.

    This meme has proved very enlightening. I love to read about everyone.

  6. I forgot about "The Invention of Lying." I'm need to look that up for rental when it comes out.

    I didn't realize you saw Star Trek so many times. What a trooper! 🙂

    I think this year I resolved to be meaner to people. I'm nice now and it hasn't gotten me anywhere, so it can't hurt, right? 🙂

  7. Ti – My son likes living there, at any rate. And we're going in mid-June, right after school gets out, so hopefully the summer heat and humidity won't be TOO bad yet.

    Memes like this are never quick for me – they make me think!

    Kathy (Bermudaonion) – I'm glad that comes across :-)!

    Mike – Sure, be meaner this year. Tall Paul and I are going to try to be more charitable toward (and about) other people, so someone has to take over for us :-D.

    I actually liked Star Trek, for the record (but let's be honest – on my own, I doubt I'd have seen it three times in theaters).