Thursday, January 1, 2015

Shake It Off: 2014 in Review

I got this questionnaire from Temerity Jane's blog, and jumped on it.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you've never done before?

I was given the assignment to teach English I and co-teach English I, which meant being responsible for the English I End-of-Course exam, which students in Texas must pass to graduate from a Texas public school. Also, your school's rating is dependent on the kids' scores, and every sub-group, including recent immigrants, low-income students, and students with learning disabilities, have to pass. I was also made the English I level lead, despite having no experience teaching that grade. No pressure!

The only other new thing I can think of was starting the Couch-to-5K running program when I hadn't run in 20 years (and was never good at it back then). I discovered that I still don't like running but I do enjoy STOPPING. I got insanely busy when school started and didn't run the 5K I had signed up for.

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

I haven't made New Years' Resolutions for several years now because I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. I did write a post about my word for 2015 being "Abundance" and I do think I made progress in embracing the concept especially since I realized my job was NOT the only way we could be provided for (more about that later.)

I don't have a specific word in mind this year. I want to get back to exercising and continue writing on (I'm up to a streak of 4 days! Woo-hoo!) and on my blog. I also set a goal of reading 55 books this year, which is hardly a stretch since I read almost as many last year when I was "too busy to read." I'd like to stretch my reading horizons a little and read some more challenging nonfiction and classics now that my brain won't be mashed into pulp by grading papers every weekend.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No,  but my sister-in-law is due any minute with their first baby! If she doesn't go into labor by Monday, the doctor will induce her by Tuesday. We're all excited to meet Hutson Owen (Owen was my maternal grandfather's middle name).

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What other countries did you visit?

Sadly, none.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Time to relax and enjoy family and do things around the house.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched in your memory?

The day I realized I HAD to quit my job if I wanted to stay sane and that I could do it; the day I realized my daughter is closing in on her teen years.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I took a big leap of faith by quitting. It was the right thing to do to take care of myself and my family.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I spent a lot of time tying myself in knots over grading and sobbing in the shower, so I was not very emotionally available to my family. They say they have forgiven me. :-)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

My mental illness became a significant factor again. I realized that it's okay to take care of myself instead of "soldiering on."

11. What was the best thing you bought?

We bought a new car--a 2015 Honda Pilot that I love, especially because it has Bluetooth for my phone and heated seat warmers (or as C calls them, "butt warmers"). It seemed scary to me to buy a car when I was quitting, but since I will be driving a lot more, my husband wanted me to have something safe. The other car was starting to have some problems so it was a good time, and the new one is expensed through our company, so win!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I'm copying Temerity Jane's answer on this one and the next: "The Internet (parts of it) has really stepped up for a lot of people this year, and that was great."

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

"You know what, I’m going to stick with the Internet for my answer for this one, too."

14. Where did most of your money go?

The usual things--house payments, car payments, FOOD. My kids either subside on air molecules or they scavenge everything in sight.

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

Hmmm. I keep talking about quitting, but that made me really, really happy.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."

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

a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? I think about the same.
c) richer or poorer? About the same.

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

Reading with my kids. Date nights. Writing of any kind. Exercising.

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

Crying. Caring what people think about me. Procrastinating.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

At home on Christmas morning, opening presents, then over to my mom and dad's house for lunch and more presents. This year my brother and SIL were there as well as her family, since she was too pregnant to travel. It was fun!

21. What was your favorite TV show?

Well, OF COURSE Doctor Who. I agreed to get U-verse again just so I could have BBC America to meet the Twelfth Doctor. C also got into Psych and went way past where I had stopped. She asks me about allusions Shawn and Gus make and then says, "Ohhhh, THAT makes sense" when I explain.

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

Only random people on the Internet who were extremely annoying and horrible. Then I mercifully forgot them.

23. What was the best book you read?

Checking on Goodreads... The only book I gave five stars to was Longbourn by Jo Baker, a retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a focus on the servants which forever changed the way I will view Jane Austen's novels.

Honorable mentions:
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, based on the lives of two abolitionist sisters;
Fangirl and Landline by Rainbow Rowell, both of which sucked me in immediately;
Various Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, which are perfect to read when you want something light and funny but decidedly NOT mindless. And there are so many of them!

However, I will say that the only book I got up IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT and finished was Who Is the Doctor: The Unofficial Guide to Doctor Who: The New Series by Graeme Burke. Make of that what you will.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Nobody new. I am incredibly uninteresting in my musical taste.

25. What did you want and get by year’s end?

FREEDOM! (In a Braveheart voice.)

26. What did you want and not get by year’s end?

I can't think of anything. How blessed am I?

27. What was your favorite film of the year?

I quite liked The Fault in Our Stars. I went by myself and sobbed into my popcorn.

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

I actually don't remember. Oh! I don't remember where, but we went out to eat with my family and then we had a cake made of meringue and chocolate shavings from the Swiss Pastry Shoppe which will forever and ever be my birthday cake of choice from now on.

29. What do you think would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A million dollars.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Whatever didn't have to be ironed.

31. What kept you sane?

My husband, friends, and kids, who made me laugh in spite of myself.

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

David Tennant. I've told my husband that if the Tenth Doctor every shows up at our door and asks me to run away with him, I'm going. My husband, knowing the odds of this are less likely than being struck by lightning, agreed to this deal.

33. Who did you miss?

My late father-in-law was one of the best men I ever knew. He's been gone nine years and I still miss him.

I also missed the juniors I taught the year before, even the ones I thought were stinkers because they were WONDERFUL compared to the freshmen.

34. Who was the best new person you met?

A new teacher who moved here from El Paso, who delighted me with his intrepid sarcasm.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Do what you gotta do and don't feel bad about it.

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up the year.

"I'm just gonna shake it off, shake it off!"


  1. Go you! Leaving behind a toxic work environment has got to be one of the best things you can do for yourself. I'm so with you on David Tennant. And uninteresting musical taste. I have to censor my ipod before we have people over in case my husband puts on music.

  2. My iTunes is full of songs my daughter buys. I like them well enough but get plenty of exposure to the current hits on the radio (seriously, they play like the same 10 songs over and over).