I saw this over at Reassigned Time, so I got in on the action. It's about the most action I plan to have this New Year's Eve, since I've apparently become a curmudgeon already.
1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
I went to Malaysia, and saw Orangutan in the wild!
I taught in Japan, and lived there for 5 amazing months. I traveled around constantly on the verge of being completely lost, and reinforced my belief that it's okay to be lost.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Well, I resolved (as usual) to turn back papers faster. And I didn't do as well at that as I wanted to. And I resolved to write more, and failed at that, too. Then there's the losing weight thing. Fail.
I did have a blast in Malaysia and Japan, and rode my bike very happily quite a bit.
Worry and procrastinate less.
Waste less time.
Return papers faster.
Lose 35 pounds.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, but my neighbors got a puppy!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nope, most of my friends were really healthy this year, for which I'm thankful.
5. What countries did you visit?
Malaysia and Japan. Quite an amazing year for me!
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A better attitude?
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Nothing stands out datewise.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Almost 1500 miles on my bike (1425). Teaching in a different country. Travelling around Malaysia.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Turning papers back too slowly and not writing enough. Goofing off too much, especially on the net.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A couple of minor colds. I'm really, really fortunate!
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I found a tiny Jizo at a little place in Japan, and it was perfect for a friend of mine. I wish I'd gotten another.
I found some great boxes on the web. They're made by a woman in San Diego who takes wooden wine cases, covers the top with beautiful fabric, puts hinges on the top, and voila, a treasure box. I bought four, finished them with polyurothane, and gave three away for Christmas. They're just lovely. The site was called something like Pandora's Boxes, but I can't remember the woman's name or find it on the web now.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My first year writing students. Wow, they were a great class. My Japanese students, and the staff at the Japanese University. They were ceaselessly helpful and kind to me, and I'm grateful.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A couple of sexist colleagues.
Bush, Palin, McCain, etc. And I'm a bit down about Obama having a gay-hating preacher doing a prayer at his swearing-in. I'm guessing women and glbt folks are going to be largely ignored in favor of "more important" issues. I hope I'm wrong.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage. Retirement savings. Food. Travel. All good stuff!
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Malaysia! Orangutan! Japan! Kyoto! Nara! Daibutsu! Kyushu!
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
I bought a CD of Elgar's Enigma Variations, with Holst's Planets on it, too. Jupiter and Saturn really hit me. But Elgar, mostly Elgar. (It's funny, because usually I'm all about Handel and Bach and such.)
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) Happier. This has been a really happy year in a lot of ways.
b) Fatter. But not lots.
c) Poorer. My retirement savings are looking pretty dismal these days.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Grading quickly. Reading. Writing. Biking. And more travel!
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastinating. Goofing off on the web, especially reading blogs.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent Christmas with family, and it was a good one.
21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Does Kyoto count? Malaysia?
22. How many one-night stands?
LOL. As if.
23. What was your favorite TV program?
I really got to enjoying Sumo on Japanese TV. And I found Boston Legal this summer, just in time for it to go off the air.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Naw. But I formed a strong dislike for Sarah Palin and John McCain.
25. What was the best book you read?
Heywood's Fair Maid of the West. What a romp!
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Holst's Planets. Yes, I'm hundreds of years behind everyone else in music, too.
27. What did you want and get?
I wanted a great trip to Malaysia and Japan, and I got both, far more than I could have dreamed.
28. What did you want and not get?
Nothing important. Pretty amazing year, no?
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Doubt was very good. Meryl Streep blows me away.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I had dinner with friends, and it was great. I turned 48.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
George Bush and Dick Cheney deciding to retire in favor of Nancy Pelosi. Wouldn't that have been something?
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Lycra and high tech biking jersey materials.
33. What kept you sane?
Traveling and biking, also teaching.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chaucer. (Hey, no one specified this century!!)
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election, in a big way. It was great to be away for the primaries, though.
36. Who did you miss?
Logan. M, P, K. My Dad.
37. Who was the best new person you met?
The manager of the international section of the university in Japan. Just wonderful, kind. Several other folks in Japan were super, too.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Culture shock is very different now than it was when I was 22. The differences made me think a lot about how much I've changed over the years, and mostly that was okay.
I learned that I'm much less worried about being lost in life than I used to be, and much happier than I used to be.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Freedom's just another name for nothing left to lose."
That's pretty much the balance I strive for: a sense of enough freedom without too much loss.
That's it for 2008, folks. I'm heading to bed early, fighting off the last of this cold!
Happy New Year!