Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

I've done this the last few years.  It's kind of depressing, the similarity from year to year!
1. Was 2014 a good year for you?
Kind of a mixed bag.  Obviously the events of late October, with Mike's death, have overshadowed my memories of the rest of the year.  Also, my mother's worsening dementia is very depressing, but the grandchildren are a delight, and living day to day seems to be just fine.

2. What was your favorite moment(s) of the year?

I took my mother to lunch in San Rafael, with her best friends to celebrate her birthday.  It was like stepping back 3 years.  She was "with it," engaged appropriately, chatted with all of them like she'd just seen them, remembered things.  It was like having my mother back again for a few hours.  It was all gone by the time we got back into the car to drive home, but I relish that day.

3. What was your least favorite moment(s) of the year?

Mike's death, and the whole nightmare of Char sending messages from Germany about his deteriorating condition, feeling so helpless sitting on this side of the Atlantic ocean.

4. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Visited Iowa and learned that it can really "warm up" to 21 degrees.

5. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I stopped making resolutions long ago; I never keep them

6. Where were you when 2014 began?
I was sick, so Walt and I stayed home.

7. Who were you with?
Walt and the dogs

8. Where will you be when 2014 ends?
The party we attend each year, with the friends from the Davis Comic Opera Co. is not being held this year, so we will go back to the Big Party given by my former boss, The Psychiatrist and his wife, a former California Assemblywoman, with lots of good food and music...and lobster bisque at midnight.. 

9. Who will you be with when 2014 ends?
That party is always a gathering of most of the people we know in Davis
10. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I don't think I know of anybody close to me who gave birth in 2014.

11. Did you lose anybody close to you in 2014?

I keep a list, year by year, of those who have died, but it is on my desktop computer, which is in the shop.  I don't think we lost many people, like we have in past years, but obviously the Big One was Mike's death.  And like millions of others around the world, I felt Robin William's death to be a huge personal loss.

12. Who did you miss?

The same folks as previous years:  David, Paul, Gilbert and Peggy

13. Who was the best new person you met in 2014?
Mary M, a long-time reader of Funny the World, who invited us to visit her when we were staying with Jeri and Phil.  The afternoon with her, her daughter-in-law and their dogs was an absolute delight.  I never would have known about or toured the Paper House without that trip.

14. What was your favorite month of 2014?
I have reviewed my year, month by month and can't say there was a favorite month.  Whenever we were able to get to Santa Barbara and share the grandkids' activities (like Brianna's T-ball games, and her grammar school shows) would be favorite times.  But there were good and bad things in each month.

15. Did you travel outside of the US in 2014?

Not this year.  We were scheduled to go on a cruise to the South of France when Mike died, but we canceled.

16. How many different states did you travel to in 2014?

We flew to Boston to spend a week with Jeri, Phil and Lester and later I spent 3 weeks in Iowa, as my cousin started chemotherapy.  And since United Airlines stranded me not once, but twice, I will have to add Denver, Colorado, though I never intended to be there at all!

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

A functional Congress that actually accomplishes something.  What an oddity that would be.

18. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 22, the date Mike died.

19. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Winning Brianna over, with weekly letters and sharing interests.  She seems to actually like me now, without prompting by her parents.

20. What was your biggest failure?

I'm tired of listing failure to lose weight or keep a clean house, so I'll say my biggest failure is my inability to engage my mother in life.  I see how much better she is mentally when she mixes with people, but she resolutely refuses to do anything at Atria and is proud of her lack of desire to join in, even for a concert steps from her apartment door.
21. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I sometimes feel I am on borrowed time, when I hear of all the physical problems of people around me.  But so far I seem to be doing all right.

22. What was the best thing you bought?

I read a book called "Enrique's Journey" at the height of the controversy over immigration, and became aware of the conditions of kids in Central American countries and the perils they face trying to leave their homes and come to this country.  It made me want to help at least one child in one of those countries, so we agreed to sponsor Brayan, a young boy in Honduras.

23. Whose behavior merited celebration?

The only person who comes to mind instantly is President Obama.  Reading of his accomplishments in the face of overwhelming opposition by Republicans makes me proud to have voted for him twice.

24. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

When a friend confessed that though she was not going to come forward as an accuser, the number of women who have accused Bill Cosby, a man I previously admired, is very depressing.  I believe the accusations and it saddens me to read the increasing number of women speaking out.  Even Kelly Ripa. thinking she was defending him, said that he tried with her, but backed down when she said no.  The fact that the married Cosby would proposition the married Ripa just adds weight to the voices of those women who have spoken out.

25. Where did most of your money go?

About 1/3 of my small income (my personal income, from theater reviews and Social Security) pays for my sponsorship of the 11 children I sponsor through Compassion, Int'l.

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

Seeing Brianna in her first musical, which was also Paul's first musical at about the same age, The Music Man.  I also got very excited about STARZ broadcast of the mini series of Diana Gabaldon's first "Outlander" book.

27. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2014?

No  I'm not a drinker.  I will occasionally have a glass of wine or beer, but sometimes don't even finish the glass.  We had egg nog with my mother at Christmas (just one glass).  I am a disappointment to my long familial line (both sides of the family) of alcoholics.

28. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2014?

Do aspirin and Aleve count?  Even counting them, almost none.   Definitely nothing not prescribed or available over the counter.

29. Did you treat somebody badly in 2014?

I hope not.

30. Did somebody treat you badly in 2014?

Well, there was that woman who came into Logos and practically held me hostage while she insisted on doing an eye exam on me!

32. What do you wish you'd done more of in 2014?

Something not physically possible--spending more time with Brianna and Lacie.  But I'm happy for the times we had and that Bri and I are becoming buddies now.

33. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Crying.  I seem to have very labile emotions these days.  I cry at the drop of a hat.

35. What was your favorite TV program(s)?

The Daily Show, NCIS, Scandal, White Collar, Criminal Minds, Big Bang Theory, Jeopardy, The Amazing Race

36. What song will always remind you of 2014?

"Let it Go" from Frozen.

37. How many stage shows did you see in 2014?

I reviewed fewer than previous years (only 46) because of being out of town or otherwise unavailable.  But I saw others that I did not review, like Lamplighters shows, Brianna's Music Man, and my favorite show of the year, Finding Neverland,  which we saw when we were visiting the kids in Boston.

38. Did you have a favorite stage show in 2013?

Finding Neverland, the musical of the movie about the writing of Peter Pan.  Though NY critics are not being very complimentary at this point, I absolutely loved it...and what do NY critics know about the average American theater goer's tastes anyway?

39. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I don't make musical discoveries--I don't listen to music enough!

40. What was the best book you read?

"Upstairs at the White House, My Life with the First Ladies," by J.B. West, an old book my friend Kathy gave me, but absolutely fascinating.  I learned more about the presidency and families in the White House (from Eisenhower to Reagan) than I ever knew.
41. What was your favorite film of this year?
We have seen a grand total of TWO movies in the theater this year, Big Eyes and Into the WoodsBig Eyes was my favorite of those two.

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

I turned 71 in February.  It was a low key lunch at Atria, where Ned and Marta brought a cake for me, and Walt took me out for a sushi dinner.

43. What did you want and get?

A photo book about San Francisco from the 1940s to the 1960s -- my era!

44. What did you want and not get?

World peace

45. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A phone call from Peggy with an explanation.  I'm over it--but I still will never stop wanting to find out what happened.

46. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Thick fuzzy sox (and how nice that Brianna loves getting them for me!)

47. What kept you sane?

Writing my journal, I guess.  NCIS marathons are good too.

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

I don't "fancy" (as in heart going pitty pat) celebrities any more, but favorite celebrities would have to include Robin Williams, especially learning all the things about him we did after his death.  I also enjoy watching Mark Harmon and Jim Parsons.  I adore Jon Stewart.  On the female side there is Rachel Maddow, Angelina Jolie (more for her humanitarian work), Judi Dench, and Maggie Smith (whom I finally saw in the delightful Quartet...quite a different performance than she gives in Downton Abbey!)

49. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Make the most of today because you may not be here tomorrow.

50. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
All this joy, all this sorrow
All this promise, all this pain
Such is life, such is being
Such is spirit, such is love

-John Denver

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