I started 2006 with a list from 2005: summing up the year, and such. Maybe it should be something of a year-end-blogging tradition: a cap to the “blog every day for a month” exercise. However it shapes up, I’ll keep (or massage) the original questions and add one of my own on the end… maybe? Y’know, just to keep things interesting. Actually, I’ve been compiling these answers in my spare moments for a couple weeks, so they might even be mistaken as well-constructed responses. Sigh. Thirty will do that to you, I guess.
Either way, the list for this year follows: (Feel free to copy and use on your own blog — with your own answers of course. Heck, I copied it from somewhere last year, myself!)
What did you do in 2006 that you\’d never done before?
I personally asked someone for a million dollars — and I meant it. Seriously. And I guess I’ll find out in a couple months if I get the dough to run my project for a few more years. Ah, responsibility.
Did you keep your new years\’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I’ve been through this earlier. Basically, yes, yes, and in summary: work on getting out of bed earlier for more time to write — and some writing goals. Read the link for more details.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
This was the year-of-the-baby, I think.
First, Karin and I became Auntie Karin and Uncle Brad when Lulu came on the scene in August. Other than (maybe) having our own, I don’t think we can get any closer than that.
As for friends and acquaintances, Jori and Matt welcomed Kyran into the world earlier this month. Gene and Lily welcomed Keaton (and we got to go to a red egg and ginger party) over the summer, Shaun and Debbie welcomed Kate earlier this fall, Kristie and Jeff welcomed Ava (way) back in March, and my co-worker finally went on mat-leave and is officially due in the next few days. I’m probably missing some, but send me a photo in the email and it will make the list next time.
Did anyone close to you die?
We did have at least one funeral on the agenda. That’s all I need to say about that.
What countries did you visit?
In May we did a whirlwind trip around Europe. Thus, Germany tops the list as I became enamored with Berlin and drove the autobahn clear across the country in a single day. Rocking. We also became loosely acquainted with Czech Republic after spending a couple days wandering around Prague. Austria was the home of a few good memories, though our one-night stop in Vienna was far too short. An exhausting two days in Budapest, Hungary let us bewildered and amazed, and dying to go back some day. Following a lunch break in Slovak Republic, we spent four nights in Poland (who’s landscape could have been mistaken for Central Alberta) split between two cities, before heading back to Berlin. A week in the Netherlands — top to bottom, East to West, culture, food, and family — followed. And on the way home a couple hours in Heathrow Airport in the UK capped the list.
All in all, I’d be hard pressed to complain about a vacation list like that.
What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
Inspiration. And the time to work on it.
What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 26: That day Sparkle went for an unauthorized early morning rabbit-run and did a high-speed tumble into a utility marker. It’s hard to forget your bleeding puppy in your arms. She’s fine now, but that scar will be there for life.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Nothing stands out, but there were lots of little ones: I launched my project at work, I got some temporary notoriety from a wordpress plugin I built, and I hand-dug fourteen post holes for my fence. Just to name a few things…
What was your biggest failure?
I gave up my gym membership. It was a money thing. I wasn’t using it enough to justify the cost. There are so many reasons for that, but mostly it was just a poorly motivated me.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
Earlier this spring, I twisted my ankle when I stepped off my new deck in the wrong way. I was in bed for a few days and spent most of it in pain and downloading video clips off YouTube to entertain myself. Thankfully I had enough recovery time to get over it before we jetted off to Europe for three weeks. I still get a little twinge here and there… but I guess that’s a little bit of the age coming through.
What was the best thing you bought?
That would be a toss-up between grass (soft, supple sod filling my backyard and letting us play and frolic in the summer sun) or the new couch (big, blue and comfy and waiting for all of us to curl up together to watch movies and relax). I don’t think I can decide.
Whose behavior merited celebration?
My brother-in-law who got out on his own and is now neck deep into some career training. He’s making us all proud. And my sister, who finished her bachelor’s degree a few weeks ago. Letters behind your name are always cool.
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Sometimes there are people who we see nearly every single day. Sometimes those are people who are focused entirely on their own gain and personal attainment. They waste time, money, and opportunity. They sacrifice the work and effort of those around them. They test our moral fortitude to withstand the things they do and defend the mess they make. Sometimes we see these people nearly every day and one day we realize that we’re chipping off little bits of ourselves to maintain composure — but we’d be doing just as much harm to our own spirits to walk away, and we’re bound by things that are too far beyond our control. Those kinds of people, I think, know who they are and I don’t need to name them. I hope those people find a better way to live with themselves and others, but I hope they find it somewhere else and realize I will do anything in my own power not to endure their draining presence again. I don’t wish them ill, but I’m glad they are gone.
Where did most of your money go?
I wish I knew. Ah, no really. Houses and cars are expensive. Mortgage, car payments, bills, landscaping, etc. It all adds up, but it’s worth it.
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Landscaping. Oddly enough, there is something mentally invigorating about working in your own yard. I’ve probably harped on this before, but all those things — building a deck, laying sod, digging post holes — got me out of the house with mud on my hands for most of the summer. I’m usually a winter person, but I’m actually looking forward to spring again for 2007.
What three books will always remind you of 2006?
1) The Wheel of Time, having added copies of the first two in audio book format to my iPod, I spent three months listening to these stories driving back and forth to work every morning. Forty minutes per day of the same characters over and over can really build something up in your head.
2) Ringworld, because as silly of a story as this is, I finally read this cover to cover and enjoyed it. I think I tried this one back in junior high and didn’t follow it. There is more inside than just a story about a big piece of technology.
3) The Time Traveler’s Wife, but only because I brought it along as a vacation distraction through Europe and it became too much of a distraction. I still can’t believe I found time to read the whole thing through, especially amidst a whirlwind European vacation, but it’s woven into that memory quite firmly now.
Compared to this time last year, you are:
a) happier or sadder? About the same. Happier with where I’m going, but sadder about the course of the world these days. It all balances out.
b) thinner or fatter? If I were thinner I’d have eaten more chocolate over the holidays.
c) richer or poorer? I’ll sheepishly admit richer, but then the loans are slowly dwindling and the forty-five percent increase in my home equity didn’t hurt either.
What do you wish you\’d done more of?
Reading. Writing. Thus the new years resolutions. Oh, and playing my saxophone. I need to dust that off more often.
What do you wish you\’d done less of?
How did you spend Christmas?
You know… the whirl-wind family tour in Red Deer. Lots of food, lots of gifts, and a little less alcohol than I’d anticipated.
How did you spend New Years?
It’s shaping up to be rather mellow. We were set to attend one party, but it was canceled last night because the host is ill. We’ll find something to keep us occupied, but it might just be watching a movie and quietly ringing in the new year by ourselves.
Did you fall in love in 2006?
Apart from getting better at recognizing all the different types of love I get to experience nearly every day, I think if I had to say I had a new love (or at least an infatuation) it would be Berlin. Something caught my imagination and I’d like us to live there someday. Sounds corny, but I felt a little bit more balanced there, for some reason. Fleeting dreams, perhaps…
How many one-night stands?
Just Vienna. Karin and I spent a single evening with her and her majestic streets. We promised to call, but I think it may be a while before our paths cross again. See previous answer.
What was your favorite TV program?
Ah, well, I gotta say this new involvement with Battlestar Galactica caught me completely off guard. I know it had something to do with Brett, Lenore and a late-night viewing of the mini-series that kicked it all off, but now it’s become something of a disease: I think I need help. I’m obsessed.
That, and the Office.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn\’t hate this time last year?
Hate is a strong word, but if there was a list — you know, compiled of the top ten — the person who inspired that long speech above about “appalling and depressing behavior” is now firmly on it. Hate, no. A short list of people I’d rather not have in my life, yes.
What was the best book you read?
City of Saints and Madmen, by Jeff Vandermeer. It caught me off guard, and that can be a tough thing to do these days. Would I recommend it? Most people I know might not think it is a — uh — sane book, but if you want to read something weird, it’s on my shelf.
What was your greatest literary discovery for 2006?
SEED. A science magazine, but one that seems to have clashed and melded with a grassroots culture dialog. I even bought a subscription. I just wish it came more often than 6 times a year.
What did you want and get?
A new computer. It was needed, but it was still pretty sweet.
What was your favorite film of this year?
We didn’t go out to many movies this year. But I’ve gotta say that my infatuation and fascination with the films of Hayao Miyazaki continued unabated. Whenever I need a little pick-me-up, I usually pop in a DVD from my growing collection. I shouldn’t admit that, but it’s so. Deal.
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Ah, thirty. You kinda snuck up on me there, didn’cha? Karin threw me a mellow-but-enjoyable party a few days following, but on the actual day: I took it off work, stayed home in the pajamas and spent some quality time with the dog in the midst of a wicked snow storm. I think I did some painting (on my Settlers tiles) and maybe a little writing, too. Because of the snow I skipped class (the only class I skipped) and Karin and I went to the nearby “Curry Fix” for a wickedly-tasty spread of butter chicken and naan. What more could a guy ask?
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
There is one thing, but I’ll keep that project on the hush-hush for now.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
Stable. I got myself dolled up for the new job late last year and then went into something of a holding-pattern, admittedly. Sure, I’ve acquired a couple new shirt and shoes, but overall I might have been wearing this exact outfit last New Years, for all I can say.
What kept you sane?
Painting: not walls but rather all those wee little miniatures and Settlers tiles. It’s cathartic. That, and I took up Tai Chi again in November. It’s too early to tell, but I think that will help things level a little bit.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
It’s sad, but I’m lacking in public role-models this year. No one stands out.
What political issue stirred you the most?
I’ve been politically balanced — moreso — this year. Specifically, the politics at large have been to absurd to commentary. It’s interesting times, indeed. On the other hand, my job has become something of a political dance, and that consumes a lot of energy. Those tend to be somewhat less interesting and more confidential — at least confidential enough not to write down in a blog.
Who did you miss?
Lots of people. The older you get the more you look for inspiration from those who have done it all before. Some of those folks are gone now. And that sucks.
Who was the best new person you met?
See the above answer on babies.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006:
In Tai Chi the first thing we were all told was that this is a personal journey. Yes, there is a certain “perfection” to which each can aspire, but the path we’re each going to take to get there will be unique and our own. Some will progress faster than others. Some will never reach it. But every single one of us can learn something by watching what others are doing on their journey. Never think that you are the best, and never think that you are the worst. There is no such thing.
How is that for a life lesson that can be extrapolated beyond the intended meaning?
A quote that sums up your year:
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