Edited to add: I’m doing the 365! I started a new blog for it, and will update it daily. http://www.365matters.blogspot.com/
You know those light-trail pictures? Like the one posted here? That it what this year feels like. It is all a blur. I could go on with all the clichés about how fast time goes by and all that, but I won’t. Time goes by at a steady speed of one second at a time. When I am enjoying myself, those seconds go by very quickly. And when I am not enjoying myself, those seconds seem like an eternity. Luckily this year had a lot of good seconds.
Despite the gloomy financial forecast and despite the recession and despite the oncoming so-called Terrible Two’s times two, I am optimistic that this is going to be a productive and focused year. Within the first or second month, I think I am going to have some exciting news to share! Something I want to talk about now, but can’t, for reasons that will be clear. And no, it has nothing to do with fertility or babies or trimesters. How’s that for a cliff-hanger?!
So good-bye 08! And here is my end-of-year round-up:
Things I Am Happy To Leave Behind: The whole political season. And the word Change, which is so overused and logo-ed and gimmicked that it has been diluted of any true meaning for me. I think we should leave “change” in 2008 and adopt “action” in 2009. Action is the new change.
Biggest Holy Crap Moment: We bought a second home and became, I essence, my mother’s landlord at the same time. At maybe the worst economic times of my life. Holy crap.
I Never Thought It Would Happen, Part 1: After months and months of trying, I finally got the girls to tune into television. This seems counterintuitive, because isn’t limiting television a worthier goal? Yes, it is, but I need to have some pockets of time during the day when the girls are engaged in something so I can do things, like write about them on my blog. We only let them watch Sesame Street, and it used to be once a day. Then it became once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. Now it can be once in the morning, once in the afternoon and anytime Momma needs a break. (just kidding, sort of.) Now, of course, I have created monsters. They bring me the remote all the time and demand ABBY! They are the consummate Abby Cadabby fans.
I Never Thought It Would Happen, Part 2: The girls go to bed at 6:30 p.m. and sleep a good thirteen hours and they take three-hour naps in the day. Not bad, considering we started the year with them waking almost every morning at 4:30 a.m. to start their days, followed by intermittent and unreliable nap schedules. Having regular sleeping times makes me much saner. I’m sure it benefits the girls too.
Best Movie: Slumdog Millionaire and Frozen River were my favorites, both seen solo at the Lincoln Center theater. But Revolutionary Road is a close third, mainly for the last ten minutes of it. Amazing how much was said in those final, final moments.
Best Book: I read 26 books this year, which averages one every two weeks. Not bad, but still about twenty books behind President Bush. How is it the leader of the free world has so much time to read? I read an article about all the books that all the presidents read and it is much more than anyone I know is able to read. Olive Kittredge was the best written one I read, followed closely by what I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I really loved Edgar Sawtelle too. Great themes and some solid wring but a little long in parts.
Personal Pride Moments: I published the first two years of my blog into a real hard cover, dust jacketed book; a gift for the girls. And I edited a book and made some decent money doing too. Most valuable was that I remembered that underneath my oatmeal-dotted shirts and milk-stained jeans and sometimes ragged mommy appearance, I am a thinking woman who has certain skills.
Biggest Musical Surprise: Some of the Sesame Street songs are pretty catchy (“….and if I’m not mistaken, there’s an “i” in “thigh.”). And now, thanks to that show, I have an interest in Keb Mo.
Healthiest New Habit: Continued the running thing. It is amazing to think when I started I could barely run a quarter mile without having stop. And now I can do a good four miles plus at a solid ten-minute mile pace. And I can do a good nine-minute mile if I have some energy reserves. And I can even sprint for short bursts. My goal this year is to kick the gym treadmill to the curb and embrace outdoor running, rain, snow or shine. Also, I kicked my coffee creamer habit and switched to soy creamer instead. Baby steps.
Unhealthiest New Habit: Unfortunately, I have stopped my regular water drinking. I began to decrease my consumption because I found that when I was out with the girls it was impossible to use a bathroom. And drinking water guarantees hourly visits. I also tapered down when I found out my Nalgene was going to kill me. Transitioning to the Sigg was difficult. I do not like change. Regardless of why, the ramifications are terrible: I can see a difference in so many things, like how much slower my skin heals and how dry my skin gets. Ragged cuticles. Weaker nails. Lackluster hair. Water really is the miracle cure-all and I need to start drinking it again.
Biggest Computer Addition: Facebook and its time-sucker, Scrabble. I have played something like 60 games of Scrabble online this year with friends. My highest points for a word was 99 points for wraiths. I am mastering my parallel play skills and hope to break my high score this year.
Best Home Improvement: We painted the red entryway and hallway linen white. It makes a huge difference. I no longer feel like I live in some sort of bordello. That was fine when we were living the go-go life (ha!) but with kids, and spending a lot of time in the home now, the red was very claustrophobic. We also finally started to hang pictures, after five years of living here. When Nicole hangs a picture, it usually takes a ladder, several writing instruments, hammer, nails, a baseball cap, a level, tape measure and about four hours. Now that she has lowered her standards considerably, things are getting done much faster. Thank goodness. She hung up three pictures and several things in the kitchen in about five minutes.
Brush with Fame: I was on the Today Show, and Al Roker asked me the girls’ names on national TV. Hello, fifteen seconds of fame! And then Nicole and I and the girls were on this segment quiz called Who Knew. Hello, 15 more seconds. My ridiculous goal for ’09 is to be selected for a makeover. Yes, it has always been a dream of mine to be an After. Nicole said I am — and I quote — too beautiful to make over. She, as my wife, is required to say things like that. Still, a girl can dream of a haircut and color and new make-up and clothes. And if that doesn’t happen, maybe someone out there can just do my hair one day.
Most Played Songs on my Running iPod: Sugarbaby, So What, How Far We’ve Come, Heart of the Matter. Top album played is the new Pink album. But since I run on a treadmill with a TV on it, I spend most of my time watching the morning news. Weather and traffic on the fours! Darlene, back to you! Da-tails coming up! I want to transition back to mostly music, though. Forty-five minutes of redundant morning news makes me a little robotic
Wildest Animal Seen: We saw a bear crossing a windy country road in Northampton. I made Nicole stop the car and begged her to turn the car around, but she merely indulged me with a glance in the rear view and sped right along. Now I guess I know why she was in a rush. (See relationship highlight, below.)
Relationship Highlight: Engaged (proposed to at Paradise Pond on Smith campus) and married (in Look Park in a gazebo on a perfect fall day) in the same year! You can now call me Wifey McWiferson. Included in the Matrimonial package are a few rights, but none of those oh-so-coveted federal ones. Obama? Are you listening? Remember all that change you spoke of? This is where that change should become action. Oh wait, you don’t believe in my marriage, do you? But you support my happiness. Gosh, what a difficult position for you to be in (ok I will stop being snarky. Yes, I used the word snarky.)
Relationship Lo-lights: A riddle: It seems that someone has a hard time sharing stresses and worries with someone else because someone else absorbs said worries and makes them her own and runs around the apartment yelling “We’re doomed! We’re doomed” even when we are not, in fact, doomed. Sometimes someone needs to just listen and stop turning it back to her. I think we all know who someone is in this scenario. And here’s another one: Someone needs to sometimes stop thinking about work and doing work and work work work and sometimes just sit down and listen to her wife talk on and on and on about nothing in particular. Just saying….
When Did I Become this Person?: Apparently in 2008 I became susceptible to infomercials. Yes, after viewing infomercials (at the gym, on the treadmill) I have purchased two random products: The Magic Bullet (an amazing blender system, for all of you with dirty minds) and a hair straightener (which works really well). Next up, a thighmaster and a real estate buying program. Just kidding. Perhaps this is a drawback of running. Yet another reason to get out on the gym and onto the streets. So to speak.
When Did They Become These People: Madeline and Avery are growing, and not just in their bellies. They eat three meals a day, sitting at the table. They climb by themselves into their seats. They are using spoons and forks (in a messy way) and drink from a cup if I feel like supervising them. They love playing in the tub. If you tell Avery to hug Maddie, she will run over to her and grab her and give her a bear hug. The run and climb and Avery can jump and get both feet off the ground. They are good eaters: For dinner they had chicken cutlet and broccoli and potatoes and blueberries. Maddie loves blueberries and yogurt and grapes and most fruits. Avery loves pasta with sauce. They both have acquired a taste for my favorite snack, pretzels. Madeline loves Nicole to the ends of the earth and will chose her over me almost every time. They call her Ammy, even though they can say Mommy. They call me Momma. Avery loves to dance and Maddie loves to sort and organize And they both love to climb into our laps to read any book. They say Abby, woof, moo, meow, doggie, shoes, duck, quack, sock, ammy, momma, nana, and are just starting to explore the word NO. All words are said in this funny little accented way. Avery said her first sentence: NO MOMMA! And she meant it. Avery is starting to try repeating words said to her. Maddie calls everything she doesn’t know ZiZi. Who could ask for anything more?
Pictured above, the girls a YEAR ago.