Monday, December 30, 2013

40 Questions

For the 9th time, I present to you my...

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Became a Pampered Chef Consultant! I've always thought about doing it, but upon moving back home, I decided to go for it. And I love it! I also started attending a Lutheran church... never saw that one coming.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I'd say I did a pretty good job last year! My resolution was "to live simply, unmaterialistically,and give myself a break from taking on too many responsibilities." For the most part, I think I succeeded. I don't feel nearly as attached to 'stuff' any more, and most of the attachment I do feel towards it is practical rather than materialistic. I've also managed to not get involved in lots of things. In fact, I can say that I'm doing great at doing nothing, maybe to a fault!

This year my resolution is to rigorously save money, to get a little more exercise, eat a little healthier and lose about 15 pounds. That second half is likely to be a failure, but I'm going to try. Don't you just love the optimism? Also, I'm going to have lots of sex. All of these are a part of my 2014 Theme "Satisfaction" - being satisfied with what I have and where I'm at. Changing what I can but being satisfied with what I can't. And sex, well, that's just satisfying.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister-in-law Katie gave birth to a gorgeous wee daughter, my niece, Erum. And I have two more nieces/nephews due in the upcoming year!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My grandmother, my Mamaw, died early this year.

5. What countries did you visit?
We didn't *visit* any new countries, but we started the year living in Scotland and ended the year living in the USA. As for new places visited, though, we travelled to Seattle, WA for the first time.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Last year I answered: "A simplified, uncluttered wardrobe, house and life." Boy, did I get that, and then some.

I don't know about lacking it in 2013, but by the end of 2014 I'd like to have a plan.  A life plan. A rough guide, more like, since my plans never go according to plan.  I'd like to know where we are going to finally settle. I'm a settler; I need to be in a place and stay there, make roots, and become a part of the place.  I'm not a part of this place right now, but I want to figure this out in this next year.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?
18th of June. The day we moved from Scotland back to America. A happy, sad date.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I guess immigrating my husband and three children to the USA was a pretty big achievement. There are who knows how many people out there who are dying to do the same thing we did. It was a big undertaking too.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't think I moved back to America in the most graceful way. I was pretty babyish about it. Nothing went the way we planned it. Saying that, I'm still trying to buck up and take it like an adult, but even now I still can't help feeling like ending up back in my home town was kind of a fail. I know, I KNOW, I'm being childish. Everything happens for a reason and all that. I'm very thankful in a lot of ways that we ended up here instead of Fayetteville. I get to be around my family and some old friends which is hugely awesome. I'm so thankful for that. But I'm a human and allowed to have petty human emotions about it, and I don't like being back in this particular area.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No injuries or illness with me (besides feeling rather depressed in these months post-move), but back in April, Lolly got her finger jammed in a door and severed it almost right off. It was gross. The tip of her finger hung on by a flap of skin. I never blogged about it, because my dear, dear friend who was watching her at her house at the time was so distraught over it. I never once blamed her at all for it. Accidents happen, especially with kids. It was a scary experience though. She had to go under general anaesthesia at the children's hospital to have it surgically reattached.

Lolly at A&E

11. What was the best thing you bought?
We had to buy so many new things this year, most of them pretty mundane, but I'd say Scott's car and our fantastic king size mattress are two of them. Scott would probably say his new computer was tops.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
I can hardly believe I'm saying it, but this year Lolly deserves a mention. She's always been a real 'handful' (to put it ultra-mildly), and she still is, but she's changed a lot this year. She's more considerate of other people, more willing to help out, more eager to please. She's still maddeningly defiant, stubborn and uncontrollable, but I think she's grown a lot in the past six months. She sometimes really does care about other people.

13. What regrets do you have about the past year?
Sometimes, if I'm honest, I regret moving. I only feel that way in an emotional sense, though.  Practically speaking, I know without a doubt we made the right decision.  There are so many better opportunities for us out here. But my wee heart is still so attached to Scotland, that sometimes I just wish we'd never left. That's got to be normal right? In general, however, I have no regrets. I don't really do 'regrets'.  The past is the past, and it influences who we become.  I really don't tend to regret things I've done or not done; I just extend and grow out from them, like a tree branches.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Into moving to America. No single doubt about it.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I got really excited about sending Fifi to a charter school in Northwest Arkansas and went to crazy lengths to get her into it. (All to turn around and have to turn down our space because we didn't move there.) I got really excited about Fifi playing the part of Gretl in The Sound of Music in the Greenock Beacon Arts Centre. She was amazing, so incredibly good. And most recently, I got reallly, really, really excited about visiting a couple of our oldest friends, Jonathan and Sarah, in Seattle!

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2013?
There was one song on one of the Glee soundtracks that reminds me of a very emotional moment back in Scotland preparing for the move. I had the afternoon free of children, and I was in the kids' room clearing out. It was very hard for me to make the kids get rid of so many toys. It felt really cruel. Anyway, so I was feeling very emotional about moving, and leaving so many people and things I'd grown to love and that had formed me into the woman I'd become. This song, 'As If We Never Said Goodbye' from Sunset Boulevard, came on, and though for the most part it had nothing to do with my situation, this line caused me to burst into tears.
I've spent so many mornings
Just trying to resist you.
I'm trembling now,
You can't know how I've missed you!

Missed the fairy tale adventure
In this ever spinning playground,
We were young together.

It described how I resisted moving to the US for so long, how much I missed my family and friends back in the US, and how much I'd soon miss my family and friends in the UK.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder? I've been both ridiculously happy and overwhelmingly sad.
thinner or fatter? Still kinda overweight, but a lot more okay with my shape and size. Acceptance, satisfaction.
richer or poorer? A little richer, I guess, but not feeling like it matters any more. :)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Last year's answer: Exercise.
This year's answer: Exercise.

I also wish I'd just spent a little more time with family and friends in Scotland, though I know that's silly. I spent as much quality time with everyone as I could amidst the whirlwind of immigration. But I still wish I could just have another couple of days with people.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I don't know. Complaining, probably.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We went to a Christmas Eve candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve.  We spent Christmas morning with my mom and step-dad and my brothers and their families. We spent Christmas evening at my aunt's house with the whole extended family. It was the first time in heaven knows how long that all of the cousins were back together again. It was awesome seeing everyone again and meeting my cousin in Dallas's son. Then the following Saturday we had Christmas with my dad and step-mom and again my brothers' families.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
This year, I spent the most time on the phone with my in-laws, Andy and Marion. I love them so, so much. (And they are both coming out to America in three weeks!!!)

22. What's your best memory from 2013?
This year is so entirely split in two that I'll need to answer in two parts.

My greatest Scotland memories of 2013 are:
-Seeing Fifi in The Sound of Music.
-Camping in Heather's mum's camper with Heather, Paula and Elaine at Millport and getting to go on a boat ride.
-Staying in Sheila's holiday home in Kingussie with Scott, and visiting all the local sites, like the Wildlife Centre and the CairnGorm Mountains in the snow.
-Staying in Kingussie again with close friends, to say goodbye in style and with wine.
-My last strawberry daiquiri with Maria at Flava. (Okay, who's cutting onions here?)
-The last night in our old flat, with all the furniture gone and suitcases packed, with Andy and Marion, eating pakora and Kate and Faisal and Adam showing up with Irn Bru. One last hurrah. (What's with the fricking onions?!!)

My greatest American memories are:
-Visiting Jonathan and Sarah in Seattle, of course.
-Our first of many Thanksgivings and Christmases with my Arkansas family

23. How have you seen yourself grow as a person this year?
I don't know if it's considered growing... I can tell you how I've changed.

I've let go of ties. I've let go of things that have held me in place. In a lot of ways, I'm floating right now, trying to find a place to land and take root. Right now, I have no roots, I have no foundation. I'm discovering who I am and what I believe in the very depths of myself. Some of it isn't what I'd like to see, but I'm aiming for acceptance. I've never been a pretender, not with myself or with anyone else, but now I feel I'm going even deeper and I'm trying to decipher even more what is under there, in areas that have always been undercover. I'm so glad that I've had all this down time since moving here, because it's given me time to reacquaint myself with me.

That's pretty lame, Lori.

24. What was your favourite TV programme(s)?
I've been watching some random shows on Netflix like Heroes, The League and Arrow. Out of boredom, mostly. I'm still keeping up with Glee and HIMYM, and I finished Dexter.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?
I read the whole Harry Potter series and I read Silence by Shusako Endo. That was probably one of the most life-changing books I've ever read. In a sad, good way. I can't believe I never wrote a review on that. I must remedy that.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Though I sound totally pretentious saying this, because I've only listened to a few songs on one album, Scott is getting me onto Band of Horses. It all started with this song....

I also liked this song and need to listen to the album more. Thank you, Scott, for your musical tastes.

And finally, this band, and this song.

28. What did you want and get?
A cat.

29. What did you want and not get?
A car. (My own car.)

30. What were your favourite films of this year?
I'm sure we saw some films, but I can't really think of anything that stood out. Took the kids to see Frozen, and we all liked that. But grown-up films? Don't know.

Netflix, however, has allowed me to watch all kids of old films that I've never seen before.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I had a low key birthday. It was my 31st, and I went out to dinner with my Friday morning TinyTalk mums/friends. It was a lot of fun. They were (are) an amazing group of women. All very strong, smart, genuinely kind and loving, genuinely good. And all married. Sorry, fellas. (I miss you all.)

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I don't know how to answer this question this year. This year has been what it's been. It's been a crazy clash of happy and sad.  When I think about it, I really couldn't say there was more we could've done. We made it through, in tact. I'm satisfied with that.

If I had to answer something, though, I'd say the year would have been more satisfying with all my old clothes! (Very unsatisfying year in the wardrobe department. I miss all of you, my beautiful jumpers!)

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
It started out as usual, I like to dress a little quirky and cute. It's now kind of become a t-shirt and jeans thing for me, since I had to give away all my clothes to move. I've been given lots of clothes from people here, and I'm so incredibly thankful for all of it. I'd be somewhat naked without it. It'll be nice when I can actually look in my closet and see my style though. I miss my style.

34. What kept you sane?
Having a husband and three children I truly enjoy being around. Having my mom around has been great too, and my mother-in-law visiting from Scotland regularly has been a huge one. She and Andy are two of my best friends, and I've been a little lost without their constant presence.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I actually would have had an answer for this one this year. I would've said Pink. She's actually way more awesome than I realized. Like as a person. I only know her popular songs, so I can't really comment on her tunes. But this question got changed last year so...

35b. Which holiday or special occasion meant the most to you?
Scott's 30th birthday was the most exciting, special occasion for me (us) this year. It was for his 30th that we went to Seattle. I had a big 30th birthday bash for mine, but Scott's not a party-person. This was the perfect way to bring in his third decade. With awesome friends in an awesome city.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Last year's answer: "American gun control, health care and same-sex marriage. I'll keep mum about my opinions on each though! This is not a political blog. :)"

This year's answer: Health care and same-sex marriage. And this year I'll say loud and clear, PEOPLE SHOULD GET HEALTH CARE AND BE ALLOWED TO MARRY WHO THEY WANT. In a nutshell. I could discuss further, and maybe I will soon enough. But for now...

37. Who did you miss?
I missed (miss) my Scottish family and friends. All of them. Too many to name. And now I miss Jonathan and Sarah (but they'll be visiting us in Arkansas soon!).

38. Who was the best new person (people) you met?
The best new people I've met have been Lolly's soccer team moms. They are all really cool, nice people, and I need to make an effort in the new year to get to know them better.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
At the end of the day, the best you can be is just honest.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
Early I mentioned some lyrics from the song, 'As If We Never Said Goodbye'. Later in the song come the lyrics:

I don't want to be alone,
That's all in the past.
This world's waited long enough,
I've come home at last!

And this time will be bigger
And brighter than we knew it.
So watch me fly
We all know I can do it!

As I listened in tears to that song over and over again that afternoon, I told myself that this song, despite all the parts that didn't apply, would be the song that summed up my whole year. I'd kind of forgotten about it until now, but I'm glad I've been reminded. This time WILL be bigger and brighter than we knew it. So watch me fly, we all know I can do it!

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