Tomorrow I celebrate my 101st birthday. Since it falls in the middle of the year, I like to take this opportunity to look back over the past year and contemplate what I want to do next.
What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
Worked a job that had something to do with my background and aspirations. Attended a conference as a representative. Picked up a musical instrument and learned to dance (tap and blues dance, with a diversion into swing).
Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My main NYR was to find a job, and I did that. I am still thinking about what my resolutions for this year will be.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister-in-law, as well as one of the PhD students in the lab.
Did anyone close to you die?
There were a few close calls, but no deaths, thank God.
What countries did you visit?
Does DC count?
What would you like to have this year that you lacked last year?
A greater sense of fulfillment from within, as opposed to looking outside myself for validation.
What dates from this year will remain etched upon your memory and why?
The day I started at the lab; the day I worked at the State House; the whole of the first blizzard, which dovetailed with the conference I attended.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting and hanging onto a job in my field! Seeing my byline on some internally-circulated documents. Learning the ukulele and sticking with it.
What was your biggest failure?
I’ll plead the fifth here.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
Does injury of pride count?
What was the best thing you bought?
Dead heat between the Janet Klein Flapper Firefly Banjolele and the tickets for Boston Calling I scored. (Replacements, woo!)
Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My boss, who has the patience of a saint; Gentleman Caller’s…oh, and my tap teacher and my ukulele teacher, for helping and encouraging me.
Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The jabroni with the drawn-on eyebrows. Also, the admin at my neurologist’s practice, as well as her nurse.
Where did most of your money go?
Rent or fixing my teeth.
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Working at the lab! Having a job where I feel fulfilled and happy.
What song will always remind you of this year?
“Little Mascara” by the Replacements; “I Summon You” by Spoon; “Books About UFOs” by Husker Du (the first song I learned on the ukulele); pretty much everything I’ve heard so far by the Dirty Projectors; “Goin’ Up on a Tuesday” (what?); “Take 5” by Dave Brubeck; “Te Doucement” by Blossom Dearie
Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier, but aware of the transience of happiness.
b) thinner or fatter? My vintage garbadine tux pants don’t lie; I still haven’t shed my blizzard weight.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Hung out with my cohort.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Feel disdainful towards the millennials what surround me.
How did you spend Christmas?
Arguing with my family. Next.
Did you fall in love in 2010?
Stayed in love, which is better.
What was your favourite TV programme?
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Dead heat between the Dolores Umbridge of Nonprofits and the Martinet.
What was the best book you read?
Probably We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, thought Missing Reels was a lot of fun.
What was your greatest musical discovery?
DIRTY PROJECTORS. Also, son jarocho.
What did you want and get?
A new ukulele!
What did you want and not get?
Did pretty well this year — can’t seem to think of anything.
What was your favourite film of this year?
I Am Big Bird, Every Everything, The Mighty Uke, Sandwiches That You Will Like, that new print of The Rules of the Game, Dear White People, The Third Man for the umpty-bazillionth time. My taste in film has de-evolved to the point where I just want something entertaining while I knit and/or frog. (I also enjoy crying in public.)
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Hung out in Northampton, buying yarn, looking at Louise Fitzhugh’s drawings for Harriet the Spy, and recovering from my attempt at being a rock promoter.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I wish I’d decided to make an EP of murder ballads before I came up with the idea to do a punk tribute EP.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
New wave fairy godmother-meets-Lucy Van Pelt.
What kept you sane?
Knitting and the love of Gentleman Caller.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Young Alex Chilton and Tom Verlaine. And Britt Daniel.
What political issue stirred you the most?
Ferguson, which has a direct impact on the work I do.
Who did you miss?
My dad, who died of pancreatic cancer on my birthday 18 years ago.
Who was the best new person you met?
Evan, Treasure, Johnny, Jess, Jenny, and Amy.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned this year.
If you don’t know how to be responsible, ask.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year