2009: year in review

i have been filling out this survey at the end of the every year for damn near ten years. that makes me feel very old.

1. what did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
lived in kansas.
went whale-watching.
owned a pair of high heels.
had a lipstick shade (l’oreal’s “make me blush”).
made a pie from scratch.
ate roasted tomatoes.
took hormone-based birth control.
bought fresh flowers.
used an ipod.
read a copy of “the new yorker” cover-to-cover.

2. did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
every year, i make ten “resolutions” (they are more like goals, priorities, or guidelines, maybe). every year, they are a very mixed bag of both goofy & serious ideas, some of which are easy to implement, & some of which are immediately going to be rejected as impractical. 2009 was no different. i did manage to write a new personal zine before i turned 30 (“love letters to monsters” #2), i saved a shit ton of money (more than i resolved to, even) & traveled a whole lot, but i totally dropped the ball on things like “take a lot of photos” (i didn’t own a digital camera until three weeks ago) & “learn how to relax”.

i definitely intend to make another batch of ten resolutions for 2010, including 1) only do five distro things a day, everyday, because running a distro is a thankless, pitiless profession & i am going to lose my fucking mind if i work as hard this year as i worked last year, 2) read all the “babysitters club” books in chronological order (again–i already did this in 2002 or so), & 3) give it a rest with the “recreational” smoking. (that’s not code for smoking pot. it means that i want to stop smoking cigarettes on vacation & at parties.) & some others. i expect to utterly fail at a few.

3. did anyone close to you give birth?
cory had a baby on halloween, but we are sadly not as close as we were when she had her first son in 2003.

4. did anyone close to you die?
not that i can recall. how shitty will i feel if i’m just forgetting someone?

5. what countries did you visit?
i spent all damn year in the states, but i traveled a lot within the country. i hit like fifteen different states this year!

6. what would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
downtime for which i do not feel guilty, quality hang-out time & good conversation with jared, a friend with whom i can go for coffee on occasion, fewer “bad self-esteem days”.

7. what dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
august 3, the day we arrived in kansas with the moving truck. it had taken us almost two hours to cross the mississippi river because there was road construction & the bridge was down to one lane. it was 10pm when we got to the house, totally dark, probably over 90 degrees, we didn’t have a key to the apartment, & there was a huge spider hanging over the doorway, so i was too scared to unlock the door once we did have a key. we’d been driving for three days with an angry, homicidal cat, we were tired & hungry & dehydrated, & we had to at least move our bed into the new apartment before calling it quits for the night. once we finally got to bed, a thunderstorm rolled in & we discovered that the bed was directly underneath an enormous hole in the wall/ceiling. i woke up literally soaked to the skin–like i’d fallen into a river or something. & i was too exhausted to care & just went back to sleep.

8. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
i moved to kansas with jared & didn’t flip the fuck out, really. i am not the best at change, big or small, & i have historically not been too excited about dating people who are full-time students, but this transition has been extraordinarily smooth. i think this means that a) jared & i have a really solid relationship, & b) i am not as much of a basketcase as i used to be.

9. what was your biggest failure?
it’s weird to consider this a “failure,” because i don’t think it’s something i can help, but my arthritis has gotten a lot worse in the last year. it’s hard now to do things like hold utensils when i am eating, pull a suitcase or granny cart for more than a couple of minutes, carry a handbag (as opposed to a shoulder bag). it freaks me out because i’m only 30.

10. did you suffer illness or injury?
i think jared & i both had some early version of swine flu in january & i had a tooth (not a molar, even) pulled in june, but other than that, it was a pretty healthy year. well, aside from the debilitating bone deterioration mentioned above.

11. what was the best thing you bought?
a lot of really good zines at the portland zine symposium, my cherry-colored john fluevogs, a little otsu day planner, a new computer, & a cat bed for charlotte.

12. whose behavior merited celebration?
i have always hated the way this question is phrased. “merited celebration”? what the fuck? “behavior”? are we dogs? i’m just not going to dignify this with an answer.

13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
see above.

14. where did most of your money go?
plane tickets (twice to kansas & back, once to portland, once to boston), moving expenses, a macbook pro, savings, & pretty much an entirely new wardrobe over the course of the year.

15. what did you get really, really, really excited about?
i’m not sure i am spry enough to get “really, really excited” about anything, but i always feel pretty psyched when jared makes pork loin in wine sauce with mashed potatoes & steamed broccoli for dinner–my favorite meal. i was also excited to go back to boston for the xmas break, & i was very pleased when nicole won on “america’s next top model”.

16. what song will always remind you of 2009?
anything by lady gaga.

17. compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? maybe a touch happier.
b) thinner or fatter? a smidgen fatter. i blame the fact that there is nowhere worth going in kansas, so i sit around all day eating jared’s amazing cooking.
c) richer or poorer? richer. or at least increasingly responsible with money & good at saving.

18. what do you wish you’d done more of?
writing. taking walks. staying in touch with friends. spending quality time with jared. cooking.

19. what do you wish you’d done less of?
dicking around on the internet. doubting myself. moving houses. giving a fuck what assholes think.

20. how did you spend xmas?
sick in bed in the house we were sitting in boston, alone, eating crackers & drinking orange juice & watching “dexter” season one on netflix instant viewing. nothing says “happy birthday, jesus” like vomiting & serial murder.

21. did you fall in love in 2009?
stayed in love.

22. how many one-night stands?
look, i’m not a math major.

23. what was your favorite TV program?
“project runway” (even though season six was a motherfucking yawn), “america’s next top model” (nicole makes up for the miscarriage of respect for vision that was teyona), “friends”, “the simpsons”, & i am getting pretty into “dexter,” though i think it is too soon to add it to the favorites list. i go through these little TV obsessions & then i forget.

24. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
actually, yes.

25. what was the best book you read?
i greatly enjoyed water for elephants by sara gruen, the liar’s club by mary karr (probably the best book i read this year, though obviously not new), operating instructions by anne lamott, the essential dykes to watch out for by alison bechdel, it sucked & then i cried by heather armstrong, into thin air by jon krakauer, girl zines by alison piepmeier, & the harry potter books (read for the millionth time). it’s a little hard to choose–i read right around one hundred books this year.

26. what was your greatest musical discovery?
please. i don’t “discover” new music. i spent the year alternating between a mix CD that nicole made for me when i moved into my last apartment in boston, & a mix CD that lauren martin sent me as a trade for “love letters to monsters” #2.

27. what did you want and get?
to get the fuck out of boston, a credit card, the fluevogs, an ipod, a really nice digital camera, & to add a boatload (almost fifty) awesome new zines to the distro.

28. what did you want and not get?
more time for myself, to find my pace as a writer, more communication with friends, to have really & completely quit smoking, for kansas restaurants to be better.

29. what was your favorite film of this year?
i barely went to any movies this year, so i will just say “harry potter & the half-blood prince” (saw it three times) even though that scene where bellatrix & greyback burn down the burrow was fucking ridonkulous.

30. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
i was 30 this year! awesome! jared took me for breakfast at sorella’s & carissa met up with us there. then he gave me some downtime for writing, before we packed a bag full of extra layers & headed to the harbor to catch our whale-watching boat. we saw a whole bunch of humpback whales, including a mother & baby. we had dinner at some fancy italian restaurant in the north end. i’ll admit it: i ate veal lasagna & it was fucking delicious. sorry, vegetarians. you only turn 30 once (& yeah, i know, those veal never will). then we went back to the house with some beers & jared made me an extremely delicious flourless chocolate cake & bart & david came over & bart pretty much ate my entire birthday cake single-handedly, went all nuts on a sugar high, & then crashed like a four-year-old. after we went to the bed, our fan shorted out & there was a tiny fire & i screamed & jared yelled at me, which made me sad at the time, but the next day, it all seemed pretty hilarious (& he apologized). & charlotte captured a mouse in the middle of the night & jared threw it out the window. all in all, not the greatest day for animals. or bart. but an awesome day for me!

31. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if every single day was sunny & about 74 degrees. & if i could somehow train jared to make me coffee every morning, but i know that will never happen in a million years.

32. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
winter: jeans, chunky sweaters, & sorels, with my hair in a french twist pretty much every single day. wool handbag.
spring: skirts & dresses, all knee-length A-lines, & mary janes. enormously over-sized sunglasses. tote bags. t-shirts & hoodies. cloche hats.
summer: wore my hair in bun every single day. lipstick. scoop-neck tees & unflattering shorts because it’s too fucking hot to give a shit. hot pink sauconys with no socks.
fall: corduroys of every cut & color. turtlenecks & ruffled sweaters. sweater tights. a lot more purple & green.
in sum: i tried to do casual american classics with an urban/european sophistication, but am convinced that i can’t pull off anything too fancy since i weigh more than 110 pounds & am covered in tattoos & pretty much never wear make-up & i use rubber bands from newspapers to put up my hair.

33. what kept you sane?
as much as i hate to admit it…sudoku & the occasional pack of anxiety cigarettes. also, to-do lists, “top model,” harry potter, & therapy.

34. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
no one. i only for eyes for jared. & that is the truth, as much as it weirds me out to say it.

35. what political issue stirred you the most?
abortion abortion abortion. george tiller’s murder. the stupak amendment. WTF with all the wingnut anti-choice/anti-woman assholes? this especially resonated with me because dr. tiller was murdered two months before i moved to kansas. now there is exactly one abortion clinic in the state, should i ever require another abortion. & it is in kansas city. & there is a 24-hour mandatory waiting period, & mandatory anti-choice counseling. & it makes me so fucking angry.

36. who did you miss?
amanda colianni, nicole, & jrae: the triumvirate of my favorite ladies. bart. carissa. LB. my dad. luckily only one of those people is dead.

37. who was the best new person you met?
i am pleased to have re-connected with ailecia after all these years, & to now be her next-door neighbor. i was excited to meet stephanie, even though trying to be friends with a grad student is no picnic. best new zine i read in 2009: “when language runs dry”.

38. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
when jared wears a comically over-sized hat emblazoned with a sports team logo, he totally looks like a teenager trying to sell flomax he filched from his grandpa’s medicine cabinet. & cookbooks are really not joking when they tell you not to work pie dough excessively. i also learned that if i don’t get my morning coffee, i seriously freak the fuck out.

39. what did you devote most of your energy to?
the goddamn motherfucking zine distro. no more of this madness! i’ll shut the thing down before i have another year like 2009. i feel like i barely even had time to breathe with all the work i was doing.

40. quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“but he don’t understand the power of the claw/
the claw, the claw, the claw.”
–“claw” by motorhead

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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