2010: year in review

1. what did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
stayed in a hotel when i attended a zine fair.
lived in philadelphia (just for a few months).
attended a religious service.
bought a car, with my name on the registration & everything.
regularly cooked dinner for two people at least three times a week.
sang “sweet child o’ mine” at karaoke.
wrote fan fiction (not saying i’m proud).

2. did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
every year, i make a list of ten new year’s resolutions, & then i review them the next year & see how i did. i did really badly in 2010. i didn’t keep a single resolution. i kind of half-kept some of them, & others were rendered immediately irrelevant (for example, i resolved to do only five distro things per day, in an effort to give myself more free time…& then i closed down the distro altogether instead, which certainly boosted my access to free time).

i think my resolutions were too specific this year, & that’s why they seem like such a failure. but of course i intend to make more resolutions for 2011 & hopefully this time they will stick. they include things like “learn how to drive & get driver’s license”. it would be great to write a novel this year. it would be great to conceive a baby this year. i intend to quit smoking, stick to my budget, & keep more of my whining & complaining to myself. but i guess we’ll have to wait & see what happens.

3. did anyone close to you give birth?
not that i am aware of.

4. did anyone close to you die?
again, not that i am aware of.

5. what countries did you visit?
i just stayed in the united states all year. but i traveled quite a bit within the states. i live in kansas & managed to hit missouri, iowa, illinois, colorado, oregon, utah, california, pennsylvania, new jersey, new york, massachusetts…

6. what would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
more money socked away in my savings account, cute dresses, more physical strength, a solid baby-havin’ game plan, & more self-discipline for writing.

7. what dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
may 27 was the day we arrived in philadelphia, hence beginning my philly summer. my memory of the day itself is foggy because the first thing we did was hit the bar, but it was probably a lot of fun. also, february 2 was the day i shipped out the last of the zines ordered from the distro, april 4 was jared’s birthday & cait came to visit & brought him carrot cupcakes, & july 21 was the day we flew back to kansas after out summer out east & we circled the kansas city airport for over three hours & eventually had to fly to omaha to refuel.

8. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
this is a weird thing to consider an “achievement,” but i shut down my zine distro this year & that was pretty cool. i’d been running it for like seven years & it had pretty much taken over my life. i’d been toying with the idea of closing it for months, & i am pretty proud of myself for finally making the decision, following through, & not wavering or regretting it. every now & again, i miss it just a little, but i know i made the right choice. i feel a lot happier now & i feel like my relationships with people in my actual day-to-day life have improved as a result.

9. what was your biggest failure?
i definitely didn’t do as much writing as i would have liked. i ostensibly closed the zine distro so i would have more time for my own writing projects, but i really struggled with actually making that happen. i barely wrote in my journal at all, i didn’t finish any really complicated fiction projects. maybe i just needed some downtime after ending one time-consuming long-term project before jumping into another, but that seems like a weak excuse.

10. did you suffer illness or injury?
my arthritis continued to make my health deteriorate. it’s worse than ever now & it really impacts my life in huge ways. i also burnt my thumb really badly lighting a sparkler at a kickball game in july.

11. what was the best thing you bought?
i got a new hard drive for my computer & i’m hoping that will make it last for many years. i also treated myself to a subscription to “writer’s digest,” from which i have derived a lot of inspiration & motivation. jared & i invested a little extra rent money in a bigger apartment, which has been great. we also bought a car, which ought to simplify our lives in a lot of ways (while inevitably complicating them in other ways).

12. whose behavior merited celebration?
“merited celebration” is a really weird phrase. but, you know, i am pretty happy with jared. he always makes me laugh & prevents me from taking myself too seriously. i am also happy that bart made so much effort to come visit with me in philly over the summer. & every conversation i have with jessika rae is always golden.

13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
the biggest disappointment, for a few different reasons, was the behavior of the former friend who alienated me by expressing her feelings of resentment over my disability income. that might be the worst inter-personal thing that happened in my life this year. not only was it really hurtful coming from someone i had trusted, but it also means that i don’t really have a really hardcore, articulate, critical thinking feminist lady in my immediate circle of kansas friends anymore. i love the kansas friends i do have…but i miss the dynamic of having long wide-ranging political conversations with someone.

i was also really disgusted with the selfish, egotistical actions of a zinester who shall remain nameless, but makes me feel very relieved that i am no longer contributing much energy to the zine community. she exemplifies the very worst things about that world, as far as i’m concerned.

14. where did most of your money go?
rent, buying a car, groceries (which suddenly cost like twice as much as they did last year). boring, i know.

15. what did you get really, really, really excited about?
i don’t get “really, really, really excited” about anything. but i was pretty pumped about spending my summer in philly, i was usually stoked about going to karaoke, i am always excited for nice weather after a string of cold or rainy days. maybe i need to make a resolution to be more excitable.

16. what song will always remind you of 2010?
this song, this specific video parody:

also, that ridiculous song by the dude who likes to rock the club while wearing all his favorite brands brands brands brands, & who throws his hands in the air every now & again.

17. compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
probably a little happier.
b) thinner or fatter? fatter, for sure. kansas is just so boring & jared’s cooking is so delicious.
c) richer or poorer? far poorer. it’s stressing me out.

18. what do you wish you’d done more of?
writing, as always. exploring whatever possibilities for excitement kansas may have to offer. wearing real clothes & not just pajamas. allowing myself to be a little more spontaneous.

19. what do you wish you’d done less of?
smoking. having pointless gossip sessions about shit i don’t even care about. traveling. feeling self-conscious.

20. how did you spend xmas?
jared & i went to brunch at alana’s house. alana is jared’s brother’s new lady friend, & she knows a lot of the same people as me (not just from boston, but also from zines). i ate lots of sweet potato biscuits & gravy & tamales with salsa & guacamole, which was great. then i played with a cat until the cat freaked out & hissed at me. then jared, david, alana, & i went to newton to have xmas dinner with jared’s parents. they made a traditional xmas dinner–turkey & mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed pearl onions, cranberry sauce, etc. their tenants–a woman from china & her eleven-year-old son–joined us. we all exchanged xmas gifts. the tenant woman gave me a fabulous rhinestone-studded summer parasol in a little clutch, & jared’s mom gave me a chinese bangle that does not fit properly over my horribly mutated arthritic jumbo wrists. david gave us a painting of a dinosaur playing baseball & zombie fluxx. we ate plum pudding with lemon sauce (amazingly delicious, which is high praise coming from someone who loathes fruit-based desserts) & then played the longest game of fluxx ever, which i eventually won.

21. did you fall in love in 2010?
stayed in love.

22. how many one-night stands?
well, let’s see here…i may need a caluclator…jay kay. zero. who could ever hope to compete with jared for my affections?

23. what was your favorite TV program?
i became pretty obsessed with “dexter,” & also watched the entire series run of both “lost” & “the wire”. oh, & “big love” too. of the three, “the wire” was far & away the best & “big love” was probably far & away the worst. i also kept up with “america’s next top model” & “project runway,” although the magic of both is pretty much completely gone.

24. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
there are definitely a few people i wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire, but “hate” is a strong word.

25. what was the best book you read?
i really enjoyed all the babysitters club books i read this year (around 80 books). i didn’t read the whole series, like i intended, but i had fun with what i did read.

as far as “real” books go, i enjoyed the books i read about terrible mountaineering disasters. even the poorly-written ones (& let’s face it, most of them are poorly-written) were at least a little bit thrilling. i am embarrassed to admit that i really liked the happiness project & just let me lie down. i re-read special topics in calamity physics over the summer, & while it was certainly more gimmicky than i remembered, i still really liked it. the girl who fell from the sky was okay too, if occasionally meandering & plotless (not great for such a short book). sloane crosley’s newest made me laugh. i thought death is not an option by suzanne rivecca was one of the better short story collections i’ve read lately.

but ultimately, i won’t lie. i read A LOT of books this year (about 200) & A LOT of them were just terrible. maybe i need to resolve to read better books in 2011–books i expect good things of, rather than books that just arouse my bitterest curiosities.

26. what was your greatest musical discovery?
i don’t keep up with new music. all i will say is that i enjoy ke$ha’s music a lot more than i expected to when all i knew about her was that she wore a very questionable headdress on “saturday night live,” hence lighting a fire under the hipster american indian cultural appropriation trend.

27. what did you want and get?
a lot more time for myself, many delicious home-cooked meals, an apartment with a bathtub & some fabulous-smelling bubble bath, the chance to visit with a few long-distance friends, central air, some nice books about writing, a completed babysitters club collection, a shawl.

28. what did you want and not get?
a pain-free existence (not that i expected that), a baby, a badass local radical feminist friend who does not say offensive things that make it difficult to be friends with her & does not move away, the willpower to avoid spending all my money on cigarettes, self-discipline & finely tuned organizational skills.

29. what was your favorite film of this year?
i don’t know, so i’ll just fall back on my usual go-to & say “harry potter & the deathly hallows, part one”.

30. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
i turned 31 this year. jared came down to philly from new york to visit with me. we got up in the morning & collected amanda & went to breakfast at the popular breakfast cafe in south philly where all the employees have tons of tattoos & stuff. i don’t remember what i ordered, but i’m sure it was great. i do remember that my coffee was served in a glass cup, which was weird, because the coffee made the cup really hot & i kept burning my hands.

after breakfast, i saw a cat on the street & played with it for a while. & amanda spilled coffee all over the sidewalk. we jumped on the bus & went to the zoo, where we saw tigers & that is really all i care about. i love tigers! we also saw other large cats, big scary birds, peacocks walking around like they owned the place, playful giraffes, crazy otters, etc. unfortunately, the zoo closed like an hour & a half after we got there, so we really didn’t get to spend a lot of time with each animal, & we didn’t have time to ride in the zoo balloon, which was really disappointing.

we took a cab back to south philly & picked up ingredients to make baked ziti & flourless chocolate cake. i guess we also got beer at some point, because i remember drinking it. kate & sarah came over & i think it was just the five of us hanging out. after sarah left, amanda brought out a strawberry shortcake pinata & it took me so long to break it open (occasionally coming dangerously close to hitting jared instead) that my arms got really tired. & it was completely dark out, so amanda & i were finding candy in her garden for days afterward.

it was fun! the only thing that could have improved matters were if we’d planned out our timing a little better. therefore, i resolve to figure out what i want to do on my birthday & make sure i have plenty of time to do it this year before it closes. topeka zoo, i’m looking at you.

31. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if every single person in the world conducted themselves with utmost self-awareness, honesty, personal responsibility, & empathy. but i would settle for lawrence residents making the effort to shovel their sidewalks after it snows.

32. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
winter: corduroys & turtleneck sweaters, sorels, a pink crocheted hood & a black wool coat that apparently makes me look pregnant is the dude at the post office who asked me if my baby was kicking is to be believed.
spring: i am seriously asking myself if i put on real clothes at all for the entire spring. i think i mostly just wore pajamas pants, a t-shirt, & slippers.
summer: it was so fucking hot this summer that dignity went out the window. i was all about baggy jean shorts & t-shirts or hideous sleeveless dresses with leggings. hair was always in a bun, socks were never worn.
fall: jeans, jeans, & yet more jeans. sweaters that kind of look like jackets. finally got a haircut so now i have bangs. gave up on ever wearing contacts & just wear glasses everyday.
in conclusion: i like what is easy & what is plain. nothing with obvious logos or slogans or anything. hair off the face, whatever is comfortable for the weather, & whatever is best-suited for laying around the house.

33. what kept you sane?
coffee, cigarettes, logic puzzles, home-baked cookies, walks, water, & books (yay for the lawrence public library!).

34. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
not applicable. jared is the best.

35. what political issue stirred you the most?
radicals/liberals becoming rape apologists for julian assange. climate change & the concept of peak water. the racist arizona immigration bill. republicans attempting to pass legislation rescinding citizenship for babies born in the united states if their parents are undocumented. crazy fucking tea partiers winning mid-term elections.

36. who did you miss?
jared, when he was in new york & i was in philly. that situation was so much harder than i expected it to be. i also missed jessika rae, bart, alyssa now that she lives in columbia, etc…

37. who was the best new person you met?
i will say kelly, just because of the awesome way we met. one day, a lady rides her bicycle into a ditch right before your very eyes, & the next day, she’s your buddy & you are there when she gets locked in every public restroom in the tri-county area.

it was also pretty cool to meet alana. i was just really pumped about all the people we knew in common & how she seems genuinely interesting & unpretentious.

38. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
i learned that feminism matters more to me than pretty much anything else at the end of the day, which was kind of surprising & eye-opening. i also learned that it really is better to make a roommate into a friend than a friend into a roommate. i learned how to fit myself for a bra, i learned that i don’t have to keep doing something i hate just because i’ve been doing it for a while, & i learned that over-the-counter painkillers, when taken in excess, can cause liver failure.

39. what did you devote most of your energy to?
organizing my to-do lists. sad but true.

40. quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“there a place i know/
if you’re looking for a show/
where they go hardcore/
& there’s glitter on the floor.”

this is pretty much the attitude i try to bring to karaoke, & 2010 was my best karaoke year yet.

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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