2014: the year in review

1.what did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? started sewing my own clothing. learned how to sew with knits. all kinds of various sewing techniques, like hand-sewing a blind hem & making bias tape. worked with all kinds of fabrics i’d never used before, like canvas & PUL. parented a tiny person who learned how to walk & talk. got kicked off disability. that’s one that practically no one has ever done before, so, you know, what a thrill.

2. did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? i always make resolutions. as far as keeping them…it was kind of hit or miss. i really wanted to move into a two-bedroom house or apartment, & that didn’t happen. i thought about making a new zine & that didn’t happen. it’s just difficult to anticipate the shape a year will take before you’re in it.

3. did anyone close to you give birth?  a few assorted internet/zine friends, a kansas city punk friend, a mom or two i know from baby groups around town. no super-tight bros.

4. did anyone close to you die? a zine friend & his partner. it might be over-stating the case to say we were close, but it was still pretty shocking.

5. what countries did you visit? just the states.

6. what would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? a more sensible & utilitarian sewing space. some sense of security & permission to feel content.

7. what dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? may 24, the day i got the letter about losing my disability. really not a great day.

8. what was your biggest achievement of the year? making it to the end. & learning how to sew garments, i guess. still somehow managing to be a pretty responsive & patient mom despite everything.

9. what was your biggest failure? the few times i lost my patience with ramona. i know every parent does it, but that doesn’t make me feel like i shouldn’t try to remember that she’s two years old & yeah, sometimes she’s going to cry because i can’t magically intuit what she wants, or she’s going to take an hour to walk a block because she needs to explore every rock & crack in the sidewalk.

10. did you suffer illness or injury? depression. lots & lots of depression.

11. what was the best thing you bought? maybe my serger? i will also be pretty stoked about my vintage sewing table if the insert i’m having made for my modern machine ends up working out.

12. whose behavior merited celebration? well, ramona is just the best. last night when i put her to bed, she asked me to kiss her feet, & then her stuffed bunny’s feet, & her bunny’s face, & her face, & specifically her chin. jared has been pretty great about giving me time & space to do my own thing on weekends & evenings, mostly, so i can sew & read without guilt over who is reading ramona the foot book for the 50th time in a week. & a mom friend from playgroup kind of took the lead on resurrecting feminist book club, which is exciting. now i’m in a feminist book club with moms & librarians & mom-librarians! what could be better?!

13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? the DDS employee who kicked me off disability. her argument was that i look after ramona so i must be all good to work a full-time job. never mind that a decent percentage of my parenting involves letting ramona sit on my back & pull my hair. i doubt there are too many jobs where i could do that.

14. where did most of your money go? fabric.

15. what did you get really, really, really excited about? having my disability reinstated. ramona finally learning how to walk. fabric.

16. what song will always remind you of 2014?  “shake it off” by taylor swift. that awkward rap breakdown part in the middle is SO embarrassing, but ramona really likes that song.

17. compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? maybe a bit sadder? it’s just been a stressful year & it hasn’t been easy to shake off the depression that plagued me almost all year.

b) thinner or fatter? fatter. the instant i weaned ramona, i gained like forty pounds.

c) richer or poorer? probably about the same.

18. what do you wish you’d done more of? i just wish i had been able to look at the positive things in my life, like ramona, & been able to feel happy & content with them, without the constant static of anxiety & depression buzzing around my head.

19. what do you wish you’d done less of? filling out paperwork, having to discuss my mental health with bureaucratic strangers, panicking over the future & my to-do lists.

20. how did you spend christmas? we were in boston visiting jared’s family. we had breakfast in jamaica plain. jared & david made toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, & coffee. jared dressed ramona up in a special christmas outfit consisting of an oxford cloth button-down & a sweater vest. he also wore an oxford cloth button-down & a sweater vest. we drove over to newton & hung out for a while. we drank tea & read books to ramona. she went down for a nap & jared & i walked to newton center to get coffee. it was unseasonably warm, so we didn’t even need coats. we cut through a park on the way back & jared showed me where he went to elementary school & we talked about having another kid. after ramona woke up, we opened gifts. we had ramona play santa. we told her who to take the gifts to & she impressed us by doing it properly & helping everyone open their presents. then we had dinner, which was really delicious. turkey, mashed potatoes, completely amazing stuffing with raisins in it, a bunch of other stuff i didn’t eat because i was busy devouring the entire pan of stuffing, & apple pie for dessert. jared’s dad also made sugar-free chocolate raspberry ice, since alana is diabetic, & we let ramona have some. she LOVED it. then we went home, put ramona to bed, & watched a few episodes of “parks & recreation” with david & alana. it was pretty great!


21. did you fall in love in 2014? just more in love with jared & ramona.

22. how many one-night stands? to think there was actually a time in my life when this question was relevant.

23. what was your favorite TV program? some people might not be thrilled to hear this, but i did get pretty into “orange is the new black”. i binge-watched it during the summer, during the worst of my depression, & it really helped me take my mind off myself. i also really like “the mindy project”.

24. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? oh, i probably realized that a few people are more annoying than i originally thought, but i don’t think i’ve had any incidents that have driven me to actual hate.

25. what was the best book you read? i really liked all joy & no fun. it might be worth reading again now that my kid is older. even though all the stuff about balancing kids & career is irrelevant to me.

26. what was your greatest musical discovery? i still don’t listen to much music. i was reminded of how much i love the pet shop boys’ cover of “always on my mind,” i guess.

27. what did you want and get?  well, i didn’t know i would want this going in, but i wanted to have my disability reinstated & thankfully, that worked out. i spent most of the year keeping my eye out for a sewing cabinet & finally bought one in december for $20–a total steal. i wanted ramona to learn how to walk & she did. i wanted to keep improving my sewing & i learned a lot in 2014.

28. what did you want and not get? i wanted to move into a two-bedroom house or apartment. can’t win ’em all, i guess. it also would have been great to get pregnant again, but…maybe in 2015. i also hoped to adopt an awesome cat, but accidentally adopted a terrible cat that i kind of hate.

29. what was your favorite film?  i saw exactly two films in the theater this year: “jaws” & “wild”. they were both okay. though i don’t know why the protagonist of “jaws” would have accepted a job on an island if he’s so scared of the ocean.

30. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?  i turned 35. we had breakfast at first watch & i got the french toast with caramelized bananas & it was amazing. then i went shopping at hancock fabrics while jared took ramona to the playground. i bought myself a serger & we got take-out from the basil leaf cafe for dinner. i got the lasagna, which probably satisfied by yearly allotment of sodium in one fell swoop. i think i also made myself a cake, with my special buttercream frosting recipe made with granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar. it tastes like sweetened whipped cream. it’s incredible. jared & i watched “the grand budapest hotel” on the internet after ramona went to bed.

31. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? not getting kicked off disability. not to be a broken record, but that really, really, really, really sucked.

32. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? well, i got pretty into making dresses, so i wore a lot of dresses when the weather was warm. then it cooled off & i reverted to my standard uniform of jeans, thermal, & hoodie. i made my own thermals though!

33. what kept you sane? this assumes i remained sane.

34. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?  this assumes i’m like 16 years old.

35. what political issue stirred you the most? reproductive justice, always, & all the people that were murdered by police. i know i don’t write much about politics anymore, & i have yet to tote ramona along to a protest, but i do pay attention & i do care.

36. who did you miss? far away friends, & jared while he was at school or off doing research. ramona when she spent a week with her grandparents.

37. who was the best new person you met? it was nice to meet some new moms at toddler gym & story time. even though i don’t think i made any new best buddies this year, it’s nice to see friendly & familiar faces around town when i’m out with ramona.

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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