2015 in review

See 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014‘s answers here!

1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28, and spent it jetlagged but in Utah. We went to Sam Weller’s (my favorite book store in Utah), I made a lemon layer cake, and thoroughly enjoyed being home again.

2. What are your strongest memories from this year, and why?
Maybe picking out my wedding dress? I thought the whole “you’ll know when you find THE dress” thing was a myth, but it is not. (At least it wasn’t for me.) I thought I was going to end up with a short, simple, pretty but also practical dress, but I did not. Sure, I tried on short dresses first, but none of them made me feel especially pretty or bridal (even though I don’t know what feeling bridal actually means). But then the wonderful, wonderful saleslady had me try on a long dress, and that felt pretty good. And then she brought me a dress that I didn’t think I’d like, but I’m non-confrontational so I tried it on anyway, and when it slid over my head, I knew. L. hasn’t seen it yet so I’m keeping it under wraps, but two words: French lace.

At Assepoester in Arnhem, which, despite its name, is about the least Cinderella-esque you can get when you’re in the market for a big white dress.

3. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
Get engaged. Oh wait, that’s not true. Um, get engaged and not regret the experience.

When my ex asked me to marry him, I knew it was coming and I kept thinking, no, please don’t do this. But he did and I said yes, because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do when someone wants to marry you? (For the record? No, no it’s not. If only my 15-20 year old knew what I know now, about healthy relationships and boundaries and how love doesn’t require you bending over backwards to accommodate the other and erasing yourself, bad readings of Proverbs 31 and patriarchal theology be damned.)

This time, I knew what was coming and it was perfect. Low key, in the rain in an ikea parking lot (where we had our first kiss in February 2014), and I wanted this with all my heart. I want to marry L. because I can’t see a future without him, because being with him makes me grow as a person, because we complement each other in our joys and our challenges, and because waking up next to him every morning makes me feel so happy to be alive. And because I love Josie and the two are a package deal.

shout out to Jonathan Coulton’s “Ikea” song!

4. What did you want and get?

Job prospects! I sent out about fifteen cover letters+resume sets, and have two job interviews next week. I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch, but even this amount of interest from potential employers helps. I was having a mini existential crisis every other week, fearful no one would want to hire me if I stepped off the tenure track path.  (Kudos to L., for not only listening to five million conversations that all basically boiled down to the same thing, but actively participating in them.)

Slight tether in the line now!
No longer feeling like I’m hurtling into space untethered!

5. What surprised you the most about yourself this year?

How much I mourned when we knew we would leave Utah. I always knew Utah wouldn’t be my forever home, but I don’t think I realized how attached I was to the state and the people I’ve met here until we decided to leave.

6. What would you like to have next year that you didn’t have this year?
A defense date. My advisor is dealing with some health challenges, so we’ve pushed back the idea of me defending for a while. Other thing I’d like to have is a job. And, if we’re being frivolous, I’d like an architecture Lego set because they look like fun. (Santa L. got me this for Christmas! I’ll be building the White House in little Lego bricks in January.)

My sister and I at Dinosaur National Monument.

7. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did! I kept losing weight, started Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution program (it’s dorky but it works!), and tried to put down roots in Utah.

Next year’s resolutions: more writing (both of the personal essay and fiction kind–it’s been forever since I wrote fiction!), and riding my first century. Hopefully an organized one, but a practice solo one is fine too. If I’m really brave, I’ll join a cycling club. Also, I’d like to start really cooking again, trying out new recipes and getting back into a meal-planning groove.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Surviving the upheaval that was spending 2×2 months in the Netherlands and balancing the need to see family and friends with the work I needed to do on my dissertation.

Time spent with my mom? Priceless.
Time spent with my mom? Priceless.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Um, failing to adequately prepare for the move because we were being moved and I didn’t realize how much there is left to do? Also, failing to anticipate just how much stuff L. has acquired. The amount of things I did not know the basement held was mind-boggling.

10. What did you rely on when you were overwhelmed?
Skype with friends. Cuddle time with Josie the Dog. The Salt Lake Public Library (oh, how I will miss that place!)

Meet Lion, Lamb, Rhino, Gorilla, and Froggie. We are obviously super talented at thinking up names for stuffed animals.

11. What are your strongest recommendations for entertainment from this year? (books, television, movies, music, etc)
: Gallavant! Season two premier is this Sunday! Go watch!

Still a fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, SHIELD, Bones, Castle, iZombie (although it’s getting very drama-y and I really want them to resolve the story arc with Major in a way that he doesn’t end up dead, in jail, or something even more dire. And Bones seems to be jumping the shark a little bit. And Castle is doing weird things with the Castle-Beckett relationship. But at least Brooklyn Nine-Nine is pretty much consistently funny!). And NCIS, NCIS LA are consistent favorites, with Criminal Minds and Hawaii Five-O a good back-up.

Books: Andy Weir’s The Martian, Brandon Sanderson’s Legion, Shadows of Self, Warbreaker, Rithmatist, and especially his Steelheart series, Rachel Held Evan’s Searching for Sunday, Jeanne Ray’s Calling Invisible Women, Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Dana Goldstein’s The Teacher Wars,  Terry Tempest William’s When Women Were Birds, pretty much all cozy mysteries written by Elizabeth Peters ever, and SP Bailey’s Millstone City. See my Goodreads Year in Books here.

MoviesThe MartianInside Out (Bing Bong! Sob), Paddington, I guess Star Wars: The Force Awakens if only for the resulting cultural conversation, Going Clear, and The Good Dinosaurs for the incredible artwork, even if the settings didn’t always make sense (self-domesticating dinosaurs?). We also saw a lot of bad movies.

having dinner out with my mom right before I left to go back home to Utah.

12. What music will remind you of this year?

We saw Pentatonix in concert. The venue wasn’t the best (an arena with terrible acoustics), but it was a fun night nonetheless.

At Lagoon (an amusement park) the day after I got home. Jet lag and roller coasters mix just fine, apparently.
At Lagoon (an amusement park) the day after I got home. Jet lag and roller coasters mix just fine, apparently.

13.  What was your most enjoyable purchase?

The annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Amazon had a 30% off deal on black friday/cyber monday and I splurged on the book.

with E. and C. at a Mets game in New York.


At the Natural History Museum, true highlight of the trip.

14. What did you wear in 2015?
Pants bought at Costco! Seriously, I have one pair of jeans from the Gap that I hardly ever wear because all the pants I found at Costco are so super comfy. Also a lot of work out capris because let’s face it, I work from home and the dog doesn’t care what I wear.

At Schiphol Airport, right before I got on a plane and flew away from all these people I love so much.
With A. at Schiphol Airport, right before I got on a plane and flew away from all these people I love so much.

15. Did you travel? If so, where?
Two trips to the Netherlands, a couple crossings over to Germany (including a fun trip to Berlin!), several unrelated flights to California to present at a conference, see my dad, and to check out where we wanted to live. Idaho, to see L.’s family. Road trip with E. to Dinosaur, CO. Wanted to make it over to DC to see my sister but didn’t (resolution for next year!). Did make it to New York to see her. A trip to Escalante National Monument with my dad, and a trip to Cedar City’s Shakespeare festival that included a nearby hike at Kanarra Creek–highly recommended!

slot canyons galore!


16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Road biking, probably.

visiting my grandmother on my dad's side.
visiting my grandmother on my dad’s side.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Can I say dissertation writing? It was brutal.

18. Compared to this time last year, how are you different?
Planning to join the smug marrieds in May, a notion both wonderful and terrifying. (Not the marrying part, but the host of societal expectations that come with marriage.)

19. Compared to this time last year, how are you the same?

I still laugh way too hard at puns. The more terrible, the better.

20. What’s a life lesson you learned this year?

It’s an ongoing internalization of the lesson my old therapist told me years ago: be kind to yourself. Once you’ve got that down, I think, the rest falls into place.


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