Back with the quiz I've posted yearly since 2004. 2016 was quite a year. Can't call it "good" or "happy" with the shadow of 2007 still in strong force, but it was momentous, challenging, eventful, and carries a definite sense of heading in the right direction. 2016 was significant for changes and discoveries. I wrote an essay in April, five years past the half-life mark of meeting t'DoL, about how the essay I wrote for that anniversary had a major impact on my life...and is still making a positive impact. Another huge life-changing revelation came in early October, when I learned about the correlation between birth control and depression. Now I see more contributing factors to the horror of 2007, and possess cause to hate myself/blame myself less over it. Not to mention the major transitions of becoming petless and downsizing to a smaller place, as well as taking on debt after 14 years without a penny of it. Whatever 2017 brings me, it is bound to be interesting.
1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before? Be "homeless," since my lease expired while I was on vacation in Canada at the end of July, and my new place wasn't available until August 12 (and I didn't get moved in to stay until the 14th). I'm very glad it was a short interval and extremely grateful for the lodging the Towners provided!
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No, didn't have any, and no, won't make any. Years just get shorter, the older I get, and I'd rather focus on "life resolutions" instead.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, my sister-in-law gave birth to baby number nine: Talia Joy.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Using differing definitions of the word "close" there were two painful losses in 2016. On February 13 the death of Antonin Scalia, associate justice on the US Supreme Court and probably my biggest living hero. I did not even realize just how much he meant to me until that shocking and unexpected news. His unwavering devotion to the Constitution as written, fierce intelligence, and at-once poetic and blunt use of language all won my heart quite completely. I find myself now, living in a world without him, feeling free to leave my country in a way I could never have imagined before (not that it will necessarily happen).
And on May 23 my cat Shado, after enjoying a half-year with him subsequent to his coming down with congestive heart failure. What a blessing to have known him for nearly 13 years, and that he lived over 13 years, which I never expected after his heart defect was discovered. My last pet for I-can't-guess-how-long, nor can I imagine any cat ever getting closer to me than he did.
5. What countries did you visit? I made it back into Canada and got to see British Columbia for the first time, which I really enjoyed.
6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? Solvency.
7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I don't remember dates well at all, but there's a certain day's events I won't forget anytime soon! My mom, her friend Cindy, and I were headed from Jasper National Park back to Vancouver. We'd covered a good 5 hours of travel and were approaching the city of Kamloops when...my mom suddenly remembered that she had left her passport in the safe back at the hotel. So had Cindy. (I, being mistrustful of my decrepit memory, never put it in there to begin with.) So that meant forfeiting our lodging for that night, turning around and retracing 5 hours of driving (which we got to retrace AGAIN the next day) and missing out on a lot of fun stuff in Vancouver we'd hoped to do. At least that region of British Columbia is just gorgeous, if one must drive the same long stretch multiple times in a row!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? For the year, I expect it would be wrapping up the first draft of my ninth novel faster than any other novel. For an achievement spanning multiple years: making it to the end of 2016 without calling in sick at work! The last time I had to take unplanned time off was due to my vertigo on January 5 of 2011. I've been looking forward to this milestone, so five clean years and approaching the sixth anniversary...and I MADE IT!
9. What was your biggest failure? Didn't get to do anything special for t'DoL's birthday this year either, thanks to being behind with everything. And yes, being behind with everything, though that seems to be a life condition.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing significant, thank God! In fact, quite the reverse. 2016 is the first year since 1992 in which I did not have ongoing low-level dysthymia (minor depression). However, it did make for some interesting experiences during my first round of summer depression without dysthymia to negate/moderate some of the symptoms.
11. What was the best thing you bought? I guess that depends upon what can be described as a "thing." For tangible, physical objects, it's probably the cooling pads I discovered on Amazon that help so much in the miserable summer warmth. For less tangible but far more valuable, it would be the great beta readers I hired to review my first Triune book and of course my editor's fabulous work on my second Geren book.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? First and foremost, the Towners! They were the kindness and generosity of God to me during my move, by letting me borrow one of their minivans for a few weeks so I could haul my stuff into storage. And especially by letting me stay at their place for the days I was in Minnesota and "homeless." And by helping me move as well. What a blessing to have them in my life!
Also very blessed by the Johnson's, who "adopted" my houseplants and garden planters while I was on vacation, between homes, and getting settled. My wonderful former teammate Anna is a very strange person who likes to help people move, and I am so grateful for that, and for her! Grateful to my coworker Dawn as well, being willing to receive my Netflix dvds at her place due to my ugly mail situation where I currently live. And I can never leave out my wonderful aunt Hilda, and my priceless mother, for their prayers, support, questions about writing progress, reading my writing, going on trips with, and magnificent generosity! So blessed to know them all!
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Once again, 'ditto 2011', since that level of asshole behavior is rank enough to foul an entire decade.
14. Where did most of your money go? Vet bills, cat medicine, moving, renting storage units, an expensive vacation to Canada, and especially editing.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? In a good way, or in a bad way? In a bad way, trying to find new lodging, which ended up being much more of an adventure than I ever reckoned.
16. What song will always remind you of 2016? This year, I actually have one! Hawk Nelson's song "Diamonds" will always remind me of my crazy search for a new place to rent during the summer of 2016 and all the doors God slammed shut, some in very interesting ways. Part of the lyrics below--
He's making diamonds, diamonds,
He's making diamonds out of dust,
He is refining and in His timing,
He's making diamonds out of us.
I'll surrender to the power of being crushed by love,
'til the beauty that was hidden isn't covered up,
it's not what I hoped for, it's something much better.
Oh the joy of the Lord it will be my strength,
when the pressure is on, He's making diamonds.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Definitely happier than the bittersweetness of my time with Shado last year after his diagnosis of congestive heart failure and nervously watching his progress from day to day.
ii. thinner or fatter? Definitely fatter, since I'm spending this Christmas with family, getting fed wonderfully and surrounded by loads of treats!
iii. richer or poorer? Much much MUCH poorer, as September of this year saw me taking on debt to help fund the editing of a few more novels, 14 years to the month of when I last had debt in September 2002. It was a very brutal year financially due to the costs of Shado's medical expenses and prescriptions, due to the costs of moving, and the costs of an expensive and wonderful trip to Canada. Hopefully 2017 grants some sort of reprieve!
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? The answer should surprise no one. More writing, of course! And art projects and even editing. Hikes during the spring would have been nice as well, but could only come at the expense of less of the above, sigh.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? My paid job, obviously! Less time spent packing and hauling stuff to various storage units would have been nice too.
20. How did you spend Christmas? A very quiet Christmas. Spent the day at my parents' place in Sacramento, and we didn't go anywhere. Lots of relaxing, great food, Christmas music, some movies, and editing work for fun.
21. How will you spend New Year's Eve? Is it bad to say I'm not sure yet? Whatever I do, there's bound to be wonderful food and great treats!
22. Did you fall in love in 2016? With someone new? I don't think so.
23. How many one-night stands? Same answer as the last twelve years: Never have, never shall.
24. What was your favorite TV program? I did not have much time to watch episodes this year, so I think it would have to be The Man in the High Castle if Amazon counts.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Nope, same as the last twelve years.
26. What was the best book you read? Plenty of good books, but if "best" can be defined as "most helpful," it would be Victory in the Wilderness by John Bevere. A huge blessing in helping me get a different perspective on the ghastliness of my life since the "hell year" of 2007.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? This year was fantastic for finding various worship songs that I really connected with. I quoted part of the lyrics for "Diamonds" in question 16, and the lyrics for "Trust in You" are down in question 40. I find myself very grateful to have discovered "Move (Keep Walkin')" by TobyMac, as it's very fitting as I bear down on the 10th anniversary of the worst time of my life, but I'll probably post more about that as I reach the anniversary. I wish it had been around years sooner!
28. What did you want and get? Some really great, encouraging and helpful feedback on the first Triune novel, and good editing work on the second Geren novel too.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Quite a lot of fun films this year, but for me it would definitely be Arrival.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 41 (that year sure went fast). A regular work day pretty much, except I brought in a bunch of treats from Panera to share, treated myself to dinner at Afro Deli, worked on pass 4 stuff in the second Geren book, did a little reading in 'Vigil.' Nothing spectacular when it's not a big year and it falls on a Wednesday.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? More feedback on stories, novellas, and novels.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? Same answer as the last years: I just keep on hating fashion, as I have since elementary school.
34. What kept you sane? As always, t'DoL keeps me both sane and insane. Whoot!
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Nobody is sticking out for me. Well, nobody alive, anyway.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? I expect that ghastly presidential race I wish had wrapped up two year ago, and the frustration of seeing the least appealing/suitable individuals for BOTH major parties get the nomination.
37. Who did you miss? Shado and Scalia.
38. Who was the best new person you met? I don't like the use of the word "best" and I haven't actually met them, but I'm very glad to have encountered the great work and insights of Nikki, Deb, and Sharon as they reviewed my first Triune book. Also, must mention the new admin downstairs who was hired this year--Tammy really adds a lot to my department!
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016: That the sovereignty of God is utterly and unutterably infinite, complete, inexhaustible and effortless in its perfection. No trivial piece of minutia is too small to escape it, and of course nothing huge will ever withstand it either. What a wonder, what a joy, what mastery!
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"Trust In You" by Lauren Daigle just nails it.
Letting go of every single dream, I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wondering
Never changes what You see
I've tried to win this war, I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face You're by my side
When You don't move the mountains
I'm needing You to move
When You don't part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don't give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust
I will trust in You
Truth is You know what tomorrow brings
There's not a day ahead You have not seen
So in all things be my life and breath, I want what You want Lord and nothing less
You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation
The Rock on which I stand
Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There's not a place where I'll go
You've not already stood