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2011 In Review 
2nd-Jan-2012 05:40 pm
I know I haven't written here in six months. I'm spread between three social networks, a magazine and a professional blog. As longstanding as my LJ is, I'll probably wind up mothballing this in favor of keeping up my professional blog, Twitter feed and G+ account instead.

But this is still the most appropriate place for my year-end meme!

For those of you just tuning in, my 2011 in ultra-condensed review:
Marks our third full year of living in Columbus, Sam's second year at Large National Bank and my second, last year going to classes at the Ohio University Athens campus. Finished my first bachelor's degree. Taught English twice a week. Visited my family and high school friends in California for a charmed, luxurious Spring Break. Sam got promoted to a project manager position at Large National Bank. Spent several days in the hospital with cellulitis, a virulent, subdermal skin infection.

Spent the summer in Chautauqua (upstate New York) at an internship for a daily newspaper, writing previews for classical music events. Lived in a house with seven other women -- first time living with people I wasn't related or married to. Turned 30 and had a Peter-Pan-esque party with beer pong and a pillow fort. Proofed a paper the old-fashioned way when the power went out. Wrote until I could no longer speak. Walked into a room of 200 people and about half of them were reading something I wrote. Spent most of my summer evenings watching orchestras or partying like a college student. Spent the 4th of July on a dock with friends, watching fireworks set off dangerously close to our faces. Visited Niagara Falls -- both the Canadian and American sides.

Continued freelance web design and writing. Took a mini-vacation to Cleveland. Visited in-laws in Iowa for Thanksgiving. Went to Ren Faire. Rented out a VIP karaoke room for my going-away party. Had more parties for my return home, my graduation and another in spring just for the hell of it. Spent New Year's with many of my boardgaming friends. Saw Junip in concert (godly!). Covered the Athens Film Fest. Many, many karaoke and board game evenings.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
Interviewed many important, inspiring people including: a TV pundit, a politcal party leader, a Steinway artist, a violinist who owns their own Stradivarius, a conductor who studied under Leonard Bernstein, popular recording artists who are signed to a major record label, an ombudsman and a living hero. Rode on a steamboat. Rode in a horse-drawn carriage. Wrote a beat blog. Wrote for a popular city-wide publication. Wrote a memoir essay. Published an op-ed. Learned MSAccess. Captured and spayed a feral cat. Visited Cleveland. Designed and built a news aggregate site. Made knit stuffed animals. Leanred to knit brioche. Went to Pecha Kucha night. Learned how to fire a handgun and a rifle. Threw a Christmas in July party. Played beer pong. Went to a Ren Faire. Visited Canada (via Niagara Falls). Spent several days in the hospital. Joined a young professionals group. Completed independent study coursework. Saw a film in a movie tavern. Filed a police report (someone ran into my car and drove off). Went to a live Rocky Horror show. Danced with a robot. Went to a found film festival. Went to a college party. Saw a ballet.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I had a fitness goal in 2011, but didn't reach it. Things kept happening like me being in the hospital, going on vacation, and interning with a bunch of college students who ate like pigs. I still need to get back on that. I'm eating healthier, but not exercising at all.

And more balance to my work/social life wasn't a 2011 goal, but I feel like that's going a little better. Instead of trying to chase down friends, I let more people make plans with me, and it results in healthier relationships, though there are a few hermitesque friends I really do miss. I need to spend more time with them in 2012. And more writing. LOTS more writing. Less tech, even if that means less money.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Jessica and Matt Dworkin. More babies scheduled for 2012.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. Nick D'G, a close family friend of ours, died suddenly. Also Jim McCarty, a sweetheart of a man, lost his years-long battle with cancer. It's scarry to have people my parents' age dying. I wasn't super-close with either of them anymore, but it's still upsetting, especially when they keep popping up on my Facebook lists.

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada. Sort of. Niagara doesn't really count.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A full-time writing or communications job.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The first house party at Chautauqua, before factions formed. We all spontaneously burst into dance. I love dance parties more than I can say.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My bachelor's degree! But that was a long time coming. So the internship was more of a tangible achievement, both personally and professionally. I'm proud of how much quality work I finished, but I'm also proud I was on my own for three months, living with other people, and managed not to kill anyone or myself.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Missteps aplenty, but no serious failures.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Accute cellulitis under my skin, creeping up my leg. Three days in the hospital with IVs stuck in my arm. No fun.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I love my new black wool winter coat!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Sam's did. He soldiered through the summer without me and even visited friends a few times. He also worked very hard, very long hours to continue to support me while I was going to school. Special shoutouts to Meredith, Connie, Leslie, Meg and Linley for keeping me social and sane throughout the year and listening to me bitch about the hard times.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Not appalled, but I'm getting to a point now where I know a lot of people in one circle of friends and they don't all like each other. It's now to a point where some people won't show up for social gatherings if they think So-and-so is going to be there. The result is that people on both sides of the conflict wind up not going because they think their adversary might be there. We're adults. And there are lots of us. It's not hard to avoid talking to someone you don't want to talk to.

14. Where did most of your money go?
School, evenings out and living in upstate New York while Sam was in Ohio. The internship was paid, but not much.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My internship, my trip to California for Spring Break.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
"Can't Hug Every Cat," our Chautauqua theme song.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Sadder. This time last year, I had a lot to look forward to. Now my future is a big question-mark.
ii. thinner or fatter? About the same, thankfully.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer. Much. Need good job. Freelancing is not cutting it.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing, exercise, and seeing some of my friends.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Procrastinating. I make mountains out of molehills, so that when it's time to make that deadline, it's so easy I'm like "Why on earth did I wait?"

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Hopefully, in celebration of Sam's birthday, and nothing more.

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?
It's an ongoing thing

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
The Soup, America's Next Top Model, Top Chef, and NEW BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD, OMG.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Sort of. I met some people I don't really like. Thankfully, I don't have to interact with them, so I don't really care.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Hunger Games trilogy

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I'll make a separate post about this later. Junip's first album dropped, but I knew them from a single they released before. Also on repeat: Fitz & the Tantrums, Wolf People, Agent Ribbons, Starfucker, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, new Radiohead, Radio Moscow, Glasser, Sleigh Bells, The Joy Formidable, The Naked and the Famous, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Alexander, Breakestra, The Hundred in the Hands, LCD Soundsystem, Washed Out, new M83, I Break Horses, Miami Horror, Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra, Givers and Richard Swift.

28. What did you want and get?
My degree. In fact, the letter just came in the mail today!

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Hanna. Here's my review!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
30. I was at my internship in upstate New York, but Sam came to visit me. We threw a house party. I missed out on all the college shennanigans in life, so they set up a beer pong table. As with all sports, I am terrible at beer pong. Ellie, one of the most creative people I've ever met, raided the linen closet and set up a pillow fort for us. We huddled inside and told nasty, dirty secrets that shall never leave the fort.

32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A job would've been a nice feather in my cap of many accomplishments. I guess that feather will have to start off the 2012 hat.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Ugh, not sure I have one anymore. Must get on that.

34. what="What" kept="kept" you="you" sane?
Sam and my friends.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Don't care.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

37. Who did you miss?
My sister and Angie.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
The entire CHQ Intern team. I also just made a new friend, Melissa, who I don't know very well yet but seems amazing.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
All of that cliche talk about wanting something so bad you have to fight for it and never give up? It's true. The people you see with mediocre lives filled with convenience and dissatisfaction are in that position because it's easier than fighting. All you have to do is try harder than everyone else and eventually, you will either create your own opportunity or someone will recognize your value and provide you with a good opportunity.

And you know how you're supposed to keep open wounds clean and dressed? Yeah, keep your wounds clean and dressed. Disinfect not just after the intiial cut, but all the fucking time until it starts to scab over.

I learned a lot of great interview skills, but nothing that I can sum up here. And the most important idea/concept I learned in college (which was not in 2011, but whatever): Correlation does not prove causation. That right there puts the kibosh on more than half of all Internet fuckery.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Not a lyrics person.
sam and lauren
3rd-Jan-2012 05:42 am (UTC)
It's good to see you finishing up that degree! It's been a really long time, but one of my ongoing resolutions (not just 2011/12) is to try to reconnect to people, instead of doing my best to lose friends and relationships.
3rd-Jan-2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks Jason, it's been a long time in the making!

Are you @Demerine by chance? If not, just a strange coincidence. I'm always happy to reconnect. TBH, I have that problem a lot myself -- there are just too many people in my life to keep up with everyone. But the Internet does make it a bit easier, yeah? What are you up to these days?
4th-Jan-2012 01:15 am (UTC)
Yes, that's me, as well. The Internet has made it easier for me to remember I have people out there even if I'm bad with people face to face. Me, I quit the work world and restarted school, trying to get a degree. Had a failed engagement that, looking back, is for the best when all is said and done. Umn. Waiting for classes to kick up again! I have a degree that needs finishing, too.
4th-Jan-2012 05:16 am (UTC)
The best part about going through major life changes is the latitude it provides you to do some truly incredible things. As cliche as it sounds, here's to new beginnings in a new year! Seize those opportunities like a pit-bull and don't let go. If my lazy ass can do it, you certainly can. I'm happy we can reconnect :)
3rd-Jan-2012 08:55 am (UTC)
Hey Lauren. Congrats - degree obtained, achievement unlocked! I remember when this dream was just a what-if scenario you told me over a cape cod or three. It was inspiring watching you do it. I was impressed by your energy and your determination to keep having a life through it all. It is encouraging to hear that Sam has found a position that allows him to use his skills.

Dope new coat btw. Guess I should write up one of these myself and get a pic of my new elfy shoes.

Hanna sounds pretty cool; I will seek it out. My $15 DVD player gave up the ghost, so it's time to hit up Goodwill for another.

+1 to your friend for the pillow fort. I think that's what Bee and I will do tomorrow on her last day of winter break.
3rd-Jan-2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks Julia. Your encouragement and support helped a lot. I have to remember everyone who's rooting for me when I'm sitting here job hunting and feeling like a hopeless, used sack.

Need to see elfy shoes. I don't have enough friends to share girl glee with.

May we never be too old or lazy for pillow forts.
4th-Jan-2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
Congrats! Seems like you've had a wonderful year with lots of successes and learned lessons. Good luck on the job front.
5th-Jan-2012 06:27 am (UTC)
Thanks, Giang! It was certainly a lot of ups and downs. Not sure I would want it any other way.
5th-Jan-2012 07:06 am (UTC)
Huzzah! As insanely cheesy as it sound, reading this is always a highlight in my year.
5th-Jan-2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
Huge congrats on the degree Lauren!

I'm now following you on twitter (I'm @leneux)
5th-Jan-2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I love Twitter. Happy we can reconnect there, especially since we still share so many common interests.
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