2008 End of the Year Memes

I did this in 2006 and again in 2007 so once again, here's a quick summary of my 2008 in meme form:

  1. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
    This is a bad start but nothing jumps to mind – I mean, I know there were professional things like teaching computers & Internet for three months in a row at a bunch of rural Saskatchewan libraries and personal things like “holding a first birthday party” or “carving a turkey at Christmas”.  But in terms of out-of-the-ordinary stuff?  It's been a pretty straight-forward, boring year I guess.

  2. Did anyone close to you give birth?
    Tons of people and I can't help wondering if there's a mini-baby boom going on (I read somewhere that there were more births in 2007 than anytime since the end of WWII) or if I'm just more plugged into hearing about it since I'm part of it?  Probably a bit of both.

  3. Did anyone close to you die?
    Again, I'm going to feel like a tool if I'm wrong on this but nothing's jumping out at me – last year saw the loss of my last living grandparent, Shea's grandparents are all gone so there's a feeling that the next ones to go will be aunts and uncles (my dad's from a family of 10 so some of his eldest siblings are up in their 70's and 80's.)  [2009-01-06 – come to think of it, there was a death of someone who wasn't close to me but which hit me pretty hard anyhow.]

  4. What countries places did you visit?
    Last year, we got to the States a couple times but again, continuing the “boring” theme, we didn't get out of country at all – not even to Minot North Dakota which is the destination of choice for Saskies looking for cheap American deals.  I think I'm going to change this question from “countries” to “places” as we did get to Calgary for a very enjoyable week this summer,  I got invited to an HR Summit for Canadian Libraries in Ottawa for four days this fall and as unexciting as it probably sounds to most people, I did really enjoy all the traveling I got to do with my job at Southeast Regional Library to rural branches across the SE corner of our province. 

  5. What would you like to have in the next year that you lacked this year?
    With Shea being back at work (still part-time rather than full-time to try to maintain a nice work-life balance), our finances will be a lot less tight and I'm looking forward to that.  

  6. What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory?
    Aug 30 – finish my contract with Southeast Regional Library
    Sept 9 – start a position as Organization Development Specialist with Regina Public Library (and could've started immediately after SRL one but asked for a week off to help get re-settled in Regina)

  7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    Very indirectly, I played a small part in helping secure five million dollars in funding for a single integrated library system for the province by managing an advocacy campaign for our library region.  Word from the grapevine was that it was the support from rural areas that pushed the government over-the-top in support of this project (though it shifted slightly in our most recent election, our current government still gets most of its support from rural areas) so to be a part of that push was cool.  More directly, I set-up a staff photo directory on the RPL intranet that has been very well received (including one staff member dancing a jig when I told her about it!)  

  8. What was your biggest failure?
    There's probably a long list of things I wish I could've accomplished at Southeast Regional Library that I didn't get to which I regret (to the point that I was contemplating going on their board of directors to continue working with them!)

  9. What was your biggest surprise?
    I was genuinely surprised to get the RPL job offer as the interview was a hard one to read – I wasn't sure if I'd done well or not. And let's just say “Organizational Development” wasn't a course I took in library school! 

  10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
    I'm suffering right now, thank-you for asking.  Managed to get through Christmas even though we held it late on the 27th.  But then on the 28th, I woke up with a brutal sore throat which my doctor informed me yesterday may be just a sore throat, may be strep throat or may be mono.  At any rate, it hurts like hell and my current position is: “any treatment/remedy/strategy that someone suggests, I'm trying it, whether it's Tylenol/Advil/throat spray/lozenges/steroids/Oil of Oregano extract/hot tea/cold water/honey/lemon/Vicks vapo-rub/etc.”

  11. What was the best thing you bought?
    Finally took the leap and bought a MacBook Pro when my beloved Acer laptop died for the final time.  The transition wasn't as smooth as I hoped (sure, having a bunch of password-protected WordPerfect 8 files on your old computer will do that to a guy but I mean, no ability to cut & paste files on a Mac?  Really?) but overall, I think it's been a good move. 

  12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
    The whole Obama phenomena was amazing to watch at all levels and as it progressed from “long shot minority candidate with a Muslim name” to “wow – American just elected its first African American President – pass the hankies please!”  

  13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
    Stephen Harper.  “No!  I'm not going.  I don't care what the rules are.  I'm changing them!”  Lots of gall, even by the standards of a high-level politician. 


  14. Where did most of your money go?
    We have an absolute lemon of a second car that always seems to especially delight in breaking down right before Christmas.  This year, it was a nearly thousand dollar touch in early December that semi-kaboshed our plans to join the ranks of the HDTV owning world (probably not a bad thing in the grand scheme really.)  And I guess deciding to buy a MacBook Pro meant we spent 2-3x more than we would've had we gone with another PC laptop.  

  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    US politics in the big picture and the entire Obama campaign in general.  Pace's continuing milestones on the more local level – his communication abilities and the connections he's making just blow me away.  A small one – this computer defaults to a slideshow of our pictures when it's not in use and there was a picture of an empty lake that came up recently.  Seeing that, Pace goes: “Boat!” even though there wasn't a boat in the photo.  Or he knows what a dog is and what a dog says.  But the other day, I go “What does Snoopy (Shea's parents' dog) say?” and he knew the answer was “Woooof!”


  16. What song/album will always remind you of this year?
    Not listening to or buying a lot of new music and was disappointed with new releases by two of my usual favourites – “Between the Beautifuls” by Hawksley Workman and “Tinderbox” by Fred Eaglesmith.  I guess the songs I'm singing to Pace most nights at bedtime will remind me of this year more than anything. 

  17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
    1. Happier
      or sadder?  Definitely happier now that we feel fairly settled in terms of our home, our careers and our life in general.    
    2. Thinner or fatter?  Fatter, unfortunately although I did start playing rec hockey again this year after a seven year layoff so that's a small step in the right direction.
    3. Richer or poorer? Richer since it was a pretty big jump in salary from SRL to RPL and also with Shea being back at work after taking an extended maternity leave of 18 months (but only receiving EI benefits for 12 months meaning we lived off savings for six months to cover the difference.) 

  18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
    We took lots of pictures of Pace but I'm starting to realise that we should've been taking more video as well. 

  19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
    Being on the road for three and a half months to start the year probably didn't help my case in terms of health/diet/weight as I would frequently grab fast food so I could eat on the drive home rather than stop and eat a (slightly) healthier meal.


  20. How will you be spending did you spend Christmas?
    We hosted Christmas for Shea's and my parents plus an aunt from BC.  I carved a turkey for the first time in my life and where's that list of “50 Things Every Man Should Know” – that's another one to check off the list.   
  21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone communicating with?
    As
    I said last year, we literally do not use the phone anymore.  So this question gets a tweak as well to focus more on communication in general.  I guess one big shift was starting at RPL and after working for organizations with staffs of between 3-15 people my entire life (SRL had ~100 staff in total but they were dispersed geographically and mostly part-time so I always thought of the core 12-15 people at HQ as the “staff”), it was (and is) an adjustment to try to get to know the 200+ people who work for RPL (which is a big part of the reason why I pushed to get a staff photo directory up and running!)

  22. What was your favourite TV program?
    Especially with the US election, “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” were even more vital.  Luckily, we bought a PVR so I never miss an episode now (PVR could probably be a runner-up in the “What did you buy that was worth it?” question above.) 

  23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
    This question is pretty dumb.  I can't think of a way to tweak it but maintain the gist like I have for a couple others so I might just drop it next year.  


  24. What was the best book(s) you read?
    Another Mac to PC issue means that I have my list of books read this year in an Access database on my desktop PC in Regina.  So I'll have to fill this one in later.  [Edit: “Under Pressure: Rescuing Childhood from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting” by Carl Honore was the perfect book for me to read at the moment I read it.]

  25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
    I listen to a lot of streaming Britpop on Accuradio and “She and Him” is one of many bands that caught my ear this year.  [Edit: except that She & Him aren't British and I probably heard them on the new releases-based “Listening Post” station which is also where I frequently end up.]

  26. What did you want and get?
    A
    job after my SRL contract ended without too much delay or disruption in my life.  It was a big gamble to even take the SRL contract over a FT permanent offer nearly two years ago.  But in the end, the timing for getting hired by RPL couldn't have been any better.  I actually had a conversation with a senior manager at RPL the other day and she asked if I was glad to be at RPL and I said “yes, and more glad about the path I took to get here.  I think I'd have been a totally different, lesser librarian if I came to RPL immediately after library school.”    Last year, I mentioned a mini-van in the next question as something we wanted and did not get – guess what?  We got one – and based on our experiences with that lemon of a car, this one having EXTREMELY low mileage (it's a 2006 model but we doubled it in six months!) and an extended warranty until 2013 brings great piece of mind. 

  27. What did you want and not get?
    Okay, with the knowledge that what I listed last year came true, let's put “new patio made of rubber paving”, “new backyard fence” and (possibly) new big screen TV as things I wanted this year to varying degrees but didn't get. 


  28. What were your favourite films of this year?
    We're finally getting out a few more movies here and there and also still renting/downloading lots.  I'd say, even with all the hype, going to “The Dark Knight” on opening night didn't disappoint at all.


  29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    See last answer.  That the movie happened to open on my birthday and became this year's birthday movie just added to the fun factor.  I turned 35 this year and as I said to a classmate who I met up with over the holidays, it's not so much that we're 35 that kills me, it's hearing that your “little” brothers are 27, 29 and 33 that freaks me out more! 

  30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    It was a pretty good year overall.  More time off/more time at home is something I'm always looking for.  It'll help once I get some holidays built up again since I've only been at RPL for a few months right now. 


  31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year?
    “I really love Eddie Bauer clothes.”  (Especially when I hit upon a sale of deeply discounted wrinkle-resistant shirts which means I get $350 worth of shirts for $100.”)  I should probably also mention that I got, not one but two cardigans for Christmas.  Live the stereotype I say!


  32. What kept you sane?
    I had a real debate about going back to riding the bus after a year away from it but once I got in the swing of it, have grown to enjoy that twenty minutes of reading/relaxing/waking up time each morning and reading/unwinding time at the end of the day on the reverse route home.

  33. What political issue stirred you the most?
    I keep coming back to the US election but it took up so much of my time and attention throughout the whole year – from the first primaries to the final vote on November 4.  (I love the joke about who gets to be the brave person to tell GW Bush: “Your Presidency was so bad that they elected a black guy with a Muslim name to be President.  Good job, sir!”
    )

  34. Who did you miss?
    Finding a couple long lost friends from my 1995 semester exchange to England brought back a lot of good memories and made me miss people I hadn't thought a lot about in a long time. 


  35. Who was the best new person you met?
    It's been great getting to know the staff at RPL (and having a job where doing this is a big part of my role.) 


  36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned this year.
    “Much of what seems important now won't matter in a year.  Much of what doesn't, will.”


  37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
    “Hello everybody and how are you? 
    How are you?
    How are you?
    Hello everybody and how are you?
    How are you today?”

    (This song was our welcome song at baby story hour this year.  We would sing it at the start of every week, including the name of every baby in the circle.  Needless to say, this song will NEVER leave my brain.) 


  38. What do you hope the next year brings?
    As always, continued health, happiness and fulfillment for myself and my family, both immediate and extended. 


First lines of my blog posts for each month of the past year…

January
From the people who brought you the endlessly fascinating, Baby Name Wizard's “Name Voyageur” web site which shows the popularity of various names during the past 100 years, a new web site called Nymbler – Your Personal Baby Name Assistant which provides baby name recommendations.

February
Gives new meaning to the phrase “cook book“. 

March
Author Nicholson Baker takes a look at Wikipedia and includes a critique of the number of articles being deleted for less-than-solid reasons.

April
Amy Buckland (who was recently named a 2008 Library Journal “Mover and Shaker”)
has passed along the following notice which is also a great opportunity
to highlight some of the emerging leaders in the library community. 


May
I'm sure you've
heard that JK Rowling is suing an encylopedic fan site dedicated to her
novels for daring to publish a 10 000 print run book based on the
site's original-but-based-on-the-novels content


June
I wrote about this when it was first announced.

July
A few years back, Canada ranked #1 in a UN survey of the best countries in the world to live in.

August

Author offers IPO
 to raise funds to help him write his second novel with 60% of royalties as the reward. 

September
Holy shit.

October
Five Things That Will Probably Happen When I Play With My Old Rec Hockey Team For The First Time in Seven Years Tonight

November
[
Photo of Pace at Halloween]

December
One of Canada's unofficial national anthems (although probably not the one that immediately comes to mind when I say that) got a recent plug on MetaFilter which led to a very interesting line-by-line analysis of the song and a great video clip as well…

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