I’ve done this every year since I started this blog and once again, here’s a quick summary of my 2010 in meme form:
1. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
Since my grandparents lived in BC for most of my life (they left Saskatchewan the year I was born so how’s that for a blow to the ego right off the bat!), family trips to Kelowna were pretty much a yearly event in my life. But this year, we took a family trip to BC – except I was in the “dad” role for the first time – and that’s another marker that I’m no longer a young person (however you define that.) There are constant reminders – I now work with people who weren’t born when I graduated high school. The people I watched get drafted into the NHL when I was 18 are now mostly retired (except Chris Pronger – boo!) So yeah, “felt like I am now truly moving into middle age” might be the best answer to this question. (This will be confirmed if my answer to the “What did you buy this year?” question later on is “Mustang convertible”!)
2. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one close to me but I just saw on Facebook that one of my friends from high school who I edited yearbook with gave birth to her first over Christmas. There’s a major baby boom at RPL which has probably seen hmmm, half dozen of our employees go on mat leave in the past year. I’ve always heard that a high birth rate is a sign of a healthy economy so that’s a good sign for Saskatchewan!
3. Did anyone close to you die?
Every year I say I’ll feel like a dick if I forget someone but honestly, at least among my nearest family and friends, I think we’ve lost no one. My dad’s from a family of 10 and all are still alive and healthy but when you have a group of people with ages ranging from 60 to nearly 90, you know that the end is inevitable for many of them as they all are increasingly dealing with various health issues of differing levels of severity. So I know that unfortunately, I will start having affirmative answers for this question eventually even if I’ve been pretty lucky in the four or so years I’ve been doing this.
4. What places did you visit?
Our three week driving trip to BC was the definite highlight of the year but we also got to Minot for a long weekend, I got to Edmonton for CLA, I spent a couple days in Prince Albert in northern (well, technically central) Saskatchewan helping with their SILS training. We did a few trips to both Shea’s and my parent’s homes and/or cottages/campgrounds. We ever did a Regina “staycation” for Pace’s cousin’s birthday at a local hotel which has waterslides and poolside rooms.
5. What would you like to have in the next year that you lacked this year?
Hmmm. Nothing pops to mind – of course, I’d love to say “a million dollars” or whatever but realistically, there isn’t too much that I feel we lack. Shea and I are in a good place where, if we need something – whether it’s a $10 kitchen gadget or a $1000 home renovation, we are in a spot where we can just buy it without too much debate or hardship.
6. What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory?
Feb 2 – SILS goes live at Regina Public Library
June – pretty much our entire month of June was our rambling, rolling family trip to BC which was one highlight after another.
7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My first instinct is to say the coordination and oversight of a month’s worth of training for RPL staff in January before we went live on the new ILS and all related aspects – developing a training manual, doing “train the trainer” work with the six librarians who led the sessions on a rotating basis, even making the scheduling work for such an involved process. But in all honesty, sometimes I think it’s the little things that I put forward at RPL that help make it a better place in an incremental fashion give me more of a sense of achievement – one small example: we used to have a text-only internal staff e-newsletter and I suggested an easy-to-use graphical solution which is the one we now use. Or within that news letter, we now take photos of all staff when they start working at RPL for our internal staff directory page (another thing I pushed for when I started) and I also suggested that we put those new photos in the newsletter so everybody can associate the faces with the names of people who are coming into our system – especially important since we’ve had a lot of turnover in the past year or two.
8. What was your biggest failure of the year?
Does failure = frustration? If so, I’ll continue the theme of the last answer by saying there are lots of proposals/ideas/tweaks I’ve put forward which I think would help improve things at RPL but which I haven’t always been able to get approved. (I’ll keep trying though!)
9. What was your biggest surprise?
I had a good feeling but since you never know for sure how any election will go, one of my most pleasant surprises this year was supporting the eventual winner in the NDP’s nomination contest in my home riding. After pouring a lot of energy into Ryan Meili’s campaign last year and coming up short, it was a nice feeling to see the person I chose to support win.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major but a few different bouts of sore throat/fever/cold/flu here and there.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
We bought a Microsoft Kinect gaming system a few weeks ago as an early Christmas present to ourselves and like my iPhone the year before, it really feels like I’m truly living in the future when I see devices like this in operation. Next year – transporters!
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
I always told Shea that I wish kids could spring forth as fully formed three year olds as that was the age when they were the best. I did enjoy the first couple years of Pace’s life (more than I probably thought I would to be honest) but when he hit three, it confirmed what I’d always believed. I love that mixture of curiosity, intelligence, creativity and innocence contained in his small body!
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Again, this is a terrible question that I should probably delete or change. Even if I answered honestly and named someone I knew or worked with or whatever, that’s not going to go over very well, now, is it? So again, I’ll weasel out and say that I think Barack Obama has really failed to live up to his promise and potential and in many ways, he felt like the last, best hope to save the US before it moved into total “collapse of empire” mode. I’ve just started a book called “Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?” which looks at the different ways Western European nations operate versus America. The author makes a really good point – “you can look at GDP and other economic indicators all you want but if you really want to see who’s doing it right – go on the streets. Walk around Zurich then walk around Detroit. Walk around Paris then Dallas. Walk around Barcelona then Los Angeles. The differences in lifestyles/attitudes will be obvious.”
14. Where did most of your money go?
I don’t know where most of our money went this year overall but we apparently won the lottery fairly recently because right at the end of the year, we had a bit of a spending spree buying the Kinect system before Christmas then a big screen TV at a Boxing Day sale.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Although it had (and continues to have) its moments, I think the fact that we are now in a province-wide public library consortium is incredibly cool for all manner of reasons. As someone who grew up in small town Saskatchewan, the increased opportunities this will give to people who don’t have easy access to the same resources as people in the big cities is a huge advantage. But it goes both ways – we’ve heard lots of stories from our staff of patrons who are able to track down some obscure childhood favourite or an older car repair manual or whatever that’s already been weeded in Regina but is still sitting on a shelf in Dog River.
16. What song/album will always remind you of this year?
“Declare a New State!” – The Submarines.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
A) Happier or sadder?
Continue to feel happier. Enjoy my job for the most part. Love my family – Shea is so good to me and Pace amazes me on a daily basis. Knock on wood but still not dealing with any of that shitty stuff – disease, death, dementia – that comes as you get older – both for you and the people around you.
B) Thinner or fatter?
Since I wrote this last year right after I got my cast off and had lost about 15 lbs, I have to admit that I’ve regained all that weight and perhaps more. I did weigh myself right before Christmas and again the other day and haven’t put on a lot in the last few days of excess so that’s good. I do have a couple reasons to lose weight this year (er, other than the health benefits) – a trip to Cuba in March and a possible 20 year high school reunion in August. But I have lots of sympathy for smokers and alcoholics – when you enjoy something/are addicted to unhealthy – sugary foods, soda pop, beer – it takes a lot of will power to change.
C) Richer or poorer?
Just like last year, a bit richer. My mom did give me a “tip” on a penny stock that she thought was going to go through the roof and I took a bath on that. I think Shea and I have a good balance between saving money for the future and spending money – we know people in their 50’s who’ve never spent a dime and yes, they were mortgage-free in 10 years but they never traveled, never ate out at a restaurant, never treated themselves to some ridiculous purchase and hey, they could get hit by a bus tomorrow without a chance to count their money bags. On the other hand, we have lots of friends who have similar incomes to us but live in houses that are worth twice what ours is, each drive brand new cars, take multiple exotic trips per year and when asked, don’t even know what an RRSP is, let alone have one. So yeah, to each their own but for Shea and I, I think we’ve got a good balance that works for us.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I tend to average about a book a week in general but I could probably do more reading if I spent less time online or watching TV or movies – all useful/enjoyable things as well but reading still trumps all in my mind.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Something popped in my head but I think I’ll keep the answer to myself on this one!
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Hosted my parents for an enjoyable, fairly relaxed Christmas at our house and currently in Weyburn at Shea’s parents for new year’s (literally an hour away as I type this – Pace didn’t make it to the ball drop and depending on how things go, the rest of us might not either!)
21. Who did you spend the most time communicating with?
Yet another question I should change. In the most literal sense, the answer is Shea and really beyond that, people at work or family or friends or all the usual answers. Maybe next year I’ll re-work all these questions to ones that will give better, more varied answers.
22. What was your favourite TV program?
I think Shea and I have decided to give up all of our Bell tiers (except one sports package for me – I can’t give up hockey and football) and see if an $8 NetFlix subscription will give us enough variety to replace the $100 we’re spending on satellite TV.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Dumb question. ?Change it!
24. What was the best book(s) you read?
As always, I read lots of great books including a lot more fiction than normal – trendy YA in the form of the Hunger Games Trilogy and old favourites reading the latest Grisham and Stephen King releases. It’s a bit off the radar by this year’s “Hammy Award” for best book I read would probably go to “Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut ” by Astronaut Mike Mullane which is a really well-written behind-the-scenes look at the world of NASA – the politics, the competition, the (avoidable) tragedy of the two Shuttle disasters.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Submarines. ?Man, that album I named above makes my heart ache.
26. What did you want and get?
We’d talked about getting a Wii for Christmas but ended up with the XBox Kinect which I think will be a much better purchase.
27. What did you want and not get?
Last year, I jokingly put “a lottery ticket worth more than $10”. I don’t think I even got that this year! 😉
28. What were your favourite films of this year?
Toy Story 3 blew me away as did Inception.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My folks came down to Nickle Lake to spend the weekend with Shea’s folks and we all went out to the Creelman Agricultural Fair for the morning including a parade, a fairgrounds, a pig scramble and all kinds of rural fun. Then back to Weyburn in time to watch a Riders game.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
No warm weather vacation but that will be rectified next year for sure as our Cuba trip is booked. (Er, knock on wood.)
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year?
Continued pretty boring. (Marked for change next year.)
32. What kept you sane?
If I get particularly frustrated at work or with something that’s not working out at home or whatever, it’s pretty cool to be able to get down on the floor and spend some time playing Lego or cars with Pace to centre myself.
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
It didn’t revolve around a specific issue necessarily but getting involved with Jaime Garcia’s campaign was great fun.
34. Who did you miss?
I’m not sure why but I still miss a lot of friends from my semester in England and wonder what life has brought them in the last fifteen (!) years. That trip happened just as the Internet was becoming more common on college campuses but hadn’t become part of everyday life (in fact, it was the first place I got exposed to e-mail) so unlike young people traveling today, you didn’t just add people on Facebook and know you’d always be able to track them down. I have found a few people I knew from those days on Facebook or elsewhere but others – due to extremely common “John Smith”-type names or whatever – have left me resigned that I’ll never find them.
35. Who was the best new person you met?
It was great to make a few new friends – people like Jaime Garcia in the political realm and a variety of new colleagues at work as well. (After a lunch with a new hire at work, one manager observed “Jason, I think we hired you a friend instead of a colleague.”)
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned this year.
“The perfect is the enemy of the good” made a lot of sense this year.
37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
You are so far away on this cold empty night,
As I lie in a hotel room looking at the street light.
Outside my window I listen to the rain,
And the sounds of the passing cars
and the waves on English Bay.
“English Bay” – Blue Rodeo