Hey, remember when I used to have a blog?
I think about writing here most days, but each time I sit down to blog I remember how much time has passed since my last post and it’s overwhelming so I take a nap instead. Could this be why I am the very last blogger on Earth to be offered a book deal?
So life has been great, terrible, amazing and awful since we last spoke. Real talk: 2014 punched me right in the face and left a bit of a mark, and then I finished the year with an impressive bout of pneumonia. Because really, why not be eighty-five years old all of a sudden? I’m on the mend now, but there’s no ignoring the message that my body has been trying to send. (I’m listening, please stop yelling…)
I have some really, really happy memories of 2014. We started the year right with a visit from Tim’s family, which was special time together that we so rarely get to have. My job (for the most part) was great last year. I finished that enormous 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge that you’re all sick of hearing about, and achieved a few things along the way that I didn’t know I could do. I made a bunch of art that I was proud of, and learned some new things.
But also? 2014 was hard in many ways, and although I’m not going to share the details in this public space it deserves acknowledgement of some kind. I’ve been giving this year some serious side-eye until it proved itself, but the good news is that we’re off to a really good start.
Hey! Let’s talk about something else. Rah reminded me that each year I do this little quiz (except apparently last year I forgot) so here’s my 2014 round-up:
- What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Tim and I took a quick trip to Perth, a place that neither of us had been before. I ran a fun run for the first time and loved it. I took an online ethics and justice course through HarvardX and aced the final exam.
- Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t think I made any resolutions for 2014. My only goal was to finish my 101 Things, and I DID. This was such a big part of my year and it felt incredible to meet that deadline.
- Did anyone close to you give birth?
Two of my best friends had tiny, handsome baby boys this year. I am utterly in love with their teeny baby faces.
- Did anyone close to you die?
My friend Yas had a short and gut-wrenching battle with cancer this year, and died leaving two little boys and her brand new husband behind. You can read the last part of her story here. I really wish you could have met her.
- What countries/states did you visit?
Western Australia, New South Wales, ACT and Queensland. No overseas travel this year.
- What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Better quality sleep, and earlier mornings. A bit of extra cash would be nice too.
- What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Aside from the birthdays of new little people, no particular dates stand out. I’ll probably always think of Yasmin every time we put up our Christmas tree because she tried so hard to make it home to see her own.
- What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The big achievement of my year was finishing my 101 Things in 1001 Days list, especially as I left so much of my list until the final year of the challenge! But, if I had to choose a single “thing” from my list it would be that time that I pumped out 60 drawings and paintings in 3 weeks. Like a goddamn maniac.
- Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yup, it was a bad year for minor (but irritating) illness. Mostly because of my busted lungs.
- What was the best thing you bought?
The first thing that comes to mind is ArtGraf Black Carbon, because it totally transformed the way that I drew and painted this year. I mean, this drawing below took no time at all – maybe half an hour?
- Whose behaviour merited celebration?
A few good friendships have become even stronger over the past year, perhaps when I needed them the most. I really do have excellent people in my life.
- Whose behaviour was appalling?
Scott Morrison, Rupert Murdoch and everyone else who allows evil to be used against vulnerable people.
- Where did most of your money go?
A bunch of money was spent on interstate travel this year, which is a pretty happy way to spend it. Also all of the art supplies.
- What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Probably the moment when I realised that I had a hope of meeting my 101/1001 deadline, as long as I devoted my days to getting it done. It was so worth it.
- What song will always remind you of 2014?
Rise Like a Phoenix by Conchita Wurst, because obviously.
- What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had made more art without a deadline. I don’t think I’ve painted a thing since the end of my 101 Things project and that’s really dumb.
- What do you wish you’d done less of?
- How did you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas Eve with my parents, grandmother and a couple of other rellies. Christmas Day was just Tim & I and my parents, which was pretty great and long overdue.
- What was your favourite TV program?
I can’t just choose one show in 2014. We continued to adore Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey and Mad Men, and we also discovered (and then mainlined) Orphan Black and Revenge. We are super picky with our TV, but when we find something we love it CONSUMES us.
- What was the best book you read?
That’s easy: Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea. I expect that I will re-read it over and over again in my lifetime.
- What was your greatest musical discovery?
Honestly? Can we be real for a moment? I love Taylor Swift’s 1989 completely and unironically. There I said it.
- What did you want and get?
I wanted to be better at drawing, and after lots and lots of practice I can say that I am.
- What did you want and not get?
I wanted to buy a house, but I feel like we’re getting further and further behind. Melbourne real estate is no joke.
- What was your favourite film of this year?
The Grand Budapest Hotel. Easy.
- What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I have officially reached the age where I have to stop and think about my age. Let’s see… I turned 34 last year, and Tim took me to the most incredible Italian restaurant at Crown Casino called Rosetta (one of Neil Perry’s babies). They make their pasta and ricotta fresh every day, and every dish was better than the last. Such a treat! Tim gave me a ukulele for my birthday and my mission this year is to play it well.
- What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Maybe a haircut? Seriously, I need to stop cutting my own hair.
- How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
2014 was the year that I started wearing navy instead of black. I’m totally hooked, especially with hot pink lips and nails, and nude heels.
- What kept you sane?
Long conversations with my closest friends. Snoozes on the beanbag with my pup. The coffee that magically appears in my car’s cup holder every morning because Tim is literally the greatest.
- Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I’m not all that big on celebrity crushes, but if I could be best friends with Anne Hathaway that would be pretty great. She’s probably reading this.
- What political issue stirred you the most?
This year it’s really difficult to pick just one issue. It was such a terrible, terrible year to be a member of any vulnerable group in Australia – especially if you were an asylum seeker, unemployed, homeless, elderly or a student. Perhaps the most disturbing issue last year was the incubation of fear (by politicians and the media) of Islam. I find it too embarrassing (and infuriating) for words.
- Who did you miss?
Family, both mine and Tim’s. It’s been a bit lonely without them lately.
- Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014
The art of unplugging. This was the BEST, and I still haven’t turned my phone notifications back on.
- Quote a song lyric that sums up your yearTake these thoughts
Put ‘em in your basement
Take these thoughts
And send them down the track
Make sure they don’t come back
Take these thoughts
Take these thoughts
Take these thoughts
And if they come back ‘round
Just burn the whole place down
– Take These Thoughts by Chris and Thomas