teylaminh: (Christine - I can't escape)
[personal profile] teylaminh
I normally leave this until at least New Year's Eve, but as I'm in work for two days with very little to be getting on with (what is the point of opening the office for three days, honestly?), and once I'm off again I will have no inclination to do anything remotely energetic, I might as well do it now.

I very much suspect this will not be particularly interesting.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?

Er, pretty much nothing. The only even thing I can even remotely think of is Paul and I going to Ikea all by ourselves using public transport (we went to the one in Coventry) when we redecorated the bathroom. Usually we are reliant on someone with a car so that was an achievement in itself, and it does mean there's an Ikea we can get to for the purposes of obtaining smaller items instead of saving up a list for whenever we get an opportunity to go for a bigger purpose.

Other than that? Yeah, nothing I can think of.

2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't make resolutions, because they are destined to fail and it's an unecessary expectation to place on yourself. This year anything I might have resolved would have failed due to the ongoing saga that is My Broken Body.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes!! Paul's niece Jade had a baby, Isabella Charlotte, in July. I think I posted at the time about how I conveniently avoided any baby-related family gathering stress by the said family gathering not actually happening...

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My mum's cat, Rum. This seems like a really strange thing to be putting here, notwithstanding that pet deaths are always traumatic (more so that non-pet-owners can imagine, I think), but to my mind it was one of many triggers leading to her and David's decision to leave the country. Also it happened shortly after the deaths of Terry Pratchett and one of my old school teachers, in quick succession, and right at the end of a really stressful week at work (on Mother's Day, in fact).

5. What countries did you visit?

Does Wales count? It totally counts. We went to Prestatyn's post-apocalyptic Pontins of Doom. Other than that, nope. What, you think I had enough spare money to travel?

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Money and better health. I have a feeling neither of these things will happen expediently.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

There are none that actually stick out. Maybe 24th July, when my hospital procedure was, because I thought it would be a turning point into things improving when in fact it was the exact opposite.

Having said that, on 29th July we adopted Leo, so I should probably remember that date for future reference. :)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not going off on long-term sick? Seriously, that feels like an achievement. Surviving the year relatively intact feels like it needs some recognition as well, though there are three days to get through yet. :P

Oh, and probably the POTOver. I didn't finish it for Christmas 2014 like I wanted, but I did finish it in time for [personal profile] commoncomitatus's birthday (just!) and it turned out to be not only EPIC but probably one of my favourite fics I've ever done - it was much longer than I expected it would be, and for most of January/February I was full of customary Jonathan/Maddy feels - even though it subsequently beat all the creativity out of me for the rest of the year... I have about seven half-finished bits for various fandoms all waiting to be finished and haven't had even the remotest inclination to do so.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don't know, maybe life? This entire year has been a mess of fail, though not all of it was mine. Most of my fail has been down to ongoing health issues frying my brain and I sort of feel like I've been in stasis for the entire year, waiting for things to get better.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

HAVE YOU NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION???

*ahem* Yes, other than the obvious: I have had sinusitis for about three weeks and then had a stinking cold on Christmas Day, because obviously I haven't been sick enough this year. Surprisingly few migraines, having said that, though I'm not sure if the constant kidney pain is any better.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I don't know if it counts as "bought" since Paul got it with his phone contract, but the X-Box One was a pretty awesome thing, if only because it enabled me to discover Assassin's Creed (via Black Flag and then the back catalogue - I am currently playing AC2 and Syndicate simultaneously!) and Dragon Age: Inquisition, which subsequently ate my brain. (Solavellan Hell, I am in you: cliché, thy name is [personal profile] teylaminh.)

I did get some new music this year, the most notable of which was Brandon Flowers's new solo album, The Desired Effect. There are shades of Battle Born in it, so on that basis it wins.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

I would have to say [personal profile] commoncomitatus here (not just because she put me for this question!) because she's had to ensure several ridiculously long outpourings via email when I was attempting to clear my head (one of which wasn't even intentional and just kind of happened) and has offered words of wisdom or occasionally just words, even when it wasn't necessary. Like, I vent on LJ as well, but sometimes I just need to send a 600-word paragraph of sweary capslock'd ranting to clear my head and that's... kind of how we communicate all the time anyway? I don't know, it's just really helped.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

The voting public and subsequently the Tories. That election result was the most depressing thing ever. In that same vein, the media's treatment of Jeremy Corbyn has been completely ridiculous, because god forbid a politician tries to be a decent human being...

Also: Donald Trump can fuck right off.

14. Where did most of your money go?

I LITERALLY HAVE NO IDEA. We managed to find the money for tickets to Sunset Boulevard next April (because that was non-negotiable, basically, and luckily they went on sale a day after payday) but for about three years I've been living week to week and constantly rebudgeting. It seems to disappear into a black hole when I'm not looking, but it doesn't help that whenever I have just slightly more than nothing I get over-excited and treat myself to something like a new top or some new music, and then feel guilty because I have no money again by the end of the month.

This is why I can't have nice things, clearly.

15. What did you get realy, really, really excited about?

Echoing [personal profile] commoncomitatus again here: SUNSET BOULEVARD IN APRIL 2016 WITH GLENN CLOSE. Like, as soon as we booked the tickets I had this little fangirl moment of squee when it hit me that we were ACTUALLY GOING. I have a suspicion this will not properly sink in until we actually get there and I see the posters, and at that point everyone in my immediate vicinity should be very, very afraid.

Other than that... caturday. :)

Also finishing the POTOver, and a few moments during the writing process when I was just really enjoying myself.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Ugh, I hate this question. Even though I've bought new music I haven't listened to any of it properly enough to have a "song of the year"...

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

(a) happier or sadder?
Sadder. Or decidedly less sane, at any rate. I just want this horrible year to be over.
(b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, thanks to ongoing health issues scuppering any form of exericse, AGAIN.
(c) richer or poorer? Poorer. Again. Some day I will fill this meme out and be able to answer the opposite for all of these questions...

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Writing, for the most part - after my traditional February Flurry it was a little disheartening to not write anything substantial for the rest of the year. Usually January is quite a productive time for me, but I am quite conscious of my own mental health of late and keeping an eye on any warning signs, one of which (for me) is the inability to get words down on paper effectively. This year has been difficult and January is looking likely to be difficult as well.

Also exercise / eating properly - ill health has scuppered any motivation I might have had to do either of these things, as has tiredness. I am getting lifts to the access centre more often than not because walking saps my energy, and my calorie-counting has all but disappeared. I get stuck in a perpetual cycle of comfort eating / self-hate. Which is awesome.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Stressed about things at work which none of us could change. I actually made an executive decision this month that if the project I volunteered myself for was not managed properly, then I wasn't willing to participate. It occurred to me a couple of weeks after the event, that when I was having a discussion with a colleague about the concept, I became irrationally angry about something which hasn't even happened yet (but has the potential to if things don't change, i.e. that we will be back at square one) - that's how I felt every single day towards the end of my time at Legal Services. I really don't want to be in that place again. Out of self-preservation, I made my feelings very clear that I was perfectly happy to volunteer, because someone needs to fix this mess, and that I was perfectly capable of dealing with people being fractious in meetings or whatever, but not if it was badly coordinated / unmanaged in the first place.

It's a side effect of Caring Too Much, unfortunately. If we don't care, nobody else will. It's now become the case that I need to balance caring too much with caring for myself. I need more life in the work/life balance, basically. Or more life in general. :P

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

The traditional arrangement of family on the 23rd, pub on Christmas Eve, and just Paul and I on the day. I had a stinking cold (as did most people who were at the pub apparently) so Paul cooked instead of me, but he was also lurgified so it wasn't the best dinner ever. This year it has become even more apparent than usual that it's basically four weeks of constant stress for one rather uneventful day. I never learn. :P

It's also been a slightly bittersweet affair because it's the last Christmas my mum and David will be spending in the UK, so that's been hanging over my head for the entire season. I need to update properly about this at some point, but things finally got on top of me on 20th December after we met up with my grandmother and uncle, who decided to drop a bombshell of bad news on us a week before Christmas (cheers!) - since then it's like the floodgates have opened, except I'm being all Stiff Upper Lip about it at the same time and trying to pull myself together, because otherwise I might not stop crying for a month.

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve?

Quietly with Paul, watching a film or a boxset. I am really not in the mood to be sociable and just want this year to piss off now.

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?

23. How many one-night stands?


Both of these questions are redundant.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Probably Doctor Who as we finally got around to watching series 1 and 2 on DVD. (I know, I'm a decate late to the party.) Obviously, both Nine/Rose and Ten/Rose have broken me. :P

We have also enjoyed Gotham, though the Skybox only picked up half of the first season. The Returned (aka Les Revenants) was also amazing, and whilst off sick recently I watched the entire series of The River, a "found-footage" documentary style drama set on a boat on the Amazon river. Creepy but addictive. I'm sure there must have been more. TBH most of our entertainment has been in X-Box and PS3 form...

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

My generalised hatred for the Shit Assistant Head has increased, probably. :P Also probably David Cameron.

26. What was the best book you read?

I don't think I even finished a book this year...

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

... or discover any new music. Meh.

28. What did you want and get?

The cat - we were talking about it for ages and a few opportunities had arisen at work to adopt strays that people had found, but when I saw the picture of Leo it was cat!love at first sight.

Also: Sunset tickets. When the news broke I kind of despaired of ever being able to afford it, especially when I discovered they were going on sale a week later. But as stated above: NON-NEGOTIABLE.

29. What did you want and not get?

How long a list do you want?? Sanity, financial security, weight loss, good health...

30. What was your favourite film of the year?

I've barely seen any films this year, either. We saw Inside Out at the cinema and I think that was about it. We can hardly ever agree on what films to watch at home (Paul suggests Point Break every single time and I have threatened to snap the disc in half - when he sat down to watch it on his own he discovered it was Region 1 and unplayable on the PS3, which obviously I did not laugh about at all...) and usually by the time I can watch something on my own, it's just for the sake of watching it and I'm not in the mood or it has no impression on me.

But also: X-Box / PS3. I have sunk 120 hours of my life into DA:I and probably countless more into AC and GTA. :P

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 34, and I spent the actual day at work. The day after we went to Nosh & Quaff for a very nice meal, followed by drinks at Cosy Club as it was the only place we could find a free table. The week after that I was off work and had a trip to Hobbycraft to get card-making materials. Other than that, nothing. My time off is mostly spent sleeping these days.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

NOT BEING ILL. That would have made everything else so much easier to cope with.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

My standard work attire of black trousers, t-shirt and cardigan, or jeans & t-shirt combo. I treated myself to a new pair of jeans as I discovered Peacocks are the only place still selling bootcut/kickflare style. Frivolous, I know. :P

Since July, everything I own is peppered with little white hairs. I'm starting a trend.

34. What kept you sane?

Aforesaid offloady emails at [personal profile] commoncomitatus, writing the POTOver, and work, when it wasn't causing some of the crazy. :P Also gaming, whether it was losing myself in Thedas or climbing impossibly tall buildings.

35. Which celebrity / public figure did you fancy the most?

I don't think there were any new ones this year...

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

See above re: general election awfulness. So so depressing.

37. Who did you miss?

People, as ever. I managed to meet up with Jackie in January having not seen her for ages, but I am terrible at arranging to meet up with people.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Shout-out here to Mike, a friend of Rob's who moved to Birmingham from Reading and was unforunate enough to have me, Paul, and latterly everyone else inflicted on him because he didn't know anyone else. Apparently we must have made a good impression as we have met up with him on a few occasions. :P

39. Did you meet anyone you only knew online?

Not this year. I am working on getting to NI to meet [personal profile] cloudsinvenice, though.

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:

Do not rely on the NHS to resolve your medical problems with any expediency. Never ever let it be said I'm not grateful for free healthcare (just in case Cameron is listening), but everything TAKES. SO. LONG.

41. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Because this came on my MP3 player the morning of the election result and it was painfully appropriate...

I love this city tonight
I love this city always
It bears its teeth like a light
And spits me out after days
But we're all gluttons for it
We know it's wrong and it's right
For every time it's been hit
Take back the city tonight.


(From Take Back the City by Snow Patrol.)

So that's that. An uneventful year which has nonetheless been ridiculously difficult, because that Odd Year Curse is ever self-perpetuating.

Next year will have a rocky start, and there are things brewing which have the potential to be difficult, but please, PLEASE, let it be better than this one. I honestly don't know how much more pressure my brain can take before it implodes. :(

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