This is what I did for:
New year:Around with G's friends' place in South Hampstead, a lovely dinner and then watching the fireworks on TV and also out their loft windows - almost certainly the most civilised New Year's I've had.
Birthday: As it happened to be a Sunday, I went down to the occasional gentle club that some of my friends are involved in, by name the Hangover Lounge. People gently wandered in and out, and a lovely time was had.
Christmas: Back in Navan, with G, and my first ever Christmas Stocking that I ineptly made (well, filled (well, to the toe - it was quite a big stocking)) with my own two hands. Meal at my sisters, children climbing all over me during a proper Christmas Nap, all very lovely.
Employment status: Perfectly steady, which is good in this day and age. I had quite a lot of work on for the second half of the year, which did not accrue to my credit at the three-quarter mark for stupid office politics reasons - I have hopes of a bump up in the one-quarter mark next year, but even if not, how's about that having a job, huh?
Creative Output: N/A.
Financial situation: This is levelling out - I'm still not quite adjusted to the amount of money spent on property doubling from Mossford Street rent to Heysham Road mortgage, but it's pretty close. Which is handy, as there'll need to be a bunch of stuff fixed around the house in the new year.
Family stuff: Nothing to report.
Relationship stuff: There's this girl, and I like her. And I like her more and more, which is kind of lovely. She had a terrifying period of illness during the year (probably Glandular Fever), which lead to several weeks where I was basically caring for her - make up a bowl of salad before I left for work, make up a bowl of fruit when I get back for supper, see her bountiful energy and intellect dwindle to near-naught. It was not the most fun that I've ever had, and I was very glad when it was over (and a little panic-stricken when the aftershocks have recurred since), but if there is a silver lining, it's that we got through it. There's been a semi-pattern that I've seen where a couple will get together and everyone thinks that they're perfect for each other, but it's only after they've properly weathered something together that they decide that it's time for the Big Party. I know that we've been pretty certain about the Big Party since early on, but I think the weathering caught up to us this year, and we are stronger for it.
Friend stuff: I have to echo a trend that I've seen in a bunch of these memes of Must Friend Harder - some of it of course is life taking people away to parenthood or places that they can buy rather than rent, some of it is probably that money's a bit tighter this year, but yeah - friends are fucking brilliant, and I will bend my head to seeing more of you more often next year.
Living situation: Well, I still have the house that I had last year, which is nice. I haven't really pulled through on any of the plans for fixing it up - we've painted one room and that's it. It's more and more of a home though, and I'm delighted that G has recently been feeling more at home here - she's here about half of the week at the moment, while I only make it down to see her in Brighton about one day a week. We can both see an idea sketched out of a slightly bigger house that would definitely be large enough for us in all moods and weathers, but we'll have a clearer picture of whether that's possible a year from now. This also to be honest is one of the factors in my sluggishness regarding doing it up (though not larger than general sloth and/or Argh! Grown-up!): I'd feel better paying for the sash windows to get work done that'll last ten years if I knew I'd be here to see it.
Travel: Just the once to the US (Chicago / Philadelphia / New York), not counting a few trips to Dublin and/or Navan. It was a great trip, and particularly very welcome coming right on the heels of the Great Ill.
Health: Pretty good! The occasional mystery torso pain comes and goes, but it mostly goes, and does indeed seem to be related to weight loss. I also need to return to the Dentist and have a cap put on one of my teeth. Er, that's thankfully it?
General mental state: Pretty good at the moment, a bit touch-and-go at times during the year, but due to hopefully non-repeating events. Right now we've had a lovely festive season, and things are looking up in all directions.
Weddings attended: G's friends Josh & Shelaine had a very nice do in Brighton, with square dancing in a farm out in Sussex afterwards, and Ewan & Kerry got excellently and eclectically married in Greenwich, as witnessed by the entire internet.
Babies born: Lots of people reading this had babies, but due to aforementioned drifting out of touch, I don't know that I've seen any of them - sorry dudes. I did make it up to Oxford for a christening, to see G's priest friends Andrew & Sarah, and their tiny future-punk-rocker Chloe.
Best books read: I'm not great at keeping track of this - some of it is rereads: the two Guinnessed LeCarres, Quicksilver (though I have actually finished it this time!). I did enjoy Daytripper, by the brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, a series of different last days of an obituaries writer. Also China Miéville wrote a book and I read it, so that would be on the list even if it hadn't mentioned the 253 bus in the first few pages.
Best TV watched: This is the year we watched the Wire (2010 was also that year), and it is of course marvellous. I caught some Frozen Planet too, and that was a lovely testimonial to why the BBC is important. I would normally say something about Doctor Who, and a lot of this year's has been excellent, but man, that Christmas Special has put me right off. I'll happily switch it for Sherlock, though.
Best films seen:
- Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains
- Four Seasons Lodge
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes
- True Grit
Best things bought: Probably tickets to the US.
The music of 2011: Is mostly catching up with the 2010 best-of lists. Lusine as noted is lovely music to listen to while concentrating on something else, Azealia Banks' 212 is both great and amazingly filthy, and I don't remember if I actually said anything about the Pistol Annies? Basically I have come to the time of my life where I am happy to say I like country music - which is good, as this is too amazing to ignore:
Fashion concept (such as it is): Generally the same as always through the year - though G gently dragged me into Navan's finest M&S when we were there and now I have as stylish 'shawl-collar' chunky knit jumper and two pairs of jeans. I'd sort fo forgotten jeans - they're alright, you know?
Global happenings and politics: Hah, I've returned to the message board of which I have long departed, in order that I could find anyone with which to discuss the finer points of the US Republican Presidential Candidate race, and the diverse circus of oddities within. But this is only my secret shame - I was otherwise as you would expect me - incensed by the current UK government, heartened by Occupies various, delirious with excitement about FF finally fucking off in Ireland, cheered but not entirely convinced by the hoopla about tabloid phone hacking, and watching through my fingers as Barack Obama sails further to the right with the election on the horizon.
Things never done before:
- Observed FF get a hiding from the Irish electorate.
- Sat a professional exam
- Got Home Insurance
- Rolled down a hill inside a plastic ball.
- Had a housewarming for a house I own
- Acted effectively as a single carer for someone else
- Killed a progression boss in WoW
- Attended a festival as entourage/groupie
- Spent more than $100 on a meal
- Seen a show on Broadway
- Painted a room
- Sent out joint Christmas/Festive cards / Decorated a house festively
- Made a Christmas Stocking
- Exposed someone to the glory of a Navan Christmas
- Cook food for someone other than G (Chicken & Vegetables for us & her parents)
Highlights of 2011: Love, and adventures, and most of the list above. And Big Freedia!
Lowlights of 2011:
- My friend Martin, who was healthy this time last year, died driven out of his body and his mind by cancer - there was nothing good or fair or non-shitty about it - I'm not sure whether I seemed less shaken by this than some of his other friends, but then I learned all those lessons 15 years ago. But still, he should be alive, now. If he isn't alive now, what the fuck use is 'should'?
- Less finally but more personally, George's illness was scary and tiring.
- Politics as noted above.
Resolutions kept: Well, there are a number of things I meant to get done in February - I've done about half, and most of the rest are still valid...
Resolutions for 2012:So they'll do for the resolutions. But more than that, to take advantage of the stability that G's job should bring us, and to just enjoy life for this year. When the darkness finally comes for me, I want to be able to look back on times like the year I hope 2012 will be, and say "No, I had that life, it was worth it"