Two Memes

Both via “What if no one’s watching?

This is the End-of-Year Meme.

1. What did you do in 2004 that you’d never done before?

Walked into a bookstore and saw a book by me. Also, I passed out from drinking.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

If I had one, it was probably to lose some weight, and I did, but then I regained it. If I make one for next year, it will be to finish a second and maybe a third book. Yes. I’m making that resolution now. I will finish a second and then a third book.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friend Dot and my boyfriend’s sister, both to awesomely cute babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank gosh.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just America, where I live.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

A writing career that doesn’t necessitate a concurrent day job, and a laptop.

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I’m not the date-etching type. But I will always remember the day in May that my boyfriend and I broke up over a long-distance phone call. And the day in August when he came back home from LA. And October 22, when I had my book party.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Revising galleys.

9. What was your biggest failure?

My book party. Not as many people attended as I’d hoped would.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got the flu and a couple of really bad PMS episodes. And I had my wisdom teeth removed, which isn’t really an illness but feels like one afterwards.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought 5 purses for $60 on Harwin in one day. And, later, a pretty pair of slingbacks with pointy toes.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Tiffany’s, Yvonne’s, Tad’s… everyone who managed to score an awesome new job or contract in this economy. Letty’s, because she got married.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

That of those who didn’t vote, and those who voted for Bush. And Bush’s. And Justin Timberlake’s. And the American Idol judges’.

14. Where did most of your money go?

To the rent and gas stations.

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

My book showing up on And my stupid book party. And my boyfriend coming back home from LA. And my oldest son learning to go to coffee houses after school on his own.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?

That one by Maroon 5 that they never stopped playing: “This! Love! Has! Taken its hold on me…”

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

a) happier or sadder? both

b) thinner or fatter? a little fatter, average net weight

c) richer or poorer? poorer

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

Writing and monitoring my tires.

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

Yelling at my kids and overdrafting my bank account.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Christmas Eve I’ll have dinner with my dad and brothers and do some writing at home alone. I’ll spend all Christmas Day with my boyfriend, being happy.

21. Did you fall in love in 2004?

I loved.

22. How many one-night stands?

None, ever.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

I watched a lot of What Not to Wear, Trading Spaces, and various VH1 stuff.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. I ended some relationships that weren’t working out, but not hatefully. If anything, I decreased the intensity of my dislike for the very few people I almost hated the year before.

25. What was the best book you read?

Kitchens by Bananas Yoshimoto, maybe.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Sasha’s Involver.

27. What did you want and get?

Contact lenses. Long hair. Opportunities to sing karaoke. My boyfriend back.

28. What did you want and not get?

A laptop. A new mattress for my oldest son. A vacation. Child support.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

Probably Spider-Man 2.

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

I haven’t had it yet. It’ll be Monday, and I’ll be 33. The plan is to have lunch with Yvonne and Tiffany, then to spend the evening with my kids. Maybe we’ll order pizza. I may get a cake, but probably not. (Boyfriend has to work that night.) My two Capricorn cousins and I will have dinner tomorrow night to celebrate all our birthdays together.

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

If my book had magically been successful enough, in its first month of availability, to enable me to quit my day job. Or, more realistically, if I had gotten the child support the court had ordered my children’s father to pay.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?

“I can’t afford to wear anything other than boring black and solids in traditional shapes, but cheap, brightly colored purses will distract everyone from that fact.”

33. What kept you sane?

Writing in my journal and hashing things out with my friends.

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

I guess it was Gael Garcia Bernal, even though I’ve never even fantasized about having sex with him or anything. (If he were mine, I’d just put him in the window to look at.) I don’t think I imagined having sex with any celebrity this year. Unless it was Matt Damon, very briefly. But it wasn’t. There was no one that I can remember.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election? Is that a political issue? If not that, then the travesty that was the Iraq war. Preemptive striking.

36. Who did you miss?

My late Aunt Sylvia, and my boyfriend when he was in LA and when he had/has to work nights. And my kids, over the summer when they were with their dad. And right now, when they’re spending Christmas holiday time with their dad.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

Um… Hmm. I meet cool people all the time, and I’m not sure how I’d decide which was “best.” I was glad I met Tiffany, Brie, June, Lisa, Steven, Thep, and other awesome people. (If anyone I named was someone I actually met last year, then… sorry!)

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.

That I can’t force others to love me, but that I can always love myself. That it really, really does not matter what strangers think of you. That it’s no shame if you don’t get vindictively pissed off every time someone wrongs you.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Who are these people who can come up with song lyrics for every occasion? I’m not one of them. How about, “I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert/ But I can look and breathe and/ See the sun in winter time”?

Meme 2: Timeline

Gosh dang it, these are a fun way to take stock of what’s been going on in your own life.

25 years ago: I was 7. I lived in Houston with my dad, my brothers, and my dad’s extended family. My most awesome teacher ever, Mrs. Dorothea Terry, was my teacher for third grade that year. My best friend was Fay’El. I liked my school. Life was good.

20 years ago: I was 12. I was semi-popular in the sixth grade. My hair was cut in wings, but not in feathers, sadly. But my dad had let me get the suede boots with cuffs and heels, so that made up for it. Madonna was an inspiration to girls everywhere. My best friend was Dorothy.

15 Years ago: I was 17. We were poor, all of a sudden. My home life had become dysfunctional. I was spending a semester at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, but I would soon return to crime-ridden Reagan High School, where I felt more at home. I spent my afternoons and weekends singing my heart out in church choir, in a youth performing arts troupe, and in my teen rock band. Ballet lessons had made me graceful. I was dating one neighborhood thug or another. I dressed like a weirdo to hide the fact that I was always dirty because my family hadn’t paid the water bill for months. I wanted to go somewhere better but I didn’t know how. I was the most beautiful I would ever be in my life, but I didn’t know it. My best friend was Letty, again, who had been my best friend in kindergarten.

10 Years ago: I was 22. I had two babies and lived in a trailer with my husband in a small town outside Austin. I had dropped out of the University of Texas the year before to stay home with my kids. I worked part time at the grocery store deli.

5 years ago: I was 27. I had three kids. I had a popular web site called Gwen’s Trailer Trash Page. I made a little money writing stuff for other people on the web. I sewed and crocheted. I was the fattest I’ve ever been.

3 years ago: I was 29. I had just left my husband and was working on divorcing him. I lived with my three kids in a crappy one-bedroom apartment in the Houston Heights. I was finishing a short story collection that I was determined to get published. I was working as a secretary/PR person/grantwriter for a non-profit organization.

1 year ago: I was 31. I had been awarded custody of my kids after a long, hard divorce. I had a book deal. I had just scored a job that paid three times what I got paid when I was 29. We had moved to a way, way nicer and safer apartment. I got a new (used) car. I was dating a nice guy. My ex-husband lost his job and stopped paying child support.

This year: I am 32. My first book came out last month. I’m working on my second book. I make a little money doing readings/lectures outside my day job. My children are in the gifted/talented programs at their schools. I’m still dating the nice guy. I have several awesome friends. My car only has one dent on it.

Yesterday: I worked at my day job and had lunch with Letty. I came home and spent an evening relaxing alone. (Kids with their dad.) Was supposed to work on my second book but didn’t. Talked on the phone to my boyfriend until bed time.

Today: Worked at my day job. Came home. Started working on this blog entry instead of on my book. There was a knock at the door an hour ago. I was scared. But there was no need to be scared. It was my best friends, Yvonne and Tiffany, with their husbands, bringing me flowers and cake for an early celebration of my birthday! Yay! Oh my gosh! I love them!

Tomorrow: Tomorrow I only have to work for half a day, until the company feeds us our holiday luncheon. Then I’ll bundle up and drive to my boyfriend’s job and watch him make sushi until his break. On his break, we’ll shop and snuggle. Then I’ll kiss him goodbye and go meet my cousins at a restaurant so we can celebrate our December birthdays and then shop and maybe party a little. Then, I’ll go home and maybe pretend to work on my second book. Then, I’ll go to sleep until Christmas Eve.

You know what? I like the way this story turned out. I see now that my life is pretty good, and it’ll only get better from here.

Good night, y’all. Merry night before day before Christmas Eve.

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Posted in Letty on 12/23/2004 12:25 am

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