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This week’s meme comes from Nik of Spatula Forum.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

I guess the most important new experience I had was purchasing a home by myself. When I purchased houses in the past, the transaction was a joint one with BigBob. This time, I shopped for and bought the house with the advice and counsel of my boys and realtor. BigBob did not see the house until we moved in and he came over to visit for the first time.

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

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

This is a very popular meme question that I’ve answered several times already. We’ll be right here at home.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, as I wrote about here yesterday, the year began with the death of a very close friend, Clint Ritchie, who portrayed “Clint Buchanan” on the ABC daytime drama “One Life to Live” for more than twenty years. It ended with the death of the senior partner of the law firm where I practiced for more than seven years. Both men played very important roles in my life for quite different reasons.

5. What countries did you visit?

In 2009, I never even left the state of California.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

My full salary. I love having three-day weekends the first three weeks of each month, but the approximately 15 percent reduction in pay is galling, to say the least. Yes, I am grateful that I am employed and able to survive nicely on the reduced income. But that does not change the fact that I have worked long and hard to achieve professional success and standing, and California’s budget woes were not created by its workforce. The politicians running this state are inept, at best.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Probably September 5, 2009, because that is the day that I, along with my boys, moved into my new home.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

My biggest achievement this year was overcoming the inertia that for far too long prevented me from taking affirmative action to improve my life circumstances.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I had one professional challenge that did not result in failure. Quite the opposite, in fact. I was ultimately successful. But I wish that I had approached certain aspects of that situation differently. I do not believe in regret, though, so I plan to use the knowledge I gained from that experience in the future.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

In January, I experienced excruciating pain and spasms that ran from my forehead, down my nose, under my right eye, and around my ear down into my neck. It felt as though someone were trying to tie my face in a knot. Nothing relieved the pain and I ended up in the emergency room. A combination of Baclafen and Vicodin made the pain manageable. I was diagnosed with a form of neuralgia and referred to a neurologist. Since I have a history of temporal-mandibular joint paint (TMJ), I also consulted my oral surgeon. All of my symptoms were related to a molar. After it, along with the adjacent impacted wisdom tooth, was surgically removed, the pain subsided. It turned out that I didn’t have neuralgia, after all.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Aside from my house, my best purchase in 2009 was my comfortable, beautiful waterbed.

12. Where did most of your money go?

My biggest investment this year was the downpayment and monthly mortgage installments, of course. I have also spent a lot of money on associated items like furniture, cookware, etc.

13. What song will always remind you of 2009?

I will always associate “All the Single Ladies” by Beyonce with 2009, in part because of all the hilarious parodies I have seen, especially Justin Timberlake’s sketch on Saturday Night Live, and in part because I finally rejoined the ranks of single ladies this year. I am not, however, looking for anybody to “put a ring on it.”

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

I wish I were able to do more reading for pleasure, but it is very difficult due to my visual challenges. My job requires me to spend countless hours reading and at the end of a long workday, my eyes are too tired for me to enjoy doing any more reading. That’s why I have a 24″ flat screen monitor and I enlarge the fonts on the websites I visit so that I can read comfortably without straining my eyes.

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

I wish it weren’t necessary to spend so much time driving.

16. What was your favourite TV program?

My new favorite show is Lopez Tonight. I have long been a fan of George Lopez, but I did not watch his sitcom regularly simply because I am not a big fan of sitcoms. But I really like his new late-night show and his band, Michael Bearden and the Ese Vatos, is smokin’ hot.

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

I don’t hate anyone and I’m completely incapable of holding grudges (believe me . . . I’ve tried and failed).

18. What was the best book you read?

One of my all-time favorite books is “The Road Less Traveled” by the late M. Scott Peck, M.D. It literally changed my life.

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

This holiday season I rediscovered some Christmas tunes that I hadn’t performed for a couple of years, and it was fun. I teamed up with a pianist friend and we played together several times. We had a blast performing flute and piano duets. She played piano solos for awhile and I took a turn doing that, as well. As pianists, we have very different styles, so that keeps our collaboration interesting. For lack of a better name, we call ourselves “Two Gals Having Fun” and yes, we are available for parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc.

20. What was your favorite film of this year?

The only movie I saw in a theater this year was “Avatar.” My boys took me on my birthday last week (December 21). It took me a little while to become engrossed in the story and forget that I was wearing those 3-D glasses, but once I did, I loved it.

21. What did you do on your birthday?

I had lunch with my boys at Strings and then we saw “Avatar.” After the movie, BigBob came over with a chocolate birthday cake that we all enjoyed.

22. What kept you sane?

I have both a job and home that are perfect for me. I am blessed to have two sons who inspire, assist, and love me. They keep me laughing every day. Now that I don’t have to live in the same house with him, I like my husband so much more than I have in many years. My life is far from perfect, but I really have very little about which to complain. I’m lucky.

23. Who did you miss?

I’ve missed Clint the most because his death was just 11 months ago. I can’t count the number of times I have wished I could pick up the telephone, dial his number, and hear his voice. I will always miss my parents, even though my father died in January 1992, nearly 18 years ago. My mother died in October 2005, but she had no quality of life due to dementia for more than two years prior to her death.

24. Who was the best new person you met?

I met a lot of new people this year, both professionally and in my personal life. I couldn’t label just one as the “best.”

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:

This year, I learned yet again that it is best to take decisive action to rectify a situation, rather than hesitate in hopes that things will change for the better. When the evidence is trustworthy and persuasive, one must acknowledge and accept it, rely upon it, and act in accordance with it. Promises are rarely kept, people rarely change. Waiting around and hoping only wastes one’s own life. It’s a pointless exercise.

Click here to see the list of other participants, visit their sites, and read their responses.


  1. Anonymous

    Thank you for pointing out “The Road Less Traveled”. I have save this one on my amazon wish list. One book i would also recommend is “Empires of the mind” by Denis Waitley

  2. Question # 9 for me: Not trusting my gut enough during important decision-making times. Gotta get better about that one.

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