Like many of you, I typically spend a couple of weeks in December looking back at the recent year and planning for the year to come…and this week will be filled with a bit of analysis.
As readers can attest to, this year was personally challenging for me as I transitioned to moving from my desert home of 7 years to the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin. Luckily the gods have graced me with a new place to live in Hudson, WI (which I’d say is about 5 zillion times nicer than Eau Claire, except that 1000 times 0 is still 0), but I spent the better part of the year doing the only things possible in such a podunk town: going to the gym, going to the movies, planning trips *outside of town,* and cooking food in the comfort of my own kitchen.
So, without further ado, here’s my month-by-month year in review. If you haven’t done your own yet, I’d highly recommend it. I actually used a Facebook app called My Status, but have made similar lists in the past looking at journal entries, day planners and calendars.
In the gym: Female Body Breakthrough
On the screen: Up in the Air, Sherlock Holmes, Men Who State at Goats, Kevin Reeve on the History channel
Highlights of the Month (4): Winter Tree ID workshop in Fall Creek, Local Food Summit in Eau Claire (where I got to interview both Will Allen and Michael Perry and go to a fermented foods workshop), finding thousands of previously disappeared e-mails, going to Minneapolis for the day and reveling in co-ops, indy bookstores, chai, falafel, Thai food, comedy and being in a city that wasn’t 99.999999999% white.
Low Points (8): Attempting to ice cupcakes in an “audition” for what turned out to be a part-time minimum-wage job, getting offered an Americorps position I really wanted at the Volunteer Center in Tucson six weeks after I had moved away, discovering that our dishwasher didn’t exactly wash dishes, losing time and money in an attempt to teach herbal medicine workshops that hardly anybody showed up for, getting a bank account where the assistant manager gave me starter checks with the wrong account number because she “thought I wasn’t going to use them” and acted perturbed when I asked her to fix them (I closed my account), going to local comedy which ended up being racist and sexist, trying and failing to find a jiu jitsu gym I could actually train at, learning an online friend committed suicide.
In the kitchen: parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken feet, duck, soup bones, arugula, edible violets, celeriac, leeks, rutabaga, baby bok choy, buffalo brats, red kale, chicken stock, pork chops, homemade kraut, borscht
On the screen: The Book of Eli, Shutter Island
Highlights of the month (8): Getting my herb workshops mentioned on the TV news, going to an Ayurveda workshop, starting a course on basic Heilkunst, meeting an herbalist at a master gardening class that I thought I’d get to hang out with (though I didn’t), going to a community garden meeting and thinking we’d have a garden plot (another failed attempt at something), learning that the horned larks returned to their prairie haunts and the winter weather would break in six weeks, getting on Cage Cast to talk women’s MMA with Zak Woods, going to Minneapolis for an amazing production of Macbeth (complete with a traditional Scottish meal)
Low Points (8): Still having nobody show up for my herb workshops, spilling Zen Gu Shui all over the carpet and thus making the entire apartment smell like a Chinese apothecary, realizing I had no friends in town when I tried to look my movers up on facebook, having to contact my IRS to get my evil former employers to actually send me my W2 forms, an attempted hostile takeover of my alma mater, realizing that my options for events included bingo, a classic country jam session, genetic opera (whatever that is) and team trivia.
In the kitchen: winter minestrone, cream of parsnip soup, maple syrup roasted pecans, buffalo brats, spring greens, edible flowers, homemade cocoa with raw cacao powder, raw milk, maple sugar, rock salt and vanilla extract, vata tea, maple-vanilla pana cruda, Passover meal: matzah ball soup with homemade chicken broth, charoset, matzah, horseradish, wine, grape juice.
On the screen: Alice in Wonderland
Highlights of the month (9): a maple tapping 101 workshop at Just Local Food, using deadlifts as a good excuse to put on my really cool multi-colored knee-high socks, going to Minneapolis on my birthday for a private BJJ session with Chris McCune and to eat flourless chocolate cake at Seward, going to Sundara on an article assignment (if only all articles required free fresh organic lunches and five-step purifying bath rituals), getting coffee with Judy Behrens (love getting coffee with friends!), speaking at an Ecofeminism class, hearing an interview with Engineers Without Borders, going to a Raw Milk hearing, getting a dozen beautiful red roses from my amazing kick-ass boyfriend
Low points (11): Realizing that a tree was likely killed in the aforementioned maple tapping 101 workshop demonstration process, my boyfriend being in Phoenix on my birthday, the interviewer on the aforementioned Engineers Without Borders interview literally saying that she didn’t realize women could be engineers ( 1950s style), realizing that the hundreds of voices at the aforementioned raw milk hearing would be promptly ignored by the PTB, some guy in my apartment complex apparently thinking he’s a gangsta (dude, you live in Eau Claire), spending tons of money on duck and ruining it in the cooking process, more failed attempts to find a BJJ gym, drinking a beer while working on spreadsheets in honor of St. Patty’s Day (I sure know how to party!), not having YJT or a synagogue with people I actually knew to spend Passover with, trying to do an online workshop on herbal oil and salve by special request but not getting any sign-ups, failed attempts to find coconut spread, palm sugar, jaggery/gur and topical magnesium chloride
On the screen: Kick Ass
In the kitchen: egg drop soup, gently warmed and frothed raw milk milk with cardamom, saffron and a hint of local raw honey, egg drop soup with chicken broth, kale, sea salt, parma, nutmeg and pepper, gluten-free pizza, Bengal spice tea, nettles, breakfast in bed (!!): scrambled eggs with tomatoes and garlic
Highlights (7): Taking my boyfriend to Mexican food for his birthday, where they made him wear a sombrero when they brought out cake, going to a baseball game, tapping out a guy in training, teaching a successful salve class at Seward, getting to see Shana Olsen fight Yoko Takahashi in Minneapolis, US Open Wrestling on TV, interviewing Lana Stefanac
Low points (8): Figuring out why it’s a bad idea to compete in BJJ when not actually training, working on a never-ending article I referred to as Pandora, losing my keys while harvesting nettles, trying to figure out audio editing using Audacity, getting interviewed on the Sharon Kleyne Hour but cutting cut off over and over again by the interviewer, the aforementioned Lana Stefanac interview getting killed for no reason, an attempted teleclass on writing for magazines where everyone signed up for the free version but nobody signed up for the ongoing course, having to quit my master gardening class because I was bored out of my mind
In the gym: Max Strength (and our geeky selves, with our tennis balls and foam roller, a binder with spreadsheets [and reinforcement stickers for said spreadsheets], color-coded tabs for our workout book
On the screen: Robin Hood
In the kitchen: nettle soup, venison jerky, morel mushrooms, ambrosia tea
Highlights of the month (3): barefoot sprints in the grass, teaching an herb workshop with actual participants, hiking
Low points (6): my carefully dried nettles (or so I thought) getting moldy, having to cancel our dinner party as all of our “friends” canceled one by one, our apartment being ridiculously hot, interval sprints, my site getting spammed by some creepy guy ranting about men’s rights and saying awful things about sexual assault survivors, missing Tucson so much it hurt
On the screen: The Road
Highlights of the month (6): visiting my parents in Costa Rica (with my boyfriend), getting to see monkeys up close and personal, Vibrams, switching to Mac, Abyhanga, getting my website up
Low points (2): running over a turtle, having to go back to Eau Claire
On the screen: Inception
In the kitchen: chicken pesto pizza
Highlights of the month (9): Nasya and kavalagraha and karna purana, visiting my boyfriend’s parents at the lake (panorama fireworks viewed from a boat, picking wildflowers and raspberries, long scenic bike rides, crossing the headwaters of the Mississippi), going to St. Paul for community acupuncture and a haircut, seeing Screeching Weasel, getting an iPhone, reading a fascinating debate where someone actually told Eau Claire residents how much their town sucks
Low points (4): Apparently deadlifting in the gym makes too much noise and upsets the delicate sensibilities of some loser who thinks he owns the gym and whose girlfriend uses lifting gloves to do hamstring curls, a constant stream of things breaking in our apartment one after the other, listening to Dave Cater call Tony Blauer “a knucklehead and a fraud,” going back to Eau Claire after leaving
On the screen: Salt, Copying Beethoven, Music & Lyrics
In the kitchen: creamy cauliflower soup
Highlights of the month (3): Going to Madison and Chicago for Bellator (and getting to see Kathy, Sarah, Billy, Hewitt and Lauranne and spend to much money at Quimbys), interviewing Forest Griffin, escaping to Sundara with my boyfriend (complete with a beautiful woodland view from our room (with deer!), lovely hikes, a purifying bath ritual with exfoliating sandstone, lavender steam and hot and cold tubs, heated pool, yummy food, three relaxing CDs in our room, and the craziest Kohler Waterhaven shower tower with like seven adjustable showerheads each with three settings. Not very water-efficient, but so fun.)
Low points (2): Going back to Eau Claire, realizing that Eau Claire drove me to country music
In the gym: 1RM test (bench up 20 lbs. to 115, 215 box squat (previously 185), 200 deadlift (previously 175) and 68.25 broad jump.
Highlights of the month (26): Going to the State Fair and getting a big stuffed animal my boyfriend won by smashing plates with a baseball. Visiting Phoenix!! (Visiting Suzie and Tim. Smoothies with Jocelin. Dinner with Pam Slim and her cute little kiddos. Working out with Josh Henkin, who got my deadlift up to 220. Working on hip flexion and kettlebell magic with Troy Anderson. Getting smashed potatoes with Jeff Moriarty and his wife. Visiting Tucson!!! Getting to see Ted, Barb, Laurie, Dan, Dawn, the guys at Primero. Lunch with Jimmy Boegle. Going to Jason for psoas torture (aka bodywork). Filming at Apex MMA, getting community acupuncture with Larry, stocking up on Perfect Foods Bars, eating Sonoran hot dogs at Club Congress, going to Raging Sage, 7 Cups, Laffs, a gym with chalk, farmer’s market, Bookmans, etc.
Low points (16): Having a cooked fly in my meal at Char Thai (and getting charged for half of the meal…hello?! fly in meal = free e-mail), having a LOUD broken air conditioning unit the one day I got a hotel in Tucson, getting injured and not being able to roll the second time I visited Primero, having to go back to Eau Claire, a failed e-book attempt, not getting to interview Chad Ikei. Another failed article attempt due to not being able to cover an event I was sent to (since I try to keep articles positive)–there were a total of 8 low points involved, but I won’t list them. Going back to Eau Claire.
On the screen: Social Network
In the kitchen: All the meals from the Paleo Solution. Paleo pancakes included.
Highlights of the month (8): getting coffee with Skaja and Sam, seeing Chris Guillebeau on the MSP stop of his AONC book tour, teaching a creative writing class in Chippewa Falls, going to Crex Meadows for the sandhill crane migration, signing a lease to get out of Eau Claire, interviewing Urijah, interviewing Randy Couture, sandbag workouts
Low points (2): an eventless Halloween, living in Eau Claire
In the kitchen: turkey burger, nutty cabbage, strawberry “soup,” Paleo Pizza
Highlights of the month (7): Seeing Jake Shimabukuro play, interviewing Susan Wooldridge, visiting Bekah in Madison, UFC 123, a guest post on Copyblogger, Thanksgiving, MOVING OUT OF EAU CLAIRE SQUEEE!
Low points (7): all sorts of drama that I swear I had nothing to do with, people who are sticky sweet to my face (behind my back? not so much), finding out about said drama secondhand, lots of awkward moments, voting in Eau Claire and not even getting a sticker, the almost-approved projects/clients that never come, packing
On the screen: Harry Potter, The Fighter, True Grit
In the kitchen: chocolate coconut cookies (gluten free!), grassfed summer sausage, goat, hot chocolate, Polish sausage, chocolate ice cream bars
Highlights of the month (12): Not living in Eau Claire, living in a beautiful gorgeous house that rocks, being close to civilization, having somewhere to train, Pam Slim’s Ethical Selling that Works, spending the holidays with my boyfriend’s kick-ass family, teaching a workshop at the Loft Literary Center, solstice party at Brasa, a Chocolate Exhibition at the Minnesota History Center, a Linchpin meet-up, Fabeku’s Don’t Lose Your Shit kit, finding some new clients.
Low points (8): a sparse Hannukah, still missing Tucson and having my own friends, getting a zillion inches of snow, not getting to see my brother due to said snowstorm, awkward moments, getting invited to weird business meetings where people want me to pay hundreds of dollars so that I may recommend them to other potential clients even though I have no idea how good their services are (if at all), scrambling for work a bit (this is the slow season), requisite holiday stress
So there you have it! My year in 2300 words. Lessons learned: don’t live in Eau Claire, but if you have to, make sure to leave as much as possible. Here’s to a better 2011.
How was your year?