Dec. 31: The year in review

Seems like a good day to look back at 2013 and summarize the highlights and lowlights. Although our Christmas letter states most of this pretty clearly, I like the idea of focusing on my blog a little here. Also, our Christmas letter was full of lies.

The most-read 2013 posts

  1. The post about my glass painting adventures had hundreds of visits, according to Google Analytics. Credit for all the visits goes mostly to Sherilee, I think, because she linked to the post on her blog (or Facebook, or Instagram, or somewhere) and probably paid her friends to read it because she would totally do that just to make me feel important. I like that Sherilee girl.
  2. During the September 2013 Blog Challenge, I made a butter cake just so I could post a recipe. It was delicious (I followed someone else’s recipe, so I can say it was delicious without sounding like I’m all I’M THE BEST PASTRY CHEF IN THE UNIVERSE!!
  3. My third most-read post was the story of my quasi-evil mother-in-law.  
  4. My neighbor-friend has a silly kid who sends emergency (and by “emergency,” I mean “tattletale”) comments to her via Instagram. 
  5. Our Christmas letter, posted on Christmas Day, was mailed to some recipients in actual cards, and emailed to others. The rest of them had to read it on the blog. Looozers.

I find it interesting that the five most popular posts of 2013 were all from the last few months of the year. I don’t know what that means. It certainly wasn’t because life got more interesting.

My favorite blog posts of 2013

It’s hard to choose, because the ones that I think are the most amusing are the ones like this, which are just silly pictures I collect. My soapbox ones (like this and this and this) are full of feelings that I feel. I like the story of how Victor and I re-met. I like the one about creating more joy for the world—which I really didn’t even write—because every time I re-read it, I remember that some of those methods are too easy NOT to keep doing every day.

An interviewer I just made up asked me to answer these questions about 2013.

Did you learn any important lessons about life in 2013?

  • It wasn’t a new lesson, but on a number of occasions, I was made aware of the fragility of life and the importance of telling people we love them EVERY DAY.
  • I was reminded that I can’t please everyone and that it’s in my nature to try anyway and I HATE that about myself.
  • I got a better grasp of this sentiment:

“It’s not what happens, but how you react to it, that matters.” (Epictetus)

  • I learned that “your perception is your reality” is frustratingly true, especially when trying to make someone understand that they’re wrong about the things of which they accuse others. At the same time, the idea reminds me to stay more open-minded.

If your life in 2013 were a movie, how would it be categorized?

If my choices are action/adventure, drama, comedy, romance, foreign, documentary, animation, or horror, I’d have to go with none of those and say that 2013 was a dramedy, the least enjoyable movie genre of all. Living a dramedy is normal, but watching it is a big ol’ yawn, amirite?

What events stand out as highlights of the year?

We went to Disneyland for spring vacation… repurposed a room in our house to better fit our family’s current sources of entertainment… I had kidney stones… Jack finished grade school… I finished PTO…

What accomplishments in 2013 are you most proud of?

  • All the PTO stuff. I didn’t do it alone, of course—I had a great group of people at my side.
  • I created (what I think is) a pretty awesome grade school yearbook—a huge feat.
  • I started writing my cancer memoir.
  • My kids aren’t the worst kids in the whole world.
  • I was able to fool Victor into staying married to me for another year. He’s so easy.

What do you look forward to in 2014?

There’s really only one thing I know for sure will happen: Katie will start high school in September, which I am both excited and nervous about.

Have you set goals for yourself or your family in 2014?

I’m not a big fan of new year’s resolutions, but off the top of my head:

  • Read more books. My attention span this year has been… uh… not… good. I have a big stack of amazing books. There is no excuse!
  • calvinhobbes Set up a new office space in the house. It’ll be small and minimalistic no matter where it is, and I hope that’ll work for me.
  • Work on menu plans. Trying to plan our meals is one of the most difficult things for us as a family. Too many times we’re picking up carry-out food on the way home or making trips to the grocery store nearly every day.  Our conflicting schedules just make it trickier, but I feel like there has to be a good solution for us somewhere.
  • Find more work, hopefully doing something rewarding. Even though I didn’t get paid for my work on PTO, it was mostly fun, and when it was rewarding it was VERY rewarding. I hope to find that in something more reliable than the scarce work I’m doing now.
  • CREATE. I want to make nice things. That’s completely vague and lofty but it’s what I want to do.
  • Exercise more, lose weight, keep up with laundry, reduce clutter, walk the dog, blog more frequently, blah dee blah blah blah.

What words did you use most on your blog in 2013?

Glad you asked! Here’s a word cloud. The bigger the word, the more frequently it shows up in my 2013 posts.


You’ll have to click the image to see a larger, legible version. Here’s what surprised me about my word cloud:

  • “Cancer” is teeny-tiny. I love that.
  • Neither “booze” nor “alcohol” show up in the cloud. Shocking, eh?
  • “PTO” didn’t show up either. Weird.
  • I like that most of the big words are positive, or things that I like (besides the obvious, “home,” “made,” and “think” made me smile).


Stolen from Dana’s FB wall:


And from somewhere on Pinterest:


And from Emily McDowell’s shop:


I hope your 2013 was a good one, and that your 2014 shapes up to be something you might enjoy.


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