Friday, December 14, 2012

This meme is pinched from Fernstar who had one hellish year health-wise but has pulled through with flying colours and two adorable cats to help her.

1.What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Learned how to ski. Yes, I tried (and failed) during Christmas 2011, but Magic Mike from Mageve spent a weekend with nine of us at wildly varied levels ranging from Black Run into other countries' borders (Adje) and Fearful and Clueless (Moi). I was pootling down blue runs and even parallel skiing by Sunday afternoon.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Sadly no, and sadly yes. It is always the same: Keep my mouth shut: food-wise and silly show off comments-wise, and I fail on both counts.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope, but I have a friend here who is a maternity health professional and I've helped her at a couple of her toddler and mothers-and-new-bubs sessions. Milly sniffs the room with fascination afterwards as humans under the age of two are a treasure trove of aromas.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. And I realise how incredibly lucky that makes me.

5. What countries did you visit?
France (only 5km away as a 'meat tourist' to buy food that costs less than half of what it does here in Switzerland) - but also a weekend in Paris; UK (Exeter and a week in London); Luxembourg, Austria, Germany and a tiny two day skiing stint in Italy right behind the Matterhorn.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Some regular freelance gigs that result in some sort of reliable financial contribution and engage the creative side of my brain. Failing that, I'd like to do some charity work that doesn't require any French language skills beyond 'Bonjour' and an exaggerated thumbs up sign.  Oh and a size twelve body wouldn't be unwelcome either.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 23rd, when my daughter turned thirteen. So beautiful, yet completely unconvinced of it. So witty and hilarious, yet hides it at school. So insightful, yet challenged by all the teenage crap that NONE of us would ever wish to go through again.
Tenth of August, when my parents arrived to visit.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Is this a vain answer? Taking pride in being the matriarch of the household. Chores are boring but I'm minding them less when I'm able to do so many other things that I love. House hunting for a friend in France; taking visitors up the cable car to the top of Saleve; sitting in the train and watching several countries whizz by. Participating in NaNoWriMo and wanting to finish what I started.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not taking an interest in growing anything in our window boxes. I did, however, buy a plastic tub of bright red geraniums that never failed to get visitors saying, "Oooh, they are so healthy and so lovely. What a green thumb you've got."
"Er, no. These are plastic jobbies purchased for ten euros from Carrefour supermarket."

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just my stupid, recalcitrant, malignant, hurtful Achilles. No running until January 2013. Swimming has been okay as the replacement exercise but trudging home with wet hair in the snow and goggle marks still marked in red lines around my eyes has been a big bucket load of un-fun.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
So many crazy brocante (flea-market) items but the stand out is the Golden Croissant that Love Chunks thought was a gilded dog turd!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Love Chunks. Somehow he still wants to come home and see me and for that I'll forever be amazed and grateful.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
My own so many times. The travails of a thirteen year old daughter butting heads, hearts and minds with LC and me did not bring out my practical, understanding or mature side as often as it should have, unfortunately. I think I'm improving though.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent. Car. Credit card. Food. Travel. Sapphire's medical needs. No longer begrudged but acknowledged as truly essential.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Sapphire's laugh, Love Chunks' warmth, soft dog fur, friendships that amaze and nourish and surprise and gladden me, visitors who came to stay, travelling and seeing our concierge now willingly approach Milly to pat her.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
'Say you don't want it' by One Night Only. THE best running and mood lifting song.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
a) Happier.
b) Fatter.
c) Richer (then again, that just means we're no longer at the 'How the hell will be able to afford to eat, let alone live here' stage).

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Visitors would probably say 'housework', but my inclination is for Sunday drives to get to know the towns and attractions just outside of Geneva. Trouble is, I hate to drive.....

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worry. If there's any dark side - no matter how unrealistic - to an upcoming event/issue/chore/meeting/party/situation/confrontation, I'll find it, catastrophise it to an entirely new level of insanity and then lose sleep over it.

20. How will you spend Christmas?
At Mum and Dad's in Victor Harbor. Yes, we're due our UN-sanctioned 'Home Leave' and will be spending a brief, but hopefully blissful, time in Melbourne, Adelaide and the South Aussie coast!

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Stayed in love.

22. What was your favourite TV program?
Anything on British TV that features a panel of comedians. Have I got news for you; Mock the Week; Stand up for the week; Never mind the Buzzcocks; Russell Howard's good news; 8 out of 10 cats ..... 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Not hate, but someone has disappointed me. Despite this, I hold no ill will and in fact feel a lot of sympathy for her.

24. What was the best book you read?
As a keen second-hand book stall trawler, there was a lot of interesting stuff to enjoy and if anything costs less than a Swiss franc (CHF), I'll eagerly snaffle it. Therefore some of the subject matter included:
  • Alan Alda's autobiography (his father was a vaudevillian actor); 
  • Bees (Sophie Monk-Kidd); 
  • Jo Brand ('Look back in hunger');
  • Tragedy ('Into the Wild' and even the poor children in 'The Nanny Diaries');
  • Light hearted but informative history ('One thousand years of annoying the French,' written by a Pom of course);
  • Fish ('Salmon fishing in the Yemen' and Richard Flanagan's entertainingly bizarre 'Gould's book of fish'), 
  • The history of the Jews (over 1000 pages, lent by a literary friend and author's name now escapes me);
  • Life after Pride and Predjudice had been overcome ('Death comes to Pemberley' by PD James);
  • Berlin when the wall was still up (Douglas Kennedy);
  • London (Rutherford, a great stonking doorstop of a book that made my arms ache when I tried to read it in bed);
  • Home (Bill Bryson, 'Down Under' and 'Home'); 
  • Middlesex as a gender issue and not a UK county (Jeffrey Eugenides)...
...but the best was a PG Wodehouse I picked up for eight euros (brand new!) in Berlin. Dad had been a fan of his for years and my incorrect assumption that the Jeeves and Wooster series would be out of date was laughingly wrong. It was hilarious, witty and very very modern. I'm now on a mission to buy anything and everything the chap wrote.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Let me just preface this answer with this fact: I am forty four years old and don't listen to the radio or watch music videos. Therefore, my discoveries are always ancient ones, accidentally happened upon in Spotify when I click on a song that appeals to me, then click to what the magical music genie recommends and on again to that particular group or singer's top five. This has enabled me to finally discover Keane, Marina and the Diamonds (Hypocrates is my favourite), One night only, Panic at the disco, Amy McDonald and Greyson Chance.  

However, Ed Sheeran's popularity leaves me:
a) struggling to stay awake; and
b) utterly baffled.

26. What did you want and get?
An iphone - yay!
My parents to visit and my best friend to stay!
Friendships old, established, cemented and new ones still blossoming.A sense of contentment mixed with dollops of adventure and immense gratitude.

27. What did you want and not get?
A month in Italy. During the warmer months. Pre-paid four star+ accommodation, a loaded credit card and a packed sightseeing itinerary. Health spa and massage options at the end of each day. A home that cleans itself.

28. What was your favourite film of this year?
Cinemas in Geneva are not only eye wateringly expensive, but you must be careful to pick the 'Version Anglaise' session or risk seeing The Hobbit in French. Even then, the Version Anglaise has a third of the screen taken up with not only French subtitles but also German ones. It's cheaper to buy a DVD later online.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Love Chunks was flying out to Colorado for the week, so we all got up and had a coffee (LC and myself), a stretch (all of us) a whizzer in the forest (Milly) and unwrapped a couple of presents and cards that Sapphire had snatched from the mailbox and hidden from me. Dinner was with Sapphire, Milly and our lovely friends the A Family, playing Balderdash until midnight.

30. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Despite admitting that I'm a worry wart in an earlier question, I believe that I 'went with the flow' a bit more this year and said 'no' to some things that were 'expected', like learning French. It was a relief to say, "No, I haven't learned French. My brain is still struggling with English," and not care if the other person thought I was lazy, stupid or both.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Excuse me whilst I wipe away the tears of laughter ...... as long as I'm clean and vaguely colour coordinated, I'm happy. Black hides most sins but long baggy shorts are the saviours of summer.

32. What kept you sane?
Love Chunks. Milly. Coffee. Medication.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Stephen Fry's brain
Russell Howard's slightly wonky eye
...and a shameful(ish) couple - Jeff Probst from Survivor and chubby Michael McIntyre....

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Gay marriage - how hard is it to just legalise it already?
Syria - why can't we remove Bashir?

35. Who did you miss?
Everyone in Australia. Gianna when she hops back to London. Flemington neighbourhood. Milly whenever we couldn't take her on holiday with us. 

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Gianna and SimonJenne
Kate, Lyndon and Immi
Di and Clay
Christin G
Isabel H's terrific being in a new country because, like six year olds in a playground, you can meet someone and instantly approach them with 'do you want to be my friend' (although usually it's 'What's your email address? Want to come over for coffee and a cuddle of the dog?')

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Stop talking and listen more. Especially to Sapphire.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
A corny little pop song with this line: 'I don't want to be anywhere else but here with you,' sung by Olly Murs. 


Hannah said...

I love this! And I love your answers. I might even do this one...

It gives my heart such joy to read of the many happinesses and glories in your life right now, Kath, especially after the trickiness of your first few months post-move. Hugs and hugs.

River said...

Excellent answers, love you still struggling with English as an excuse for not learning French. If only I'd thought of that way back in high school when I hated the French teacher.
#8 taking pride in being the Matriarch of the household. That was me too, way back when. after being left to largely raise myself, I was enormously proud with the way I raised my kids and managed a household so things ran like clockwork.
#27 Oh yes! wouldn't that be grand.

Ann ODyne said...

so glad you get an AUS christmas, but already worrying about Milly.
x x

Elephant's Child said...

Wonderful meme and wonderful answers from wonderful you.
If I knew where my worry button was - I would rip it out of its sockets. It gives me grief to no benefit.
You may wish to tame your mouth - we hope you stay as you are.

Pandora Behr said...

Great meme.

Did I ever tell you that Middlesex is one of my favourite books - amazing book.

Hope the travels treat you well. xx

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

That's similar to the year end meme I do - but has more questions.

I may steal the additional questions if that's OK.

And great answers, as usual.

Hope you have fun back Down Under.




Wally said...

Ah: "Stop talking and listen more".

Something I have been trying (and failing) at for about 20 years.

diane b said...

Now i think I know you a little better. Love your fashion it even challenges mine. It is good to see LC at last. Have a great time with family and friends in hot OZ.

nuttynoton said...

Great answers and good to hear your are going with the flow, enjoy your home trip and the warmth.
My better half wants to go to Italy.... one day may be

drwife said...

So happy to have met you in 2012 and happy to have made #36. I might steal your questions and produce answers of my own.

I really, really hope you have a fabulous time on vacation. Please absorb sun and produce vitamin D for me because I'll be here in dreary Geneva. Happy Home Leave-ing!

Anji said...

Sounds like you had a busy and pretty good year. Enjoy your Christmas back home.

Season’s Greetings from ExposeYourBlog!

Fen said...

ooh I looove Never Mind the Buzzcocks, though I do miss the acid tongue of Simon Amstell hosting it!

ropcorn said...

What a great post to sum up 2012 with. I can't believe how many books you have managed to read throughout the year. And your answer to question 21 made me go "aww". :)

Wish you a fabulous 2013!

MedicatedMoo said...

Thanks everyone :)