2014 Year in Review (Part 1)

This is the first of what will likely be many posts reflecting on the past year and pondering the upcoming one. Last year, saw this survey on a friends’ fetlife page and decided to do it again this year. The italicized answer was last year’s response.

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? 

I went to Mexico (Riviera Maya) including to Chichen Itza, I cooked a bunch of new recipes, I went to many new restaurants, I introduced a boyfriend to my family and met his family, I gave a eulogy and went to a funeral, I tried new workout classes (piloxing, kickboxing, hip hop cardio, among others), I lifted heavy weights (deadlifts, yo), paid off my car, and got a deep tissue massage.

2013: I went on a zipline in Vegas, I went to Harry Potter world in Orlando, I had korean barbecue, I learned to grill, I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, I played a bunch of board games I never had played before, and I went to many new restaurants and touristy things.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

I kept some of them. It took me half the year to get around to it, but I did end up focusing on health in the latter part of the year. I kept up with goodreads, game nights, my gratitude journal, and RSS feeds over the year. I’m also much better off financially. I didn’t write another short story, I didn’t save up as much as I wanted to, and I didn’t keep track of passwords or write letters to folks.

I kept some of them and didn’t for others. I saved the money I wanted to save, and at one point I had paid off my credit cards (alas, I spent them up again). I got addresses for a bunch of people. I went to a never-before-visited destination, and took a bunch of photos. I watched Secretary and tried wax and fire play. I did not do a 5K, work out enough, compile all my online passwords, try cupping, acquire a flogger, or write an erotic story (although I have extensive notes and could still do that in the next few days…)

Did anyone close to you give birth? 

I don’t think so, at least not anyone in my immediate friend or family circle.

My cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy a few months ago.

Did anyone close to you die? 

Yes, my mom. It was unexpected and the grief still takes my breath away, even though it’s been 4.5 months.

No one immediately near me, thankfully.

What was your favorite TV program? 

Suits, Once Upon a Time, Shark Tank, Grey’s Anatomy, Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones, without a doubt. Shark Tank probably takes a close second.

What countries did you visit? 

Mexico.

Dubai, UAE and Afghanistan. My non-work-related travel was all domestic.

What do you wish you’d done less of? 

I wish I’d kept my feelings to myself less, at least in terms of my needs or being upfront about what people could do to help me when my mom passed.

I wish I’d eaten out less and gossiped less.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

July 31, the day my mom died, February 16, the day of my first date with my dude, and September 18th, when we first said I love you.

That one’s hard. Maybe starting my new job in December, or my friend’s wedding over Columbus Day, or vacation in September with one of my best friends, or work travel in June that had bombings, or my family member’s bout with illness that started in April…

Did you suffer illness or injury? 

Nothing beyond the norm.

Not really, just sinus infections/colds.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? 

Confidence…been working on that, am much better than I was a few months back, but still hav ea way to go to be as fearless as I’d like.

Love…as in the true, lasting kind.

What was the best thing you bought? 

My vacation to Mexico :), my car (finished paying it off!), personal training sessions.

My table and chairs for our dining room.

Where did most of your money go? 

Bills (to put myself in a better financial position), and like last year, experiences – travel, restaurants, fitness.

Experiences – eating out, musicals, events, travel, etc. Trying new restaurants probably racked up the most money.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Getting a perfect rating at my job, the report from my last job making the New York Times, losing 30lbs.

Getting promoted twice within 5 months and finding a new job at my promotion’s salary.

What was your biggest failure? 

Calling my mom and being home more before she went septic (and the rest of the downfall) in June…not necessarily a failure, but a regret, which is similar. Otherwise…there haven’t been any huge noticeable failures, which makes me happy. If I’m looking for something, I’d end up back with the whole “wishing I vocalized my needs” more within friendship relationships. I wasn’t great at telling people when I needed them to be there for me (felt like if I had to tell them, didn’t count or was imposing).

I had a couple of failed attempted relationships that were upsetting. I also didn’t do a good job at keeping in touch with family/friends that are long-distance, and I utterly failed in my fitness goals.

What did you get really, really excited about? 

My dude, my vacation, fitness and cooking.

My new job and my vacations.

What song will always remind you of 2013? 

Stay with Me by Sam Smith, Say Something by A Great Big World, Happier by Pharrell.

TBD…maybe Lorde’s “Royals” just because it’s super overplayed? Or Paradiso Girls’ Patron Tequila song featuring Lil Jon and Eve.


Compared to this time last year, are you…
…happier or sadder?  Sadder…I’m happier about some things, but the loss of my mom lends a dark tint to things. (Happier)

…just older or also wiser? Both. (Both)

…thinner or fatter? Thinner, by 30lbs :). (Fatter. I gained about 15-20 pounds this year, which sucks balls.)

…richer or poorer? Richer; car and credit cards paid off, more in savings and retirement, making more money. (Richer? I have more in savings and more of my car paid off, plus I’m making more. The potential is all there. (If only my student loans would just disappear.))


What do you wish you’d done more of? Connect with friends and family far away. (Sex.)

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable. (The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable.)

Whose behavior merited celebration? My boyfriend and best friend, who were absolutely amazing in the midst of the horror of losing my mom. (Two of my best friends, whom I meet every week for dinner and board games. My roommate, for always cheering me up. My old roommate, for finally dumping her boyfriend who treated her poorly.)

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My father, in not realizing that his actions have impacts. Some of my friends, in not making time or prioritizing friendships when I needed them most. (My sibling’s breakdown upset me quite a good deal earlier this year. I also was very put off by the kink community’s general shift towards shallow and narcissistic interactions.)

How will you be spending Christmas? In the midwest with my immediate family. (In the midwest with my immediate family.)

Did you fall in love in 2014? Yes. (Nope. I was definitely infatuated a few times, but not love.)

How many one night stands? 0. (There was one guy I gave head to at Winter Fire that I never met up with again, so I guess that counts? We didn’t have sex, though, so not sure. Otherwise, I only fooled around with folks I was seeing or have ongoing friendships with.)

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? My mom not dying? Taking control of my fitness earlier in the year, maybe. (…That’s hard. I don’t think any one thing would have done it. I guess finding someone to get more serious with, physically and romantically?)

How will you be spending New Years? With my boyfriend and likely with some friends at a house party. (With friends, playing games, doing karaoke, and drinking.)

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No. Hate is a strong word. (No. Hate is a strong word.)

What was the best book you read? The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. (The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin.)

What was your greatest musical discovery? I don’t really know of one. (Spotify 🙂.)

What did you get and not want? A lot of candy from various people. (Some kitchen utensils? Some gross OkC and Fetlife messages.)

What did you want and not get?  I can’t think of anything. (I wanted flowers from someone and I wanted a flogger, and I didn’t get those.)

What did you want and get? Close friends at my new job, boyfriend, various material goods. (Too many things to count. Furnishings, cookware, clothing, books. A new job. A close friend at work. Renewed friendships with my old roommates. More routines.)

What was your favorite film this year? Guardians of the Galaxy, Hunger Games, and I can’t remember seeing that many others. As for old movies, Pitch Perfect and Frozen. (Frozen.)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Turned 26, I went to dinner with a good group of friends downtown, and then went to a bar and went dancing. (I turned 25, and I went out to Tapas dinner with some friends then went dancing at some bars I’d never been to.)

What kept you sane? While I had her in my life, my mom. The rest of the time, my boyfriend, my roommates, my closest friends, and focusing on fitness. (My friends, most especially my roommates and their crazy antics, my work friend, and my weekly game nights with my two close friends.)

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much. (No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much.)

Whom did you miss? My family, most of all my mom. (My close friends in WI/OH/IN.)

Who was the best new person you met? My boyfriend, two new friends at work, and the couple that hosts my book club. (That’s really difficult. Maybe my work friend, who I’d met but didn’t spend any time with or talk to until this year. That, or a woman who hosts a kinky game group.)

What political issue stirred you the most? I’ve been really removed from politics this year…couldn’t tell you. (Striking down DOMA and Edward Snowden.)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014. Just because you have to ask for something, doesn’t mean the something isn’t worth having or will fulfill you any less. Money isn’t as important as time. Don’t underestimate the place people have in your life. (Learn to say no and slow down. It’s ok to trust others with your feelings. I have the power to make men nervous.)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I have absolutely no fucking idea. (I have absolutely no fucking idea. TBD.)

2013 Year In Review (Part 1 – Fetlife Survey Recap)

I have my own process of reflecting on the year, but saw this on a friend’s fetlife profile and couldn’t resist. So while I’m sure there will be other 2013 reflection posts, I’m still going to do this one.

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? I went on a zipline in Vegas, I went to Harry Potter world in Orlando, I had korean barbecue, I learned to grill, I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, I played a bunch of board games I never had played before, and I went to many new restaurants and touristy things.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I kept some of them and didn’t for others. I saved the money I wanted to save, and at one point I had paid off my credit cards (alas, I spent them up again). I got addresses for a bunch of people. I went to a never-before-visited destination, and took a bunch of photos. I watched Secretary and tried wax and fire play. I did not do a 5K, work out enough, compile all my online passwords, try cupping, acquire a flogger, or write an erotic story (although I have extensive notes and could still do that in the next few days…)

Did anyone close to you give birth? My cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy a few months ago.

Did anyone close to you die? No one immediately near me, thankfully.

What was your favorite TV program? Game of Thrones, without a doubt. Shark Tank probably takes a close second.

What countries did you visit? Dubai, UAE and Afghanistan. My non-work-related travel was all domestic.

What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I’d eaten out less and gossiped less.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? That one’s hard. Maybe starting my new job in December, or my friend’s wedding over Columbus Day, or vacation in September with one of my best friends, or work travel in June that had bombings, or my family member’s bout with illness that started in April…

Did you suffer illness or injury? Not really, just sinus infections/colds.

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? Love…as in the true, lasting kind.

What was the best thing you bought? My table and chairs for our dining room.

Where did most of your money go? Experiences – eating out, musicals, events, travel, etc. Trying new restaurants probably racked up the most money.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting promoted twice within 5 months and finding a new job at my promotion’s salary.

What was your biggest failure? I had a couple of failed attempted relationships that were upsetting. I also didn’t do a good job at keeping in touch with family/friends that are long-distance, and I utterly failed in my fitness goals.

What did you get really, really excited about? My new job and my vacations.

What song will always remind you of 2013? TBD…maybe Lorde’s “Royals” just because it’s super overplayed? Or Paradiso Girls’ Patron Tequila song featuring Lil Jon and Eve.


Compared to this time last year, are you…
…happier or sadder?  Happier.

…just older or also wiser? Both.

…thinner or fatter? Fatter. I gained about 15-20 pounds this year, which sucks balls.

…richer or poorer? Richer? I have more in savings and more of my car paid off, plus I’m making more. The potential is all there. (If only my student loans would just disappear.)


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

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable.

Whose behavior merited celebration? Two of my best friends, whom I meet every week for dinner and board games. My roommate, for always cheering me up. My old roommate, for finally dumping her boyfriend who treated her poorly.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My sibling’s breakdown upset me quite a good deal earlier this year. I also was very put off by the kink community’s general shift towards shallow and narcissistic interactions.

How will you be spending Christmas? In the midwest with my immediate family.

Did you fall in love in 2013? Nope. I was definitely infatuated a few times, but not love.

How many one night stands? There was one guy I gave head to at Winter Fire that I never met up with again, so I guess that counts? We didn’t have sex, though, so not sure. Otherwise, I only fooled around with folks I was seeing or have ongoing friendships with.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? …That’s hard. I don’t think any one thing would have done it. I guess finding someone to get more serious with, physically and romantically?

How will you be spending New Years? With friends, playing games, doing karaoke, and drinking.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No. Hate is a strong word. 

What was the best book you read? The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin.

What was your greatest musical discovery? Spotify :).

What did you get and not want? Some kitchen utensils? Some gross OkC and Fetlife messages.

What did you want and not get?  I wanted flowers from someone and I wanted a flogger, and I didn’t get those.

What did you want and get? Too many things to count. Furnishings, cookware, clothing, books. A new job. A close friend at work. Renewed friendships with my old roommates. More routines.

What was your favorite film this year? Frozen.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 25, and I went out to Tapas dinner with some friends then went dancing at some bars I’d never been to.

What kept you sane? My friends, most especially my roommates and their crazy antics, my work friend, and my weekly game nights with my two close friends.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much.

Whom did you miss? My close friends in WI/OH/IN.

Who was the best new person you met? That’s really difficult. Maybe my work friend, who I’d met but didn’t spend any time with or talk to until this year. That, or a woman who hosts a kinky game group.

What political issue stirred you the most? Striking down DOMA and Edward Snowden.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. Learn to say no and slow down. It’s ok to trust others with your feelings. I have the power to make men nervous.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I have absolutely no fucking idea. TBD.

2012 Recap

Best-of or “most memorable” moments of 2012:

Professional/real life:

  • Graduating with my Masters degree
  • Getting my first full-time job
  • Going to the warzone for work
  • Winning an award at my internship
  • Getting my shit together – finding a place to live, finding doctors and having appointments, getting loans in order, etc.

Kink:

  • Attending DO:WF, DO:Fusion, FetFest, BR Event
  • Hosting Beltway Insiders happy hours/NoVA Social events, DM-ing DC Fetish Ball
  • Crazy kinky beachhouse weekend, and many other parties with my newfound kinky friends
  • Romance, dating, and communication growth!
  • Wrote another erotic story and continued my blog all year

Social/Family:

  • Seeing Cirque de Soleil, My Fair Lady, and Tran-siberian Orchestra; going to King’s Dominion; visiting a piano bar
  • Learning how to play Settlers of Catan and Dominion, and many associated game nights
  • College friend and cousin’s weddings
  • Hosting several different friends and showing them around the city
  • Time with various family members in various states

Day 20, 30 Days of Me

Day 20: Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.

  1. VA memories: Collecting money from my neighbors to build a treehouse with my sister. My mom was not pleased at our unapproved solicitations. Getting poison ivy over and over from playing in a tree with my neighbor. Chicken pox while on vacation. Being a VA Tech. cheerleader or witch EVERY year for Christmas.
  2. IN memories: selling endless girl scout cookies and fundraiser things to neighbors. Show choir competitions. Going to France for a middle school trip. Going to church with various friends. Laying on my friend’s trampoline having deep discussions for hours. DDR parties. Family guy parties.
  3. Several summers on the beach with my aunt and uncle. Their influence majorly shaped who I am today.

2011 Recap and 2012 Vanilla Resolutions

Best parts of last year:

  • Going whitewater tubing and flatwater tubing at Harpers Ferry
  • Visiting Old Town Alexandria and Annapolis multiple times with some of my favorite DC folks
  • Getting my summer internship exactly where I want; winning the Friedman award and being able to accept the internship I wanted over the summer in DC
  • Placing in top 5 for the social analytix case competition this spring
  • Finalizing my apprenticeship and finding a job I absolutely love; more importantly, discovering what I’m good at and what things are essential to have present in my future career
  • Getting involved in the DC kink community, including attending my first play parties with special recognition for Rapture and DC Rope people
  • Rocking out at optimization, linear programming, and learning to master Excel; finding things I excel at
  • Spending spring break in Gulf Shores and New Orleans with wonderful people
  • All the time spent with family (Boston, Indiana, Arkansas, Ohio)
  • Throwing myself into the real world and putting myself out there in terms of dating, relationships, and men; gaining confidence in my ability to attract men
  • Going to Harvard for a conference, attending the ARPA-E conference in DC, getting published (even if just as a co-writer of a conclusion)
  • Making amazing friends in the Pittsburgh Kink community and at CMU
  • Seeing capitol steps, my first opera, the Pittsburgh symphony, Les Mis, and other really fun art events
  • Getting my health on track – lost 40lbs from December ’10 to December ’11, and got in overall better shape
  • Discovering and exploring my masochism, becoming more comfortable with my kink, and learning more about where my boundaries are in terms of relational roles and power exchange

2012 Vanilla Resolutions:

  • Find a full-time, post-graduation job
  • Graduate with my Masters…this should be a no-brainer.
  • Line up recommendation letters/references from graduate school professors
  • Incorporate forecasting, simulations, or scoring models into our systems project (didn’t happen, but opportunity passed)
  • Join a profession organization and attend an event; alumni groups from undergrad/sorority do count
  • Learn how to do macros and refresh on pivot tables in Excel
  • Organize addresses/phone numbers/passwords
  • Write/call/email friends at least once per month
  • Practice my french to recapture proficiency
  • Travel to at least one new destination (hopefully more than one, and include an overseas location)
  • Exercise in some way at least three times a week
  • Continue to work on involving friends (or finding new ones to involve) in active things, such as hiking/long walks/kayaking/tennis/dancing. Concrete goal: Do an activity like this at least once per month until graduation, more frequently after.
  • Drink more water, 4+ glasses a day
  • Write at least two more short (erotic) stories
  • Learn more about photography and work on developing a photorama of DC


Graph Porn

Today, I graduated from research assistant to policy analyst. AKA, I learned how to use all sorts of functions in excel to quantitatively analyze the 200+cell of data I’d gathered, I learned how to create some killer graphs, and I figured out a super-complex integer linear programming problem. Rock on, me.

I also am intrigued by how I *still* remember lyrics from songs I was into in 7th grade. Namely, “At the beginning” by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis, from Anastasia.

I also am amused by how the shuttles from my school are full with grad students at 11:30pm on a Friday night – because people were studying. And how, when I left my building, there were still 20+ people studying hard in the labs/lounges (out of like 130 first yrs in the program). Ridiculous. This is my first Friday study night, but it was productive AND fun, since I had friends and a cheap bulgoki bowl to brighten it up.

In other randomness:

Copied from a fetlife note:

A professor sent me a super-cool graphic that depicts the candidates in the republican party in a bubble graph. It shows likelihood of nomination, region, insider/outsider to party, and moderate/conservative all in one graph.

I know I’m a policy grad student, and as a result, my caring is likely much greater than the average person/kinkster. Even so, I love this type of graph and the type of insight it can show, and so I’m sharing.

I will note that I do not necessarily love where all the bubble-candidates fall, although of them all, I would be intrigued most if Daniels won the nomination. Not just because I’m from Indiana, either, but because of how moderate he is, and the chance of him giving Obama something to fight for.

The cool graph:
http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/04…

If you find graphs like these neat (my friends call them graph porn), then here’s a couple of fun youtube videos that really can blow your mind with bubble graphs.

Short and sweet (200 countries, 200 yrs, 4 minutes w/ Hans Rosling):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6t7ZZ_FY4o

TedTalk on “Interesting Data”
Minute 8:30 starts to get super cool, if you don’t want to sit for all of it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVimVzgtD6w&feat…

Yeah…stuff like this entertains me. I really am that much of a nerd (at least, when it comes to policy I am).