I'm sitting in my snuggly bed with the Rose Parade on TV. It's a gorgeous, if chilly, morning--perfect for reflecting on the year that has just past. So much good!
Our sweet foster daughter moved in with us full time back in April. I had two short stories, two essays, and a novella published or accepted for publication. (My short story "Spring Hill" won the Mormon Lit Blitz contest!) I was invited to join a legendary writing group. Patrick continues to love his job at Warner Brothers. We had a blissful trip to France. James started his first year of college (UC Berkeley), and Christian started his senior year of college (University of Mary Washington) after an exciting summer internship with the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.
We faced many struggles as well: James's diabetes diagnosis; my own (solvable) health issues; our cat Goldberry's death; and the everyday challenge of having five kids at home in three different schools. But we got through it all (hopefully) with grace. Below are all the things that helped--good books, music, entertainment, and food:
10) I'll Drink to That, by Betty Halbreich
9) Help for the Haunted, by John Searles
8) California Bones, by Greg van Eekhout
7) The House Next Door, by Anne Rivers Siddons
6) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
5) Letters to a Young Mormon, by Adam Miller
4) The Paper Magician/The Glass Magician, by Charlie N. Holmberg
3) Hild, by Nicola Griffith
2) The Magicians Trilogy, by Lev Grossman
1) The Wife of Martin Guerre, by Janet Lewis
Yes, I cheated a bit; #4 is two books, and #2 is three. Sue me. Don't sue me; read the books instead.
Caveat: I don't rank books by people I know. Outstanding examples that would have been vying for top spots this year: The Bishop's Wife, by Mette Harrison; The Scholar of Moab, by Steven Peck; and All the Truth That's in Me, by Julie Berry.
Most Disappointing Book
Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James
(Not the worst book this year; that would be Mockingjay.)
Favorite New Music
Props to Christian for introducing me to #2 and #1. I can't get enough of these groups; check out their other songs as well.
5) "Tell the Ones I Love," by The Steep Canyon Rangers
4) "Uptown Funk," by Mark Ronson, featuring Bruno Mars
3) "Cut String Kite," by Fictionist
2) "Roll the Bones," Shakey Graves
1) "I've Been Loving You," by St. Paul and the Broken Bones
Favorite 2014 Movies
10) Cold in July
9) The Judge
7) Winter's Tale
6) Edge of Tomorrow
5) The Hundred-Foot Journey
4) The Grand Budapest Hotel
3) The Imitation Game
2014 movies that I haven't yet seen, but plan to see: American Sniper, Mr. Hublot, The Wind Rises, Locke, Million Dollar Arm, We Are the Best!, Borgman, Begin Again, Boyhood, Calvary, Magic in the Moonlight, The Trip to Italy, Le Grand Cahier, Jimi, Fury, Birdman, Big Hero Six, The Theory of Everything, The Babadook, Miss Julie, Mr. Turner, and Big Eyes. I'd better get going!
Favorite 2014 TV
5) The Leftovers
3) True Detective
2) Modern Family
1) Call the Midwife
Favorite New Restaurants
3) Szechuan Impression in Alhambra
2) Auberge de Malo in Etrigny, France
1) The Church Key in West Hollywood
Budgetary constraints (two kids in college!) limited our restaurant adventures this year, but what we did eat out was spectacular. (And we had a lot of great homemade meals, too--especially in France.)
Resolutions for 2015? I plan on greater focus on my writing and a massive decluttering project à la Marie Kondo (see book #6 above). We'll see Christian graduate from college; Aolani graduate from high school; Tess graduate from middle school; and Daniel graduate from elementary school. Hope will be old enough to go to the prom. James will leave on his mission sometime in the middle of the summer. I'm sure that once again, it'll be a year to remember. Happy New Year!