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Today in My History

2001:   It's a New World I See
2002:  How'm I Doin', Coach?
2003:  Party Girl
2004:  It Came Without Whistles
2005:  Pondering the Imponderable

2006:  It Started with Mutt
2007If You Wait Long Enough, It's Finally Your Turn
2008:  Unfortunate Fireworks for New Year's Eve


Books Read in 2008
Updated: 12/28
"The Black Echo" 


Bri's First Christmas from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

You Tube

Look at these videos!
Uncle Jay Explains 2008
A Doggie Christmas Surprise
Validation <-- this is great!
Jon Sewart with Mike Huckabee
Prop 8, The Musical

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Napa Valley Get-Away

Mirror Site, for RSS feed:
Airy Persiflage

Bev's 65 x 365


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1 January 2009

I did this questionnaire the last two years, and it's nice to start making this a tradition, to help me look back on the previous year.

1. Was 2008 a good year for you?

2007 was such a bad year that 2008 could only be better, and it was.   Any year that includes the birth of a grandchild and the wedding of a daughter is a good year in my book!

2. What was your favorite moment(s) of the year?

See question #1 -- Brianna's birth and Jeri & Phil's wedding, both joyous family occasions that still have us smiling many months later.

Another favorite moment was attending Ellen & Shelly's wedding, after so many years of fighting to get the right th marry.

3. What was your least favorite moment(s) of the year?

Politically, the passage of Prop 8 in California.  The wedding of Ellen and Shelly had been such a joyous end to years of campaigning to be allowed to marry.

Personally, the end of a friendship of 50 years.

4. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?

Met Tony Kahn, panelist on our favorite radio show, "Says You," and the moderator of WGBH's "Morning Stories," for which I transcribed last year.  We met him when we went to Los Angeles to attend tapings of "Says You."

Attended the premiere of Steve's "New World Waking."   I'd been watching him write these little songs for years and to see them performed with a full chorus and orchestra at Davies Symphony Hall was an incredible experience.

5. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I gave up making new year's resolutions because it's so depressing when I can't stick with them.  Last year's resolution was to make a living trust to make things easier for our kids when we die, but of course we didn't get that done.   I still hope to get that done this year.

6. Where were you when 2008 began?

For the past 3-4 years we have gone to a small party attended by members of the former Davis Comic Opera Company.  It's low key.  We have home made soup, home made bread, fabulous desserts, play "the name game" and are home in bed by 12:30 a.m. because we're all getting so old.

7. Who were you with?

About a dozen (or less) people from the Davis Comic Opera Company.

8. Where will you be when 2008 ends?

Back at the same party.  Either that, or home feeding puppies, as I've just had a call that we are getting two 2-week old puppies this afternoon, one of which apparently is having feeding problems.

9. Who will you be with when 2008 ends?

With all the same DCOC people, probably our best friends in Davis.   Or alone with puppies!

10. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Does my daughter-in-law count?  LOL.  Tom and Laurel brought Brianna Lee into the world and the world is much better for it.

11. Did you lose anybody close to you in 2008?

My aunt Barb finally passed away in February, after several years in an Alzheimer's facility.  While we all miss her terribly, she really "died" several years before her body stopped working and in many respects it was a blessing that she was finally able to let go.

Also, two of our puppies died

12. Who did you miss?

The same people I always miss:  I miss our kids, David and Paul.   I miss friends at a distance, like Peggy, Diane, Melody, Olivia and Lynn.  And I miss the camaraderie of female friends who live close but who are busy about their own lives and whom I rarely see:  Barb, Marsha, Rosemarie.

13. Who was the best new person you met in 2008?

A woman named Kayce, who is a dog trainer who spent a day here with Nicki diagnosing her problems.  It was educational to watch her working and to hear her comments about Nicki.

14. What was your favorite month of 2008?

Can't decide between March (when Bri was born) and August (when Jeri & Phil were married).  It's pretty much a toss-up.

15. Did you travel outside of the US in 2008?

Nope.  Walt went to England, on my recommendation, but I didn't travel outside the US...that's for next year!

16. How many different states did you travel to in 2008?

I don't think I even left California this year, which is very unusual for me.  I traveled to Santa Barbara several times and we flew to L.A. for "Says You," but otherwise I pretty much stayed close to home.

17. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

A more positive outlook on life in general...and with a change in Washington, D.C. it feels that that is actually a possibility, for the first time in a very long time.

18. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 31, Brianna's birthday.

19. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I can't think of any big achievements this year.  I wrote some feature articles that I really liked.  One that was perhaps the most fun was about the moving of a house in South Carolina, along with the family ghosts.  That was a fun article to write, and even more fun when I had reports about the response of one of the ghosts to the article.

20. What was your biggest failure?

I am, if nothing else, consistent in my failures -- house still not clean (though better now that Walt has taken over doing so much of it), and weight still not under control.

21. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Diabetes II and cataracts.  I'm on medication for the first, and will have surgery for the second in January.

22. What was the best thing you bought?

Nothing stands out as something Fantastic!, but I have gotten a lot of use out of my Flip video camera and am glad I decided to buy it.

23. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Oh, Barack Obama, of course.  I have such admiration for him and hope that as he begins his presidency, I can keep that admiration high.

24. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I was appalled by Sarah Palin and depressed by John McCain, whom I saw as selling out his principles in the hope of getting votes.

25. Where did most of your money go?

Like every year, to Amazon.com!

26. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Other than Brianna's birth and Jeri's wedding, how could the night Obama won the presidency not top the list.  Like so many people, I sat here choked with emotion watching him speak to that humongous crowd in Chicago.

27. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2008?

Since I normally don't drink, I would have to say that, in comparison to most years, yes.  What with Cousins Days and our wine tasting trip recently, I have consumed more alcohol this year than in the past many years.

28. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2008?

Only legally prescribed ones:  for diabetes, for high blood pressure, and for cholesterol.  Also some vitamins.

29. Did you treat somebody badly in 2008?
30. Did somebody treat you badly in 2008?

I put those two questions together because probably the answer to both is 'yes.'  A friend of nearly 50 years and I have had a falling out.  It has been a long time coming because of significant moral and philosophical differences, but things came to a head in August and I think it is unlikely we will be able to repair the rift.

32. What do you wish you'd done more of in 2008?

More socialization with female friends.

33. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Procrastination.  It's my downfall every time.  Give me a deadline and I wait until the very last possible moment to start.  I always manage to get things done on time, but usually not without a lot of angst.

35. What was your favorite TV program(s)?

Jeopardy, House, NCIS, Two and a Half Men, Grey's Anatomy, Amazing Race, Monk

36. What song will always remind you of 2008?

"Franco Ate the Paperwork"

37. How many stage shows did you see in 2008?

The original question is "concerts" but since we see more stage shows, I decided to change it.  We saw about 60 stage shows in 2008

38. Did you have a favorite stage show in 2008?

My favorite was probably one I didn't review, The Lamplighters production of The Secret Garden.  It was magnificent.

39. What was your greatest musical discovery?

When a silly song like "Franco Ate the Paperwork" is given the full treatment  of orchestration and chorus singing, it's really a pretty thrilling piece of music!

40. What was the best book you read?

I would have to list three:  "Schuyler's Monster" by Rob Rummel-Hudson (fellow-blogger!), "Inside Inside" by James Lipton, and "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen.  Two are personal stories and one is fiction and it would be hard to choose among them.  "Water for Elephants" was a great surprise--so much more than I expected.  "Inside Inside" I loved for its rich language, less for the cloying parts at the end about the actors who have graced the "Inside the Actors Studio" stage.  "Schuyler's Monster" was a book I'd watched being "written" since Schuyler was born and my thrill for Rob for the attention it has received knows no bounds.

41. What was your favorite film of this year?

Though I love movies, we seem not to go to as many as I would like.   I only saw six in the theatre, one of which was a short film that I had done an article about.  Of the five remaining (Horton Hears a Who, Juno, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, W, and Australia), I would have to pick Juno as my favorite, though I don't by any stretch of the imagination think it was the best film of the year!

I did much better with movies from Netflix and the best of that lot was La Vie en Rose, the story of Edith Piaf.  (It was also good for me to sharpen up my ear for French again)

42. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 65 this year and was sick as a dog, with vomiting and diarrhea.  We had a dinner planned with Ned and Marta, but canceled and Walt went to a show without me.  I celebrated by applying for Social Security!

43. What did you want and get?

I've been asking Peggy for copies of her Africa pictures for a year and she finally made copies for me and sent them to me for Christmas.  I am taking my time and savoring them, living the photo safari with her vicariously.

44. What did you want and not get?

World peace and a clean house.

45. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

To have seen Bush and Cheney brought up on charges for some of the crimes they have committed in office.  Sadly, I do not see that as ever happening.

46. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Sweats, t-shirts, and big puffy slippers (Birkinstocks if I'm going out)

47. What kept you sane?

The internet, I guess.  So many friends have joined Facebook this year, that it is like the old days when I had several social groups on line.  In fact, one group from CompuServe has started a group on Facebook to continue where we left off many years ago, when CompuServe forums began dying.

48. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

From the political world, it would have to be Obama.  I felt he ran a decent campaign and that the negative ads from his campaign were all targeted at issues, not at person, unlike McCain, whose audiences sometimes chanted "kill him" in reference to Obama, thanks to the rhetoric delivered usually by Palin, who branded him a terrorist.

In the entertainment business, I would have to choose Ellen Degeneres.  I loved the way she handled herself this year, loved that she shared her wedding to her wife in such an open and non-controversial way.  I think she has done much to show people that gay couples are just as deserving of the right to marry as heterosexual couples.

49. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

What they tell you about being a grandparent is all true.

50. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

This doesn't so much "sum up the year" as it is a song that will always make me think of 2008.  The song goes on for 3 more verses after this one.  The whole thing, including the other songs included in the song cycle, can be found here.

Franco ate the paperwork. Hitler ate the pen.

Mussolini ate the table with a naughty grin.

Jesus left a messy stain that Mary didn't clean

But everyone agreed that it should be encased and seen.

The emperor was falling down the day he lost his voice.

Divinity's a fleeting thing. His enemies rejoice.

So hide the kiddies underground and put away your toys.

Listen to the media interpret all the noise




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"Of course I was the most important person of the year!"


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