Thursday, January 01, 2015

Annual report - 2014

Wish you a very happy new year, bewdas!

Yesterday, we hosted a small new year's gathering at our house where a bunch of us recapped the year and shared our resolutions for the new year. One of my friends reminded me that I still haven't written my usual annual report post for the year, so here it is. But before that, I need to hunt down Bubblegum and Arun, two of the regulars at the bar. They had posted their resolutions for 2014 in the comments section of this post of mine, and I need to ask them how they did.

My resolution for 2014 had been a super generic (and 'safe', one might add) one - to strive to be a little better than I was in 2013. In every sense. I'm really glad to report that for the most part it did happen. Of course, I have to start with Xena. We were definitely less stressed about her in 2014, as she fell sick less and was mostly able to keep her blood oxygen levels in the normal range even when sick. Of course, we had one frantic run to the hospital, that too just before her birthday, but compared to the gazillion trips in the previous year, this was nothing. 2014 was also the year her weight touched the elusive double-digit milestone of 10 kg at the grand age of three, when most babies achieve this before they can even walk. She did go back to 9+ pretty quickly after that, and has again inched her way up, but still stands at the magic number of 10 kg. Her eating has been a lot better, though she still rejects 99.9% of all foods, and we still need to put her in her high chair with a book and feed her all her meals, and even milk. But generally, it has been a good year for her. *touchwood*

Work has been fantastic. Thanks to the deep faith shown in me by ex-bosses and ex-colleagues, I got some really interesting projects. I had been writing and editing mostly primary level science books for about a decade now, but 2014 gave me the opportunity to delve into a bit of fiction (kiddy-level, of course), and also a bit of Mathematics for overseas markets. Both were kind of challenging, but beautifully fulfilling and enriching.

2014 was a year when I worked hard and partied hard. Truly. Compared to previous years, I organised/hosted more parties. First, there was Easter, then Diwali (I got to wear a sariiiiii! YEAYYYYY!), then Halloween, then Christmas and New Year's Eve. I got to organise lots and lots of games at these parties. I also had a chance to attend a friend's baby shower, where they had some fun games -- design and wear a diaper using toilet paper, pictionary of baby-related phrases and make a play-doh model of a baby. It was refreshing for me to not be the organiser of the games, and my super competitive streak (I can actually be a little scary in that aspect) took over. I won the first two, and was the runner-up in the third --only because the winner violated the game rules and added to their model a sperm and an egg with a plus sign in between! Hmmph. (Yes, I may be very Phoebe for the most part of it, but put me in a game and I can be SO Monica.)

2014 was also the year when I ticked two important items off my travel bucket list - a trip to Paris and taking my parents to Bali. The latter was very very important to me, and I cannot be any more thankful for the fact that we did the trip and made it back safe and sound.

We also got to spend a lot of time with family. My sister-in-law, who used to live on the other end of the island, moved closer - literally 5 minutes from us. We have been playing badminton! Viv's second cousin, who lives here, got married and his wife is a total sweetheart. So we have all been hanging out together as a big happy family. My parents visited after 3 years, and my mom-in-law visited too. (Yes Appa, we missed you. Please come see your monkey granddaughter this year.)

Viv and I watched a LOT of English movies at home in 2014. First, the nearby library has a lot of movies that I can rent for free. Then, there's a DVD rental place within walking distance of our place. We have also been renting a lot of movies on iTunes. Xena is still off TV, so we put her to sleep (her bedtime is about 9 pm) and then sit down and watch our movies.

Three of our closest sets of friends had their first babies in 2014, and even though all three live in different parts of the world, it is so awesome and so exciting for us. It's like Xena suddenly had three siblings!

It was a good year for Viv too. He did a lot of Insanity. At 6 am no less, justifying the title of the workout. Om Shaun T, Shaun T, Shaun T Om. He also scored 144 runs in a division 1 cricket match. He was the opener and last man out, and we were very very proud of him. I know he is very appreciative of the fact that he can be out for cricket during weekends, but sometimes I just wish he played only 20-20 and wasn't away for the whole day. Just then, such instances happen and they renew my support for him and his love for playing.

So that's what happened in 2014. As for the 2015 resolutions, I'll try to be a little less generic this year.

- We're planning some major renovation this year, and though it's going to be a real pain and a lot of work (think hacking of walls, floors and wardrobes, getting rid of furniture, moving stuff into storage, finding temporary accommodation), but at the end of it, we hope to have the nicest house that we possibly can within our means.

- I need to continue experimenting in the kitchen to create high-calorie stuff that Xena will be less reluctant to eat. Her endocrinologist said that if she can hit 11.5 kg by her 4th birthday, we'll have a stronger reason not to go for the daily growth hormone injections. Of course, I don't see her putting on 1.5 kg over the next 3 months, but I'll do the best I can.)

- Viv and I plan to continue what we have been doing all along - keeping Xena away from TV, phone and ipad screens and letting her have real interactions with real people. This needs to be on the resolutions every year, because it is a little hard to implement with all the screens that people of all ages seem to be bent over everywhere we go. So far so good though.

- Exercising is another thing that is perennially on my resolutions list, because again, it takes effort. In 2014, I didn't go to the gym as much, but we hit the swimming pool more times than we had ever done in any of the previous years (mainly because of Xena's love for the pool, of course), and I enjoyed it. I need to learn how to do it properly though. (I swim with my head above the water at all times!)

- I'll take on more challenging and interesting work this year. At the same time, I'll try and not go overboard with work, and not burn all of my weekends on it. I'll try my hardest to make some time for intentional vella-panthi, something I've never really indulged in, but something that I have begun to think is really important.

- If all goes well, 2015 might be the year when Xena finally visits India. We ourselves have not been there for the last five years!

- I plan to work more on my spoken Chinese. At the moment, I'm probably still qualified only for the beginner's level, so I won't be taking the intermediate classes, but I'll try and refresh what I learnt last year using online tutorials.

- I'd like to pick up a new skill, something creative and fun. And going by my recent inclinations, it seems to be nail art. Will do a post on that as soon as I reach pro levels!

- And lastly, I'd like to plan and be part of more get-togethers, plan more outings for Xena, keep in touch with family and meet up with friends more often. The airline tragedies this year have hit us all real hard, and underscored the fragility of life. Anything can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Cliched as it may sound, we need to live every moment.


Arun said...

Happy New Year!

To be the possible target of a hypercompetitive Monica hunt is scary :), so I show up promptly, to report mixed progress on single-tasking; but good success in getting things done well whenever I have managed to do that. Single-tasking is very calming.

2015 will be more of the same.

I truly, truly admire that you've managed to keep Xena away from screens of all types; all the people around me use screens as an integral crutch in bringing up baby. I hope that Xena is able to meet her weight targets and that you all get to visit India this year.

All the very best to you, and please keep on blogging :)

Bubblegum.... said...

Dude!!! Finally you caught me :D

My resolutions were in two parts - Weight and worries : Weight saw a sine curve and I managed to reduce some fat cells before my wedding, I am back to pavilion this month. Talk about boring work and cravings at office.

Worries: I totally nailed it. No worries. :) :)

About India visit, I HAVE TO MEET YOU GUYS. Please note.

Bubblegum.... said...

Dude!!! Finally you caught me :D

My resolutions were in two parts - Weight and worries : Weight saw a sine curve and I managed to reduce some fat cells before my wedding, I am back to pavilion this month. Talk about boring work and cravings at office.

Worries: I totally nailed it. No worries. :) :)

About India visit, I HAVE TO MEET YOU GUYS. Please note.

Divya said...

Here's to health, home and happiness...may you have a wonderful year ahead!!

Prathima said...

Kudos to such a fulfilling year...good work, good health and time spent with family and friends. May you be blessed with more of these in the new year!

TTS said...

cheers to 2015!