The Cara Ellison Year In Review

2011 was marginally better than 2010. It was an average year with average accomplishments. I expect 2012 to be better by an order of magnitude. This is my year-end review for myself.

Body
Total miles run: 446.654
Total number of run workouts: 170
Fastest 5K: 17:09
I ran 3 times per week on average.
My average pace was 10:44 per mile. (Yuck).

I attended a pilates class 122 times in 2011.
I attended 2 times per week on average.
Lori is my favorite instructor and I took her class 86 times.
One thing I can do now that I could not do last year: 50 perfect pushups.

Mind
Number of books read: 101
Most surprising thing about the books I read: I read 7 memoirs and I gave 5 stars to 5 of them on Goodreads. I had no idea I liked memoirs that much.
Goal for number of books to read in 2012: 150
New Skill: reacquainted myself with French

Soul

Visits to museums: 12
Visits to art galleries: 4
Pieces of art bought: 1
Pieces of art created: 7
Number of books written: 3
Number of books published: 1
Number of places traveled: 4
Best thing seen while traveling: my friend Nicki and her ginger-haired boy, Daniel.

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This Is My Heart

Queen Bunny

Moths

Two New English Boyfriends: Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie

I recently discovered – quite late – the brilliant comedian, writer, and thinker Stephen Fry. I also simultaneously discovered Hugh Laurie, who I am told appears in “House.” I’ve never seen that television show, but I have seen trailers and heard about the acerbic, bitter title character. I would have never believed that he was actually English or that he was funny.

But I have been proved quite wrong. Watch and laugh. I literally had tears in my eyes after this. Enjoy “English strawberries” (not to be confused with German strawberries, “no, not the same thing at all.”)

Music: A Sketch

Kiteflyer’s Hill

I just discovered Eddi Reader and she is my new favorite. This song is just gorgeous. All of her songs that I’ve listened to and bought in the last half hour are equally as divine. My god, that voice!

Intriguing Decay

On Christopher Hitchens

Bad things come in threes. First Christopher Hitchens, then today Vaclav Havel. Who will be next? Of course, Christopher Hitchens would have bristled at my superstition, but he might have respected my desire to make sense of these unrelated events that have brought such sadness to those of us who loved the work of both.

Earlier this summer, while reading one of his Vanity Fair articles, I had a weird thought that news organizations must have already written his eulogies. He even made it into a piece of fiction I am working on, when our hero “was halfway through one of Christopher Hitchens’ didactic essays when he felt eyes on him.” So he has been buzzing around my head for a while, and I like to think he was deeply appreciated while he was alive. I followed his career – such as it was, I doubt very much he would have though of his writings and journalism as a career, he seemed too casually good at what he did to make it a career. I enjoyed his work a great deal, and sometimes would pass through the Houston Medical Center conscious that he was within one city block of me, and wishing it was a different city block, so I might go listen to him read from a new book or – not an impossible possibility – bump into him at a local watering hole.

We truly lost an intellectual giant when he passed away earlier this week. Our culture is a little darker and we are all a little poorer without him, regardless of your views on religion. I seem to be taking the news of his death with more than passing sadness. I’ve devoured everything I can find about him. I’ve Amazoned his books, including his biographies of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. I do take heart that he has left an amazing corpus of work for us to remember him by, but I still wish he were alive. It would have been wonderful to see him recover.

Alas.

There are a lot of fond memories of Hitch floating around the internet, but this one from Hitchens’ friend Ian McEwan, touched me perhaps most of all.

I want to be like him, in the sense of filling myself with literature and journalism. I cannot hope to ever write or even think as well as he; but I can, at least, seek what he sought through the same bookmarked pathways.

Joan and Me

I took the Proust quiz on Vanity Fair and my results startled me. My answers were 97.9% like Joan Didion’s! While I do not know how they calculated that, I’ll take it.

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