Thursday, December 31, 2015

My word for 2016

Happy 2016!!!

This time last year, I decided to choose a meaningful word to focus on in 2015. (I've debated revealing that word here, but decided not to because it really doesn't matter since as I write this, 2015 is already over in most of the world.) I kept my focus on that word all year long. I learned a lot from the experience, so much that I'll probably choose a word every year for the rest of my life.

For 2016, I've selected a German word. It's one I came across when I lived in Vienna back in 2008: Gemütlichkeit. To help you with that, here's the pronunciation: ge·moot·li·kite (officially ɡəˈmo͞otlikˌkīt/, but I can never read those dictionary-style pronunciations, can you?) It's a noun, and is often defined as friendliness and/or good cheer. It evokes a state of mind, a sense of belonging, a certain coziness. There's no English equivalent, but hopefully you get the idea.

My plan for the new year is to achieve Gemütlichkeit by seeking joy in everything I do, creating and cultivating meaningful relationships, and letting my true personality shine. (I'm really tired of holding back. Holding back is so 2015.) I'm going to write about the things I love, the things that make me happy, and the things I experience or learn about that bring me joy. These things may be totally dorky, but I won't care because they will bring me Gemütlichkeit. And I'm going to share the love.

So look out. I'm back. This blog is back. And we're going to have a lot of fun in 2016.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 favorites

I'll always remember 2015 as a challenging year on all kinds of levels. I've got a lot more scars, but maybe I'm a bit more resilient as a result. Here are my favorites for 2015. And here's a wish that 2016 will be a good year with good health and prosperity for all!

Stuff I read

Favorite book of the year . . .  The Golem & The Jinni by Helene Wecker

General fiction . . . Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Unexpected pleasure . . . The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

Southern fiction . . . Soil by Jamie Kornegay

Nonfiction  . . .  Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Magazine . . . Garden & Gun

Music I listened to

Band . . .  (tie) The Black Lillies and A Thousand Horses

Artist . . .  (tie) Adele, Leon Bridges, R.L. Burnside

Album . . . Sound and Color by Alabama Shakes

Song . . . (tie) "Gimme All Your Love" by Alabama Shakes, "Smoke" by A Thousand Horses, and "Everything Falls Away" by Gretchen Peters

Local (North Carolina) music . . . Mipso

Song rediscovery . . . "Poison & Wine" by The Civil Wars

Artist rediscovery . . . Nick Drake

Things I watched

TV show . . . The Man in the High Castle

New (to me) TV show . . . House of Cards (US version)

Live theatrical performance . . . King Charles III (Music Box, New York, NY)

Movie . . . I didn't watch many this year and don't have a favorite

Miscellaneous things I liked or enjoyed

Social Network . . . Twitter (fourth year in a row)

Vacation . . . Machu Picchu, Peru

Weekend getaway . . . (tie) Kiawah/Seabrook/Charleston (Andell Inn) and Asheville (Reynolds Mansion Inn)

Restaurant . . . Kindred, Davidson, NC

Beverage . . . Sea Breeze!

Music Festival . . . The National Folk Festival, Greensboro, NC