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This has been an awesome year. It’s had some freaky bad parts, but on average, I’m giving the year 9 out of 10. (I like to leave room for improvement: it encourages the next year to try harder.)

I went back to New Zealand (LOVE YOU AOTEAROA) to watch two of my favourite people in the world promise to love each other forevs on the shore of Lake Rotoiti. Either of those things — my favourite people and the lake — would have tipped the balance of the year, but combined? Fuhgeddaboudit. This was followed by a couple of weeks of romping around the South Island, including a memorably brutal kayaking trip — while M and I were recovering with an iced coffee, we heard our kayak guide come into the cafe and wail (thinking she had dispensed with all her kayakers) to a waiter about how it had been her worst day out ever.

I worked harder than I ever have: my day job became more intense as the budget tightened, and my freelancing work began to build up a bit of steam.

I performed on my clarinet for the first time and blew the doors off the hall.

I performed on my violin for the first time and nearly herniated trying not to laugh while playing. (Seriously, if there’s anything funnier than an off-tone violin, I need to see it. I’ve played a version of “Hot Cross Buns” that captured all the true sadness of humanity.)

I went to New York for the first time and fell in love with it. I’ll be back. I went to New Orleans and fell in love with it. I have a lot of love to give for beautiful and exciting cities. I went to Switzerland and tromped everywhere tromping could be tromped. I ate my weight in cheese, I practised my deeply flawed French on some poor winemaker at a wine tasting, I saw marmots and I drank Campari in the cool Lausanne evenings while watching the weather change over the lake. I’ll be back!

I flew back from Lausanne to Canberra — 30-odd hours all up — and the next day drove to Lithgow for my Nanini’s 80th birthday party.

I obediently followed my beloved physiotherapist’s instructions and now I’m fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been and it’s fantastic. I also did not have surgery this year! I have run out of hips to operate on, it seems.

I nearly lost my job as the budget at the University tightened and tightened: for a teensy bit it looked like my workplace might be defunded altogether. But we fought back and got through.

Friends had babies, which means more friends in my life!

I learned how to make cheese. I learned how to make beer. Both valuable life skills, especially if the budget constraints at my workplace continue.

I tried my best at NaNoWriMo — but despite diligently outlining, I didn’t get started writing until the 20th of November, which was a bit of a handicap. All the same, I managed about 33,000 words in a week, and that’s not to be sneezed at. I learned writing that much while also working and finding time to do all my other stuff is, at best, challenging. At worst, it makes me weird and lonely. (I’m optimistic about finishing the novel before the year is out, but as I’m writing this on December 28th, I may be delusional.)

My Mumini got suddenly, dramatically sick and there was talk of emergency surgery. Surgery thankfully averted, she was released from hospital on Christmas Eve with a bucket of drugs and a home IV. There’s still a lot of question marks around the origin of the infection, but that will be investigated further when she’s recovered. Right now, we’re just glad she’s home and resting: a nurse comes out to visit her every day and replace her IV drugs.

Tony Abbot got elected. But I don’t want to dwell on unpleasant things.

It’s been a fantastic year. Hard in spots, definitely, but awesome in so many other spots that the hard spots kind of blur together. So let’s raise a homebrew and a wedge of homemade cheese in honour of 2013: a spectacular year that has seriously raised the bar for 2014. Love your work, 2013.

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