In the midst of all the year-end summaries and “wrapped” metrics and “best-of” lists . . . I bring you my own: The Lightning Round.

Here we go!


Best view . . . Watching the sunrise (from the new dock) at the lake on the summer solstice.

Best investment (small $) . . . Push-up bars for my home gym. (These.) A $12 investment I should have made years ago. (Because my wrists are so damaged from my RA, and these allow me to do things I just couldn’t before. Like push ups.)

Best investment (bigger $) . . . That new dock!

Best knit . . . Hands down, my Shakerag skirt.

Best stitching . . . (Oooo . . . this is a tough one.) Even though I loved making the gingerbread house ornaments, I’m going with the tote bag.

Most listened to album, according to Spotify  . . . Foo Fighters But Here We Are (which Spotify says I listened to 24 times in June alone). (And, yes. I do tend to go on a tear with new albums I particularly like, so that figure is probably accurate.)

Song I thought would (probably) be my #1 song on Spotify’s “wrapped” summary . . . Flowers (Miley Cyrus). Or maybe Butterfly (Jon Batiste). But, no. It was – of course – something from that Foo Fighters album I gorged myself on in June.


Never thought I’d . . .  Prioritize strength training over cardio. (But I did this year. In a big way.)

Total game changer . . . Doing mobility training and CARs on a daily basis. (My rheumatologist is amazed at my improved joint mobility. We’ve actually been able to reduce my medications.)

Astonishing discovery . . . Running away from a yellow jacket swarm really is the best way to escape them — although you have to be quick, because you can still get stung 12 times while you gather your wits and start running. (Just sayin.)

Can’t believe I’d . . . Buy a Bird Buddy. (But I did.)

TV worth watching . . . Slow Horses, Shrinking, The Diplomat, and (of course) the final season of Ted Lasso.

Movie I surprised myself by really liking . . . Oppenheimer.

Movie I never expected to need a kleenex for . . . Barbie. That one scene at the end? Bring out the tissues. (My goodness, Billie Eilish really nailed that song, didn’t she?).


Best audiobook I listened to . . .  Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted (Suleika Jaouad); this is a powerful book in any form, but especially so when listening to Suleika narrate it herself.

Book I’ve recommended to others most often . . .  Tom Lake (Ann Patchett), although Heaven & Earth Grocery Store (James McBride) is moving up with a bullet.

My top five favorite books of the year . . . Wellness (Nathan Hill), Absolution (Alice McDermott), You Could Make This Place Beautiful (Maggie Smith), Fresh Water for Flowers (Valérie Perrin), and Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year (Margaret Renkl).

Book I really didn’t enjoy at all . . . The Vaster Wilds (Lauren Groff) (no comment; no link).

Favorite new discovery . . . On the Rocks premium cocktails. Highly recommended – especially if you have one person in your household who enjoys an occasional cocktail (but can’t be bothered with the hassle of mixing) . . . and another person in your household who is just fine with a beer, thankyouverymuch.

Living in my . . .  faux-fur lined Birkenstock sandals (yes, in the winter) (but not in the snow) (if it ever does snow).

Sucked all the joy from my days . . . the relentless pace of terrible things happening in the world.

Personal goal I crushed . . . I set out to be able to do ONE “real” (full body/no knees) push-up this year. I can now do SIX “real” push-ups (in a row)!


Best thing in the garden . . . The fact that it rejuvenated itself so beautifully after a terrible 2022 garden season.

Best garden purchase . . . My little portable greenhouse ($70 at Lowe’s).

Biggest disappointment . . . Our long-time favorite neighborhood restaurant is closing on December 31. We are devastated.

Biggest risk . . . Committing to that advent calendar madness. But I think it panned out.

Carrying into the new year . . . Dread. In the long term, there’s the whole 2024 election cycle. And in the short term, I have a root canal scheduled for January 2.

My wish for you as we head into the new year . . . As always, all the good things, my friends. ALL the good things. I thank you for being here and hanging out with me, and I’m wishing for a 2024 filled with hope and joy and good health and happiness for us all.


And so ends my Year-in-Review for 2023. I’ll be back on Sunday with a New Year’s toast. But then, as I mentioned in my final advent calendar post last week, I’m going to take a week off. Please remember to RSVP for the Read With Us Zoom if you’d like to attend. It’s coming right up on January 9 (and – yay – my root canal will be done by then).