2011: A Year In Review

(I wish I were that thin)

(La Mirada, CA)  With a new year comes reflection on the year’s past.  For one woman, this involves measuring her accomplishments against her desire to be more NOVELCS.

NOVELCS is an acronym for seven goals the woman wished to pursue: to do more New things, be Outdoors, Volunteer, pursue Educational interests, write more through Letters, experience Culture, and be more Social.  These areas, the woman believes, would encourage her to be more well-rounded in mind and not just in belly.  And by keeping such records, the woman would also be able to gauge how well throughout the year she was achieving each goal.

Overall, 2011 was a positive year for the woman.  Having never before reflecting on accomplishments, the woman was surprised by how many she achieved, and inspired for more in the coming year.  The following is a summary of activities and counts in each category, followed by a more detailed summary with subcategories at the end.


Often too comfortable with the same, the woman strived to expand her comfort zone by visiting new places, trying new restaurants, or doing new things, particularly those things she has been meaning to try.

In 2011, the woman tackled 43 new things, things new to her, including meeting new people (generously, newborns count), learning and using new programs, and participating in events.

* Ed. Note: In particular, this is suspected of undercounting, but for the sake of data integrity this number has not reasonably inflated as an estimate.  There may have however, been generous interpretations with respect to what has been determined as “new.”


The woman has found much comfort from the restorative powers of being in nature.  However the busyness of modern life in an urban environment has all too often limited the woman’s exposure to the outdoors.  By noting time in nature, the woman hoped it provide continuing encouragement to venture outside.

In 2011, the woman documented 14 outdoor excursions, including visits to a farm and the beach; paddle boating and playing in a park; hiking; and visits to the gardens of The Getty, The Huntington Library, and the Legion of Honor.


Doing for others, including donating time, money and/or skills, has reminded the woman of  the important things in life as well as humbled her to the many things for which to be thankful.

The woman noted 17 volunteer experiences in 2011, including meetings with her homeowners’ association’s design review committee and Regional Connector committee; planning and/or coordinating a bachelorette day, wedding, and baby shower; and helping friends with moving and babysitting.  She also began fundraising for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), and raised more than $700.


Continuing to learn and expand her knowledge has remained important to the woman.  Related to her goal of doing new things, the woman has enjoyed gathering new information and fulfilling her nerdy roots.

In 2011, the woman only pursued 17 educational interests.  These mostly included work trainings that were also of personal interest to the woman, including green building and livable communities, along with bible studies and learning about her Mac.


Every since childhood, the woman has loved to write.  Charmed by the romantic notion of letter-writing, the woman set out to write more through pen and paper.  As the year progressed however, the woman recognized that writing in her journal also fulfilled her desire for handwritten thoughts and memories.  The woman also published her words on digital paper through a web log (or blog), to publicly and yet anonymously disburse news clippings from her life.

In 2011, the woman achieved 77 accomplishments associated with writing, including letters and notes, journal entries, and blog postings.  Her blog in particular, was viewed approximately 1,200 times from five continents, with visitors having found the site through searches for “hot flash” and “food poisoning symptoms.”  A more detailed blog summary may be found here.


The arts can stir the mind, warm the heart, and lift the soul.  The woman long recognized that in Los Angeles, festivals, music, dance, art, and theater are available at every turn, and taking advantage enhances her quality of life.

The woman noted 29 cultural activities in 2011, including theater shows, movie screenings, museum visits, and dancing.


With a stressful work environment and prone to isolation, the woman often spends time alone to rejuvenate.  However, the woman found that being social and spending time in the company of friends and family, also helps achieve balance.

In 2011, the woman noted 90 social activities, ranging from lunches with colleagues, dinners with friends, and family parties (Ed. Note: Time with immediate family was not counted towards social time).


  • Books read (including e-books): 30
  • Pages read (estimate, including equivalent): 8,357
  • Movies watched (including films): 10
  • Popcorn dinner: 2
  • Miles run: 71.1
  • Hours swam: 5.5
  • Doctor visits: 18, including 4 during hospital stay
  • Physical therapy, including occupational therapy: 18
  • Dentist visits: 6
  • Days home sick from work: 21
  • Trips commuted to/from work by foot: 121
  • Graduate school applications started: 1
  • Graduate school applications completed: 0
  • New crush: 3
  • Diets tried: 2
  • Amount spent on food: $6,752.33


2011 In Detail


  •  Meet new people: 4 (all babies, including 2 cousins once removed – yes, babies count as people)
  • Try new restaurants and eateries: 6, including Brodard Chateau, and Portillo’s
  • Visit new places: 7, including the Annenberg Museum, Pasadena Arcade (an alley lined with shops and restaurants with a very European feel), and John Wayne Airport
  • Attend or participate in events (new to her): 8, including The Groundlings, Downtown Los Angeles Food Walking Tour, CicLAvia, Tent Night in a dear friend’s living room, Last Remaining SeatsBloomFest, and the pie-earning Knotts Berry Farm 5K
  • Experience new things: 10, including Dance Central on Kinect; changing a diaper and feeding a baby; babysitting; missing a flight; root canal; and a four-for-one illness with a hospital stay, ultrasound, MRI and colonoscopy
  • Watch new movies, films or TV shows: 3, including Fantasia, The Walking Dead, and How I Met Your Mother
  • Use new equipment, skills or programs: 5, including a new work assignment; a new MacBook Pro laptop (long overdue); and iMovie, Garageband, and iDVD


  • Visits to gardens: 3, including The Getty, The Huntington Library, and Legion of Honor
  • Visits to water bodies: 2, including a picnic at Manhattan Beach, and paddle boating
  • Hikes and trail runs: 5, including oak forests of San Diego County, Marin Headlands in Golden Gate National Recreational Area, and Brea, California
  • Visits to parks: 2, including Griffith Park, Bill Blevins County Park, and Metreon lawn, San Francisco
  • Miscellaneous: 2, including visit to a Nutrilite farm, and site visit for a family friend


  • Committee meetings and commitments: 7, including homeowners’ association Design Review Committee, Regional Connector Committee, and Inspector of Elections for association annual meeting; nonprofit foundation Board of Directors; and lunch meeting with Toastmasters mentee
  • Event coordination: 4, including friend’s rehearsal and wedding, close friend’s bachelorette day, and close cousin’s baby shower
  • Help out: 6, including cheering on runners at the 2011 Marathon, researching property information for a family friend, preparing meals for the Downtown Women’s Center and church evening service dinner, and helping with packing and babysitting
  • Monetary donations and fundraising: $1,620, including more than $700 for APLA


  • Work training also of personal interest: 8, including complete streets, healthy livable communities, site plan review, green building, and environmental studies
  • Faith studies: 8, including bible studies and small group leadership classes
  • Being a nerd: 1, “Getting Started with a Mac”


  • Letters and notes: 7, including 2 sent overseas
  • Journal entries: 21
  • Blog entries: 47, including a 2010 Europe vacation retrospective with 350 photos and nine videos


  • Outdoor festivals: 2, including CicLAvia and BloomFest
  • Music: 3, including Don Henley, and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra performances of West Side Story and Fantasia
  • Dance: 1, Bollywood at Dance Downtown (please click title for link to video)
  • Art: 3, including The Getty, The Huntington Library, and “Beauty Culture” at the Annenberg Museum
  • Theatre: 9, including The Groundlings, Noises Off, Avenue Q, Beauty and the BeastRadiolab Live: SymmetryGod of Carnage, Les Miserables, and Bring It On
  • Film: 4, including The King’s SpeechSunset Boulevard, Fantasia, and West Side Story (Ed. Note: Movies winning an Academy Award are elevated to “film” status)
  • Television: 5, including The Museum of Television and Radio’s Paley Festival featuring The Walking Dead, Glee, A Night with Jimmy Fallon, Freaks & Geeks, and Undeclared
  • Other: 2, including Downtown Los Angeles Food Walking Tour, and visit to the Claremont Hotel


  • Family: 16
  • Friends from high school: 19
  • College: 15
  • Work: 19
  • Church: 21
  • Other: 1


  • MoviesThe King’s Speech, Gnomeo & Juliet, Bridesmaids, Sunset Boulevard, Horrible Bosses, Fantasia, My Afternoons with Margueritte, Midnight in Paris, The Ides of March, and West Side Story
  • Books: Includes Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen; Red Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park; Italy Out of Hand: A Capricious Tour; Bossypants; Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide; Adventures in Sherlock Holmes; The Hound of the Baskervilles; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea; and Kiss Me, Stranger: An Illustrated Novel

2 thoughts on “2011: A Year In Review

  1. jane says:

    The most impressive thing to me is your detailed record keeping!! Sounds like you had a great 2011, I hope 2012 has even more exciting new things in store for you!

  2. graceroamsearth says:

    I love your Year in Review! I admire how goal-oriented you are — and I’m happy to benefit from your goals as well. Keep the great words coming, both here and through mailed letters! It always makes my day to read something of yours. I love that Don Henley was one of your music — that totally brings me back to the days when I listened to KOST, but couldn’t tell anyone!

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