Ribbon Board filled with a Review of my 2015 Memories

2015 in Review

Every January I think about writing up a review of the previous year and I start to organize my thoughts. It quickly becomes March and then a review seems fruitless. I’m still later than I’d like to be—it being more than halfway through the month—but it’s still January so I think I’m good to go.

Part of why I’m inspired to do a review is that I keep a ribbon board above my desk. It keeps some things that are current/upcoming (there’s business cards for dentist, mechanic, insurance agent and the like) but mostly it’s where I slot things after they’re done.

It’s become a ritual I do every year right around New Year’s Eve. I empty out the ribbon board and review all the things I did throughout the year. Then I pack everything in a Ziploc bag and store it. The oldest one I have is from 2009 so I haven’t been doing this forever but we’re approaching ten years.

2015 Ribbon Board

If you look at the photo above you can see that it’s jam-packed with stuff (some might say loaded with shit, but let’s keep it clean). What’s on the board? Among other things:

  • Exploding Kittens packing slip
  • Expired passport
  • Movie ticket stubs
  • Theater ticket stubs
  • Business cards from writers, magazines, and restaurants
  • Post cards from writers, publishers, librarians, and more
  • A bunch of miscellaneous notes from my kids (including hand-made Valentine’s)
  • A paper cutout robot from my son
  • My door tag from the Wyrd Words writing retreat
  • Name badges from UW-Wisconsin Writers Institute, Wiscon 39, Southeast WI Festival of Books, WLA Conference

St. Louis

We took a family trip to St. Louis this past year. We try to go somewhere new for the kids. We aren’t traveling far though; previous years we went to Minneapolis and Chicago. The trip was fun. We saw the Arch of course and we also took in the zoo. We did not go to a Cardinals game which confused most of the people we met. We hit up the City Museum which is crazy. Think of an interactive House on the Rock. It was Fourth of July weekend so it was actually pretty quiet in St. Louis. This year we’re looking at going to Tucson to visit family which will be nice.

SFWA Bulletin

I see a few SFWA things there which reminds me that at this time last year I was the editor of the Bulletin. In a lot of ways, it was a great fit. In one very important way, however, it was not. I could not figure out a way to fit editing the Bulletin into my schedule with any consistency. This lead to delayed issues and extra stress on me. In the end we decided on some mutual deadlines that I was not able to keep. While there were a lot of good things about editing the Bulletin, it was a relief to hand the job over to someone else.


If you don’t know, I work full time as a librarian. So in addition to librarianship taking up the majority of my day most of the year, there were some extra things from the year.

The literary council hosts an annual spelling bee and the library typically has a team. Since I help organize the team I don’t have to get up and spell. In addition to the formal spelling bee they also have a written spelling bee during the evening. I typically win this so I decided I wouldn’t enter this time. To my surprise, the words were all Scripps National Spelling Bee winning words from over the years, which meant they were words from the anthology I edited, Logorrhea, so I would have done even better than normal!

We also had an edible book contest where people ‘re-made’ books into cakes or fruit displays. I made “The Game of Scones” but did not fare well in the competition. All my material was too fresh so it collapsed.

Writing/Wyrd Words/NaNoWriMo

For the past 18 months or so I’ve been working on writing over editing. I’ve been using the magic spreadsheet for some time (although my attendance on the spreadsheet has been sporadic as of late) but I’m too easily derailed. Then I feel guilty for not writing. Which makes me not write. Which adds to the guilt. You see the circle.

This past summer I was fortunate enough to take part in the inaugural Wyrd Words writing retreat. It was amazing. I’ll be honest; I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been but many of us weren’t. Still, there was a ton of great energy and great isolated conversation about writing that I left with a clear focus on my novel. I was all set to tackle a quick revision during NaNoWriMo.

Except the more I went through notes the more the novel needed to change. It lacked focus, characters lacked motivation, major ideas weren’t fleshed out. It wasn’t something I could quickly revise. So I took an old road trip partial manuscript I had and did that for NaNoWriMo.

It’s also unfinished.

But it’s something that I should be able to get a relatively fast first draft done. Then it can sit and wait for another day. Then I tackle my Wyrd Words novel.

Plus I’ve been writing poetry weekly since the middle of December, but you knew that already.


If you asked me, I’d tell you that I don’t go to the movie theater very often. However, that clearly wasn’t true last year. I had ticket stubs for fifteen movies. Fifteen! I also know there’s at least one movie I didn’t have the stub for so I went to at least sixteen movies in the theater last year. Yikes.

What did I see last year? Here they are chronologically:

Paddington, The Imitation Game (same day as Paddington), Chappie, It Follows, Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron, Mac Max: Fury Road, Inside Out, Minions, Ant-Man, Shaun the Sheep, Green InfernoThe Princess Bride, Goosebumps, Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, and The Hateful Eight.

Can you tell which ones we saw as a family and which I went without kids?

Live Theater

This was a banner year for me for getting out of the house and into a theater of sorts. Most of the shows I saw were at the American Players Theatre in Spring Green, WI. We saw seven shows there this year, which is the most we’ve even seen at APT. The last two shows we saw in Milwaukee:

The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Streetcar Named Desire, An Illiad, Private Lives, Othello, Pride and Prejudice, The Game of Love and Chance, Wicked, and The Nutcracker Suite (ballet).