1. The Kindle
Just as I inherited Mrmonkey's iPhone when he switched to a Nexus, I inherited his Kindle when he moved to the iPad. I had my reservations at first, and honestly found it difficult to concentrate on the first book I read on the device; I was too wrapped up in the novelty of reading an ebook to pay proper attention to the book sometimes. This wore off though, and although I can't see myself ever abandoning paper, I do love a book I can read while brushing my teeth, or with both arms under the covers. And I can get a new book right away! Plus I can read huge or embarrassing books with the same ease and confidence as I read slim or erudite ones. Result.
2. Ian's Classic Book Club
Okay, so I only read three of the books and (so far) turned up to one of the meetings, but it's good to be part of a book club that admits to not having read many classics, and that it's good to read those classics. I was particularly gutted to miss the discussion on Frankenstein, but it was my own stupid fault. Next up is Northanger Abbey for February, I believe. I've not read it before, and I'm greatly looking forward to it.
3. Going to the gym
Once upon a time, long long ago, I used to go to the gym on a regular basis, but I stopped (great story, Trish). Well, I started again this year and although there's been a bit of a hiccup due to the bad weather recently, I really enjoy it. Overall, in fact, I've been enjoying an increased level of fitness this year, partly due to losing a lot of weight, but also due to just getting out and about and moving more. Must keep this up in the new year. I don't want to slip into bad ways again.
4. Watching television with people on Twitter
The Apprentice, Coronation Street, and most of all, The Eurovision Song Contest, are just some of the shows that are massively improved by watching them with your pals on Twitter. Indeed, Twitter's done more for getting people to adhere to the actual published television schedules in 2010 than any other factor (I have made that up, but if I was a freelance journalist I would leave that there and let it become a truthy fact).
5. Audio books and podcasts
Don't know why I never cared about these before, I guess I was always a reader who listened to music when I was a commuter, and now that I'm not a commuter anymore, I just don't listen to as much audio content as I used to. But 2010 brought us more stable foster dogs (well, ones who were either going to stay with me or piss off as they saw fit, regardless of whether I was listening to them), so it became more feasible to stick in a single earphone and listen to A History of the World in a Hundred Objects, Pimsleur Spanish, and my second audiobook ever, The Man Who Invented the Computer by Jane Smiley, which I listened to while in the gym. Like the Kindle, listening to audiobooks is something I've had to learn, but I have the hang of it now and will be doing a good deal more of it in 2011.
Hosted by Xander Armstrong and Richard Osman (brother of Matt Osman from Suede, connection fans!) this is ideal cup-of-tea-time television. Featuring beautifully laid-back banter, intriguing questions, and no ad breaks, it pisses all over Countdown.
7. Taking my camera just bloody everywhere
When it comes to photography, I am certainly not Mrs. Right, but I am often Mrs. Right There, particularly when it comes to documenting big family events. Take your camera with you when you go places. It's no use to you sitting at home. And then print the photos, or at least put them online where people can see them. Otherwise, really, what is the point?
8. Going out for dinner
Since we moved out to Laytown our eating out arrangements have really slipped. But we've been taking advantage, unlikely though it may seem, of our weekly visits to our diet counsellor to eat out in Dublin at least once a week most weeks. It helps that so many restaurants have top class early bird deals right now. Mmm, mundane.
9. Being 40
There's something liberating about being able to say "I am 40. I don't have to care about this." Particularly things that people with children have to care about. Noisy, expensive things that take precedence over more genteel entertainments, like, I don't know, Justin Bieber maybe. Or that young woman who smokes a bong. I don't care if the X Factor single gets to number one in the charts. I've no idea what's in the charts anymore, or what that word is that they're all using this week (are they even doing that anymore? I couldn't tell you).
10. Paying someone else to walk the dogs
This year, our neighbour set up his own dog walking and dog minding business. The freedom this has given me, I can't begin to describe to you. Going to the city, going hillwalking up in Carlingford, and more activities have become so much easier now that I can just text Michele and get him to take the dogs out, bring them back, feed them, and leave them to snooze till I get home. They know him really well and will go anywhere with them, and he gives them a decent walk for not much money. It is a result.