So normally the Chicken happens every Friday when I write about the hard stuff and the good stuff from my week. And occasionally about zombies.

But mostly what was challenging and what was fabulous.

And I try to do it in the least-cheesy and non-annoying way possible, which is hard because we are, after all, dealing with self-reflection.

Last year I did a big crazy Chicken for 2008 (in a post which, interestingly, got me more hate mail than pretty much any other post ever) and I’m doing it again for 2009.

Because hey, a little symbolic closure never hurts.

And I re-quote our Victoria here: “Unless, of course, Dec 31st turns out to be a really crappy day, in which case I will just drink more champagne.”

Something kind of bizarre that I have to tell you about first.

While I was taking time to think back over the year and everything in it, there was no doubt in my mind about what stood out as the Hardest of the Hard and the Most Good of the Good.

The hardest was missing my friend who is dead. And at the top of the good was moving into Hoppy House and having space for myself for the first time in what seemed like forever.

Until I reread last year’s post and realized: wait, that was the hard and good from then.

Maybe because they were such monumental things for me that they have turned into giant trees. Or the Fernsehturm. You see them even from great distances.

But on to 2009. The time where we get to say “This. Now.

The hard stuff

Pain. Lots and lots of pain.

The hurt arms.

The not being able to fix the hurt arms for months and months and months.

People not being able to stop giving well-meaning suggestions about the hurt arms that just resulted in ….

More annoyance and frustration about the hurt arms that didn’t respond to stuff that worked for other people but wasn’t working for me.

Having to work at quarter-capacity because of hurt arms. Which brings us to?

Financial stuff: crises, challenges and general ridiculousness.

You know, aside from having to work at quarter capacity and to hire other people to do my work for me. But also related.

LIke the thousands of dollars that went to acupuncture, healing remedies, software, consultations and whatever else was supposed to help the hurting arms stop hurting.

Or the three new Fluent Self products which were planned for the year and never happened thanks to the hurt-ey arms.

But also stuff like running programs that didn’t end up paying for themselves. Several of them.

Loaning a very large sum to someone who couldn’t pay it back. Or even apologize for not paying it back, which would have helped.

My annual teaching trip to Germany is usually a lovely contributor to general financial well-being, except that this year it was an enormous disaster in every possible way, but especially in a financial one.

Insane internet fame (yay) meant having to move all the websites to a new server, get new expensive-er hosting and bring an on-call tech expert on board.

Some other expensive medical stuff. And an entire month when sales just disappeared for absolutely no conceivable reason. Mercury in retrograde? I don’t know. But I’ve had enough. Seriously.

Being let down.

Trust stuff. Really hard trust stuff.

The jerks who have my mail being the least of these trust breakdowns.

And people trying to make friends in order to pitch me on stuff because my duck is famous. Ew.

Routines being tested. And just being kind of in-between. .

All the traveling and changes and in-between-nesses made it hard to stick with the things that are grounding.

Like daily yoga and Shiva Nata and morning walks with Selma and the gentleman friend.

It made it harder to feel at home in Hoppy House and harder to feel at home in myself. And was just generally distressing.

Are we at the good yet? Please say we are. Ah, yes. The good.

The good stuff

Routines that held despite all the traveling.

Like weekly bread-baking.

And yoga.

And writing every day.

Plus the gentleman friend and I took up swing dancing and wheeeeeeeeeeeeee I love it!

And yeah, the traveling.

Teaching is always more fun when you do it somewhere awesome. Learning too.

This year brought me and Selma and sometimes also the Gentleman Friend to Texas (well, Austin — twice!), North Carolina (also twice!), Tennessee, New Mexico, California (once to San Francisco and once to Sacramento), Alaska, Berlin, Copenhagen, Reykjavik and Vancouver.

Awesome.

Going on vacation, twice!

Even if both times were provoked by immanent emotional breakdown.

Totally counts.

Email sabbatical!

Changed my life.

Coming up with the pirate ship metaphor.

That solved a lot of stuff for me.

Once I knew it was a pirate ship, all sorts of things opened up.

Plus working with Cairene helped create strong, supportive systems to make sure the ship is sleek, fast and unstoppable.

The Right People thing.

It was cool. I really only worked with amazing clients this year.

Also finding the Right People to help me through the hard.

Especially Hiro, who helped me do some deep, wacky spiritual work that was exactly what I needed.

Selma and I went back to teaching more live events after a long hiatus.

And loved it.

Plus we taught at Jen’s Writer’s Retreat in Taos (we’ll be there again this year), which was so much fun.

Plus I got to meet a lot of Fluent Self-ey people in person. Hooray!

The Kitchen Table.

So many beautiful things happened there. What an astonishing experiment.

So much love.

I can still come up with 77 whole things that don’t completely suck.

And I did.

Oh, being internet famous. It makes stuff good.

I used to worry about saying no to things because hey, you need people to know about your thing.

This year I turned down what felt like a billion interview requests and related things, just because I didn’t feel like it. Being able to do that — knowing that I could — was really great.

Scheduled all of 2010 before it even started.

Now that’s something that’s never happened before. It’s a weird and wonderful feeling.

Saw a lot more of Portland.

Thanks to not being able to work.

Plus we got to know our neighbors (we have neighbors!) and really, really like them.

A big exciting development that I can’t tell you about yet.

Work-related, yes?

My gentleman friend was able to break up with all his clients.

Because The Fluent Self — even in a year of irritatingly stupid financial challenges — is still kicking ass.

We were in the New York Freaking Times.

Hard to believe that was exactly a year ago.

Went to my first business conference.

And wrote about it. And had fun. And decided never to have to go to one again.

Started respecting the “I don’t feel like it” .

And came up with the dammit list.

And made it a legitimate part of how we do things. Respecting my capacity. It’s a thing.

Self-sufficiency.

We did a lot of living out of our garden this year. Made our own bread, yogurt and cheese.

And learned about reach.

Almost every program I offered this year filled up within a day or two.

Some before I got around to even announcing their existence on the blog.

Which is why the events page now has a sneakified “find out first” list.

Plus I learned that it’s possible to work at quarter capacity and the ship still sails.

Stepped into the leadership thing.

In ways that were both unexpected and really comfortable.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I really like it here.

Yet again, the good somehow outweighs the hard.

It’s weird because in my mind I am so completely ready to be done with this year of hard. It’s reassuring to remember that it wasn’t all tears and hiding under the bed.

Fell madly in love with the color orange, much to the surprise of anyone who knows me.

This slightly burnt, very sexy, loud pumpkin-ey orange. It’s making me happy.

Okay, 2009. I think we’re done here.

And yes. The best part — of course — was this blog and all of you.

Because I like you. And yes, that goes for my Beloved Lurkers too.

Wishing you all the support, strength, sovereignty, alliteration and safety you can stand for a seriously possibility-full 2010. Love, love, love and more love.

Havi Brooks & Selma the Duck