I saw a blog post recently that listed the author's 10 best moments through the year. She said that since it's all too easy to focus on the negative aspects of the year (yep, I can name my top 5 bad without thinking) she wanted to spend some time thinking about the good. And she's right - there have been some really awesome moments this year, so many that it's actually hard to narrow it down to just 10. Some big and some rather small. So here's 10 of my best memories of this past year, in no particular order.
1. Snowshoeing Mt Hood with Karen and Zach. Karen and I have been friends since 1st grade (that's 27 years) and I love being able to fall into a rhythm with her no matter the time apart. The second day of my PNW visit this spring was blessed with clear, dry skies and a decent snow pack so we were able to adventure around the base of the mountain before the crowds got the same idea.
2. Drinking whiskey with Christina (and various other friends). I started with the memory of drinks at the Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland with my friends Christina, Michelle and Kyle, then remembered another evening of whiskey in Chicago with Christina, Hao, Risa and Vicki and then drinks at the top of the Hotel Pontchartrain in New Orleans with Christina, Risa, Michelle, AJ, Cara and others. As much as I love whiskey, these were memories of good nights spent with good friends and good conversations. I may just remember some conversations better than others...
3. The birth of Carter Thomas. Um, easy pick. My sister-in-law, Lindsey, gave birth to our nephew in early May and it's been giving us much more motivation to get up to New Jersey to visit her and Greg and Carter regularly. I've never spent much time around babies, so it's been amazing to have this little guy to get a tiny bit of a claim on.
4. Weddings. I could probably make my top 10 just out of wedding moments this year. I generally love weddings, but I REALLY loved all of them this year. AJ and Joel's was the first of the year in Houston with a few dozen fraternity brothers. Alex and Courtney allowed us to have some kid-free time with all of our friends from Baltimore at a beautiful location up in York, PA. Finally we made new friends at Jen and Matt's Virginia winery schindig.
5. RAW showcase. I finally got the kick in the ass I needed to put my photography work out there to the world and risk being judged for it. I had great support from family, friends and coworkers (serious, half my office came out) and it gave me the confidence that I can do this shit.
6. Seeing Jackson Browne at Merriweather. I have wanted to see him for over a decade and finally got my chance at the Merriweather Post Pavilion 50th anniversary show this summer. We started on the lawn then some friends snuck us up to 4th row!
7. Driving up Route 7 in Vermont. We hit the state line, drove through Bennington, then headed north up the west side of the state, listening to Jon Hodgeman on Fresh Air, and got the overwhelming feeling of "I'm home."
8. Driving through the Wasatch Range near Park City, Utah. We had a free morning, so car #2 took off for the drive through the mountains. I got to know these 4 brothers better as we all opened our eyes as wide as possible to the incredible sights. Our drive took us to a trail head which took us to a waterfall that we scampered up, all encouraging each other to take a chance and a risk.
9. September weekend in Pittsburgh. A last minute trip, we went because my parents' next door neighbor died unexpectedly and we needed time together to grieve. Unexpected doesn't actually even begin to describe how it felt to get that phone call from my dad. The 5 of us made decisions as we needed and as we could. Estate sales, long walks, football games, Pittsburgh foods, time together. It ended up being a healing, relaxing and releasing weekend.
10. Snuggles with Trish and Todd. We found out in the Spring that Trish has kidney disease. There's really no way of knowing how long she will be able to live with it (best case scenario, years) and we are doing all we can for her, but it's stressful for all three of us. She gets easily agitated and therefore irritates us more to the point where we've had to put her in the basement at night so I can get a full night sleep. It also means that we spend more time staying still and giving her opportunities to snuggle up to us and purr on our laps. I love her every day.
These "top 10" don't even come close to all the great moments this year. It doesn't include the magical moments of each trip, hiking and visiting a farm with Kelly, spending a weekend with Kelly and Ashley, doing yoga with pigs, decorating cookies with my mom, and many more. I guess that's the point - once you start thinking about the good it keeps rolling in.