Last year I decided to post about 10 of the best moments of 2017 because it had felt like a crap year and I needed to remember some of the good instead of all the bad. It seemed like a good thing to continue for this year too. As always, there were a ton of great moments and I’m sure I’m going to miss including some of the very good (even great). Here are 10 great moments from 2018, in no particular order.
1. Picking Lemons in Phoenix.
The house we met at for our winter board meeting had orange and lemon trees in the backyard. To me, who has lived in the north my entire life, this was like some kind of Harry Potter magic craziness. This was find a lamp post in the middle of the forest, walk through a mirror into another realm level of amazingness. YOU CAN PICK CITRUS RIGHT FROM THE TREE!!! My hands were covered in lemon oil, just from touching the fruit and I couldn’t stop lifting them to my nose and inhaling the intoxicating freshness. I also happened to be getting the flu during the trip, so fresh lemons and whiskey in tea was exactly what I needed to feel somewhat human. I stuffed my suitcase with as much citrus as I felt wouldn’t concern TSA, which wasn’t nearly enough. I need Christina to bring me more this winter!!
2. Kick-ass WGE Award
The first 4 months of the year, and the last few of 2017, were incredibly demanding for my position of Worthy Grand Estimator (aka WGE aka Financial Director) for Alpha Rho Chi. I initiated a lot of new changes and gave a presentation at our annual business meeting in March for which I was extremely nervous but equally prepared. After the first day of business the rest of the board gave me (and our Communications Director) the best award I’ve ever received for “Kick-ass WGE”. The acknowledgement of my hard work meant the world to me and shows that I have the best team ever.
Going to Germany this spring was an extraordinary trip. While I loved all the site-seeing, the main reason for our trip was to visit our friend Jordana who moved there last year. I loved spending time just sitting out on the porch drinking tea and talking, hiking through the woods near her town, and reading or talking to her 2 year old son, who quickly became one of my favorite people along with his mama.
4. The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks
Bucket list goal: see a show at Red Rocks. To make it better - have that show be the Avett Brothers. To make it EVEN better - take that trip with good friends. To make it EXTRAORDINARILY better - go hiking in the Denver foothills during the day before the show. (Optional - get extremely sunburned.) Added bonus - meet up with some additional Penn State friends who live in Denver.
My aunt and uncle live close to the border of Wyoming and Idaho in the Teton Valley, an area affectionately referred to as “Wydaho.” We spent 3 days visiting and hiking through the area in early July. I’ve never lived closer than an 8 hour drive to them, so I am incredibly grateful for the ability to spend some time together. Todd and I also got to hike through the snow in Wyoming, visit Grand Teton National park, see moose, photograph fireworks and, of course, find some free live music.
In the month of June I decided to go big with goals and do yoga every day for the month. It had its challenges, of course, but after 30 days of yoga and then a week of hiking in the west, I felt physically (and mentally) better than I have in probably 10 years. While at this moment in my life consistently doing yoga every day isn’t yet practical, it was eye opening to see just what a difference it makes in my life and the need I have to try to add it back in.
7. Volunteering at the Creative Alliance
I started volunteering at the Creative Alliance in 2017, doing will call and ticket scanning. It’s a great venue that promotes so many forms of the arts to all types of people and I love being a part of it and being exposed to performances and artists I otherwise would probably overlook. This year I’ve sold CDs next to Grammy-nominated Raul Midon, been inspired by a film-maker, cleaned up after interactive movie nights, seen many genres of music (folk, country, Americana, Irish, African, Venezuelan) and had long conversations with the staff and artists that make the Creative Alliance come alive. I met songwriter Eddie Heinzelman from Nashville and discussed the music that influenced us and made small talk with Radney Foster who liked my pink cowboy boots. As a member I was able to have one of my photos in a gallery show this summer. I love having found this dynamic community just down the street.
8. Elektric Voodoo
On a Wednesday in early October, Todd and I drove up to Philadelphia to see the “world beat rock and roll” band Elektric Voodoo at a tiny bar downtown. The band is the project of Scott Tournet of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, who we began following when he did a show around 2014 at the 8x10 with then side project “Ver La Luz,” hands down the loudest show I’ve ever seen. I’ve continued to track his career via Facebook since he left the Nocturals and immediately jumped on the chance to see the San Diego based band here on the east coast. It’s possible we were the only ones in the crowd who weren’t either related to or went to high school with the band, but Scott seemed to remember us when we chatted with him after the show. He’s an amazingly talented musician and Todd and I were both on a high on our drive back to Baltimore that night. To see a member of one of your favorite bands (I think I’ve seen the Nocturnals 9 or 10 times) in that kind of venue is something I’ll willingly loose sleep for.
9. Binge Mode Harry Potter
This summer my friend Risa introduced me to the podcast Binge Mode Harry Potter, a deep dive into the work of Harry Potter, a few chapters at a time. It quickly became an obsession between the two of us and our friend Christina. We get grumpy when a new episode hasn’t been put out quickly enough and use it as a balm when going through stressful moments. Some favorite bits - the idea of Minerva “McGalleon” McGonagal as a chronic gambler, the ongoing discussion of producing a full [patronus], and all of the extremely random bits of HP world trivia they’ve pulled from every article, post and interview JK Rowling has ever done. I’ll slide into this category visiting the History of Magic exhibit this past October in NYC as well.
10. Wedding Assisting
When I approached my friend Katherine of Katherine Elizabeth Photography to do a behind the scenes photo documentary on her, I was able to spend a day assisting her and doing a bit of second shooting while documenting her at work. Later in the year I had the opportunity to assist photographer Jen Harvey at a few weddings as well. It’s been a great way to learn and see these amazing women in their element! I’m taking every chance I can get to improve my photography and I’m extremely grateful for these moments.
There were many other great moments throughout the year and I’m looking forward to making new memories in 2019.