There are only two hours left this decade. I’m sitting at my grandparent’s dining room table with 25 nutcrackers looking over my right shoulder. Over my left shoulder, a group of 12 miniature carolers, circa 1950, are wrapped up in their winter woolens along the corner table. One of the carolers, a young girl at the edge of the group, is tilted back against the miniature street lamp, her mouth hanging open in song. I wonder if she had too much grog before she took to the streets? The living room has been transformed into a city of glowing miniature cottages surrounded by snow made of cotton batting. Despite every corner of this house covered in Christmas, it is New Year’s Eve and time to reminisce.
Top Trips of 2009…in no particular ranking order
- January break’s annual “girl’s weekend” with my female coworkers. This year we ventured down to Williamsburg, Virginia.
- A thriving friendship with college roommates Monica and Elizabeth had me eagerly hopping a plane to California in March. I got to meet Monica’s daughter Signey and the four of us spent days gabbing, laughing and visiting all of our old haunts. I also got to spend a few days in Yorba Linda with Kirsten, a good friend that I made my sophomore year of college. Kirsten was the first person to ever call me “Gus.”
- Spring break, Thanksgiving and Christmas in Michigan with Brandon, Kara and my nieces.
- In July, my cousin Krissa and I took a road trip together to see our grandparents. My parents met us in NE Ohio and we had a great time laughing, playing quadruple solitaire and chatting over a mammoth jigsaw puzzle.
- My cousin Jessie took some precious time off and came out to visit me in PA. She’s a busy nursing student and it meant a lot that she would make the effort to come and see me.
- A long weekend with my parents in Columbus. My days visiting the Buckeye capital are numbered as they prepare to move to Arizona in 2010.
- Baltimore X 3: a day trip with my neighbor and friend Ashley, an evening with college friend Nicole and her husband, a weekend with my aunt Marcia including a baby shower for my cousin Linsey.
Foolish Moments, 2009
- Kara loves to tell the story of how I forgot to stretch after we attended a grueling conditioning class at her gym. I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. I couldn’t lift my arms for two days. I’m not kidding. I was so stiff and sore that I couldn’t shampoo or brush my hair, it was difficult to put in my contacts and I couldn’t lift my nieces.
- I took my cousin to my favorite Chinese restaurant. During the meal I put way too much hot mustard on my egg roll. I cried for 10 minutes. I used both of our napkins to staunch the flow from my nose. I couldn’t taste a thing the rest of the meal.
- While playing a trivia game with friends I made a few blunders. One round was about the Taj Mahal and clues hinted this “thing” was built entirely by hand and listed its construction dates in a previous century. I yelled, “The Hoover Dam!”
- Same trivia game. The answer was “porpoise.” Clues were that it was a large mammal, often mistaken for a whale, lives in shallow water, travels in a pack, etc. I had the word porpoise on the tip of my tongue. Instead, I yelled, “platypus!”
Top experiences of 2009
- Giving up my summer to learn a hundred lessons as a hospital chaplain.
- Being with my new niece Kherington, born September 11th. It’s a tie between having her fall asleep in my arms or smile at me.
- Dancing with my nieces Kennedy and Kingsley. Kingsley and I came up with a signature move that would impress cirque de soleil choreographers.
- Winning a free cruise to the Bahamas!
- Women’s lunch. Every Tuesday I meet up with my female coworkers for lunch. We laugh, share, encourage and eat. We also play with my niece Seraphina, which makes it extra-special.
- Spending 11+ hours each week with my wonderful staff of students.
- Celebrating my 29th birthday with friends Ashley and Nicole. We had Indian food (my favorite) and rented movies.
- Climbing to the top of a 50 foot tower. I wasn’t sure I would make it 10 feet, let alone to the top.
- Starting a blog.
- Helping teach a First-Year Seminar called “That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of”
Times up…my grandparents’ grandfather clock is striking the new year. Here’s 2010. I’m looking forward to all of the opportunities and adventures it will bring. I’m so thankful that you have been a part of this year in my life!