Best Things of 2011

Another year, another Nuns Having Fun calendar, and another chance to look back and ask, “What was I thinking?”  Welcome to 2011: The Year That Was.

January: Best Month I Forgot About Entirely

Seriously, I had to turn to the new-fangled Facebook Timeline to help me remember January 2011.  And here’s what I found out:

1. I made these cookies with Manolo.

Cookies, Kind of

On the left, either me or Velma from Scooby Doo; on the right, Manolo with a tan or Medusa.

2. We also ate them.

3. I finished what wound up being the best book I read all year: The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop by Dan Charnas. I could tell you how well-written, informative, and crazy-interesting it is, but if you’re not already on board from the title, this might not be the book for you.

4. And I found out my name would be featured on “millions of cups” at Caribou Coffees everywhere. This would be the peak of my fame in 2011.

February: Best Second Month of the Year

Another one I don’t remember! Apparently: I went to a couple of concerts (favorite: Pete Yorn at First Ave), and I continued one of my favorite traditions of watching the Oscars with my bro.

In my defense there was a lot of snow on the ground last year. I didn’t get out that much.

March: Best Month To Start New Friendships

At some point in March, Lacy invited me out for brunch with one of her old friends who had just moved down the road from me.  Going against my usual winter attitude of “people are the worst,” I agreed to go.

That friend was the Ginger.

Also joining us that day was the Ginger’s roommate, another guy I vaguely knew years ago. And because I feel confident he will never read this, I don’t mind telling you he totally ignored my presence for the first half hour or so of our brunch and I wasn’t thinking we’d ever hang out again. Then I mentioned Battlestar Galactica. And now I can’t get rid of him.

****JOKE! THAT PART IS A JOKE.****

But really, our friendship formed because of BSG, found its footing in football, further developed over beer, and continues despite the amount of hell I give him.  He would probably like to make some jokes about getting rid of me, too, but is too nice to do so.

Easily the best brunch of my life.

April: Best Month to Get Older

I turned 26 by being sick on my couch and having a Die Hard marathon.  Later I convinced some coworkers to buy me an ice cream cake if I picked it up; this is what I chose to put on it.

Die Hard Cake

"Live Free or Die Hard" PG-13 version; the DQ employee had no idea who John McClane was. KIDS TODAY.

April was also when I saw Chuck Klosterman at the Fitzgerald, and went to my first of several Twins games of the year.  Spring is better than winter, you guys.

May: Best Month To Be Named Daughter of the Year

I took my mom to see Paul Simon at First Ave.

Paul Simon at First Ave

Therefore, I win.

And I took Lacy to see Donald Glover/Childish Gambino at The Varsity.

Donald Glover

Therefore, I need a new camera.

I also got a tan-line from a candy necklace while at the Lyn-Lake Festival. I regret nothing.

June: Best Month To Start A Blog

I started this blog in June for a class, but at first I tried to keep it homework-centric. Some adventures that happened in that time that haven’t yet been shared with the internet:

1. I took a tour of the Liberty Belle, a WWII bomber like the one my grandfather was in as a gunner.

Inside the Liberty Belle

How happy do I look to be holding that gun?

2. I rode a mechanical bull at Grand Old Day.

Rachel and the Bull

And you thought I looked happy with the gun.

3. I broke my bowling record (133 and it still stands! I’m not very good at bowling!).

4. And I officially became an Irish citizen (oh, have I mentioned that a time or two before?).

July – December: Best Things I’ve Already Written About So Just Read the Archives, Particularly Anything About Traveling With The Ginger, Visiting Virginia in July, Screaming at The New Kids On The Block, Being Thankful For Things, And Being Disappointed By The Vikings Live and In Person.

(We may be on memory lane here, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take shortcuts.)

So that was 2011: New friendships, new adventures, and a new passion for volunteering. Things were constantly ridiculous. Some ideas were bad. Mistakes were made on a daily basis. But overall, I think I nailed it in one take.

Bring it, 2012.

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Endings

I rang in 2008 with Hannah, Anna, and a marathon of The Office.  Tonight I’ll be ringing it out with Steve, Jason and a marathon of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  So you can see how much I’ve grown.

The point of this entry is two-fold (how do you fold a point twice?): to do my final quarter book survey, and to review the year as a whole.  I’ll start, as I usually do, with the books.  So, since October 1, in order read:

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – Helen Fielding (re-read)
Love Walked In – Marisa de los Santos
You Suck: A Love Story – Christopher Moore
The Partly Cloudy Patriot – Sarah Vowell
Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
The Raw Shark Texts – Steven Hall
The Witches of Eastwick – John Updike
Your Movie Sucks – Roger Ebert
Practical Demonkeeping – Christopher Moore
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Barbara Robinson (re-read)
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards

The first two I read on the train to and from Seattle.  The next two were doing my first few weeks of work, while I was living on Steve’s couch.  Water for Elephants was my book club pick, and the first book I read in my new apartment.  The Raw Shark Texts came highly recommended and was in my possession for a while before I finally picked it up and fell in love.  Then another book club pick, an impulse purchase, some Moore madness, and a holiday favorite before yesterday finishing The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, a book I borrowed from my mother almost a full year ago and which, it seems, every person I’ve ever met has read and enjoyed (as did I).  That’s 76 for the year, which is a shock even to me — but almost half of those were read in the first three months of the year, so I guess my pace has slowed.  We’ll see what 2009 brings.

Moving on (by looking back): here are my thoughts on 2008…

Accomplishments: Moved five times (lifetime total of 14); didn’t kill any animals; wrote a semi-popular blog for babyjob 1; went for a walk in L.A.; ran reunion number five for babyjob 2; spent summer on the floor of Bobby Vee’s house; survived a tornado from the safety of a coffee shop; was personally insulted by David Sedaris; got a real job and a real apartment; read a lot

Not so positive things: Hit an old man with my car; spent two months being unemployed at my parents’ house; got too drunk at a street dance with high school classmates; had to tell a priest to stop moving my Jesus

Year’s best: My travels: a weekend in L.A., and the Seattle/Vancouver vacation from nothing with my mom

Year’s least best: There were some dark days after my grandfather’s death in January, and during my unemployed period in September.  But both of those lead to some big, positive changes, so I’ll take it all.

Let’s hope my zookeeping days are behind me: In order, in 2008 I lived with: Genosse (parrot), Lily (turtle), James (rabbit), Loppy (evil rabbit), Cybil (emo poodle), Dammit Janet (cat), Martini (cat), Shadow (ancient skeletal cat), and Suzy (deaf but totally awesome husky)

TV Show Addictions: Since the only time I had television was the dark period of living-at-home (and all I really watched were reruns of What I Like About You on the family channel), my TV addictions continue to be DVD-based. I love and now own It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lois & Clark, Bones, and Psych; give me some time and I’m sure I’ll have Angel and Moonlighting (don’t judge)

New favorites (books) in no particular order: The Raw Shark Texts (Steven Hall), When You Are Engulfed In Flames (David Sedaris), A Short History of Nearly Everything (Bill Bryson), Love is a Mix Tape (Rob Sheffield), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Michael Chabon), Assassination Vacation (Sarah Vowell), Lamb (Christopher Moore), You Tell Me  (short story – Chuck Klosterman)

Book clubs restarted: 1
Book clubs joined: 1
Book clubs potentially killed: 1 (Progress!)

New favorites (movies): Baby Mama, Live Free or Die, The King of KongBBC’s State of Play, I’m having trouble remembering any new movies.  I basically just watch Speed and Die Hard over and over again.

Movies that shouldn’t exist: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, why go on after that?

New favorites (music): “Rain,” Patty Griffin; “The War Was In Color,” Carbonleaf; everything on “Volume 1,” She & Him; “Pride,” Syntax; “Paper Planes,” M.I.A., “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz

I hate you (songs): Mariah Careymas songs; Lil’ Wayne’s shit; Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long;” effing “Bleeding Love”

Other (slightly embarassing) addictions: dlisted.com, vampires (seven books and two TV shows on the subject would suggest something), and David Boreanaz, apparently (Buffy and Bones and although I don’t own Angel, I do own a movie he’s in.  Can you even name a movie he’s in?)

Quotes of the year:
“When you are forty, and wear bifocals, and are the vice president of something, you can take us out to dinner.” – Scott predicts my future

“I usually often occasionally contain my excitement, sometimes.” – My mother, in Seattle

“I don’t want to have to worry about pants.” – Lacy explains why living alone is the best

“Now I know what it’s like to watch you die.” – Andy after Indy 4

Goals for 2009:
Continue to have real job and real apartment, maybe get a real life
– Go to Disneyworld
– Read either more than 76 books (if I want to one-up myself) or less (if I want to have a life), I can’t tell
– Brave public transportation at least once
– Take more pictures, or at least better pictures
– Figure some things out
– Keep having stupid adventures

That’s it.  Happy everything to you.