Thursday, December 31, 2009

My year, summed up in picture and prose

As the year winds to a close, we all tend to think "Where has this past year gone? What do I have to show for it?" and more times than not, we struggle to remember what has happened to us. I've been very fortunate this year to have preserved my 2009 in pictures. Some of the pictures may make sense to you, some may not. You may even find yourself in some of the pictures.

The early months of 2009 were quiet and unobtrusive, for the most part. I caught a killer sale at Dillards, discovered a fantastic new author whom I adore and threw a couple of birthday parties for my kids. I camped out in 20° temps to be one of the first people in line for concert tickets. I stood next to a childhood classmate and watched him cry as Toby Keith sang about him and the hundreds of thousands of other American Soldiers fighting for our country. I snuggled with my kids, my husband and my pets. I sat through school music programs and embarrassed my kids by taking hoards of pictures. Why? Because I am my mother's child and pay-forwards are a bitch.

I traveled. Lord, did I travel! 6,000 miles overall in 2009. I finally hugged new friends I'd met online. I was introduced to the wonderful taste of Portello's Italian Beef sandwiches. I met New Kids on the Block (some of them more than once). I slept on the streets of New York City with a thousand perfect strangers that I now call sisters. I stood at the top of Rockefeller Center and let the wind blow through me. I stood at the base of Ground Zero and sobbed, letting grief blow through me. I rode the subway for the first time. I strolled through Central Park. And had a pretzel. And got lost. And got hit on by a hobo. And listened to a three piece band perform for pocket change. And loved every minute of it. Okay, not every minute of it. Being lost in Central Park kinda sucked.  I had Cuban food for the first time and discovered a serious love for fried plantains.

My niece, whom I also consider my baby sister, graduated from high school. One of my oldest and dearest friends finally moved back  home. We went camping. I nude-sunbathed for the first time ever. I learned to take time to stop and smell the roses, or in my case, peonies.

We traveled some more when I won tickets to the CMT Music Video awards in Nashville (Thank you, Reba!). I got to see the Ryman Auditorium up close. I also got to see numerous music icons. I got to see Kid Rock stoned out of his mind (and really? Who doesn't wanna see that?!) while trying to announce nominees for an award.

I traveled some more and met more BlockHead "sisters," in Chicago. I had caramel cheese popcorn from Garrett's. I shopped on Michigan Avenue. I stood at Navy Pier with my new "family" and played "Thriller" on my Blackberry when we learned that Michael Jackson had died. I stood the next day with the same family and sang along to "Man in the Mirror" as our boys paid tribute to the man and his music. I held hands with the son of a pop star.

I began a new fitness program and dedicated myself to a healthier lifestyle. I started a new tradition of attending my old hometown's 4th of July festival with my daughter. We ate snow cones, cotton candy (so much for that healthier lifestyle) and watched the fireworks blaze over the ball fields on the edge of town.

I traveled again. This time, RiceChex and I drove to Colorado. We spent several days in Denver teaching our good friend Crisillyus how to properly stalk a boy band. We toured historic hotels (for reasons that will remain unmentioned until the statue of limitations runs out) and outdoor malls. I got a kick-ass new makeover and sang Cher songs during Karaoke at a gay bar (I killed it, thankyouverymuch!). I met more new BH sisters (and reminisced with old ones). RiceChex and I then discovered that Kansas is actually the largest state in the Union as we traveled through it on our way to Texas. She and I learned that Oklahoma doesn't have winds that whip through the plains, but they have thunderstorms that last for 400 miles. I determined that there is no place hotter than Texas in July and that the Indigo Hotel is the most adorable hotel on the planet. I vowed to return to Dallas to eat at Porta di Roma's (ask for Michael!). I shopped in a regular store for the first time ever and purchased an adorable shirt at Anthropologie. I partied at a club with pop stars (and 500 over-the-top groupies) and saw Jesse Metcalf in person (he's as beautiful in real life as he was on Desperate Housewives). RiceChex and I discovered the biggest gas station in the world (everything really IS bigger in Texas!) and tried Beaver Nuggets for the first time (I'm a fan. She's not.).

August brought the end of summer, the Iowa State Fair and the first day of School. I began Fall with more concerts and time spent with Chick Clique, my local girls-night-out group. I traveled with ProjectDance to Sioux City to help teach a dance routine, participated in the Race for the Cure and celebrated Halloween "Karen Walker" style with friends at numerous parties. November brought "New Moon," our family Cranksgiving at FatBoyz and some remodeling around the house. The office and living room both got make-overs. Friends and family helped us celebrate Christmas and I rounded out the year being cozied away at home thanks to Mother Nature's fury.

It's been a remarkable year and I am so thankful for all the memories I've made and the people I've made them with.

Thank you for sharing 2009 with me.

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