31 December 2009

An end has a start...and fortunately, an end

I don't know anyone who is sad to see this year go. I'm sure that for someone out there it was a great year. I hope so.

Despite everything, I am profoundly grateful for all that my family does have: jobs, generally good health, great kids, a roof over our heads, food on the table, friends and family. No matter how psychologically draining or devastating this last 15 or so months has been, no matter how difficult the work has been, no matter how much sheer ick I've had to wade through, we count our blessings.

Which doesn't mean we want to do it again.

Right now, there is a lovely full moon rising through the sky on this last night of the year, lighting up the winter air and turning the dew on the grass into diamonds. It's gorgeous. So, I think I'll look on the bright side of life:


SINGLE MOST AWE-INSPIRING MOMENT OF THE YEAR:

My feisty, then 11-year-old daughter winning 1st place in the geography bee against contenders 3 years older than she was. And coming back from a nasty virus to take a 1st place medal in literature in the county Pentathlon. This is the kid everyone else treats as a lesser version of her brother. Guess again. I know my daughter.


SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING I'D LIKE EVERYONE TO CONSIDER DOING IN 2010:

Rethink what goes into your mouth. Reevaluate how you feed your body. Consider the chemicals and unprescribed medications you are ingesting when you eat meat that's been farmed in standard fashion. Educate yourself about the antibiotics that are stuffed into the animals you eat. Educate yourself about the antibiotics that are being stuffed into you. I'm not advocating that you stop eating meat or stop taking medication, but know what you are doing and the consequences thereof. Consume but be an educated consumer. Talk to your grocery. Talk to your doctor. If you're reading this online, there are plenty of resources right at your fingertips.

{soapbox} off {/soapbox}


BEST BOOK I READ THAT WAS ACTUALLY PUBLISHED IN 2009:

I really enjoyed Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked, because it made me laugh, and I needed to laugh. Honors also to Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, which is a YA book, but is a lovely, well-written and inventive story. I liked Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry as well, and it almost seemed a companion to The Graveyard Book.

BEST ALBUM I BOUGHT THIS YEAR:

Porcupine Tree's The Incident. Which may actually have been the only new album I bought this year.


BEST PLACE I STAYED WHEN I WAS AWAY FROM HOME:

I didn't travel nearly so much this year, but if you were inclined to travel (I was) and had the time (I didn't, dammit), there were incredible bargains to be had. Best place? The Willard in Washington, D.C., hands down. Excellent service, beautiful surroundings right in the heart of where I wanted to be, and I was able to reserve two lovely and enormous rooms for our stay at a very competitive price.

Unfortunately, I haven't much call to visit Phoenix, but I'd definitely stay at the Arizona Biltmore again just because it's beautiful and peaceful.


SINGLE MOST BIZARRE MOMENT OF THE YEAR:

The lead singer for an opening band fussing about his Mellotron. Also the Spinal Tap-like performance of said band. Really, it only lacked the miniature Stonehenge. When I got home that night and tried to describe the whole thing to the spouse and the son, I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. The son, not having ever seen me actually collapse in laughter, thought I was ill.


BEST CONCERT I SAW THIS YEAR:

Porcupine Tree at Club Nokia, September 19, for crystal sound and great music. Love the rumors that they'll be back in the spring. I'd definitely see them again.

Coldplay at Irvine Meadows, July 19, for sheer ebullience and good nature. And I like a lot of their music, too. Of course, watching my preteen daughter beam with joy when she caught sight of Chris Martin was priceless.


BEST BLOG I READ THIS YEAR:

I don't read a lot of blogs. I don't have time. But there are some that are unexpected pleasures, that I try not to miss. I'm only going to name one, though, because if I try to name them all, I will invariably leave someone out. That's always bad.

I don't remember exactly how I found Kyle Cassidy, but I love his photographs, his wife's cool dresses, and his cats. But I especially love how he exhorts his readers to "go be awesome." He makes me smile.


We none of us know what the future might bring. Last year, I said I was holding on to hope. Forget that. I intend to live life beautifully, and I will steamroll anyone who tries to stop me. Doesn't that sound so much more like me?

My wish for everyone is that we come out shining on the other side, and I hope that you find a way to live your life beautifully, too. Thank you for spending time with me.

Be safe, be good and remember to eat your black-eyed peas.

...with hope in your hands
and air to breathe


Go listen to some good music: "An End Has a Start" from the album An End Has a Start by Editors.

No comments: