I took a long hiatus from blogging this year. I could say that life just got too busy, but it wasn’t that. I just couldn’t think of a good reason to do it anymore. Sometimes you just want to live your life instead of pausing to photograph it. Sometimes shocking things happen in this world, and writing about the latest loaf of bread you baked feels painfully small.
Obviously, though, I’m at it again. I missed blogging, and I realized that I do it because it makes me happy. I like reflecting on the meals I’ve made and the things I’ve done and documenting life as it happens. I like finding out that other people out there experience the same questioning and fear and excitement that I do.
Plus, I have a really bad memory (yet more evidence that I am someone’s Nana reincarnated). If I don’t write something down, it’s like it never happened. This is a curse when it causes me to fail someone I love, but it’s also what makes me so fascinated by language and texts and what makes me good at getting things done. (When your instinct is to decide what’s necessary to know and let everything else go, it’s easy to do instead of dwell.)
But before 2012′s chances are up, I want to dwell a little. These things really happened.
egg launched, and the very first poem found its way to the computers and phones of the earliest subscribers.
Meanwhile, Daniel and I started making preparations for our move from the Upper West to Brooklyn. (Was that really less than a year ago?) I ran in Central Park nearly every morning, enjoying every crunchy step of the frozen reservoir.
And I stockpiled bottles of kombucha. Yes, the SCOBYs made the move to BK, too.
We moved! We spent our first few weekends painting the walls American white and charcoal gray.
And hunting for deals on typewriter tables and filing cabinets at the Brooklyn Flea and Build It Green.
Daniel fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams when he rented and drove what he insisted on calling a “pick-em-up truck.”
Midway through the month, I ventured out for my first long run (back) in Prospect Park.I lived near the park for much of 2010 and ran the loop most days, so this felt like a homecoming run.
Nesting came next. March was cold, and we both dug into making our new place comfy and toasty. We made a lot of things: bread, bowls, bloody mary grilled cheese.
Daniel set to building, as he does.
(Although—it has to be said publicly—this pile of books is still waiting for bookshelves.)
Our place will never be finished, and I think we both like it that way. Lately we’ve been talking about [renters' versions of] bathroom renovations and kitchen cabinet makeovers.
A home is a living thing, able to accommodate growth and change and a whole lot of Pancake Sundays.
Spring’s transitions for us started early and kept coming. At the very end of March, I started a new job, which meant longer work days but a big boost in happiness. I became more intentional about my weekends, bent on exploring every street in Brooklyn and experiencing every restaurant in our new hood. Daniel gave me my birthday present early: a new bike to facilitate our adventures.
We left Brooklyn on occasional weekends, too, going upstate for a Saturday hike in the Appalachians…
… and learning about and sampling some quality coffees at Craft Coffee.
April was also when we planted our roof garden and, thrillingly, saw tiny sprouts practically overnight.
May in Brooklyn was amazing. We celebrated my birthday with beers and lots of friends at Washington Commons.
Followed by Ample Hills, of course. We live dangerously close to this place.
The garden exploded.
And we did the Googa Mooga thing. Googa Mooga, in case you weren’t around for it, was a food and musical festival that got a lot of hype and a whole lot of backlash when the first day featured long lines and sold-out vendors. We had tickets for the second day and almost didn’t go because the tweets about it were so negative, but Sunday at Googa Mooga was absolutely fantastic.
I guess a lot of people were scared into staying home, because the crowd was totally under control. We tried a ton of delicious beers and food from Brooklyn and Manhattan and parked ourselves on a picnic blanket with friends to enjoy the sun. Many thumbs up.
I don’t get to go home to Illinois very often, but I made a quick trip home for Father’s Day.
Sisters. I love my baby girl.
Back in BK, we hit up the Flea every other weekend. Daniel is like a metal detector that’s been finely tuned to find old pieces of machinery, cogs and gears.
I egg him on. Our apartment is full of so many thingamajigs that will one day be beautiful furniture.
Also, why are there no pictures of Barbara in this post yet?
Fionnuala, one of my oldest and furthest-away friends, spent part of her summer in the states, and part of that part with us. We wanted to show her the quintessential Independence Day in Brooklyn Bridge Park, complete with potluck picnic.
What we didn’t know beforehand: the bridge blocks the fireworks. But the sunset was lovely and we practically had the park to ourselves. Fine by me.
Daniel got into grilling on what is possibly the most un-manly grill in existence.
Fionnuala ate her first real hot dog and had her first s’mores experience with us, and we introduced her to the phenomenon that is the tiki bar. We are officially good friends and good Americans.
After Fionnuala hopped back across the pond, I embarked on a ladies’ weekend getaway to a much smaller pond: Long Pond, my friend Anna’s home in Massachusetts.
Let me pause right now and say I am ridiculously thankful for my friends. These women are smart and funny and kind and tough, and they’ve seen me through a lot. I feel lucky to know them and thankful that, of all things, our blogs brought us together.
And on a Tuesday morning at July’s close, Daniel and I became official domestic partners. Yes, this is done side-by-side with civil ceremonies at City Hall. No, we are not married, despite what most of my Foursquare followers believe.
But we do have these nifty rings, made by (who else?) my official DP. (His favorite of all my nicknames for him.)
The third annual Ice Cream Sunday was in August. This was one of my favorite events of summer 2011, and it didn’t disappoint this year either. Crazy and creative ice cream flavors on mini cones, including this one, with ice creams made from three different kinds of eggs—duck, quail, and (if my rusty memory serves me for once) ostrich.
We spent one August weekend with friends in New Paltz, where I joined our hostess and her regular running buddies for a 7-mile trail run up a mountain.
The next weekend, we camped out at Windflower Farm, the amazing farm upstate where our regular CSA produce box originates. We met Farmer Ted and hung out with other city-dwellers who belong to the CSA. We toured the farm, learned how to make jam, endured a rare (for 2012) summer thunderstorm, and partook in the most epic potluck I’ve ever witnessed.
September was a month of travel. We spent weekends in each of our hometowns, celebrating friends’ weddings. And it was in September that I encountered Arizona. The opportunity to go to Phoenix for work took me by complete surprise and I practically lunged at the opportunity, but I wasn’t sure how much I would like the desert.
I travelled there for a few days in mid-September and started to get a feel for the place. It was completely unlike anywhere I’d ever been before—the insanity of the flora and fauna! The HEAT. I liked it, though. Arizona appeals to the adventurous side of me (which still requires a semblance of routine and quiet order). When I look at the desert, I see at once the human potential for open-mindedness and adaptation and our almost compulsive need to transform the space around us.
So I committed myself and made the leap. Daniel and I considered the prospect of a time apart, and his unflagging support throughout all of it makes me love him even more (if that was possible). We’ve undergone many a seasonal shift, but now I know we can take the truly unpredictable.
My team and I landed in Phoenix on October 1. Barbara and I spent the month transitioning: finding a home, working from temporary spaces, and (occasionally) relaxing poolside.
I kept running. I’ve moved 7 times in the past four years, and this running habit has been pretty much my only constant, serving to remind me that I’m still the same. It helps a place feel like home so much more quickly.
The Madison Improvement Club also had a hand in making Phoenix feel welcoming. My coworkers and I discovered this spin and yoga studio on our second or third day in the city, which also happened to be its third or fourth day of existence. We’ve been regulars there ever since, and I can’t say enough about the refreshing mix of classes and the ridiculously welcoming, upbeat teachers and staff. Plus, the cafe has green smoothies. Feeding my addiction.
When I move to a new place, I like to seek out the small, unique things I love about that place and build my life around those. Happiness, after all, is made mostly of gratitude. The fall in Phoenix feels like the summers of my childhood, so I spent November weekends embracing the sunshine and biking around, Barbara in tow.
The Old Town farmers market is a favorite weekend stop.
I’m working on a compilation of my favorite Scottsdale sites, and, already, I feel like I could show an out-of-towner a fantastic weekend. It probably shouldn’t have surprised me, but Phoenix and Scottsdale have a really great food and drink culture.
Speaking of foodie paradises, Daniel and I skipped Thanksgiving and rendezvoused in Seattle for a week of drinking and eating and more drinking.
I’ll say it again: the beer was good. And I think I’ve had maybe two beers since then. Overdid it a bit…
This month—and this year—it still hasn’t sunk in how much we’ve done and how things have changed.
I’ve been settling in Arizona: cooking often, running what have become my regular routes, focusing on the work I love to do, the reason I’m here.
And ending the year perfectly: with Daniel and our friends and our family (in Philly, Chicago, and New York), reflecting on how crazy life is, and how unexpected.
From 2013 I anticipate more happiness, more challenges, and, above all, surprises, always more surprises.
photo credit: the lovely Anna Chapin (http://annachapin.tumblr.com/)
The end of this post is cheesy. Whatever. Sometimes I’m cheesy.
Happy New Year, friends. Cheers to the year that’s gone and the year to come!