2008: Next to the Loop

I’m not really a top ten kind of girl. (And as soon as I wrote this I realised all the implications of that statement. And I’m leaving it in. ) I always forget something, then feel terrible, or read other peoples top tens, and feel inadequate, or read top ten album/political moments/starring performances by animals in Broadway plays (which, PS, this year goes to the horses in Equus and the Dragon in Shrek.. WTF) and realise that I’m both out of the loop and unsure of where the loop would be located if I tried to find it.

But this year.. this year warrants something like a top ten. It was a good one. It wasn’t exactly in the loop, but it was definitely somewhere beside it. You know, gesturing towards it. Like the loop was there, but not really my thing, which makes me cooler… Got it? Great. I totally don’t, which I’m pretty certain ensures whatever loop I’m not in giving me that glance that says I’m still not cool. So instead of posting my favorite albums (The Black Keys Attack and Release) favorite concert (Neil Young) or favorite new clothing trend (I’m pulling hard for lace. And moccasins.) I’m going with my favorite ten moments of 2008. You know, to say thanks to everyone who gave them to me. So.. thanks. To each and every one of you, who makes me feel like this little meta-community located in my monitor fills up my living room and heart with your lives and loves and words, and thanks to those who with their bodies and hands and hearts fill up my everydaylife with triumphs and touch and magic. (And to those who make me scream and vomit and rage, tip of the hat to you too. I look sexy when I’m angry.) Here’s to ’09 and the question to ponder all next year.. do we call it twenty-ten or oh-ee-oh?

In no particular order…

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1.My Surprise Birthday Party – I’ll point out here in the interest of paying further penance, that I was a really bad girlfriend who did not deserve this. Months before I had mentioned that I had never had a birthday party that I didn’t organize, and in addition to that, had never had a surprise party. (What kind of woman points this out? A terrible one.) And promptly forget those words ever came out of my mouth. So thoroughlydid I forget those words that a week prior to my birthday (upon figuring out that I hadn’t planned a celebration) actually out and out CRIED in a grocery store to my friend about how I always do everything for myself. All the while she was carefully prying out of me my favorite colors which would later be used in this covert operation as streamer, cake and balloon colors. So what did I do? Planned a party for myself. And cried. And picked a fight with J. to tell him that I thought he was a heel for not doing anything. (To his credit, he later told me during that argument he almost told me he was throwing me a surprise party, but didn’t. Thanks. Sadist.) So to everyone who attended not one but two birthday parties for a very selfish woman who will never again (ish) doubt her boyfriend – thank you. To the man who listened, planned, stood berated and deflated and still chose to give me one of the most magical moments of the year – thank you.

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2. Living with my brother – Ok. To call 4 months a moment might be a little bit of a stretch. But in the big scheme of things, our little experiment was a rousing success. Does he eat like an ogre? Yes, but that taught me the value of buying in bulk. Does he go to bed late and sleep like the dead? Certainly, but that taught me the value of early mornings and how to slam a door. Was it an experience/experiment filled with laughter, love and the joy of never coming home to an empty house? Damn straight. So thanks to you N.

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3. Going on vacation to Seattle – This trip had so many amazing moments, all shared with two great friends I &K. (In deferenceto their suffering I’ll point out that they totally got everything stolen in the last few hours we were there. With that out of the way I can tell you all the good things.) The moments spent laughing and drinking and huddled together at Bumbershoot, talking about Sarah Palin down the side of our bunk beds, watching the city get so excited about Obama, witnessing an incredibly strange and spontaneous display of nerdcore, falling into a ditch while chasing rabbits… They are two crazy great people, and if you ever happen to drop by the blog – thanks.

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4. Seeing Neil Young/ The Roots – I’m not going to make this two, because maybe by putting it in one I can convey a)I’m diverse and b) I’m not a total lame-o. (Though by using the word lame-o I may have shot myself in the foot.) I was recently reading a transcript of a lecture on collective joy, (and if lame-o didn’t solidify it.. there you go) and I couldn’t help but realise that in two very different ways, in two very different crowds, that this was exactly what was going on. Standing in the crowd at the Roots, watching a band I’d waited to see for ten some odd years, feeling the hair on my arms stand up, looking around in the haze and the light surrounded by people I loved, watching music we love, everyone smiling and nodding not so much at the beat but at an instance of pure and utter joy and brilliance… it was beyond explanation, and beyond an instance to something beautifully macrophenomenal. Neil Young was a strange dialectic between the macro and micro – standing in the crowd, listening to a man who has informed memories created long before I was even born, by people around me old enough to be my grandparents – we were all inverted. In our own minds, listening withhalf of our brains, reminiscing withanother, we each were in our memories, and all of us remembering together. Standing there holding J’s hand, thinking of my Dad singing Harvest Moon, and realising that I will tell my kids about this moment, with their dad – it made my heart swell.

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5. Having hot water on my birthday – I’ve taken a picture every year on my birthday in order to note where I was when I got 365 days older. For three years prior to this my photos have been of a tent on the Ganges, a Range Road/Township sign in the oil fields and a barren burnt landscape that I was treeplanting in. This year, the picture is of me, in a dress and a scarf, with an apartment building behind me, on the way to meet friends for drinks and the first of two parties (See#1). For the first time in three years, I was not doing something dangerous, backbreaking or soul numbing. For the first year, I was at peace with myself enough to work, at an office, during regular hours, to come home, to sleep, and to do it again the next day. People laugh when I say that all I wanted this year was hot water on my birthday, but when I stood in the shower on the morning of May 16th and realised that I was at a point in my life where I was stable and loved enough not to have to punish my body to numb my mind – it was the best gift I’d ever gotten.

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6. Living with J – This is definitely an ongoing moment, one that sometimes I wake up in and still feel like I’m living some strange modern day fairytale. The man has a way with music, food, plasticine mustaches and a smile that could disarm Hamas- and me. (Which sometimes, in the interest of full disclosure, is similar. I throw cold water over the shower curtain like rockets over Gaza when I’m peeved.) I don’t know what I can say that won’t make you gag, me teary and him embarrassed, so all I’ll say is thank you J. For all the laughter, cups of coffee, for dancing in the kitchen, for your music, your faith, your humour and for using my body as a dumbbell when you want to exercise.. thank you.

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7. Reconnecting with my sister – Yeah. So sometimes, 7 years of age difference.. is seven years. Seven years where I’ve gotten quieter, settled, lame-o if you will. Seven years where she’s grown up, got an opinion, becoming interesting and exciting and not me! It’s hard enough being separatedby continents and oceans, much less 7 years. But with my new-fangled technological abilities (see: texting) and her disarming charm – we’ve made this year one for the books. To M – thank you for always being there, and being so fabulously, stylishing, inspiringly there at that.

8. I’m debt free! – Enough said as they say.

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9. Le Pichet- This is a very particular moment, but one I can’t ignore. We had just gotten to Seattle and J and I were looking for a place to eat, and there, like a beacon in the night, was a tiny, beautiful little restaurant. Full of warm cream walls, old wood, stacks of wine boxes, oddly beautiful waitresses, we drank wonderful wine and ate pickles and walnuts in honey, pate and bread withgrainy mustard. We laughed and chatted about absolutely nothing, and I think I may have actually fallen in love with J all over again. He slipped his hand beside him and squeezed my knee, and my heart almost exploded. It was one of the best meals, the best moments, the best wine, and the best feelings I’ve had.

See – I told you. Not a top ten girl. I’ve got 9 beautiful, odd numbered, strange and fantastical moments. To all of you who were a part of them, to all of you that read them, to all of you that made me the type of person I am to appreciate them – thank you.

Happy New Year.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “2008: Next to the Loop

  1. JL

    You’ve done so much in BCE 2008.

    Deepest, most heartfelt congratulations and the best of all possible worlds in BCE 2009 to you and yours.

  2. Good list. 5 — very cute. 7 — very heartwarming. 8 — very impressive!

  3. That’s a wonderful list! I love #9 – hope 2009 is amazing for you!

  4. Carlynn

    I’m not sure if it’s just your incredible way with words and honesty, the leftover holiday sentimentality, or the fact that I just finished Eat, Pray, Love, but I just got misty reading your list, A. Thanks for another year of class, style, inspiration, and friendship. And ya know what? Your fellow ‘finally accepted her place outside the loop’ friend is back in town tonight!!! I’ll call you asap xoxo

  5. What a perfect post. This made me misty, too. Just beautiful– and you deserve every little bit of it. May 2009 bring as much loveliness into your life.

  6. I hope 2009 is working out to be just as wonderful!

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