45 Things That Made My Year

This has become one of my favorite things to compile and write each year.

My annual birthday list of the 45 things that I learned, was grateful for, or brought me joy in the last year. (last year’s list)

  1. Paris. At night. The Eiffel tower. Versailles on a bike. The best vacation ever.
  2. Thursday bar trivia nights. We may not win them all but we always confidently go down swinging.
  3. Weekday walks in the woods with Dash.
  4. Selling my first audiobook and seeing a strangely high royalty amount for India and thinking it was a mistake but no, turns out people in India dig Max.
  5. The birds returning to their birdhouse outside the kitchen window.
  6. The thoughtful holiday gifts from Bröel. Who says we are in a friendship recession?
  7. Making pizza for friends and family then eating it outside around the fire pit.
  8. Watching Ally dance in the kitchen.
  9. The first cup of coffee on the couch each morning with Chelle when the house is still quiet.
  10. The old Ukrainian woman who offered a Russian soldier sunflower seeds to put in his pockets so flowers would grow when they put him in the ground. Gets me every time.
  11. Food! Trying to order burritos in Spanish at Achillto’s. The appetizers at the Fireworks Feast. Crepes at a sidewalk cafe. Debating who has the better ramem: Dorogan or Little Big Diner. Pizza at Picco. Poutine and cinnamon rolls at Dysart’s.
  12. The Marco Polo app. Who knew I’d like talking on camera so much?
  13. Watching Cece crack up watching Will Ferrel as Little Debbie.
  14. Discovering Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club album.
  15. Saturday morning runs especially the cold and dark ones where I knew I had friends waiting if I could only get out the door. Plus, any run that went through the Tickle Zone.
  16. Discovering KUTX’s holiday mix. Christmas music we all don’t mind.
  17. Naps. All of them.
  18. Finding pockets of the unexpected in a town or city where I’ve lived for over 25 years now. Like finally visiting Paul Revere’s house and seeing a paper marbling demonstration. Or, like a sake brewery in my hometown.
  19. Driving everyone back to the hotel after my nephew’s bar mitzvah in a rental car with a dozen boxes of pizza.
  20. Seeing how confident Cece is on stage with her instrument. Even if she won’t wave to her parents in the audience.
  21. Finding energy in the gap between who I am and who I want to be.
  22. The Basin Head Jump club t-shirts and finally getting to go back to “our” house in Prince Edward Island.
  23. The burpee exercise was invented by Royal Huddleston Burpee Sr.
  24. Warmlines are telephone/chat hotlines for people who aren’t in crisis but just need to vent or talk to someone. Pretty sure that describes 90% of social media posts, too.
  25. In the 90s, Meat Loaf coached a JV girls softball team in a small Connecticut town. “To the scrappy group of girls he was trying to mold into softball players, he was Coach Meat.” RIP, Meat.
  26. Fees from music playing on Peloton are a top 10 account for pretty much all major record labels right now.
  27. Watching my friend and neighbor Dave and his band rock out at a proper music club and not the cul-de-sac.
  28. 37% of the world’s population, 2.9 billion people, have never used the Internet.
  29. There’s a warehouse in Israel full of claw machines you can play remotely. They send the prize if you win.
  30. A deep learning model trained on 85,000 eyes can tell male from female eyeballs with 87% accuracy but no one knows why. AI is going to be a fascinating story in the next twenty years but also a little spooky.
  31. Learning to use conversational doorknobs.
  32. If you want a question answered on the Internet, post a wrong answer first.
  33. Young friends turning 40 and celebrating with spa days and cooking classes.
  34. The International OCD Foundation has a helpful 9-step photographic rating of household clutter as a way to diagnose hoarding disorder. Level 3 is “standard household clutter”, while level 7 “poses significant safeguarding issues.” I wonder what our basement rates?
  35. The power of 10-year dreams. 5-minute actions. Where do I want to be in 10 years? What can I do in the next 5 minutes to contribute to that outcome?
  36. Getting to see to Hadestown a second time on Broadway before Andre Deshields left.
  37. Garbage time with the girls on the couch or in the car driving to dance or music lessons.
  38. Cape weekends with seafood boils, cheese balls on the beach, Cobie’s fried clam plates, chocolate soft serve, and friends that will order the entire appetizer menu.
  39. Ragnar weekend, even if it gets weird. And it always gets weird. And I always have issues. Still love it.
  40. Wawa pretzel deliveries and revisiting Boston College’s campus with the girls.
  41. More Puppy therapy.
  42. Making Rob go see Barbarian in the theater and his utter confusion to this day.
  43. Surviving the kitchen renovation.
  44. Taking the girls to Fenway for the first time.
  45. Getting somewhere I didn’t know I was going.

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