2014: Reflection Time

Happy Holidays to all 10 of you! I hope you had/are still having great times with friends/family/pets/food/or just the TV. Now it’s time for my favorite thing: reflection! Ah, it was a year. One thing about growing up: you really start to lose track of them all. As a kid–even into my 20s, every year really had special meaning. Then I stopped remembering how old I was. Or when I graduated from what school. Or where I lived in what year. I say things like “I’ve lived in L.A. for 10 years.” Or, “I’ve worked at this job for 8 years.” I have no idea. I’m estimating these days. What I know for sure (is that phrase trademarked by Oprah yet?) is that I’m extremely grateful to have another year to reflect on. Here are the things I’m so happy about from this past year.

#1) I ran two marathons! What what? That is so not me. I’m really slow at long distances, and the training is super boring and intense. But I did it anyway! L.A. and N.Y.C. And had a great support crew at both places! The marathons are always reminders that even in the biggest cities, the sense of community still exists and is stronger than ever. I love both of these cities so much, that it is a dream to be able to run through the streets with people cheering me on the whole way. Did I mention I was slow? I somehow managed to finish faster in New York, most likely because of the cool weather–not due to any kind of magic training. Something I will never forget: that juicy burger and those crispy fries–and the beer–hours after the end of the NYC marathon. It’s the small things!

#2) Scavenger hunts! I love my business idea now more than ever, and it’s all because of super cool clients that boost my ego on a regular basis & constantly give me fun new ideas. We had some great ones this year–lots of time spent in Santa Monica and Culver City–my two favorite hunting destinations. If you ever think L.A. is filled with crazies, fakes, phonies, pretentiousness–umm, hello, you would be right! But turns out the people who are interested in scavenger hunts are the fun, down-to-earth, adventurous, funny people I love so much. It’s been great meeting all of them.

#3) MUSIC. Taylor Swift’s new album, helloooo!?!?! Been playing in the car since she released it, thank you Taylor! Plus new albums by Dolly and Miranda. I’m sure these three were on everyone’s top 10 list. OK, maybe not, but hey–to each their own. Not to mention the live shows I got to see this year: Avett Brothers, Steve Martin (!!!), Tristan Prettyman, –and the festivals: folk, bluegrass, Topanga Days. I even went to a Phish show, though I almost threw a fit when the lights came on & I thought it was over–but to my horror, it was just a “set break.” I fell asleep when the show was in it’s 3rd hour. You can’t say I don’t TRY to enjoy all sorts of music!

#4) Moving back to Culver City. I’ve been a champion of Downtown Culver City since about 2002, when it was just starting to be a destination spot. Now it’s filled with a dozen cool restaurants & still has that movie-studio-history that I love so much. And now I’m back on the same street I used to live on (not creepy at all), and it feels really nice. I can’t describe what makes the neighborhood so special to me, but you can go on a walk through it & feel like you’re in a small town, which is what I long for after spending a day commuting into Downtown L.A. The giant trees that surround my current home have turned this place into “The Treehouse.” If you can’t have a water view, I recommend giant trees! Also a view of this giant steel rainbow that is a part of Sony Studios. Who has a rainbow view everyday? Me!

#5) Mountain Biking. I got a brand new beautiful mountain bike this year, and though I don’t go out as much as I should–I had some crazy fun trips with this thing so far. The best yet was the trip to Santa Barbara–ending up at some weird camp site in the middle of the woods that had its own swimming pool and hot tub. We couldn’t find another person–it was like a ghost town. A swim in the middle of a mountain bike ride was the most awesome surprise I couldn’t ever plan. I should mention I’m terrified the entire time I’m on this bike if I’m going downhill. I am yelling phrases that don’t exist, and praying to Jesus in a very very loud, high-pitched shrill voice. I’m not really a fan of extreme sports, but the thrill I get from riding my bike down a mountain is pretty amazing. Don’t worry about me, though, I seriously go very very slow. The only time I fall is from lack of speed.

#6) Road-tripping with the family. I made a last minute decision to join my Mom, Dad, nephew & niece on a little road trip through Colorado & Texas, ending in my hometown of Midland. I’m so happy I did because I cherish all these folks & road trips allow for memories like no other. And lots of laughs, of course.

#7) New Projects at Work: Work can become pretty mundane after you’ve done the same thing for so long. I crave new projects, so it was exciting to do some new things. My documentary class will now be in its 6th session this spring (hooray!) & we even got to do a real screening last May. I’m partnering with an outside school to teach teachers how they can bring simple drama techniques into their classroom. Summer Camp ended with my favorite co-teacher Alxis & me filming 100 kids in a Western–sometimes the most fun thing you do at age 10 is the most fun thing you can do as an adult. That was on my birthday, too!

#8) to DISNEYLAND!: Spent two days at Disneyland this year, even though I’m not one of those Disneyland people that has a season pass or that is obsessed or anything. Crowds are usually not my thing. But meeting my brother and family there is a whole different story. John planned out the whole day so well that we were rarely ever in a line & we rode so many rides. Also: I think I spent more time by the Disneyland Hotel pool than any other pool this year, so thank you for the cocktails Disney! And to my nephew Sam, I’m so sorry that big earthquake had to strike while you were in town. I know you never want to come back to California until “after the big one hits,” but I hope you change your mind!

#9) My parents are moving! To Colorado!: You don’t think of your parents moving ever. Where would they go? Why would they want to? How could they do that? Especially moving to a different state. But it’s totally inspiring to me. It means that new adventures remain a part of your life, even when you’re ancient like my parents. Just kidding! They are totally young and hip. And they are moving to a hipster Denver neighborhood. They will be walking to bookstores, restaurants, and bars & probably have more exciting stories to blog about than I do. I can’t wait to visit their new place. And don’t worry Tom, I’ll still visit you and Linda in Austin (until you move to Colorado, 🙂 ).

#10) Travels: Where did I go this past year? Charleston, S.C.–my first time this May where it was actually warm and wonderful weather. What a beautiful, historical city filled with Southern Charm (which also happens to be a terrible reality show on BRAVO that I watched every week)! Boulder/Denver, CO–again, beautiful weather!, New Braunfels, TX: a wonderful Thanksgiving with the family, Santa Barbara–mountain biking, dinners with a view, New York City–I had really good luck with weather because it was wonderful there, too! The marathon was awesome, but so was the bike ride down West Side Highway & the walk through Central Park.

I’m sure there were probably bigger milestones that I’m missing (because who remembers last January?!? Not me!), but that’s what I’m thinking of this morning. This year had its not-so-awesome moments as well, but I figure we all know that by now. It’s a crazy up/down ride, & the best thing I know how to do is focus on the “best of.” Thank you all for reading–especially during that stint where I was writing every day! It’s been so much fun to hear from you & know that you are reading these words. Now let’s bring on 2015!