You guys. This year was a hard one to recap due to the fact that so many things were just so terrible this year, just in general. From the world seemingly falling apart around our ears every other minute, to the more mundane and personal challenges that Dan and I experienced…it was difficult to sit and take the time and attempt to see the silver lining of everything that was going on. This year has felt like five years packed into one, but if you would have asked me before I started to sort through my pictures, I would have had a difficult time telling you the highlights. I guess that’s part of the point, though. Taking the time to sit and reflect and see the good things that happened.
It would feel a bit hypocritical to not mention that all of these things probably only functioned as temporary distractions from the greater problems and difficulties that were occurring all around us. However, that doesn’t make them any less important. You’ve got to find those things that make getting through life worth all of the problems and strangeness, right? Here we go.
In January, I got to make delicious chocolate pie with Kelli, one of my favorite people.
We made plans to make more pie (which hasn’t happened yet because I am a busy, bad friend), and to make a dog sweater for her cutie, Ellie.
There was also the completion of this masterpiece, now proudly hanging in my dining room.
I mean, people talk about life goals, but I didn’t know that having a giant picture of Ralph Macchio on my wall was one of mine until I had properly achieved it.
I made the pinkest socks ever for my friend Sabrina, right in the middle of a crazy hard freeze, which, as you can imagine, doesn’t happen very often in New Orleans.
And I got to attend a wonderful Hamilton sing-a-long with my friends and fellow nurses Eli and Carolyn, plus Tessa, the coolest kid I know.
Of course I wore my Hamilton hat, plus I met a fellow super-cool shirt-wearer.
February brought with it a very cool woodworking project from Dan. I’ve been begging him for years to make us a coat rack because Trip loves to infiltrate the hallway coat closet and sequester himself in there whenever anyone opens it. True to form, Dan cut down a tree and made a forest in my hallway.
It is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
This year, we really got into tending our own backyard garden rather than participating in a CSA box, mainly because the washing and storage upkeep on the CSA vegetables would have been pretty impossible with all of my grad school work. In March, the whole yard was sprouting and blooming and glorious. A few highlights from the spring and summer:
We planted wildflowers in nearly every empty space in order to bring the bees on over, and it worked like gangbusters.
It wasn’t long before the sunflowers got taller than Dan.
Then, taller than the fence and the patio roof.
I could look out of my second-story bedroom window every morning and see them blooming. It was fantastic.
We planted a whole crop of carrots, too, which brings me to another goal of the year, which I started in April: annoying a James-Beard-award-winning chef into being my internet friend.
Dan had bought me Alon Shaya‘s cookbook, Shaya, a little while back, and I spent a large portion of my year making various recipes out of it and tweeting them out to him personally.
But, it worked! I can’t tell you how many times I danced around my kitchen, roasting red peppers over the open flame and delighting in the fact that a famous chef was delighting in the fact that I was cooking his recipes. It’s a recursive cycle of joy, really.
In April, I also learned how to suture.
Another skill, along with knitting and CPR, that will serve me well in the apocalypse.
Plus, I made a very pretty beaded shawl and flounced around in the park with it, feeling like a pretty, pretty princess.
In May, Dan and I celebrated our twelfth anniversary, and I sent him on a scavenger hunt around the house, collecting fancy dark chocolate candy bars commemorating various landmarks in our relationship.
We went to NOMA a whole bunch, to see the beautiful exhibits, and to escape the overwhelming heat.
And I made a beautiful baby blanket for my friend Christina and her new baby.
I don’t usually call my own work beautiful, but I can’t remember ever being so proud of a project as I am of Autumn Vindauga. It was the perfect way to kick off the Summer of Baby Blankets, because I was just surrounded by pregnant ladies.
In June, in-between writing essays for my nursing ethics class and knitting furiously, we grew some mystery melons.
Seriously. We did not plant these. They just appeared. And they were yummy.
Then, my friend Bailee surprised me with what might be the most perfect birthday present anyone has ever received.
Yes, friends, that is me, clad in my Captain America dress, being held aloft by a very sexy, bearded Captain himself. Do yourself a favor and go look at Sakibatch’s other amazing fandom art and support her! This thing is just glorious.
The Summer of Baby Blankets continued into July.
I put my fingers to the test with all of these tiny cables, but man, it was worth it.
In August, the baby blanket mania finally came to an end with the coolest illusion knitting ever.
A video that I posted on Tumblr revealing the illusion stars is the most reblogged thing that I have ever posted. A small accomplishment, but people love their illusion knitting something fierce.
Then, Bailee and I attended the Ninja Sex Party concert at the Joy Theatre. Aptly named, because sheer joy was just the theme of the evening.
I mean, look at that. There’s just sunshine and happiness and glitter and rainbows emanating off that stage.
Because we got VIP tickets (priced appropriately at $69.69), we got treated to Danny and Ninja Brian’s lovely faces as they answered questions and talked about the music they love.
We wore an awful lot of glitter, but we definitely weren’t alone. There was so much cosplay and sequins and joy joy joy everywhere.
I was introduced to Planet Booty, an energetic and exciting band that travels with a disco-mirrored mannequin butt that they bring out on stage.
I did not manage to get a picture of this part because my jaw was hanging open while I danced my ass off.
Then, we rocked out to TWRP‘s electronica-disco-dance-party stylings.
Then, NSP blew our faces off.
I would have never known about these wonderful bands and people if Bailee had not introduced them to me, and for that I am eternally grateful. I have been listening to them this entire time while writing this, and it’s just impossible to not be happy while you listen to their music. Seriously, go to their channel and immerse yourself in awesomeness.
September brought more musical greatness.
My friend Kyle, better known as KP, rapped all about bad bitches right in front of my face. Go check out his Soundcloud. His stuff is just…it seems wrong to say delightful because that’s such a “me” word and not a word for super cool rappers, but it honestly makes me so goddamn happy.
Then, we saw Taylor Swift at the Superdome.
Yes, I only own one shirt with sequins on it. Again, I was not alone in being a sparkly lady here. Never before have I seen so much glitter. On the crowd, on the stage, floating in the air. It was unreal.
There are no words. It was the loudest, brightest, craziest spectacle I have ever seen, and I loved every second.
In October, I made socks for some truly-deserving people.
Plus, Dan and I went and saw Aaron Mahnke of the Lore Podcast, a truly wonderful little bit of creepy storytelling you should add to your weekly routine.
He treated us to a book-signing and a reading from his new book, Dreadful Places, and we chatted for a bit about exhumed graves. Like you do.
In November, we saw Nine Inch Nails.
Again, there are no words. I will never stop loving Trent Reznor, especially when he pulls out a freaking saxophone in the middle of concert and plays us some ambient end-of-the-world sounds for about 30 seconds, and then puts it away and never mentions it again. My hero.
Plus, we’ve got pickles going in the fridge from the last remnants of the garden, tons of bell peppers and green roma tomatoes.
And, I’ve got a new pair of socks on the needles for my friend and coworker Kristen, all single-stitch twists and bubbles.
I also wrote the proposal and designed my DNP scholarly project this year and wrote a total of 85,710 words and 320 double- and single-spaced APA-formatted pages on everything from fall prevention to nursing ethical dilemmas to atrophic vaginitis. I saw 411 patients. Yes, I kept track of all of these things because I am a giant nerd. Some of our long-term patients at the hospital passed away or had some crazy near-misses. I sat with mothers and grandmothers and children as they cried in frustration and fear and relief.
I am very tired.
Let’s hope that in the new year, we can truly delight in the things that bring us joy, rather than only using them as a balm to distract from the horrors of the world. I’m trying harder to do this every day, and I can only wish that it gets easier for all of us soon.