Top Ten Experiences of 2012

The Culture Review Club posted a Top Ten list yesterday, reminding me that that’s a thing people do at the end of the year. To be honest, I was trying to think of something, anything to write. Because I want to be productive as a writer, but I really couldn’t think of anything fiction- or poetry-wise. Of course, now that I’ve said that, I will likely have an idea (well, perhaps an hour or three from now), so this may be another double-post day. Barring that, here are my Top Ten Experiences of 2012:

10. The Day of Random

I spent a lovely day with my friend Kyle, which, if I recall correctly, began with lunch at a Chinese restaurant, one of the ones that’s too big and shiny for its own good, but still has decent food. We went on to an arcade and a coffee house, spending a lot of time talking about life, the universe, and everything. And then we went to a burlesque show (where I met another friend of his), had a few drinks, and watched some classy nerd-themed entertainment. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, and a nice memory.

9. The Week Spent at Big Marine Lake

My mother invited me to spend a week with her at a camp (fairly close to home) that caters specifically to disabled veterans. We had all the benefits of Mother Nature, the kind you get from going “up north,” but without a long commute. One of her old work buddies came up from Kansas, and we all had a grand old time. We took a pontoon boat out on the lake one day, puttering around, looking at the early-autumn leaves. I got to visit Taylor’s Falls and climb around on the rock formations. We grilled nearly every night, built a bonfire, and watched the stars. Even the cat got to come. We plan to go back up again next year, and I am very much looking forward to it. My mother is not only an integral and respected member of my family. She’s a good friend.

8. Passing My Manager’s Test

I mentioned in my New Year’s post that I got a promotion at work. I’ve been with the company a year now, and I became a manager about 2.5 months ago. A part of managing is passing an exam, which is admittedly mostly multiple-choice. I was a bit worried about passing, as I know that I am not 100% on my training. But last week, it had to happen. And I passed! It was a very happy moment for me. I get to continue advancing (hopefully) in the company!

7. Danebod 2012

Danebod is the “family camp,” that my roommate has attended throughout her lifetime, and at where she has traditionally spent her July birthday. I attended once previously, five years ago, and then didn’t have an opportunity to again until this year. It was a grand time. We tented it (which was tricky, as there’s nowhere with shade anymore–the camp was hit by a tornado a year or two ago), but had the pleasure of enjoying four meals a day in the cool of the basement cafeteria, singing and crafting in the folk school, and dancing in the evening at the gymnasium. It’s a classy do, full of delightful Danish folks, and we classed it up extra for her birthday (which happened to fall on “Oskarsen” night–the awards ceremony), so everyone dressed up. My memories of the last Danebod week were good, but these are great, and I’m so very happy I got to attend. Hopefully it won’t wait another five years to happen again.

6. The Days When Shit Just Goes Right

We all have them. We like to call them “good days,” or “great days,” or maybe we use other adjectives (like “superior,” “excellent,” “fantastic,” what-have-you) to describe the wonder of a day that just goes “right.” I have had a few this year, and I am grateful for them. Experiencing the wonder of a magnificently-right day is akin to taking “Felix Felicis,” (“liquid luck,” a potion from the Harry Potter series). You feel like you can do anything: stop traffic, make anyone’s day better, be amazing at everything, and maybe even save the world. And it’s days like this you have to look at and wonder–can more of them be like this? Can I control this? And can I share it?

5. Election Night (and a few others)

As a Progressive United-States-of-American, I was very happy on November 6. The candidates for whom I voted were all elected, the amendments I opposed failed, and I met a nice boy. It was a first-date-night for me, and things went well. We spent the night watching the returns, drinking beer, and playing trivia (admittedly, I had too much beer to be very helpful at the trivia). We continued to date for a month afterward, and it was full of sweet moments, wherein we watched movies, played more trivia, rode the bus with fingers laced, and pretended to be kinda domestic together. Probably that’s where things fell apart (in my ever-overzealousness), but nonetheless, they are sweet memories. Even our parting is not as bitter as many, as we’ll surely be friends.

And eventually we’ll head back to a trivia night together, and ride the bus, but with our fingers firmly clutched in our respective pockets.

4. The Day the World Ended (and many others)

I’ve already mentioned my roommate once in this post, but she’s integral to my life, and integral to my happiest moments–because she’s also my best friend. We are two only-children, who are sisters. We spend many nights out on our porch, smoking and laughing about the silliest, most ridiculous things imaginable. Someday we’re going to bankroll from our silliness, I tell you.

I tend to be the more outgoing of the two of us, but she had mentioned back in November that she was invited by an old classmate to an “Apocalypse Prom,” (need I give the date?), and I was invited to go along. So, despite some hemming and hawing, we made it to the club/bar where the Prom was happening. We seemed a bit out-of-place at first, but after a beer and running into the inviter, we began to have a wonderful night, full of new- and old-friends, great music, and lots of dancing. It was a fantastic way to end the world.

3. The Return Trip from Florida

A very, very long story (perhaps someday it will be published) had me in Florida early this year, managing for a small business, with two employees. When things fell apart, one of those employees happened to have his R.V. along. So, when I found myself stranded (with no contacts) 1600 miles from home, he helped me out. Immensely. We Odyssey’d back home, finding nearly every bump we could along the way. And yet–it was a wonderful journey home. I am very grateful for his help, and for the memories. For in this brief statement you can’t begin to imagine the trip we took: full of frustration, and boredom, and beauty, from the mountains of north Alabama, to the strange little town of Metropolis, and a lot in-between. And we remain friends. The mark of a great road-trip.

2. Tarpon Springs and Weeki Wachee with my Friends

In that same trip, amongst lost of drama and frustration, was a lot of friendship-building. And one very lovely trip, to Tarpon Springs and Weeki Wachee, which holds history for my family, and are two of my favorite places in the world. Sure, they’re a bit touristy, and some of it’s overpriced. But Tarpon’s still a very cool historic, immigrant town, on the west coast of Florida. So, we got some Greek food, wandered the docks, and met an angry parrot. All this, after going to Weeki Wachee…which for me, is THE main attraction.

Weeki Wachee is also pretty historic. For over 65 years, they’ve been performing live mermaid shows, and throughout a good portion of that time, my mother (as a child), or I (as a child, with her), have been attending their performances. I suppose I last saw them in 2007, when I was a sorta-adult, but this was my first time going as a real-real-really-I-am-grown-up (-well-kinda…) person. I still felt like a little kid. Full of wonder at these amazing women (and men), in their Lycra fins, performing underwater acrobatics. It’s something I have aspired to since I was tiny, and who knows?–still might do. Weeki Wachee also has a boat tour, demonstrating the beauty of their portion of the natural springs native to Western Florida. And then, there’s Buccaneer Bay, the waterpark. They weren’t open when we arrived (as it was very-early spring), but they let us swim in the spring for free. We had a grand time.

And above all, it was just such a pleasure to be with three people who truly appreciated these places that are so dear to my heart.

1. Being a Snow-Hipster

Recently, we got the first big snowfall of the year. It was a doozy, over a foot throughout the metro. I opened the store, and managed to get home in the early afternoon, while it was still snowing. I was tired, and bummed about the weather (I am not really a winter girl). My roommate, the glorious woman that she is, suggested we play in the snow, after she finished shoveling the walk.

I felt guilty about the idea of her shoveling it all alone. So I went up and put on two pairs of sweatpants, and an old jacket, and was basically all kitted out. And before you know it, we’re shoveling and singing “Blue Christmas,” having a grand old time. When the shoveling was done, we took photographs, attempted to make snowmen (and failed–some neighborhood kids came by and tried to give us lessons, but really, the snow was too wet and dense to make good snowmen), and spent an awful lot of time laughing our asses off.

And that’s the biggest reason why this is my top experience of 2012. The moment when we were laying in the snow in the backyard, smoking and taking pictures, deciding that it must make us hipsters–and laughing. While we rolled and roiled the snow, and laughed riotously as it continued to fall. The fun we have, which is so simple and joyous and pure, is why she has been and remains my favorite person, and is the cornerstone to my favorite moment of 2012.

Because in the end, our favorite moments are not dictated by what happened, but by with whom we spent them.

In gratitude and joy,

Sarah

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