1) Seeing Michael Chabon & Sherman Alexie at the Search for Meaning Book Festival in Seattle. This is a festival I never would have attended otherwise, but it ended up being so wonderful and inspiring and heartwarming. I would go back each year if I could. I also love both of these men so, so much and together they were just a dream. And going to Seattle anytime to see Ashley and Jennie is also a dream. Shopping, eating Mexican food, getting Indian food delivery, and then there was also that time that we watched the Duke-UNC game at a gay sports bar. Yes yes yes. Going up later in the year for the MS Walk was also a great, if more somber, occasion.
2) Taking Toby to the beach for the last time. When Manda visited in January, Toby was already on his downward decline, but he tagged along for a day trip to the coast, and seemed more alert and happy than he had in a while. I like to think this, along with getting to eat a cheeseburger during his last week, made his last few months on earth better.
3) Starting to go to trivia at Cruzroom in addition to Bare Bones. Although our schedule has been so crazy lately that it's rare we actually go to both nights each week, we started going to trivia on Tuesday nights with Becky in addition to our old standard from last year, Bare Bones on Thursdays with Erica and Paul. Because we are obsessed, severely dorky people. Anyway, Becky is hilarious and Cruzroom has amazing hipster tacos, and it makes us get to Alberta more often, which is really nice. And this is probably a supremely uninteresting paragraph to anyone but me.
4) JP. We knew from the moment we saw her at the Humane Society that she was the one. While there are obviously many differences between her and Toby, and some things we're still getting used to and working on with her, she has been on runs and hikes with me, walked down the street to get breakfast with us, gone to Pride with us, and kept me company while I worked from home for a large portion of the year. I love her.
5) Hiking at Silver Falls State Park with both my mom and dad. I went on the same hike twice at different parts of the year, once with my mom and then with my dad, and both times were some of the happiest hours I've ever spent in the woods, and I felt grateful that I got to enjoy it with each of them. I hope to return to this place many more times. It is magical.
6) BABIES. Felt so fortunate to be with Beesie Tiede on her 1st birthday and to FaceTime with Evan Guccini for his, and to meet little Desi Lewis and Kate Trout and, right at the end of the year, Hudson Tiede. BABIES!
7) Connecticut and New York trip. We ate New Haven pizza, saw dinosaurs, played with beluga whales, went to a bookstore in a barn, ate ice cream, went bowling, ate breakfast in Harlem, saw Wicked on Broadway with my mom, and ate lots of Shake Shack. The perfect vacation.
8) University of Portland soccer and the Dahlia Festival when Kathy's parents visited. Women's sports, snow cones, and flowers the size of your head! Among many other fun things that week.
9) Boston for Ave's 60th Birthday. My mom bought tickets for us to come to Boston this summer for my aunt's 60th birthday, which was amazing. We got to hang with family and friends and walk around all my favorite spots of nostalgia, including dinner in the North End and brunch at Zaftig's and a last lunch at Anna's. There also may have been some Whitney dance-athons.
10) The coast for our one year wedding anniversary, and Leavenworth, Washington for my birthday. Both were weird and hilarious and amazing in their own ways, as trips with Kathy always are. Trips with Kathy are my very favorite things.
11) Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania. The first holiday I've spent in my hometown in a long time, and some of the most time we've ever gotten to spend with my nephew, including an epic game of bowling, along with some hanging in Philly with Sara and Dave.
12) Manda moving to Portland. One of our bestest friends, Manda & her wonderful cat Georgia moved to Portland this fall from Connecticut. She's already inspired us to do lots of new things we hadn't done before, including hanging out at the superb and trashy bar across the street. And I know she hates picture of herself being on the Internet, so I'll include just one.
Other fun and happy things:
- Cheering the Portland Thorns champion lady soccer stars home
- Coffee dates with Scott and Kelly at Bipartisan Cafe
- Seeing Ivan Coyote at the Reed Chapel
- Hiking and eating with Evan this summer when they visited
- Meeting Kathy's Aunt Kathy and Blaine for the first time, simultaneously eating a Killer Burger for the first time, both fantastic experiences
- Hikes on Powell Butte
- Getting drunk for free at Kathy's work parties; getting to know her amazing co-workers better
- Karaoke at Chopsticks III
- Literally watching TV and drinking all day in Eugene for Arrested Development
- Watching Kim paddle around a lake in a giant pumpkin
- Hiking on Mt. Hood with Kathy and JP
- Spending a lot of time with Kathy's family in Michigan, even if it was for a sad reason
- Another merry and successful Christmas in Portland.
And there was a lot of other stuff, but these are the main super-fantastic things. Thanks, 2013, and everyone who helped make all the super-fantastic happen. Bring it, 2014.