It's that time of year again, when everyone makes lists and gets all kinda retrospective up in here. I'm no exception. I'm a freak for lists. I rarely go into Kroger without my grocery list, and I cross off each item as it goes in the basket. I have a list right here beside me - a spiral bound notebook full of them, actually - of things to do between now and January 10 (so far, so good on the accomplishments on that one). I am getting ready to write down a list of new goals for 2010. So it's only fitting that I take a few minutes and reflect on some of my favorite moments of 2009, which was quite possibly the biggest year yet of the 28 that I've spent here on earth.
In order of relative importance:
*The discovery of Merrick Inn, Almond Chicken. Yum.
*Having the most incredible hair artists in the world, the folks at Cha Cha's Salon in Lexington, do my hair whenever I needed it. They followed me from Florence to Lexington, and I pray that they eventually decide to follow me to Atlanta.
*DMB Concert Sneak-In, April 28.
*This moment right here - February 20.
No animals were harmed in the taking of this photograph.
*Tailgating at UNA's Homecoming, October 3. Allison, KiKi and I were "those girls" who came back and cheered everyone on in the parade. We actually got to enjoy tailgating on campus this year, and I got to spend time with some women who I love dearly. A happy day.
*UK Graduation, May 9. Getting hooded was pretty awesome.
*Events that took place after UK graduation, May 9.
I won't go into too many details, but any night that involves purses big enough to transport multiple wine bottles, a super smart husband who locks doors with shoelaces and hijacks your roommate's car to join the fun, an entire Michigan family thinking I don't know how to party but being proven wrong, and the random playing of cornhole with complete strangers for a few hours was, well, epic. Don't judge. If you'd just finished the toughest three years of your life, you'd party pretty hard, too.
*Panama City Beach, May 14-16. Annual beach trip with Casey.
It was the year of pineapple juice, discovering that there is a such thing as too many margaritas, and a visit from Santa Claus, searching for hidden treasure in the sand.
*Finding Dharmaville (aka Camp Erdmann), Oahu, sometime in June. We are nerds, and took our honeymoon in Hawaii partly (mostly?) because we wanted to see where LOST was filmed. Discovering Dharmaville was one of the highlights of both our lives. We were so excited, and we'd already spent the entire day exploring other LOST filming locations. I hearted Hawaii.
*Snorkeling with a manta ray. This was, by far, one of the coolest experiences of my life. While in Kona, Dave and I did snorkel/scuba excursion with the manta rays. They take you out on this boat at night, and give you wetsuits and flashlights. The flashlights attract plankton, which is what the mantas feed on. Dave got to scuba for the first time in years, and observe them from below. Check out the video that he took!
They really do get that close, even if you're snorkeling, like I was, from the surface. They had all of us snorkelers hanging onto foam noodles that had been joined together. Luckily, I know how to swim and knew that the mantas would not eat me. Some people didn't know how to swim, and clearly didn't get the memo about mantas having a sixth sense that makes it so they can get really, really close to you, but won't touch you. We were warned not to touch the mantas, too, because it could hurt them. Despite the fact that my fellow snorkelers were thoroughly freaking out about the closeness of the shark-like animals, kicking me in the head, and yelling for help thinking they were drowning, I had a blast. We both felt like this was the coolest thing we did (maybe even topping finding Dharmaville) in Hawaii. If you ever get the chance to swim with these beautiful sea creatures, do it. What a blessing it was to be part of their world for a few minutes!
*Becoming a triathlete - August 23. By far, the most empowering thing I've ever done. Triathlons are addictive. I hope to do one a year until I physically can't do them anymore. Many kudos to Anne for convincing me to sign up.
*My wedding, June 6.
I really was hesitant to even have a wedding in the first place, but I am so glad I did. It was one of the best nights of my life. Everyone cried, drank beer, and ate barbecue. I made everyone run a 5K the morning of the wedding. My friends mingled and meshed nicely. It was a great day.
*Defending my dissertation - September 11. It still doesn't seem real, yet I and multiple witnesses definitely heard my rockstar advisor say, "Congratulations, Dr. Daws." I was a little worried before the verdict....
...but luckily, I had people surrounding me who made me feel better!
Look what an awesome committee I had!
So there you have it. Some of the most stellar moments of my life, all that happened in 2009. I know it's been a rough year for a lot of people, and I certainly experienced my share of stress. All in all, though, I accomplished a lot, made new friends, kept my old ones, and feel like I'm ending this year on a good note. Thanks to all of you who've been part of the journey with me. I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for us!