Yesterday I was chatting with a friend about people who send out with their holiday greetings a summary of the past year in their life. I guess that took a while to foment in my brain cuz suddenly today I started thinking about all the noteworthy moments for me in 2011. And there were some big things, both glad and sad, but definitely all memorable.
In January I moved into my new home. This is already the third home I've owned, but this felt like the real deal because it's a single house. It took a while to finally get here, starting with a condo apartment, where I stayed only about a year after a nasty legal battle over my dog, and then a townhouse, which I thought of as temporary but stayed for seven years. Now finally I've made it to a honest to goodness house and home that truly makes me proud. This will sound super dorky, but I still get a kick out of walking all the way around my house - and four walls that are all my own! Silly, I know.
This December, I finally finished my ambitious project of painting every room in my new house. I got it done just under the wire of my self-imposed one-year deadline. Phew! I had to hire someone to do the two-storey entryway, but otherwise every room was painted by my aching hands. Of course, being me, there were many hilarious/disastrous moments of clumsiness - the best probably when I stepped into the paint tray and had to hop on one foot to the sink.
In May, I said goodbye to my sweet dog Marie. The decision had to be made suddenly, which was difficult at the time but in a way a blessing because she could go while still happy and feeling relatively well. Often we hold on longer than we should for ourselves, not our pet.
Then in August I brought home Alexi, a three-year-old Borzoi. In many ways she is so much like Marie - both incredibly sweet and calm. But she's also goofy and loves to play. This is the first dog I've had that will fetch and sit on her own playing with toys. Greyhounds are far too dignified for such doggy behaviour. My only teeny issue with Alexi is all the freaking hair. I simply was not prepared. How is she not bald by now!?
In October I had an amazing three-week trip to Italy with my parents. We spent two glorious weeks in Tuscany, exploring the countryside and all the old stone towns, and a week in Rome seeing all the storied sights and amazing galleries. Italy is also where I learned to drive a standard. I'm not gonna lie - the first few days were stressful and at times embarrassing. Driving in a foreign country with weird signs, lots of roundabouts and notoriously aggressive drivers is a challenge all on its own. But now I miss driving a standard. I would have gladly missed the day I had to stop for a light on a steep hill in Siena and stalled the car numerous times before finally ditching the driver's seat for my mom to take over. Thankfully after a while the cars behind me stopped honking. I'm sure they had some choice Italian expressions for the stupid tourist who can't drive a standard.
This past year I also really got into sewing. I think it's taken over as my craft of choice. I've done lots of relatively projects - bags, mug rugs and small quilts. Actually I finished my first quilt - a bright summery table cloth - and I felt pretty accomplished, even if it was small. This year I want to launch into bigger projects that take a little more dedication than a couple hours and stretch my skills a bit more. But first placemats and a dog bed. Related to my new-found love of sewing, I started building with great dedication a fabric stash this past year. I probably have enough now to get me through this year!
I'm not sure yet what this coming year will hold for me. Except I do have a trip to New York planned with my CFF Tara to go to the Renegade Craft Fair. We went together a couple years ago in Chicago and had a great time. That's also when she introduced me to the mouth-watering yet odd taste combination of Chicago mix popcorn, which I crave still. I went back to Chicago the next year with my mom, only ever so slightly motivated by getting another popcorn fix at the Pier. I hope another trip or two will also pop up, which is quite possible since I'm not generally a plan-ahead sorta person.
I invite you to think about all you have to celebrate and remember from 2011 as well, and start thinking about adventures for 2012.