2018 is over and in the books, and as I alluded to yesterday a bit, I’ve got mixed feelings about it as a whole. It was a year with abundant positives, but equally abundant negatives that, I’m afraid, left me a bit sour at times. That said, if I learned anything in 2018, it was that I am gifted at keeping on keeping on even when life is kicking me in the proverbial teeth.
That said, looking back on this year was pretty damn sweet. How can you complain about a year with lots of travel, lots of friend time, and lots of Schwegmanigans? Just the way I like a year. Favorites:
New York City in February with Michael to celebrate our February birthdays! We packed so much into a long weekend - my first Met Opera trip for “Parsifal,” my third (and his first) time seeing “Hamilton,” adventures all over Brooklyn, staying up all night at underground jazz clubs, and WAY too much champagne. It was a truly exhausting joy of a weekend in a city where I definitely never slept.
Tahoe in March, for a much more successful ski trip than our family trip over the holidays last year! Dave and I nearly died on a blizzardy drive up - it usually takes 4 hours, and it took us 12 - but it was more than worth it for two bluebird days with over a foot of fresh powder. Honestly some of the best skiing of my life.
Minnesota, several times! In March to see Leslie Odom Jr. with the Minnesota Orchestra, in May for a gala, in August for Labor Day (and my fourth time seeing “Hamilton!”), and in December for the holidays. Lots of lake time, the State Fair, my beloved orchestra, and of course Spoon and Stable…because why wouldn’t we?
Colorado, a couple times, for quick little mountain getaways. Despite the complete lack of photos, I loved exploring Boulder and Denver, eating and drinking our way through amazing breweries and restaurants, and falling for the mountains…plus watching a Notre Dame victory over Wake Forest with bottomless champagne (and a Wake Forest fan!).
The absolute number one highlight of my year was my family’s trip to Tuscany over Thanksgiving. I could (and will) write volumes about it - the small, charming towns, the amazing pasta and wine, the history, art, and architecture - but for now, all I’ll say is that it was truly the best experience of the year. I already can’t wait to go back to Italy!
my 29th birthday, in Sonoma and San Francisco in high style. We enjoyed private tastings at our favorite vineyards, cruised to Alcatraz to spend my actual birthday in a federal prison (as one does), and toasted at the Top of the Mark with - what else - champagne cocktails. Special thanks to Dick and Jodes for making the trip!
the Minnesota Orchestra’s annual Symphony Ball with a stellar crew of friends! Bonus to get to be home over Mother’s Day and spend it with my mama bear (over brunch at Spoon and Stable, naturally!).
Cinco De Derby, in May, and Litmas, in December, with a ridiculously absurd cast of characters. One fact remains incontrovertible: I throw a damn good theme party. Case in point: in May, I oh-so-cleverly built a wall of Jell-O Shots to divide the “Mexico” half of the party from the “Kentucky” half of the party, and we filled a pinata with miniatures. I win.
My first Ring Cycle, at the San Francisco Opera in June with Michael! It truly surpassed my (very high) expectations - I’m definitely a convert to the Wagnerian cult.
Living with this absolutely ridiculous delight of a human, who has truly become my best friend in the Bay Area. He’s taught me beer, ensured I’m conversant in any sport, and makes me laugh legitimately every day. Now if only he could get his toothbrush out of the shower in the morning… ;)
So many of my best friends made trips to the Bay this year to visit me! A wild St. Patrick’s Day weekend with Kaitlin, to Kelsie’s spring break full of adventures, Michael’s opera sojourn in the Bay, Hal’s mad sprint through DCI and Pride, and Nate and Margaret’s quick post-engagement trip…it’s so special that the people I love and care about are willing to come out here for me, and I love few things more than getting to show them around my new state!
Lots and LOTS of Napa and Sonoma time - with friends, family and my favorite wineries, of course! I’ve cultivated a taste for California cabernet, and love exploring the region…so much great food, spectacular wine and stunning scenery to enjoy. Getting to share it with the people I love just made it that much better, too.
Best of all, another year with these people. I love my family more than anyone, and I treasure how amazing their presence makes any experience - whether it’s Spoon and Stable followed by “Hamilton,” sweating our asses off at the State Fair, yelling at each other over an aborted Michelin dinner in Florence, or even just getting drunk at 10am in our pajamas in Lakeville. They’re the best people in my life, and I’m so happy they’re mine.