They Say It Rocks

The Cleveland skyline from Lake Erie.
The Cleveland skyline from Lake Erie.

The weekend before last I took a trip to Cleveland, to see BFF Wendy, who moved there a few years back. It wasn’t my first trip there — it was, in fact, my third — but I don’t think I’ve been anywhere before that left so little of an impression on me. As much as I racked my brain, I could conjure up almost no recollection from my first two times there.

I don’t think this is necessarily Cleveland’s fault, though. My initial trip was a “visit the parents” trip with (unbeknownst to me) a very-soon-to-be-ex boyfriend, and the second was a “get out the vote” trip (as part of my brief foray into political activism) that involved virtually no sleep. I don’t think either circumstance was designed to leave me with much in the way of memories.

Wendy, on the other hand, wanted to show off her new hometown in all my favorite ways — mostly involving local food, craft breweries, and historic neighborhoods. (Girl knows me, that’s for sure.) And did she ever deliver. I had such a good time that when I got back my brother asked me if I’d been hired by the Chamber of Commerce, since I’d been posting such glowing things on Twitter all weekend. And he’s right: I came back with a bit of a crush on Cleveland. Continue reading

10 on Tuesday: Things I Would Put in a Christmas Letter

Confession time: I like a good, newsy Christmas letter. I like getting them, and occasionally, I even like to write them. So, when I saw Carole’s topic for today — 10 things I would put in a Christmas letter — framed them as a “dreaded” thing, I started to wonder if I’m the only person who enjoys them. I don’t mind if they’re braggy or pompous or weird; I want to know what people have been up to. I guess that’s not all that surprising, given how much I like social media. Christmas letters are the slow-mo, analog version.

Knowing that this might very well become a draft for a last-minute actual holiday letter, here are my 10 things:

1. In March, I got a new nephew, named Jonathan. He’s the cutest thing going, as you might expect.

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
Jonathan is bigger now, of course, but this is from May, back when we first met.

2. I went on vacation to Australia with my friend Alison. We met koalas. And saw kangaroos just hanging out in parks, like they’re squirrels or something. We explored Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney — and many nearby areas. (If you get there, don’t miss the Great Ocean Road; the scenery is spectacular.) Oh, and one day, there will be a blog post or something about the end of the trip. In the meantime, visual proof that I made it to Sydney:

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
Hey, look! It’s the Sydney Opera House! And me!

3. In August, I got to spend some quality time in the Adirondacks with BFF Shannon. There was swimming, and hiking… and lots and lots and lots of talking. And, as the icing on the cake, we even managed a picnic with our college friend Tara while we were in Lake George.

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
Don’t go chasing waterfall… selfies.

4. My friends Dan & Kim hosted a fun luau-themed party on Labor Day weekend, where I drank mai-tais an caught up with other college friends I hadn’t seen in far too long, which was great. (And as a bonus, I got to finally check out The High Line in NYC while waiting for my bus back to DC.)

5. Also on the party front, my friends Julia & Michael decided to celebrate their 50th birthdays in New Orleans, which was a blast — we danced until 3am!

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
No trip to New Orleans is complete without beignets.

6. I worked on my friend Charles’ run for the DC Council seat for our ward, mostly helping with the stuff I know best, online and social strategy. He won the election and gets sworn in on January 2. Woo hoo!

7. As I started this bullet, I didn’t think I had that many work trips, but I’ve had to come back and update it twice with work travel I had nearly forgotten. In 2014, the job took me to Paterson, NJ; Queens, NY; Savannah; and Cincinnati — where I wore the building we were trying to save. (A ended up being another big win on Election Day!)

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
See? I wasn’t kidding about wearing the building.

8. The Nationals made it back to the NLDS this year, and if the 2012 NLDS broke my heart, this year’s Game 2 endurance test on a cold October night was more like having my heart slowly sanded away to nothingness. By the time the Nats lost in the 18th inning, I wasn’t even sure I liked baseball anymore. (But I do. Of course.)

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
Silly sibling selfie, before it became the longest game in Nationals history.

9. I saw Springsteen three more times — twice on my own (Sydney, Australia and Houston) and once with my brother (Hershey, PA). Funny enough, I was far less intimidated finding my way to Sydney’s Olympic Park, which involved navigating two trains in a foreign city that I’d been in for less than three hours, than I was driving from southwest Houston to northwest Houston at rush hour.

10. I marked my 15 year anniversary at the National Trust. It seems like a rare and lucky thing to have found an organization I believe in that has believed in me right back, allowing me to learn, grow, and take on new roles and challenges without having to job hunt every couple of years.

So that’s my year. Tell me about yours — or better yet, send me your Christmas letter. I will be happy to get it!