Saturday, December 31, 2011

From Where I'm Standing [5] - 2011: The Year of Awesome

Every year, I feel like I say, "Well, it's been quite a year!"  2011 is no exception. In fact, I think it was quite a bit more awesome than  most of my previous years. Here are my reasons:

Definitely the highlight of my year was getting to marry the most awesome person on the planet, my husband of going-on five months, Eric (I usually refer to him as Captain Italian or The Hubs on here and Twitter). We not only really dig each other (and have since 2003), we also got married on a great date, August 14, 2011. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I do not prefer the number 2, and I also have a thing about the aesthetics of numbers. The number 8 happens to be my husband's favorite number, and 14 is one of mine (the other is 31, in case you were wondering) and 11 is pretty awesome as well (yes, I am ignoring the other two numbers...I'm sure you get why).


We got to go on a very fun and geeky honeymoon in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We played at MagiQuest to our hearts' content, explored and escaped The Tomb, saw sharks at the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, and visited the very magical Dollywood. We ate lots of great food and walked miles and miles and miles. We also rode trolleys, which was cool and helped us when we got tired of walking our feet off.

Just recently, we went to visit The Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, to see all the pretty Christmas decorations. We had some great burgers while there, walked what felt like miles and miles and miles (this may be our thing) and were dazzled by the gorgeous lights, both at the hotel and at a nearby mega-light show set to music. That day we also visited two bookstores, one of which was Ann Patchett's Parnassus Books. It was very cozy and I loved the local atmosphere.

No, not mine, but my cousin's. She had a baby girl (Lily Brooke) just a month or so ago, our first new family member in several years. I'm sort of baby-phobic, so I plan to spend more time with her when she's, you know, a little older (if you can't tell because I'm smiling, I'm a little wary of breaking her in the photo below).

Heh. I love saying that, though it is not as scandalous as it may sound. Maybe you can tell from my posts or my tweets, maybe you can't, but I tend to be a little oblivious of things going on outside of my home town bubble. So I didn't know that a very awesome book festival, the Southern Festival of Books, had been happening just over in Nashville for, like, a long long time. But I did hear about it this year and was able to attend some Saturday panels. What I mean is, I chose Saturday because Myra McEntire and Victoria Schwab were going to be there doing panels and signings. I already stalked them on Twitter, so why not in Nashville too?

Anyhoo, I went and it was (my word of the year) awesome. Myra is ridiculous, y'all, in the best of ways. Seriously. I would love to just sit and listen to her tell stories, real, fictional, doesn't matter. I missed some of her panel (she was speaking with Jessica Warman, author of Between, on writing mysteries). After the panel, I got to meet Myra. She was and forever will be the first author I have met and spoken with in person and gotten a personally signed book from. It was epic. She signed some copies of Hourglass and some posters, and then we got to talk for a little bit. She told me her Charlie Bewley story, and she has great taste in eye wear. Seriously she is one of my favorite authors ever.

After that, my escorts (Captain Italian and his sidekick and best friend Danger Rob), and I walked to Demos'. We ate steak and relaxed then returned for the panel featuring Victoria Schwab (author of The Near Witch) and Sonia Gensler (author of The Revenant) on writing supernatural stories for teens. It was so much fun. I loved hearing how each author came up with the ideas for their books (I hadn't read either at that point) and Victoria was just as great in person as in her videos. I was also very glad that I got to hear Sonia speak because I hadn't heard of her before and she is so great. I was able to get books signed by both of them and speak with them a little and it was grand (no picture though, because my iPhone died). Oh yeah, and there were protesters, not of the festival, but you know, occupying things.

I tried to play golf way back in 7th grade, and I was horrible and I didn't find it fun. However, I like to watch golf, and golf is also my dad's most favorite of all things ever. We have the chance everyone year to attend the Masters Tournament at Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia, and this past April was the first time I got to go. Before going to the tournament, we stayed in a little town and got to eat at a really cool local place called Yesterday Cafe. Then the next day I got to see (up close!) Tiger Woods, Phil Mickleson, and a bunch of English/Irish/Australian hottie golfers (and one hottie Australian TV sportscaster) play and talk. I also met a bunch of funny Brits and an Irish man who gave me lots of info on Ireland as we stood and watched Charl Schwartzel of South Africa win the tournament.

Another highlight of my year was getting my first ever i-product, the iPhone 4. It's great. I use it for lots of things (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, listening to books, not getting lost). The Hubs is not fond of my phone because he thinks I'm addicted to it (no comment) but I'm sure he'll see the light when he gets one of his own...eventually. I must add that while my phone is, in and of itself, epic, I would be up a creek without cell service if it weren't for the OtterBox Defender case. Seriously, y'all, I get insurance and a heavy duty case for my phone for a reason. Not only did my phone meet liquids three times this year (glass of water, can of Mountain Dew, and a river), as well as get dropped countless times, but it also was left (by me) on top of my car, which was driven for a mile or so before someone realized there were headphones blowing in the breeze outside my window. I then reached through the open window to the roof of my car and retrieved my phone. I'm sure the look on my face was one of great horror, relief, and embarrassment all at the same time. The OtterBox case has saved my phone and saved me lots of money, so the $50 I spent on it was well worth it.

I love my husband. More than anything else this year (except maybe food) he has spent lots of money making me happy, and by making me happy, I mean buying me books. In fact, many of the books he bought me are some of my very favorites. I would like to share those favorites with you, but you shall have to wait!  Look for my Favority-Favorite Reads of 2011, to be posted in the (very) near future!

Like I said before, it's been a quite a year! I hope all of my fellow quirks out there have had lots of happy, awesome things happen this year as well. Feel free to share in the comments!

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