The hat I'm wearing was one of the giveaways at a Giants game, and when I saw it announced I was immediately obsessed with it/determined to get one no matter what, then I couldn't make it to the game where they were giving them out. Luckily, my little brother went, and managed to finagle an extra one that he surprised me with. Best brother ever!
I'm a sucker for feel-good sports movies, but truth be told, for whatever reason I don't often find a lot of inspiration in professional athleticism. Or maybe that's not true--maybe it's just the motivational-poster-type stuff about believing in your dreams, working hard, etc. Or maybe it's just that growing up I never really idolized pro athletes and never had a hero among them who I looked up and wanted to be like. In retrospect, that's probably because I didn't want to be a professional athlete. (No surprises there.)
But, because I've had a very specific dream for as long as I can remember, and because going after something for a long time tends to come with a lot of setback and rejection and disappointment, I'm always really, really moved by getting to see other people achieve their own dreams. One of the Giants' pitchers, for instance, Ryan Vogelsong, played in a sort of minor league purgatory for a decade before pitching in the majors (and pitching damned well) and his story always really gets me. All those years trying, all those years of crushed hopes, all those years of people telling him he couldn't do it. All those years he must have wrestled with himself wondering if it was time to give up.
And, I don't know, this season was just really fun. I shared it with the people I love. There are so many baseball games over the season, it gives a sort of rhythm and structure to your days. And I love that; I love the reliability of it, the way it's sort of like a friend whose presence feels constant in your life. I have really great memories of specific games and specific moments. I got to see Matt Cain pitch a perfect game (and a perfect game was one of the little plot points in the most recent project I worked on, so that was a lot of fun). I got to see the Giants win in Philly, which was the best thing ever. Before I miscarried, one of the last things I did 'with' my baby was watch a Giants game. We got to watch an NLCS game with my best baseball friend who I usually text during games. I got to see people live out their dreams and respond in the most emotional way possible. And I got to see my time win the World Series, which is really lucky for a baseball fan. It might never happen again in my lifetime, who knows.
January 2011 feels like forever ago! In a lot of ways, the year mostly felt like one of stasis, in that for most of it when people asked what was new there was nothing new and I always felt dumb. I was working on one writing project for the better half of the year, completely immersed in a story I loved and felt consumed by, and I'm grateful for that. I was working the same job (a job that fits my situation really well and I feel lucky to have it). We were living in our same apartment that we're in love with and are never going to move out of ever so future kids I hope you like it here until you're eighteen.
But other things were new and different. We traveled what felt like kind of a lot--to Europe, to Portland, to the East Coast, to San Diego a few times, to Kauai. I feel like I haven't made any significant new friends in a long time (which is kind of sad, now that I think about it--I just don't really meet new people that often anymore) but I made a few this year. I got pregnant for the first time and survived losing the baby. I started a new project working with young writers at a nearby private school whose mission I think is incredible, and the kids are really, really amazing and I love them. I (well, mostly J) kept our pet turtle alive another year. I finished writing my recent book. My grandma had a brain bleed and it was terrifying for a while, but she pulled through, thank God. I was really, really, really blessed by the people I love, particularly when I was feeling down about things or whatever. I learned a lot about how to be compassionate to others and how to support the ones you love.
We looked for (and found, I think!) a new church. I thought a lot about some of my spiritual neuroses, like why it's so deeply ingrained in my psyche that if there's something I really want, God will make sure I don't get it for my own good. I struggled (and am struggling still) with the ways I'm relating to God, or not relating to God, and how to get out of it.
I read like nothing for the beginning and end of the year and then read about twenty books in a few-months spurt. (Favorites: Atticus by Ron Hansen, Away by Amy Bloom, and When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka--the last, particularly, was so searing.) I watched 21 Jump Street 3 times in theaters and regret nothing (P.S., I wish I had it to watch right now). I watched Srugim (and did other related activities!) with my best friend.
Also, I found candy cane Chapstick brand chapstick that is the closest thing I've ever found to this one chapstick I loved from Bath and Body Works from like 1998 and have never been able to find since. Small victories!
Also, I did that picture-a-day thing, or at least close to it, and I kept meaning to upload all the pictures every month and that felt overwhelming at the time, and now that I'm like 10 months behind it feels SUPER overwhelming. Maybe next year.
Here's to 2013! May it be good to us all.