So here are some new thoughts. As we have seen another year "die" (I love the way Tennyson puts things-- and I do love "Ring Out Wild Bells" even though most people hate it), this is the time to enthusiastically make new unrealistic goals and write them down.
But I'm not going to do that. Sorry to disappoint.
Instead, I've been thinking about some of my favorite 2008 experiences:
1. Going to Monterey with my mom was a blast. We went whale-watching, ate at an amazing French restaurant called Fifi's where we could only afford the soup (but it was the best soup I've ever had), sat on the beach and talked, visited Point Lobos where we pretended we were photographers and took a million pictures of things with my mom's new camera, and laughed a lot. The sights were spectacular, but mostly I loved spending the time with my mom.
2. I discovered a new favorite play when we spent a week in Cedar City and saw "Cyrano de Bergerac" at the Shakespeare Festival. I was so moved by the beautiful language and story of the play that after it was over, I smacked into a glass door when trying to exit the building because I was still thinking about the play. Who knew great art could be hazardous to my health?
3. During the summer I walked to the Broadway Theater after work to see some independent films. I love independent films and wish there was more appreciation for them. My favorite for the year is definitely "The Visitor", a touching story about a man who befriends an immigrant from the Middle East. Probably Republicans wouldn't enjoy it, but I loved it. Another great one was "Lars and the Real Girl". That one can be enjoyed by both Demos and Republicans, but probably only the bizarre people in both groups... ah, independent films!
4. I wrote a short story called "Destinations" which I entered in the 2008 Irreantum contest. It didn't win, but it was the first thing I had written in years and I was pleased with how it turned out. It reminded me that I like to write and should do it more often.
5. Books are always an important part of my year. In 2008, I read voraciously. I don't know that I can name a favorite, but I do love Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth. Her stories are somber, but her prose is fluid and powerful. She is definitely one of my favorite authors.
6. Speaking of books, I discovered the SLC library and spent a considerable amount of time there. With my card, I can check out up to 100 books at a time. I've never quite reached that limit, but when I wasn't in school I did often have 15 or so checked out. I love the library-- it has the best selection I've seen in a long time.
7. In 2008 I finally went back to school. Sure, I'm not officially in the grad program at the U, but I took a class and that was huge for me. I loved it, too-- we read Don Quixote, Tom Jones, Evelina, The Wanderer, and Joseph Andrews, along with many critical essays that reminded me that English scholars are weird but I love them and want to be one. The class was a great experience and I look forward to (hopefully) taking another.
8. I moved to a great little apartment by the Capitol. I get tired of the word "cute", but the apartment truly is cute. The incredibly steep hill it sits on isn't particularly cute (especially during winter), but I love the apartment anyway.
9. I discovered Les Madeleines. Most of you know I love French anything and everything, but I especially love French pastries. Les Madeleines is the best French bakery I've been to since I was in, well, France. Delicious!
10. My best times in 2008 were spent with family and friends. Camille and I discussed books and played Guitar Hero. Maren and Camille and I talked about boys (they're weird), and I substituted at their school, Walden. My dad and I talked about the election, got frustrated with Republicans, and rejoiced when Obama made history. My mom and I had many conversations about writing, played lots of games, and laughed a lot. I loved meeting Nikki's new baby, Adria (she's adorable) and playing Phase 10 with Kim while we drank Cokes from Sonic.
All in all, I feel 2008 was a good year. Parts were hard, especially during April and May, but I survived and I've entered 2009 feeling like I accomplished things that have helped me progress. I love that feeling.
I look forward to another good year.