Saturday, January 1, 2011

Twenty Ten

I've been whining about how awful 2010 has been, but really I think it's just that the not-so-great parts were all toward the end (including a three-hour-late plane at the very, very end which put me in a very grumpy mood to ring in the New Year). In the spirit of accurate memories and cheering myself up, here are cool things I did in 2010.

First, some firsts:
I had my first fancy foodie experience at chef's choice night at Craigie on Main. I saw a silent film with a live orchestra for the first time (Metropolis), which was really pretty amazing. I ran my first (and second!) 5K. First jury duty experience (OK, so not everything is inherently awesome, but it wasn't all that bad, and it was indeed a first). First corn maze.

I read 61 books this year, for a total of 16,025 pages. I'm not going to list them all here, but a few recommendations from them: Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver; How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu; The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien; The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan; Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond; The World Without Us by Alan Weisman; Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen; and Fugitive Days by Bill Ayers.

I saw some excellent plays and performances, including Gatz, an epic two-part (six hours total!) performance where the entire text of The Great Gatsby is spoken on stage; Wicked (finally!); a local performance of Julius Caesar in which a dear friend of mine played Brutus, pulling off his first thoroughly serious role rather amazingly if I do say so myself; Death of a Salesman with Christopher Lloyd as Willy Loman; and the surprisingly awesome Slutcracker burlesque.

And then there are the author events. This year I heard two of my favorite authors speak, Barbara Kingsolver (on tour for Lacuna) and Tim O'Brien (doing a 20-year anniversary tour for The Things They Carried, one of my all-time favorite books). With last year's Margaret Atwood event, I have now seen my three favorite living fiction writers in person and have autographed books from all three. This year also included Chuck Palahniuk, Arianna Huffington, Gail Collins, and Salman Rushdie. It would have also included Oliver Sachs if I hadn't had an exam at the time of his talk (I'm still peeved about that) and Christopher Hitchens if he hadn't gotten awful cancer and had to cancel everything.

I ate one table over from one of the guys from Jersey Shore while out for dinner in the North End. This isn't terribly cool, but it's a thing that happened, and it was rather ridiculous, so it counts.

I took a random chemistry class to keep my brain alive, and it fulfilled its purpose well. I'm rather amazed at how poorly it turns out I have been taught in the past...or maybe it's just that now that my brain isn't being constantly bombarded with things it's supposed to know for seven hours a day, it actually cares and can absorb and contemplate and savor knowledge in a much deeper and fulfilling way.

And I hiked (most of) Mount Washington! I didn't know going into it how big a deal Mount Washington is, so we weren't really prepared with weather-proof attire for the part at the top where the wind is trying to both numb you and pull you off the mountain, so we turned back annoyingly close to the top, but I'm still quite proud of how intense it was and how well we did, considering we're not "real" hikers. A bit later, my brother and I went on a hike in the Cannonballs (also in New Hampshire), which turned out to be an even more demanding hike overall, partially because it was ten hours long and partially because the first half was steeper than anything I've done before. So it's been a good year physically, with hiking and biking (I finally biked to Walden Pond, a trip I've been wanting to take on since I moved here) and starting to run (I did the Couch-to-5K program this spring and have kept running fairly consistently the rest of the year). Next year I shall add kayaking, ice skating, and perhaps skiing to this mix.

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