Best of ‘Thirteen

IMG_0587Best of Firsts
Bought purple pants 1.5
Bought a new comforter 1.11
Heard a pops orchestra/symphony 1.19
Spoke at a Kiwanis club meeting 1.24
Applied to domestic grad schools 1.29
Had a pancake party 2.1
Accepted to grad school 2.15
Lead ushered 2.28
Scrubbed fake blood off of a curtain 2.28
Met Rachel Held Evans 3.13
Visited New York City 3.22
Saw a Broadway show  3.23
Explored NYC alone 3.27
Visited Brooklyn 3.27
Visited Boston (alone) 3.28
Met folks at Boston College 3.28
Attended a Writer’s Conference at Multnomah University 4.5
Spoke in church on Introvert Sunday 4.7
Attended the best book club retreat 4.12
Hosted an “awards” show at work 4.17
Went to a work conference 5.19
Saw a movie prescreening (The Way Way Back) 7.10
Stayed at McMenamin’s Edgefield 7.13
Attended Newberg’s Tunes on Tuesday 7.30
Quit a job 8.2
Turned 26 8.8IMG_1490
Moved away from Newberg 8.16
Road tripped with my brother 8.16
Moved to Texas 8.19
Rode my bike to class 8.26
Went to a college football game with new friends 8.31
Danced at a college party 9.13
Saw Ansel Adams photos 10.7
Visited Dallas 10.12
Broke down by the side of a Texas highway in the middle of the night 10.12
Attended a large Homecoming Parade 10.19
Presented in grad school 10.23
Attended a party where everyone was dressed as dead authors 11.1
Visited Austin 11.2
Met Anne Lamott 11.14
Experienced Waco Wonderland 11.30

IMG_0553Best of Theatre
Well, this year I went to New York City for the first time with my theatre-loving sister. Boom, done. Drop the mic.
Obviously, I’m not done. We saw Once, which was just as magical as the movie and perhaps more, as the audience became part of the Irish pub audience in a variety of ways. Also, we went to Newsies which was magical in a much different way: a big Disney Broadway way. But the surprise and magical-winner was the off-Broadway production of Peter and the Starcatcher, which was riotously funny, truly poignant, and always gleeful. On the smaller stage, there were VRT’s performance of My Name is Asher Lev, which hit you right in your artistic soul, and my second writing collaboration, In the Family of Things, which boasted a lot of fighting and swearing that was written by yours truly.
Runners-Up: Mrs. Packard (George Fox University), Julius Caesar (Valley Repertory Theatre–hence the washing blood off the curtains), Enchanted April (GFU), Letters to Sala (Seattle Pacific University), Legally Blonde (Baylor University), The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare Dallas)

FNL_Cvr2Best of Television
As expected, I went through a lot of television binges while grading, packing, doing homework and avoiding the previous items in this list. One was Fringe, which appealed to all parts of my sci-fi, mystery-loving imagination. A big part of my life was Friday Night Lights, which I counted as research for my upcoming move to Football-land, and I became really emotionally invested in the Dillon Panthers/Lions/Coach Taylor and his perfect wife, Tami Taylor, upon whom I will be modeling my life from here forward. It was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, which means we got a special that starred my boy David Tennant alongside Matty Smith and Sir John Hurt (okay, so he’s not a sir, but he might as well be), and it made me cry. SO WHAT? Speaking of David Tennant, watch the British version of Broadchurch before they make the American one and ruin it beyond recognition; just be prepared for your heart to be ripped out. Lastly, M.A.S.H. 4077 has my heart now and forever (and now I have every episode on DVD).
Runners-Up: Downton Abbey, 30 Rock, The West Wing, The Hour (fabulous BBC period miniseries), The Mindy Project (love-hate relationship), New Girl (ditto), Parks and Recreation (ONLY LOVE), Psych, Sleepy Hollow (I am still surprised by how great this show is), Marvel’s Agents of Shield, Ancient Aliens (Christmas break), Eat Street (Christmas break)

p01l8vqlBest of Movies
Lincoln feels like it came out years ago, but apparently I saw it in 2013. It was obviously excellent, as were Daniel Day Lewis’s acceptances speeches since he won all of the awards. All of them. People didn’t like Star Trek Into Darkness, but I thought it was great fun, which means I’m not a real nerd but WHATEVER I CAN LIKE THINGS! But mostly I like Benedict Cumberbatch (hangs head in imposter-nerd shame). Baby Mike Wasowski was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in a movie, so thank you, Monster’s University. Cloud Atlas, which I saw way too late, was fantastic and dreamy and thought-provoking. Okay, so The Hollow Crown is a miniseries, but what the heck BBC amazing Shakespeare Tom Hiddleston Ben Whishaw on location magic and so many feelings. Really phenomenal; highly recommend. Last but not least, FROZEN. Go see it right now, and love all of the amazing voices in it. (breaks into a chorus of “Let it Go” at the top of my lungs)
Runners-Up: Beasts of the Southern Wild (beautiful beautiful beautiful), Silver Linings Playbook (real and true like few things I’ve seen), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (made me cry, but not where you think), Wreck-It Ralph, Iron Man 3, The Way Way Back (a truly perfect summer flick), The Wolverine, Much Ado about Nothing, The Great Gatsby, Ender’s Game, Thor 2: The Dark World (Team Loki), Catching Fire, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (Benedict)

inside-llewyn-davis-original-soundtrack-338-300Best of Music
I can’t say much changed for me in musicville this year, except I made a pretty rad Road Trip Playlist for my drive to Texas, that boasted sad good-bye songs with peppy movin’-on songs. And yes, I did that instead of packing for far too many hours. I still love Macklemore, so sue me, he’s great. I saw Switchfoot’s tour documentary and cried, saw them in concert and cried, saw them at an acoustic aftershow and was able to keep it together, mostly because bassist Tim Foreman’s foot was surprising close to my face (it was an emotional time, okay?). The soundtrack to Inside Llewyn Davis played on repeat in my head for almost three weeks, a very welcome thing indeed. The music that will forever remind me of my move to Texas and first semester of graduate school will be the Head and the Heart and the two most recent albums of the Avett Brothers, with a sprinkling of Amy Winehouse thrown in there, just to mix things up. Last but not least, FROZEN. (again breaks into a chorus of “Let it Go”)

51F4A67SB9LBest of Books
So, I didn’t quite make my perpetual goal of four books a month because graduate school. It’s not that I didn’t read over my first semester; I READ A LOT. But we didn’t read entire books. That will change for 2014; I will be putting my class books on my list, because I read them and I want them counted. Also, because reading for fun is relegated to Christmas break from here on out…though next Christmas I’ll probably be reading for my thesis, so maybe it’s just over for the foreseeable future. Anyway, for the first half of the year, I was a real human who was in a book club, so I did read some fun things. A small selection (see everything I read in 2013 here):
I read a few different authors: Alan Alda’s memoirs (excellent), Caitlin Moran’s essay collections (witty and crude), and John Green. Green has an excellent grasp of the teenage condition and writes creative, interesting (often a little too precocious) adolescent characters. I also re-read Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow, and then for the first time, its follow-up Children of God. The former is more painful the second time through, as you already know what the characters will go through, and the follow-up fills in many of the gaps in the first novel (none of which I minded existing). Also arresting was My Name is Asher Lev, an challenging discussion about the tensions between life, art, faith and family. Lastly, I finally finished the exquisite novel Jayber Crow, and I now count myself as one of the many who have a crush on Wendell Berry.  9780307352149_custom-5b5ce2e8d8a1c22ef8fa885da61cbc226d88337b-s6-c10
On the nonfiction front, I loved and learned from A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and I especially enjoyed meeting Rachel Held Evans. The Feminine Mystique finally made its way into my brain, and I understand the hubbub around it now: still challenging and provocative, 50 years later. Lastly, Quiet was one of the first books I read this year, and still one of the most empowering and interesting. It taught me a lot about myself and how I function as an introvert in a loud world, how my voice matters even if it may be quieter.

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