In no particular order, though I numbered them just to make it easier to read – here are some sweet little moments from my 2011. I think when you’re having a great time, every little bit of it sparkles.
1. Lily in the Heathrow airport: It is a complicated airport and we were racing to catch our connection to Bangalore, India, and we had to ride a shuttle, a train, and pass through several security clearances. Just getting to this point had been a bureaucratic nightmare, and I think my mother and I had our doubts we’d ever get to India. My daughter Lily, 9 at the time, never waivered. My favorite moment is standing on a shuttle, feeling a certain peace at our lack of control over the situation. I looked at Lily and she said very calmly, “We’ll make it.” I thought for the first of many times on that trip – Damn, she is so grown-up.
2. The writer Ann Patchett opened a bookstore in Green Hills in late fall, and I went with two friends to the grand opening. Nicole Kidman was there, and Patchett herself selected two books for my daughter! My friends and I ate lunch at Picnic (I adore a congealed salad), and decided we really should have a bourbon at Greenhouse.
3. There was this day I was feeling really pretty lonely and two of my best girlfriends were in Hawaii and I didn’t have my daughter. I ran nine miles around the Belmont area, tripped in front of Bobby’s Idle Hour and skinned the crap out of both knees, had an awkward conversation with another runner I mistook for a guy I dated briefly, and was about to go home and be all emo and overthinky when my best friend’s husband texted to say he and the guys were planning to barhop around East Nashville. HECK YES! The day started at Drifter’s and ended at Mad Donna’s (I seriously can’t believe I remember the details), and was awesome. The cicadas were out in force.
4. Speaking of cicadas… I was infatuated with them. I loved the romance I read into their very existence. Like – what is the purpose of them other than to be born, make music, have sex and disappear? I haven’t found too many people who share my affection for these guys, though many people do agree the cicadas’ is not a bad lifestyle. The six weeks or so they were in town were thrilling to me. I sought them out. I was fearless in my grass mowing. I have a jelly jar of them in my freezer. A friend gave me cicada earrings for Christmas. I want to have a party in 13 years when they’re back so we can all reminisce about what we were doing the last time they were out. Yes, I am aware how weird all that is.
5. I had some very lovely first kisses – in parking lots, bars, living rooms, cars – with whisky, tequila, great music and food – with laughter, dancing, hilarious conversation.
6. One weekend ended with Lily telling my girlfriend Courtenay and I, “On Saturday, you took us to a brewery and on Sunday you took us to a winery.” So that was awesome, too, and not nearly as boozy as it sounds. That Saturday, Lily and I spent early afternoon in Centennial Park writing letters and late afternoon at the Yazoo “Family Picnic”. The next day a bunch of mom friends took our kids to Arrington Vineyards with a picnic (and wine, yes). The whole weekend deserved its own blog post.
7. I took a random day off work and pulled Lily randomly out of school. We spent the randomly warm fall day working in the garden and discussing God and science. Random?
8. My biking buddy owns a motorcycle repair shop and one Friday (a couple, really, but I’m remembering one in particular) he had a bunch of us over to hang out after work. It makes all the sense in the world to me that my artiest, brainiest friends would be drinking beer and discussing technology and relationships in a motorcycle shop on a Friday night.
9. I bought my first real antique, an Eastlake sofa ca 1880. Totally impractical, and I bought it when I had no other sofa in my house. But it was so beautiful and it spoke to me.
10. Driving the Blue Grass Parkway from Louisville to Lexington, Ky., to see the fall’s last race at Keeneland with some of my most treasured friends. I barely made that trip, too. I had been at my company’s corporate headquarters in McLean, Va., all week, and was set to fly into Lexington but my connector flight was delayed and I missed a connection out of Charlotte. I waited around a few hours and jumped on a plane to Louisville instead and rented a car at a crazy, one-way rate. That drive was sheer pleasure. It was beautiful and I drove super-fast, past stunning fall colors, with a rap / hiphop station blasting on speakers way better than the ones in my car. When I caught up with my friends they were just one drink into the evening. Perfect timing, actually. Of of them said, “If anyone else had had that kind of travel situation, they’d have just flown home.” That thought never crossed my mind, and I’m so glad it didn’t! That whole weekend was among the best of the year.
I guess when you add it all up, many of the year’s best moments were the most unplanned.