Thursday, February 11, 2016

2015: Year in Review

2015 was another odd year for me, in the literal sense. Over the past few weeks that I've taken to reflect back, I realized that I just "do better" with even years. That's not to say that 2015 didn't have it's shinning moments....

January was supposed to bring a new year, a new tooth but alas, I just had deja screw since the first implant failed and I just went through that surgery again the beginning of this year and am beginning the long process of a dental implant all over again. If you would have told me in June 2014, when my tooth fell out, that it would be TWO YEARS before I'd have a new tooth I would've told you to go...

Wait. That's not a very positive note to start out on. Let's try this again...

I did start January in a relationship. 

Wait. That's not a good start either...

I saw Bill Cosby!


Ok. Third time is a charm. I started 2015 as I do every other year in Colorado, skiing my ass off in Steamboat. Which brought the time I thought I skied 50 mph thanks to a SkiTrax mixup (I was reading km/h), bluebird days with stacked bloody marys on the mountain (the best kind), life lessons with Connor and Michael at the Rio, and genuine laughs every night with a stellar group of people. This trip never disappoints. What also didn't disappoint was finding out that two of my closest friends were going to be mothers, Chloe and my little Penguin.

February. On the night of the Grammys, I got a phone call from my boyfriend at the time, asking to come over to talk. I knew in the pit on my stomach on that bike ride home what was coming and as he sat across from me 45 minutes later, and told me he just "wasn't there" - I felt the walls close in as they went up. Justin had been the first guy that I had dated after my year hiatus following my love for Chris in Salt Lake City. And although eventually I found out that his "there" was not being in love, and I admitted I felt the same way, I had seen potential. And potential brings hope and I've always had a really hard time with letting go of hope.

But as we do, I picked up the pieces and a Winter Warmer Passport to complete a Valentine's Bar Crawl for the books. My fellow single, Gem, and I successfully made nine stops, including crashing a baby shower, tasting PB&J beer, eating two clam pizzas while meeting (and making) a few friends along the way. 

March started with a flashback to 1987 thanks to a trip to Jump City to celebrate Andy's birthday. More time on my favorite mountain as the O'Hurley family welcomed Cookie with open arms and a few runs through the trees in Steamboat. The return to the dating scene, and my favorite neighbor moment when Batya mistaken called my date "Justin" from the porch. Birthdays on a boat with Suzy, a sober slumber party for a pregnant Pengs. And GOATS.

April got off to a great hop with my favorite day in spring - EASTER and the first Hunt in Carriage House. The first engagement of the year (yeah, S + D!). Perfecting the art of the cocktail with knowledge from the DSTILL takeover in Denver. A few first on some dates - first opening day with the Rockies where no one actually goes to the game and instead just proceeds to get rather wasted downtown. Definitely a "must" in the city but also definitely a been there, done that scenario. Also my first Vegan Prom where my cheese-lovin' ass was probably not welcomed but still a fun excuse to put on a gown and get on a dance floor. Another first was sitting across a room from Justin while he was on a date, and I was on a date, and watching a woman just out of a giant pie while we pretended to be strangers. (you can't make this stuff up.)

Then Kid Sis came in for a visit and I always love when a piece of home comes to the Mile High City. We spent the weekend drinking wine, dancing, catching up and making the most out of a rained out Rockies game. The bond I have with that little one truly brings a smile to my face and I am so glad that we've stayed as close as we have, even with the miles between us.

May brought Jonathan, who's good looks, beautiful apartment, and NYC background brought nights filled with great food, fine wine and good conversation. We dated for about a month before it became clear to me that our relationship wasn't progressing past the simple surface that it had been built upon (a swipe right). So, I turned my focus to my great love of 2014 (and beyond), Carriage House, and winning the Small Cool 2015 contest. I'll take this moment to give what I wish was an acceptance speech. Thank you to all of you for your votes but I did not win. Though I came close (third in the Small category), its hard to compete with an apartment with a piano in the living room. #GOALS. I traveled to Michigan for work (RIP Cushe), got to have a sunny Sunday with Renee and Jay, learned a ton while pitching USA Rugby 7s, experienced my first "A Bay Beach Day" (it was f*ing freezing) and had the best camping trip of my life. Now, when I was afraid Gordon and I would freeze to death in our tent, I didn't think I would ever call it the best camping trip of my life but the memories of six people and four dogs piled in to one Cricket camper, then to have Andy ask Jen to marry him with our grandmother's diamond (best decision he's ever made for himself, and for our family), it's no wonder that Thunder Snow camping weekend was one for the books.

I also got to spend Memorial Day weekend with my favorite Asian + Brazilian baby - Sebastian with a trip from the Bordinhaos. Over three short days we managed to pack in a trip to Casa Bonita (YES EVERYTHING YOU'VE HEARD IS TRUE), the Zoo, lots of good meals, and a trip to Hammond's Candy Factory. So good to have them here and I HOPE THEY COME BACK SOON (hint hint) because I can't with this face.

In June, I turned 32 while embarking upon my Home Sweet Neon with the best of the best for a weekend that could only be coined BADDECISIONSWITHGOODPEOPLE. Ann, Suzy, Dustin, Cameron, Bill, Lindsay, Josh, Andy and Jen - thank you for getting on a plane to get ridiculous with me pool side and strip side. Austin, Anika, Kid Sis, Renee, Jay, Lauren, Scott, Muffin, Aunt Karen and everyone else who came out for the festivities - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK  YOU for making my final hurrah in Vegas one for the books. It was the best birthday ever.

June also brought a reconciliation with Bear, thinking that maybe, just maybe, my 30s would be the time to revisit a love where nothing ever really went wrong, aside from timing and us just being in our own way. It's obvious that we care very much for one another but our lives live in different places and though it was a hard pill to swallow (again), we've had to accept that hard truth and just send love and admiration from across state lines. Speaking of state lines, Pep, Sam and Lauren (along with the rest of the Bruner family!) all moved to the state of Colorado for my birthday! (or at least that's how I like to think of it.) Two of my favorite people in the whole world, now just down the street. Working together in a bakery that Lauren's family owns. We eat Nothing Bundt Cakes for free all. the time. Can you even believe it? It really is a dream come true and I can't tell you how full my heart, having two of the people I missed the most here. We're definitely making the most of living close again with dinners, game nights and lots of wine.

The rest of the summer was filled with Independence Eve, a trip to Silver Plume to see S + D's tiny cabin home (love) where the whole town feels like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. Peng's baby shower, a night of dancing to BORNS at the Fillmore, baseball games, dinner clubs, and Morrissey at Red Rocks where Michael and I unsuccessfully tried to sneak in our sandwiches but got denied because meat is murder and Morrissey is crazy. Jazz in the Park, my favorite way to spend Sundays in the summer, and more camping, including National Camp in Your Backyard Day at Andy's - which one of my favorite photos of the year is from as Gordon was put in timeout in the tent as we all ate dinner up on the deck. The Corpse Flower + Tan Club Pool Time at the Seasons with Jill (I'm warm just thinking about it), lots of yoga and an intimate show (both the venue, and my dancing) to see Nathaniel + The Night Sweats right before they went big time. Reason #182,384 to love Denver.

Ann, your weekend visit in August, spent with late night chats, adventures in the city, time in Pine, brunch and the Gardens, leaves me wishing you were on that short list of people who moved here this past year. The bond that we created at HotCats holds truer than ever for me today and I hope to see you again soon. I love you!

And, of course, summer date nights - there was Steve, the CD from Boulder that still has me scratching my head, six months later, thanks to one of my best dates of the year with never a second to follow, and Bobby, a real flakey character, cute Ken, and then there was Dan. When I went for a simple ice cream date on a hot summer day, I had no idea what was in store for me. This tall, sober, 38-year-old man, wearing a jean jacket, round sunglasses and turquoise jewelry who worked with his hands building beautiful pieces of mid-century furniture would teach me how to pan for gold, treat me like a woman, bring me animal spines after a long day of hiking in the desert of Colorado, introduce me to the art of getting lost in a lava lamp, show me how to spend a night in an amusement park, falling in love like two teenagers and ultimately, remind me that I deserve nothing less. For which, I am eternally grateful. And although it couldn't work between us, I will always, always hold a very special place in my heart for Dan.

Lisa and Garrett came to visit over Labor Day weekend. It was a weekend filled with the best of all worlds thanks to Summer Scream, a hike up to St. Mary's Glacier, a Rockies game, a cook-out and lots of delicious home-cooked meals (Lisa, you're the best). Tour de Fat, a visit to 1997 with the Counting Crows at Red Rocks, weekends at the Farmer's Market, cheese classes, the start of the BEST BRONCOS SEASON EVER (I can say that now, December may have sang a different tune), welcome to the world, Asher!, late nights at the Squire with Steph and yes, more camping, though this time with my new soul sista, Caitlin, rounded out the rest of September.

October was my favorite month of 2015 and that had everything to do with SNL, hot air balloons and a guy named Drew.

On October 2, the night before my flight to NYC, I went to meet at a date at Lala's Wine Bar. It was my third date of the week and fair to say, my expectations were low. My heart was still healing from Dan and I was more excited about my pending SNL weekend with my cousin than anything else. As I approach Drew, who is sitting at the bar, I'm wondering to myself "Is that a mullet?" But after a smile, some small talk and a glass of wine, the mullet and my indifference took a turn. It is in this moment when Drew told me he had a little icebreaker for us. A list of questions, created by this psychologist in the 70s. STOP RIGHT THERE, SIR. ARE YOU ABOUT TO ASK ME IF I WANT TO DO THE 36 QUESTIONS? "Do you know about this???"

Do I know? DO I KNOW? As if I am not a 32-year-old, single woman who's bible is The Modern Love column in the New York Times. As if I am not one of the millions of people that read this article, several times, and upon finding out that the experiment did work, immediately downloaded the app, only to realize that asking a man if he would like to answer a list of 36 SUPER INTENSIVE QUESTIONS TO MAKE US FALL IN LOVE, which ends in us staring in to one another's eyes for four minutes, is not exactly a realistic way to approach a relationship.

Needless to say, I embarked on this journey with Drew, as we shook on it to be 100 percent honest, with ourselves, and one another. How else would the experiment work? We settled in, opened the app and took a trip down a winding path of questions (everything from Your Ideal Dinner Guest to What Role Does Love and Affection Play in your Life to What's Your Relationship Like With Your Mother to Tell Your Partner Something You Like About Them) that I won't soon forget. After several glasses of wine, a first kiss in front of Trader Joe's, a change of scenery, a nightcap and a bike ride - we were only through the first set of 12. We made a promise to finish the other two sets, without looking ahead, after I returned from New York.

I'll stop there, as honestly, I could write a novel - a love story - about my experience with Drew, I will leave you with this. We did finish the list of 36 questions, complete with staring in to each other's eyes for four minutes, and one of us did fall in love.

Hard transition here back to reality. But with LOLS! As winning the SNL lottery and spending the weekend in New York City with Andy was another highlight of the year. What a surreal experience, and not just because of Miley and her Dead Pets, but to be there, in Studio 8H, with #1 fan Andy, on a fall night in New York City. The nights out, the shopping, the Jesse the VJ and Matthew McConaughey sightings - all rounded it out to be the perfect trip to take together, as two cousins, who are best friends, in their 30s.

We returned to Denver for a quick turnaround to Albuquerque for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (#92 completed!). Obviously, thanks to it being on that list, my expectations were sky high (pun intended) and let me tell you - it did not disappoint. With the entire Knoch clan camping in a parking lot, un-bathed for four days, waking up to balloons at sunrise and falling asleep to fireworks every night, it was THE COOLEST. I'd put it on the top of the list for family reunions and highly recommend it. I must have taken 3,293 photos but here are a few of my favorites.

Then, a few great things happened - Elliot James Wickler was born and the Smiths returned to Denver after a brief jaunt in Ohio. And, of course, Disneyland.

Honestly, I wish the year had ended on that note. But instead we all had to go through Hellsgiving. I won't go into too much detail here as I'm yet to do that with a few of the parties involved, but let's just say that it was a turning point in a friendship that meant the world to me, and had a huge affect on my day-to-day life, as well as on my family.

Then my mom broke her elbow, involving 23 screws and a few plates, with months of PT ahead of her (still). Then the heat went out in Carriage House.

So the holidays were a bit rough. But there are always high notes during the Social Season, like the Pinnacle Christmas Party, my annual Christmas dinner with Tiger, a Pauly Shore Movie Marathon, Kegs with Legs at Scream Agency, where I got to play bartender, Blossoms of Lights, Zoo Lights, precious time with family over Christmas, Jenny's Mashed Potatoes, cookie parties, skiing and of course, New Year's Eve.

As I said, I do better with even years anyway so here's to 2016!