Before we get too far into the new year, I’d like to publicly review some of my favorite moments of 2014, aside from the day-to-day pleasures of reading, cooking, consuming art and seeing friends that bring such joy to me each day.
Once again, nothing on this list is particularly earth-shattering or headline-making–just lovely reminders that the most nourishing experiences we have are typically the simplest.
1. Seeing George Clinton and Funkadelic perform live in the park adjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, with a drone hovering overhead. A religious experience.
2. Driving from Rapid City to Sioux Falls by myself in a windstorm, on the road to talk with former acquaintances of the late Joan Kroc, most of whom were in their 80s and 90s and welcoming of this inquisitive visitor.
3. Being invited to join a lama and his entourage of monks as they ate take-out Chinese food in the hotel area at the St. Paul Athletic Club.
4. Taking Ted to visit the sisters, Marcie and Esther, who my friend Diane helps out in Tucson and who have become my pen-pals. Esther, 92, passed away a few months later. The two had lived together all their lives. Eating potato chips and ice cream with sweet, funny old ladies in their kitchen was a huge highlight of the year.
5. Meeting Bhutanese refugee TP Mishra, a young and inspired journalist who runs the Bhutan News Service while working full-time and attending college. We’ve been communicating for years but had never met in person. He became a naturalized American citizen a few weeks later.
6. Spending 10 days on a writing retreat in my snowbird Aunt Mary’s lovely, empty apartment in Delray Beach, Florida, which allowed me to have dinner each night with my parents.
7. Visiting my dear friend Katherine at her glorious family home on the sound in Wilmington, North Carolina, a place I used to frequent often but hadn’t seen in years.
8. Hosting a BBQ in the backyard of my brother’s house, where we reconnected with Chris, the son of lifelong friends of our parents.
9. Hearing the cover band AC/DCeased perform at a dive bar in High Point with my brother and his colleagues.
10. Playing hymns on my iPod in Ted’s parents’ home, inspiring his mother to sing out loud as if she were in a church choir. She radiated joy.
11. My work at KCRW, which allows me to meet some pretty incredible people and makes LA seem more like a small town than the sprawling insane metropolis it is.
12. Being recognized for a HALO Award for the cooking group I lead on Skid Row, which meant attending a beautiful luncheon on Valentine’s Day with my college friend and cooking club member Liz. We were inspired to hear about the wonderful volunteer work happening around town. The best part of the award was the $25,000 check written to the Downtown Women’s Center.
13. And finally, the reopening of the pool at the Ketchum YMCA after 6 long, dry years.