Year in Review

Dear Internet,

It’s been forever. Man, was I hoping I wouldn’t be starting any blog entries like that this year, but there you have it. These things happen. Saying sayonara to 2010 and reflecting on the good things it brought seems like a worthy topic for revitalizing this thing, though.

So 2010. 365 days of it, and most of it pretty good stuff. I got engaged to the dude I’ve been writing schmoopy, embarrassing diary entries about since the 8th grade. Now we live together in Chicago, as opposed to in separate states. And on a thankfully, blessedly quiet street in my favorite neighborhood. My niece Scarlett turned one, is beautiful, hilarious, and continues to be the collective joy of my entire family. My sister, Michelle Johnston, fulfilled her dream of traveling to Africa with Fount of Mercy, where she worked with various organizations, photographing, helping, and raising awareness. Her work and enthusiasm, her ability to appreciate life and just be happy inspires me. I nearly lost my cat, Emilio, to a bladder rupture, but now he’s healthier and happier than ever before. And cuddlier. Which involves a lot less urine on the sofa, thank god. I took a class, finally. At last, I’m silkscreening my silhouettes, and they find themselves in the format they were always intended for. I hate my job, but I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made there, and as always, the ability to read new releases with immediacy and free of cost! That is truly something to be grateful for, if you ask me.

Those are the big things I’m happy for this year. Here are some of the smaller pleasures that made my day-to-day better:

Favorite album: Hands down, Women and Country by Jakob Dylan. Listening to it is like reading a really great book. Truly a story of an album. And having Nico Case as your backup vocalist certainly doesn’t hurt. This is the album that never left the cd player (yes, we use one of those) and I have recommended it more times than I can count at this point.

Favorite single: Switchblade off the album I’m Having Fun Now by Jenny & Johnny. Crazy catchy. The whole album is like a wonderful summer day.

Favorite book (fiction): The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardigne. I can’t do this book justice, so allow me to quote Elizabeth Bird, wonder librarian, on this one:

“…at 576 pages I had just one thought upon finishing Frances Hardinge’s The Lost Conspiracy: It’s already ended? As I see it, 576 pages somehow manages, in spite of all the odds, to be too short. You couldn’t cut a scene, a character, or a word in this book for the 10 and up set without upsetting the flow. Filled with sentient volcanoes, gem-studded teeth, villains, heroes, revenge, love, and the world’s most frightening dentist, this is a book to rival The Princess Bride in scope, adventure, and excitement. It’s Hardinge’s magnum opus. One that I dearly hope both kids and adults enjoy in equal measure.

Favorite book (non-fiction): A Family of Readers: The Book Lover’s Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Roger Sutton and Martha Parravano. This book manages to get me even more excited about what is already my favorite subject: children’s literature. I think it instantly made me a more thoughtful bookseller.

Favorite picture book: Zen Ghosts by Jon J. Muth. This is the follow-up to Zen Shorts I was waiting for. Zen Ghosts though, is not just gorgeous, and not just a great Halloween read, it’s a perfect fairytale and ghost story, to be read and reread throughout the whole year.

Orrrrr…. you can see everything I read (and re-read) in 2010 by looking at my good reads profile…

Favorite website: goodreads.com; again.

Favorite blog: 100 Layer Cake; Understand something about me – I was not the girl who poured through wedding magazines or new what her dream wedding dress would look like, and I still have no idea where we’re even having our reception… but I started looking at this site long before I was engaged. I DROOL looking at it. The photography, the fashion, the food, the general DIY mentality — the 100 layer cake blog is a home for all things gorgeous.

Favorite movie?: Did I have one of those this year? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One? I was very pleased with it’s constant intensity. Toy Story 3 was the most fun. Scott Pilgrim was the most inventive. True Grit was the wittiest. Black Swan was probably was the most memorable. But what spoke to me most strongly? …somewhat strangely, as I’m aware of all of it’s flaws (the oversimplification and naivety of it’s look at mental illness, for one), but It’s Kind of a Funny Story kind of killed me. I kinda loved it.

Favorites 2010 Discoveries (oooh ahhhh): These are the things that have been making people smile stupidly for years, but I didn’t get around to until sometime in the past twelve months:

-The Tiffany Aching Adventures by Terry Prachett. Whipped through all four.
-Screenprinting. So easy. So satisfying. Why didn’t I start sooner?
-Real Simple Magazine. The best thing I get in the mail each month.
-Leggings. Warmer than tights.
-Everything bagels. After living in NYC, Chicago is a bagel and deli wasteland. Bless Trader Joe’s and their everything bagels for helping me tolerate being alive before 10 am.
-Real headphones that don’t cost $15 and break every two months.
Flub-a-Dub Chubs‘ Mr. Big hotdog and fries

Keeping my fingers crossed that 2011 brings… sewing projects, prints, more homecooking, great books, a new work experience (ahem), and finalized wedding plans! Happy new year, guys.

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