Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007: The Year That Was

This might be my last post of the year. I've had the last week or so off, but still haven't been able to catch my breath. Don't tell anyone, but I technically, I am still Christmas shopping! I know, not like me at all. At least I got all my holiday cards out, I think. It's all a bit of a blur and I am more than ready to say goodbye to 2007, but here are some quick highlights before Dick Clark drops the ball:

Toughest thing I had to do: "
Hearts will be practical only when they are made unbreakable." The Wizard of Oz. Yeah. Still dealing with this, so I'm not going to get into it. It's been tough. It will get easier. It has to. Moving on....

Proudest Personal/Professional Moment: Completing the Greater New Haven Leadership Program. I had been nominated to be a part of this class before, but this year I really felt ready to do it. Our team developed a four part program for young girls entitled GURLZ: Just Be Yourself! We spent a day with the Girl Scouts talking to them about everything from individuality to inspiration. It was so amazing, I still get teary thinking about it. Here I am with the other GURLZ at graduation. I learned so much from these women. And I learned a lot about myself in the process. It was a wonderful experience that I will cherish forever. By the way, GURLZ stands for Grace, Uniqueness Respect, Leadership and Zest for Life!

Best "What the hell?" moment: Art Weekend II. After a lot of back and forth in my mind (and some not so subtle messages from Kev), I traveled to New Jersey to spend the weekend with some college friends I hadn't seen in years and years. We ate, drank, laughed, made art and spoke that secret language that you can only speak with people you've
known since you were seventeen or eighteen. It was just what I needed. I'm glad I went.

Best move in the right direction: Attending the National Writers Workshop this spring. You wouldn't think it would be that hard to do, but the insecure kid in me was scared to death. But I did it, and I'm really looking forward to attending the next one. I know haven't posted much lately, but attending the workshop made me think about my writing, how to make it better and how to keep it interesting for myself.

Best reason to go out on a Tuesday night:
Trivia at Anna Liffey's. I know I'm a total freaking geek, but this weekly battle of the brains really opened up a new can of nerd worms for me. The rivalry between our team and One Nut Tattoo is pretty intense. How intense? Our team name changes weekly, but is always a horrible insult to one of the One Nuts. Plus, we laugh our asses off every week and heaven knows I need that lately. Added bonus: sometimes we win cash!

Best reason to stay in on a Wednesday night:
America's Next Top Model. The PerKwans and Mrs. Deese come over, we order some food and proceed to heckle Tyra and her faux fierceness
for an hour. Is it fixed? Probably. Do we care? Not a stitch. Speaking of stitch... Honorable mention goes to Project Runway for the gayest thing on television. There's the guy with the hats who won't stop crying, the kid with the hair who uses the word "fierce" too, too much, even for a gay guy, the costume designer who reference Joan Crawford in the third episode and, of course, Michael Kors. My favorite quote from this season? "What you got there twirly girly?" "I'm making me a jacket!" This exchange took place between two men.

Best reason for a road trip to the wilds of upstate New York: Poodle's engaged! So, he calls to tell me this wonderful news and for the first time in weeks, the tears I shed are of joy. Scooter and I packed up the hybrid and drove to Ithaca for an engagement party that was not only a true expression of love, but incredibly chic. I don't want to think about how much time they spent baking, all I know is I never ate the same kind of cookie twice. This little party had everything but "Ferns, dancing, every flower east of the Mississippi, wedding cake in the dining room and the groom's cake hidden in the carport." How good was this little fete? I believe the revelers sipped their way through three, yes, THREE bottles of bourbon. Now that's a party! Next day we had breakfast burritos and coffee at the farmers' market. Oh, life in Ithaca is idyllic indeed!

Best rediscovered passion: Dancing. It started one night when I joined the group with no name for a happy hour at Hula Hanks. Next thing I know, I'm looking for people willing to put up with the college crowd just so I can get my groove on. I went out dancing so much this summer, my legs ached on Sunday mornings. It felt great! I'd forgotten how much I love to dance. I think I wore out at least one pair of shoes. Fan-freaking-tastic. Someone needs to open a club that plays Freestyle music, then I'll really be in my element.

Most beautiful place I traveled to: Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This photo says it all. No matter where I looked, there was something beautiful to see. My inner monologue basically consisted of the phrase, "holy crap, would you look at THAT!" I'm glad I went.

Best new family tradition: The Abreu family celebration hat, as modeled by my mom on her seventy-first. birthday. I was the first, but not the last to don this Seussian headpiece. No one was safe from my sister's special purchase. If you were anywhere near her house on your birthday, you were wearing the hat. You'll notice that my mother is SMILING in this picture, so it must be magical. Behold the power of the celebration hat and its ability to make the corners of my mother's mouth turn up in a photo!

I don't think anything can top that last image, so I'll sign off for now. I hope (plan, I mean plan) to be writing more in the coming year, so stay tuned.

A happy and healthy 2008 to you all!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

If you believe…

There’s a lot to be said for unpacking Christmas ornaments by yourself when you’re slightly exhausted and Do They Know It’s Christmas (Feed the World) is playing on the radio. It's a cocktail for tears. To be honest, I was fine until I found the stockings. But, then I pulled out the stockings. I eventually got myself together, blew my nose, hung the wreaths, put out Yukon Cornelius and Hermie (I know you thought it was Herbie, but it’s actually Hermie who wants to be a dentist) and started on my cards while watching back-to-back episodes of Designing Women (I admit to being a fan of Julia Sugarbaker…who isn’t?). I’m not quite full of the holiday spirit, but I’m sure I’ll get there. You know what helps? Maureen O’Hara and Edmund Gwenn.

I watched Miracle on 34th Street on Sunday. It's so freaking good. Not familiar? First of all, for shame! And secondly, here’s the IMDB synopsis: When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. How can that NOT be great, right? I think this is Natalie Wood’s first film and she’s just fantastic. The whole cast is spot on, and the overall message is good and Christmasy. “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don't you see? It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for. It's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.” That’s what Fred Gailey says to Doris Walker before he walks out on her for not believing in him and in Santa. It helps that Fred Gailey is totally hot in that 1940s pipe-smoking, fedora-wearing, sensitive lawyer with a heart of gold kind of way.

By the way, I’m the dork you hear sniffling in the theater when Santa starts speaking to the little Dutch orphan girl in…wait for it…Dutch! Her adoptive mother is all, “I told her you wouldn’t be able to talk to her, but she insisted on seeing you, and she’s been through so much…” and then, BAM! Kris Kringle speaks Dutch. I cry. Every. Single. Time. How can you not? It’s the classic example of finding that one other person who gets you. That’s what we all want. To connect and be understood and not feel isolated. And if you can't feel that way at Christmas, well what's the point?