Reflecting on 2009

December 31, 2009

Looking back I can’t believe that another year has passed. It does not seem like a full year has passed since we hosted the annual New Years Eve party at our house the first time. Likewise, I cannot believe all that has happened in the past year, or that it’s been a decade since I rang in the new millenium at Aron’s house with my best high school friends. Here’s a look back at my 2009:

* I learned how to quilt and fell in love with it. I took a class with Kim and Rita and while it was hard to give up a night every week to do it instead of plan lessons, I am so glad I did it. In the past year I completed 3 quilts: 1 for me, 1 for my sister and 1 to donate to Soldiers’ Angels for their holiday drive.

* Don and I spent a few days over my Spring Break back at the bed & breakfast where we were married. We were the only guests and did nothing but relax. Just before we left, Don was hired to work for the first phase of the Census. He verified addresses in our area for a few weeks. He also got involved with the volunteer fire department in our township and started training to join the force.

* I completed my first year as a teacher, and believe me, summer couldn’t have come fast enough by the end of the year! I loved my first year, but would never want to relive it. It was the most stressful, and hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Yet, most days, I couldn’t wait to go back. By the end of the year, I’d grown especially close to one of my co-workers and I count her among my very best friends now!

* We spent the summer working outside in the garden. We planted tons of tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos and green beans. We had so many tomatoes I was giving them away as fast as I could pull them off the bushes. We also learned how to can them, and made several batches of chopped tomatoes, salsa and even bruschetta. We also canned green beans, jalapenos, apple butter, and strawberry jam. A lot of them were used in homemade gift baskets for the holidays. In the process I learned a lot about gardening, including about quite possibly the ugliest worm on the face of the planet, tomato worms.

*  In May, a young, yellow lab was dropped off near our property. She was afraid of us at first, but after about a week of gaining her trust, I was able to catch her and we fell in love with her. They decided they wanted to keep her next door (which is good because she does not get along with our cat), and was named Lily after the spring since that’s when she showed up. In the last few months, she’s gone from being an outside dog to owning the house.

* A young girl was kidnapped and eventually discovered to be murdered in our town over the summer. As a firefighter, Don took me to join a search party in some heavily wooded areas. We discovered later that at the exact time we were out searching, police were on the other side of the county with her body. We suspected that they had found her while we were in the woods because they called us back really early, but we didn’t know for sure until much later. As of now, the murder still hasn’t been solved. It was really interesting to be a part of the search party, though.

* I saw Brad Paisley (for the 3rd time), Dave Matthews (for the 7th time), and the Kenny Chesney tour over the summer. Brad Paisley was awesome and it was so much fun going to a concert with Amy. DMB always rocks, even though the show wasn’t one of my favorites. I did get their new CD afterwards and love it. It was also cool to see Tim Reynolds on stage with the band again, too. As for Kenny Chesney, I suppose I enjoyed his performance, but I’m just not a big fan. I was happy to see Montgomery Gentry again, though. And though I’m still not a big fan, Sugarland was great live, too.

* Don and I went on vacation for a week with my family to the Leelenau Peninsula near Traverse City. It was awesome to see my family on an occasion other than Christmas and we had fun. My dad and I made the trek to Mackinac Island, and Don and I spent a lot of time reading. I was reminded of exactly how much I missed the Great Lakes while we lived in Denver.

* I made a couple of cool cakes and some awesome cookies over the past year. I bake a lot for my students (it’s amazing how easily high school students can be bribed to behave for a substitute with the promise of cookies or cupcakes!), but I did a cake for the grand opening of the new location of Permanent Images Tattoos, and cookies for Laura’s rehearsal dinner. I also made some cookie bouquets for Krista & Terrell’s anniversary and as a door prize for the Knights of Columbus trip to the Tigers game.

* In September, we started school again with 2 new teachers. I will totally admit that I wasn’t sure about either of them at first, but am happy that several months later, they have completed our group of non-tenured teachers, which we call “The Six-Pack.” I share a classroom with Ryan and can honestly say that I am so happy to have met him and have him working so closely with me in the expelled program. I think that our personalities match perfectly for working with those kids. We have what looks like a total love/hate relationship on the outside, but in actuality he is one of the best friends I’ve made in years.

* We attended several weddings this year, including that of my good friend from high school and her high school sweetheart. How awesome to be there, and see them get married after I attended senior prom with them. When I delivered Laura her cookies, we met at Cabelas and found that they were having a job fair so Don applied. He was hired a few weeks later as a seasonal worker, and just applied to a permanent job there.

* My aunt passed away this fall after a long time of poor health. She lived in Canada and I don’t have a passport, so I couldn’t go to the funeral. Otherwise, I was lucky enough to avoid losing other people I love this year.

* Don and I finally purchased the house we’ve been renting since we moved back to MI. How exciting! We’re finally homeowners! This officially completes “The New Plan,” which was set back in July of ’08 after I found out we were moving back to Michigan.

As always, I know there are lots of things I am forgetting, but that’s my year in a nutshell and it will be nice to look back someday and reread this and see 2009 for what it was!


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