10. My blog -- I started this blog in June mostly as a way to keep in touch with friends, particularly my best friend who had just moved to Ohio. It was initially a place to tell funny stories, review movies I'd seen, and generally "be Mel." Over the course of the past six months, it's become more as it's given me the opportunity to meet new people, spout off about my political opinions, and find a voice I never knew I had. I've been a slacker posting here lately mostly out of being busy at work and also just not being sure what to post about, but I'll always be here.
9. Show Tunes channel -- My digital cable includes many, many digital music channels which I never really took advantage of when I lived in my old apartment. When I moved, I suddenly "discovered" these channels, particularly the show tune channel which has become my best friend on Sunday mornings as I cook breakfast and my sis and I sip coffee at the kitchen table, discussing politics, our plans for the week, or the brilliance of Patti LuPone.
8. Phish -- My fall was rocked with the news that Phish was coming back. While I didn't get tickets to their spring shows (nor did I try because of work), I am hopeful that a journey back to Phish-land will be a part of my summer. A desperate attempt to reclaim my youth? Perhaps. But it's also a way to reconnect with old friends, including 4 scruffy guys from Vermont who shaped my 20's.
7. Cobie Callait's "Bubbly" -- I seriously love this song. Whenever I hear it, it never fails to put me in a happy mood. Whenever I hear it, I am immediately in my yard, gardening or mowing my lawn with my mp3 player strapped on. It's a great, mellow summer tune.
6. Netflix -- I joined Netflix again this year, and this time, it's stuck. I think what's made Netflix such a winner with me is the ability to watch things instantly on my computer. I've loved being able to go back and watch first and second season episodes of 30 Rock or "discovering" Weeds, which I've never seen because I don't subscribe to Showtime. Plus, it's nice to just come home to that red envelope and know there's something good inside.
5. Hamlet 2 -- Speaking of something good . . . . I haven't seen a ton of movies this year (I really only have time to go to the movies during the summer, so my last trip to the multiplex here in town was to see Tropic Thunder). Thanks to Netflix, though, I've been able to catch up and see movies I didn't get around to, including this great flick. It's hands-down my favorite movie of the year, and perhaps I'll get around to posting a full review later. Suffice it to say, that it's my kind of funny -- absurd, dark, and totally wrong yet totally hilarious.
4. My job -- I've posted a lot here about this. I am really lucky to have found a job that is so rewarding, so challenging, and even, I have to say, so fun. This year brought new challenges as I took over from my mentor in coaching speech and directing drama. (I actually took over in the fall of 2007). 2008 saw me taking my speech team into Regionals and emerging with 5 events qualifying for Sectionals, where one of my kids made it to finals but not to State. 2008 saw me directing my first musical -- Oklahoma! -- without the support of a huge staff to support me. I also fulfilled a dream I'd long had of staging The Matchmaker and hosting my own tournament (which was a huge success). It's a job that takes a lot out of me, but it's a job that gives a lot, too. And not just money.
3. My house -- I moved this year. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Yeah, I'm spending a lot more in rent which has hit my checkbook rather hard at times, but the happiness the house provides is worth the decreased cash flow. I'd lived in my previous apartment for almost 6 years and had grown used to my complaints about it -- it was drafty, it needed a lot of work that my landlord wasn't willing to put in or pay to have done, the kitchen was tiny, there was no yard, the neighbors were icky. I put up with it for a long time, and then . . . I just couldn't anymore. (And yes, a lot of it had to do with the appearance of a snake in my living room -- again.) Who knew that this house was out here waiting to provide me with space (I have a den -- and a garage -- and closets like crazy!) and a yard and a home that really feels like mine.
2. 30 Rock -- Nothing, NOTHING, makes me laugh like this show does. When I'm at my most stressed, Liz Lemon and the gang make it all go away, if only for 30 minutes.
1. Sasha and Malia Obama -- Barack and Michelle are hitting number one on most year-end lists, so I'm giving props to Sasha and Malia. Those kids freakin' rock. They seem to have the right balance of precocious and polite. My father always used to say that my sister and I were a reflection on him (and therefore that is why we were expected to behave ourselves and why he wasn't overly keen when I went through my ripped jeans phase), and so if I hold to that philosophy, Sasha and Malia are a reflection on the man we've chosen to be president. I think we're going to be okay. If he can turn out these charming little girls, imagine what he can do for us!