I'm going to take a hack at doing Traveling with T, Estella's Revenge, and Girlxoxo's #AMonthofFaves again this year, despite the fact that writing 4 posts for it will easily double the amount of posts this blog has seen this year. I miss writing, and this year has been a sort of slumpy year in blogging, reading, and life. This first post prompt is for general favorites of the year, but I think I'm going to tweak it a little and get a little reflective on you, but it's okay, lots of a favorites are involved in my reflection. No books, though, there's plenty of other book-centric prompts!
This year was a mixed bag, which is better than I expected of it. I cried driving home from my New Year's Eve celebration last year. For the first time that I could remember, I didn't expect the new year to be a new start, a chance at doing life better, enjoying things more. My job was, and in many ways continues to be, a train wreck burdened with too many projects in too little time for an organization that sometimes seems to take on big moves just to be able to say it's not standing still.
In a way, I was right. This year was a struggle, but certainly not one worth crying over. In the midst of struggle at work, I found my voice in my career in a way I never have. I've gotten to know my co-workers better than I ever have. Outside of work, the year hasn't been even half bad. I found plenty to enjoy in a year full of challenges, and plenty of events and things to call my favorite. Here are some:
"Favorite" Work "Event" - Go-live palooza. I work in lab IT. Occasionally, our health system sees fit to merge with another hospital and then after a time, we go there and make them switch to our lab applications. When we do, we go on site to ease the transition/become ambassadors of goodwill, or something. We did a big one this spring, full of 10 hour shifts and too little staff and trying to keep the wheels on the bus. It was challenging. It was also like 2 or 3 weeks of "summer camp" with your co-workers, staying in a comped hotel room and eating reimbursable meals. Even after working a 10 hour second shift, we eked out time to eat and drink together every day, and I remembered why I took my job and how much I enjoy my co-workers. Sub-favorites Discovered at Said Trying Work Event: Bully Hill Riesling and Bonefish Grill's Bang Bang Shrimp.
Favorite Sport - Baseball! I am an unapologetic Yankees fan *ducks the flying rotten vegetables*, and it was positively awesome watching the new generation of Yankees already showing such promise. I'm a hundred percent in the Aaron Judge fan club and was downright gleeful watching him win the home run derby and otherwise being awesome. This year's team was the most fun team to watch since I first became a fan in the 1990s. Also, I went to more minor league baseball games than ever this year (mostly AAA Yankees in Scranton Wilkes-Barre with a brief diversion to City Island in Harrisburg to watch the Harrisburg Senators).
Favorite Gift - My oldest friend sent me a copy of the illustrated Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It's beautiful and signed and an especially meaningful gift for us.
Favorite "Living Your Best Life" in Small Town America Moment - Actually consistently going to my town's small farmer's market that is getting a little bigger and a lot better all the time, buying and trying things when they're actually in season, chatting with the guy who grows the best cherry tomatoes. Sub-favorite: Raspberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and Caprese salad (even a culinary incompetent like myself can make it).
Favorite Vacation - Cape Cod in the fall. This is one of those vacations that I romanticized to death in my mind before finally recruiting a willing participant and making the trip. Amazingly - amazingly it was everything I thought it would be. We did all the Cape Coddy things - ate lobster, walked on boardwalks, sat on beaches, collected pretty beach rocks, waded through a flooded marsh (oops), saw the harvesting of cranberries, visited with wild seals, browsed an adorable bookstore and were generally just stupid lucky (like accidentally still being in the beach parking lot with a clear view when the harvest moon rose, getting off the beach with all the seals just as it started to pour rain, and also randomly picking a beach to watch the sunset where we were actually faced the right way to watch the sunset). Sub-favorites: lobster roll, the beach in the off-season when I don't have to wear a swimsuit or deal with crowds, Titcomb's Bookshop in East Sandwich, the Earl of Sandwich Motel (where they have canopy beds, a "camp fire" every night, and the most reasonable of prices).
- Mint Lemonade from Pitango Bakery in Fells Point (Baltimore) - It's more refreshing on an unexpectedly 90 degree day in late September, even if that weather is *not* a favorite.
- Six - the history channel's Seal Team 6 show
- Hand soap from Bath and Body Works - I'm currently hooked on the Winter Cypress, but Ocean Citrus kept me smelling good all year.
- Cards Against Humanity - I thought I wouldn't be able to find people to play this with me. I was wrong.
- Summer campfires (minus the camping) - Who doesn't love chatting over s'mores?
- Litsy - I discovered it last year, but like it more this year. I mostly use it to afflict people with quotes I find interesting and to quickly discover more books to add to my wish list (I'm LeafingThroughLife there if you want to look me up!