Are you ready to put 2016 to bed? I know I am.
2016 — Shall I compare thee to a dumpster fire?
Thou art more odious and more enflamed.
With all the celebrities and other persons of note who shuffled off their mortal coils this year, lots of very sad 70s/80s kids were left in their wake. 2016 took quite a few of our childhood heroes from us: the Starman, the Candy Man, Princess of Alderaan, and the Prince of Paisley Park… just to name a few.
Tragedy also struck close to home this June, as fifty people died when a terrorist attacked the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. I can’t even begin to fathom the pain of those affected by such a horrible event. My heart breaks for them, for Florida, and in many ways for the US as a whole. Last year the LGBTQ+ community and friends celebrated the landmark Supreme Court case that finally granted marriage equality nationwide, but such a horrific event this year became a grim reminder that the fight for cultural acceptance must continue.
The political atmosphere this year has been… difficult, to say the least. Emotions were heightened by the toxic miasma hovering around our Presidential election. It seemed many people struggled with friendships and family ties fraying and unraveling, due to not just opposing political opinions, but fundamental, irrevocable differences in worldviews.
Also this year, conflicts continued to escalate over societal issues like systemic racism and police violence in marginalized communities. In addition, a brave group of Sioux and their allies successfully halted the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, sparking nationwide awareness and generating solidarity demonstrations all over the country. The future of the pipeline is still uncertain.
I had to avoid social media several times throughout the year to keep from crawling into a black hole of anxiety. I can only imagine what the 2020 election will be like. I might have to spend it on an island. I hear the Maldives are nice?
Fortunately though, I was able to salvage some good memories from the scorched wreckage of 2016.
I traveled back to New Orleans to run my first full marathon! I added to my tattoo collection with a commemorative piece:
Devon and I attended the local Welcome to Rockville music festival for the second time. The line-up was great, including Disturbed, Ghost, and Megadeth. It was my first time to see all three.
We traveled to Bali, Indonesia for World Interhash! On the way home we had a long layover in Taipei, Taiwan. The next World Interhash is going to be in 2018 in Nadi, Fiji! I’ve already started planning.
My parents, brother, and I celebrated Devon’s 40th birthday and mom’s 65th birthday with a cruise to the Bahamas.
Devon and I had our first Independence Day gathering at Villa Sargasso. The 4th is a really big deal at the beaches, so this coming year’s festivities will be even better since the deck is now finished, which will be a perfect spot to view the fireworks.
I celebrated my 34th birthday by going vegan. This was a really important achievement for me, and so far has been one of the best lifestyle decisions I’ve made. I’m actually disappointed that I didn’t do it sooner.
We didn’t die in Hurricane Matthew, but for Halloween I was Death from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman.” (Lazy costume for me since all I had to do was dress in my normal clothes and put on makeup.)
We saw Ghost again, this time at the Florida Theater. Devon scored us amazing seats as a belated birthday present for me. After the show, we hung around by the tour bus and were able to meet the band and collect a few autographs. Everyone was incredibly gracious; no photos of course, because they weren’t wearing their stage masks. It’s really exciting to have discovered a group that is still so relatively new in their career. They do have quite a following, especially after their Grammy win last year, but haven’t truly hit the mainstream yet in the States. The performances are really a theatrical experience: costumes, lights, smoke, incense, confetti, audience participation, and the lead singer’s comedic ad-libs in between songs (pretty hilarious considering he is dressed like a demonic pope).
November also marked our inaugural “Friendsgiving” at Villa Sargasso. We’re hoping to continue doing this for many years to come. The day was a great mix of both new and familiar faces.
Thanks to Chalky White Photography for capturing our pub family so wonderfully!
I ran my fourth half marathon, setting a new PR at 2:16! For reference, I only ran my first half last February and finished in 2:58. Similar to the Disney half, I expected a cold, winter run and got 80 degrees and 100% humidity instead.
And finally, Devon and spent our long xmas weekend in Orlando: no tree, no presents, no stress, no damn snow (not even a chill in the air) — just the sunshine, a nice hotel, some cocktails, and theme park rides. I’m planning to write up a post about the trip in the coming days.
Travel goals: Devon and I have vouchers from JetBlue that we need to use, and in autumn we’ll be taking a cross-country road trip to Arizona for the InterAmericas Hash. Otherwise, I’ll mostly be staying close to home and letting my bank account recover in preparation for more jetting around the globe in 2018.
Fitness goals: I’ll be running my second full marathon, and doing the local River Run 15k for the 3rd year in a row.
Home improvement goals: Finish ALL the construction. I haven’t been writing any renovation updates since I’ve come to find out that the majority of the “blood and guts” of home remodeling is not nearly as dramatic as an episode of Property Brothers or Fixer Upper makes it seem. I promise I’ll get around to sharing the progress photos from the last 16 months (!) since we got our remodel permit. (Maybe we’ll be able to finally have an official housewarming party in 2017!)
Creative goals: I’d like to purchase a GoPro and create more videos now that I’ve sort of begun teaching myself Adobe Premiere.
Peace, love, and sweet tea — see y’all in 2017!