I am such a sucker for year-end lists and superlatives of any kind, I would happily read a “Best Of” ranking scrawled on the wall of a dirty bar bathroom. So here is a list of my favorite things of 2018, scrawled on the wall of the metaphorical dirty bar bathroom that is my blog.
North American Stadiums by Grady Chambers
This is a book of poetry that even people who think they don’t like poetry need to read. It’s a book about road trips and sports and America and family and fear and loneliness. There’s barely been a day since I bought it that I haven’t picked it up, opened to a random page, and been inspired and/or emotionally destroyed.
“Ashes” by Celine Dion
I keep an updated list of my Top 100 Favorite Celine Dion Songs with me at all times, and let’s just say it caused quite a stir among my Celine Dion fan friends that this song cracked not just the top 10, but the top FIVE within days of its release.
“Party for One” by Carly Rae Jepsen
The soundtrack you need for the living room dance parties you need to distract you from the fact that Trump is president and climate change is going to kill us all.
“Starcrossed Losers” by The Fratellis
I have played this song so many times over the past few months that even Spotify was like, “Seriously, bruh? Sure you don’t want to mix it up a bit?” No, Spotify, I do not.
“En cas de tempête, ce jardin sera fermé” by Coeur de Pirate
I have a raging girl crush on Coeur de Pirate (I’ve also been told I kind of look like her, but let’s not get into the Freudian implications of those two statements being true, yeah?). This album is moody and fun and beautiful and meaningful even if you don’t speak French (which I definitely do not).
“Interstate Gospel” by Pistol Annies
The Pistol Annies are so fucking good, you guys. Nick and I went to their concert last month and just openly sobbed the whole time because we love them so much and their music has been the soundtrack to some really tough (and really good) times in our lives. This album is a masterpiece.
“The Stranger” by Billy Joel
We’ve all gotta do what we can to soothe ourselves during these uncertain and turbulent times. I’ve been listening to a lot of Billy Joel.
Sports Without Balls
I could listen to Erin Foley talk about sports all day. I love her humor, her knowledge, her nerdiness, and especially the way she advocates for women’s sports not because she’s a woman, but because she’s a sports fan. ESPN: please give her a damn show.
Rory Scovel and Daniel Van Kirk are two of my favorite comedians, and this podcast strikes such a delightful balance between earnest and absurd.
This is a podcast about baseball, but more importantly: what does it mean to be a baseball fan?
Getting married at the courthouse downtown after 14 years together. Celebrating with champagne and tacos.
Overseeing an arm wrestling tournament between my brothers at a bar called Dr. Feelgood’s.
Watching the sunset over Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, while eating a maple creemee.
Seeing Nine Inch Nails at Red Rocks. (Except the part where Trent did a 10-minute saxophone solo. That was very upsetting.)
Dinner at Bastion.
Tumbling through the wall of a red phone booth in Atlanta and into the coolest speakeasy/cigar bar.
Making counting-related jokes with guys from the Census at a conference. (Funnier than it sounds.)
Co-creating an awesome, supportive and talented art collective.
Drinking wine on Christiana’s roof.
Nick bringing pastries to his favorite author and her asking him to marry her, in front of me. (I was like, “Honestly don’t let me get in the way. I want you two to be happy.”)
Doing a ridiculous photoshoot with Katelyn that involved kitchen tongs and a stuffed squirrel and laughing until I cried.
Road tripping to Bloomington with my mom.
The look on Jess’s face when Garth Brooks walked on stage at the Grand Ole Opry.
Running around Des Moines frantically trying to reassemble a lost conference booth from elements found at World Market, Best Buy and TJ Maxx. So stressful in the moment, but so absurd I can’t help smiling when I think about it.
Seeing Livability.com surpass 10 million visitors.
Favorite Text That Became My New Motto