Thursday, December 22, 2011

Year in Review and Christmas Wishes

I'm off to the ranch this week for Family Christmas Fun Time, but I would be sincerely remiss if I didn't put something fun on the blog and just reflect on the Year That Was 2011 and honor my time there, if only to acknowledge it was heads-and-shoulders better than 2010.  Plus, I'm not much of a sender of Christmas cards (why spend so much money sending something nice that's just going to get thrown away - seriously, what do people do with all those nice cards they get in the mail?)  In the spirit of the occasion, I present -

The Top Ten Great Things That Happened to Me In 2011

Well, the ten things I feel are noteworthy at least - 

10. Taking the West Desert Drama Team to Region and Qualifying for State

    I spent the first part of the 2011 calendar year working for West Desert High School and one of the most fun things I did with those kids was coaching them for Drama Competition.  Even though I have no real qualifications to be a Drama coach other than I was the only person in West Desert that had the time and was willing to do it (sometimes, that's all you really can ask for).  Three of my students performed a scene from the dramatized "Pride and Prejudice" - and for three young kids from the sticks going up against kids from small private schools (who, under no circumstances whatsoever, never, ever, ever recruit.  Nope, never), they actually made a damn good showing.  Enough that they qualified for the State competition.  Actually, my entire time at West Desert was so much fun and I actually find myself missing it from time to time.

9. Studying Abroad in Serbia

In conjunction with my Master's Degree (which I will expound upon in a moment), I had the opportunity to travel to Serbia and do some library programming with kids and teens.  It was seriously an eye-opening experience for me, who has never traveled out of the United States and never really had any plans to.  Even with some of the logistical issues we had, I just cannot forget the enthusiasm and love the librarians in Serbia had for the people they served and how much they wanted to help them.  It inspired me to be a better librarian and to really put my heart into the work I want to do now that I have my degree.

8. The Great "Wheel of Time" Re-Read (To Be Epic-ly Concluded in 2012)

I've mentioned on Twitter and Facebook that I've been reading "The Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan.  I have to give a bit of background on this - my senior year of high school, I moved to a new town and a new school where I didn't know anyone.  I kept mostly to myself for a while, but I slowly got to know people and make friends.  Part of that "making friends" thing was exchanging books and things that we were all interested in and at some point, a few of my classmates unearthed "The Wheel of Time" from our tiny school library and they were all reading them like crazy.  Since this was the era of the "Lord of the Rings" movies and I was all nuttied-out for Harry Potter, I was ready and eager for any new fantasy series to catch my attention.  Well, those classmates handed me "The Eye of the World" (book 1 in WoT) and I ate that up like nobody's business.  I proceeded through the series (as much as the school library had) and basically decided that it was Amazing (by extension, my new friends were Amazing for handing it to me).  Sadly, I graduated about the time I was finishing up "The Fires of Heaven" (book 5) and I had to turn my attention to going to college and all the fun that comes with that.  I did manage to finish up to "A Crown of Swords" (book 7) during the summer, but then I had to quit because school life was not conducive to reading a Doorstopper Fantasy series (sad day).  Even after finishing college, I had moved on to other pursuits and never got around to picking it up again.

Fast forward to working for Salt Lake County Library in 2011 - one day, someone checked in the audiobook of "The Eye of the World" and my little fangirl brain got to thinking "Hey, I have a long commute and an iPod - this could work!" I snapped up that audiobook and discovered (to my utter delight) that the library had the rest of the series on CD as well (seeing as how local author Brandon Sanderson is finishing the series since Robert Jordan passed away in 2007, of course Salt Lake County would have tons of copies available).  I started up in October and haven't looked back.  And yes, it is just as fun and Amazing as I remember it.  The only reason it isn't higher up on the list is because I'm still in the middle of where I left off before - next year when "A Memory of Light" (book 14 - Holy Shiz!) comes out and I get to finish, this might be #4 or so.  We'll see.

Honestly, though - this is more than revisiting a book series that I loved Back in the Day.  Starting "The Wheel of Time" again also reminds me of all those wonderful kids I knew in high school who befriended the New Girl at a time of life that everyone is gearing up to take off into the lone and dreary world.  And that is something I'll always appreciate (yes, I am a sentimental fool from time to time. Why is no one surprised by this?)

7. The Advent of "Traveling the Vortex" and Friday Night Who

Continuing in the fandom vein for a moment (I'll get to the Personal Story stuff soon) - 2011 marked the year of the Myrka jokes, feedback and Number 1 Fans.  Yes, folks - this year, I was introduced to Glenn and Shaun and their marvelous adventures introducing their friend Keith to "Doctor Who."  I originally reviewed their podcast back in February when it was first starting up and I enjoyed it so much (not to mention the fact it's a great way for me to be introduced to much of Classic Who without having to go through all from "An Unearthly Child" to the end. People, that 26 seasons of stuff - not to mention how many missing episodes had to be reconstructed? Oy...).  Not to mention Friday Night Who has become the highlight of my week.  It's the closest I can get right now to watching Doctor Who with a bunch of like-minded fans from all over (instead of those fair-weather "Oh, this is something you like - sure I'll watch it with you, I have nothing better to do" types - not that I don't appreciate you all!) and just have a grand old time.

For being one of the highlights of my week and my year, Traveling the Vortex gets a well-deserved spot on my Year in Review list.

6. Watching "Doctor Who" Series 6 as it Broadcasts

Yeah, I guess there's something to be said for "mainlining" a series (meaning you wait until you have all the episodes and watching them all in one go) - but there was nothing that I appreciated more than my first year of delving into "Doctor Who" on a week-by-week basis and getting to digest each episode over the course of a week (and sometimes longer than that).  It intensified the conversation, make me think harder about this stuff and increased my enjoyment of the show.  Not to mention, I got to savor the experience a lot more than when I was barreling through the David Tennant era in the course of a month.  The whole of Series 6 was a fantastic experience and, with a few minor exceptions, I loved every minute of it.

Of course, since I'm getting the boxed set for Christmas, I will also look forward to watching the entire season in the course of a week or so :)

5. Getting a Job at the Library

I don't know where other people would put this one, but since I actually got a job in a library and that's the field I want to work in - I'm pretty stoked about this.  Especially since it's in the library system I REALLY wanted to work for.  I'm still "just a substitute" - but everyone's got to pay their dues somehow.  Salt Lake County Library is a great place to work and the people are friendly and they do an amazing job with everything.  I'm still hoping to get on as a permanent hire (preferable as a children or young adult librarian - but I'll take what I can get) - but I do love my job and I am darn lucky to have it :)

4. SEAL Team Six Taking Out Osama bin Laden

No matter your politics or opinions or whatever - that was an awesome day.  God bless our troops.

3. Finishing my Master of Library Science degree

Awww, yeaaaah! Look how cool that is?

What - did you want an overly-sentimental treatise on how happy I about finishing my MLS and being done with school?  Okay - I might post a video of people singing and dancing happily.  Like this one -

Yeah, I'm just a little bit happy about this :)

2. Mark Coming Home

I took a LOT of video the day my brother came home from serving his mission in Argentina for two years.  None of it has been posted until today (I had grand schemes of editing together a video of that happy occasion, then I lost the SD cards - then I found them again, so that may still be a possibility).  Personally, I hadn't seen Mark in three years since he left while I was serving my own mission in Florida, so I was just as thrilled as anyone to have him back home.

(And if my brother has a problem with this video being posted - just remember that I'm the one sounding like a brainless moron about to burst into tears).

1. I'm an Aunt!

For the top of the list - what honestly could compete with this - the birth of my niece, Jaylee Elizabeth, beats everything else out.  Enough said.

That's only a smattering of pics of the lovable little peanut - and there will be more in the future, trust me.  Being an aunt is awesome!

There you have it - 2011 rocked in so many ways.  I have so much to be grateful for and happy about.  And I truly, truly hope 2012 capitalizes on the good things that happened here and continues to just be awesome and - now I'm rambling...

Everyone, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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