2014 in Retrospect

You didn’t really think I’d miss a chance to wax nostalgic on 2014, did you?

We’ll talk about 2015 soon (boy, do I have plans), but for now, here’s last year in twelve months:

January: On New Year’s Day I move from an Airbnb house in Maryland into an apartment in D.C. with two mostly-strangers, two suitcases, and a mattress hastily purchased the day before.  There are few posts from that month, but many bewildered journal entries.  I was adjusting.


February: I have my first documented happy day in D.C. It involves, as many happy days do, a long walk, fair weather, and trying to prove my Catholic upbringing to a stranger.

I meet David McCullough at an event — or, rather, the elevator doors open and he’s there — and find him kind.

As a sort of comforting hark back to elementary school, I spend hours cutting magazine pictures to make valentines for far-away friends.

IMG_2030 March: I am delighted to discover that living in a city ill-prepared for snowfall means that when snowfall comes, the city shuts down.  I am part of a snowball fight on the National Mall.  Television footage of the snowballing reveals me to be standing awkwardly.  My story is that I was planning how the fight could be made more epic.  You may argue that I actually don’t have a good throwing arm, and on top of that, wore the wrong pants for such athletics.  Yes, you may argue that.


I am struck down with an addiction the likes of which I have never seen.  I can eat naught but bamboo, sleep only on hay and concrete, and watch only the adorable frolics of one National Zoo resident.

My baby sister comes to visit, and we have a grand old time filming a low-budget music video.  And yes, we visit the zoo.


April: I begin to decorate my bedroom with furniture found on the sidewalk.  It has proved an enduring habit (need a leather-bound Dickens?  A tea kettle?  A wicker chair?  Give me three days).

I discover sweetness in small dry cleaner’s I walk by every day.

May: I publicly vow to read 100 books by April 1st, 2015.  Some Facebook friends join me, and quickly surpass me.  I sulk in the dark with Go Dog Go.

June: My mom and grandma come to visit, which is my big chance to show off how adult I’ve become.  And then they notice that I’ve been going to work in black slacks hemmed with exposed safety pins.  They quietly spirit the pants off to their hotel room to apply hem tape and black thread.  I suspect I’ll never hear the end of this incident.


July: I set my mind to making D.C. into a real home, starting, naturally, with establishing myself as a researcher in the Library of Congress’ Main Reading Room.

I attend the Capitol Fourth celebration, which peaks with a cinematic sprint from the concert grounds to the street, where fireworks can be seen.  1812 Overture plays as we run over hot pavement and lights burst behind us.


August: A mouse dies under my bedroom radiator.  I am sad, but mostly terrified beyond sense.  I have a heart-to-heart with Robert Burns about it. 

My parents get a German Shepherd puppy, whom we–after prolonged debate–name Britta.  She’s the joy of the world, that dog.


September: I am an author escort for Kate DiCamillo at the National Book Festival.

I turn twenty-four, which feels akin to turning fourteen after a long, awkward year of thirteen.

I travel to Washington state to visit my college friends Maddie and Seth.  Many adventures ensue, from a trip to Washington’s own Bavarian village (not kidding), to Seattle, to Hurricane Ridge, to–my new favorite place–Ruby Beach:


 October: I hold my own against a sly nail buffer saleswoman.

On Halloween, I sit on the front steps next to a jack-o’-lantern I carved, with a bowl full of candy I picked out.  The children come in droves, followed by sheepish parents, and I get to know my neighbors at last.  I slip more than one Charleston Chew in my pocket for later.

November: I stay up into the wee hours on election night, waiting to see which Congresspeople will be walking around my city for the next two years.  For the first time, I actually grasp much of the process.

I celebrate Friendsgiving. It is warm and filling and successful, and no one perishes after eating my apple pie.

IMG_4021December: I participate in a marathon reading of Emily Dickinson’s poems at the Library of Congress.  My name tag has her face on it.  I shall keep it forever.


I put up my own Charlie Brown Christmas tree in D.C., but I don’t spend Christmas alone this year; I fly home.  Literally, I push the pilot out of the cockpit because he’s going too slow, and I fly us home.  I bask in friends and family and dogs for ten entire days.


Happy New Year, friends.  Here’s to a 2015 better than we can imagine.

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