Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking back at 2011 ... Part I

2011 was an amazing year for me.  Sure, there were some downs, but the ups outweighed them.  Let's look back, shall we ...

In January, I accepted a new job at my alma mater.  After nine years in the newspaper industry, including five in the same town, I was burned out.  I wanted a new challenge and a change of scenery.  OK, so going back to the town where I went to college isn't exactly new scenery, but it was still a good change.

In February, I packed up and moved two hours north to start my new job.  Most of my stuff stayed in boxes and tubs since I was in temporary housing. But this wouldn't last long.  Toward the end of the month, after a week off, I actually reported to my new job and began to make the transition from writing for news to writing for marketing.

In March, I began the process of buying my first house. It was a bit of a forced purchase, I must confess.  Lack of rental properties in my new location (especially furry children-friendly rental properties) forced me into the realm of home ownership.  This is not a bad thing, and, in fact, I think it's turned out just fine.  I looked at about nine different houses. Ironically, the one I chose was the first one I looked at. I wasn't even interested in it when I first saw it because I was convinced I needed a basement (hello! I live in the Midwest!).  I put in an offer on another house across town, but the sellers weren't willing to come down into my range, so I had to re-evaluate my priorities.  It was a blessing, really.  That other house would have been too much.

Mine, all mine!
 In April, I moved into my new house.  My first house.  All 1,008 square feet belong to me. As does the one-car attached garage and the lot surrounding the house.  Three bedrooms all for me.  OK, so one is for the cats, but the other two are all mine.  It was pretty exhilirating to sign all those final papers.  And the move-in was pretty smooth.  I moved a bunch of stuff Friday afternoon, but we moved the bulk of it in just two hours on Saturday, thanks to my parents, a few friends (yay Justin and Kayleen) and one student worker (another Justin).  The month ended with the wedding of two friends, Jennie and Jacob.  Their wedding was fabulous, and it was good seeing old friends again.

May was mostly spent settling into my new house and cheering on the Buena Vista Beaver baseball team in their first ever D3 College World Series appearance.

In June, I was on the road. A lot. I went to Minneapolis to visit friends and see my Rangers play in Target Field.  (They lost.)  I also got my first ever manicure that weekend and tried Zumba (hooked!).  I made a spontaneous purchase of second row seats at the Michael Buble concert and drove to Des Moines and back in the same night.  I never regretted it.  At the very end of June, I embarked on a last minute (planned two weeks out) road trip to Milwaukee for Summerfest.  Again, so worth it.  Oh, and June was also the month I found out my friend, Heather, was pregnant! (Her little girl is due just a few weeks from now.)

The Buble concert turned this casual fan into a major one.
Me with my Brice girls at Summerfest.

Me with Tim Stop(ulos) -- my main motivation for going to Summerfest.

Whew.  

This year was so busy, I think I need to split the reflection into two posts.

You'll have to come back tomorrow for Part II.

In the meantime, you have until 10 p.m. tonight to enter my Christmas Eve Giveaway.

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