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Anything for a Good Time: The Best of 2018

Tess waves to the crowd from the float, 1 January 2019.

I kicked off the new year last January by graduating from my fantastic MFA program, and all kinds of good things have happened since then. I wrote a lot. Patrick saved the day at work countless times. Christian's candidate won his election. James wrote, directed, and starred in a short student film and and wrote several Medium articles while maintaining excellent grades at UC Berkeley. Hope left on her church mission to the Boston area and loves it. (She'll come home the day before Thanksgiving!)

Tess sang at the Oregon Bach Festival, applied to a bunch of colleges, and was chosen to be one of three princesses on our town's Rose Parade float. Daniel finished middle school (just one more to run that gauntlet) and is busy writing music on his new synthesizer. Anne won her school's readathon (her prize was a Kindle fire!). Our delightful niece, Faith, moved in with us.

We took a family vacation to Hawaii. Patrick and I got to spend a blissful week with dear friends in Cabo San Lucas. Our corgi, Moneypenny, got down to her goal weight, and she's still the cutest dog in the world. Though we endured plenty of challenges, generally, we had good times all around!

This was also a great year for books, movies, music, food, and TV, as you'll see below. 

Top Ten Books Read:

10. The Marsh King's Daughter, by Karen Dionne

9. The End We Start From, by Megan Hunter

8. Await Your Reply, by Dan Chaon

7. The Flavia de Luce series, by Alan Bradley

6. Lost Connections, by Johann Hari 

5. The Changeling, by Victor Lavalle

4. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

3. Educated, by Tara Westover

2. An Early Resurrection, by Adam Miller

1. Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

I don't rank books by friends, but if I did, Julie Berry's Lovely War would definitely be on this list. 

Top Ten 2018 Movies Seen:

10. Bohemian Rhapsody

9. Crazy Rich Asians

8. A Simple Favor

7. A Star is Born

6. Blindspotting

5. First Reformed

4. If Beale Street Could Talk

3. A Quiet Place

2. Shoplifters 

1. Hereditary

Most Enjoyable TV Watched:

10. Dark

9. Call My Agent!

8. Dear White People

7. Queer Eye

6. The Haunting of Hill House

5. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season 1)

4. Vikings

3. The Great British Baking Show

2. Jack Ryan

1. The Good Place

Best Music Discovered:

Freedom Fry

The Gloaming

Best Meals:

Grilled corn, duck quesadillas, and Mexican hot chocolate at Comal in Cabo San Lucas

Soup dumplings, green beans, and sesame noodles at Wang Xing Ji in San Gabriel

Best Vacation Moments: 

Hanging out in an infinity pool overlooking the Pacific at the very tip of Baja California

Night snorkeling with manta rays in Kona

What will 2019 hold? I'll continue breaking up with Big Data. I'll write every day and hopefully find an agent. I'll renew my efforts to learn Mandarin while continuing to chase fluency in French. I'll keep teaching seminary. We'll take the family to Oxfordshire for another house exchange this summer. Tess and Faith will go off to college, and Anne will start middle school.

All in all, life just keeps getting better, and for that, I'm forever grateful. 

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