2012 started off like every other year: full of hope, inspiration, new experiences, and new opportunities. I declared in the beginning of the year that this would be “The Year of Christa”! I was still high off of my recent weight loss and the glowing promise of a new year held me in its grip.
As I sat down to write this narrative of my year, I initially thought that it was not that great and that the “Year of Christa” should have a repeat for better results. But as I remembered the events that you will read in a moment, I realized that while it was not a totally epic year, it was pretty darn good. So I am going to take you on a trip down memory lane with the events of 2012 that have shaped me to who I am today.
January of 2012 brought my annual work review. I love where I work and I really enjoy my coworkers. I would like to do something different within the company, but have been told no for the past two years. My heart was broken, but not too bad, as I had now had three rejections under my belt. I’m sure it builds character. January was not all bad though; I was able to bounce back quickly with a concert that included Mansions and The Front Bottoms.
February shaped up to be a lovely month. It was full of love, and not just for Valentine’s Day. The cause of my love was seeing The Darkness perform again. I had last seen them in 2004 and was very happy that they had come together again. And if they were not enough, I fell in love with one of their opening bands, Foxy Shazam. I closed out February with the Southern Gentleman Tour which featured Ed Roland (Collective Soul) and Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra). This acoustic show was fantastic as they played off each other, played each other’s songs, and told funny stories.
March roared in like a lion by giving me an opportunity to meet one of my favorite authors, Joyce Carol Oates. Remember how I said I fell in love with Foxy Shazam in February? Well, I got to see them again! It was the tiniest venue I have ever seen a band in; so tiny, that I mapped out our exit in the event of a fire! I expanded my musical selection in March by also seeing Grouplove and Young the Giant. I went to the show pumped up for Young the Giant, but walked out of there with all of my love for Grouplove. St. Patrick's Day was celebrated by the Benders with many friends and many bars.
April started off with my friend Autumn moving in with my husband and I (cue the theme from Three's Company). The best part of her arrival is her dappled doxie named Isa Bear! I stayed away from concerts that month, so my ears were thankful. In April I was preparing myself for the “Summer of Christa”; which meant that I was thinking of taking long weekends at the beach. Even though summer was still unofficially a month away, I started to dream of sand and water. And in between my dreams I continued to work full-time and work on my bachelor’s degree part-time.
May brought a road trip up to the Big Apple. A van full of people trekked through Staten Island to Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. The day started at Brooklyn Brewery. The tour was short as the brewery is in the process of renovations. We tasted some of the beers that would never see the shelves of our local beer store. On our drive to Queens I squealed with delight and made our driver pull over so that I could get a picture under the Silvercup Studios sign (yes, I’m a Highlander fan). We then made our way over to the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria. There was some sort of celebration going on that day, so that meant an oompah band to help us wash down Czech beer and Slovak food. Sitting there in the oldest beer garden in New York City, you would never have known you were blocks from the El and right in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the United States. After we survived a quick rain storm and were thoroughly soaked, we then ventured into Manhattan to visit McSorley’s Old Ale House, which was established in 1854 and is the oldest watering hole that has been continually operated in New York City. It is a sight to see if you have never been there. Be prepared to have your drink ordered doubled as we ordered 10 beers and received 20. That is the customary serving at McSorley’s. Your choices of beer: light or dark. Who makes the beer? I have no idea. All I know is that you drink your beer and don’t nurse it or else you’ll be thrown out. We happened to be there during Fleet Week so we were bumping elbows with plenty of sailors, which added to the charm of the bar.
Ah, June has arrived! While it was now officially the “summer of Christa” I had yet to make it to the beach. I wasn’t worried; the summer still had plenty of potential. I started the month by attending Comic Con in Philadelphia. I was so excited as I was finally able to meet Lou Ferrigno! I also met Stan Lee, Anthony Michael Hall, Kai Owens, Chris Hemsworth, Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery, Bruce Cambpell, Melissa Joan Hart, and “Uptown” Kevin Brown. The event was four days long and I spent three days there! I wasn’t the only nerd in my family as my cousin Billy and his children were there also, so we got to mix pleasure with family (but not in a weird way). Later in the month I was excited to see the energetic band The Hives. They put on a fabulous show and it was the only show of 2012 where I met a guy who lost his shoes and his shirt was dancing.
So far, the year had been pretty good. Perhaps it was my year after all! Well, July had other plans for me. Halfway through the month I unexpectedly lost my mother. My world as I knew it came crashing down around me. I had known friends who had lost parents and while I had expressed my condolences and support, I never really understood their loss. I do now. I am still amazed at the outpouring of support and concern that I continue to receive from coworkers, friends, and family.
August didn’t bring too much of anything. I was going through the paces and getting myself back together. The summer of Christa didn’t happen. Perhaps it will in 2013.
September brought me Peter Gabriel. Not literally, just in the form of a concert. The show itself was great, but it was definitely the weirdest crowd I had ever been in for a concert. This tour was the So album in its entirety, plus other classics. I think for most of the crowd this was their first concert since the So album came out 25 years ago…people didn’t want to cheer or stand up. Very strange.
October started off with a bang with the celebration of my cousin John’s wedding to his beautiful wife Dolly. It was a grand outdoor wedding on a farm in the middle of nowhere Virginia. October also brought my 6th annual Oktoberfest celebration to my house.October brought a cold Halloween and as usual we had few children come to our house (yes, we are allowed to have our lights on that night). So I made sure I bought candy that my husband and I like!
November started off with a bang with a third Foxy Shazam concert. I am beginning to think I have a problem! I finally took a trip to the ocean and had a fantastic time, even though it was not bikini season. I celebrated Christamas (my birthday) in November by attending the Classic Beer Festival. This was our fourth time attending this particular beer festival in Split Rock and it was a great time as always. Thanksgiving was spent with my aunt Rose and her family. It was nice to try something different this year; I’m not sure if it will become a new tradition, but sometimes change is good.
December brought me the Valley Forge Beer Festival. Our group attended the morning session this year and I absolutely fell in love with Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer. Christmas Eve brought me, my brother, and my dad together. December also brought me the chance to have lunch with a friend that I have not seen since high school. Gina and I have known each other since elementary school, when we would pretend to be sisters on the days we were our matching purple sweater vests. I also got the chance to reconnect with my best friend from school, Sarah. I have not spoken or seen her since 11th grade, so 2013 is bringing the promise of a reunion. Christmas Day took me back to my aunt Rose’s house for another new experience. I ended December with another gathering of family at my aunt Donna’s house where there was four generations of people ranging from 8 years old to 94 years old.
My husband and I will be ringing in the New Year tonight at our home. But before that, we will be attending a James Bond themed symphony performance.
This trip down memory lane has served me well. It has made me realize that despite the devastating loss that I suffered this year that I have amazing friends and family that helped me through it. I also did a whiz-bang job of seeing a lot of concerts!
Happy New Year my friends and I hope that 2013 brings you joy and prosperity.