She is a deep thinker, a child prodigy of sorts with an abundance of knowledge and eloquence. She is a writer, a poet, and spins words on paper as easily as she speaks them. She is fiercely loyal, compassionate, and a great listener. She is also a science fiction-fantasy junkie, which is part of what balances the remarkable woman with childlike fun. She is Valerie, one of my dearest friends, whose life I celebrate today: her birthday.
I’m really terrible at 3D art, so I have a deep appreciation for art that is interactive. My new favorite piece is The Wish Tree by Yoko Ono (yes, that Yoko Ono). Visitors to the sculpture garden at the Hirshhorn in Washington, DC can write down a wish and tie it to a tree branch. When the tree gets full to a certain degree, the wishes are taken down and sent to Ono’s Peace Tower in Reykjavik, Iceland. I like to think that she reads each one, but that may just be a peculiar optimistic view. Regardless, it’s a whimsical piece of art with beautiful tags in a variety of languages, from the silly wish to the heartwarming wish to the sad wish, and I could have spent hours there reading each one.
……and now he has a document to prove it, though I have digitally removed his middle initial and last name so his identity doesn’t get stolen if some weirdo stumbles upon this:
He also knows how to dress for such an occasion. Seriously, the dude is one sharp dresser. Here he is, freaking out about how many pictures I’m taking:
Mom & Dad are so proud!
I am also SO. VERY. PROUD. I talk about my siblings all the time, it’s like a tic I have.
Zach is the coolest guy around: athletic, musically inclined, smart, mature, hilarious, loyal, passionate, seriously, I could go on for days. I am forever blessed to have him as my brother. I mean, isn’t he so adorable?!
Every once in a while, my grandparents will uncover things, photographs or letters or small objects, that they didn’t remember having. A few months ago, they uncovered some old photographs. By old, I mean that they are of my great-grandmother as a young woman, back when she taught in Bulgaria, before she was forced to flee her homeland for the United States. I cannot stop looking at these photos. My great-grandma died when I was 13, so I have no way of finding out who all of these people are or what became of any of them, if she even knew that. I’ve blown them up and have them framed in my room, and the curiosity will not go away.
My great-grandmother is in the front row, second from the left, with the dark kerchief tied over her hair.
In this one, my great-grandmother is the third from the right, wearing a long, dark gown with her hand up to her chin. Pretty impressive for early photography, considering how long they all would have had to hold these positions.
I’m terrible with resolutions, so I’m not making any this year. Instead, I’m reflecting on a year of ups and downs, focusing more on the ups, however big or small they were.
My parents have continued to lovingly welcome me to live in their home, rent-free. They’re pretty awesome.
I was able to celebrate my Baba’s 80th birthday with her:
I reunited with my dear former apartment-mates, Meggie, Amy, and Casey in Chicago. Through the wonders of technology, we were joined by Whitney in Bulgaria, via Skype.
I’ve been able to spend more time with dear friends, like Megan & Valerie.
I celebrated the weddings of many special people this past year, including:
Tom & Christine Chiaccio
Ben & Kerrie Taylor
Steve & Cortney Conn
Zach & Janelle Taylor
I’ve rejoiced with loved ones who have brought new life into the world. Welcome to the babies!!!
Baby Theresa, whom I do not yet have a picture! Babies yet to arrive are Baby Oakleaf and Baby Constantino, and I’m excited for them all.
I’ve become a member of a church plant that has given me a huge family to be a part of, and they bless me immensely.
I’ve met a world of bloggers who are artists, cooks, writers, and thinkers, and they continue to inspire and delight me each day. Basically, 2010 was about reconnecting with people. People can be the worst part of your day, but they are also what makes life most beautiful.