2008 Year in Review

I will not lie. 2008 was probably the most difficult of my life, right up there with 2003 (when my ex-husband went psychotic and we got divorced). To save you from reading my 249 blog entries of 2008, I have prepared my longest blog post ever to truncate the insanity of the year. Here’s the rundown on what happened to me in 2008:

Jan 1, 6:00 am – Began driving cross-country to move to Canton, Michigan with my brother Jacob
Jan 4 – Moved in with the Pearce Family for two weeks awaiting our move-in date at our apartment
Jan 9 – While enrolled in 17 credits for school, began searching for full-time work
Jan 11 – Received a call that my father had been in a horrific car crash in Utah. He was taken in to a nine-hour surgery as I packed my bags and non-revved to SLC on the next available flight
Jan 12 – Appointed to by the family representative to make medical decisions for my dad
Jan 13 – Started his accident blog to keep family and friends notified (this link shows the extent of his injuries). Also told by Elder Dickson of the Quorum of the Seventy that the First Presidency of the Church was personally praying for his recovery.Word spread like wildfire and we had people all over the world praying for him.
Jan 14 – Called together a family counsel meeting with all family members, some extended family and our bishop to make a plan to run the family (groceries, paying bills, housework, etc)
Jan 16– Flew back to Detroit to prepare to move into my new apartment. Dad is trached and goes in for his third surgery. Still sedated and on life support
Jan 19 – Dad begins to breathe on his own without the ventilator, comes off much of the sedation. Rosie and I need a break, and go to California for 2 days to attend John and April’s wedding reception.
Jan 21 – Dad’s left leg is amputated just above the knee due to widespread necrosis. His right leg is injured, but not in as critical condition as the left.
Jan 22 – Flew back to SLC and tried to not get depressed with dad’s ICU psychosis
Jan 24 – Dad is transferred out of the ICU to the 11th floor with the amazing mountain view
Jan 25 – I wait in the surgery waiting room for his “full amputation surgery” where the stump was shortened, revised and closed with sutures
Jan 26 – My friend Kathryn, a concert violist from California, gave my dad a personal concert in the hospital, and then we went out for some non-hospital girl time at the Tavernacle and Melting Pot
Jan 27 – My dear prophet, Gordon B Hinckley, passes away from incidents of old age

Feb 2
– Michigan receives a huge dumping of snow and Rosie’s school is canceled. We travel into Ann Arbor for a day of frolicking and for two Fox Elipsus shows
Feb 3 – President Hinckley’s funeral, and a special fast is held for my dad’s recovery
Feb 4 – Thomas S. Monson is appointed the new president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and dad passes his swallow test and celebrates with a chocolate milkshake
Feb 5 – I celebrate my 28th birthday with lunch at Chili’s with Taylor and a homemade cake. As the greatest gift imaginable, my dad was transferred from the hospital to Aspen Ridge Transitional Rehab, which will become his home for the next 4 months. Also have a super-fun birthday with Taylor’s pilot friends and a few neighbors a few days later.
Feb 10 – Rosie and I go back to SLC for 5 days to spend with dad at Aspen Ridge. Dad gets to visit home for the first time since the accident. Taylor’s beloved car, The Silver Bullet (’97 Accord) bites the dust, and he replaces it with a green 2002 Civic
Feb 19 – I go to California for 4 days of ME time. Disneyland with Grant and Hollie, Disneyland with Clint, Liz time, and a lovely day with friends with Nathan McEuen in Ventura
Feb 22 – Dad has his 6th surgery, this time on his right knee. The damage is much worse than originally expected, and the long-term prognosis for the leg’s usefulness is realized.

March 3
– Have two awesome interviews at University of Michigan Medical Center, and we celebrate as a family with Turkey O’Toole’s at Bennigan’s
March 7 – I get offers for both jobs at U of M, and accept the postion in Thoracic Surgery
March 8 – Rosie and I take an impromptu weekend celebratory trip to Providence, Boston, and New Haven to see 3 more Fox Elipsus shows
March 13 – I ship off to Boston for 5 days of Irish fun with my Irish Princess friend Nicole, and we spend the next few days with Terawrizt, Lethal Dialect, The Bawston Strangla, and Shaymin. I come down with a nasty illness that will plague me for the next month
March 18 – Drop Cola off at the airport, and drive to Nantasket Beach to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, before returning to Boston for a few more hours of sightseeing and flight back to Detroit
March 20 – In an impulsive moment, I agree to head up the planning committee for my 10 Year High School Reunion
March 25 – Take one last trip to SLC before taking on the shackles of full-time employment. Nathan McEuen gives my dad a concert at Aspen Ridge
March 31 – I start my job at U of M, and New Kids on the Block officially announce their reunion tour

April 16
– Saw Ben Folds in concert at Adrian College with Mike and Erin
April 20 – Went to the ER for an grapefruit-sized ovarian cyst rupture. Diagnosed with PCOS.
April 25 – Assist Utah does an evaluation of my parents’ home in Murray, and decide that the renovations to the house are too extensive to warrant a renovation. They will need to find a new home.

May 5
– Began my parent-dentist relationship with Dr. Kam, who received thousands from me in the next 7 months. He did a great job, unlike my CA dentist
May 15 – Complete the most difficult school semester of my life, and have to take an incomplete on my first class ever. Flew to California for two days for Chris and Mary‘s wedding, a trip to the Huntington with Liz, and to celebrate Syttende Mai with Brett
May 23 – Take a two-day trip to Palmyra, NY and Niagara Falls, by way of Ontario, Canada. We stayed with Alan, my old HS boyfriend, in Rochester. He treated us to Dinosaur BBQ. Yum!

– My summertime slump. Thank you Prozac for fixing me.

– Attended Grandpa Dale Bullock’s funeral, dealt with a bad month of Taylor’s schedule, cut 7 inches off my hair, Lissy’s twins Sarah and Phoebe were born, spent a weekend in Northern KY with my old Ricks College roommate Stacey, and I went insane planning my HS reunion. Dad is done with Aspen Ridge My parents move out of their home of 15 year on Green Oaks Drive in Murray, and move into the Brigham Apartments in downtown SLC

Aug 2
– MHS X, the high school reunion, came off much better than all the nightmares that plagued me about it for weeks. I already knew everything going on with the people that attended because I read their blogs. I relinquish the responsibility back to the class officers for the next reunion
Aug 8 – Enjoyed the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I was a total Phelps Phan.
Mid-August – . Grandma Joyce in Portland decides to sell her house and move to SLC. My parents house goes on the market. I also reconnected with a bunch of my old Balmoral ladies through blogging
Aug 30 – My coworker Kay gives me the hook-up through a friend for tickets to the Utah – Michigan football game at the Big House. We wear red. Utah wins.
Aug 31 – Receive a random, smug message from Tim, the guy I dated right after my divorce, that temporarily sends me into an emotional tailspin. (History: I was madly in love with him, we were planning our wedding, and then he suddenly breaks up with me in a email. No contact for almost 5 years, then a message at 3 am after finding my blog) Actually, this is the year that EVERY man I ever dated got in touch with me through my blog or Facebook. Even Niko from Finland. Kinda creepy. Rosie and I drive to Lansing on a whim to meet up with Taylor for the night at his crew hotel.

Sept 2
– Rosie begins 2nd grade
Sept 13 – We spend Rosie’s birthday in SLC, and have a wonderful family turn out for her
Sept 21 – After months of deliberation, Taylor decides to take the CRJ-900 upgrade in Atlanta. He puts in his bid for January, he gets assigned for training in October.
Sept 22 – Taylor turns 29. One more year till 30!

Early October
– Begin revising resume and applying for jobs, and enjoy the most beautiful autumn that I’ve ever remembered
Oct 8 – Taylor and I celebrate our Four Year Anniversary We spend the weekend in Atlanta checking out neighborhoods and apartments, and prepare for Taylor’s move to ATL.
Oct 17 – Spend a family day in HELL, MICHIGAN and go to the Christmas Store in Frankenmuth
Oct 22 – Taylor leaves for Memphis and Montreal for 10 days of upgrade training. The pilot widow lifestyle resumes…
Oct 25 – Rosie and I attend the New Kids on the Block reunion concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Best concert of the year
Oct 31 – Rosie and I fly to LAX to spend a warm Halloween Holiday in Cali.

Nov 7
– Have a phone interview with Emory for a position type-cast for me. A few days later I go to Altanta to have an in-person interview. Best one I’ve ever had.
Mid-November – I give my notice at work for mid December, and everything goes downhill fast
Nov 21 – Have a Girls Night Out with Hillary and Erin to see Twilight
Nov 25 – Start a Twitter account. Post 211 tweets in the next 5 weeks.
Thanksgiving – Road trip to Atlanta. A feast at Golden Corral, and a late dinner at Waffle House

Dec 1
– Accidentally inhaled an industrial chemical at work, and am sent to the ER for breathing treatments. Two weeks of asthma follow.
Dec 5 – I receive the job offer from Emory. Also, I blog about other significant December 5ths in my life
Dec 12 – Last day of work at University of Misery. Begin packing for 16 day trip in carry-on bags
Dec 13-15 – Snowy visit in Portland with Grandma Joyce
Dec 16-21 – Visit with family in SLC. Another ER visit. Attended Grandma Mary Taylor’s funeral in Spanish Fork. Get upgraded to First Class while non-revving to LAX
Dec 22-28 – Visit with family and friends in Cali
Dec 29 – Pack up my apartment in Michigan
Dec 30-31 – Drive with a loaded car from Detroit to Atlanta, overnighting in Knoxville
Dec 31 – Ring in the new year with Taylor, Rosie, Hank, and Marissa in Atlanta

Oregon Travelogue

Saturday, the three of us arose early to get ready to leave for the airport. My visiting teacher Sue drove us to DTW bright and early. We ate a quick breakfast at the airport, and got boarding passes without too much trouble. Rosie and I flew towards Portland (flying Northwest via Northwest) and Taylor flew back to Atlanta. This would be my last trip to Portland while my Grandma Watson still lived in Oregon – she moves to SLC on Saturday. Rosie forgot the battery to her portable DVD player (again!) so I handed over my iPod. The 5 hour flight was the longest I’ve been on in years, and has made me second guess the idea of flying with a child overseas.

We arrived around noon and picked up our rental car. Rosie wanted to drive into Washington State, so we crossed the bridge and got lunch. We ate at the Burgerville USA on Mill Plain. Since the last time I ate there in 2002, the chain has taken a more healthy approach – local and sustainable, with many organic ingredients-which is not typical for a burger joint. I got my beloved crispy chicken sandwich with Tillamook cheese, and fell in love with the most delicious sweet potato fries imaginable (yes Liz, even better than the 101 Café!)

I wanted to visit Title Nine’s store in northwest Portland, so we hopped on I-84. After a few miles, we realized we were going the wrong direction (east towards The Dalles). Since we’d already traveled a good portion of the trip, we continued to Multnomah Falls. It was pouring rain, but we didn’t realize that they had courtesy umbrellas until we’d gotten ourselves soaked. We snapped a few pictures, and after about 100 stairs, decided against the hike up to the bridge in the rain. We grabbed a few souvenirs at the lodge, and continued back to Portland. We enjoyed our drive through downtown, over the bridges of the Willamette River, with the friendliest drivers I’ve ever seen. We knew grandma was anxious for us to arrive, so we didn’t stop downtown. I decided to stop by my old house on Makah Street. I parked the car, and saw that a car was pulling out of the driveway across the street. It was Stephanie Siljeg, who’d been my neighbor from 1986-1993. We made eye contact, had a moment of happy recognition, and she pulled over. We made plans to get reacquainted at some other point of the trip.

We arrived at her home in Tualatin around 3:00 pm. We had plans to visit with Alaina and Jillian’s families in Salem Saturday night, but a large snowstorm was forecasted, and we canceled. So we just visited at her home for an hour, and then drove over to Bridgeport Village. We had dinner at Paradise Bakery, and went around looking at the shops. We stopped back over at Best Buy in Tualatin to buy another SD card, so I wasn’t limited on the photos I took on the trip. When we got back from dinner, we visited for a few minutes, and Grandma went to bed early. Rosie and I went over to the Siljegs and visited with Jodie, Kim, and Stephanie. It was so fun to get caught up after so many years. Of any non-family relation I have right now, the Siljegs are the oldest connection I’ve been able to make contact with. It was a lovely visit over hot chocolate and cookies, reminiscing over stories of the last 22 years, and I hope to keep in touch with them in the future. I got back to Grandma’s a little after 10 pm, and retired for the night after 21 busy hours.

Sunday morning we looked out the window to see the first bits of snowfall. By the time we left for church at 8:40 am, there was a decent 2″ accumulation. Church was canceled after sacrament meeting, and we drove back to Grandma’s. We had plans to go to a large extended family get-together at Laurie and Ricks, but their area was impassable in the snow, and chains were required to get there. Eventually, we had about 7 inches of snow. For those not familiar with Oregonians and snow…even with just a dusting, everything shuts down, especially if it gets icy.

Grandma looked through her cupboards for any remaining food items, since she’d been finishing off all her food and packing her dishes. We had a lunch of chicken salad sandwiches, frozen noodle casserole, and steamed veggies. With the snow as it was, we stayed in for the night, with the exception of a snowy walk that Rosie and I took near sunset. We watched Hallmark Channel movies and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas broadcast. Grandma spent some time with me getting set up on the Familysearch.org website – she’s an expert since she’s currently serving an online church service mission for family history. She looks forward to moving to Salt Lake at the end of the week to serve in person.

For Monday, Grandma will be picked up by her realtor to sign all the closing documents for her home. Flight loads look better for Monday night instead of Tuesday morning (unless everything gets messed up from the snow). Rosie and I hope to meet up with Coral and/or Carisa today, both friends from my youth…as long as the weather cooperates and the roads are passable. They’re pretty icy at this point. We’ll hopefully be able to spend some time walking around downtown Portland, before heading to PDX for our flight to SLC.

Top Twelves of 2008

I’m a bit late for the 12 days of Christmas to start, but here are my top 12 lists of 2008 (because 10 are just not enough!)

Top 12 Obsession Albums of 2008
Twilight Soundtrack
Black Holes and Revelations by Muse
Perfect Symmetry by Keane
Once Soundtrack
Viva la Vida by Coldplay
Riot by Paramore
Narrow Stairs by Death Cab for Cutie
On a Clear Night by Missy Higgins
Juno Soundtrack
The Block by New Kids on the Block
All Sides by OAR

Top 12 Movies I First Saw in 2008
Madagascar II
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
On Broadway
27 Dresses
Speed Racer
Iron Man
Run Fatboy Run
High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Top 12 Favorite TV Shows of 2008
The Office
Flight of the Conchords
Food Network Challenge
American Idol
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice
Pushing Daisies
The Biggest Loser
Big Bang Theory
Music and the Spoken Word