Monday, January 6, 2014

Favorite Things: 2013 Edition

2013 was a very eventful year for us. As you'll see in the list below, we had many life-changing events. Here are my favorite things about 2013 (in no particular order).
  • Jason Isbell's Southeastern album. Seriously, just go listen to this album 5 times and see if it doesn't blow you away. 

  • Weddings! I got to attend two awesome weddings this year, as both my sister-in-law and my brother were married this year. The weddings and the weather were both very different, but I couldn't imagine either of them being more perfect. 


  • Baby! My family welcomed a new baby girl this year, and now I'm an uncle times 2.  

  • Oxford. I seems like I haven't gotten to explore Oxford for the last few years, and it was nice to spend a couple of days around the Thanksgiving break just exploring my old stomping grounds. Rowan Oak, Square Books, Boure and The Rib Cage were all on the list of stops, and it felt great to reconnect. I even went for a run in the park where I ran dozens of times in college. A special thanks goes out to my mother-in-law for joining us for part of our trip around town. 

  • Grizzlies. We rode with the Memphis Grizzles all the way to the Western Conference Finals, and we didn't miss a single playoff game (and went to half of the regular season games). It was an incredible experience that I'll never forget. 

  • Paul McCartney. Crystel and I went to see McCartney at the FedEx Forum this year, and it was more incredible than I could have ever imagined.

  • A new house. We sold our 2 bedroom cottage in Memphis and moved to Germantown this year. You can give me all the grief you want about moving to the burbs, but I'm closer to family, have room for overnight guests, have a garage to work on our old cars, have a home gym, and I'm closer to work (much closer to some of my work sites). 

  • My new duet partner. At Christmas, my niece Eliza finally joined in the family jam session. She gave me a list of songs to learn on guitar so she could sing, and we got to try them out. She's a natural, and with a few more practice sessions we'll be setting the stage on fire. 

  • Santa? Oh yeah, Santa came by to visit our house on Christmas Eve. Not sure why he was shaking my dad's hand, but maybe he was letting him know he made the naughty list again this year. 

  • Family. With the weddings, baby and new house I feel like we've been closer to family this year, and it's been a good change. 


  • Every Day by the Sun: A Memoir of the Faulkners of Mississippi. I bought this book by William Faulkner's niece, Dean Faulkner Wells on the aforementioned trip to Oxford, and it's become one of my favorite reads. If you are a fan of Oxford or Faulkner, I'd highly suggest it. 

  • Day Trip Explorations. You never know what's just outside your door if you don't get out there. This year, we checked out the small Tennessee towns of Rossville, Covington, Arlington, Moscow, Somerville and Brownsville. We also went to Jones Orchard to pick peaches and took my first trip to Murfreesboro. You can find something cool wherever you go, and we found things we liked in each of these places. 

  • Gerald and Joan. Crystel started a new business this year, and seeing her figure this whole thing out as she goes has been exciting to watch. Her new flexible schedule has also given us the time to think about what we really want out of life. 
  • Professional growth. I feel like I've learned more and been challenged more in 2013 than any other time in my career. Life is much better when you enjoy going to work every day.
  • My home gym. In 2014, I won't have an anxiety attack every time I try to work out around all the new year's resolutioners. Seriously, the gyms suck for the first two months of every year. Now I can squat, dead lift and bench press in peace.

  • Our annual screening of The Apartment. I won't let myself watch this movie more than once a year, so I won't get tired of it. It really was ahead of its time, and quite scandalous. Watching a documentary about the making of the movie, I learned that they couldn't have made this film any earlier because the code the filmmakers followed wouldn't allow some of the scenes to be produced. 

All in all, 2013 was a fantastic year. It was exhausting, no doubt, but a good year. I can't wait to see what surprises 2014 has in store.

What were your favorite things about 2013?