Well, holy shit. Our dear 2008 is about to bid us farewell, and we’ll start getting acquainted with 2009. Two-thousand and nine! I remember when I was a kid, thinking that the year 2000 would be a space age sci-fi dystopia/utopia with hover cars, underwater housing and an all-industrialized planet. And here we are, almost out of the aughts already.

Like many, I like to spend some time reflecting on the year as it fades away, think about previous years, as well as think ahead to the new year and all the things I’d like to see in the twelve months ahead.

So, let’s see. What happened around here in 2008?

January: Frozen pipes again, showered in my kitchen sink, closet walls sawed and blowtorched, my first-ever photo credit, street flooded, I was nanny-ing Baby Neptune and Pilcrow Lit Fest was announced.

February: Soap-throwing ghost, learned about saltwater enemas.

March: Aimed to smell the roses more, got over my unease about seeing myself on film. My neighbor was really unforch, I was nominated for a Million Writers Award, my 2005 interview with Mario Van Peebles resurfaced in the oddest way and in about fifteen minutes, I met a toolshed at a Planned Parenthood and got a crackhead on the hood of my car. But March, oh March, ended with the move to my current apartment and far from the likes of frozen pipes and soap-throwing ghosts and unforch neighbors.

April: Milestone birthday, invited to travel to Pittsburgh in November to read, read at Columbia, something I wrote got listed as a “Notable Story of 2007”, as did something I helped edit, which was all pretty great. I talked to my grandfather for a long time one day in April, and we bonded so much, GI Barbie was deployed to Iraq for all of 72 hours, I set some solid rules down about blurbing. And, uh, got schooled by a tiny Chihuahua. And, I did another two of rounds of “that card thing” that I do. Both rounds were bittersweet.

May: I wrote about Wasp-In-Sombrero. Realized I’d conquered my fear of schmoozing and I ran a 5K in horizontal rain, which I’m still sure was not “awful” but “character-building”, Nick Hornby sent a nice note to my house, I theorized about the mystery behind May 20th. And, I took a second to savor a lovely pre-dawn moment before Pilcrow happened. Pilcrow happened, and it was awesome.

June: Met the group of Jackass “Party Boy” guys I also was listed on a responded sillyly to being listed on a “hot” authors list. Copyedited the River Teeth manuscript for University of Nebraska Lincoln. I reminisced about meeting Cyd Charisse and George Carlin,
My grandfather scared me, yet inspired me to action, and Mommasboy and I ran away to Vegas! Well, it wasn’t really Vegas as much as it was a mountaintop outside of Vegas near the beginnings of the Grand Canyon, but it’s just easier to say Vegas, so we stick with that. And, the people I thought would flip were awesome and the people I thought would be awesome were terrible. But, that’s why one goes to Vegas; because it’s not about anyone else, and real friends knew that and knew we felt that way and were glad for us.

July: The (now infamous) Monkeybicycle Issue #5 came out. I explained my DUI stance. I got flesh-eating bacteria from a zombie pin-up girl and had a hill of fun with voice-over in a radio show sort of thing and I read at Sunday Salon Chicago. And, I did a fun thing I called ScavenTour. (Forgive me that I have yet to announce the final winner. More on why in a moment.) Then, I drove to New Orleans.

August: I had drove to Jackson and loved it, then to rural Louisiana where I filmed my grandparents telling their life stories, watched my hair go nuts, drove to Texas and saw a bunch of old friends I love to death. And then, the very tiniest family member, Haley, was diagnosed with cancer and began chemo immediately at St. Jude. I signed up to run the St. Jude race a few days later. I drove to Oklahoma and saw the Oklahoma City Memorial, read in Oklahoma City, and went shooting at a gun range. Then, back to Chicago and ran so I would worry less and do something. Then, Hurricane Gustav headed to the Gulf Coast, and, feeling like I needed something to do that felt proactive, I enrolled in disaster response courses.

September: Started Bonkless blog. Big editing gig vanished. Finished first disaster response class. Started second. Ran. Chicago flooded. Ran. Drove to Omaha. Stayed on a farm in Nebraska and fed chickens, pet a miniature donkey and slept in a camper during a thunderstorm, which is now one of my favorite sounds. Ran. Drank organic booze. Ran. Rosh HaShanah was a beautiful, fun day, even when my car door got hit and I hypothesized about the symbolism.

October: I ran. I thought. I cried on Yom Kippur. My friend’s mother died. I made a running team for St. Jude. I read at Quickies! I had a fancy party and it was marvelous! My uncle died. My mother’s cousin died. A family friend died. My Great Aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer. One of the family dogs died in her sleep. My dad gave October the finger and bought a Porsche.

November: Watched American history unfold. I thought a lot about hope. Ran. Decided to raise one million dollars for charity in my lifetime. Ran. Made a tongue-in-cheek first stab at video blogging, did a Write-a-Thon and second attempt at video blogging. Running team raised $20,000 for St. Jude. Earned a bronze medal in the Presidential Fitness Challenge. Ran the fastest and strongest eight miles of my lifetime. Drove to Pittsburgh, read at the New Yinzer Reading Series, was in a car accident and got kind of banged up. Fretted about St. Jude. Drove home in a rental car in a snowstorm. Got bored being laid-up, went to a craft fair, everthing hurt, went home to be laid-up again. Mommasboy’s job vanished. Volunteered at a community kitchen on Thanksgiving, decided not to bitch about being sore, banged up and underemployed.

December: Named managing editor at So New Publishing. Went to Memphis. Decided to walk, crawl and whatever else to just finish the St. Jude’s race on principal. Finished race. Rental car booted by the city, stuck in a snowstorm; took five hours to drive thiry miles. Banged head (repeatedly) on steering wheel. Opened an Etsy shop for my recycled paper greeting cards. Car delivered from body shop in Pittsburgh. Chanukah. Chanukah. Chanukah. Little Haley finishes chemo, has confetti party. Chanukah. Chanukah and dive bar of Chinese restaurants on Christmas. Chanukah. Chanukah. Chanukah.

And there we have it. Some good, some bad, some light, some heavy. But, hey, my chin is up, I made the best of even the worst of it, I enjoyed the heck out of the best of it, didn’t ignore any of it or go into denial about the bad, didn’t forget about the good, and now, I think it’s time to bid 2008 farewell and think about the year ahead.*

*No offense to the remaining couple of days in 2008. Please know I value your contribution to the year just as much as the other days. Sorry if I have made you feel invalidated.