2017 in review

Yesterday, I looked back at the year in big news and events. Writing that was just an appetizer before the delicious main course of this post. There is only one thing I love more than looking back on the year that’s ending and that’s looking forward to the year ahead. (That stuff is coming next week.)

I don’t generally categorize years as good or bad and 2017 is no exception. We had some ups and some downs, some highs and some lows. We hit some goals and missed some others.

According to Instagram, these were my best nine this year – the nine photos I posted that garnered the most love. I was underwhelmed with these results, to be honest, because very few of them were my favourite photos. So, while I recap the year, month to month, I’ll also share my personal favourite photo from each month.

JANUARY

Back in the wee hours of the year, we still thought we’d be having a wedding and planning it encompassed a lot of our (by our, I mean mine and Amy‘s) energy and time. Not only did I buy a wedding dress this month, but we also sent out save the date cards as well. We even dragged Julie out to The Vancouver Wedding Fair where she did a superb job of entering our tickets into contests and educating Kevin on the fanciest of rental chairs. We snowshoed. We went to Canucks games. January also saw the start of my beloved Falcons’ Super Bowl run. I didn’t know it at the time, but on the morning of their first playoff game, we were out atop Hollyburn Mountain where I took my favourite photo of the month.

FEBRUARY

By the start of February we knew that the Falcons’ would be playing in the Super Bowl and we had big plans for that weekend. We were turning the car south and driving to Vancouver, Washington to not only watch the game with Amy & Tyson, but also so that the boys could attend Monday Night RAW in Portland. As it turns out, Mother Nature had other plans. They started calling for snow in the Lower Mainland early in the week. By the time midweek rolled around, the snow was actually falling, but they’d started to pull back on some of the weekend predictions, but as it is with snow, you can never tell what will happen and we had to make the decision to cancel the trip. It wasn’t so much that we were worried about getting there safely, but that we couldn’t guarantee that our cat sitters would be able to get to our apartment to feed and tend to the cats.

Alas, we were stuck at home and scrambling for a new plan to watch the game. For me, it was a very precarious position to be in since I don’t particularly like watching games that mean something to me with others. It’s too risky. I have long made it my personal moral principle to never chirp someone about their team. Banter, yes, but chirp, never. Honestly, I consider chirping (and especially unsolicited chirping) to be the true marking of a total douchebag. Lucky for me, we couldn’t have ended up with a better setting to watch the game.

I have a friend who likes to make bets on games. He particularly enjoyed making bets against the Falcons throughout this playoff run. We made so many bets, in fact, that we couldn’t even settle on the bets as fast as we made them. One ended up being making dinner, one ended up being making desert. When he heard that we were stuck in town for the game, he and his wife invited us over and they went all out. He made the dinner of my choice which was veggie chili and barbecued veggie dogs for halftime and they also provided a spread throughout the rest of the game that was the kind of Super Bowl menu you dream of. Flatbreads, chips and dip, a veggie platter, fruit, seven-layer dip, they had it all. And in a show of solidarity, EVERYONE cheered for the Falcons. And everyone sat around the kitchen island in silence afterwards not making sense out of what we’d just witnessed.

Note: I took it as a sure sign that my no chirps rule was working just as I’d planned when both before and after the game, the only communications I received were of support and sent with good intentions. I was pretty proud of that, to be honest. From this post, the morning after:

There is a reason I never chirp other people and their teams. That conscious decision was justified last night when nothing but a couple of messages of condolences came my way over the airwaves. With the exception of one total asshole, it made me feel a lot better about the people I choose to have in my life.

As This Year in Sports reports have started to be published, a lot of talk about the Falcons’ colossal collapse in the second half of the Super Bowl so I’ve had to relive it more than I have in many months. I want to take a minute here to repeat everything I said at the time of the game: I AM SO PROUD OF MY TIME. As I’ve watched them this season and as I look back at last season, the Super Bowl, the media circus that followed, I AM SO PROUD. Their no nonsense style of play, the way Julio makes an out of this world catch and just picks up, dusts off and walks away, the way every play is punctuated by humility instead of obnoxious celebration (how many points do you get for a first down or a tackle, hmm?) makes me beam. They are such a classy group of guys and I love that way more than I would have loved a Super Bowl trophy. Honestly.

But a lot of other things that had nothing to do with football happened in February, too. We celebrated my mom’s birthday. We found an AMAZING new place to live. We saw my favourite comic, Nate Bargatze. We celebrated our sixth anniversary.

I also completed my first ever #Minsgame month. Sure, it was the shortest month of the year, but still. The game is played with the goal of decluttering and it starts out super easy. Every day of the month, you select the corresponding number of things to get rid of. On day one, you get rid of one thing. One day two, two things. And so on. Here’s my final report that includes links to photos and descriptions of all the things (406 in total!) that I got rid of. It was a good exercise, but the thing that made it great was that we did it right before we were moving.

More in my February in review post.

MARCH

March was consumed with moving related tasks. We had the luxury of time with two weeks between when we got into the new place and when we got out of the old place. The last place we were in was perfectly fine, but it was also frustrating. It was governed by an ineffective Strata that couldn’t make decisions or get anything done. We would regularly get two days notice about mandatory daytime access to suites, we were without mail for more than six weeks at one point and the building wasn’t being maintained very well. It was disappointing. We didn’t know what we were getting into with the management of new place, but we did know that we were getting 50% space, an actual storage locker and a killer view. We couldn’t wait to move on.

I have to give it to Kevin that he managed all of the small details of the move. I packed and I cleaned, but he must have made a million trips with small loads and he organized the movers on the day of.

Moving meant that we got to start using the barbecue we’d gotten for Christmas and I think we grilled the majority of the meals we made at home this month. Also, on the home front, we found out that we have an asthmatic cat. Who knew that was a thing?!?

My March in review post has a few more of the details of the month.

APRIL

As April rolled in, we were still unpacking and settling into the apartment. (Who am I kidding? We’re still settling in!) It was a relief to get everything over with. Sure, it was nice to have a lot of time to move, but it also drags on a long time when that happens.

In April, we got to celebrate Easter and host a little housewarming party at the same time. We put the Canucks to bed for the season. We saw Jimmy Eat World at The Commodore and I saw Otello at The Vancouver Opera.

Here’s April in review.

MAY

May saw the return of the sunshine and we took full advantage of that. We were super inspired after watching our friend Lesley cross the finish line at the Vancouver Marathon (with her Boston Marathon qualifying time, no less) and got our run training back into full swing after months of being sidelined by frozen ground and related fear. We mixed some hiking in, too, thanks to my mom’s Mother’s Day wish.

May also saw the return of lacrosse season which is basically the time of year when Kevin and I kiss goodbye and say that we’ll see each other in September. He was committed to an assistant manager role for the Langley junior team and he also returned to playing with the team he was with the first year we were dating. Being back in Ladner was a lot of fun and provided a great happiness booster for both of us. He was playing with guys we knew and liked and having a great time doing so.

One of my highlights of the month was attending my first Veg Expo. Great company, great discoveries and great food.

Here’s a look back at everything we did in May.

JUNE

We did a bunch of things in June, but here’s one thing we didn’t do: have a wedding. Nope, back in April, we made the decision to cancel the plans we’d made and go back to the drawing board. Here’s What Happens When You Cancel a Wedding for all the details. (I still haven’t found the right way to deliver that news without leaving people thinking I’m either single or delusionally attached to a guy who says he wants to marry me, but won’t commit to it.) When the day when we would have been getting married rolled around, I unveiled all the details we’d planned prior to pulling the plug.

In June, we ran. The Tim Horton’s Camp Day Donut Run at Burnaby Lake. The Sirius Half Marathon – a virtual run and our first 21.1 km attempt. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon’s Seattle 5k. (I even wrote a Race Report for the RnRSEA5k.)

JULY

We kicked off July with a Canada Day party at our place. We knew there was a big fireworks display planned for the river area in front of our apartment and we’d hoped we’d be able to see it. Little did we know it would right in front of us!

July saw our first real travel of the year when we flew to Las Vegas with my entire family for our second trip there as a group. This is a pretty good group to travel with in that there isn’t a heck of a lot of obligation to do what everyone else is doing. We had a couple of group excursions, mostly to celebrate my brother’s birthday, but otherwise we were all free to go off and do whatever we wanted without fear of drama erupting. We focused on relaxation and taking it easy. We wandered around town, eating and drinking when and what we wanted and explored whatever interested us. We even had a pool day!

AUGUST

In the depths of the summer sunshine and heat, things slowed down significantly, as they do. We just rolled with it. August is the time of year when men’s lacrosse starts getting down to its nitty gritty. This is the season of playoff series and, later on, championships. Me, I was spending a lot of time in my gardens. I had another great year for tomatoes, a so-so year for peppers and some surprises from my eggplants, broccoli, cucamelons and even a couple of pumpkins (in foster care at my parents’ garden.)

For Kevin, he just carried on with his playoffs and with the Presidents Cup in mind. The seven day tournament was being held in his hometown of Six Nations and he was determined to do what he could to earn his team a trip back there. After struggling early on, he finished off the playoffs with back-to-back wins in the provincial championships, making 98 saves in two games and allowing just eight goals. He won the league’s playoff MVP title, but the commissioner forgot it at home that night so he’ll probably never see it. (This is SOOOOOOO lacrosse.)

SEPTEMBER

Kevin was away for the first week of the month after the Pioneers successfully punched their ticket to the national championships. As expected, they were in tough against some very skilled teams from other areas of the country. I’m a firm believer that struggling is sometimes the best way to learn and grow and, for this exciting and young group of guys, I think the experience will really help them get even better.

September brought with it the return of football and the first re-opening of all those Super Bowl wounds. As excited as I was to be watching games again, I shied away from watching Falcons games for the first few weeks. In week two, I was woken up at 7:45am on Sunday and whisked off to Seattle to watch the Seahawks host the 49ers in their season opener. It was the worst football I’ve ever had to suffer through, but at least the drive down and back and everything in between was a really good time.

We ran in the Eastside 10k that is put on by Under Armour and may have been the most serious race we’ve ever participated in. We had a good time on the challenging course and felt pretty accomplished when we were done. Since this was our first race since June, we were happy with the results and it was a good way to get back into it in preparation for our fall events.

We got to celebrate the first birthday of the sweetest little girl we know and we had a poker themed birthday party for my dad.

OCTOBER

October started with the Run for The Cure where Kevin had something to prove. When we ran this event last year, he’d injured himself in the home stretch and he was determined to finish strong this year. Finish strong, he did.

One week later, we were running in the Turkey Trot at Granville Island. This 10k has been one of the most enjoyable to me to date and what a beautiful course!

We were surprised with tickets to a WWE Live event in Abbotsford one Monday night and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check it out.

I attended the Canucks home opener where the beat the Oilers with my brother and his crew. Later in the month we celebrated Kevin’s birthday at the Canucks game where we went dressed up as a banana (him) and a bee (me.) We were selected to compete in the costume contest at intermission and got to walk out onto the ice while the crowd cheered to select the winners. (Not us.) It was a great adventure that I wrote about in one of only few fall posts here.

For Halloween, we had people over for dinner and then did the New West ghost tour. This month we also went apple picking, Kevin got his first BC library card and I fell in love with a piece of art.

NOVEMBER

November was a lot about travel since we had our second trip of the year on our agenda and it was a big one. Once again, we were headed to Vegas, but this time it was anything but relaxation. Kevin had one race to do, I had two and a three day conference to follow right after.

We arrived on a Thursday afternoon after a long, weary travel day. We checked into our hotel and then into our race(s). That evening we had tickets to see O at Bellagio. (That wasn’t even our first Cirque du Soleil show of the week – we’d seen Kurios back in Vancouver the Sunday before!) On Friday, we reconnected with Julie and among other things, we went to our first Golden Knights game that night. Saturday was all about my 5k and Sunday, our half marathon.

As soon as the running was done, KronosWorks took over. This is a three-day customer conference designed at supporting businesses and users at all levels and roles, connecting users with common experiences or products and providing overall education. It is such a great investment, but it is also a really great time. While I was busy all day, Kevin kept himself busy winning enough money to get the xBox he’d been eyeing for the past several months and delivering juice to Julie. In the evenings, we were treated to customer events that introduced us to places and activities we’d never have known about otherwise. On Monday night we had dinner, watched football and bowled at Brooklyn Bowl. On Tuesday, we got to visit The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel.

By the time the conference was over, we had 27 hours to ourselves and we were determined to make the most of it. Check out these #27HoursinVegas tweets to see what we did. All but two of them are mine. (Spoiler alert: I got to meet my favourite TV actor!)

We received a warm welcome home by friends who treated us to an evening of great conversation and Japanese pub food.

DECEMBER

For our final race of the year, we returned to the Santa Shuffle during the first weekend of December. While last year was cold, but sunny, this year was cold and very, very wet. Still, we had a good run and a fun time.

Aside from a few hockey and lacrosse games, we spent the majority of this month at home, opting out of this year’s holiday parties, choosing instead to enjoy the apartment we love so much. (Though we did venture out to look at Christmas lights last night.)

With plenty of time to make memories over the last week of the year and Christmas, my birthday AND New Year’s Eve (probably my three favourite days of the year!) ahead of us, we’re certain to get our fill of fun.

So now we know that the best nine I would choose are significantly different than the ones that you did. In fact, there was only one overlap. What a wonderful problem to have – so many great photographic memories to choose from!

It was a fun little exercise to wander through my memories of each month this year, to revisit my blog posts and social media histories. While I looked back on the not-so-sunny events of the year – some health issues, a friend’s sudden illness and death, some personal disappointments and some tough times in the office – it really put into perspective how truly #blessed we really are to have everything and everyone that we do. If you want to feel a great boost of appreciation, I strongly encourage you to do the same.

And if you want to find out your Instagram best nine for 2017, go here. Just make sure you share it once you’re done.

Do you do a personal inventory at the end of the year? What were the highlights of your 2017?

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