The following things made 2004 a pretty groovy experience for me. No real order, per se, but it goes without saying that the first two are tied for Definitive First Place and are The Best Things Just About Ever:
- Erin and the first year of wedded bliss spent with her (the way the calendar falls, the last 1/6 of 2004 technically counts as Year 2, but whatever)
- News of impending parenthood (no word on gender yet, though hopefully in a few weeks, so we can start calling the baby something other than "The Walnut")
- My dad is responding well to his radiation treatments and his doctors expect him to beat back the threat of cancer once again. And for those of you keeping score at home, this is Brush With Cancer #2-A (#1 was in the kidney in the early 80s; #2 was prostate in the early 90s; and #3 was lung a year or two ago; this latest is a flare up of the prostate stuff, hence 2-A and not #4). And yes, I am aware of how scary my family medical history is.
- Brand new babies of friends and family, providing some cuteness to the world and helping to give me a much needed crash course in newborn/infant wrangling. Welcome to the world (in chronological order), Connor Enright, Lily Bailey and Lucas Bouthiette!
- After an 86 year championship drought, the Boston Red Sox finally won the World Series. And yes, they’re losing several players to free agency, but so far, they’re keeping the ones that really matter, so stop trying to kill my buzz here.
- On a related note, I got to see the Sox at Fenway 3 times this year: the first game was the first home game against the Yankees (15 rows behind home plate, no less!), an interleague game against the Dodgers, and Game 3 of the American League Division Series, where they swept the Angels and went on to meet the Yanks in the ALCS. Best part? All 3 games were cheap as free, since Erin got the tickets through people she works with.
- We also go to see games in Baltimore and Philly, too. VERY nice ballparks, and well worth visiting even if you don’t necessarily care about the teams playing.
- I got to go to my first “big” comic con, Wizard World East in Philadelphia. The comics industry (and Wizard itself) didn’t seem to give a damn about the show, but I had a great time.
- Road trip: Rhode Island to Baltimore (to pick up Erin’s grandma at the airport for a family gathering) to Delaware (location of said gathering) to Maine (to see my family) to Quebec City (just because) and then to a different part of Maine (to see friends) and back to RI. Ten or eleven busy but amazing days (FYI: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is crazy fun on 4 or more beers a night).
- Movies: Garden State, The Incredibles, Spider-Man 2, Kill Bill Vol. 2, The Bourne Supremacy (though I wish it hadn't been filmed in Epliepto-Ramatm) and some others I’m sure I’ve forgotten.
- Music: Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, Garden State Soundtrack, Green Day, Northern State, Dropkick Murphys, Less Than Jake and this comp from Springman Records I paid a buck for at the WARPED Tour 10th Anniversary Show but am totally forgetting the name of right now (it’s good, though, trust me).
- Comics: DEMO, Adam Strange, Plastic Man, Fantastic Four, My Faith in Frankie, JLA: Classified, True Story Swear To God, It’s A Bird… , Jack Staff and that colossal Jack Kirby book Marvel put out recently that I love already even though I’ve done little more than thumb through it after opening it on Christmas morning.
- Having a job I enjoy and actually feel good at.
- And last, but far from least, the continued health, safety and prosperity of my family and friends.
I hope that doesn't sound like bragging, because that's not what I'm trying to do here at all. I'm just extremely thankful for all of the good fortune that I've had this year. I hope you all had a great 2004 as well, and may 2005 treat us all kindly. Enjoy every sandwich, folks!