Top 10 lists are all the rage this time of year, and I was feeling a little left out since I hadn't done one. I started to wrack my brain over what I could write about, given that I spent most of the year hunkered down, being a homebody. Then it came to me! There were so many things I wanted to do, things I meant to do in 2011, but didn't. So here's the list, from #1 on down, of the coolest things I didn't do in 2011:
1. Attend the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival
Oh my God, the line-up was AMAZING! Check this out: Willie Nelson, The Flaming Lips, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, The Robert Cray Band, Dweezil Zappa plays Zappa, moe., Mavis Staples, Fitz and the Tantrums, Anders Osborne--the list goes on and on. The Telluride Blues & Brews Fest is a fabulous festival for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that it's also a beer festival (hence "Brews"). However, what's important about that fact is not simply that there will be good beer (and plenty of it) to drink. What's important and fabulous is that that you will NOT be corralled into the orange plastic-fenced beer jail to enjoy the plethora of regionally available micro-brewed ales and lagers. In fact, at one of these very festivals, my husband Dave and I actually got a couple of plastic pitchers of Flying Dog Pale Ale to bring back to our blanket and enjoy in the high-altitude autumn mountain sunshine. I haven't been to this festival since about 2004, and the 2011 line-up seemed a perfect one to lure me back. Alas, I failed.
2. Run the Duke City Marathon
I know, I know, shut up. I may not have done an actual, full 26.2 mile marathon last year, like I planned, but I did run a half-marathon (my second, actually.) OK, "run" might be too strong a word. Perhaps a more appropriate phrase might be "dragged my sorry ass through." The Pecos Giddyup in August (a fundraising event to support the Pecos Valley Medical Center) seemed like a great idea at the time. I had done the Steamworks Half Marathon in 2009 (are you noticing a beer theme?), did pretty well, and this one was right in my backyard! Well, it was a nightmare in tech wear. I bonked hard at about mile 12 and barely hauled my cement pillar legs across the finish line. Brutal. No WAY was I doing Duke City after that showing.
3. See the Pixies at the Convention Center
Really. I had tickets and everything, but I just couldn't swing the cash for a babysitter. Oops, there goes another cool show. In fact, you could probably change this one to "See ___ at ___" because I missed a bunch of great bands and musicians, both local and national, in 2011. I heard they were awesome.
4. Finish David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest
Yeah, that's right. I'm literary and hip and cool; I'm reading Infinite Jest. Damn, have you tried reading this book? First of all it's like 1,110 pages long. Second of all, it's extremely complex, scattered, has 388 numbered endnotes, and takes place primarily at an elite New England youth tennis academy in "The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment," and uses about 40,000 acronyms. It is captivating in the sense that it's a study in writing and an insight into a unique mind, but I almost feel like I'm rubbernecking a car accident. I'll finish in 2012, maybe.
5. Go to the AWP Writers Conference in Washington D.C.
I went for the first time in 2009 in Chicago, and loved it. I had never been to an AWP Conference before, and was utterly and completely overwhelmed by the almost 10,000 writers swarming the Hilton Chicago and surrounding area. If you fancy yourself a writer, and want to immerse yourself in all things written, go to an AWP conference. For four days you eat, sleep, and drink writing. It's an incredible, intense experience. Last year, I had a free place to stay and everything, but still didn't manage to gather enough resources or energy to go. Odds are good I'll miss this year in Chicago as well, but 2013 is in Boston, and there's no way I'm missing it.
6. Stay up-to-date on my SantaFe.com blog posts
I started strong, but went out with a whimper. It's funny; the whole premise of No Regrets is to write about life in Santa Fe as a working parent who isn't ready to give up all vestiges of an adult social life. Yet, at some point this year, I kind of did exactly that. Not keeping up with the blog is a sign that I let too much of my "self" slip away as the year progressed. More than simply a silly way to write about things that interest me or might interest you, writing the blog is a way to keep in check all the forces that can sweep my legs out from under me and land me hard on my ass. It's a vehicle for venting about the daily struggle of trying to juggle a folding chair, a live cat and a lit candelabrum, when someone throws a chainsaw into the mix. Life is a box of chocolates and if I don't write, I'm just looking at a bunch of empty white, miniature cupcake thingies.
7. Finish this list