best of 2007

2007 was probably the best year of my life.  Its only close competitor has to be 1999, in which I pretty much owned my high school, set a district record in indoor track, finally got to experience the thrill of my long-awaited liberation from my parents’ house, and fell in love for the first time.  But I think 2007 has it beat on many levels.  Here’s a “best of” list, most of which can be illustrated with pictures, thanks to my freakish inability to let any event pass without being meticulously preserved in digital photographs.


  • New Year’s 2007: my finest New Year to date.  I spent a lot of time by myself around the holidays, just enjoying the grayness and the silence.  New Year’s brought excellent company and a little coughing and spluttering and confirmation of life from that tin can I call a heart, not to mention a rad party at Cornell’s house.
  • Multiple visits to Charlottesville were easy solutions when I needed to get out of town for a minute.  Always friendly faces, flowing drinks, and a couch to crash on.  A good place to exorcise one’s demons now and then.
  • The Dixon family MLK weekend beach trip was a surprise success.  What might have been a blustery, miserable couple of days in Nags Head ended up being sunny, warm, and relaxing. My sister and I had an awesome time riding there and back together, as well as making smores and taking chilly beach walks.
  • New York, New York.  I went there a lot this year, at least for an untraveled person like myself.  I’d consider this to be the year in which I officially warmed up to Gotham.  New scarves from Chinatown, sangria-soaked brunches, Brooklyn whiskey + soda benders, bumper cars and beer at Coney Island, etc. etc.  Planes, subways, buses. Getting around by myself, with fewer mistakes each time.  Being a stranger in a large city can be fun, but returning to Richmond at the end was always the real reward.
  • Weddings, weddings.  I went to a lot of them.  I spent most of my after-tax earnings at Crate and Barrel this year.  Forever the singleton watching my friends enter into life-long commitments, I got to have the joy and nervousness of having both of my best friends from high school and my best friend from college get married in 2007.  At the end of the year, I finally started having a steady date to these weddings.  Situations have improved considerably.
  • Atlanta was the Midnight Society’s 2007 trip.  Successful as usual.  Cheerwine, cemeteries hidden in the woods, the always-entertaining, larger-than-life personality of Shannon Scott, and having to travel 8 hours south just to see some snow.  Magen and I bonded even more on probably our 81st road trip together.
  • Going with my parents to Blacksburg to see my sister (just a week or two after the shootings) was a really good time.  Probably the best part of the trip was the four of us hiking up to see the Cascades waterfall.  It was beautiful.
  • I saw the Queen.  She wore a pink hat.  It was amazing. That is all.
  • Stomping all over Virginia wine country with a picnic basket and a fully-charged iPod is what happiness is all about.  I highly recommend it, and plan to partake of this recreation from now until the end of my days.
  • This year I learned to play croquet, thanks to some stowaways from Norfolk and a $20 croquet set from Target.  It’s unbelievably fun.
  • Probably the two most important Richmond bands when I was a teenager both had reunions this year, both at Alley Katz.  Seeing Inquisition and later, Action Patrol were some of the most poignant spectacles of my life.  I felt strangely connected to my 15-year-old self at those shows, and looking around the crowd you could tell how much it meant to everyone there.  Here’s to nostalgia.
  • Ah, Cornerstone.  Driving across the Midwest with friends (and GPS).  Life in a merch tent, sweltering heat, and thousands of teenagers on 500 acres of filthy corn fields.  Getting steamrolled by Sean as per usual in the Blood & Ink hotel room.  This is always a way better time than it sounds.  And this year was the best year yet, thanks to the ridiculous, motley Blood & Ink family, as well as the one liquor store in Bushnell, IL.  And the tiny spark that led to Dan and I wanting to keep in touch after the fest.  There’s something to be said for investigating a vague feeling of connection with someone to see if things might “work out” in the future; a little bit of interest and patience is all it takes.  And it was very much worth the wait, in this case.
  • I went to Hadad’s three times this summer and survived.  What a perfect way to spend July 4, some random day when DC people are in town, and Best Friends Day.  $10 for the day, BYOB, and don’t ask what’s in the water.  Important discovery of 2007: boxed wine works wonders at Hadad’s.
  • Daron visited a lot this summer.  I probably saw him more in 2007 than I did when he lived on the north side, and more than I see half my Richmond friends now.  His visits were often termed “periods of insanity” by we simple country folk, and we were frequently partied under the table by his big-city ways.  As Maddie exclaimed once as his arrival was being announced: “But I just recovered from the last time he was here!”  Seriously though, it’s been good to have this steady role model in my life.  And the best part is that he’s not some perfect statue that I can look at and emulate, but a person whom I admire and respect, and whose life and struggles teach me a lot because we are a lot alike.  Knowing me probably better than any other person on this planet, and being one of the most candid people I know (unsweetened D?), his mentorship has helped tremendously any time I want to take stock, look back, make a decision, or learn something about myself.  As DC Drew said at Assateague, we’re getting to the point in our lives where we have to decide which of our friends we’re going to take with us into the next phase of our lives.  Which ones are valuable to us and worth spending time exchanging ideas with.  Congratulations Hardtime Hollowell, you made the cut.
  • Nicole and I ate cheese fries, and then she moved to Japan!  Crazy.  I’m used to having Nicole around me all the time, and it’s been extra strange not seeing her at all the usual holiday festivities this year.  But her adventures in Japan have been entertaining me long distance-style, and I have to say I miss her a lot and would sure like to see her.
  • The ladies at our house got matchy tattoos.  It’s not a myth.
  • No one’s ever gotten a birthday cake like Bruce’s this year.  Seriously.
  • Trips to Busch Gardens with Angie and whomever else could come were a great break from the grindstone.  It’s excellent to share the joys of a theme park with someone who can appreciate both racing the around the park riding as many rollercoasters as possible, or just sitting around eating fries and talking for a couple of hours.  Can’t wait to use my 2008 pass.
  • The Assateague camping trip was an epic adventure if I’ve ever seen one.  This was mine and Talia’s first real chance to hang out on a grand scale, and boy did we hang out!  The Eastern shore is a beautiful place.  A beautiful, scary place full of flesh-eating, rabid mosquitoes.  We all had a lovely time cooking, drinking on the beach, and reapplying bug spray ad nauseum.  It was nice of DC Drew to invite me, and it was way nicer for us to finally get to hang out after about 57 instances of foiled plans to do just that.  He is a good egg.
  • Good holy grief, I saw Megadeth.  Dave Mustaine shredding it up despite (or maybe because of?) previous years full of more drug abuse than everyone in Richmond’s projects put together and, well, being born a redhead.  My brunette head nearly exploded from sheer awe.
  • I finally made a reluctant appearance on the left coast (some people call it California).  It was awesome meeting Dan’s friends and just seeing where he lived, and then of course seeing the sights of San Francisco and its environs.  Giant redwoods, looming mountains, a giant blue bay and excellent seafood made the whole visit an adventure, but the best thing was Alcatraz.
  • Much overhaul came to 321 this year in the way of cosmetic changes, but one to particularly note is the gutting and re-planting of the front garden, made possible one lovely weekend by my persistent labors.  It was fun, and I can’t wait to do more gardening as soon as it gets a bit warmer.
  • The Celtic Festival is a Dixon family tradition, this year of course being amplified by Dan being there and by my sister and I trying haggis for the first (and last) time ever.  Of all the disgusting, horrible things to put in one’s mouth….yeah, just don’t do it.  This is coming from someone who will eat (and like) almost anything.  I implore you never to try this stuff.  It is awful.
  • Dan’s first time at a legit, pick-your-own pumpkin patch: an excellent time.
  • Talia’s debut as Richmond rock n’ roll glitterati at Rock Lotto this year was a night to remember.  I doubt my heart has ever soared with quite as much pride.  Which is weird, because it’s not like I raised her, or taught her to play instruments or anything.  We just live together.
  • The Big Move made life an awful lot more convenient for me, with Dan relocating to roughly two blocks away from me instead of the previous cross-country arrangement.  He also brought his evil henchman, Silas, who is slightly easier to take care of than a housecat.
  • The emergence of WELC (West End Lunch Crew) made everyday life an awful lot more pleasant for me.  What started out as a way to make lunch plans for those of us working in the West End turned out to be a small network of really close friends, almost always available to hash over every detail of life together.  I talk to these people more than anyone else in the universe.  Our main 2007 blessing was a WELC baby: Gianna is pregnant and we just threw her the WELC-iest baby shower ever.
  • The Midnight Society has become more alive and active in recent months than it’s been in several years, what with life transitions and job schedules etc. etc.  It’s been nice having a willing participant (Dan, of course) on many of my recent endeavors, which would have been solo efforts without him.  There’s just been a lot going on and a lot of opportunities for MS-y activities presenting themselves.  Also the advent of Richmond Ghost Trackers has helped us to be more active around town and do a lot of networking with other like-minded people.  A recent web site redesign has paved the way for lots more work to be done in 2008, which I’m really excited about.
  • This holiday season was my best in years.  I always have good holidays, because my family puts a big emphasis on them and always make sure everybody is happy, well-fed and comfortable for the duration.  But the one thing that is a little sad is always being single and retreating unnoticed to one’s freezing chambers on the night of Christmas Day, after all the presents are unwrapped…it’s kind of depressing.  This year was immeasurably different, with Dan and I doing all sorts of decorating, card-sending, baking, shopping, and everything else together in preparation for Christmas.  I got some of the nicest, most well thought out gifts ever from him this year, but the best part is that he was the best gift I got in 2007.  I had long ago abandoned the hope of finding someone who appreciates and adores me, can be a fount of quiet calm and a witty conversationalist all in the same five-minute period, and enhances instead of taking away from my jolly life. He’s the most motivated, enthusiastic, uncomplainy, unselfish person I’ve ever met.  Yesterday was our fivemonthiversary, and my gratefulness just grows by leaps and bounds all the time.  Thanks, God.



So things are considerably better than they were at this point last year, which is hard to imagine since at this point last year I was the happiest I can remember being these past five years.  Things just keep getting better and better, and I hope that I can draw from this repository of good luck and adventure and calm demeanors in the future, when no doubt I’ll fall on hard times again just like other humans.  Alright, off to ring in 2008…


2 thoughts on “best of 2007

  1. omg tess you brought up the cheese fries again! hahaha stop it! okay, so i’ve had a few breakdowns over here on the other side of the world. there have been 4 (okay maybe 5) incidents of eating dairy products since i came. at least 2 (okay 3) of them have been since i’ve been on vacation the past week. oops. but i do freakin miss you like crazy. i wish i could be in a million places at once. i’m not really feelin japan that much anymore because i live in the least likely place i would ever chose to live, but who knows what i will be doing next year. hopefully i will get transferred to a cool city. we’ll see. i do miss hanging out with you though. it makes me sad thinking about it. 😦 miss you! love you!

  2. Haha, aw Nicole. I don’t think anyone will begrudge you some slip-ups, considering you’d probably starve if you didn’t give yourself some slack. Perhaps you will like it better there once you get transferred to better city (crossing my fingers on that). I love you and miss you!

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