Friday, December 31, 2010

under the wire: 2010 year in review

Only a few hours left in 2010, and I might as well use some of that time on a retrospective post.

new day

Let's break this into bite-sized chunks, shall we?
Since 2010 started with a trip, this seems a good place to begin.  We did our annual holiday visit to MI and IL for 2009 (a little late), leaving home on January 1.  After a few days in each state to see our families, we flew to New York City.  It was a lovely, though freezing, few days of good food, shows, and getting to see Riley perform in Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway.  In June, we traveled to Seattle for Chrissy and Kevin's wedding and spent another several days walking a whole lot, eating well, and exploring neighborhoods.  Last, we drove up to Napa for a few days to celebrate our second wedding anniversary.  Again, we ate at many exciting restaurants and did some wine tasting as well.  And throughout each of those vacations, I took thousands of photos.

Which brings me to the subject of pictures...  I finished 2009's Project 365 during the NYC trip, and then I faced the dilemma of whether or not to keep going for another year.  I decided not to stick to the stringent picture-a-day rules and instead just try to take one picture a week or more, collecting the representative photos from those days in a 2010 set on Flickr.  But by February, I was looking for another project to give me some direction.  Valentine's Day dinner, made by Steve, inspired me to start a 52 Weeks of Food project, wherein Steve would cook something new each week and I would photograph it.  (Since that project won't be finished until February, I'll save the reflective post for that until then.)

I also got a new camera body for my birthday in August, upgrading from my Digital Rebel to a shiny new 7d.  I don't think there's been a huge shift in quality of photos, but the new camera makes it easier to take pictures in darker places.

Most of my photos for 2010 have been from our vacations, the food project or dinners out, but there have been a few other outings that turned out to be good photo ops.  I went to see some baby goats outside Bi-Rite market; I took a few photo walks to Bernal Heights, around the Mission, and to Noe Valley; we went "lobster golfing" with Rob and Traci (lobster rolls, then mini golf); I did a stairway walk to the area between the Castro and Noe Valley; we took Steve's parents to the Ferry Building farmers market; we went for a hike at Lands End; we explored Hayes Valley; and we took a trip to Santa's Tree Farm and Village to cut down a Christmas tree for Dan and Carmen's place.  As a mini photo job, I took pictures of the lovely Marion and her spa for her website.  And I shot some pictures of the YTC fundraising cabaret show, featuring several Beach Blanket Babylon alumni.

Since so many of my pictures in 2010 were of food, it seems only fair to mention the good food that we ate that wasn't at home.  Sometime in the last year, Steve and I started a Google map with all of the restaurants that we'd like to try in the Bay Area.  It was a big year for restaurant openings around here, so we didn't even come close to making a dent in our list.  We went to Farallon in February (good seafood, amazing desserts), Chez Papa Resto in July (interesting small plates), revisited Gitane in September (still good, still too dark for great pictures), Una Pizza Napoletana (a little overrated), and Zero Zero in November and December (fabulous cocktails, tasty pastas, and pizzas done well).  There were also the regular restaurants, the most notable being Contigo, which we visited six times in 2010.  Everything is consistently awesome there, but my favorites tend to be the calamars with arros negre, the creative salads, and the seasonal fruit desserts.

And those are just the restaurants in SF.  In New York, we ate at Le Bernardin, Cafe Boulud, Bar Americain, and DB Bistro Moderne.  Seattle's visit included Restaurant Zoe, Lola, Poppy, Pintxo, and our favorite, Delancey.  In Napa, we visited Ubuntu, Morimoto Napa, Redd, Bottega, and the Restaurant at Meadowood (now with three Michelin stars).

I kept busy with the usual teaching in the spring: Broadway Bound and the cabaret class.  I music directed the older kids' summer show, 13, and played piano in the pit.  The composer, Jason Robert Brown, came for a visit and a masterclass—for which I also played—about halfway through the rehearsal process.  That was both exciting and just a little nerve-wracking.  (The concert he performed at the end of those two days was just plain exciting, since my performing was done for the weekend.)  Once the summer show was over, I had two weeks off, and then I started rehearsals for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at SMHS.  While the rehearsal process seemed really long, the show itself was quite enjoyable.  It was nice to play (and teach) challenging and well written music, work with a small ensemble of actors, and play/conduct a small pit of musicians.  On Sundays in the fall, I taught Broadway Bound again, but I left the cabaret class to someone else so I wouldn't overextend myself while doing Spelling Bee.  It's back to teaching both in the new year, though.

Since most of Steve and my family members live in various Midwestern states, we only get to see them once in a while.  We're fortunate that his parents are able to travel to SF once a year and stay for a while, so we got to see them both in January when we were in MI and in October when they came to visit us.  We saw my parents, along with most of my sister Christine's family, in January when we spent a couple days in IL.

Meanwhile, both of my sisters were pregnant and gave birth in 2010.  Sheri had Philip in February, and Christine had Aaron in August.  Then, just last week, our sister-in-law Carmen announced that she and Dan (Steve's brother) are expecting a baby in June.  We're unbelievably happy for them, and we're looking forward to meeting the little "monkey" in 2011.  Since they live below us, we'll get to see that niece or nephew more frequently than Christine and Sheri's kids.

Well, that about covers it!  As a whole, 2010 was good to us.  Since the 365 project ended, I didn't do as well with taking everyday pictures as I would have hoped, but maybe I'll be able to do a better job of it in 2011.  In the meantime, here is the blogging meme that I do every year, even though it reminds me of how far behind I get in blogging each month.
Go to your archives and find the first entry for each month of 2010. Post the first line of it, and that's your "Year In Review."

January: I'm feeling a little conflicted about not having taken any pictures yet today.

February: It may be February already, but it's still a good time for new beginnings as far as I'm concerned.  I've been considering a new blog for a while, and tonight I impulsively did it.

March: Sunday, January 10 was our last day in New York.

April: Around the time that Steve and I returned from New York in January, I had a decision to make.  My Project 365 had ended on January 7; and the trip, which was keeping me shooting each day after that, was over too.

May: It's been a few weeks since my last post, which means more food in the backlog of things to write about.

June: The time has come to talk of many things: of trips and transit and trolls.  Of coffee and cupcakes.  Of food and flowers and aching feet.  I speak, of course, of the Seattle trip.

July: We continue our review of the Seattle trip with Friday night's dinner in Capitol Hill.  Yes, this would be Friday, June 4.  And yes, I realize this was over a month ago.

August: Two months later, we reach the main event and raison d'etre for the Seattle trip: Chrissy and Kevin's wedding.

September: And finally, it's time to leave Seattle.

October: Our first full day of wine-tivities in Napa began with a walk down to Bouchon Bakery for breakfast.

November: Contrary to the title of this post, we were not completely wineless on our last day in Napa.  However, Wednesday began without the wine tastings of the previous two days.

December: It's time to work on catching up with the 52 Weeks of Food project again.  Even though the chilly, rainy weather of S.F. winter is upon us—and I'm starting to think about Christmas cookies—I'm still recapping summer food.

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