2010 turned out to be a pretty good year for me, a fact that I attribute solely to that day that Jon Hamm said he liked my shoes. You know, starting the year off right (ie with a handsome celebrity smiling at me and telling me he likes my old beat up Doc Martens) and all that. So, for the sake of commemorating a good year, I present you with
2010: The Good Stuff
(in chonological order)
1. Mom's Retirement Party: Aunt Kim, Aunt Kris and I put together my mom's retirement party in March, held at Aunt Kim's house in San Francisco, and it was a resounding success. All (or at least most of) her best friends came, and people made lovely toasts about how great my mom is, which was really nice because quite frankly she doesn't usually get much thanks or credit for all the things she does. We also had people bring her books to read, whether they were borrowed or new or just suggestions, because she loves to read and now, in retirement, has a lot more time to do so. It was a great gift idea because she ended up with not a bunch of crap, like you might expect at parties, but with things she would really enjoy.
Aunt Kris, Mom, and Aunt Kim
Sherry Abrams, Jim McKerrow, Mom, John Lewis, Marty Hales, and Dad
2. Trip to Oregon: The day after the retirement party, I flew to Portland as a last-minute addition to my mom's trip to visit her sisters and my Great Aunt Solveig. We decided my being there would be a suprise for Aunt Kelsey, Aunt Karen, and Nicolai. Whitney picked me up at the airport and I spent the first night at her house, then the next day we spent at Powell's Books (which is basically the best bookstore in the world) and then went out to dinner for Aunt Karen's birthday- which is where we surprised them. Aunt Karen could barely believe that I was there, it was great. Mom and I spent a night or two at Aunt Karen and Uncle Bob's new condo, which is very cute. The next day we went to Great Aunt Solveig's house to visit her, which was nice because it was pretty clearly the last time I would get to see her- and sure enough, she died this August. She was pretty much the nicest person I have ever met, and an amazingly loving mother and aunt:
Whitney, me, Aunt Kennedy, Aunt Sol, Aunt Karen, and Mom
Afterwards, Aunt Karen, Whitney, Mom and I went up to Simon's house in Husum, Washington, which was unbelievably gorgeous. The Pacific Northwest is incredible... I haven't spent nearly enough time there. Simon's house is up on a mountain with a spectacular view of Mt. Hood:
So yeah. Oregon rocked. Family and nature- couldn't be better.
3. Death Valley With Steve I never wrote my fabled Death Valley post, but I'm pretty sure Death Valley was the 2nd best thing I did all year- we'll get to the first a little later. Steve and I basically just wanted to get out of LA for awhile, and we'd never been to Death Valley and heard a lot about it. Fortuitously, we decided to go early enough that we could time our trip for the best wildflower time- and I am incredibly glad we did. The wildflowers were beautiful, and confusing, as they would often grow seemingly out of pure rock. We went to all sorts of fun places, like Mosaic Canyon, and the Sand Dunes, Badwater (lowest spot in North America!), Rainbow Canyon, Salt Creek (where the incredibly awesome Death Valley Pupfish thrive, against all odds), Zabriskie Point, the Amargosa Opera House Hotel, and- possibly my favorite- Rhyolite, which is a ghost town just over the Nevada border that features a bizarre outdoor art museum and some totally badass ruins. I could post endless pictures, but I will just share with you a few of my favorite. The rest of them are here in my Flickr set. In particular, I enjoy the one of the the giant naked Lego-esque lady in Rhyolite and the miner and his penguin friend.
Me and Steve in Mosaic Canyon
Steve in the Sand Dunes
A Sphinx moth caterpillar, one of literally millions that we saw all over the place, particularly in Salt Creek
The Amargosa Opera House Hotel
sunset from Zabriskie Point
Wildflowers on the Beatty Cutoff to Rhyolite
In summation, I could go back to Death Valley over and over and over again, particularly because we barely scratched the surface of amazing things to see.
4. Jennifer and Josh's wedding: AFI friends, Echo Park, open bar, cheese fountain. 'Nuff said.
5. New York in May: my brother, as a birthday present, bought me a plane ticket to New York for the same weekend my parents were going to be there, which was coincidentally the weekend of Mother's Day. It was a whirlwind- I was there for about 48 hours total- but it was worth it. We went to a Giants/Mets game (which the Giants sadly lost), to the Whitney museum, to the Museum of Natural History, to Central Park, and all sorts of things. I saw all my New York people, and went back to LA utterly exhausted- but in that good way that means you had a good weekend.
6. Blood Meridian shoot: This is kind of incorrect, as the actual Blood Meridian SHOOT was pretty rough- despite a fun camera crew and oh hey, did I mention? Luke Perry was in it!- it was three days of running up and down rocky mountainsides with EX-1s and Digizooms, and long hours, and holy hell my Osgood Schlatter's knee started to hurt for the first time since I was 11. Also, it was directed by James Franco- yes, that James Franco- who decided that he should hang out looking over my shoulder all weekend at the onboard monitor while I pulled focus on long lenses. So that was nervewracking... Still, the shoot was in Bishop, CA, which was both beautiful and somewhere I'd never been before (always a plus), we got to ride up and down hills in these rad ATVs called Rhinos, and the whole frickin' crew fell in love with Luke Perry and his many abilities. My friend Kris Carrillo, who was Key Gripping, has a great story of his truck getting stuck in a ditch and Luke Perry riding triumphantly over the ridge on a horse, dressed like a cowboy, and getting the truck out. Amazing. Luke Perry wins everything.
PLUS- I left Bishop at 4am after we wrapped around 1am, and despite running on about 3 hours of sleep in the past 36 hours, the drive to San Francisco was amazing. The pass through the Sierras was closed, so I had to drive to Bakersfield and then back north- which meant I got to go over Highway 178, a road I would not have known existed otherwise. I went past an amazing, tiny little cemetary, which of course I had to stop at despite racing the clock, and also past Lake Isabella and the accompanying river, which most definitely warrant a second visit. And all this segues beautifully into...
7. Jarrod and Amelia's wedding: I was running on fumes by the time Taylor and I made it to College Prep in Oakland for Jarrod's wedding, but I didn't care, because it was the largest gathering of people from my childhood in at least 10 years, and that was awesome. The wedding was put together completely by their friends, and was very focused on the communities surrounding them. It was a lovely little hippie wedding, and we took pictures of all us Family Camp kids, one of which is one of my favorite pictures of the year:
Leo, Jarrod, Jake, Taylor, Tim, me, Zach and Spenser- this one is my favorite because Zach has clearly just pushed Spense over. I think we probably have this same photo somewhere, from when we're all under 10.
Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I reveal June-December, including the Absolute #1 Best Thing To Happen All Year! I know, you're all on pins and needles.