2011 in Review Part 1

I vividly recall December 31, 2010 because I effing hate Winter. It was an oddly balmy day so it stuck in my memory. All the snow was rapidly melting, and I was so joyous that I treated myself to a new camera, which was a completely unnecessary purchase, but one that I still enjoy. If I had the chance to reveal my current self to my self of back then (in a Dickensesque kind of way,) I would surely say, “Who is that stylish stranger that looks like me? A mustache? Quoi?” If I could sit down to coffee with my younger, slightly fatter self, I’m not sure what that person would have thought of the year we just had. It was exceedingly good and exceedingly bad, and I’m not sure if the negative aspects obliterate the positives, but I remain an irritating optimist, so I’m just going to suppress my emotions and say it was a good year. Let’s go over it month by month, shall we?

JANUARY:

I only have vague recollections of January. Jessica and I went to see Black Swan, and have ever since done a spectacular amount of spectacular ballet in public places, to the delight of our audiences everywhere. We were rather enamored of the makeup and decided to become swans ourselves. The results, as I’m sure you will be thinking, are marvelous.

I spent the rest of the month, prepping my bedroom for a complete renewal. I was tired of red and grey circus stripes and enormous flags and popcorn ceilings. So, since I had started to become a clone of Martha Stewart, I removed everything from the room, sanded the walls, scraped the ceiling, primed, primed, primed, and then painted the walls and trim a lovely color named Sharky Grey (Martha’s paint, available at the Home Depot!). It was and is divine. In January, I had only started, so here’s the beginnings of what is now my spa-like oasis on the verge of expanding.

Jessica and I had also been chattering about going to Paris for a month or two for a while, so we finally bought plane tickets to go in May. Excitement! Oh, and I was going to the Royal Wedding in April, too, so I felt like quite the traveler. So elegant I was, I would be in Europe twice in one week! All the bitches were jealous.

FEBRUARY:

What did happen in February? I should keep a diary, but that would just be one of those things I would put off doing and doing until I burnt the damn thing. I’ll go check my pictures…

…My pictures weren’t much help. It seems I admired my legs:

Gave my room some decorative touches:

Prepped the garden for planting:

And made a variety of pasta dishes:

I don’t think this was a very exciting month.

MARCH:

March wasn’t much of a month, more or a prep for the Royal Wedding and waiting for the ground to thaw. I planted 300 leeks and dressed up like the royalty I intend on being. Unfortunately, I wasn’t born that way, so I’ll have to Grace Kelly my way in.

Also, the crocuses bloomed! Did you know that saffron comes from the stamen of a certain kind of crocus? I did, but I never really pondered it. I’m going to grow saffron soon. It’ll be so much cheaper!

APRIL:

April was a wonderful month. The outdoors came back to life, I was going to be spending an awful lot of time with celebrities, and I had to plan for all my trips!

At the beginning of the month, I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Amy Sedaris, of Strangers With Candy fame at a lecture/book signing in Ames. I got her to say “Hobocamp.” I know. What more could I want out of life? Not a whole lot, really.

And then: LONDON FOR THE ROYAL WEDDING

This four day trip to England was one of the nicest vacations I’ve ever had. I think four or five days is the perfect amount of time for a little getaway, if you can’t do a month or two, of course.

London was absolutely beautiful, the weather was perfect, the people were lovely, there was a joyful atmosphere, everything was clean and shiny. It was marvelous.

Mother and I wandered around aimlessly with vague purposes. I have never really been enamored of London, though I am a part-time Anglophile, but this trip made me fall head over heels for the city. It’s wonderful. There are so many things to do! I can’t imagine living there, I would have so much to do! I would never sleep. If it weren’t so drizzly (it never did rain one drip while I was there) I would already have moved.

I smized in front of Buckingham Palace, as you do, thinking of the joyous day that I’ll invited in.

I had Ladureé macarons for the first time and found them to be hideously overpraised. They were simple and bland and over-maturated and I was disappointed. They are chic, I’ll admit that, with their boxes and bags. Anyway, Harrods was wonderful and everything we did was lovely.

And then, it was time for the ROYAL WEDDING! We had a decent place to stand amongst some rather friendly people, and I’ve never been happier to be tall.

I saw Prince William and Prince Harry:

I saw the QUEEN and Prince Philip:

I saw Katherine and her father…what’s his name? Unimportant detail:

And then once everybody was inside Westminster, all of us on the streets started to celebrate. There were picnics and lots of champagne. The ceremony was piped in over speakers throughout Hyde Park. Ma and I wandered around, looking around, wondering how we were going to see the Royals when they appeared on the balcony. Some stroke of fate led us to prime spots.

When the Wedding was over, I watched everybody in their carriages trot back to the Palace. I said, “Oh, look, there’s Prince William! And Camilla! So lovely in green!” Ma didn’t see so much, and she wasn’t amused, but she couldn’t know what was in store. Some boy scouts or something were supposed to lead this huge parade of millions of people up to the gates of the palace. And they did, but there was a small gap in the barriers, and we quickly snuck through with a handful of people. We were some of the very first people in line, we led the procession, everybody was looking at me, all the camera’s were on me. I waved my Union Jack like a lunatic.

And then, we were at the gates!

And then they were all there.

It was like a movie. I could hardly believe that I was witnessing it. I had always wanted to be present at a historic moment in history…and there I was. I’m pretty sure my marriage will be like this. Just a little bit…more.

After the wedding, we wandered about the city. I had some macarons by Pierre Hermé and they were fantastic. I still can’t get over how good they are. These are macarons.

One of the very last things we did in London was visit Portobello Road, a place I’ve wanted to see ever since I was very little because of Bedknobs & Broomsticks. (One of the best movies ever, by the way.) It was every bit as wonderful as I could have hoped. I bought some antique dishes and then we made our way to Kensington Palace.

I don’t say OMG, but OMG. It was beautiful. It’s everything that I have ever dreamed about for a garden. I fully intend to recreate this someday soon.

We went to the ghetto and then we flew home. It was a perfect vacation.

Stay tuned for the second installment of my year in review. We’ll go to Paris, briefly discuss a strange thing that happened to my heart, celebrate my birthday again, and look at my manly construction project. Don’t fret, there are more celebrities in Part 2.

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