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What I Have Learned This Past Year

January 1, 2010

Good evening friends, below you will find my twelfth annual new year’s reflection.

This past year my favorite bar got bought and sold, renovated, painted, and started charging a cover on fight nights. I went to two great weddings this past summer – one I got to dance with the bride and the other provided a great view of the Sound with lightning in the distance. It was the year when Seattle broke all records and got up to 103 degrees. Even with three fans blowing directly on me throughout the night, it was still not enough to cool down.

One of my favorite moments of 2009 happened on a hot and muggy July evening. I was down in Tukwila watching the Seattle Sounders play Houston to advance in the U.S. Open Cup. We were down by one goal for most of the game. As time ticked away, the crowd was restless. We sang dramatic wordless chants. The heat was insufferable. Then utter pandemonium. The Sounders scored the equalizer in the 89th minute and send it to overtime. Flares were lit and blue and green smoke filled the stands.

For the final 30 minutes we chanted the same cheer over and over again. And somehow we scored again and the Sounders won and would go on to win the Open Cup. In addition to that game, I calculated that I spent over 2070 minutes (34 hours), standing, cheering, chanting, and yelling, for the Sounders during its inaugural season. This past year will be the one with 9 a.m. ice cold Budweisers at Fuel, forgetting my ticket at home (twice), meeting Drew Carey, and taking off my shirt when we ended our two month scoring drought.

This past year I started blogging about my neighborhood for the Seattle PI. Which has been more difficult than I would have imagined. Posts take hours to write. Ideas come at the last minute. And I find myself writing late into the night or early in the morning to meet our self imposed deadlines. Through it all, I fnd typoos, mizpellings, and Grammar mystakEs, even days after posting; Though the most fun part of blogging for the PI is reading the comments that actual readers make. Here are a couple of my favorites:

From my post on Seattle and Dickens: “Obviously the author has never read any Dickens. Dickens would have been more interested in how such a wealthy, and pretentious, city (like London of his day) could have so many homeless and working poor. Except he would made it in to an interesting story/morality play. Not some self obsessed bloggy prattle,”

From my post on Cafe Presse: “Please please please do not try to turn Presse into another place where off-duty corporate IT workers sit and stare at their job work or web surf for 6 hours over a cup of coffee. That effect has already eliminated most cafes in the urban core of the city. Presse actually still gets people who are social and bring non-work friends to hang out and have fun. Please leave it alone.”

I didn’t know that I wielded the power to turn a Seattle cafe into a corporate wasteland or that I should be writing more collegiate essays on Dickensian themes. Good to know for the future.

This past year was a culinary renaissance for me. Whether I was trying to smoke the perfect pork loin on the Weber or make a home made marinara using hand-crushed tomatoes, it was always a challenge, always fun, and only once or twice did it end in complete disaster.

If there was one lesson from 2009 that I will remember for years to come will be that if you find yourself looking for an Adam’s apple on your date, it will never work out. I should have gotten up at that moment, paid the bill, hugged her, and left. Instead, I spent another hour sneaking glances at her neckline, wondering if she was a man. I never saw her again.

Over Thanksgiving I sat in the lobby of my grandmother’s nursing home. A woman wheeled in her 96 year old mother. Her daughter, my age and visiting from California, followed behind. When the daughter’s grandmother asked her the same question for a fifth time, the girl broke down into tears. She realized that the grandmother of her childhood was gone and would never be back. As I sat there pretending to read my New Yorker, I wondered why I never cried over the loss of my childhood grandmother. I wondered why I felt indifference instead of having tears over lost time, never again having early morning walks with her or having her famous plum jelly. For me it was another lesson to live in the moment and be present in your life, because you never know when the moment will happen in your life when you realize that things can never be the same.

This past year will have some memories that will last with me for some time. An awesome dinner at Rovers. Tasting a 1989 Hedges Family Estate Reserve at Full Pull Wines. Watching This American Life live. Several dinners at the Crepe Cafe – apparently, I always get the ‘Blame it on Rio’ crepe. A couple of going away parties for friends moving to Washington D.C. A couple evenings at the Seattle Marriott. The birth of biweekly game night. Enjoying 10 sun drenched furlough days. A mountain treasure hunt. Seeing Harold Pinter’s play Betrayal at the Seattle Rep. A fantastic birthday lunch at Cafe Campagne. A lonely drive to Ashland. A quick flight to Boise over Memorial weekend to visit Justin and death bike ride when I got there. It will also be the year when I got to meet Brian’s two kids and spend a couple of days being a tourist. And probably most triumphantly, it was the year when I changed my first diaper.

I wouldn’t be a good development officer if I didn’t ask you to consider making a donation to PNDRI. So, please do consider making a gift to help us prevent and cure diabetes. Every gift makes a difference. And you can check out my personal blog at nickpeyton.wordpress.com

I hope this annual letter finds you well. The passage of time always surprises me. And the new year provides a great stopping point to think, reflect, and dream about what tomorrow may bring. And as I have ended this letter the last 11 times…

Remember to live life to the fullest, dream, wonder, and explore because, you never know. To everyone, Happy New Year!

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2 comments

  1. Nick, as always, I loved reading your year-in-review. I laughed out loud when I got to the bit about your date with a man. I’d love to know how that came to pass.


  2. Nick,

    Wishing you a wonderful new year! We love reading your blog here at the Crepe Cafe, and are proud to be part of your year-in-review. It’s always good to see you at Full Pull, hope you are well.

    Best, Joel



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