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As I look back over my year, I’m struck by how … well, good it was. It wasn’t my best, as there are some family issues that can bog down even a very good year, but it was damn good.

  1. It started, in February, with a trip to Mexico. One of my closest friends got married on the Gulf, and Jeff and I took our first of what will be many out-of-country trips. We stayed at one of those all-inclusive dealies, and we kicked our shoes off while they said their I-dos on the sand with the Gulf of Mexico behind them. (Go ahead and be jealous. It was amazing. I’m getting married in five months, and it was a billion times better than mine will be. I’m completely comfortable saying that.)

    That’s the back of my beautiful friend Lindsay, her bright, shiny new hubby, and one of her besties from college, also a friend of mine. He did amazing, and he had a killer backdrop.

  2. Two months later, my bestie visited me on my birthday. It was the first time we got to spend a birthday together since, possibly, high school.

    This might have been the only photo of us from the weekend without food.

  3. One Sunday in early May, I came home from work. A few minutes later, there was a knock on my apartment door. There was my boyfriend — red in the face, sweating, trembling, tripping over my shoes, heart pounding so hard I heard it when I hugged him. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Who died? Is everything OK? Who’s hurt?” When he dropped to one knee, I said, “Oh, shit” and clapped my hands over my mouth. The flop sweat suddenly made sense.
  4. The first roadtrip of the summer put us in the car with our favorite couples friends, Steve and Sara, and brought us to a new state, Tennessee. On the drive down, Sara and Jeff helped me call the Tsongas Center at the University of Massachusetts Lowell over … and over … and over … until one of us finally got through (me) so I could buy tickets to see Stephen King.

    On the trip to Nashville, we made a pit stop at the Jim Beam Distillery. It was Kentucky in June … and it was FREEZING.

  5. The second roadtrip of the summer brought us about an hour east of Cincinnati, to the aforementioned bestie’s family’s lake house. There were boats and floats and food and lots of Bananagrams.

    Jeff is playing photographer. Steph’s son William was a little slow to warm up to me. The giant bag of giant blocks helped. I am a major proponent of bribery.

  6. Weekends in early fall brought me to my parents’ house — many, many times. A friend got married near there, and I traveled for her bridal shower, and her bachelorette party and her beautiful, sweet wedding. I’ve been in way more than my share of weddings (I have no idea how I became so lucky to have so many amazing women in my life), and Michelle and Andrew looked the most in love I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure either of them ever heard a word the pastor said — they were looking too deeply at one another through a film of tears to be bothered by anything else.
  7. And then December. Oh, December. It took me to Boston for the King, to my hometown for some Christmas cookies, to my parents’ to see one grandparent in the hospital and another newly released from the hospital. It brought me the best Christmas of my adult life (that link will only work if you have the password — apologies!) and tonight, it will bring me to 2013, the year I finally get to be hitched. (That finally is because, frankly, if I had my way, we’d be married already, in a small ceremony with close family and friends only. I am not getting my way. So there are still five months to go.)

It’s been a good year, and I suspect 2013 will be much more stressful. But somehow, I know it’ll be filled with even more love.

And that’s saying something.