I can never get organized enough to send out a Christmas letter so I shoot for Saint Valentine's Day.
Since I never got around to doing an end of the year blog wrap up, here is a copy of the letter enclosed with the invitation to the Saint Valentine's celebration.
Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!
I can’t believe that another year has flown by. I think this will be the twenty-eighth annual celebration. The parties have morphed from the early days of two cases beer of beer and a plate of heart-shaped cookies to fancy food and better booze. Mom’s heart-shaped sugar cookies are still on the menu though!
I’m in my fifth year at Second Helpings (speaking of time flying!). We rescue surplus food from the community and prepare and deliver 2900 meals every single day at no cost to seventy other social service agencies. To complete the circle we have a culinary job training program for adults. My role as the director of operations really is perfect for me – it combines my education, experience and passion. I can’t believe how much I love it!
I’m also lucky enough to be the Saturday night waitress (and cook) at the iconic Red Key Tavern. The Red Key is just three blocks from my house, is owned by the delightfully curmudgeonly ninety one-year old Russel Settle. Russ has owned the tavern for fifty-eight years and I’m honored to work in the historic bar – and I love working in the neighborhood. I also work one Sunday a month at the wonderful Marigold clothing store. Marigold celebrated their twentieth anniversary this year with a move in to a beautiful new building in Broad Ripple (next to Big Hat Books and the Broad Ripple Brew Pub). Except for the years I worked in Philadelphia, I’ve been on the Marigold schedule the whole time. And if you’ve seen me at all in the last twenty years you know that I’m wearing at least one piece of Marigold clothing every day!
In my spare time I am the music columnist for the Broad Ripple Gazette and write concert previews and feature articles for NUVO, Indianapolis’ weekly entertainment and social justice paper. I’ve started a regular series on radio music deejays. I got to review all sixty bands along the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon route this year – and walk all 13.1 miles while doing it. I also got my dream assignment this summer and wrote a feature titled Nora’s Indiana State Fair Top Ten (it was heavy on the barns and animals and 4-H) for NUVO and attended all seventeen days of the fair and wrote about my experiences – and got to ride in the tractor parade three times!
I also started writing for a national magazine, Ghettoblaster. Don’t let the name scare you – it’s a quirky mix of features on music and films and CD reviews. You can pick up a copy in your independent record store or at Barnes and Noble.
2009 was another wonderful year for travel. Dad treated us to plane tickets to Germany in June and we had a grand time. Mom, Dad, sister Beth and her husband Ron, and sister Ann and her husband Tim and I spent over a week traveling by planes, trains and automobiles from Munich to Fulda in the heart of Germany to visit the Zwergel’s, long-time family friends.
We took a day trip to Salzburg, Austria where we saw the gorgeous city and skipped down the Do-Re-Mi steps featured in the Sound of Music - in pouring rain. The next day trip to the Dakau Concentration Camp was a sobering experience, but one I’m glad we took.
The upper right photo on the invitation was snapped outside of our charming hotel in Baden Baden. The town is known for their mineral waters and baths. I got over my prudishness on our second day there and took advantage of the famous 130 year-old Friedrichsbad, a nude Roman-style bath with seventeen stages of soaking and scrubbing and steaming. You guessed it – I knew the woman next to me. She’d been a customer at the coffeehouse. I felt like I knew her even better after the two-hour circuit.
The photo of Sankt Valentin was taken in a beautiful church at the top of the town of Fulda. I was humbled by the beautiful art and history in Germany. The Zwergels were fabulous hosts. I especially loved staying in their family residence in the oldest building in Fulda. I spent a month there in the summer of 1978 and it brought back a lot fun memories of staying with my Aunt Rita and Uncle Eberhard and my young cousins. I was thrilled to find a photograph that I’d snapped that summer, framed and on display.
I visited Austin, Texas in October to cover the Austin City Limits Festival again this year for NUVO. The music was terrific and I had a photo pass. Standing ten feet from the B-52s was a surreal experience and the whole festival was a blast.
Brother J.R. and his wife, Anna generously let me tag along on their Thanksgiving vacation to Sanibel, FL. I got to share a room with my two favorite people in the world – niece Molly and nephew John David. Giggling and soaking in sunshine was a beautiful way to spend the holiday.
Taking the time to recap the year once again reminds me what an amazing life I lead. Thanks for being part of it!
My music blog: http://queenbeemusic.blogspot.com
My blog: http://nora-leona.blogspot.com