the wonderful world of veena.

01 January 2015

farewell to 2014.

At the beginning of this year I made a list of things I wanted to do in 2014. Rather than resolutions, they were overarching goals to pursue as the year progressed. And today I want to check in and see how well I did with that list.

I wanted to start volunteering again. I got off to a good start at the beginning of the year, volunteering regularly with the MidSouth FoodBank, but once late spring hit, there were fewer and fewer opportunities. The FoodBank gets so many groups volunteering that they really had little need for individuals, particularly at the time I was going down there, and it eventually became a routine of my driving downtown to learn that there wasn't any work for me to do, so I stopped after a few months. Perhaps this is something I can commit to properly once I get settled into a routine in Bangalore in 2015 and find something that works with my schedule.

I was going to run another half marathon. And I did. The Little Rock Half was pretty crazy, with temperatures dropping 15 degrees during the run, winds of up to 20mph, and an ice storm coming in as I was finishing, but I did it. And the sight of my mother's face as I crossed the finish line will forever be seared into my memory.

[it really was pretty epic. and i am so glad it's over]
I wanted to run shorter races. I completed two 5Ks this year: the Bardog / Breakaway 5k for St Jude in August, and the St Jude 5k at the beginning of December. The nieces did the August run with me, which was fun, and both races benefitted St Jude, so I'm pretty happy with my choices.

[kudos to these girls for supporting my crazy ideas and for running in the hot, hot heat with me]
[team rhodes 5k participants]
I wanted to become more active in the city. I'd say I did alright with this one. I visited the Underground Railroad Museum downtown and finally took an in-depth tour of St Jude's campus. When Christina and Sherry moved to Memphis at the beginning of the year, we started exploring new restaurants on Tuesday nights, so I got to try a lot of places I might not have otherwise. I got to visit Graceland twice, including taking my father for the first time in over 25 years. I went to concerts at the Levitt Shell and visited a few of the new taprooms opening in the city. I saw a few shows at the Orpheum with my mother. I attended some fundraisers and checked out the Broad Ave Arts Walk. I worked events for Fanbank and got to attend the Grizzlies open practice. So all in all, it was a good year in the 901.

[the billiards room at graceland. imagine the stories this room has heard]
[soup sunday goodies]
[love this place. a lot]
[strolling shelby farms on a pretty spring afternoon]
[i spent many an awesome evening in this place]
[enjoying some live music at earnestine and hazel's during trolley night]
[brewery untapped. pretty cool initiative]
[beale st scenes on a saturday afternoon]
[pretty spectacular memphis sunset]
[high cotton taproom opening]
[half the city of memphis turned out for rosanne cash at the shell]
[trying out babalu the week it opened on overton square]
[birthday brunch at the arcade. can't go wrong with that choice]
[catching some redbirds baseball on july 4th]
[great visit to the stax museum with the nieces]
[seeing starry nights at shelby farms]
[inside the atrium on st jude's campus]
[highlights from backbeat's music mojo tour]
As always, I hoped to visit somewhere I'd never been before. My summer road trip took care of this one. I made it to Knoxville, Carolina Beach, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Kilmarnock, Richmond, and Asheville, so this one was definitely a success. Oh, and that one time I got to go to a Packers game at Lambeau Field. no big deal.

[freeman park beach, carolina beach. not too shabby]
[reynolda house, winston-salem]
[bridge into old salem, winston-salem] 
[looking out over the mountains of virginia, blue ridge parkway]
[amtrak building, richmond] 
[byrd theatre interior, richmond]
[biltmore estate, asheville]
[inside lambeau field, green bay. because the packers are awesome]
I wanted to cook more and sharpen my culinary skills. Yes. I still have a long way to go in this department, but I got off to a pretty good start. I learned a few more Indian dishes from my mother - including the much-in-demand stuffed okra - and I also made Shepherd's Pie and meatloaf as well as a few things in our shiny new Crock-Pot. I loved the new cookbook I ordered, Keepers, and I also unearthed an Asian cookbook of my mother's that served me well. Both will eventually join me in India, so hopefully this skill will continue to grow.

[i made prawn biryani one day and my father could not contain his excitement]
I had a list of 12 books I wanted to read. I completed 8 of the 12 - in addition to a few others not on the list along the way - which I cannot be too upset about. I enjoyed most of them thoroughly, but my favourite book of the year - Orphan Train - was one I discovered as the year progressed [co-favourite was The Fault in Our Stars, pictured below]. I also accumulated way too many books, so I am on a book-buying ban for the next little while.

[loved this book so very much]
I wanted to learn basic coding. This was a big fat fail. I am registered for an online coding class, and Khan Academy offers one as well, so it's my own fault that this has not yet happened. It's going on my list for next year and is going to be one of my top priorities in the first half of the year.

I wanted to watch The Wire. This one didn't get accomplished due to poor planning on my part. I had high hopes for completing this during the summer hiatus for television shows, and then I instead took off on a 5-week road trip. I knew the show wasn't available on Netflix, but I [stupidly] did not think to check Amazon Instant Video, which I learned in October has it available for streaming. So alas, this didn't happen. Maybe next year? [ed note: my brother got me the box set on DVD for Christmas, so this one is definitely happening. I couldn't bring it with me because my luggage was already too full and heavy, but I'm hoping my parents will make a trip at some point and bring it with them]

I was going to buy a record player. This has not yet happened, because it is meant to be a congratulatory gift to myself for getting a job. I got the job offer in early November, but because I am relocating to India, I decided to buy one once I get there rather than trying to carry it with me. So this will happen just as soon as I have a few paychecks and a place to live. Coming soon...


A few other highlights:

a fun reunion for Pete's birthday.

[love this little brother of mine so much]
Britney and Brandon got married!

[family reunion for the b+b wedding]
my class celebrated our 10-year college reunion.

[because it's not a reunion until you end up at silky's]
Shalini came to visit.

[graceland selfie. because elvis]
not one but two trips to New York City.

[you know, just hanging out with lady liberty]
[with my moo in the lincoln center plaza]
I went to the horse races for the first time in 16 years.

[bee and i pretending to be fancy]
Memorial Day road trip to New Orleans with the parents.

[sunset behind jackson square]
the nieces descended on Memphis for a fun week in August.

[pretending to be elvis and johnny and jerry lee and carl and all the others]
and finally, I GOT A JOB and made some farewell rounds.

[so excited to be back in namma bengaluru so soon]
[it hurt my heart to say bye to this girl, but i can't wait to buy her all the things in india]
[nashville sendoff crew. what a group]
[saying bye to the carroll sisters. can't wait for them to come visit]
there were plenty more fun happenings, but these were the highlights.

It was a pretty great year, and I have high hopes that 2015 will be even better. So here's to all good things for everyone in the next 12 months.

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