Make Some Noise

2011 turned out to be a big year for me. I wrote last year about trying to think about the bigger picture rather than judging a given year as a success or failure and in 2011, the bigger picture started to appear. Buying our first home helped me see these last few years as more productive than they’d felt at the time, and working my first apple season at the Saturday farmers market gave me a new perspective on my weekday job.

Last year, I felt like I had little to show for the year, but 2011 brought too many things to write about in one post. Thankfully most of the highlights were already documented here: I traveled; I grew vegetables and harvested my own meat; I worked at the farmers market, and two weeks before the end of the year, I became a home owner.

Douro Valley, Portugal

2011 On the Road
Spain and Portugal weren’t the best places I’ve ever been to, but our fall trip reestablished how important travel is. I also returned to Mexico for the first time in at least 10 years.

There were good local trips, too. I went on a new favorite hike in Point Reyes and for our second anniversary, Mr. WholeHog and I stayed at Glen Oaks in Big Sur, reminding me how much I love finding places to stay that have a little style.

Big Sur

2011 At the Table
Travel brought new food experiences, too. I loved my monthly farm school breakfast in Sonoma: a Fremont Diner ham biscuit with their homemade jam. I loved buying (and eating) freshly made tortillas at the tortilleria in San Pancho, Mexico. And I’m still blown away by how the delicious the food was in Porto.

Thanks to an 18 Reasons tasting during SF Beer Week, 2011 was a year of beer. The tasting introduced me to Biere de Miel and Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin. I also loved Almanac‘s local and seasonal beers, Speakeasy’s Butchertown, a super dark-colored beer that tastes just like an IPA, and Belgium’s Rodenbach Grand Cru (love that slightly sour taste).

2011 On Film
There’s no doubt in my mind about the best movie of the year: Bill Cunningham NY. The movie really inspired me and I think about it constantly. I also liked Midnight in Paris, the only new-release I saw in the theater. But there was so much more on film than just movies. I’m still laughing about Stephen Colbert’s British imitation (jump straight to the five-minute mark), and god bless the Beastie Boys for their cameo-filled video, Make Some Noise. I needed that.

I spent the most screen time watching a webcam on a red-tailed hawk nest in Washington Square where over a few months, I watched as a hawk hatched, ate rodents, and eventually fledged.

Pip

2011 Bookmobile
2011 started out with such great reads. I loved Abraham Verghese’s epic Cutting for Stone and I enjoyed Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, a quiet little story about a woman leaving her small town Ireland and making her own way in Brooklyn. But I was disappointed in Frazen’s Freedom, Lethem’s Chronic City and Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

The New Yorker continued to have some of my very favorite reads of the year, including the recent short story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank“. And I love, love, love Lucky Peach. I’m still thinking about the piece on authenticity from the first issue.

2011 Soundtrack
I would be completely clueless about music if it weren’t for Mr. WholeHog. It was through him that I actually listened to a few of 2011’s albums. Wilco came back into my life (and my earbuds) with A Whole Love and I particularly loved REM’s “Oh My Heart“, but the album that got the most play last year was Gillian Welch’s The Harrow & The Harvest. It really resonated with this time in my life (“Everybody’s buying little baby clothes”).

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