As many of you know, this has been a tough year for the Kellys. In August, my father Mike died suddenly in Maryland from epilepsy. It was quite a shock and has been very sad. We miss him terribly. This December, his mother Mary Kelly also passed away. Losing my father, and subsequently my grandmother, has cast quite a shadow over this year.
However, the holiday letter tradition was one of the many important things I learned from my dad. As children, all year long, my sister Lynn and I were motivated to try and accomplish things that might make his annual family year-in-review. (Looking back, I think it was the only reason I won the science fair in 7th grade.) Total number of mentions was the best way for me to take the measure of a year. (Even a major illness was worth it; any press is good press.)
I think my Dad thought that a holiday letter was a good way to stay in touch with friends far and wide, and to show that he cared enough to reach out with glad tidings. I agree.
To that end, I offer this 2010 edition:
This year, I continued to live in Brooklyn, NY (in Ft. Greene) and take advantage of the proximity to the park, the shops and restaurants. I love this neighborhood.
I am still working as a consultant at Perfect Sense Digital, and my client is still Scripps Networks (the parent company for Food Network and HGTV). I am still traveling to Knoxville, TN regularly and my exhaustion with spending time in airports is exceeded only by my respect and fondness for the folks I work with down there in that beautiful city. I still work Monday-Wednesday, and I strongly recommend that.
In my free time, I had the privilege to coach the Beacon High School Girl’s Ultimate Team (with my co-coach Dave, who I would not have survived without). I learned so much from coaching. It’s harder than it looks! The dedication of those girls, who practiced at 6 AM on Thursday mornings in the cold and dark, was a source of inspiration. We had some great tournaments and the highlight of the season was a trip to Vermont where the team beat their cross-city rivals (Stuyvesant HS) for the first time in many years. Why drive 9 hours in a mini-van full of screaming girls to play a team who is also based in NYC? Why indeed!
This summer was a blur and I was almost never home.
I attended a beautiful wedding in Kennebunkport, Maine. (Congrats again to Ali & Dave!)
I had a great trip with my extended family to Oak Island, NC in July. It was wonderful to see all my aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins, and the trip is now an especially cherished memory of my dad enjoying time with the whole family.
In August, my niece Kate came up visit the big city for a weekend and wore me out, dragging me to dance performances, art museums, restaurants, musicals, Coney Island and Central Park. It’s pretty awesome that she’s old enough to be an independent person and fun to hang out with. Look out world. Her parents and her sister Lindy still live in Raleigh and are all doing great. I expect a visit from Lindy any day now when she hitchhikes up on her own and tells me she is starring in her own one-woman show on Broadway.
This year, as usual, I also spent a lot of time and energy on Ultimate. I became a certified coach, hosted a coaching clinic, and I volunteered to be the Metro NY sectionals coordinator.
I also started a second women’s club team in NYC, Women’s Team Frisbee. We hadn’t had a second team in town in years and it was a lot of work coordinating tryouts, practices, rosters, tournament entry bids and jerseys. As a team, we traveled to tournaments in Devens, MA (twice), Ottawa, Canada, Philadelphia, PA, and Connecticut (twice). We qualified for the North East Regional Tournament and had a lot of fun playing all season. I enjoyed competing in the Womens’s division again and playing for the first time with so many new faces.
In September, we had a Funeral Mass for my father in Maryland where I saw so many long time family friends, and in October we had a small ceremony on his birthday at Oak Island, NC. Thanks so much to everyone who attended, wrote or called to express his or her sympathy.
In November, we celebrated Thanksgiving at my Mom’s house in Maryland, and I’d be lying to say it wasn't weird or hard, but we got through it with help from my friends Dave and Sarah (who brought reinforcements in the form of her sister, sister’s fiancée and beagle, Annie). It was very sad, and concurrently quite fun, in the impossible way that those things often are.
December finds me planning to head to Raleigh, NC for Christmas as usual and reflecting on a hard year. I feel fortunate to have such wonderful people around me. Thanks to all of my friends and coworkers who have given me so much love and support. I do plan to return the favor, so consider this an IOU.
Wishing you the best in 2011! Happy New Year!