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A Trip to the Mountains

By do something nice, lifestyle, road trips, take me away, the places you'll go, travel, virgnia, winter One Comment

Last weekend, Benny and I took a little road trip to Basye, VA for a wintery weekend getaway in the mountains. I rented a fantastic AirBnB as a belated Christmas gift for my family, so we could all get together and celebrate before my brother and his new fiancé move to Colorado this month. It was a perfect and relaxing weekend, and a nice change of pace. It was my first little trip away from VB since the pandemic started, and a really nice way to kick off the new year. Thanks to the snow and icy temperatures, we barely left the house (except for lots of mini dog walks) and didn’t feel bad about it one bit. We ate delicious food, drank lots of hot beverages and a few glasses of wine, exchanged a few Christmas gifts, put together a ridiculously difficult puzzle, played a little pool, wore lots of flannel shirts, and celebrated Stephen and Emily with a champagne toast by the fire. Benny did pretty well for his first trip away from home! I’m so glad we had the opportunity to do this, and wish Stephen and Emily the best in Colorado!

The Year in Review

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If this questionnaire were a person, it would be a licensed driver by now. Seventeen years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 201620152014, 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. Seven years ago, I decided I was going to add a few new questions every year from now on. The ones I added over the years are still marked with an *asterisk

2021 felt a lot like 2020, but a lot less scary, and a bit more monotonous. One thing I think I mastered this year was cooking eggs absolutely perfectly. I walked a little over 1,971 miles this year, all the while training my dog not to be so reactive on a leash. Work was very busy. I single-handedly loaded over three million rows of data into Salesforce (at least). Between my three companies, we’re now a team of almost 20 people.

Anyway, here’s my year in review.

What did you do in 2021 that you’d never done before? Got excited about getting a vaccine.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn’t make any.

Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

Did anyone close to you die? Yes, my grandma Bassani passed away early in the year.

What countries did you visit? None. I didn’t go anywhere.

What would you like to have in 2022 that you lacked in 2021? A vacation.

What date from 2021 will remain etched upon your memory? March 16.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Training my dog to (mostly) get past his leash reactivity and behave in public.

What was your biggest failure? Let a few of my plants die? I can’t really think of any big failures, really.

Did you suffer illness or injury? Turns out I have two baseball-sized fibroids in my abdomen, so those kind of make me feel inured here and there.

What was the best thing you bought? Boots and a sweater from Norway.

Whose behavior merited celebration? Benny’s for improving leaps and bounds in the spring and then again over the last six weeks.

Where did most of your money go? Payroll, coffee beans, rent, dog gear, boots and a sweater from Norway.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? Regina coming to visit in the summer — we rented a golf cart, kayaks, and ate a bunch of delicious meals. I probably ate a majority of the meals I consumed at indoor restaurants during the few days she was in Virginia Beach.

What song will always remind you of 2021? “Up All Night” by Alex Sigel.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Happier
Thinner or fatter? About the same
Richer or poorer? Richer

What do you wish you’d done more of? Hanging out with friends.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Zoom calls.

How will you be spending Christmas? I spent Christmas having a staycation at home with my dog. I was supposed to go to NJ, but my dad got covid, so I cancelled at the last minute. I made pasta, cookies, and egg nog with Vince on Christmas Eve. I went hiking with John and Benny on Christmas Day. I booked a mountain house next weekend to meet up with my parents and my brother for a belated holiday get-together.

Did you fall in love in 2021? No.

Who were your best friends? Benny. If we’re talking people, then Vince, Jeff and John again, plus my team–especially Lucia and Alexandra, who I spent lots of time brainstorming, strategizing and solving problems with.

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? I was a good leader and manager to my employees, and I treated them well throughout the year. I made sure they were taken care of if/when they were sick and had days off when they needed them. We switched up our benefits to a carrier that covered everyone in other states. We planned a super fun virtual team-building week in October. We promoted people and gave them raises when it was appropriate. We revised our employee manual and a lot of our client communication to manage expectations and set ourselves up for success.

What was your favorite TV program? The Queen’s Gambit

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Yes.

What was the best book you read? City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.

What was your greatest musical discovery? I did not make any musical discoveries this year because I am still listening to the Sunset Fuzz station on SONOS Radio–same as last year.

*What was your favorite meal? Breakfast.

What did you want and get? A philodendron bernardopazii–it was my 40th birthday present to myself.

What did you want and not get? To travel somewhere amazing.

*What did you not even realize you would ever want, but then decided you wanted and get? Three covid vaccines.

What was your favorite film of this year? Dear Evan Hansen.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 40. My parents came to visit for the weekend. I went horseback riding on Friday, and they came to watch and meet Thomas the horse. We went for a hike on my actual birthday with Vince and John and Bruce and Benny. We ate sandwiches and cupcakes on the beach, and I enjoyed a fancy watermelon gose. On the Sunday after, we went to the botanical garden with Benny.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Pandemic = over.

What kept you sane? Walks, music, dogs, plants, horseback riding, my team, taking long, relaxing baths.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I have no idea.

What political issue stirred you the most? I was in a state of mind where I didn’t really pay attention to many political issues. Seems like everyone else got pretty spun up about petty mask mandates.

*What mystery from 2021 was never solved? Who has to quarantine when they get covid and for how long and how is it possible no one has a straight answer to this yet?

Who did you miss? Literally everyone.

Who was the best new person you met this year? Janessa.

*Did you start any new traditions this year? This year marked my second annual Thanksgiving feast at my house. Maybe I’ll keep that one going!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2021: Eggs are best cooked slowly over medium heat. And high quality eggs absolutely make a difference.

Quote that sums up your year: “Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do.” ~Elvis Presley

The Year in Review

By year in review One Comment

If this questionnaire were a person, it would be a licensed driver by now. Seventeen years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. 2019, 2018, 2017, 201620152014, 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. Six years ago, I decided I was going to add a few new questions every year from now on. I added one this year. See if you can find it. Also, the ones I added over the years are still marked with an *asterisk

I posted a year ago that 2019 was a strange one because I got a skin cancer. Ha! A measly stage 1A melanoma was nothing compared to navigating a worldwide pandemic while managing three companies and my debilitating anxiety! I haven’t been this depressed since college! 🤣

What even happened this year? I remember an ice skating competition, a six-week-long cough, baking my own birthday cake, a blurry summer, getting a puppy and 27 million mosquito bites, a blurry fall, and an uneventful past two months. So many Zoom calls.

But we made it this far. Two businesses are growing/flourishing, and the other is stable for now. So far, so good, all things considered. I guess.

Anyway, here’s my year in review.

What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before? Social distancing.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn’t make any that I can recall. But if I had, I probably wouldn’t have knocked out any under the heading of “Travel”, that’s for sure.

Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

Did anyone close to you die? No.

What countries did you visit? None. I was supposed to go to Portugal in April, but…pandemic.

What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020? My life back?

What date from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory? March 8.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Skating at Adult Eastern Sectionals, cooking hundreds of meals, beating our revenue goal at Port & Starboard, offering matching 401(k) plans to our employees, and hiring new team members during a pandemic. And maybe chronicling my social distancing days on Facebook. People seem entertained by that.

What was your biggest failure? Letting a pandemic cause me to waste some of my time second-guessing almost every major decision I’ve ever made. But that was months ago. I’m fine now.

Did you suffer illness or injury? I had a cough that lasted for six weeks starting the day after I returned from the figure skating competition. During the sixth week, I had a low-grade fever. I received a letter that I was likely exposed to COVID-19 at the competition, but the letter arrived about four weeks later, and it was impossible to get tested back then. I had weird high heart rate and high blood pressure issues for a few weeks after my cough went away. Then I was fine. Mentally, I feel very injured.

What was the best thing you bought? Benny, a bunch of plants, and my new car.

Whose behavior merited celebration? What’s a celebration?

Where did most of your money go? Payroll, coffee beans, rent, plants, an espresso machine, puppy food, puppy toys, puppy treats, my new car.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? Gluing sparkly rhinestones to my figure skating dress. Every new plant I acquired. Finally finding the right size ice skates.

What song will always remind you of 2020? “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cook and “Time Will Tell” by Blood Orange.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Sadder
Thinner or fatter? Thinner
Richer or poorer? Richer

What do you wish you’d done more of? Everything.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Quarantining.

How will you be spending Christmas? Zoom. Just like every other holiday, I spent Christmas doing Zoom.

Did you fall in love in 2020? No.

Who were your best friends? Vince, Jeff and John were mostly the only people I saw in person for 80% of the year, so…

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? I have no idea. Wore a mask? Oh, I helped Vince pick out a bunch of crap for his new house.

What was your favorite TV program? The Mandalorian

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Yes.

What was the best book you read? Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Roebuck. I think that was this year. I can’t really remember.

What was your greatest musical discovery? The Sunset Fuzz station on SONOS Radio.

*What was your favorite meal? I made a pretty delicious Thanksgiving feast. But I also made hundreds of meals…and most of them were pretty delicious, too.

What did you want and get? A few days off work early on in the pandemic.

What did you want and not get? My real life back.

*What did you not even realize you would ever want, but then decided you wanted and get? Bruce. Then Benny. Oh, and a rather extensive rare plant collection.

What was your favorite film of this year? Slim Aarons: The High Life.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 39. I roller skated on the back patio at the coffee shop. My team brought me a cake and sang happy birthday to me on the sidewalk. I made myself a fancy dinner and a birthday cake. I decided I wanted Coca-Cola instead of wine, so I ordered myself a few 2-liter bottles from Domino’s because it’s completely normal to order whatever you want and have it delivered now.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? The lack of a coronavirus infecting upwards of 10% of the world population.

What kept you sane? Walks, music, dogs, plants, horseback riding, my team, taking long, relaxing baths.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Kaylee Ellen.

What political issue stirred you the most? The pandemic.

*What mystery from 2020 was never solved? Who even started the pandemic and how come some people who live with infected people don’t get infected and why are there still not enough tests?

Who did you miss? Literally everyone.

Who was the best new person you met this year? Alexandra Craig.

*Did you start any new traditions this year? I have a dog now, so we have a nightly tradition of doing nothing and watching TV to numb our brains from hearing about a virus. Also, I have like 65 rare plants, and some of them are growing in semi-hyrdoponics, so on Monday nights I do flushing and re-watering those. Maybe my figure skating coach and I started a new tradition of going to competitions together, but we probably won’t know for sure until 2022.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020: Wash your hands and don’t touch sick people? No…I already knew that. I have no idea. How to cook a turkey? Eh. That was pretty easy. Maybe just that things can definitely be worse than you imagine, so be careful what you wish for (for example, a few days off or a holiday that doesn’t involve driving to NJ), and enjoy whatever it is you’re doing in case you can’t do it anymore tomorrow.

Quote that sums up your year: “Are you infected?”

The Year in Review

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Everyone has their holiday obligations. At least I brought this one on myself. Sixteen years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. 2018, 2017, 201620152014, 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. Five years ago, I decided I was going to add a few new questions every year from now on. I’m not really doing that anymore. But the ones I added are still marked with an *asterisk

2019 was a strange one. I got a skin cancer, so that sucked. And then it sort of overshadowed everything once it happened. It tripled my baseline anxiety level, and I used it as an excuse to break every good fitness habit I started in 2018. Yet, I somehow managed to keep everything together. All three businesses are flourishing, and we just opened a coffee shop. How I manage to do everything I do is beyond me, but I just keep wanting to do more.

Anyway, here’s my year in review.

What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before? Skated in a holiday ice show, December 6.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn’t make any. My entire life is comprised of lists that this point. I would say I make resolutions daily, so annual ones…don’t really matter. 🙂

Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

Did anyone close to you die? No.

What countries did you visit? None — I hardly did any traveling at all this year. But I did spent a few days in New Orleans, a few days in Durham, and a few days in Newport Rhode Island.

What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019? A new car!

What date from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory? April 9.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Opening a coffee shop.

What was your biggest failure? Losing focus on exercising every day.

Did you suffer illness or injury? Let’s see. I had vertigo for several weeks in February. I was diagnosed with a stage 1A melanoma in March. I broke my toe by dropping a full bottle of rum on my foot in August (while I had a terrible sinus infection). I burnt the shit out of my hand on the stove Labor Day weekend. I’m currently an issue with my feet because my ice skates were too small, and I’m nursing a nasty bruisy bump on one knee from a recent skating fall. So…yeah. Bang-up year.

What was the best thing you bought? Fetco batch brewer, Mahlkoenig grinder, three Room phone booths, and a fleece-lined figure skating dress. Oh, and two pairs of Birkenstocks for all my foot injuries. #hippieshoes

Whose behavior merited celebration? Lauren’s for driving me to my surgery, and sticking around the entire time I was waiting to get started. Meagan’s for picking me up and taking me to get a donut after. And everyone else’s who listened to me freak out about melanoma for the weeks leading up to my surgery and every day ever since. Alyssa’s and Lucia’s for all their hard work on Port & Starboard projects this year. Jeff’s for being a really supportive business partner. And the rest of our team’s for doing a great job every day.

Where did most of your money go? Same as last year — payroll, coffee beans, furniture, rent. Oh, and a few thousand to medical bills.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going for the first donut run of the season!

What song will always remind you of 2019? “Healing” by Rebelution

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Sadder
Thinner or fatter? Fatter
Richer or poorer? I feel poorer because I’ve spent so much money, but maybe richer because our companies are probably worth more than last year…

What do you wish you’d done more of? Traveling.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying.

How will you be spending Christmas? I headed up to New Jersey for Christmas, but a little earlier than usual. The Bassani family gathered for grandma’s birthday/early Christmas Eve on Saturday. Sunday, Joelle, Aunt Angel, Uncle Cricket, my parents, Stephen, Emily and I went into NYC for the day. I skated at Bryant Park! We shopped around, saw the tree, and had dinner at Vincent’s in Little Italy. We went to Aunt Gail and Uncle Bobby’s for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was pretty low key — opened presents in the morning. Dinner late afternoon with my grandparents. Took my parents to see Star Wars that night. Then I left early Thursday, picked up Jeff, and headed back.

Did you fall in love in 2019? No.

Who were your best friends? In alphabetical order: Kristy, Jeff, John, Vince

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? Taught everyone about the best sunscreens?

What was your favorite TV program? Game of Thrones, I guess. I watched all the seasons leading up to the last one.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No.

What was the best book you read? I reread The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi one afternoon. And it was amazing.

What was your greatest musical discovery? “Good Time” by Ocean Park Standoff.

*What was your favorite meal? Lunch. Or maybe the night Drew and I wandered around New Orleans and ate and drank a little of something at a few different places.

What did you want and get? A coffee shop.

What did you want and not get? A new car.

What was your favorite film of this year? The Rise of Skywalker.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 38. I was recovering from surgery. I went to work. I went to dinner at Il Giardino with Amie. My parents came to town over the weekend, and we went to Beachside Social for shuffleboard, then to Pacifica for dinner.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not getting a stupid skin cancer.

What kept you sane? Ice skating, UPF 50 clothing, sunscreen, beach umbrella.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I have no idea.

What political issue stirred you the most? I give up on political issues.

*What mystery from 2019 was never solved? What’s our next door neighbor doing in his backyard?

Who did you miss? The sun.

Who was the best new person you met this year? Lucia Labella, our Salesforce Admin/BA at Port & Starboard.

*Did you start any new traditions this year? This is probably more of a habit than a tradition, but in September, I started using a notebook to keep track of my days again. Writing things down (instead of just typing them) makes it so much easier for me to keep track of things. I’m on my 47th page of my second notebook so far since then!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019: Worrying doesn’t usually change the outcome of a situation.

Quote that sums up your year: “You know?”

The Year in Review

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The first hour of the last day of 2018.

Fifteen years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. 2017, 201620152014, 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. Four years ago, I decided I was going to add a few new questions every year from now on. I’m not really doing that anymore. But the ones I added are still marked with an *asterisk

2018 was an overall amazing year. I accomplished a lot. I minimized my wardrobe; I became super active; I spent more time outdoors than I have since I was a kid! On the other hand, I also struggled with so many bouts of anxiety and depression through most of it. But with the help of some sudoku puzzles, lots of hobbies, so many beautiful sunrises, and a few good friends, it’s been a great year overall.

Anyway, here’s my year in review.

What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before? Rappelled down a 60-foot tower and shot a gun at Panthera Training Center.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn’t make any for the first time in 14 years. I might make some for 2019 — haven’t decided quite yet.

Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

Did anyone close to you die? Yes. My cat Kona died in November.

What countries did you visit? None — I hardly did any traveling at all this year.

What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018? I can’t think of anything at the moment, honestly.

What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory? June 15.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Exercising every single day after May 24. Passing my first two adult figure skating tests on November 4. Receiving the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year award.

What was your biggest failure? Overthinking a lot of things.

Did you suffer illness or injury? I fell ice skating a whole bunch of times. Mentally, I was kind of an anxious mess most of the time. Oh, and I fell out of my hammock one day over the summer. That was stupid.

What was the best thing you bought? New figure skates and an Apple Watch.

Whose behavior merited celebration? Jeremiah Kille‘s for painting the most amazing mural of all time on the back of 1701. Kate Pittman’s for single-handedly organizing an awesome mural festival this spring. Also, mine for losing 20 pounds. And Jeff’s for inspiring me to be healthier with the Apple Watch plan.

Where did most of your money go? Same as last year — payroll, coffee beans, furniture, rent (business and personal).

What did you get really, really, really excited about? The longest beach day ever on the 4th of July.

What song will always remind you of 2018?Special by Predator Dub Assassins

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? About the same.
Thinner or fatter? Thinner
Richer or poorer? Richer

What do you wish you’d done more of? Traveling.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying.

How will you be spending Christmas? I headed up to New Jersey for Christmas, as usual. My brother and I went to see Streetlight Manifesto on Friday and Saturday night. I went skating at my old rink three mornings in a row. My mom and I went to Kristy’s for a party on Sunday night. On Christmas Eve, we had dinner at my grandparents’ house with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Then I did my usual last-minute gift-wrapping in my parents’ basement. (I refuse to own my own wrapping paper.) On Christmas morning, I opened gifts with my parents and my brother, and then I went for a three-mile walk. We had dinner at my cousin Alison’s house. Wednesday morning, I left early to drive to Easton, PA to pick up my business partner and come back to VB.

Did you fall in love in 2018? No.

Who were your best friends? In alphabetical order: Kristy, Jeff, John, Vince

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? I dropped Vince off and picked him up from the airport a bunch of times when it was super early and super late.

What was your favorite TV program? Scandal (mostly because it was so many seasons long and kept me distracted when I couldn’t sleep for a few weeks!)

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No.

What was the best book you read? Surviving in Spirit by Mélanie Berliet

What was your greatest musical discovery? Predator Dub Assassins

*What was your favorite meal? One night over the summer, we couldn’t decide where to eat, so we went to Pacifica, and then we went to Eat, and then we went to Mojito, and then we went to Chicho’s, and we ate one thing at each place, and it was pretty fun.

What did you want and get? A personal assistant.

What did you want and not get? A quick late-summer/early-autumn weekend trip within driving distance. (Again.)

What was your favorite film of this year? The Spy Who Dumped Me was pretty funny.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 37. Went to lunch. Landed my loop jump at the ice skating rink. Had an early appetizer/drink with John, followed by dinner and dessert at the Melting Pot with Amie.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not owning a cat.

What kept you sane? Riding my bicycle, ice skating, walking, running, sudoku puzzles.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I have no idea.

What political issue stirred you the most? I give up on political issues.

*What mystery from 2018 was never solved? Where did the fleas come from?

Who did you miss? It’s funny, when I have a lot of anxiety, I end up missing the people I see all the time when I’m not around them. I think it’s because they’re great at distracting me from my thoughts, and they make me feel really comfortable even when I’m having bad days.

Who was the best new person you met this year? Alyssa Strackbein, our community manager at 1701.

*Did you start any new traditions this year? Yes. I realized I could watch the oceanfront fireworks every Wednesday and Sunday night out my bedroom window all summer long, so I did.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018: There is a term for the way I often approach perceived problems by not “doing” anything. It’s called Wu wei.

Quote that sums up your year: “I’m going for a walk.”