(from less high to highest of the high)
10. Blue skies! - Seems like such a minor thing, but Helena was spared the lung-charring smoke from regional forest fires this summer. After having lived through what amounts as breathing in toxic waste for the past few years, this was a welcome gift. In general, the temperatures this year finally cooled down to "normal" for Montana, which was also a huge and welcome relief!
9. Big glasses! - Actually, he didn't wear them. After "The Great Elton John Ticket Fiasco" of 2007, it was announced that the Rocket Man himself asked to come back to Montana! While the ticket situation was minimally better than before, I was able to snag a couple of tickets. Way up in the far corner, but it's a small-ish venue, and I was at least in the building! Accompanying me was Megan, a former student and current grad student at U of M. While spending the afternoon with her was wonderful, the concert was phenomenal. We sang along with the rest of the thousands there, hitting the high notes that he can't reach anymore. Can't wait for the Elton John/Billy Joel concert to come someplace nearby next year! :-)
8. Blue Man Group! - These guys mix music, visuals, drama and comedy into a show that has to be experienced. Words just can't do it justice! But the real joy of this evening wasn't so much the concert as it was my company. Since this was at MSU, and N2 happened to be a freshman there, I asked if she wanted to go. Of course, she did, and we had a great time. It was the first time to "experience" her as a young adult, as opposed to "one of the kids" at our regular family things. I found her to be intelligent, a good conversationalist, and someone whose head was screwed on far better than mine was at her age!
7. Birthday cards! - It started slowly. I'm not one who checks his P.O. box on a strictly daily basis, but I got a birthday card a full month early from Q, who should know better. A couple of days later, I had two more. I could see a pattern starting here... For a full month before my actual birthday, I got a card a day from her! With the wonky postal service around here, sometimes I got two or three at a time, but I don't doubt for a minute that she mailed them out one per day! It was a wonderful (and pricey!) gesture, and one that was definitely appreciated! Thanks, Q!
6. Buzz! - July brought around the annual summer concert for the symphony. A free concert attended by 15,000-17,000 people, depending on who you're talking to. This involved a week's worth of rehearsals in two different locations, coordination of bringing in a grand piano, the set-up of a huge mobile stage, and the post-concert tear-down. The concert had a space theme, and we had Gustav Holst's The Planets narrated by Col. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. Making it even more special is that the concert was on the 39th anniversary of that moonwalk. The weather cooperated better than it has in ten years, the production aspects all ran very smoothly, and best of all, I came out of the week physically unscathed! No blood, no broken bones! And really the best of all--Col. Aldrin autographed my own 39 year-old copy of the LIFE magazine pictured here!
5. Back! - As mentioned in the "Lows" of 2008, a very good blogger friend got married, got convinced that those bloggerfriends weren't important in her life, and she disappeared. Actually, not so much disappeared, but took herself out of the game. The good news--she's back! It's a good news/bad news situation though. She's not married anymore. But she's realized that all "those bloggerfriends" actually are important in her life, and now she's back! Maybe not quite the way she was, but she's back! She's got this silly notion that people will hold her actions against her. Pfffttt... Me? I knew she'd be back! Moral of the story? Way to many to tell. I'm just super glad that she's back (have I mentioned that yet?). Now if we can just figure out how we'll meet face-to-face (even though I did make that trip through Florida a couple of years ago...).
4. Birthday #3! - HNT made its debut in May of 2005, from humble beginnings (six of us) to the multi-million member phenomenon that it is today. Well, maybe not that big. But pretty big! The third anniversary was this past May, and I wanted to do something special for it. After spending lots of time trying to come up with something, it hit me. Get former members of HNT, who quit for a variety of reasons, to come back for sort of an anniversary "issue". In setting some parameters for this, I decided that I'd ask those who were there in HNTs infancy, but had dropped out after its first year. The pioneers who really kept this thing going, and endured some of the nastiness of 2006. I had hoped to maybe get a dozen people--I ended up with 46! I opened a new site specifically for the anniversary group (click on the icon here! I opened it up to the participants a couple of days early to check it out--it was like high school reunion week! Most of these people had lost track of each other. Personally, it was a ton of work, but it was heart-warming to have all of these people return for the week, and to re-connect with all of them!
3. Broadway! - Well, not Broadway, per se. But the touring version. Moose got us tickets to see Jesus Christ Superstar in Minneapolis in May. My love of this rock opera is well documented throughout my blog, including my own performance as King Herod. What made this version so good is that Ted Neely, who played Jesus in the movie version, was playing Jesus here. His voice was absolutely stunning, and possibly better than it was when the movie came out over 35 years ago. He's been portraying Jesus longer than Jesus was alive! Of course, I was there with Moose, so there was the requisite beer drinking and food eating and napping. Of course, naps wouldn't have been needed if a certain person wasn't snoring all night...
2. Blogger Babes! - August was the month that I got to meet three wonderful bloggers--Vixen, Stiletto Reflections, and Dana! First was my looonnnngggg drive through Wyoming (ugh!) during a nasty heat wave to get to Vixen's wedding. It was intimate, beautiful, and the beer flowed freely into the night (note their picture...). The drive back through Wyoming was made worse by my lack of sleep and possibility of a hangover. I'd do it again in an instant! One week later, Dana and her son Cam stayed through the weekend on their way to Washington. Apparently I didn't make too bad of an impression, as they came back through and spent a night the next weekend! It had been over a year since I'd met any bloggers, so I was really looking forward to these visits. These visits would have been my #1 High of 2008, if it weren't for this:
1. Broad Ripple! - Broad Ripple is the street in Indianapolis where the Wild Beaver Saloon is located. Where OsTour '08 ended the night in the midst of a weekend in mid-November. Due to cheap airline tickets, a somewhat botched planned meet-up, and a free weekend in my own schedule, I flew to Indianapolis to meet up with M, NY Diva, Dana, ASM, Salt & Pepper, A Living Diary, Flyboy, and American Honey. AND a lunch date en route with an unnamed blogger! No particular reason. Just a meet-up. And as in prior OsTours, this one didn't disappoint! We went into the weekend with apprehension about these other weird bloggers, and came out as friends! (well, I didn't. I'm used to these things) All I can say is that if you ever have the chance to do something like this, don't hesitate!
There you have it. My "Highs" for 2008. With 3 hours to spare! Many of you are probably already at parties as I'm doing this. I hope that everyone is having a safe but fun NYE! Looking forward to a great 2009!!