Season’s Greetings: 2007 Edition

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Friends!

I started writing this post on Christmas Eve, and somehow it proliferated into a novel. I apologize. It’s amazing how much you remember about a year when you have it all written down.

In the case that you don’t want to read War and Peace, here’s the executive summary of my annual report:

Started a blog 
Perfected guitar — wrote two songs
Experienced Las Vegas and wine country
Finally lit a fire in my fireplace
Went on a lot of first dates
Laughed about the hometown paper
Helped sell massive amounts of trucks

But, in the case that you ARE up for the long-winded story, here’s a tour back through my favorite posts of 2007. (Note: I just had a flashback to writing 4-H awards applications. Hopefully this will be more entertaining to read than those were…)


Galloping Nelly was officially born on January 20, the result of two forces:  addiction to The Pioneer Woman, and the realization that if I wanted to fulfill my New Year’s resolution to write more, then I needed an outlet with an audience to motivate me. My very first post was appropriately entitled “My Life As An Online Dater” — both a tribute to the many hours I spent over Christmas vacation surfing, and the fact that my friend owned UR magazine and needed someone to interview for an article. After a month of first dates, I realized I was Dating the Apostles — which later became the topic for a song. And I fondly recalled a date with The Rabbit King.

The downside of January was that I absent-mindedly let my ATM card be sucked back into an ATM, which left me penniless for a week. (The DRAMA!) This mishap threw a wrench in transportation to and from my client’s office – about 35 miles west of downtown.


I kicked off February with a trip to the Big Apple, where I fell in love with Osso Bucco at The Orchard. (However, the next day I didn’t have time to eat before my afternoon-long meeting, during which I fell victim to low-blood-sugar-crabby-pants syndrome.)

By February, our Thursday night volleyball league (team: Hot Irish Dickies) had returned to full-swing, complete with a ref who had found me on Uncomfortable. Later in the year he spiked me in the eye while filling in on an opposing team.

February also brought Kim’s wedding shower and bachelorette party — consisting of a bunch of farm girls touring downtown Chicago in a white limo reciting the 4-H pledge.

I closed out the month with a business trip to Dallas, which was MUCH warmer than Chicago. I even got a sunburn before dinner at Southfork.


By March I was in the thick of three projects: compiling a book for Jenn about our Italy trip, working on brand positioning for Thodos Dance Chicago (a year-long volunteer project through the Arts & Business Council),  and sewing flower girl dresses for Kim’s wedding.  Early in the month I was back in New York for a business trip, and I ended the month on mullet patrol at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.

The big news, however, was that Mom, Dad and DIY came to Chicago to run a gas line and wire an outlet in my place for a washer and dryer. Hooray! (Unfortunately it’s now 9 months later and I still haven’t gotten off my lazy bum to have a dryer vent drilled in my wall…)


I was back in Kansas for Easter, and Dad and I went to the Messiah festival in Lindsborg to watch Mom sing in the choir for the fifth year running. Then the frost came — and nuked the wheat crop.

The balance of the month was spent randomly bumping into former dates, but I ended the month with a bang — a girls trip to Vegas. (I plan to wear the dress I got on that trip to the “Eve of the Eve” party this Sunday.)


It was fun catching up with my cousin Traci when she was visiting Chicago in early May for work — though all we could squeeze in was an hour chatting in her hotel room (musing over her incredible bathroom). And mid-month I finally found an acceptable substitute for #45 at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Wichita.

I closed the month with a delightful weekend in Kansas City at my brother’s house, where we took in a Royals game and ate lots of his home-cooked food.


The big accomplishment in June was getting my maps from Rome framed. (I admit, one of them is still sitting on my floor instead of hanging above my bed…) 

Jenn and I spent some time at street fairs over the summer, and the Old Town Art Fair was the event that kicked-off the summer — and reinforced that women in that neighborhood, well, regularly have augmentation. With the city springing to life, I enjoyed heading out with my camera to the lakefront (which was far prettier at that time than in the dead of winter).

I was back in N.Y. for a day at the end of the month, followed immediately by a van trip to Ft. Wayne. Unfortunately my horoscope predicted the travel delays that ultimately came to pass. (I had to write a letter to the psychic.) But the spectacle of the Gay Pride Parade outside my living room window made me forget about my travel woes.


I spent the first week in July out at the farm, where I wrote some of my favorite posts of the year (despite being completely bogged down with work from my real job). I started off the week with a Sunday Evening Farm Tour, entertained myself my trying on all my old 4-H dresses (note: the prom shot ended up on the fridge at work — eeek!), and watched the storm roll in as we were cutting wheat. DIY and I gave Dad a digital camera for father’s day, and honestly it’s the best little camera ever (Canon PowerShot SD1000) — it even takes excellent video. The video from the wheat field has been viewed over 8,000 times on YouTube. Who knew harvest was such a hot topic?

Once back in Chicago, I enjoyed (or rather endured with profuse sweat) a bike trip up the lakefront to Evanston one Saturday, before heading out later that week to the Truckers’ Jamboree in Walcott, IA. (Woohoo!) Our company ended the month with a fun outing to a White Sox game.


Reading back through early August’s posts, it appears that I was still running into former dates — and whooping it up at a Cubs game. Honestly, August-October is a complete blur; I was buried at work (fortunately I wasn’t literally buried by the tornado that came near my 88-story office building). But I did make time to attend a charity event to support Jenn, who is on the board of the Children’s Advocacy Center.


Over Labor Day, I was back at the farm — making movies of my brother and wild animals, and trying on awful prom dresses with my girlfriends. Once I got back to Chicago, I started taking a songwriting class, which was a struggle to get to (an hour by train in rush hour), but a joy to partake in. The most interesting part was my nerves — I about croaked from stage fright performing the two songs I came up with.

Mid-month I was invited to join my clients for a morning of learning to sail. Sailing was followed by a big afternoon crash in my bed — aftermath of the two margaritas I’d had at lunch.


The first weekend in October I joined my cousins and their pals for our third annual girls’ weekend in Breckenridge. We were down to only 8 people this year, which made for a much more relaxed situation over the four days we were there. By the time I got back, my addiction to reality TV caused me to get bed sores on my bum. Fortunately I redeemed myself through two different service projects: a Wednesday evening with the kids at Off The Street Club and initiation for the Thodos Dance Chicago board of directors.


Since opening day of pheasant season is the biggest holiday of the year in Kansas, I decided to surprise Mom and Dad by showing up at the pancake feed. Mom was already in the field, so Dad helped me surprise her by sneaking up on the tractor with the combine.  We spent Sunday afternoon harvesting milo — which they finished later that week, just in time to come and visit me in Chicago for Thanksgiving.  Jenn had us over for turkey, and we supplied the butterscotch pie.


By December, I needed a vacation. Jenn and I had planned to go to Vietnam in November, but we decided we were just too tired to take on that sort of adventure. So, we opted for a week in Sonoma, which was just what the doctor ordered. (The hometown paper provided additional entertainment when I got home, as usual.) I made my rounds to several holiday parties before heading to Kansas on the 23rd, where I have spent my entire week writing this recap. (Just kidding — we’ve had plenty of gatherings, food, and failed attempts at working out.)

So, there you have it. My 2007 in a nutshell. For those of you who have sent cards and e-mails, thanks for staying in touch! I’ve enjoyed hearing about you and your families.



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