2012 – A look BackWARD

Hello my friends. As the end of the year draws nigh (it is drawing nigh, yes? I’m never sure if nigh is a thing and why one would draw it), I cannot help but reminisce about all that Michelle and I have been through these past 12 months. After all, this was a year that saw our first hurricane, our first Zucchini Festival (not a euphemism) and our first Fantasy Football team (well, by “our” I mean “my”). It was quite the year of firsts. Oh, and Michelle did some sort of marathon thing, which I guess is an accomplishment if you count in her numerous surgeries and procedures from the past year. But really, in comparison to Arian Foster rushing 1,328 yards so far this year it’s ok (btw, I have no idea if that’s a lot of yards. I’m just impressed I remember that a yard is 3 feet). More on Michelle later.

Since we’re discussing the realm of firsts and beginnings, Michelle and I were honored to be invited to the wedding of our friends John Deely and Genevieve Echever—Genevieve Deely. It was a lavish affair that gave Michelle and I the excuse to dance with old friends, ride a tractor and wear an actual bow-tie. So yeah, I know how to tie a bow-tie now and two very wonderful people shared their special day with us, so it was win-win all around.

This year also so me spend my birthday in LA. Now before you west coast friends chime in with “What, no call?” please be aware that this trip lasted a total of 36 hours, 30 of which were work-related. The highlight of the trip included an unsupervised tour of the Warner Bros lot. My intern-guide showed me where they filmed the Paris scenes for “Casablanca,” where Ross played rugby to impress Emily on Friends (spoiler alert: it’s just a small patch of grass and it’s the same spot where Phoebe and Rachel went running) and most exciting of all: a visit to my favorite fictional TV locale of all time, Star’s Hollow. I surprised/frightened my guide when she began the tour by asking, “Ok, if you’re really a Gilmore Girls fan, what’s this building?” to which I immediately replied “Oh my god it’s Miss Patty’s School of Dance.” To understand what my guide looked like after hearing this response you’d have to go to a mirror and look at your face–that blend of shock and disappointment you see now was all over her face then.

“I got to be Kirk. KIRK!”

I’ve mentioned it already, but this year was the first year I participated in a Fantasy Football team. The Tepid Waters completed the year 6-7 with an overall score of 1348.88 (a league high), and placed 4th. The league was created by the lovely Ms. Heidi Waldusky who finished the year in 1st place (COLLUSION!), and was meant to be a league for beginners like me to partake in Fantasy Football without the fear of extreme competition or loss of money. Which means it was me and 8 other women, including Heidi’s mom. All in all though, a good season despite my failing to take home the Shiva (everyone calls it The Shiva, right?)

Michelle and I spent our first vacation in the Berkshires this summer with the ever-hospitable Lester clan up at Lesterwood. We were fortunate enough to arrive just in time for the annual Zucchini Festival, and despite a touch of bad weather, were able to watch an actual Zucchini Catapult. Unless you’ve seen a Zucchini Catapult up close and personal, you have not truly lived. I realize that most of you may think I’m being sarcastic, but I assure you dear reader, the Zucchini Festival is truly a sight to behold, and not just because the celebrity zucchini judge was Gene Shalit.

“He placed third.”

This year was the premiere of a brief web series I began earlier in the year called “Skyping with Sheils” in which I record Skype sessions with my mother. If you haven’t viewed this yet, feel free to do so (youtube.com/thelukeward). We only recorded 11 episodes my therapist recommended we “ease up on production” but should a public outcry for more arise, well, who am I to argue with the public?

On that note, I’d be remiss not to mention my new improv team Ragalta. There are some amazingly funny, smart and talented people including and limited to Pat Swearingen, Rachel Rosenthal, Bill DiPiero and Kaitlin Fontana and somehow I’ve fooled them into letting me be a part of the team. I’d also be remiss not to mention that we have a show at the PIT this Saturday 12/29 at 8pm but I’ve been remiss before. It’s no biggie.

I mentioned Michelle’s marathon walk earlier, and as much as I want to avoid this, I can’t help talk a little bit about the elephant in the room (As a half-Jew I revel in entertaining and storytelling and as a half-WASP I can’t understand why we’re still talking about this in front of company). Most of you, if not all, are aware that this was the year that Michelle battled breast cancer. It was a tumultuous battle and as a side note,  I cannot express  how incredible the outpouring of support was from everyone. Michelle wanted to give back and almost immediately after learning of her treatment regimen signed up for the Avon 40-mile Walk Against Breast Cancer. I tried to convince her that this was 39.5 miles too many, but she was having none of it. After 4 rounds of chemo, 4 surgeries, 60+ cold caps, 12 weeks of recovery and numerous episodes of the show Revenge, Michelle participated in the walk (I participated in a fantastically delicious pastrami sandwich at Junior’s with Chuck Cain, but to each his own). Despite all that I just listed, and the emotional toll that this year has brought upon her, Michelle completed 24 miles and raised over $17,000! The only downside of the walk being that Michelle was so inspired by her experience that she signed up for next year’s walk 3 days later. I still say it’s 39.5 miles too many.

“If you’re not tearing up, you have no soul.”

Lastly but certainly not leasty, the clan got a little bit bigger this year with the birth of my nephew Kash Timothy Hendrickson. Both sister Katie and her husband Karl are doing great (wouldn’t you be with a little extra Kash? The jokes never get old), and Grandma Sheils and Uncle Zak are doing pretty well too.

“We call his car-seat, ‘The Wallet'”

Well, that about does it for 2012 and I must say that despite everything that I’ve listed this year, it was a really, really tough fucking year. I know I only devoted one paragraph to it, but the whole cancer thing can really take over your life and not in a good way. And there was certainly a lot of support from family and friends (I’m looking at you Linda Cain), but 2012 can really let the door hit it where the good lord split it, if you know what I mean. Well, except for the Zucchini Festival. And the Warner Bros trip was a lot of fun. And of course the birth of Kash was miraculous. And of course, after all is said and done, Michelle is healthy, happy and beside me every day. So there’s that.

Still, 2012 can kiss my ass.