I can hardly believe that 2007 is already at an end! It seems that it was only just yesterday that I recapped 2006! And yet it was over a year ago since that was posted. For those of you who have been following me diligently, or perhaps have recently read up on the past several years of my life, you may recall that in my 2006 recap I wrote, “for most of this past year, people had to book me at least a month in advance to get any time on my calendar…. I’m looking to make 2007 a much more relaxed year.” That was a lie. Far from being less active, 2007 saw an increase in my activities. And so I bring you, Lance Johnson 2007 – A Year in Review!
In January, I was almost the victim of a Road Rage Strike by several teenage drivers. My sister was on the phone with me at the time – scary stuff. Also in January, I decided to “Escape From Life,” and I took a road trip to Los Angeles to visit some friends down that way. It was great because I literally turned off my cell phone and gave up on e-mail for a few days. Very few people knew where I was, and it was one of the best vacations of my life. Pure relaxation and no commitments of any kind. I hope to make a trip of this kind an annual event. In fact, I already have Escape From Life 2008 planned, but the location is a secret for now!
Aside from turning 25 years old, February was also the month in which I revealed that I had a stalker – a female ninja! I have a confession to make… I probably really wasn’t being stalked by said ninja. I just thought that it made for a more interesting story about how my wallet was stolen from the men’s locker room in the gym.
March found me working late at the office one night (a very rare thing, indeed!) when there was an earthquake that gave me a momentary fright. Living in the Bay Area earthquakes are relatively common, but every once in a while there will be one that makes you ask the question, “is this the big one?” I also took the GMAT in March as part of my campaign to apply for the MBA program at Notre Dame. I ended up being accepted to the program, but ultimately turned down the opportunity in favor of staying in San Francisco.
The one and only video offering from My Two Ovens was posted online in April. Unfortunately, the online cooking show that had such great potential has been put on indefinite hold as a result of the WGA Strike. Obviously, we can only hire guild writers for a show of that quality. It was also in April that Mike and I hosted the second annual Young Adult Easter Brunch at our apartment for members of the St. Dominic’s Young Adults Group. What a great event that was!
Loyal readers will have noticed that I did not post a single blog entry in May this year. This was not for lack of things going on. Far from it, there was just so much going on in May that I had no time to write any entries. In 2006, I traveled a lot. Well, the same can be said for 2007. May saw the true start of my travel season with a trip to Bosnia and Croatia. I headed to this region of the world as part of a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, which has to be one of the most peaceful places I have every experienced. Even though the trip was spiritually and physically challenging, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not only did I discover a whole new dimension of prayer, but I also developed very close relationships with my fellow travelers from St. Dominic’s. To add a little excitement to my trip, I decided to make an offer on a condo only two days before I flew to this remote part of the world. The offer was, in fact, accepted, so I was also trying to work out a half-million dollar real estate deal from thousands of mile away. Thankfully my dad stepped up to the plate and helped out with the transaction stateside while I was away.
In June, I closed on my new condo and moved in the next day. The day after that, I surrendered the keys to my apartment. Talk about efficient timing! Only two days of overlap on the condo and apartment. I tell you, though, the move wasn’t without its challenges. Most of those stories, though, are reserved for those who were there on moving day. My first housewarming gift? A bamboo plant from Jane. (Yes, Jane, it is still alive!) Since I like to complicate things with travel, I flew to China with my sister days after moving into the new condo. I took this trip to China for two primary reasons. First of all, because my sister asked me to go with her as she was on her way to Thailand for the summer. The second reason was to make the trip in honor of my Grandma Al who passed away in 2002. One of her dreams had been to return to China and see how it had changed since she was there many years ago, but she never made it. The day she died, I promised her that I would go in her place. This year I made good on that promise.
In July most of my time was occupied planning and producing the annual St. Dominic’s Young Adults Coffee House. This is an annual event that the group hosts for the entire parish. It is basically a glorified talent show. That said, we try to be selective with the acts that go on stage, and I think that this year was likely one of the best in recent memory. Several people who have been involved at the parish for as long as the Coffee House has been running told me that it was one of the best ever. Financially it was very successful, as well. With the aid of a very generous anonymous donor, the event grossed just shy of $9,000 – an all time high for the event. The majority of the proceeds that remained after expenses were donated to the Lima Center – a day ministry for the homeless at St. Dominic’s.
In August I traveled home for my sister’s birthday, and then headed out to Chicago to visit my friend Adam and to Notre Dame to see the beginning of the worst football season in the school’s history. 3-9? Are you kidding me? I can only hope next year is better! At least the trip out to Chicago was an exciting one. I managed to fly first class, albeit with rather a struggle to get the first class boarding pass.
In September I attended my first-ever bachelorette party. Yes, you read it correctly. Bachelorette! OK, to be fair, it was a joint bachelor / bachelorette party, which makes it more of a “wedding shower” than anything, I guess, but for the sake of humor value, I tell people that it was a bachelorette party. September also saw the beginning of my first semester as a graduate student. Yes, that’s right, I went back to school, although only as a part time student. I started my MA Theology at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. Unfortunately, after finishing the first semester, I’ve decided that I don’t think I can manage to work full-time, study part-time and volunteer full-time at St. Dominic’s on top of it all. So, it seems that come 2008 I’ll be a grad school drop out. So be it.
In October I returned to something I have always loved, but have not had the chance to do for the past 3 year – teach CCD. I taught CCD for 8 years starting in high school and running through college. After graduating from Notre Dame, though, my career in the film industry kept me on the road too much to commit to teaching anywhere. After settling in to a new career in 2006, though, I was able to start teaching again this year. I am blessed with an amazing co-teacher name Maureen. Maureen and her husband, Chris, moved to San Francisco in July of this year (they were married 7/7/07) and have quickly become very dear friends of mine. I also got a pet leopard in October. I’ve done a pretty good job at taming it so far, I think. Two other major October highlights: I discovered a new way to power my laptop by foot and my condo building caught on fire. That was fun!
In November, I ventured out to my second karaoke experience of the year. The first one is conspicuously absent from my online journal, and for good reason! Let’s just say that I’ve titled the story of this missing exploit, “Karaoke in the Castro.” Anyhow, this second karaoke experience was much less explicit, but not nearly as “drunken.” I went with a group of friends to a karaoke bar in Korea town in Santa Clara. The worst part? No alcohol allowed! WHAT? Who does karaoke without alcohol?
Now, I would be remiss if I ignored one of the most venerable American holidays – Thanksgiving. This was the first year that I didn’t return home for Thanksgiving; rather, I hosted it at my house. My mom and sister came out from Utah; my dad and his wife, Betty, came out from Colorado; and friends came from all over the Bay Area. It was a grand experience. I managed to fit at least 23 people into my 742 sq. ft. condo for a veritable feast! The Saturday after Thanksgiving, a whole clan traveled down to the Notre Dame @ Stanford game, which we won, by the way. That’s right, I saw the season opener at home (which we lost) and the season closer on the road (which we won).
And this brings us to December. December is a month always full of celebration and anxiety. It’s strange how some of the happiest moments can also try your patience the most. I was attending holiday parties left and right, including a party at the home of my former landlords Patrick and Christina Frazier. That they were able to host a party this year is remarkable – a year ago, Patrick suffered two strokes within days of each other. On Christmas Eve, 2006, things were looking grim, and doctors were worried that Patrick would die. But he didn’t! In fact, he’s made a remarkable recovery. Days before heading out for Christmas, I bought a new car. A 2008 VW Eos hardtop convertible. It’s great. Christmas was spent at my mom’s house, as usual, and it was the smallest Christmas in as long as I can remember – just three people: my mom, my sister and me. On Dec. 27, I flew to Omaha to celebrate the wedding of two very dear friends – Mike and Suzanne! The wedding was beautiful and the reception was a lot of fun. I just returned from Omaha this afternoon and am gearing up for the New Year’s Eve parties.
2007 by the numbers:
- 537,000 – Approximate dollars spent or committed as debt
- 36,614 – Miles flown
- 13,270 – Approximate miles driven
- 8,547 – Pageviews at lancesworld.com
- 1,062 – Tracks added to iTunes
- 182 – Invitations received
- 70 – Approximate bottles of wine consumed (not alone!)
- 65 – Countries that lancesworld.com was seen in
- 39 – Journal entries posted
- 12 – Months I was too busy for my own good
- 3 – Paltry wins for Notre Dame Football
- 2 – Continents visited (non-N. Amer.)
- 1 – Condo purchased
- 0 – Regrets
Here’s to a great 2008! Happy New Year, one and all!