Thinking

Finding the Good in 2016

2016 was a tough year. I broke my leg. My base­ment flood­ed. Rather than dwell on the bad, I took the start of 2017 to think about the things I enjoyed and be thank­ful for those expe­ri­ences.

  • The Felske Files: when the Phillies were good, there was lit­er­al­ly a brack­et-full of Phillies blogs com­pet­ing for atten­tion. Then 2012 hap­pened. It’s been a slog ever since, but last year a light switched on. The first full year of the Felske Files, a Phillies pod­cast host­ed by John Stol­nis, was one of my favorite things in 2016. As the Phillies rebuild, he’s brought in smart guests and great insights to the con­ver­sa­tion about the future of my favorite fran­chise. The Felske Files is the sports pod­cast the world’s been wait­ing for.
  • Iggy Pop at the Fox The­atre: I’m not some­one who ghoul­ish­ly tries to check box­es on leg­endary artists. I’ve nev­er seen Neil Young or Bob Dylan or Dol­ly Par­ton or Diana Ross or Aretha Franklin. But after Bowie’s death last Jan­u­ary, I felt com­pelled to see Iggy Pop when he came to his home­town. I wasn’t dis­ap­point­ed. The band, led by QOTSA’s Josh Homme, was impos­si­bly tight and they stuck to a setlist that not only high­light­ed Iggy’s clas­sic work, but com­ple­ment­ed the new mate­r­i­al per­fect­ly. The crowd was amaz­ing, too.
  • Bruce Spring­steen at the Palace at Auburn Hills: con­sid­er­ing I once wrote a piece called, It’s Time to Fire the Boss, I found myself enjoy­ing every minute of his tour behind The Riv­er. Every­thing every­one loves about Bruce is true and, see above, I’m glad I got to see him live. A few weeks lat­er at a Par­quet Courts show, I found myself tap­ping my foot wait­ing for the band to come on stage at 11 pm. I men­tioned to my neigh­bor that Bruce had been on stage for 3 hours at that point.
  • Char­treuse: is it pos­si­ble that one of Detroit’s best restau­rants is under­rat­ed? If you’re vis­it­ing Detroit in 2017 — and you seri­ous­ly should; the New York Times says so — Char­treuse is can’t miss.
  • LVL UP — Hid­den Dri­ver: it was an anthem for me all year.
  • Pitch­fork Fes­ti­val: I hadn’t been to a music fes­ti­val in 20 years until last sum­mer. Pitch­fork Fes­ti­val was worth the wait. Not only did the line­up keep me engaged and enter­tained — Blood Orange was a per­son­al favorite — the weath­er was com­plete­ly beau­ti­ful and the peo­ple were friend­ly and fun to be around. Bonus: meet­ing mem­bers of Super Fur­ry Ani­mals made my day.
  • My neigh­bors: when Grosse Pointe Park was hit by sew­er back­up on Sep­tem­ber 29th, we weren’t the only fam­i­ly affect­ed. 200–300 homes were hit! We were over­whelmed by the out­pour­ing of sup­port from our friends and neigh­bors, who helped us clean up and get back to nor­mal.
  • My fam­i­ly: when our base­ment flood­ed this sum­mer, we lost every­thing in a del­uge. 3+ feet of water wipes out a lot of mem­o­ries in the blink of an eye. It was a chal­leng­ing time, but we all pulled togeth­er and looked for­ward to the future, rather than dwelling on what we lost. We were safe and had only lost things, pre­cious though some of them may have been. My sev­en year old remains the most resilient, lov­ing kid I know and his spir­it real­ly car­ried us through.

As I wrap up this list, I find myself reflect­ing on oth­er moments and expe­ri­ences I omit­ted. It’s reas­sur­ing to know that 2017 is a new year and a fresh oppor­tu­ni­ty to make new mem­o­ries.

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