Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery and the worst of this fairly wretched year; I not only quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, I seldom bring them up in the first place. A partial, prejudiced and completely random list . . .
Best Trip: June 2009 -- St. Lou and Chi-Town to see Flicka and Dad
Best New Restaurant: A Terrible Beauty (Irish) in Renton, WA
Best Roger Kimball Read: The Rape of the Masters . . . wait . . . Tenured Radicals . . . wait . . . The Lives of the Mind . . . yikes! They're all good!
Best Sunday School Lesson: The Good Samaritan (I don't think the kids ever were as enraptured during Bible story time as when I gave my dramatic interpretation of this parable)
Best New Kitchen Discovery: King Arthur Flour (Thanks, Vermont! I owe you for this and vermonster)
Best New Album: Love Was Here First by Carolyn Arends (with Make Yourself Known by The Clumsy Lovers coming in a close second)
Best New Christmas Album: Christmastide by Bob Bennett
Best Online Store From Which to Buy Great Music and Books: Feed the Lake
Best Airline: Alaska Airlines (funny how that keeps its #1 spot year after year . . .)
Best Completely Addictive Mid-Afternoon Snack: New York Style Focaccia Sticks
Best Blogger & Friend Returning from Nearly Two Years of Silence to the World Wide Web: Flicka Spumoni
Best Newly Discovered Political Blog: Conservatives 4 Palin
Best Children's Book Series: Ivy and Bean Books by Annie Barrows (Chronicle Books)
Best Quote I Heard this Year: When the Father laughs at the Son and the Son laughs back at the Father, that laughter gives pleasure, that pleasure gives joy, that joy gives love, and that love is the Holy Spirit. -- Meister Eckhart (read in Tony Hendra's Father Joe)
Best Chesterton-Oriented Happening: Seattle's hosting the American Chesterton Society's annual conference (though, my being asked to write a review of Orthodoxy comes pretty close, as well)
Best Three Year Old: Rylee
Best Six-and-a-Half Year Old: Sadie
Best Beer: Harp
Best Wine: Chateau St. Michelle's Riesling
Best Bread: Mantovana
Best Big Purchase: My purple bike!
Best Little Purchase: Love Was Here First by Carolyn Arends
Best Play: Around the World in 80 Days (Taproot Theatre)
Best Thing I Saw Sadie Do: Learn to ride horses this summer
Best Thing I Heard Rylee Do: Sing her ABC's
Best Movie I Saw in the Theater: Up!
Best Movie I Saw on Video: Ghost Town
Best New Acquaintance of 2009: Flicka's Mom (everything she writes there is right, you know)
Best New (to me) Read About Jane: A Fine Brush on Ivory by Richard Jenkyns
Best New Joke About Justine for Family and Friends to Re-Visit Year After Year for the Rest of Her Life: My tragi-comedic inability to comprehend the workings of a candy thermometer.
Best New (to me) Author Who is Luckily Outrageously Prolific Thereby Giving Me the Delightful Anticipation of Many Happy Reading Hours: P.G. Wodehouse (Thanks, Roger Kimball!) (from Jason -- with sarcasm: Thanks, Roger Kimball.)
Best Hopes for 2010: The love of Jesus changing every heart and manifesting itself in every life across this planet (most important); continued health and safety of family and friends (almost as important); a new Congress (least important, but, unfortunately, still important).