top moments of 2011

another year has passed and once again, there is so much to be thankful for. this year has brought along so much change. positive change pertaining to new friends, new memories, and the good health and fortune of my family and friends.

of course, there is change that is neither good nor bad, but just change. moving hit me harder than i anticipated… i’m usually someone who just takes things as they come. the move required a lot more thought for me regarding my job, my friends, and even my lifestyle.

2010 was an amazing year, i wanted to soak up that time and freeze it. but 2011 has pushed me farther, made me grow up, and i can’t wait to see what 2012 brings. i feel like i’m in a good rhythm . as cheesy as it sounds, i feel like i’m right where i’m supposed to be.

in honor of 2011, here are 11 photos that i feel summed up the year. the photos are in chronological order (to help me so i don’t have to rank them).

#1: Baconfest
for the past two years  julia and i have been able to attend baconfest. if anyone knows anything about it, they know that tickets are almost impossible to come by and the actual event sold out in 15 minutes in 2011. once you are at baconfest there is an unlimited supply of bacon-related treats (bacon wrapped assortments, bacon ice cream, bacon donuts)… there are also lots and lots of adult beverages to partake in. so far my norm has been to get there, over indulge on both, and go home to take an afternoon nap fully induced by sodium and booze.

this year they released baggies of bacon attached to parachutes from the top level floor. people were scrambling all over each other to get the prize– i calmly sat back and drank my bloody mary (complete with a strip of bacon and bacon flavored vodka) and this parachute came directly to me, all i did was hold up my hand. it was a beautiful moment. i like to think it was fate.

(drunk amanda)

#2: The Dream Car
ever since i’ve been able to drive, the only car i’ve ever wanted was a yellow mini cooper with black racing stripes down the front. maybe it was because i saw the italian job, maybe it’s just because the cars are so swank, but while others were drooling over mustangs or ferraris, i was wanting my cute little car with the bulldog stance.

2011 is the last year that mini is doing a yellow color. a mini dealership landed in des moines, the price was low, and the car was just calling out to me.

now, it’s common knowledge that when most people turn 50(ish), they go through their “mid-life crisis” and either get divorced, get new cars, or just do things to make them feel young and hip again. seeing as i turned 25 this year, i decided to get my dream car in honor of my “quarter life crisis.” and to my delight and surprise, the car that i ordered already had racing stripes on it even though it wasn’t mentioned in the description. it was fate. this car was meant for me.

(this photo was taken by my good friend Ted Sandeen of Sandeen Photography. and no, i wasn’t egotistical enough to ASK him to take this,
he wanted to get some practice in)

#3: Grandpa’s Birthday/Lundberg Family Reunion
i will start by saying that my family means the world to me. and whether we’re painting grandma and grandpa’s house or fighting over potato bologna at Thanksgiving, i see the lundberg side pretty frequently. we bicker, we make fun of each other, we get drunk together (is that not a typical family tradition?), and we know that everyone would go to bat for anyone if needed. family is a special sort of sickness- i can complain about them, but so-help-me-god, if anyone else does they are going to get punched in the face.

this year was my grandpa’s 80th birthday. we rented out the community center in our home town and family and friends drove/flew in from all over the united states to wish him the best and catch up with everyone else. it was a unique opportunity and i’m glad i was a part of it.

(the lundberg side of the family: the engquists, my family, the lehmans, the ebersoles, and the other lundbergs)

#4: Trailer Trash Birthday
my birthday signifies a change in the year– for one, it’s in june, so summer weather is starting. it’s also midway through the year so a great time to look back on what has been accomplished so far and also see how far you need to go. for me, june marked the month that i moved to mason city and away from everything that i had grown to know and love. my family is in des moines. some of my closest friends i’ve ever had are in des moines. my job is there as well. but mason city has… well… a super target. a lot of steak and mexican restaurants. and evan peterson.

because i am from a small rodeo town, sarah thought it would be appropriate to have a birthday/going away party for me to help me celebrate my roots and also where i was going… back to white trashville. we had a trailer trash themed birthday party, complete with a lot of camouflage, beers iced in the bathtub, and ‘merican flags. ’cause these colors don’t run, ya hear?!

(in the back: jon, freshly UNshaved, with pajama pants, an unbuttoned shirt, and a pack of camels in the breast pocket. me, leised, complete with cowboy boots, a tank with cut off sleeves, and a trucker hat. tyler, in an american flag cut off shirt and a bottle of moonshine.
in the front: joseph with his plaid and camo, just moved back to des moines from san diego. sarah in an 80s jeans jumper, a camo hat, and a red solo cup in hand. krista in too short of shorts, a white crop top, a black bra, and way too much glitter. also, andrew’s creepy, glowing hand. god bless ‘merica.)

#5: My Best Friend’s Wedding
haha, just like the movie. only not. bee was my best friend in high school- we did everything together. when we graduated, we both went our separate ways; we made new friends, found new interests, and started new chapters in our lives– and though time has a way of separating people in the worst ways, i still have a spot near and dear to my heart for a friend who helped shape who i became in life.

the wedding was small but beautiful. there were only a handful of guests, no wedding party, and the wedding song bee walked down to was a slow, acoustic version of Outkast’s “Hey Ya.” the atmosphere was cozy and comfortable. the food was buffet style and delicious. and the bride? well, bee is one of the most beautiful people i’ve ever seen– so needless to say, she was unbeatable on her wedding day.

(the women-friends at breanne’s wedding.)

#6: Jamie and the Ireland and Italy Excursion
a few years ago my good friend jamie said to me, “curt and i are getting married. in ireland. …you can come if you want to.”

one would think, which encouragement like that (well, and that much advanced notice) that i would have started saving. but no, all i knew was that i wanted to go. jessica knew she wanted to go. and in late june of 2012, we went, by jove.

there were so many amazing pictures to choose from to commemorate this trip to two beautiful countries (we tacked italy on to the back end of the trip)- but i picked this photo because it showed the main reason jessica and i went: our friendship. these are two girls that i have known since i was a skinny, punkass teenager. they are two of the greatest people i’ve had the opportunity to know. and while ireland and italy are scenic and beautiful, i could go anywhere with either one of these guys and we’d make it one helluva time.

(getting lippy)

#7: My moon, my man
as much crap as i talk about evan (and that i get in return), he really is fantastic. there are so many things i admire about him. and this year i celebrated two years with this handsome man– could a gal get any luckier?

last year we went to seattle; it was evan’s first time in a commercial airplane. this year we also did another first- a couple’s vacation with a few close friends. we went up to brainerd, minnesota and spent the time hanging out on the lake, playing games, and doing a bit of biking and golfing. next year we are going to belgium. yes, this year marked two years with evan, but there will be many more to come.

(i’m on a boat! and… it’s going fast and… i got a nautical themed pashmina afghan.)

#8: Mi familia.
it’s not so much about this photo, but about the time i’ve gotten to spend this year with my family. because i live part time in mason city and part time in des moines, i have to have a place to hang my hat when i’m in town. my parents graciously (well, my mom is gracious, my dad is a bit of an ass haha) let me stay at their place every other week. while most people would complain about such living arrangements, i have to admit… i kind of love it. i get home cooked meals, free rent, and get to hang with the coolest parents in the world.

not only that, but my brother and his family also live in the city. i’ve had the opportunity to watch the little kids’ basketball games on saturdays, go to family lunches on sundays after church (usually not up in time for church, but i can make the lunch), and just hang out with my favorite kids in the world. my brother is 7.5 years older than me. we didn’t really hang out much growing up, but we have gotten close over the years. i feel truly blessed to be in the lundberg family. especially with these yayhoos.

(little Lena (4), Samuel (9) and Tatum (6).)

#9: Classic Gang+ .
there was this running joke…well, not really a joke, it started as a trivia team name… that a group of us were known as “the Classic Gang.” being egotistical and overbearing like we are, we would title our activities like a tv show: “classic gang does 80/35.” “classic gang does carl’s.” if more people came to an activity we would say “classic gang + (insert name here).

with all the new and wonderful people who have become a part of the hang out crew, the classic gang has grown so much (or rather, demolished) into a large smattering of really amazing (and gorgeous, i mean, look at us!) people. this des moines crew is what makes it so hard to be away and makes me love coming back to town. i’ve had a lot of irreplaceable friends in my life, but these people (and some more des moiners) are my soul mates. we get each other.

(Erin’s surprise birthday/engagement party. In semi-order; Shannon, Seth, Bethany, myself, Brad, Brittany, Joey, Tony, Shane, Katie, Sarah, Veronica, Meredith, and Joseph. Grandma Erin and Grandpa Sam in their wheelchairs in the front.)

#10: My job/Eating a piece of humble pie.
to start with, and i will say this over and over again: i absolutely love my job. i feel very fortunate that my first “real” job is with a company that i could see myself with for a very long time. there are many opportunities to grow here. there are beautiful, sad eyed scientists to adore. and the group that i work with are people who have crossed over from co-workers to real friends.

but with my job, there are also times where i have to check my ego at the door. i’ll be the first to tell you that i’m not the smartest person at a science company, and that’s a fact. i’ve had to learn a lot, not only in graphic design, but also working in a professional work environment. how to deal with certain employees. how to manage workload/real life.

one of the coolest things about my company is that every year the des moines-based facility holds an auction to support YESS (Youth Emergency Services & Shelter of Iowa). this year there were around 400 people there and we raised over $50,000 to donate to the shelter to help buy christmas presents and keep the facility managed. this year i donated video services to the auction, thinking it would be a silent auction item and i was “doing my part” to volunteer, to help.

instead, it was the first item in the live auction. and while no one else had to go up on stage for their donated items, my lovely friend kristi (quality and regulatory director for our agrifoods division) decided it would be best to call me out of the crowd and make me stand on the stage. and while i was walking up to the stage she also decided it would be best to shout out, “because, come on, who doesn’t want up to 5 hours with amanda lundberg?” [to which many snickered in the crowd and added “amanda lundberg AND a video camera, rawr.”]. and while i don’t get embarrassed often, i will easily call this the most embarrassing moment of 2011.

(i was auctioned off for $800, by the way. in case you were curious.)

#11: The Lundberg/Brammer _____ of 2011
this year i moved out from with my “life partner” and moved in with evan. after 3 years together, sarah and i decided to end our common law marriage (hey, it’s legal in iowa) and move on with our lives.

it was very hard to adjust at first because sarah and i did everything together- whether we were doing the crossword (hungover) on sunday with a crew or just watching Sex in the City 2 (which neither one of us would admit to liking, it was just on tv, of course), sarah easily became my closest des moines friend. it was amazing how we went from acquaintances, to roommates, to real friends within such a short period of time. i think we bonded over our excessive behavior and our fake-lesbian romance, but seriously, she’s one of the best friends i’ve ever had.

(The Signature Pose.)

so there is 2011 in a nutshell. here’s to a good year and an even better 2012!

well, unless the world ends. then we’re just all fucked.

2 responses to “top moments of 2011

  1. I just read this… and I cried.

    I’m such a baby…

    but I love you and miss you very much….


  2. well, friend, *I* love and miss *YOU*. here’s to a good 2011 and an even better 2012!

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