Ho ho ho.

I'm taking a cue from my girl @bananza this Christmas, and posting my Top Ten Favorite Things About 2009. What a year. Is it 2010 yet? 10. The campaign trail

The year started off with a first. I worked on a campaign. A statewide campaign. Most importantly, a WINNING campaign. I served as the communications coordinator, which made me feel real big and important. In reality, there were only three of us on the staff, so we all kind of did everything, but a title made me feel a little more special. It was busy. Late nights, early mornings, long days, a lot of driving, but the experience was priceless. Made great contacts. Opened doors (which are, uh, still open... waiting to be closed). Worked for an amazing man, who now serves our state. It was, in a very generic word, cool. It was a short stint - three months - and I was jobless afterward, but I wouldn't take it back. The job brought me to Madison, which takes us to No. 9.

09. Madison

The capital of Wisconsin. I grew up nearby. Didn't spend too much time here, just random trips to the malls and the zoo. Some more adventures in college. Have always loved it here. It's pretty, it really is. Full of lakes and bike paths and active people and things to do. Now I call it home, and that makes me happy. Dare I say I've finally settled into a city? I spent my first six months living in the attic of two wonderful friends while I campaigned, and then dug tooth and nail finding employment when that ended. Now I've got my own place. It's small, but it's mine. And it's here in this city that I can call home. I can see the capitol building from my parking lot, can run loops around the lakes and never have to leave.

08. Endurance House

This is the first place that was home to me here. I've been working part-time at the triathlon shop since May, and my coworkers have become a second family to me. They are seriously, without a doubt, some of the most good-hearted people I've ever met. It's a close-knit group. We take care of each other, and that's something I've needed more than once this year. There's also nothing better than surrounding yourself with the sport and the people who interest you most. Hands down, best place to work. Ever.

07. Daily Mile

I joined Daily Mile a year ago. It was just getting started then. A social networking site for athletes - total win! I could log my miles, keep track of workouts... genius. A year later, I'd be lost without it. I've met some fantastic people (Anne, Kristin, Rochelle, Miranda, Mike, Tracey, Sara, and on and on...). It's become more to us than a site to log our running miles. We push each other and motivate each other and support each other. I've met so many of them, and they're all priceless. I feel accountable for my training now. I think we all do. I know that each day when I post my mileage, someone out there is going to care. Someone's going to push me and motivate me, and tomorrow, I'm going to wake up and run again.

06. Relationships

I say that as if I've had a healthy one this year. Let me clear that up - I haven't. As we all clearly remember (or is that just me?), the year began with a very heinous, heartbreaking, ridiculous breakup. I'm over it now. Hi! Look at me! Over it! But it kicked off a year of very peculiar singledom. Met some guys. Kissed some guys (keeping this rated G for the kids). Dissed some guys. Formed attachments with some guys. Like, real attachments. For at least three minutes, I thought some of those guys were the winner. But somewhere, each time, it ended. Some badly. Some mysteriously. Some thankfully. Key word: end. It gets hard, this battle of the late twenties. Is there a perfect relationship out there for me? A healthy one? A passionate one? A vampire? (I kid). (But only a little). Despite my ludicrous efforts, and the little chunks of heart that got wrinkled along the way, I'm thankful for my year of bad love juju. I'm still learning. And growing. Am I sometimes lonely as fuck? Absolutely. But when it happens, it will be great, and I will be patient. One of my disasters this summer turned itself inside out into a fantastic friendship that I truly value. So I'm counting my blessings. And thanking my lucky stars for the dodged bullets.

05. Twitter, BlackBerry, all things socially networked

You're damn right my BlackBerry made this list. Each and every one of you with a smart phone understands, too. That thing is magic. For a girl without a computer or Internet (for approximately 8 more hours...), a BlackBerry is a dream come true. And for that, I thank the campaign for jump starting the purchase. (Huh. Everything I love about this year seems to interconnect). I love it so much it hurts my little beating heart. Yes. I can say that out loud. And with the BlackBerry comes instant access to Twitter. Oh, Twitter. I joined in 2008 solely to keep watch on the birth of a good friend's baby. It was the beginning of a phenomenon. Before I knew it, I was tweeting from my bike while on a century ride. Next thing I knew, I had an entire posse on Twitter. GREAT people. I'm on Twitter incessantly. It's ridiculous. Half of what I say is pointless, but that's the point. Self-expression. Say what I want, when I want. I've made so many connections with people, and it is by far something I'm most grateful for this year.

04. My body

No, I'm not that self-absorbed. In fact, I'd really rather not look at my body, but it's capable of some amazing things, and this year has proved it. I knocked out my sixth marathon in October. And this coming week, I'll mow down my one-thousandth mile of 2009. I RAN ONE THOUSAND MILES. For the first time in a while, I made it through the year with no real running troubles. Shins held up, which is rare. And there was that random incident with the hip flexor. But here I am at year's end about to hit my thousandth mile. I love that I can run. I really, really, truly do. I don't always love TO run, but I love that I have a body capable of handling the miles. My body is strong, and for the first time in the 15 years since I've been running, I think I actually appreciate that. I'm thankful for the mountain of running shoes piled under my coffee table, and for the hordes of race t-shirts. It makes me happy to be one of few silly folks still hammering out the miles when the wind chill is below zero. My mind and my life weren't always stable this year, but my body was.

03. The vampire phenomenon

I say vampire generically, but you know damn well I mean Twilight. Doesn't it seem sort of childish to have a book series for teenagers on such a list? Doesn't it seem odd that I DON'T CARE? It's fun. Good, entertaining fun. Sure, the movies don't and won't win any awards (other than on MTV). And yes, the acting in the first movie is, well, sub-par. But it's so easy to get lost in the story. The books, the movies. All of it. We all need something to take us away. Yes, I swoon after Rob Pattinson like a 15-year-old girl, and yes, I've seen Twilight approximately 94 million times, but that's me. I have a young heart. I'm easily excited. I'm happily entertained. If vampires is what it takes to take me away, to get myself lost in something absolutely unrelated to life, then vampires is what it is. I'm not ashamed. Find your something. Your mind will appreciate the break.

02. The two Fs - family and friends

The obvious. Don't we all love our family and friends? Of course they make the list. They are the reason I am who I am, the good and the bad. My family: absolutely the most wacky, amazing, dysfunctional and beautiful three people I know. Obviously my family extends beyond mom, dad and sister, but this year it is them I'm talking about. We argue like children, but we love like nothing else. We are all we have, in so many ways. I'm 27, but I need them like I'm 8. Every wrong step I've taken, they're there. I still don't always end up going the right direction, but wherever I end up, there they are. Mom, I can't go one day without you. Every night at 8:03, my phone knows to dial you. Dad, you are my MacGyver. My Jack Bauer. My hero, always. Amber, truly my best friend. And to my friends, each and every one of you reading this, you are why I smile every day.

01. conversation with myself

My blog took a hit this year. Went private twice. Lived without Internet too long. 2009 became the year of the blogging dry spell. But just sitting here tonight writing this reminds me exactly why I do it. I need to write. I need to express myself. I need my thoughts in a permanent place so I'll remember each moment. I'm going home this Christmas with a laptop. My first. The Internet will be mine again. The blog at my fingertips. I'm bringing the blog back fiercely in 2010. I have too many thoughts in my head and all of them need to come out.

Merry Christmas, you guys.