Life is Grand
Hani's Annual New Year's Letters to friends
Sunday, January 23, 2011
2009: Cairo, Egypt to New York City, NY
Thursday, October 15, 2009
2008: Zwingen, Switzerland to Cairo, Egypt
Thursday, March 20, 2008
2007: Hamptons, NY to Zwingen, Switzerland
In between the Hamptons with Teresa and Zwingen, Switzerland with the Lienhards, I was party to an NYPD police chase, a semi-emergency flight landing (a goose went through our right engine), I moved into a new apartment, started a second company, travelled 30,000 miles, attended two weddings (three if you count the one I crashed) and two funerals, enjoyed a new nephew, food, music, and art, and moved out of my new apartment in 2007.
Life in D.C.
I really did try to ‘settle down’ in an awesome apartment in a historic building with an unbelievable rooftop and a view of the Washington Monument. But I wasn’t very good at it.
Between January and December, I took seven trips to D.C., six to New York City, five to California, three to Florida, two to Arizona (Prescott, Tucson, Phoenix, the north side of the Grand Canyon) and Baltimore, one to Georgia, Seattle, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chicago, Kanab, Utah, the Berkshires, Vermont, and Zwingen, Switzerland.
Kurt and David got married in Spain (we celebrated in Baltimore). My nephew E4 redefined cute when he came into our lives. Dad Dolby left us, and I am so lucky to have been a part of his memorial service where I saw my Dolby-Hoffer family, met little Olivia and Ilana, and visited cousins Thanh & Jay. I was shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Co Bich Lien’s son, Thông, who was killed by a drunk driver. I was grateful to spend time with mom’s friends at his services and meet Thông’s sister who is serving in Iraq, and his brother and sister-in-law in New York. Please, please, never drink and drive.
In May, I ate my way through the All Things Organic trade show in Chicago with Tina for our very super new organic baby clothing company, Fierce Hugs, Inc. I road tripped with Erin and the Hoffers to Kanab, Utah to see the Sand Dunes State Park and the north side of the Grand Canyon and while out west, enjoyed a string of parties at Denise’s, Nesyah’s birthday, Essanee’s BBQ, and yoga on the beach.
East coast entertainment was filled with fireworks in D.C., theater, a Central Park wedding crash with Mike, dad’s 75th birthday party in Florida where we consumed spectacular amounts of food, Gene and Marianne’s incredibly idyllic Mill house, changing leaves at John and Erin’s wedding in Williamstown, Massachusetts, eating ice cream in Vermont with my sister Kaly, Thanksgiving with the Dohenys, the most fun cacophonous family Chanukah swag party I’ve ever been to, and Christmas in Orlando with mom and dad, family, and the Espositos. Between Christmas and New Year, I moved out of the new apartment and headed off to Switzerland for a bonne année with Tanja and company. Phew.
So much art this year including Walton Ford at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the public art installations at the Chicago Millennium Park, the Clark Museum collection in the Berkshires and a mini stop at the MoCA there, the marvelous Chuck Close tapestries, and Michael Grecco’s Naked Ambition gallery opening. In theater I enjoyed Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Kennedy Center, Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims by the Kirov Opera, the Jersey Boys on Broadway starring our family friend Matthew Scott as Frankie Valli, Spellbound, The Unmentionables starring the talented Marni Penning, and a funny golden anniversary event of what the West Side Story might have been (but thankfully was not) at Library of Congress. And, I listened to plenty of live music at the Sibelius concert at the Kennedy Center, Mica’s violin recital, the National Gallery of Art Jazz events with Dan, Erin, Liz and Jason, a private concert at the Kennedy Center with Rich, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Katy Pfaffl, Caetano Veloso, and the SMASHing Holiday singers in California. I visited the Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, checked out funky environmentally green homes at the Solar Decathalon in D.C., enriched my life by listening to Ruth Gruber speak at Loyola, and attended the Getty Villa for a lecture on the Roman Triumph.
2007 was a full year, full of fun, family, friends, the arts, and well, life. Of course, boundless thanks to the Dohenys and the Nafshun-Bones for always keeping their doors and guest rooms open to me – and to the dozens of other friends and family I am always so lucky to see. I had an insane amount of good times last year, that carried into this new year, for which I can hardly believe at times. Here’s to you, and to a happy fun filled year.
"I want to stand as close to the edge
as I can without going over.
Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things
you can't see from the center.
Big, undreamed-of things..."
in Player Piano
By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
life in pictures
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
2007: NY to Switzerland
All right, all right... the lunar new year has passed me by, but I'll get 30,000 miles & 2007 details up soon. In the meantime, enjoy the photo sets.
The best thing that happened to our family this year was my little nephew:
Sunday, February 18, 2007
2006: Kauai, Hawaii to Hamptons, New York
My life in pictures.
Try as I might, I can’t seem to stay in one place for more than a few weeks so I roamed about some 35,000 miles of our planet last year.
La bella vita
2006 started with a trip to Waimea Canyon and watching the whales play from our lenai in Kapa’a on the island of Kauai. I pit stopped in Washington D.C. to trade in surf shorts for winter layers before I settled into my new home in a medieval village in Italy complete with three terraces, stunning views, and a fireplace so large I could nearly dine in it.
While drinking countless cappucini at the town cafe, I befriended the locals. Nearly every day I joined my new amici for meals, traveled to nearby towns, visited their homes, went horseback riding, bike riding, and attended classical concerts and art openings with them. Three of my closest new friends threw a party at the cafe upon my departure. To contribute to the community, I documented their Dessert Festival for the local tourism office (we tasted desserts and vin santo from across the Umbrian region, gratis), translated the local restaurant’s menu into English, brought in a few tourists, and tried to make myself as useful as possible.
Living in the geographical center of Italy made it easy to explore with my endless stream of friends and guests in tow. Kirk, JK & Tracy, Ashley & Sarah, the Climans, Craig, Mike & Eileen, Tina, Miranda, and Adrienne covered north, central, and southern Italy with me, though none of them were there to help during my firewood (mis)adventure. Call me lucky, I got to visit Venice (twice!), the many hilltowns of Tuscany and Umbria, Firenze (my favorite), Pompeii, Positano on the Amalfi Coast (complete with an ocean view balcony... thanks SLJ&M!) the beautiful Cinque Terre (thanks M&E!), and of course, Roma.
Uh, ok, so I didn't settle down.
With the intention of settling down upon my return to the U.S. in June, I failed miserably. I spent my first week on U.S. soil in Arlington, traveled to New York City, Florida, Santa Monica, back to Florida, back to Santa Monica to Kilauea, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Florida, Arlington, NYC, and landed in the Hamptons with Teresa for new year's. Of course, we jumped just about everywhere. Special thanks to Mike and Mike for all those rides to the airport.
Celebrations were abundant with Nigel’s big 60th bash at the Figueroa, Denise’s 60th birthday be-in, I broke the fast with the Frescos, spent Sukkot with the Grossmans, volunteered at Dogfest in Orlando and at Beach Clean Up Day in Santa Monica, enjoyed yoga by the ocean, barbecued Vietnamese style at Stevie’s, brought the kids to see Oren play with Me’shell Ndegeocello, spent time with Aunt Joyce and family at the OPA bbq, donated 15" of my hair (thanks Patti!), listened to Iván Fischer and the NSO with Mike & Eileen, watched Doubt with Tricia in L.A., Pericles with Shawn at the Shakespeare Theater in D.C., and the reading of Marni’s new play at the Woolly Mammoth, and spent Christmas with the Dohenys.
We said goodbye to my Ba Ngoai, who lived the fullest life and left us after 97 years with her ten children at her side.
These days I'm busy with my own graphic design studio and (this week anyway) I'm living in Washington, D.C. in a historic building. No, it's not permanent, I don't know how long I'll be there and I don't know where I'm off to next. But I'll keep you posted!
May the new year bring you peace and good health, and maybe a semi-permanent place for me to stick around. Thanks for being a part of my life and for letting me take your picture. And special thanks to everyone who fed me. Big love and cheers.
"Hani, let's just say I always knew you were a flight risk." -Les Johnson (my friend and for-now roommate.)
Photo albums of the year are organized by date or event and you can click on the 'guest pass' available under most of them to see more (and the link for the detail view is best). If you register using your yahoo id, tell me your handle so I can add you to my contacts list (also to see more photos).