so the world didn't end...

but if we had managed to get holiday cards in the mail, it probably would have. You can thank us later, but in the meantime, here's a little (now that I look, actually quite long) rundown of what we were  up to in 2012.

Our 2012 started pretty close to the center of it all, as we visited NYC (with Rudy, Marie, Tim and Meg) for my cousin Danielle's New Year's Eve wedding. We were able to catch up with some NYC based buddies, visit 5th Ave and eat at an amazing Korean Barbecue restaurant in the city before heading out to Long Island for the wedding.

The first half of the year was relatively quiet (as winter/spring in CLE can be) punctuated by some exciting events like seeing one of our favorite groups, the Avett Brothers, visiting Dayton for Rudy's 60th birthday and taking a culinary inspired trip to PGH with our friends Raj and Erica.

This spring Joanie started contract work at the Greater Cleveland Partnership. She had an amazing experience there, and one that led her to an exciting new role. As of January 2, she'll be starting a new job as a investment project manager with the Cleveland International Fund (yeah, she's pretty smart, and I'm pretty proud).

One of the biggest events of the year happened in June when we took the plunge into homeownership, buying a 1910 brick home in the Ohio City neighborhood-- just a 10 minute walk from the West Side Market. Like most old homeowners, we've quickly been developing close relationships with roofers, plumbers, HVAC guys... I complain, but in truth, Joanie, Splash and I are settling in and are really in love with our home and our new neighborhood. We've become regular attendees (and do our best to help out) at house concerts held just around the block by our neighbors and friends Lynn and Joel, and Joan has become a regular volunteer at events sponsored by the bock club, often dragging me along ;-)

One of the best things about having a new home is having more space for visitors. Pete and Susie (along with Cosgrove) were up our first weekend in the house to help us unpack, and Rudy and Marie were there the second weekend to help us continue to get settled. Anthony, Jane and Eliza were in town our first week in the house and brought us some lovely flowers as housewarming gift. Within a few weeks, Katie came up for jet skiing and paddle boarding adventures with Joan, and our friends Rachael and Janine visited from San Francisco (and treated us to an awesome homemade breakfast). Sus and Deb were back up from PGH to help Joan get some gardening done, and during the hurricane, Joel helped deal with some leaks and then stayed a few days while the power was out.

Within a few weeks of moving, both Joan and I were honored to be invited to serve the community on the boards of two nearby organizations. Joanie was asked to serve on the board of Cogswell Hall, a permanent residence for folks facing critical life issues. She's loved getting to know the residents there, and is, of course, loved by them. I was asked to serve on the board of the Near West Intergenerational School, a CMSD sponsored charter school in Ohio City, and I continue to serve on the board of GroundWorks Dancetheater, one of our absolute favorite performing arts organizations.

Speaking of loving CLE, a short essay I wrote, "Love Letter to Winter," was included as an "ebook extra" in the collection Rust Belt Chic: the Cleveland Anthology. The collection is aims to provide a realistic look at the relationship between Cleveland and its residents, past and present. Even as just an ebook extra, it's an incredible honor to be in a book with Pulitzer Prize winner Connie Schultz, one of our favorite food authors Michael Ruhlman, and David C. Barnett.

In August, we spent a few much needed days of vacation at the beach with Susie, Rob and much of  Joanie's extended family. They've long held the tradition of visiting Stone Harbor, NJ at the end of summer, and have graciously invited me along!

Fall was highlighted by two weddings. In September, we flew to Richmond, VA, for Tim and Megan's wedding (where Joan served as one of the bridesmaids, and I was honored to officiate the ceremony) and a few weeks later, we were back to DC/Virginia area for Joanie's cousin James's wedding.

This October Joanie and I celebrated our one year anniversary. As a gift to one another, we got tickets to the West Side Market centennial celebration where we ate, drank and danced (and where Joanie got to hug Carla from Top Chef).

And in December, we made our traditional holiday trek between Dayton and Pittsburgh, getting to spend time with both the Wehner clan and the Chase/Leeper clan. All in all, not a bad year.

Looking back at 2012, it has been a year with many, many good times for us. We're looking forward to 2013. We wish you health, safety, prosperity and most importantly good food and good times with family and good friends. Happy New Year!

Joanie and Jonathan

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