Last updated: January 02. 2014 6:28PM - 1225 Views
By Melanie Yingst

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While everyone is busy writing down their New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve been busy reflecting on this past year of highs and lows.

Personally, 2013 was filled with a lot of firsts for me. It was full of friendships — new and old — and full of new experiences which I hope to repeat this coming year.

So if y’all don’t mind, I’d like to kick off 2014 with a personal look back at my Top 10 highlights of the year gone by.

I hope a few may inspire you in the coming year.

1. Debt Snowball — It took me forever, but I finally paid off all my credit card debt this year. I no longer dread the mailbox. Trust me, my mailbox is scary and filled with bills and spiders. It feels really good to see $0 balance in print and to start the New Year with a clean slate. Next up, student loans. *sigh*

2. Life on four wheels — Labor Day 2013 was spent with a rowdy bunch in the hills of Haspen, Ind. While I enjoy riding my mom’s (yes, my mom’s) ATV on the family farm, it’s a whole ‘nother experience climbing up and down steep hills and and a slate rock creekbed in picturesque Indiana. A Jeep in our group caught fire and still managed to run — it was that intense. I also felt every muscle in my body the next day. I think I’ll stick to the water ways and corn fields from now on.

3. It’s a dog’s life — Many of you know the story of how I adopted a dog from the Miami County Animal Shelter. Shorty is our family’s “therapy” dog and if you ask me, he is leading a life of privilege. This year, I treated my pup to several days at the local puppy spa. The dog’s hair cut and Bowwow blowout cost more than my hair appointments. But, Shorty is so worth it. I highly recommend adopting a pup from a local shelter. The love they give for rescuing them pays you back ten fold.

4. Monster Jam — This spring I took my son and his friends to a Monster Truck rally in Columbus. At first I thought I was the only one who wanted to see cars smashed and big wheeled trucks, but the kids got in to the show after a truck flipped on its hood. I wonder how they got the tire marks off the floor of the Schottenstien? I’d totally go again!

5. Windy City Wedding — On Memorial Day weekend, I joined the Swank clan for a wedding in the Windy City. We hit the Magnificent Mile in our cowboy boots and had a wonderful time in the city streets. We left our mark eating Chicago-style pizza and danced the night away at one of the coolest wedding receptions I’ve ever been to. I don’t think our taxi cab driver will ever forget us!

6. All the fun is in Turn One — My mom and I hit up Eldora Speedway this fall and took in a great October night of sprint car racing. I also did most of my Christmas shopping at Tony Stewart’s race track and got my nephew a “Smoke Will Rise” T-shirt. After the races, I spent the evening giving my dear ol’ mother a tour of the pit area. My favorite photo of the night is my mom standing in front of the “Love Tunnel.” If you get a chance this year, head up to Rossburg and spend an evening under the stars watching the fast cars. It’s the greatest show on dirt!

7. Bandana Madness - Country Concert 2013 was another highlight. My twin sister came to her first-ever Country Concert. Swank and I, once again, made many friends up and down the aisles as we boot-scootin’ boogied the night away. I also found the luxury of camping was not lost on me. Can’t wait for the 2014 shenanigans! Good times!

8. Take time to take the backroads — I traveled down south through the hills and hollers of Kentucky to 201 Speedway with Mr. Obvious and his pit crew. The Kentucky bluegrass landscape was both gorgeous and amusing. It was so neat to see folks sitting on their porches in their rocking chairs as the hauler sped by. Careening through the mountains was a trip and I had my first-ever bout with motion sickness. Needless to say, that is the picture of rural life in those parts. Have you ever seen a gas station/Bible depot? Me either. Can’t wait to see where the next grand adventure takes us for the 2014 season!

9. All’s fair in love and lambs — Evan conquered his first year of 4-H and y’all know the story of what happened prior to our fair fate. But, we’ll give it another try and learn more this year. Come see us in the lamb barn in August! I’ll even let you shear a sheep!

10. Fore! — In 2013, I also managed to hit the links for the first time in a decade at the annual Mennel Milling Golf Outing. Needless to say, my partner and I, Swankster, held our own in our four-some, but we are still missing a few golf balls out there. I even hit the pin on a par 3. Trust me, Tiger Woods has nothing on our short game! All in all, look for us once again on the local links in 2014!

So if 2014 is half as grand as 2013 was, I think we’ll all have a great year together. Cheers to 2014!

— “Twin” Melanie Yingst appears on Fridays in the Troy Daily News. She stole this from Letterman

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