Twenty-twelve was a blue ribbon year for me and for many of the people I care about. Milestone birthdays and graduations abounded. There were planned trips to familiar places, and an unexpected vacation to somewhere new. Day trips were enjoyed out and about the city we’ve called home since 1968 and tend to take for granted. A mix and match of family got together for myriad reasons. There were babies, continued good news about a friend’s fight with cancer, new homes warmed for the next phase in lives, and deaths mourned.
I sift through the images I generate in a year’s time and as much as I often say my life is a simple one and my world small, it appears anything but. Each photo is a place holder somehow, keeping a set of memories with it — some very important and others not so much. But they all matter.
It was a year of old friends meeting once again, of working on my health, of watching the influence of an iPhone after holding out for so long intrude upon my photo world. It was a year of shifting attitudes about food and eating, about writing, and reading.
I have no resolutions for 2013, but I have a very strong sense that it will be a very special year. One of the very best. In the meantime, here is a look back at 2012 and what has mattered to me.
Appreciating a good sunrise after waking much earlier than I’d like. Golden lining, right?
Learning to love plain non-fat yogurt — with berries. Lots of them. My guts thank me.
Taking the time to walk at the beach when there’s a high surf advisory. It’s always a show.
Appreciating the sun breaking through the fog on an early January morning. The silence is magical.
Wondering just how hard I would have to work to lose 50 pounds in eight months. Hard. Very hard. And I didn’t make it to 50, but 25 counts. I’ve had some time to think about it, make a few adjustments and am ready to continue now. Must be kind to my knees…and I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.
A memorable weekend of shameless indulgence and gawking like the tourists we are — easy when you’re an old movie lover like I am. We finally saw Wicked at the Pantages and had a cocktail at the hotel bar where Richard Gere met Julia Robers in Pretty Woman. We strolled along Rodeo Drive and cruised through Beverly Hills wishing we had one of those maps to the stars’ homes. The jury is still out on whether that was Johnny Depp we saw at the farmer’s market, but I swear…
Oh the futility of trying to keep our Lizzie contained for any reason. We think she used a few of her lives this year and it would be nice to not have to indulge her bad habits more than we already do. But goodness, she’s interesting. And I love her.
Welcoming a new car a couple of years before I thought I would has been quite a bit of fun. It’s a challenge not to grin when I drive this thing. It’s hilarious and I think it’s going to be a part of the family for a very long time — longer than my record 11 years. My very first car was a tiny thing, so why not?
Appreciating a good rain — one that soaks the ground. We get so much sun, I will never tire of welcoming a stormy day. We always need the water and too much of the rain we do get just flows into the Pacific.
Experimenting with my camera in low light or high contrast situations. It’s trial and error for the most part and I’ve been neglectful lately about practicing. I like the way this one turned out and the spiced pine cones smelled lovely as they burned.
Adjusting to a new lens (50mm f1.4) was much more challenging than I thought it would be but I’ve worked on it. An iPhone can’t take this shot. It’s all about that lens — and editing RAW photos.
Finally learning to use 1% in my coffee instead of powdered coffee creamer — and I’ll never go back. Talk about kicking the habit of a lifetime I didn’t think I could beat. The key? Froth it. It’s like whipped cream!
My sister sent our family’s old photos to me and I started to scan them to make photo books for us. What an undertaking. It’s tedious and wonderful all at the same time and I’ve enjoyed so many memories as I’ve worked on it as well as diversions Googling this or that along the way. I was supposed to be done in April — a birthday present for her. Am I finished? No. Shhh…I’ll get there.
It’s hard for me to show myself like this, but taking progress photos of myself last year was part of my routine. This was taken April 11, so that means I’d lost 18 lbs. since January — or met my goal of 6 lbs. lost a month. I had 32 lbs. to go — I started at 199 lbs. in case you’re wondering.
As a source of comparison, that’s me in the center at 17. I think I weighed under 125 lbs. and thought I was fat. How completely ridiculous. But this photo is here because I reconnected with Debbie this year — she’s on the left. Isn’t she beautiful? We marched many miles in those getups — including the Rose Parade. Good memories.
This year, we’ve come so close to finishing the work we started on the patio three years ago. We’ve got a fence to replace and lights to install and then we may be able to say we’re done. The iceberg roses have struggled to thrive as I knew they might. There just isn’t enough sunlight for all of them — but this one, close to the back door, has done well. I’ll hope the others catch up this year.
My oldest son found his father’s mother dead in her house this past year. She’d been there alone for more than six weeks and no one knew she had died. The thought of it still takes my breath away. Although we’ve talked about it, I will never understand how he has coped with what he saw. He has her car now — pristine inside and out.
I’ve decided that my eyes appreciate reading from the Kindle app on my iPad now — enlarged white letters on a black background. I wasn’t sure I’d like not holding a real book, but I’ve adjusted. And just to make sure I can still enjoy the look and feel of bound paper and a cover I can glance back at from time to time as I mull over what I’m reading, I’ve decided to treat myself to reading during the day once in a while — something I never do. Now I could get some real glasses with a prescription instead of readers, but…
Loving congrats to my very best and dear friend who finished her doctorate work this year — something I’d always promised I would do before I turned 40. Or was it 50? No matter because I’m satisfied with my life, and so very happy for her accomplishment!
So many graduations in our own family in 2012 — a niece from college, and two nieces and a nephew from high school. I hope the very best for them all — they’re such smart young people and hard workers. I can’t wait to see what’s in their futures.
We don’t get together with family as much as we used to — but we enjoyed the times we did have. The weather was beautiful, the food not too bad, and the company great.
I’ve never been to Seattle and it figures that after such a long wait, I was able to go twice this year. As much as I enjoyed it, I know the hubster will agree that the time we spent on the Olympic peninsula was remarkable. What a beautiful, restful place we would enjoy returning to.
And then there was Portland, OR. Food trucks, Voodoo Donuts, and that amazing park within the city limits where we hiked and instantly felt as if we were miles away from any city. A fun time was had by all.
My meticulous, exacting, thoughtful, man of many words middle son turned 32 this year. I want 2013 to be wonderful for him. I want him to finally be able to do the work he studied and planned to do — and if it means leaving the city where he was born, then I wish him all the success he deserves.
Our youngest (remember the RT who survived the Geometry Teacher?) has only a year and a half before he’s finished school. If that time flies by at the rate the last five have, I will be left wondering about the rest of mine. I see a post in the works about his progress (and a mother’s worries about that big world out there). It never ends. But you probably knew that.
After driving around the country for a year, returning home, then moving to Arizona, returning home, I can say I’m glad my mother is 10 minutes away. I wonder about how we can spend time together, but it seems not to be all that easy. Art Day was a dismal fail even if I liked the idea. We’ll move on to the next thing.
Being found again by an old childhood friend has been quite the experience. She called in February, I visited in September, and she’s visiting me in a few weeks. As much as we email, text, and talk on the phone, I still have to stop and think about how unusual it is to be reconnected to someone I hadn’t seen in 45 years. While I visited her, we went to Toronto and stopped at Niagra Falls along the way. Check off another bucket list item.
I got to spend some time with my sister this year, and I enjoyed it. Outside of sharing a bedroom too often while we were growing up and arguing, we’ve spent very little time in our lives by ourselves — without family around. A country between us doesn’t exactly make this easy, but it’s easier than it used to be. I know people detest Facebook, but it helps me feel like she’s not all that far away.
I was encouraged by a friend to take on National Novel Writing Month last November — and I won. No, I didn’t “win” anything, but what I did accomplish was the goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Now I have the rest to write because it’s a much bigger story than I originally thought. The challenge is getting back into the swing of it all. But soon. Very soon. I promise myself that.
DIY on slow speed. We’re experts. But the upstairs bath is finally done and as much as I’d like to think I could take on a project like this — I can’t. I lack the tools, and although I’m pretty tough, I’m just not as tough as I used to be. It looks good on paper to say you can roll your sleeves up for a bathroom remodel, but that isn’t me. Does it count we did the paint, sealer, and baseboards?
Sometimes, everything depends on a quiet late fall morning and condensation on the spiderwebs woven around the lights strung on our patio. I will never tire of time spent finding beauty in little things. It takes almost no time or effort to notice. You just have to stop long enough to do it. The dishes can wait. Dinner can wait. And all the fussy have tos you tell yourself must be done or else can be forgotten. It’s the best medicine.
Precious turned 15 in December and outside of a sway in her hips not unlike that of older women whose knees may not be all they used to be, she’s just fine. She doesn’t tolerate Lizzie at all, loves a tablespoon of heavy cream once a day, and wishes I’d feed her more than I do. She’s outlived her old friends Jones and Blackitty, and I know that’s something she’s never been quite right about.
My mother turned 75 in December and if I thought about it, I’d say she was more like what I think 65 is. She’s a tough bird who does an admirable job of holding up under the scrutiny of her children’s questions about the choices she’s made in her life, and I admire her for that. She worries too much, but she’s done that all her life so I don’t expect it to change any time soon. You’re going to wince, Mom, but here’s to another 25 years. You’ve got it in you. I’ll see you there.
The Moh and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in December. We were married and enjoyed a three-day honeymoon to our favorite city, San Francisco, the day after Christmas, and before teaching and tax season began in January. And yes. We like each other still, after all those years. I’d say 25 more are definitely in order.
“Would you like to spend New Year’s in Las Vegas, Honey?” she said.
“Absolutely!” he replied a bit sooner than she expected him to, but she emailed her good friends all the same asking if they might come as well and they said yes.
It was fun — it was. And as much as I like a pretty pair of red shoes, they don’t last on my feet long. Way too many years of standing. So there you go. Happy 2013. And mark my words — it’s going to be a red letter year. I know it.
ps. Holy Cow. I forgot to add that my incredibly fabulous hubster turned 50! It’s about time, dude. I’ve been waiting for you!