I thought it would be a fun project on New Year’s Eve to make up a list of some of my personal favorite happenings of 2013. In a year that has included a bit more disappointment than in years past, I knew there were still so many sweet and fun occasions to remember! Here are a few of my personal favorites from 2013:
Eva Making a Larrabee Bumblebee for Vincent.
Vincent was surprised on his first day of kindergarten this year with a handmade Larrabee Bumblebee from Eva. Eva drew the bee at the end of last school year and gave it to our kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wilson, to save over the summer and present to Vincent on his first day at Larrabee Elementary.
Vincent and I were both taken aback and grateful for the thoughtfulness of 7-year old Eva, who planned three months in advance for this surprise. I was also grateful for Mrs. Wilson, who kept Eva’s picture for months and remembered to present it to Vincent on his first day.
The Larrabee Elementary Neighborhood and Community Coming Together.
We are all well aware at this point of the ridiculous, senseless, and offensive closure of our little elementary school, slammed shut by our school board and superintendent, without any conscience or regard whatsoever. However, our Larrabee Elementary community coming together in a valiant, energetic, ceaseless, honorable way to save our school and fight for what was right for our children and neighborhood earns a top spot in my favorites list of 2013.
Kitchen/Family Room Remodel.
George and I bought a house that was built in 1984. It is a solid house and plenty spacious for us all, but has obviously required a bit of updating. Over the last seven years we have replaced carpet with hardwoods, remodeled bathrooms, painted walls, improved outdoor railings and front steps, and even dug into the earth for a nine-month project that resulted in the creation of an entire lower level of living space (otherwise known as the man cave).
Finally, finally, I convinced G it was time to tackle the one last remaining project….the kitchen/family room. It will be the last project, the last big money spent on the house, the grande finale. I finally get to say goodbye to my yellow walk-in closet galley kitchen and say hello to a modern, open-concept kitchen and family room. I’m so excited. This won’t happen until after the crab season, but that’s fine. We have builders, we have the design. We’re ready. YES!
Joining The Gym.
I did not expect to retire from teaching Jazzercise this year, but that is in fact what I did. I have to say that while there are many aspects of teaching Jazzercise that I miss, I love the gym. I have enjoyed taking a variety of different classes, from Zumba to Step to Body Pump to Body Combat to SHRED. I have also enjoyed cycling and jogging to my own iPod music set to shuffle. I needed to start dropping some pounds (three children and nearing 40 is a tough nut to crack) and my body was no longer responding to my usual exercise. The going is slow, but I’ve managed to drop about eight pounds so far at the gym all while enjoying the classes, the staff, and gym community. I also have much more stress-free, quality time for my children and their needs without the distraction of learning routines and planning classes.
Pacific Marine Expo.
Otherwise known as “Fish Expo,” this is always a huge event and kick off to the holiday season for my family. Thousands upon thousands of commercial fishermen, thousands of vendors, hundreds of friends. Writers, poets, authors, captains, crew, families. My old and dear friends from National Fisherman magazine, my fishing friends from real life and my fishing friends online. All together under one downtown convention center roof in Seattle to meet, greet, and have a drink. I also got to speak with a group of commercial fishermen’s wives on our second-annual panel, called “On the Homefront.”
I have attended Fish Expo more years than I can remember; first as a child with my own family, then as a writer for National Fisherman, and now as the wife and mother of my own fishing family. My dad comes every year, my husband attends every year, our children come every year. Fish Expo is a family affair, as commercial fishing should be!
After Christmas, we went east of the mountains to join some friends on a winter cabin trip. It was only three nights and three hours away, but it seemed like so much more. I slept with Valerie in a room in our lodge, cuddly and cozy. I did not have Facebook access, which was actually a pleasant suprise! Val slept through each night and for the first time in months, so did I. I didn’t wake up from 2:00 am to 4:00 am tossing and turning like I usually do. Eva and Vincent and George and I all slept on one level in our lodge while our friends, about four other families, all stayed at the lodge home of the inviting family. We played games, the children behaved, we had a few laughs, came up with a Boggle Champion, and created memories.
I had not been to a big concert since before I was pregnant with Eva (eight years). When my friend, Dawn Michelle, told me that Jason Aldean was coming near her home in Portland, OR, she didn’t have to ask twice!! Sign me up! When September came, my whole family piled into the car and down the road we went. I couldn’t bear to be without my children for three days, so they “had” to come along! As it turned out, George couldn’t attend the concert, so I brought my little cowgirl, Eva, with me.
At the concert, Dawn Michelle, her partner Jay, Eva, and I found a nice place to sit in the very back of the outdoor arena. I wrapped Eva up in a blanket and held her while Jason Aldean came out and sang for over two hours straight. I was in heaven. I have been Jason Aldean’s #1 fan for about a decade and was beyond myself with excitement and bliss! I couldn’t believe I was seeing him live after all these years of watching on TV. Now, I am normally not a groupie (I’m too old for that and a mother of three!). However, I had not been to a concert in SO LONG. And now I was seeing my FAVORITE! I’d been concerned about the “crowd” and the possibility of “language issues” in front of Eva, but none of that occurred and we had the best night ever.
Whatcom Writes Anthology.
Last but not least, I wrote an essay on the topic of “Journeys” and entered it into the Whatcom Writes call for anthology submissions this fall. The guidelines stated that all accepted writers would be notified during the month of December. I just commented to George this morning that I supposed my essay had not been chosen, because it was the last day of December and I hadn’t heard. However, I just did receive an e-mail notifying me that my essay has been accepted and I’ve been invited to participate in a public reading at our local independent bookstore in February. This is a real gift; I am beyond excited to have been included and to add this to my writing resume.
In spite of a few struggles this year, there were also many things that stood out for good and joy. These are just a few. Happy New Year and all the best in 2014!!