Thanks, 2017. Hello New Year!
Around 5am every morning, I find myself squished between two warm bodies. Robert usually has his arm draped over me and Sedona is curled up in a ball—sometimes with newly wet fur—on my legs. This is hardly “spooning”; it’s more like being in a waffle iron. I feel hot and can hardly move.
I kind of love it.
In a year that’s been full of injuries and issues, bad news, and much stress, I feel grateful that my wake up ritual is good and connecting.
It’s with this spirit that I want to THANK YOU, my friends and family, near and far. You are the connection I find most valuable and I wish you a 2018 full of hope, love, and joy.
Gratitude is the engine of happiness so please allow me to share this short list, reflective about the past with a keen eye on the future. (If you happen to be thirsty, now would be a good time to raise a glass…I’m toasting with you in spirit!)
GRATITUDE: MY TOP 7
1) My New Job!
After many months of interviews, I landed a gig with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), known as the University for Creative Careers. I’ll be a matchmaker between the next generation of talented creatives and career opportunities. This role is based in Seattle and will have me traveling throughout the Northwest, to Northern California, and to Denver/Boulder.
Everyone I’ve met from SCAD is impressive. Savannah itself is beautiful and I’ll be there again in early January for full immersion and training. I'm very excited! See why.
2) Clients & Creativity
I’ve been blessed this year to work with fabulous people who want to thrive online, be heard, and help make the world better. From the book author and marriage therapist to the branding expert and creative arts healer, I love collaborating closely with my clients to help them find their voices.
In my downtime, I took a class on writing stories for children, where I soon realized that the concept I’ve been noodling on needs lots of work. The group of women I met in this class were so kind and supportive, and they’ve motivated me to keep learning the craft, writing, and iterating. In time...
3) Time & Travel (alas, not Time Travel)
In May, Robert and I went to the Netherlands and Belgium to see many branches of his family. He showed his cloud-based paintings at a marvelous art show in De Heen, where the family farm is quite active. We also visited Antwerp and Ghent for some fabulous food and family time.
In late July, we took Adriana and Brooklyn to Virginia to see Uncle Erik, Opa, Oma Evelyn, and the girls’ cousins. On a hot August day, we went to Washington, D.C. and visited the National Archives, the Museum of African American History and Culture, and many memorials. We watched the sun set from a friend’s rooftop taking in pizza and the sites.
For the first time ever, we had the girls for an uninterrupted month of summer bliss. As a freelancer, I was able to take on the fun-filled task of shepherding them from one swimming area to another—from the perfect Sandy River along Oregon’s Lewis and Clark trail to our friend’s floating house on Seattle’s Lake Union. We sailed on Lake Washington, hiked with Sedona, and frolicked with friends in creeks and rivers. We also has our annual block party with a bouncy house water slide, and spent loads of time in our backyard garden harvesting luscious vegetables and fruit. As I’ve said many times before, we couldn’t kill the kale if we tried. Delicious blessings indeed.
We did our annual Labor Day weekend trip with friends to Vashon Island and celebrated the girls’ 9th birthday. It’s a perfect getaway that’s just a ferry ride away.
Just before Christmas, Robert’s company, a supplier in the aerospace industry, shut its doors and rendered all its Seattle employees jobless and without health insurance. Sigh….The silver lining is that we enjoyed 10 straight days with the kids and had a ton of fun with cook-offs, laser light shows, playing games, making feasts, touring our city, even sledding down our street on Christmas eve.
4) Family Visits to Seattle
While my 2-year-old nephew Harrison and I FaceTime regularly (he calls his harmonica, Aunt Becca), I was glad to see him one July day when I was in L.A. for a client. He’s spectacularly adorable.
We were also happy to see my New York cousin Marjy on her short visit to Seattle in the spring. The girls loved visiting her at the Fairmont Hotel and showing her around West Seatttle, including our very own miniature Statue of Liberty and our favorite donut shop, Top Pot.
Summer brought my Great Aunt Doris into town from Arizona. Having recently lost her husband of 57 years, my Great Uncle Tom, she was a delight to have as a guest, grateful about every little thing we did and saw—from happy hour on the sun-kissed Puget Sound to sharing the eclipse. It was an immediate love fest between Aunt Doris, Sedona, and the girls.
Robert’s brother Erik (a pilot) had a layover long enough for us to enjoy an early birthday dinner for Robert. A few days later, his Mom, the girls' Oma, visited from New Jersey for a spectacular birthday celebration. We went to our favorite spot on Hood Canal, a rustic villa with easy kayaking, a hot tub, and plenty of room for Scrabble play and feasts.
I love surprising the kids and Robert and managed to spring on them a visit to Cirque du Soleil and a couple concerts (Pat Benatar and Depeche Mode).
But the surprise of all surprises took place on a Saturday in late September. If I meet my goal of being a centenarian, this year marked my official entry into middle age. There were little murmurs, but I was indeed surprised by Robert, the girls, and my most excellent friends to come home to an exquisite dinner party in our own backyard. It was incredibly heartwarming to see the efforts everyone put into this epic event. (Click the pic for the full menu.)
To top that off, Robert surprised me with a trip on the sleek Victoria Clipper to spend a night in a room with a view. We had high tea at Butchart Gardens and walked around Victoria to enjoy visions of orange and red leaves with blue sky. My most memorable birthday celebration ever. (Which is good because I’m likely to start forgetting more....)
You probably know that I’m a bit of a news junkie, so what’s been happening in our country has at times made me apoplectic. Civic discourse needs more than a tweet. Science should be honored. Truth matters. And yes, love trumps hate. I am grateful that 2017 began with a firm commitment to truth, community, and patriotism. On a typically brisk January day in the northwest, our whole family enjoyed the inspiring warmth of the Women’s March, the Seattle edition.
It was one of the most heartfelt community events I’ve ever experienced and I had to write about it on Huffington Post.
I think this year has made me more connected to my country, to my father, the once refugee from Austria, and to history. And in line with my age bracket, I've sharpened my love for PBS and Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick's war documentaries in particular. I also have a healthy obsession with Hamilton (with tickets for a Seattle show!), and have engaged in community activities, including “Java with Jayapal,” our fearless and compassionate Congresswoman. We don’t know what’s next, but 2018 has to be better than 2017, right?
Years of downhill skiing have wreaked havoc on my knees, and I had my 3rd (and hopefully final?) knee surgery this year. I'm grateful for the good healthcare here and for the friends who came over and cooked for me and cheered me up. I'm hoping that all this bodes well for future hikes! Fingers (not knees) crossed. As my dad always said, and he was always right, if you don't have health, really nothing else matters.
All said, I’m bolstered by family, by you, our friendships, and the passions that you share. Plus, it's good just knowing you’re there....
THANK YOU for being part of my life.
Happy New Year!