Well friends, we’re day 1 into 2014. Does it feel different than 2013? Is your list of resolutions or goals or desires, whichever term you prefer, still burning deep on your heart and mind? Were you ready to bid adieu to 13, that number than never ceases to get a bad rap?
I have to tell you, it has yet to catch up with me. I don’t feel anything different today. As the clock struck midnight and the ball dropped and Jenny McCarthy made out with some guy (her bf?) from New Kids on the Block, I felt like I should have been doing something more ceremonial and meaningful as the universe turned one year older. When I mentioned this feeling to a friend today, he shared how his family comes together to count down (without a ball drop, believe it or not), and at the stroke of midnight they make wishes, hug everyone around and eat 12 grapes. I like that idea of tradition. Of making wishes. Of embracing those closest to you. Of doing more than watching Miley Cyrus stare awkwardly over a hoard of people in Times Square (and wondering how long before she releases a memoir that mentions how high or how close she came to OD-ing that one New Year’s Eve).
2013 wasn’t bad. In fact, it was quite great, and I realize that as I scrolled through the photos and posts of the past year. These are some of my most memorable moments, the essence of 2013. This week, as I sit down a little to late to write out my goals/resolutions/desires, I won’t hope that this year will be completely unlike last year. Because 2013 was filled was wonderful new experiences, travels, friends and memories. Here we go …
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On a Thursday, I got to spend a whole day with one of my favorite cousins who lives in Seattle. I drove to Lake Tahoe with him and his mom (my aunt) for a day filled with too many laughs and Starbucks pit stops. I got to put my toes in the water, which was my only request for the day (aside from hanging out with my cousin Steve, who was born on the same day as me, just five years earlier):
I liked how the double exposure of the trees gives him a beard:
As an arts writer and editor, I met a lot of people who inspired me. One of these people was a writer who, when I showed up to her rain-soaked country home on the morning of our interview, had just baked a loaf of cinnamon bread for us. I think we talked for three hours over that loaf of bread and cups of hot French pressed coffee made by her husband. We’ve since become great friends, and she is one of the few people I would ever trust with an early draft of a short story. (She was also the person who helped me discard of the dead goose that died out by the chicken coops = friend forever, because I did scream. I’ll admit it.)
I got a new niece. Hello, LeeLoo! She. Is. Not. A. Stuffed. Animal. Everyone seems to think so. This year, it seemed my human niece also grew up a lot, which is bittersweet.
I went to Grass Valley and Auburn for the first time. It made me want to discover more of that part of California. I loved the artsy energy in Grass Valley.
One of the highlights of summer was planting a pretty large garden with my aunt. It was a lot of work, constantly, but totally worth it. My favorites? I’d have to go with tomatoes and green beans. Yum. Oh, and cucumbers, to a point. And, like, the first spaghetti squash — not really the 30 of them I’m trying to unload on friends and coworkers.
The garden was a place of love, and even the smallest of hearts knew it:
Maggie’s birthday week was a big success and lots of fun. However, I’m so over mustaches.
I got to share a tent and the adventures of camping with Cindy, who was a camping virgin way too long. We went to Dillon Beach, slept in quilts, sprawled on beach blankets, made camp food, lit our own fire, explored the rustic campers and sought out clam chowder in Tomales. All with Sara pup.
Oh, and there were cows. Lots of them. Big ones.
In 2013, I turned 30. It was the best birthday, ever, and it included a full birthday week orchestrated by Maggie. It concluded with a completely surprise party/dinner with the most precious of people. I will never, ever, ever forget “that time I turned 30.” (PS, 30 has been pretty good, too). I love all of your faces:
One of the best days I ever took off work was the day Cindy and I spent the day in Locke and then Midtown Sacramento. We explored more of the tiny town we’ve explored so many times, but still found newness. I think we’re due for another trip:
My sister and the kids came out to visit the donkeys and chickens at my aunt’s house, and we made a farm fresh dinner: watermelon, vegetable pie from the garden, sliced cucumbers and an arugula salad with feta and homemade pesto.
This summer, I photographed a special couple’s wedding. It was in their backyard in the country, complete with guests who slept outside in tents. The day ended with everyone jumping into the pool in their brightest of whites:
There was another Dutch Oven Cookoff. Year No. 11, I think. It’s one of my favorite non-holidays.
Our paper won a bunch of awards in 2013, and I was an excited lifestyles editor because my section won for art & entertainment and lifestyle coverage.
A few months later, I made a giant career decision and stepped down as Lodi Living editor to pursue a career in web and social media. Leaving a place where I spent seven years doing what I was most passionate about was scary and bittersweet, but also an exciting adventure. It’s been a little more than three months, and I’m relieved to say, the friendships didn’t end, the writing didn’t dry up when I handed in the key to the newsroom and I have learned that when you have passion, it’s yours to keep — you carry it with you and it will radiate into that thing you are focused on. I’m loving the new job at the hospital; the people, the online world I’m understanding more all the time, the way I’m finally beginning to find my away around the floors. It was a good move, and I’m thankful all the time.
It was also a big year of travel. I had the experience that is known as Mule Days early in the summer. And I also went to Gold Beach, Oregon for a week:
One of my biggest life supporters and dearest friends, Lyanne, celebrated a special birthday in 2013. To honor her, we went to Utah to a health/fitness resort that was actually super fun. We hiked, took classes, soaked in a spa, ate great food and laughed a lot:
One of my favorite weeks of 2013 was the one we spent on the couch as a family, watching movies and being goofy while my little brother who lives across the country and spends half of his time serving in Iraq or Afghanistan was home visiting for the first time in years. He’s still goofy. I don’t think they can break that.
Maggie and I spent one of the most relaxing weeks of our lives at a house on top of a hill with an infinity pool and horses.
My sister-in-law Stacy and I explored Pismo and San Luis Obispo early in the year. They are two of my favorite towns on the planet. I think I need to go back soon.
The neighborhood came together for a pizza party. I just love it. It started with balls of dough and everyone’s favorite toppings, and ended with peanut butter cup smores around the fire.
The field at my dad’s house turns this delicious shade of green between spring and summer, and I always try to frolic in the fields with Sara pup when that light is just right. Also, that dog, the love of my life, turned 7 in 2013.
There was a ton of pool time. The dogs use it more than we do.
I took my dad to breakfast at the Airport Cafe, and after we went to watch the Skydivers.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I grabbed the brass ring and rode the Giant Dipper.
There was hula hooping at the city’s first Bluegrass Festival. We need more bluegrass. And hula.
And grandma and grandpa. They visited quite a bit, which was awesome.
Farewell, 2013. xoxo