2017 in the rear view mirror

This was a strange and difficult year in the life of the world. For good or for ill, I think we’ll remember 2017 in the history of the world. (I mean, assuming there is a history to be written and that the triumvirate of Trump/Putin/Kim Jong Il doesn’t end our species in a blast of radiation.) (These are the kinds of caveats 2017 has felt like it’s all about.) It’s been a terrifying and uncertain year for many in the wider world – especially immigrants, people of color, non-CIS folk, or anyone with pre-existing health conditions. But in the life of my family, it’s actually been an excellent year, despite the background fear, anxiety and attendance at protests.

Here are the big things that went on in my family this year.

Lastours

We went to Europe.
This was the kind of trip you fantasize about and remember your whole life. We spent time in Barcelona wandering the narrow alleys, we took the train to Carcassonne. We ate cassoulet in the cooling evening in the shadow of an impenetrable fortress built on Roman walls. We found a local guide who brought us to the fastness of Lastours and guided us across the narrow chasm into the ancient, tiny town of Minerve which we’d visited last in a fantastic Cthulu game run by my husband. It was exceptional – the whole thing. The kids were great. The weather was hot hot hot. The history was amazing. I loved every minute of it.

Eclipse

The kids watched the eclipse.
As part of what must be one of the best summers of their lives, the kids did a cross country road trip with their grandparents and cousins and got to see an unobscured totality from the middle of Idaho. It was hard to fit it in between their weeks at Camp Wilmot (they want to go back for three weeks next summer!), tubing with friends, boating camp, and camping trips, but their sacrifices were duly noted. Truly, this summer was epic.

Our last night together

We said goodbye and hello to friends and neighbors.
Looking through my year in pictures, I was struck at how so many in the spring and early summer included our dear and loved neighbors. (I think we had about 12 goodbye parties.) And then how empty the spot felt in the summer. We miss you folks every day, and twice on Saturdays. But our new neighbors, while not the same, are pretty awesome in their own rights. It’s been a sort of generational shift in our little street. I can’t help but feel lucky to have not one, but two generations of awesome neighbors!

Our 17th anniversary

Adam and I had great years at work.
It was a very strong year, professionally. I had a huge (internal) project exceed all my expectations for success in March. It might be the most successful, amazing thing I’ve ever done at work. (And all the more so for being surprising in the process!) Adam made a huge difference in his job, and then was lucky enough to get a new role at a fantastic company where he’s getting to code more and learn a whole new programming language. In the waning hours of the year, I’ve also gotten great news about getting to transfer to a new team I’m super excited about within Alphabet. I do try to keep work and home life separate, but obviously work is a huge part of one’s actual life. For both of us, it’s been an intense year but with good results.

We hired a pastor
This was a huge part of my year. I spent so much time, effort, passion and energy on this search. I learned a lot. I prayed a lot. I felt a full range of human emotions. I got to know people very well. It’s not *quite* over yet, but we’re nearing the end. I’m very weary, so looking for how to recharge these batteries.

Dear friends on cold days

It was a Francophone year
In addition to our time in France, we also visited friends in Quebec City and took a lovely long weekend trip to New Orleans. One of these was very cold and one of them was very hot. Both of them were very fun.

Victorious Views!

I finally climbed Chocorua.
I’ve been passionately wanting to do this for a very long time, but it was a hard one to get done. This year was the year though! It was everything I’d been hoping. I had great company. I am not sure I’ve ever used my body that hard. The weather was excellent. The lodgings close and comfy. I loved it so much.

A few other highlights –
We worked with Fealty Design to create a family crest, which I have been LOVING. I think I managed to include it four times on this year’s Christmas cards.
We bought a new car
We practiced civic engagement, on both a local and larger level
I completed the two year project of listening to all of the Wheel of Time on audiobook
We went camping, but only twice. I’m still regretting bailing on the third time.
The children have both been thriving at school. It’s been an excellent year for both of them, with mental, physical and emotional health.

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The ever-fascinating weekend review

One of the challenges of blogging is coming up with new content regularly (my goal is five new posts a week) without falling into a “Then after I ate my Honey-Nut Cheerios, Grey said something funny” detail about what’s been going on. No one wants to read that. And really? I don’t want to write that day in and day out. But mixed in with “I want to write about _____ but it’s a big topic and will take me a while to get right” and suddenly you notice a week has gone by without an update.

As one of my friends sometimes says when we get whiny about such dilemmas, “First world problems.”

Mommy forgot her real camera and had to use her phone
Mommy forgot her real camera and had to use her phone

So here, in concise summary, are the important things about my weekend.

1) It was a bad week in the life of elder statespeoples in my world. My Godfather had a serious heart attack. He deserves a longer post with more explanation. He also deserves a nice long letter from me. (I called him last night, but he’s rather hard of hearing, so while I learned plenty about how HE’S doing, he didn’t learn much about how I’M doing.) He is a very important contributor to me becoming who I am, and I hope that he has several years. Hopefully I’ll manage to write more about this, but in case I don’t, this much is important.

Also, the wife of my growing-up pastor currently has no knee and an infection post surgery. Neither of those things is good or enjoyable. I hope they both get resolved.

2) Saturday was a lazy-day. We had meant to go hiking, but instead we just hung out. In an awesome turn of events, we ended up spending most of the evening with our neighbors, eating their burgers and drinking their beer. It’s really nice to spend time with people you like, while you watch your kids play together. It’s also very interesting to see how your house looks from your neighbors house. In extra-bonusage, one of our neighbors is an architect and he thinks our roof has 3 – 5 years. I’m happy with any amount of time that is not “Dear God you must replace this thing RIGHT NOW!” I think I am glad I am not an architect who always looks at the world and sees it falling down.

3) Mother’s Day festivities fell into two parts. Part the first was my loot. Specifically, I got a digital photo frame. I’m really happy with it. I’ve truly gotten better at taking pictures, but no better at ordering prints or updating my flip book at work. (I think the most recent pictures I have of Grey, he’s about the age Thane is now.) Since so much of my photographia is digital, a digital photo frame looks more likely to get updates. Also, my kids are cute.

Part the second was going to the Lilac Festival at the Arnold Arboretum. Lilacs are my favorite flowers. There were also Morris Dancers there, which flashed me back to Make We Joy — happy memories! I kept expecting to see Danny Spurr pop up. And I drank my fill of fragrant lilac-scents and watched Grey learn the joys of rolling down a grassy hill. On the downside, we needed to bring a hat for Thane and we didn’t, and we needed to get sunscreen on him earlier than we did. He didn’t get burned — at least nothing that was still burned this morning — but he did get more sun that we should have let him get.

Then I came home and de-dandylioned the back lawn. This was an epic task, but needed to be done before the first mowing, which desperately needed to be done.

Here’s a difference between a 2.5 year old and a 3.5 year old. With the 3.5 year old, you really can work in the back yard and tell him to entertain himself while you work, and actually get some work done. This can be accomplished for even 30 minutes! (Astonishment!) I’ll take it.

Thus having informed my readership (er, hi mom!) of the important parts of my weekend, I go to optimize my search query! (I think I need a cape at work. That would definitely improve my code. Maybe with a cool logo….)