2013 retrospective

Grove Park Inn, Asheville

At the end of last year, I said to 2012: Don't let the screen door hit you. Another year has gone by and this year there were even more peaks and valleys. The peaks were AWESOME but the valleys were so deep, I can honestly say it was a year of extremes. Just to be different, I'm going to divide up this entry into the valleys and the peaks, instead of the typical chronological description.

Section 1: We Must Go Through the Valley (not over, around, or under it)

More people I know died this year than any other year I can recall, starting with Aunt Mary Lois on March 20. Aunt ML and I were special buddies when I was growing up because I spent so much time at her house. She was a nurse by profession, a Navy wife, and highly regimented. As a young adult she traveled by car across the USA to California, and her travel stories mesmerized me well into my adult years. It was she who introduced me to National Geographic magazine. When I was a kid, she had every copy of NG going back some twenty years, and yes, they were stacked in order of date on a special shelf in her storage room. We had some good times together. No matter how old she got or how sick, Aunt ML always seemed so happy to see me, and I miss her very much.

Aunt Mary Lois 1923-2013

A few months later on August 28, my last remaining aunt, Aunt Ruth, passed away. Aunt Ruth was also a special lady. She worked as a reading teacher and after she retired from teaching, she worked in the retail industry for many years. She was always smiling, and she loved people -- all people. And she didn't care where they came from, what they looked like, who they loved, or anything else. There were no boundaries with Aunt Ruth when it came to people. I should also insert here that she had a particular fondness for roasted macadamia nuts, which I must have inherited from her. I took this photo in early August, at the time having no idea that she'd be gone within a month. I miss her, too.

Aunt Ruth 1925-2013

Less than a week ago, one of my dearest friends lost a battle with cancer. I'm still processing Karen's passing because I'd had such high hopes of her recovery. Karen was one of the coolest people I've ever known and she had this ability to bring people together, and it just seems to unfair that the Universe had to take her so young (she was 54). I'm trying to keep in mind all the joy she brought into my life (and the lives of everyone she met) instead of being upset. But it's hard. I'm having a hard time with this.

Karen (top right) 1959-2013

I loved them all. May they rest in peace.

Section 2: I'm on the Top of the World Looking Down on Creation

Thankfully 2013 brought had its peaks, too. Peaks typically appear in the form of trips, getaways, and fun diversions -- or other things that provide counterbalance to the valleys. Among 2013's peaks:
  • South Florida trip to visit Karen (February)
  • Iceland vacation (March)
  • Highlands special birthday trip (May)
  • Steve Martin & Edie Brickell (with Steep Canyon Rangers) concert in Greensboro (May)
  • Beech Mountain overnight + day in Boone (July)
  • Seagrove day trip (August)
  • Buddy Guy concert in Charlotte (August)
  • Time Jumpers (with Vince Gill) concert in Nashville (September)
  • Las Vegas/Grand Canyon/Sequoia National Park vacation (September/October)
  • Steep Canyon Rangers concert in Charlotte (November)
  • Asheville weekend at the Grove Park Inn (November)
  • Carolina Chocolate Drops concert in Charlotte (December)
  • Tryon (multiple trips)

Section 3: Maybe I should have done more . . .

For example:
  • I didn't read as many books this year (20 so far) as I did last year (36 in 2012).
  • I didn't blog as much.
  • I didn't have a garden at the farm this year.
NOTE TO SELF: I need to get better at those things in 2014.

Oh, well. Some years are better than others. Ciao, 2013.

Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Slovenian Unity & Independence Day, Happy Day of Goodwill, Happy Rizal Day, Happy 2014! Or, to put it more succinctly and accurately because there is more than one event being celebrated in this great big world over the next week or so: HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! :)

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