2013 – year in review

1525415_10152520083083065_1927935255_nFarewell 2013

Wow. My first thought looking back is that 2013 is the year that tried to chew me up big time. But I bit back, chewed on it for awhile, chewed it up and spit the bitter parts right back out. When I savor what’s left, these are some of the top notes:

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Our first wedding. I never once looked at it as losing a son. I gained a beautiful, gentle, kind-hearted, hard-working daughter. Welcoming Emily into our family is a pleasure and a joy.

#Ihatecancer. I won’t pretend I’m not mad as h377 or that this isn’t one of the most bitter parts of 2013. But if I am to be honest I must also say that the courageous battles my mother-in-law, my mother, several friends, and now my mother again have waged/are waging against this brutal disease have left me gut-punched also by tenderness, love, faith and peace. And it has not tarnished – it will not tarnish – my hope. Now as I look deeper, I realize some of my most sacred moments have occurred as I have been witness to some of the darkest moments of this war. Still chewing on that.

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Closing the store is the brave thing to do. (Name that film!) I did something wild and crazy this year and walked away from something I knew well. Something comfortable and secure. From people I loved and who loved me right back. And took up, of all things, rocket science. Aerodynamics. Physics. Managerial Accounting. You name it. The girl who is afraid of flying stretched out her wings and reached for the sky. Yes – I still have much to learn. But I have made new friends, learned so much, and discovered what can happen when you dare to dream.

fam damily
Returned to the sea. One of the best things we did this year was rent a bright red brand new minivan, pile in all the kids, and head to the Northwest. It was the best of times. I need to stick my toes in the sand and let the wind whip salt-water spray across my face more often.

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Salt Lake Comic Con. I got a golden ticket. Braved the crowd. Went with a new friend from my new job. And had the time of my life. Geeks are some of the friendliest people on the planet and my favorite part was chatting up strangers from Frontrunner to Trax to Comic Con and right back home again. Oh, and Q. And Barclay. And a Wookiee.

crows on tress
Provo River Trail.
Sunsets.
Sunrises.
Trees – from bursting with blossoms, to casting dappled shade on green grass, to dropping brilliant reds and yellows for me feet to crunch crunch crunch, to stark black branches against bare sky.
The constant, reassuring presence of Mt. Timpanogos.
Rain.
Clouds.
Thunder.
Violent storm.
Peaceful, calming, quiet blankets of snow.

It does not get any better than that.

The entire year was made brighter and better by the love, laughter, and living life to the fullest with family and friends. Love and hugs to each and every one of you!

Welcome 2014. Bring it!

Room with a view

airport at night

This is the view from my office as I leave work these days. Those are not city lights or car lights or building lights. Simply the mostly red and blue lights along the runway. I wish my camera (or the photographer) could better capture atmosphere. And sound (or the lack thereof). There is a quiet peace and calm that descends upon the airport after dark that is indescribable. You must experience it for yourself one day.

Last night as I went to bed I tried to take a photograph of the moon shining through the trees and my bedroom window. I was unsuccessful. I’ve even tried, at times, to portray what I see in words, but I am no more successful. In any case, I’ve long been in love with either of the views from my two bedroom windows. From my bed I can see the lovely Mt. Timpanogos. Along with her glorious displays at sunrise, my favorite is the soft, sure glow of her very best white dress, which she sports throughout the winter, pushing past the dark curtain of the night. As I’ve said before, her constant presence is a balm and comfort to me.

My other favorite is what I was trying to freeze in time and memory last night. The west window behind my bed. A tall tree grows next too it, too close to the house, and therefore close to my heart. It’s lovely during summer when the window is open and a gentle breeze stirs the tree’s leaves just enough to make its presence known, even from behind. And during winter when skeletal branches moved by wind make moonlight dance through my bedroom window, well, that is something to behold as well. The moonbeams reach in along the dark folds of whatever quilt I’m curled up in against the cold as if to warm me also.

Last night the waxing moon shone through still, dark branches of my tree and splayed abstract dark and light across my bed. I turned to look behind me and the familiar play of cool shadow and light gave me warmth and comfort and simple joy.

You know what I did last summer?

This was the summer that wasn’t summer, really. My company had a huge project with formidable deadlines and my sweet flexible little 25-hours/week job doubled into nearly 50 hours, OT and Saturdays. And that was just the work part of the craziness.

So, this October when we met our deadline an entire month early, I took a day off. I spent the morning cleaning the bathroom and doing dishes and laundry. Then I picked up my friend Shawna and we headed out to do something I always wanted to do: see the Spiral Jetty. A coworker and friend of ours had just gone a few weeks prior and we discovered it was a good time of year to see it (it’s under water a good deal of the year), so we decided to go. I invited the family, as it was fall break, but they declined. We almost talked ourselves out of it. It was cool and rainy and it’s a bit of a drive so we considered going another day when it was a bit nicer outside. But I was afraid if I didn’t just do it right then I would find an excuse next time and then the next time, so we went for it.

The weather remained a bit gloomy and the rain started pouring down heavily not even half an hour into our trip. We weren’t even sure how long it took to get there–as the driving directions claimed it was nearly four hours, but our friend had insisted it was about two and a half; and it was already after 1pm. But we were committed and we pressed on.

At about North Salt Lake we could see a bit of sun shining through the clouds to the north. By the time we turned west off the freeway, it was sunny and warm outside. The dirt road to the jetty had been well graded and we arrived in just two hours and twenty minutes. We took off our shoes and waded through the salty water all the way around the spiral (even though the water was shallow enough we could have walked straight to the center) and all the way back again. We had the jetty all to ourselves for the good part of an hour before another vehicle came around the road and pulled to a stop on the dirt “parking lot.” (True confession: when the truck pulled up the part of me that watches too many crime dramas imagined that this would be the perfect place to rob, mangle or murder someone without anyone else knowing, maybe ever.) The occupants of the truck turned out to be a lovely older couple from the east who had moved out west a few years prior and it was their first time at the jetty, too. We took their photo for them, and they took ours for us and we parted all very much alive and practically friends.

The drive back was cozy and friendly and it was an entire half day of summer in early October. Just what I needed. It also increased to two the things I had never done but always wanted to that I actually did this year. (Bet your curious now as to what was number one.)