Monday, December 31, 2018

Galloping Into 2019

Statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II, the Prince of Transylvania, in front of the Parliament Building in Budapest, Hungary
We have come to the end of another wonderful year.  We traversed the country, working when we needed to, playing when we could.  It passed quickly but the last few months were just spectacular.  

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
I was interviewed for a podcast.  I visited Organ Pipe National Monument on our way to Puerto Peñasco, a place I hadn't been in 40 years.  I finally hosted my best friend when she came out from Nashville for a visit, the first time she's ever been out to Arizona. I discovered the Family History Center Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and did some genealogical research - what a great time that was!!  After 14 years on the road, I finally went to the Jubitz Travel Center in Portland, Oregon.  What a cool truck stop and travel center that was! We moved a priceless art exhibit. And 
I finally went on that European river cruise I've been dreaming about!!!  I flew Business Class to get there.  Took a high speed train from Amsterdam to Paris.  Went to the Louvre Museum and saw the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and so many other amazing works of art.  What a great year!
The Venus de Milo at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 
Well, last year I said I was going to lose weight.  Again.  And that didn't happen.  So I'm abandoning that plan this year.  Or maybe forever.  It's too much pressure.  I think this year I'm going to try to take up some kind of hobby, something that feeds the creative side of me.  That should be a lot easier than losing weight.  And since my husband bought me a Vitamix, a food processor, a stand mixer, an electric kettle, and a Nespresso machine this year, I don't see less eating happening in the future.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.  And there aren't many people I'm close to who are planning or anticipating births.  Whew!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No one close to me, but we did lose quite a few celebrity legends in 2018 - Aretha Franklin,  Burt Reynolds, Stan Lee, Penny Marshall, Neil Simon, Anthony Bourdain, Stephen Hawking, Nancy Wilson (love her!), Vic Damone (who I once sat next to in an Atlantic City, NJ restaurant where he was dining with his wife, Diahann Carroll), Jerry Van Dyke and more.  And our Senator, John McCain.
A street in Bratislava, Slovakia.
5. What countries did you visit?
Ohhhhhhh, finally I have a great answer to this one!  Well, early in the year we went to Mexico to visit Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco), but then in October, we went to Europe for almost a month, which included 15 nights on a European River Cruise, something I've wanted to do FOREVER! The countries we visited during that trip were:  Turkey, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, and France.  Oh, and Ed hopped off the train to touch the ground in Belgium, but that doesn't really count.  

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018? 

A hobby.  Geez, I really need an ACTUAL hobby.  I have to create something or I might just go crazy.   

7. What dates from 2018 will remain etched in your memory, and why?

My European vacation will stay with me forever.  Not only did I get to see so many places I'd never been, but I was able to experience Paris with my new husband and make some really great memories.  I finally did the river cruise I'd been longing to do.  And I had a great vacation with our friends, Marlaina and MacG.  
Marlaina, Ed, and MacG enjoying the rear lounge on our river cruise ship.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
All the walking I did in Europe.  Seriously, people.  You don't know what a monumental task it was for me.  I hate movement of any kind - I pick up my mail on the way into my driveway just so I don't have to walk to the mailbox - so all the walking I did, beginning with our first day in the airport in Los Angeles and not ending until 30 days later when I got home, was a huge change for me.  I kept track of how many miles I walked every day.  There were some 6 and 7 mile days, but on average, I walked about 3.5 miles per day.  I also lost 13 pounds while I was gone.  Those are two very big achievements. 

9. What was your biggest failure?

Nothing stands out in my mind, but I think it's because I just don't see things that don't work out as failures.  Also, I don't recall setting out to do anything this year that could have resulted in failure, so there's that.  

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had a few sniffles, but nothing serious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My new iPhone.  It's bigger, so reading and surfing the internet is more enjoyable, and it has a great camera.  I love the portrait feature!
Ed cycling along the Danube River in Dürnstein, Austria.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I'm going to bestow this honor on Ed.  He works hard and makes sure we have money to take care of everything we need and want.  He's patient, makes an effort to socialize with our neighbors (if that were left up to me, we'd know no one), listens to me (for the most part - when it's important), and makes sure to carve out time for himself to relax and unwind.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 

Oh.  My.  God.  It's only one person - 45.  He's an absolute disgrace. 

14. Where did most of your money go? 

Vacation and retirement savings.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The cruise!  And pretty much everything we were going to see in Europe.  Squeeee!

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?

Toward the end of 2018, I started watching Outlander and found myself singing the theme song.  Since I ended the year on that song, it's freshest in my mind.
It was originally a Scottish folk song, but it was altered by Bear McCreary for the show.  Here are the lyrics:

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone,

Say, could that lass be I?
Merry of soul she sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.

Billow and breeze, islands and seas,

Mountains of rain and sun,
All that was good, all that was fair,
All that was me is gone.

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone,

Say, could that lass be I?
Merry of soul she sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

Pretty happy, still the same generous size as last year, and with fewer dollars in my pocket after my Europe spending.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Laugh.  I realized that I don't do as much laughing as I used to.  I have a couple of serious friends, I don't spend time goofing off with my bestie anymore, and I haven't listened to any stand-up comedy at all this year.  I used to watch and listen to stand-up comedians - especially when Ed and I had Sirius Radio in the truck, but I got away from it - maybe grew bored of it for a while, I don't really know, but I need some belly laughs.  Soon. 

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

I can't think of anything I wish I've done less of.  Maybe laundry?  For two people, the washing around this house in endless.  I don't know where it comes from!

20. How did you spend Christmas?

At home with Ed, my mother, my brother and his family, and our friends Marlaina and MacG.   

21. Did you fall in love in 2018?
I think I fell more in love with traveling.  Well, not the actual getting there part, but the being there part.

Wooden shoes and tulips in Zaandam, Netherlands.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
My favorite TV show this year was "A Million Little Things".  The beginning of the story is sad, but the writing is good and I love the actors.   

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope, the same asshole I hated last year.

24. What was the best book you read?

I didn't read anything even closely resembling a book this year, although I did get halfway through the audiobook The Hare with Amber Eyes, a story I learned about on one of our tours in Vienna.  

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn't discover any new music this year. 
26. What did you want and get?
A Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer (yes, in Empire Red), a Kitchen Aid Food Processor, and a Nespresso Inissia machine with the Aeroccino frother.  In addition - and these are not things I asked for - I also got a Vitamix Blender and a Breville IQ Kettle (man, I love this thing!).  Looks like I'm going to be spending an awful lot of time in the kitchen this year.  

27. What did you want and not get?

Well, I want a new iPad, but I don't really need one so I can probably wait.  And I wanted IPL treatments but didn't get any.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Greatest Showman.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVED it!!  It was released in December 2017, but I didn't see it until 2018. I've seen it four times so far and can't wait to see it again.  I'll have to watch it without Ed around because he's tired of the singing.  From me, not the cast.   

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

We were on the road, so didn't do anything special.  We had dinner and Ed surprised me with a cake.  

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I had a lot of time off, I had an awesome vacation, I got great gifts, and I spent time with my family and friends.  I can't think of anything that could have been better.  

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

Mostly pajamas. 

32. What kept you sane?

My very comfortable living room armchair.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

For sure, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  Oh, what a beautiful day!

34. What political issue stirred you the most?The Wall.  The stupid, unnecessary, expensive, ridiculous, wall.  It's not needed, it's not going to be built, Mexico is not paying for it, and the assholes who want it need to move on to something more productive.

One of the many uphill cobblestone streets I walked in Europe.  This one is in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic.
35. Who did you miss?
After going to The Family History Library in Salt Lake City and doing some family tree research, I was really missing my grandparents and wishing I had asked so many more questions while they were alive.  

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Our neighbors, Bre and Eric.  The house next door, previously occupied by a very old couple, then a very old widow, finally went up for sale.  The people who bought it started doing a renovation - the interior hadn't been changed since the seventies - and suddenly, there was a flurry of activity in our normally very quiet cul-de-sac.  Ed was the first to wander across our front lawn to make their acquaintance.  He found a young married couple, around his age.  We've had them over for dinner once already and are looking forward to getting to know them better.  

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

Don't wait for the circumstances to be perfect to do something.  Ideally, I would have liked to be in better shape to be walking around Europe.  I won't lie, I was concerned as to whether I'd be able to keep up with Ed and our friends, who walk at an Olympian's pace.  If I didn't go because I wasn't ready, I would have missed out on a really great trip.  I did the best I could, pushed myself in some cases, and tried very hard not to complain.  As a result, I had a really good time and made some great memories.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Recently I've been listening to some of the songs from the Glee soundtrack (I used to be a huge Glee fan), and they did quite a few show tunes in the series.  One of the songs, from "Wicked", sung by Kristen Chenoweth (Glinda) and Idina Menzel (Elphaba) - both of who guest starred on the show - is called "For Good".  The lyric I like is: 

"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good"

Here are the rest of the lyrics:

I'm limited
Just look at me - I'm limited
And just look at you
You can do all I couldn't do, Glinda
So now it's up to you
For both of us - now it's up to you...

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

Because I knew you

I have been changed for good

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for

But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share

And none of it seems to matter anymore

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood

Who can say if I've been
Changed for the better?
I do believe I have been
Changed for the better

And because I knew you...

Because I knew you...

Because I knew you...

I have been changed for good...

And my slogan for the New Year...


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2017: 2017 Saw A Snowstorm, A Penitentiary, And A Wedding
2016: 2016 Has Ended And It's Time To Breathe Again
2015: The Sun Sets On 2015
2014: Thanks, 2014. For Everything.
2013: I Am Gonna OWN You, 2014!
2012: Wrapping Up A Year Of Making My Own Sunshine
2011: Later, 2011!
2010: That’s A Wrap!
2009: Out With The Old
2008: Another Year, Another 365 Days
2007: All Good Things Come To An End
2006: The Symphony Of A Thousand Saws
2005: Suicidal Firewood

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