Friday, December 2, 2011

2011 In Review

      Gee, I keep thinking that this year went by so fast and when I look at photo folders in Picasa, it DID!  Lots of things have happened and I know I would have forgotten about half of them if I hadn’t kept a photo journal.

      There wasn’t much going on in January other than snow, which is a good thing because one January we barely had any, which amounted to no snow fun!  I did manage to get my snow shoes on in February and ventured out to Dutchman Flats with a group called “Silver Striders”.   You know, for the over 50 crowd.   It was a lot of fun but boy, four miles round trip on snow shoes is not as easy as it looks.   

      In March and April Kevin and I made a couple of trips down to Dorris, Calif., where my parents had bought a 2 acre parcel of property way back in 1966.  I was with mom and dad when they drove up to see it and that is the LAST time anyone of us set foot on it.  Until 2011.   The first trip down we were not able to locate the property but I had a sense of being close to it.  The next trip down we did find it and we had brought with us a time capsule container filled with the local daily newspaper which include the wedding pictures of Prince William and Princess Kate, I also included the story of the property and the family and included the names of my children and two grandsons.  Maybe one day they will be the ones to rediscover that piece of family history and set another generations’ feet upon that soil. 

      In May I made a trip to Alaska, my first since leaving there in 2005.  I was able to visit with a few good friends, tread the old Kenai beach that I used to love and smell that fresh Alaskan air.  I also discovered that I wasn’t as ‘homesick’ for it as I thought.  It was lovely to be there again but it wasn’t the same, that’s for sure.

      Finally summer arrived, late this year but so great fully accepted when it did; the sunshine blew away the cloudy attitude and Kevin and I attacked the waters of the area with a vengeance!  I was able to visit “Lost Lake” on the Santiam Pass with a girlfriend, one I’d always wanted to “get on” every time we drove by it.  Check that one off my list now…

So I dipped the kayak in Davis Lake, then another little unnamed pond just off of Wickiup Reservoir and then finally IN Wickiup.  Hmm, after that my work sort of yanked me away from the fun! 

Along comes searing hot July and a wonderful visit with a long-ago friend, Debbie Hart, whom I hadn’t seen in about ten years.  Years and years ago when our kids were little (one of hers and one of mine were 5) we were “single wives”, we supported each other emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically.  We went on picnics with the kids, we had dinner at each others’ houses, yakked on the phone, drove to town, listened to each others’ worries and fears and we laughed together a lot, too.  Debbie and I were able to meet up with each other at my in-laws’ home in Portland, and it was a tear-jerker reunion!  As soon as Kevin and I pulled into the driveway, mom and dad and Debbie and her husband Don came outside, I cranked open the car door and flew out to hug my old and dear, dear friend!  My throat was literally closed; all I could do was cry tears of joy.  Now THAT’S a friend…

What little was left of the summer we tried to fill with planting flowers, pulling weeds, jumping on the water with the kayaks, mowing, visiting with the grandsons, getting more water time with the kayaks and then it was over all too soon, it just seemed to take forever for it to get here!  I still love the changing seasons, tho’.

      There are two kickers to this year; we were able to have Evan and Eric for an overnighter without MOM AND DAD for the first time!  We loved it!  While Bret and Sara were hiking, camping and summiting South Sister, the boys played outside on their dirt pile, jumped in the pool or played on the swing set.  One of the days Kpaw and me (Beema) took them for a hike in our state park, we wore them out!  But oh how we enjoyed the time we had with them. 

The last big kicker was driving over to Butte, Montana for the last time to pick up Mike and bring him home to Oregon.  I was able to visit with another old friend, Judy, whom I have known for 20 years now.  We enjoyed a few hours sitting in her hot tub on a frosty night watching the stars and the lights glitter down in the valley below.  I left Judy’s the morning of the 9th of November, nose pointed east and within hours I was nosed west again, this time with my son in the car.

We decided to make it a bit of an adventure while we could so our first destination was Seattle, Washington.  It took almost 12 hours to get there and when we did, we got a bit lost in downtown with all the high rises and crazy lights and street lanes!  It was a unanimous decision to get a motel on the outskirts and then return in the morning to tour Pikes’ Public Market.  We hit a McDonalds’, planted our heads in our pillows and rose early the next morning in order to have a little fun before the rest of the long drive.  Mike and I were able to wander around the area of the Space Needle (we didn’t go up since they wanted $18.00 a person!); we jumped on the monorail and rode to the market area with a two hour window to wander around before returning for the rail ride back. It was just the right amount of time.  Once again, two noses were pointed south for a quick stop to see Sara and her little family, and then we hit the road again for the final three and a half hour drive home.

So far, the weather hasn’t been too bad and Mike has made great efforts to find employment and a place of his own.  

I am constantly telling myself to take my camera with me EVERY WHERE I GO.  Just a few days ago I missed a rare opportunity to get a shot of a beautiful, huge bull elk cantering across the road a short way from home.  I did stop the car and watch his graceful exit, muttering all the while, “Why don’t I have my camera??!”  So even at this ripe old age, I can still say I’m learning new things.

On that note, have a wonderful and merry Christmas and may you be blessed with all His glory and love.