2014: So, that happened

Whew! Made it. Back in November I made a small, interim resolution to be positive during the holidays this year. Typically, I fall victim to the same combination of stress, frustration, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and general ennui that afflicts many people this time of year. Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the result of my attempts to stay mindful, to be thankful, and to avoid those destructive mental habits. I think that this was exactly what was needed to close out 2014 – a year of extremes, to be sure.

This time last year, Milwaukee was in the grips of the first of (3, maybe?) polar vortices, and I had been in the house for close to eight straight days at that point. I had also received a series of work-related phone calls that were challenging any optimism I might have started the year with. January was a mass of uncertainty. February-April were fairly quiet, though with an every encroaching sense that big changes were perpetually on the horizon at the office. I’m seeing, at this point, a certain tendency to over-focus on work dynamics – ask me one personal think that happened at this point. I’ve literally got nothing.

May brought a brief respite – it always does, with five days in the open air, with amazing people, and physically very far away from the stress of daily life. South Dakota, you never disappoint me.

The most beautiful mornings.

The most beautiful mornings.


The greatest possible breakfast.


One of my favorite places to sit.

My former backyard.

My former backyard.

So that was a definite high point – added to the fact that this year did not include – 1) flight delays, 2) rental car issues, 3) a death defying blizzard drive through Minnesota. So a win, all the way around.

June-September brought more changes, more upheaval, but more good things too. Made it through my 5th induction and my 9th birthday celebrated at institute. And celebrated fall with my great escape adventure to New York City, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin, and Galway. Magical, restorative, and exactly what was needed after the previous nine months of suspense. I spent the first week of Winter Break going back through pictures – and found a few I had already nearly forgotten about. To be fair, I took over 2,000 pictures during those weeks – many were not keepers, but here are a few favorites from Ireland.


Dublin. Still bearing bullett holes from the 1916 Easter Rising.




Trinity College

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October brought Halloween, apples, pumpkins, and one more trip back to NYC. Saw Whoopi Goldberg in the Halloween parade, so I probably need to stop saying that I’ve never seen a celebrity in the city.

The holiday months passed in a relatively peaceful blur – I made the thanksgiving dinner this year, with support from my mom. And no photos happened because I completely forgot while trying to time everything right. I think it went ok though – looking forward to next year already! Christmas came – I got a tree this year, and am very thankful that I did – the lights against the 4pm darkness kept me sane, I think. Spent the big days with family – Stuard Christmas, and Christmas Eve/Day with Mom and Brother and pets. Finished the year thinking of family, being thankful for gifts and blessings – and going to bed early with a new novel on NYE (glad enough to leave the days of freezing in a tiny dress and trying to organize a cab FAR behind me. I like being clear headed and healthy on New Year’s Day).


The first, and apparently the last snowfall of 2014 – back in mid November.


Visiting the Becker/Lien side family farm outside DeForest.


Decorating the tree. Classics are always classics.


Posing dogs in front of trees without knocking over trees while catching dogs looking at the camera is…tricky.


I think I made these 4 separate times, for 4 different parties – crowds were pleased, generally speaking.


And of course, lefse. It’s not the holidays without lefse.

So far, 2015 has brought me toast with strawberry/champagne jam, a cleaned and organized home office, and a new home project begun! Happy New Year, everyone!