This time of year, I like to remind myself of the good things that I've experienced. It's so easy to get pulled under by the tide of awful news that our current political climate generates. Here are some things for which I was and am grateful this year:
1. In January and February, I traveled to Texas to celebrate the nuptials of my dear friend, J. It was also a chance to visit one of my favorite cities: Austin!
2. In June and July, I took some serious vacation time both with my friend N and my blended family. I went to Tybee Island, GA and Asheville, NC and even got a chance to see some F. Scott Fitzgerald memorabilia related to the Grove Park Inn hotel where he stayed while Zelda was hospitalized.
3. I did some major writer retreating this year. In the spring, I returned to Hindman Settlement School for the Troublesome Creek Writer's Retreat (and I did that again this fall!). In July, I went to The Breaks Interstate Park for a retreat with the writer Robert Gipe (he's amazing). In August, I went to Barrelhouse Writer's Camp in College Station, PA. My goal for the year was to do two retreats. I doubled that and I am so glad!
4. Besides exploring some more Fitzgerald history, I also went to the National Portrait Gallery this fall to see the Sylvia Plath exhibit where a lock of her childhood hair moved me to tears.
5. In October, I traveled to Chicago and Milwaukee - a whole new part of the country for me - for my friend E's wedding. I got to see some new Frank Lloyd Wright houses, eat some fried cheese curds, and test myself a bit by driving instead of taxi'ing.
6. One of the true highlights of my year, though, has been my birthday weekend. Some great friends came to Deep Creek Lake to celebrate with me and it was such a joyous, relaxing, and lovely weekend. It really reminded me how lucky I am to have amazing friends. I felt so loved and I had such a great time.
7. Today blew in with a really nice wind, too. Time's Person of the Year really made me feel like the tide is turning. Things are changing. And I want to have hope that this is only the beginning.