As I reflect on 2015, while I am not where I want to be in several areas yet, I have a boatload of things for which to be grateful! I hope you enjoy my 12 meaningful moments, book highlights and sensory memories in 2015, and my word for 2016.
Moments – Dad’s unexpected death on January 7th, 2015, five days before his 81st birthday, catapults me back to France for a fortnight at the beginning of the year. Saying goodbye to him and cleaning, clearing and packing up his home in the Var to sell is a rollercoaster. But how happy I am he lived a full, lucid life to then end. I wrote a tribute on FB to him, which you can read here.
Sense – Scents from Dad’s garden—honeysuckle, mint, begonias… as we pack and reminisce a life.
Book – Gaston written by Kelly di Pucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson (fitting as Dad loved his dog, Noisette!)
Moments – What better way to spend Valentine’s Day weekend than cross- country skiing at Lapland Lake in the Adirondacks with seven cute female friends?!
Sense – The crisp icy nip of -14F!
Book – Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson a fitting sub freezing survival read.
Moments The winter storms persist but I don’t mind the hours spent at my desk revising, rewriting and re-envisoning my MFA thesis, the YA novel, MOONTIDE.
Sense – iPad pings, ‘you’ve got mail’, from your thesis supervisor, Patty McCormick, without whose input this novel would not be as polished as it is.
Book – Rain, Rein by Ann M Martin
Moments – The arrival of spring in New York means weekly tennis against my close friend Yvette with river views, almost under the GW bridge.
Sense – The shriek of jets flying up and down the Hudson almost every week without fail becomes a standing joke!
Book – Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo, even a Nana recognizes the magic of New York City.
Moments – After 75 job applications and half a dozen great interviews followed by a slew of No’s because of my visa situation, the universe surprises me with a yes from my final application, mid May. The job has all three things at the top of my wish list. The school is international, bilingual and offers the IB. Oy!
Sense – Tears of relief and gratitude trickle down my cheeks that at least for one more year, the risks I took in leaving everything and everyone in France in 2012 to get a job in the US are bearing fruit.
Book – Girls Like Us by gail Giles. Oh to be as gutsy as these girls.
Moments June 30th, My first time in Colorado. I begin my two month journey by dining with Julie squared (RoZo and Hedlund) in Boulder. A rollicking rocky mountain high.
Sense – Julie Hedlund’s Tuscan culinary courses pay off with a sumptuous pasta dish and more than palatable vino rosso that send taste buds tangoing.
Book – Travels with Charley: In Search of America John Steinbeck (mm, interesting how many books I read have dogs in them.)
Moments – I meet up with so many old and new friends this month. It makes me dizzy, but the travel highlight is 36 hours on the Zephyr train from Denver to San Francisco—snaking the Coloradao canyons, traversing the desert and scrub of Utah and Nevada, sweeping past the green diamond of Lake Tahoe and winding over the Sierra’s to the Pacific coast.
Sense – Jaw-dropping views from the observation lounge of the train, especially the eerie hue of Utah’s buttes and mesas at sunset.
Book – American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodward, an eye opening cultural history.
Moments – Final stop in my summer shenanigans, a few days calm before my new job starts, on Skiff Lake, New Brunswick, with old friends. Unplugged and revived.
Sense – Loon-song during an early morning kayak.
Book – Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky, a great MG read about self- acceptance.
Moments – Staying with Emma and Anne, my best buddies in New York, and cat sitting their frail, ailing utterly adorable feline, Charley Noble.
Sense – Charley’s yowl punctuating the nights! 🙂
Book – Breath to Breath by Craig Lew. Raw and real!
Moments – While my graduation ceremony was in May, and mid August was my actual graduation closure, October is when I receive the proof in the mail.
Sense – The he crisp card and embossed print of the MFA certificate.
Book – Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, wouldn’t surprise me if this wins some awards,
Moments – I move again, this time to Harlem into this teeny tiny room at the top of a Brownstone in a richly diverse neighborhood.
Sense – heat, even with the window wide open, reverberates around my small south-facing room.
Moments- First trimester at FASNY, and I am LOVING being a school librarian again, especially in a school with such diversity and kindred colleagues.
Sense – Sensuality and sonority of French in my ears, mouth and dreams again.
Book – Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA by Roberta Kaplan, Lisa Dickey (With), Edie Windsor (Foreword)
For the past four years, I have chosen a word to guide my year. It seems to have become the trend, and it is fun reading others’ words. My word for 2016 is kind of cheating, as it is three words, but they go together liken fish ‘n chips, and it is in honor of Dad.
JOIE DE VIVRE – an ability to love life to its fullest. Happy New Year y’all! Every one of you has had an impact on my life this year, even if you don’t realize it. You’ve inspired me to continue growing and loving. May the new year forge new paths and strengthen the one that you’re on.
Please post your word for the year in the comments!