2016, Bring it on!

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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.


967129_10151706463134434_42244338_oMoments – 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      10845757_10153208821944434_6754042672329338008_o                                                                  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


11427376_10153478284929434_5152832013874202818_oMoments – 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!

BookNana 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.


11699071_10205933605012091_4218887019145585851_oMoments 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.

4b4b2b695600cd23573d9635423579f1Sense – 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,    11872024_10153674260934434_6869367679164041004_o                                                             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.

BookGracefully 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! 🙂

BookBreath 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,


12186779_10153813776814434_8032680178001251531_oMoments – 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.

Book – National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry 


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!

New Year 2012                                                                                                                    New Year 2013                                                                                                                     New Year 2014                                                                                                                    New Year 2015


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17 Responses to 2016, Bring it on!

  1. iris says:

    Liebe Joanna, wirklich toll, dieser Jahres Rückblick! Möge ein weiteres, spannendes und befriedigendes Jahr vor Dir liegen. Gott mit Dir 🙂

  2. Lori Degman says:

    Your life amazes me!! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you in 2016!! My word for 2016 is EXPAND! Not physically (I hope), but in every other way! Expand my horizons, relationships, experiences, writing time . . . Happy New Year, Joanna!

  3. Bonnie Blan says:

    My word is Blessed. Changing careers with a chronic illness was intimidating for me. I’ve never felt so scared to do that before. I am feeling older, slower and more mortal lately, as I lose friends and loved ones around me. I am committed in 2016 to focus on all the areas I am blessed in, rather than the losses and look forward to many blessings.

    • Joanna says:

      Bonnie, you are one courageous lady and you inspire me. The losses do multiply as we get older and I love your focus for 2016. Be blessed. xo

  4. JOIE DE VIVRE sounds perfect! I hope you have a wonderful 2016.

  5. What a lovely post. You’ve had a very interesting and fulfilling year. You’ve always hung onto hope and things have managed to work out for you! I have good feelings for you about 2016!

  6. I love the recap of your 2015! I may have to take better notes of my 2016 and try something like this next December. 🙂

    Wishing you a 2016 that is filled with fun, joy, love, and success whatever you define success to be! xo

  7. What an amazing year, Joanna! It sou ds like you already had some joie de vivre. Wishing you another awe inspiring 2016.

  8. Krista says:

    Happy New Year! I love JOIE DE VIVRE it fits you perfectly.I’ve been thinking for days, and I finally decided on my word for 2016. No, it’s not puppies. Whole. In all of my striving to accomplish my goals, I want to remember that I’m already whole. This will help me to have daily peace along my journey. I hope you have a wonderful 2016. I look forward to following your adventures.

  9. Misha says:

    Those are some lovely memories. May 2016 bring you even better ones.

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