2020 Wrap up

zooming into 2021

For several days I’ve been thinking about how to approach my end of the year blog post in this dumpster fire of a year.  I thought about comparing it to 2019 but that seemed just too sad, as 2019 was a banner year for me, including 3 wonderful road trips and lots of social gatherings –none of which could take place this year.  So cataloging the insults and injuries of a pandemic, political upheaval, climate catastrophes did not seem like the right way to go but neither would a Pollyanna/Hallmark movie viewpoint do.  How to find the balance?

In looking for the silver linings I have looked back at previous posts for this year and found a great deal to be thankful for.  These are the very things that saw me through a year full of anxiety, frustration and anger.  If you look back at last June, you will see that only four months in (only!) I was quoting my friend Peggy Sue’s helpful hints at getting through this stress:

“On the Mayo Clinic’s list of self-care for mental health during the pandemic they recommend maintaining a routine at home and focusing on the things you can control. Keeping in touch with family and friends via technology is a suggestion that has proven helpful to me.  Music, books, and gratitude, always good, are now more helpful than ever. They also recommend limiting your news intake and sticking to reliable sources. Sensationalism and hyped up emotional content is not helpful to volatile stress levels.*”

So here is a list of things I am grateful for that have gotten me through this year intact (so far).  You can skip this list and stroll through the posts from this past year for more pictures and detail if you would like.

husband – obviously

Thornbush–  beauty to behold on walks every day and through every window

Ethel at new Mt Vernon home

family – just a ferry ride away in Skagit County we were able to visit a handful of times this  year

sculpture park adventures with my friend Francie provided a much needed creative outlet

my wonderful dog walking friends who come rain or shine to exercise their pets and visit every week with me

my wonderful dog, Maggie Mae who becomes dearer every day

Kloe and Kaia presented to Aunties

Zooming, although not ever as good as in person, has brought several groups of friends and family close even when they live far away

Yoga on Zoom and in person helped me breathe

Time to get a lot of things done around the place including the cottage addition and the garden

My island and all of nature which seemed to go out of its way this year to make up for the challenges

Community was hard to come by when you are self-isolating, but we managed to find it with the Grange and Transition San Juan committees, and the SJ County Textile Guild for me.  And for Roger it was neighbors helping neighbors in a firewood co-op, his weekly Growers’ Circle, the Farmers Market.  And when it was a tad bit warmer, the friends we were able to sit six feet apart from on our lawn and share a gin and tonic and some cheer.

Music whenever and wherever we could find it—including peaceful mornings with Pandora playing instead of the news, playing uke and accordion together, and our first and last dinner party of the year with musician friends in January.

Also, don’t want to go without listing the distractions of books, movies, and even old t.v. sitcoms—thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming services—we’ve relied on even more as the winter darkness and weather have descended upon us.

I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel—so bad.  (OK, that last was a bit Pollyanna)

Between Storms

Solstice Party

December 21st Solstice  we had a party at the Grange and invited the whole community.  And they pretty much came.  Everyone wants to celebrate the return of the sun.  I am writing this post five weeks later.  Still waiting.

Christmas Still Life
Joy!

Christmas Day was very quiet for us.  We celebrated with children and grandchildren the following weekend in Everett.

New Years

A day and a half later, the gang came up to celebrate the New Year.  They brought the party with them with fireworks, masks, scavenger hunt prizes and plenty of food.  Fun was had by all.  Then they left and it was very, very quiet around here for a few days.

So I had another dinner party.  This one was Sicilian themed.  Alice and I made arancini and I served a full Italian: antipasta, pasta, fish, spumoni.  Our guests joined Roger with their instruments and made sweet music together.  Good way to get through the winter doldrums.

All through this my neighbor and friend with a young Aussie have come over once or twice a week to play with me and my puppy.  Suki and Maggie are BFFs.  At least I hope so. 

Maggie and BFF Suki

And then this happened:

Smart Car?

Maggie’s First Snow

Dogs love snow.  At least most dogs I know.  This snow was more than we normally get, but only a few limbs came down and the snow left very quickly.

Flooding Creek

Followed by a ton of rain.  Rain, wind, rain, wind, rain, you get the picture.  All the ponds are full.  All the streams are rivers.  No roads are washed out as yet.  But more storms are approaching.

Cama Beach

In the middle of this, Audrey turned 10 and we took her to a very stormy beach on Camano Island to celebrate.  The ferry was an hour late taking us home due to high winds.

That’s what is happening here at Thornbush this month.  If you would like a more meaty report you should try my brother Joe’s:    https://barrecavineyards.com

He had a lot of snow, too, but that got him thinking . . .

Roger and I have switched from NPR every morning to listening to music or podcasts like Hidden Brain.  And in the evening we stream tv shows from the 90’s and Ken Burn’s Country Music series.  We’re looking for the calm.

JOY

Season’s Greetings to Everyone

Our rollercoaster of a year is ending with a smooth coast. A solstice card I received said “Amidst the darkest days, new light appears on the horizon.” After looking back over my posts of the past year, I see that all sorts of great and wonderful events took place. But for me, 2018 is the year that my dog died, I had a stroke, and then cancer. Dark days, indeed. If you are interested in those things, you can look at the months of February, April, August, and October.

But if that is old news to you, let’s press on with the good things that have happened in the last month:

So above are examples of a very, merry Christmas with family and friends. And that wasn’t all that happened this month. We finally got our new oven!

Roger installing the new oven

Also, December in the San Juans can be very beautiful.

So here’s to the new light of 2019 that beckons with promises of more time with friends and family and road trips and perhaps a new beloved pet. A 2019 that is cancer free, healthy, productive (new bathroom on the cottage?) and much to be thankful for.