2017 Year in Review

Last year, when I felt like I needed to remember the good things in what was sure to be a shitty year to come, I wrote up a long list of the good things that had happened just to show myself how it dwarfed the short list of shit.  

A friend recently introduced me to Austin Kleon’s blog — and I’ve been down a rabbit hole on it lately, it’s so great — and he does a similar thing, with this 100 things that made my year (2017) posting. I thought I would do one myself but 100 is like, A LOT. So here are my top 50.

  1. I did the polar bear plunge for the 7th time (I think). It is my favorite day of the year, every year. New Year’s Eve is always disappointing and then I never want to do the plunge when I wake up the next morning. But then I drag myself out to meet my friends at the beach and I get in the water and magically everything seems possible in the new year.
  2. I had a subscription to CreativeBug the whole year, and took 43 classes. It was a great inspiration and kept me motivated to try new things and improve my skills. My favorites were Faith Hale’s Daily Book Art Challenge, Lisa Congdon’s Creative Boot Camp, and the class on Image Transfers.
  3. It was a terrible year due to Keith’s cancer diagnosis and treatment but SO MANY people showed up for us with their love that it’s hard to look back at this year with anything but gratitude. People shared stories of their hardest days, they gave us the most thoughtful presents, they put their skills to work for us, they even showed up at our house on the hottest day of the year to fix our air conditioner.
  4. This was a year where many people in our lives stepped forward to help us (see above), but some took steps away from us, too. Net net, it was wonderful. But there is sadness with the loss. It was unexpected but not inexplicable.
  5. I made a quilt for a good friend who is going through a tough time. It was messy, like most of my creative endeavors, but I know it made her feel loved and that meant as much to me as it probably did to her. Maybe more. I love making things for people.
  6. I witnessed an enormous gathering of crows at the park down the street from my house. There were thousands of them, all up high in the trees, and they made a racket like I’ve never heard. I stood there transfixed for a long time, and just couldn’t understand how not everyone in the park did the same. I was the only person paying attention. It was truly surreal.
  7. Keith’s family visited us many times. I’m sorry it took him being so sick for it to happen, but it meant a lot to both of us to see them selflessly sit through a long plane ride just to spend their free days with us.
  8. I went to the bakery a lot. Too much, given the 20 pounds I gained this year. But oh, those cream scones.
  9. I read 76 books. I only read books I wanted to read and I didn’t waste time finishing anything I didn’t like. (Here are my ten favorite.)
  10. I met a niece we didn’t know we had. Her whole family is lovely.
  11. I used time in nature as therapy during my stressful times. I started to collect sea glass whenever I had a spare hour or two. I hiked close to the home when I only had a small amount of time.
  12. I went to nine national parks, three of them new* to me! (Mt. Rainier, The Olympics, North Cascades, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Arches, Capitol Reef*, Canyonlands*, Mesa Verde*). 33 to go on my quest to visit all 59.
  13. We flew in a prop plane up to Orcas Island and I decided I want to get my pilot’s license.
  14. I started a new blog with Elise, all about books and writing, The Common Place.
  15. We visited Salvation Mountain down at the Salton Sea in CA. It reinforced my love of folk art.
  16. As part of a team outing, I helped serve lunch to more than 200 people who were down on their luck in Seattle. It was a humbling experience. I need to do more of that.
  17. We bought the world’s cutest van. It was honestly all Keith’s doing — all I did was say yes — but I’m so glad I did. It’s adorable. And we’re going to go camping in it this year.
  18. Finally saw the cherry blossoms at University of Washington. They were beautiful.
  19. Took a sewing class on how to recreate your favorite garment. So far have been unable to recreate it, but I’m still glad I took the class.
  20. Visited the Point Defiance Zoo with our friends The Parkers. Saw Dozer, a giant walrus and an amazingly weird animal.
  21. Went on vacation with my sister for the first time. It was wonderful. I took her to Sedona for her 50th birthday, and we lounged around the pool, we took a yoga class together, and we went to the Grand Canyon.
  22. Went back to therapy, for only a couple of sessions, but they are immensely helpful. I need someone professional to tell me I have legitimate reasons to feel the way I do. That seems like something I should be able to do for myself, but in the grand scheme of things, the cost of the sessions are totally and completely worth the relief they provide.
  23. I took a break from serving on the Literacy Source board over the summer, but I go back in the fall and am so proud of the work they do there. My contributions aren’t enough; need to work on that in 2018.
  24. I continued to do a Sketchbook Exchange with Daphne and Elise, although my contributions to both are pretty lame (I was distracted this year with everything going on with Keith). I tried to do two more that fizzled. I also started one with my niece Sarah which was an unexpected delight. It’s been a great way to get to know her a little better.
  25. I had a membership at The Impact Hub in Pioneer Square, which I love, but I only went a handful of times, so I cancelled before the year was up. I need someplace more geographically convenient.
  26. I redid my craft room — well, I intended to. I really just cleaned up real good and painted the back wall. But it seems new enough, so I consider it a success. I’ve been spending a lot of time in it.
  27. The All Hands meeting at the Gates Foundation put every other All Hands I’ve been to to shame. Geoffrey Canada, who built Harlem’s Children Zone), Jimmy Carter, Warren Buffet, and Bill & Melinda all spoke. It was so inspiring.
  28. My marriage became an adult this year: 18 years. We’ve been together for 27 years in total. It’s not enough. I want to be clear about that: it’s not enough. But it is a lot. And I’m so grateful for all of it.
  29. I took a class on writing memoir at Hugo House with Theo Nester. It was great.
  30. I found an amazing plug-in for my browser. The Library Extension shows you the availability at your public library of any book you look at on Amazon or Goodreads.This has increased the quality and number of books I borrow from my library exponentially.
  31. Keith’s sister, mom, and I did a pretty impressive speed flip on our downstairs bathroom. Two days and we painted, installed new hardware, and put down new flooring. It was awesome. Keith’s sister is a badass and did most of the hard work. I want to be like her.
  32. I took a three month paid leave from work. God bless the Gates Foundation, because this generous leave and their amazing insurance kept us from financial ruin this year.
  33. We (Keith) pulled out the ugly hutch we’ve had in our dining room since we’ve moved in, and which we have always hated, and put up beautiful gorgeous new wallpaper. I love it.
  34. Keith got a stem cell transplant. It sucked that he needed to have it in the first place, and he felt terrible throughout the whole event, but there’s no denying that the science was amazing. I’m so thankful for modern medicine.
  35. Keith and I watched the solar eclipse from our front deck. It was amazing — it got cold and the light dimmed everywhere. It would have been amazing to see in totality but we were not up for the crowds.
  36. At a going away lunch for a coworker, he turned the event on its head by thanking every single person at the table one by one and talking about each of our greatest qualities. It was such a thoughtful thing to do, and really set the bar for being gracious.
  37. I went to another allergist this year with the same symptoms I’ve given the other three allergists I’ve seen the past decade, only this one didn’t talk to me like I was crazy and he actually tried to help me. Why does it take so long to become a good medical consumer?
  38. Went on a trip to Utah to celebrate getting through Keith’s transplant. We drove a convertible through the desert and lived everyday like it was the only thing that mattered. One of the best vacations I’ve ever been on.
  39. I went kayaking a half dozen times. Every one of them was great. I love being on the water like that. Need to do more in 2018.
  40. I learned what a larch is (a special type of high-elevation conifer with leaves that turn gold in the fall) and I went on several hikes trying to find them. Took my friend Abi, who is from Nigeria and hasn’t ever been hiking before, and we found them way out at Lake Ann.
  41. I visited a new country: India! That makes 25. A lot, but not enough.
  42. We were disappointed that Keith’s treatment plan meant we couldn’t go to see our favorite band, Elbow, in Scotland as we’d planned in March. But we made up for it by seeing them twice in November — once in Portland and then again in Los Angeles. They were both great trips and the shows were fantastic.
  43. We spent time with our families in New Jersey and in Ohio, and I’m thankful for our crazy loving families.
  44. I got to play with my sister’s seven puppies. Heavenly.
  45. My nieces and nephews are almost all adults and while I loved them as children, they are more fascinating and hilarious and charming as full-grown humans. I can’t wait to get to know them all better and I’m going to make a real effort to do that on a regular basis.
  46. I threw a surprise birthday party for Keith. He hates celebrating his birthday so it was a real risk, but I felt strongly we needed to publicly say thank you to everyone who helped us this year, and to celebrate every single day we have with the people we love. It was a success.
  47. For the first time in my life, I bought a car that I am in love with. My little convertible Fiat. I almost bought one that I was embarrassed of (a BMW) and I’m so glad I listened to the little voice in my head that said I should be true to who I really am.
  48. I spent many hours and days in my craft room this year creating. I’m still not particularly good at any of it, but I am at least making things and that settles my brain and makes me very happy.
  49. I ended the year with a week at home, planning lots of new projects, and enjoying being in a place I am so comfortable with people I love. It’s a good way to finish a year.
  50. I know most of this because for the first time ever I kept a daily journal for the full year. I’m so proud of myself for sticking with it and I’m going to try to do it again in 2018.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: