Yup, it certainly was another weird year. Thinking about it, it appears after almost every year we finish out, we probably look back and say things like “That was really hard “, or “Whew, made it through that one!” Of course The Pandemic and the C-19 mutations that have followed was and has been the ongoing major impact for the last few. That, climate change, war, increasingly insane and surreal politics. I could go on about those intense and scary things, but there are much more learned and articulate people to touch on the heavies. And honestly, it’s just too exhausting to go there tonight. It was almost a matter of mental and emotional survival at times to concentrate on the smaller picture instead of the overwhelming big one. So instead, I will sum up what has happened here in my micro-universe, follow up and bow out until Next Year arrives… in a mere few hours.
I sit here with a tin of green tea mints. I love green tea mints. I get them whenever I can. The funniest holiday gift I received in the mail was a whole big box of green tea mints. I laughed when I opened it.
Much of 2022 was spent compiling observations from The Urban Porch. Highlights included saving an orb weaver spider, accidentally losing a little jumping spider, marveling at the blue-winged wasps blanketing the lawns in daytime and fireflies adorning our yards in twinkling magic at night. The aggressive wood bees appeared, got in your face, challenging you to just dare walk out that back door, and suddenly were gone. There were honey bees in the Rose of Sharon and bumble bees in the asters, cabbage moths bouncing about the lavender. Let us not forget the hugely impressive Grapevine Beetle that hitched a ride into the house on top of my head and the praying mantis eggs that hatched in my car, releasing hundreds of teeny tiny mini-monsters into the seats and upholstery. The persistent nest-building hornet that would not give up. The adventure of the Big-Ass Bat in my bedroom. The roving gang of house sparrows, a visit of fewer crows than in previous years, but at least a some. And the ever awesomeness of coming across two bears, one of them up close.
During the summer there was the insanity of trying to get The Right Shoes to wear to two different weddings. It took seven tries (yes, seven pairs mailed out and sent back and forth) to get them to finally send the right ones. When it was all over, I ended up with one pair of the Pewter-Gold Desired sandals and one pair of the Undesirable Speckled Pair, neither of which I ended up having to pay for…. both ultimately ended up being free….. which I supposed compensates for the agita of going through the process. On top of that, one wedding was canceled at the last minute, so I didn’t even get to wear them to that event. I wore the gold shoes to the second event. After it all, it turns out the Undesirable Speckled Pair are actually the more useful of the two. I supposed only another shoe-aholic would appreciate any of this. But it happened and it was more time-consuming than it was worth.
During 2022 both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans washed over my feet and family love on both coasts washed over me.
During 2022 we had a drought in the beginning, then later big rains and flooding happened…. and a little F-1 tornado arrived to top it all off. We thought we would have a dull autumn of little color, but it turned out to be a brilliantly spectacular one. Many dramatic skies too.
The volunteer corn that grew in the median in front of the house got impressively high and was a cheap thrill. I harvested it, cooked it, and it tasted pretty lousy.
All sorts of cooking and baking happened, both Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. I have been compiling a second cookbook, which most likely will never be finished.
I report that most of the remaining house plants which I did not inadvertently or deliberately kill are still hanging in there – some better than others. The remaining orchid is working up to making another flower spike. The hibiscus is still blooming. There are one or two where I think the patient is not going to make it, but I am hopeful for a revival.
It has been a year of Many Eggrolls. I don’t know why it is that I have been craving eggrolls, but I have indulged throughout.
My little dog Rudi, who was so sick, seems to have fully recovered. He has gained back the weight he lost during that scary and mysterious episode. Speaking of eggrolls, he is now in danger of becoming a fat little eggroll himself, because Somebody keeps slipping him table scraps on top of his regular food. I confess I am on the path of becoming a fat little eggroll myself if I keep on the way I have been.
During 2022 I encountered a ghost from the past. Some old trauma was revisited, a wound reopened, some hurt, a lie. There was the disappointment of a promise broken.
Also at the very end of the year something I waited a long time for was completed, but not quite in the way I had hoped it would, and that was rather disappointing too.
I found myself missing people on and off throughout the year at expected and unexpected times and feeling some of that loss. Family members I don’t see often enough. Those who live too far away to easily visit. People I cared about who are no longer earthside. A friend or two I had disconnected from.
The hottest days of summer were spent helping a friend pack and move away.
A number of library books were borrowed and read.
It has been a year of less social contact. Part of that concerned the fact that many people – especially those around my age – have preferred to keep out of venues that are too crowded, too populated, in the hope of avoiding illness. We have slowly been coming out of our shells since this past spring, but overall I think the desire to go anywhere, be anywhere, has lessened and a lot of us are spending time within ourselves instead of outside ourselves. At least I have felt that way. This does not mean I still don’t have the wanderlust, or “Fernweh”, but it is a lot less than it used to be. I admit also that I am tired. The need to be more of a homebody has not necessarily been a bad thing.
When I add the sum, all in all it has been a year of small joys, little wonders to be appreciated and stored up in the heart. I was sitting in a friend’s kitchen this past month, having tea, bread and cheese and slices of sweet Gevuld Speculaas brought back in a suitcase from Holland. Out the window we watched a large flock of turkeys which had taken over the back yard as they cleaned up spilled food on the ground from the bird feeders. They were huge, majestic and beautiful, about fifteen of them. A male cardinal appeared and joined the turkeys. That little pop of color amidst those big birds caused such a sweet feeling inside; they were all just so wonderful to observe. And then it started to snow great big flakes. It was quite lovely.
The gifts this holiday season were many and some traditions were upheld. The Annual Family Enchiladas. The Annual Family Swiss Fondue. There was lots of familial snuggling together on the couch. There were lots of knock-knock jokes and marveling over a book of 400 interesting facts and hanging out in sweats and jammies.
The presents given were caring, thoughtful, loving. Things others remembered that you had forgotten. I won’t list them all here, but it was just perfect.
Because it is blog-related, I will mention that volume two of Daeja’s View from 2012-2014 was printed and gifted to me.
Mostly the last week ended with a lot of love, surrounded by vast amounts of my own DNA, which is a rather remarkable thing that I still haven’t totally processed. I found myself somewhat overwhelmed at times and welling up with tears at the appreciation and wonder of it all.
After these last few sentences I plan on crawling into my cozy bed. You won’t find me going out on any New Year’s Eve …..but that’s another story for another time. Tomorrow we will start anew with fresh hopes and promises, dreams and plans. I wish all the best for all of you.
Oh, and finally, yes – I did find that bug catcher I had hoped for under the tree.