A look back at some of my favorite memories, photos and blog posts of 2012
A single simple resolution for the new year, only noted mentally when the clock struck 12 on the eve of 2012: enjoy this year. Sometimes it’s the seemingly easiest of resolutions that are hardest to keep. My mind has a tendency to latch onto and obsess over and worry about the smallest of details–people/places/events/things long since passed–the things or moments or choices that I cannot change. This year I made a conscious effort to stop comparing my life to any time, anyone or anything, focus on the present and grab hold of each moment. It has been a daily effort, but it has also made all the difference.
Our first trip of the year was a last-minute drive to a tiny cabin in the West Virginia woods near Berkeley Springs. We drove through the blackest of nights guided by the largest, most blood-orange moon I have ever seen. At times the road curved just so that it seemed as if we were about to collide with the moon. Most of our time was spent in the cabin cooking elaborate meals and watching crappy movies. When we did wander out to town, it was to visit the hot springs, the thrift stores, or to take in some amazing views.
Our love affair with Richmond began on our trip in February. We pricelined a cheap room at a nice hotel downtown and figured what the heck. We loved it. The food. The empty streets. The amazing architecture. The (surprising) art scene. The Byrd theatre. Some places you just connect with, and for whatever reason, Richmond turned out to be one of those places.
After dinner at Peter Chang’s restaurant, we walked outside only to discover we had just been hit by a snow storm. It snowed and snowed and snowed. It was beautiful.
The hubs spent the early part of the year attending an exec program at Harvard’s Kennedy school. When I was finally able to visit, it was as if we got to re-live our college years, except this time together, as we snuck around the shared dorm/apartment and wandered around campus searching for places to eat. I have visited Boston before, but never with the hubs. Much better with hubs to share it with (and share food with). Another city on our “places to return” list.
For Sly’s bday we continued our tradition of gathering together with family, a cozy cabin, a warm fire, and of course lots and lots of food. We have camped at some really amazing places when we lived in California, and while camping in Virginia is “not the same” as camping in California, it’s not the same in a good way. I’m really glad we live so close to such beautiful natural beauty and that we are able to enjoy it with our family.
The blossoms bloomed early this year and we knew that summer would be right around the corner. One weekend we decided to actually see the blossoms down near the Tidal Basin–something we almost immediately regretted when we were driving around and around and around looking for parking spots and a tree that wasn’t swarming with tourists. We stumbled upon what we have since called our “secret grove” and spent a simple afternoon lounging around in beautiful spring weather. Sometimes living in a place like DC you tend to want to avoid all the tourist spots/crowds, especially during peak blossom season. I’m really glad we made the effort, it is definitely one of my most favorite memories of the year.
Our first camping trip made in our new “tent-home” — a massive three-roomed tent complete with an enclosed screened-in area we nicknamed our “front porch.” After years of camping in ultra-lite 2-person tents, we thought we earned the privilege of having a tent where we could actually stand. So of course we went to Costco and bought the largest tent they had. It poured that weekend (and every single time since camping in that tent) and we were eaten alive by bugs (we nicknamed our camp “chigger chalet”), but we still had a lot of great meals around that spider-infested picnic table.
Last year we missed out on going to the beach because every time we tried to be spur-of-the-moment everything was booked. This year I utilized my carefully-honed camping-in-California skills (where you have to book everything in advance a minimum of 6mo to the date by logging online or calling at the exact time the spaces are available or wait until the following year) to secure prime beach camping spots. Our favorite by far was First Landing State Park. It stormed like crazy one of the nights we were there. Nothing like the “super derecho” that would hit later in the month, but when we awoke the next morning our tent was practically afloat on a pool of water and tree branches were lying everywhere.
Cape Henlopen was another favorite beach spot. We spent most of our time exploring all the tidal pools, lounging on our “private islands,” chasing horseshoe crabs, and exploring nearby Rohoboth Beach.
Summer slipped away so quickly, but we finally had a chance to visit Assateague — a place I had been wanting to visit ever since I heard wild ponies lived there. Despite the bugs (tip: don’t camp on the bay side) and the rain, we spent every in-between moment following ponies, body surfing, drinking Starbucks, and lying on the beach. I heard this area was pretty hard-hit by hurricane Sandya couple months later. Luckily, all the ponies are safe and accounted.
We met up with the in-laws at the end of the month to show them around Richmond (now that we were experts and all). Several things had happened over the summer, the main one being that we were considering a move overseas. At the last minute, things fell through, and while it was initially very disappointing, maybe it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Instead of dwelling on what could have been, we made plans for the future. One of those plans involved discussing moving to Richmond and buying a beautiful old Victorian house. We considered this option seriously for a very long time. But that too didn’t work out.
It had been a while since we went back home to Texas so we scored some cheap tix off Priceline and flew back to Houston to surprise my mom for her birthday. My mom outdid herself cooking us all sorts of childhood favorites. New goal for the next year: make a cookbook of my mom’s cooking and recipes.
The following weekend we backpacked to Corbin Cabin in Shenandoah National Park and stayed at an old mountain cabin maintained by the PATC. Life started to really pick up after this point so I still have yet to blog about our trip to the cabin. In particular, around this time, after two years of searching, we found a house and within an hour of viewing it, put in an offer. It happened somewhat unexpectedly because even though we were looking for houses, a piece of me had given up believing that it would ever actually happen. So much so that we had just renewed the lease on our rental. As it turned out we never signed the lease papers. Instead we held our breaths as we navigated the long drawn-out waters of becoming home owners. I am always surprised at how Life has a way of working out, or maybe just resolving itself. I’m not really an “everything happens for a reason” kind of person, but sometimes when things don’t quite work out the way you expect, other things happen that are *sometimes maybe* better than the life you planned.
We returned with our family to Cape Henlopen and enjoyed the last tiny bit of summer with our nephews. It’s awesome being able to share experiences like these with them and always so interesting to see how much they have grown in-between visits. I still can’t believe how big they already are.
For the first time in nearly two years we returned to our former home of San Francisco to attend a friend’s wedding and to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. Part of me dreaded going back. After wasting so much time and energy *getting over* SF, I was worried that being there would trigger all the same homesick pangs I felt the previous year (and still feel from time to time).Visiting had the opposite effect. Instead of feeling sad, instead of longing for my old life, I just felt happy. I felt really lucky to have had lived in San Francisco for as long as I did and thankful to have met so many really great friends during that time in my life. More on that in an upcoming blog post.
When we returned home from SF we discovered our kitty, Max, was missing. Sly and I stayed up all night, sleeping out in the living room with the windows and doors opened, waiting for his return. Thankfully he returned the next morning much to our relief. Several days later, we adopted a new fuzzball. I have no idea if these two instances were even related. All I know is that we were thinking of Max when we entered the Petsmart one Sunday afternoon after grabbing coffee and the next thing you know, we were carrying out a chubby little kitty. What can I say? He immediately stole our hearts. Rufus was the missing puzzle piece we didn’t even know we needed for our little kitty family.
We closed on our first home on Halloween and celebrated with deli sandwiches from a nearby eatery eaten on the floor of our new home. October has always been my favorite month, but also a bittersweet one: it is the month my dad passed away, but it is also the month we were married. And now I will also remember October as the month we added a new member to our family and became first-time homeowners.
Time sped up from October to November. We planned a trip to South Africa prior to finalizing all the details with our house. Despite the hectic and crazy timing of it all, I’m so glad we went when we did. South Africa is one of those places where you are completely in awe while visiting, but really only sinks in weeks later. From time to time I find myself revisiting special moments we shared together in South Africa and really internalizing how special a place and how special a trip it was. We went cage diving with great whites, we saw every animal imaginable, we got lost a million times, we received an impromptu psychic reading… We celebrated my birthday over sushi on the waterfront and instead of feeling older, I just felt more alive. Upcoming blog posts on our trip in the near future.
After moving slowly and steadily over the past month, it was finally time to say goodbye to our old house, a place I will always remember in a way as our first real home together as marrieds. It’s always hard for me to say goodbye, always hard to think of someone else living in “our” house, but at the same time I knew that saying goodbye also meant the start of a new chapter for us.
It has been a low-key holiday season with lots of family gatherings and lots of good food shared between loved ones. It’s the best kind of Christmas when plans are less about doing things and more about being together.
2012 was a really good year and I can’t help but wonder if it was in part because I resolved to ‘enjoy the year.’ It’s still a work in progress for a Daria like me, but I’m looking forward to enjoying 2013.
May 2013 be filled with lots of happiness, lots of cuddles, new adventures, good food shared with good friends and family, lots of laughter and of course, lots of joy.
Happy New Year.