Sunday, January 8, 2012

In the Rear View...

So hello, and happy January!
Or at least...hello.
I know January isn't always the most pleasant month, full of financial woes and leftover worries and regrets.

I was searching my photo library for something to help my mom out, and I thought, in perusing last year visually, I might do a little 2011 wrap up and see what came of it.  So buckle in, and I'll take you through my year, visually.  Hopefully it'll be good fun. :)

January 2011: I'd just been laid off from a seasonal job, and found myself unemployed yet again. I will say Illinois has been nothing but a cycle of temp jobs thus far, and that's made it hard to feel like it was a good decision in the first place.  Things were difficult, but I was trying to look at things that got in my way differently, which is, in fact, what this picture was about.  There's a gorgeous bike path behind my house that winds through forest and river and prairie...and I used to get so mad at the power lines being there.  But they're there...and in a glimmer of what was to come for the year, I decided I'd try to see if I could maybe pull something good out of even that.  It was my first goal.
I think when things get hard, it's really important to remember what you do have.  This time last year, I was celebrating my dear Erika's birthday with a bunch of her friends and family who have become friends of mine as well. I love going out to Freeport to visit them, and I'm glad we do it.  I'm really grateful for the friends I've found and the friends I've had for years, and getting to spend time with them.

So February...Patty's birthday to be specific...started with...well...this.  If it looks all post-apocalyptic, that's because it kind of was. I have never seen a snowstorm with that kind of intensity. It was amazing, though it was the first time I was ever frightened during a snowstorm (the roof seemed like it would blow off) and the first time I've been snowed inside a house and had to dive in a literal six foot deep snowbank and wade through waist high snow to the front door to unbury *THAT*.  23 inches of snow those 2 days, drifts up to 8 feet tall.  The whole county (several, actually) was declared a disaster area, and it was illegal to drive on the roads for 2 days to allow for plows and emergency vehicles.   If it sounds wasn't.  I love to see nature at its most powerful, and this was definitely that.

Looking back, it was a month for friends too, and I'm glad. We had a "reunion dinner party" of sorts with my core group of high school friends, I got to spend some one on one time with my friend Ben, who's a lot like a brother to me, and who is now living really, really far away, and got to go enjoy antique hunting and photography with one of my newer friends, Erin.  I couldn't remember, looking through the photos, what I did for Valentine's Day.  And I think that's ok, because you know what? I had a lot of love around me.


A little of what comes naturally....

A good dose of nature...I did a lot of little photography excursions this March...

And some unnatural...I got greened by Duco from 95 WIIL Rock on St Patrick's Day. I also got an Irish Car Bomb served to me at 7 in the morning, met a few new friends and socialized with them over some Finn's brews, and sang a drinking song ON THE AIR.  We won sweatshirts and it was really a fun experience, borne of trying something new and actually trying to get outside my comfort zone as far as meeting new people. :) 

April started off with a lot of moving and shaking.  I took a road trip with my lovely friend Sarah to CO where she was going to be spending time with her husband, who was stationed out there, and I was going to spend time with my sister and my adorable (genius!) nephew.  I'd also received word that I'd gotten a job, which was set to start shortly after I returned from my trip. Things were starting to look up.  The trip was amazing, and a really good chance to bond with Sarah. I feel like since we did that we've been a lot closer and I'm glad for it.
Here's my little buddy, Collin. :)  He's a sweetheart, and being an aunt has been amazing so far. I didn't realize how different it would be than having a close friend with a baby, but it really is. Watching him grow and learn and change has been wonderful.

Seeing my sister as a mom has been really cool, too.  The trip was a perfect mix of family, friends, and  the mountains and it definitely had me in a great mood to start a new job.

In May, we had a bridal shower for Diana, my newest family member.  She's now officially my sister-in-law, and I know she's a perfect match for my brother.  She's also an awesome person to hang out, drink wine, and chat with.  I think we'd have seriously rioted if my brother didn't figure out she was the one. :)

I got to hang out with some friends I don't see as often as I'd like, too. :)  Like Cherie and her son. :)
 Spring had finally sprung and I was out on my bike again, which always feels great.

 June...well, June was interesting for a lot of reasons.  And I took a trip back to the city to kick it off.  It was technically Memorial Day, which is in May, but we'll count it, cuz it felt like June.  This Memorial Day I decided that instead of my traditional picnic, I'd go do something just for me.  And a visit to my favorite city sounded like exactly the right thing to do.
 It was so hot that day. 94 I think? We had quite the summer this year.  Erin hung around and took photos and explored pubs with me til she had to get back to some family celebrations. When she left, I decided I wasn't going to.  I was having a wonderful day and decided to just do my own thing, and I'm glad I did.
I was sipping a Horny Goat (!!) at the Billy Goat Tavern on Navy Pier watching someone climb the crow's nest on a tall ship and thinking how much fun it would be to be on board.  And...instead of just sitting there and thinking about it...I did it!  And this...was exactly the kind of amazing that turned out to be. I know it seems silly, but it's something I wouldn't have done on my own before. And yes, it would have been great to share it with someone else, but at the same time? I got to sip cocktails, set sail, and explore freely.  And I wouldn't take back anything about that day.  As much as I love New Mexico, as much as I love sharing things with friends and family...this was a pretty perfect day....

And, so was this.  June was the month my little brother became someone's husband.  And like I said before...I can't argue with his choice one bit.  They're great together, and I love to see both of them. I've always been close to my brother, and Shan and I definitely couldn't keep our tear ducts in order meeting him at the end of the aisle as Di's bridesmaids,  but it was a great time.  We got to hang out with family, had crazy adventures on the party bus, and share a new adventure.   Definitely a fantastic event.

Well, this wraps up the first half of the year, and I've decided to split it into two posts, because really...I can't contain 1 year in 1 post, can I?
I thought I might be able to, and I thought my year was kinda blah, til I started telling stories and looking at the pictures.
But with the right people in your life, even a year of struggles with unemployment, pain, and loss can seem pretty amazing in retrospect.
More retrospect to come tomorrow.

1 comment:

Kathleen Patel said...

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