Goodbye to 2016, the Year of No Fear

My year started with a celebration: 25 years of extra life. I didn’t say anything except quiet wishes to my friend (sister) who was with me one horrible night in early January. We are both thriving now, but it took a while, at least for me.

Then, I had a long flight for work, one I’d been sweating. Like Guinness, I don’t travel well and lose my bubbles. But when your boss shows confidence in you by sending you places, you say yes. Meeting with writers is fun for me. They feed you cheesecake and regale you with stories. All I have to do is get on the damn plane.

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We went to my thirtieth high school reunion in May, which was nice, low key, and I felt very fat. I thought that red dress would be roomier, but it wasn’t. More on my inexplicable weight gain from eating cookies below. %*$&%*! As you can see in the pic below, I’m half in love with my friend Di, who is mentioned in my book. She is a gifted artist and so full of the same warmth, moxie, and wisdom. Plus, she is rocking some serious braids. I wish she lived next door.

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I threw a surprise party for my darling husband, Sam. He had no idea what was coming and it blew him away. Maybe my favorite moment of the year, watching him walk in and see us. This whole marriage thing is pretty cool.img_1968

Sam–a French prof–decided it would be great to take students to Paris. Sure, you do that. Okay, so I managed to get on that plane again (thank you, Delta, for the amazing service). I went to France because when your husband turns 50 in Paris, you get on the damn plane to meet him there. We had an amazing time. The butter!!!

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I flew three more times after that. My fear of travel is now gone. It happened gradually until one travel day, as I strapped myself in the seat, I thought, “Oh this again.” No big deal. I ditched the tranquilizers and now just listen to music and knit. I’ll go anywhere. Except on a boat. Or a prop plane. Hate those.

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My childhood friend got hitched and I love her and her family. I rediscovered that warm fuzzy of seeing someone again and remembering deep bonds and memories. Here are some flowers from her big day.fullsizerender-003

This year, I rediscovered food. It’s weird, but food tastes good again after 25 years of not caring (and being thin). What happened? Were my tastebuds released from jail? Long story too long, I gained 15 pounds. I’m so startled not to fit in most of my clothes that I’ve upped my running. Love handles on me are not okay!

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Part III. August. As you get older, lifting weights becomes more important. Plus, I couldn’t open a jar of pickles, so I signed up with a trainer. On good days and bad days, M kicks my butt and I always feel better afterwards. (I’m not James Corden, btw)mgid-ao-image-mtv-com-207885It all seemed to be going okay, until…do I have to say it?

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On November 9, the fear came rushing back. The embodiment of my nightmares will be in office. How did that happen? I feel sick just seeing his face or hearing him talk–and I’m so so so angry. You can’t tell this broad to move on or accept the outcome. It runs too deep for many of us. I like that people think differently but this election was different–and not in a way that celebrates our differences.

It would be easy to stay indoors and sleep through the next four years. I’ve thought about it. What a waste, though. We can be a community of survivors, right? I will start by bidding au revoir to 2016. You’ve put us through a lot and I’m grateful for the lessons. Maybe not grateful in a gratitude way, but I get why things happened and how I can learn from them. But did you have to kill Prince, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and David Bowie?

Sam and I are ending the year with a nasty bug that has left us bed-ridden and watching The Sopranos. We will recover from all upsets, sinus, stomach or the caustic Orange kind, and 2017 will be about badassery and La Resistance. Stay tuned.

 

If such and such hadn’t happened, then…

Today is a special day and, while the root of all things is Adam and Eve or single-celled sea substance that morphs into humans, let me skip a few billion years to thanking my two sets of grandparents: William & Harriet and William & Ella for their stunning contribution to my miracle.

Bill and Hattie had a sweet little girl. She grew up to be famous goddess historian and begat little Patrick and Patience.
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On the other side, Bill and Ella had a boy who also wound up liking history, soccer, and helped begat Patrick and Patience.
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Many years later, B&E sent their son to the posh school down the street. He did pretty well and later went to college. He met my mother in this general time frame. Marriage and babies happened, after which they settled in Ohio, then Upstate New York, then Paris and then, well, chaos. My parents joined the flood of divorcing couples in the 70s and our households shifted.

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Let’s acknowledge that splitting up sucks for everyone. But out of hardship, miracles can happen.
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In the chaos, Patrick went to my father’s posh school. He was super-smart, had even skipped a grade, and how cool is it to live like an adult, and eat as much candy as you want? I demanded the opportunity to attend the same posh school.

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Finally! Here I am in high school! It’s awesome but, you know, adolescence is tough.

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But I meet this guy. He makes an impression for a brief time.

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Twenty-six years pass. I get a message from an old acquaintance. Thank you, Facebook, for getting me and Sam in touch again on August 10, 2009.We are separated by 5,000 miles but fall in love anyway. He books a ticket for our first date on December 17, 2009 and he’s still here.

Happy First Date-iversary to mJust marriedy love, Sam. And thank you to my grandparents, my parents, my posh school, and Facebook for nudging us onto the path. Eternal gratitude right here.