In twenty-sixteen, I:  Gazed in WONDER at the Renwick.  Traipsed around the City of Brotherly Love, ate Philly cheese steaks, and admired the Mural Arts decorating the city’s walls and parking lots. Inspected the crack in the Liberty Bell and imagined our forefathers in Independence Hall.  Toasted to Mike’s 62nd birthday. Worried about our youngest son’s lack of direction.  Partially de-cluttered our house, using The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (the Kon-Mari method), successfully weeding out clothing, accessories, kitchen appliances and books.

Flew to Dallas, Texas and then drove to Oklahoma City to attend a friend’s second wedding.  Walked on the grassy knoll and along the route where JFK was assassinated.  Stood beside larger-than-life statues of George W. Bush and his dad at the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum.  Walked among tulips and sat with Benjamin Franklin at the Dallas Arboretum.  Stood under a rearing horse and saw a fake rodeo at the Cowboy Museum.  Grieved near a field of empty chairs for the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Stood by as contractors demolished our deck, laundry room and kitchen and then slowly built them again, in much nicer form.

Attended my first husband’s book talk in April at Politics and Prose in D.C., where he discussed his newly published book, Mathews Men.  Celebrated our daughter Sarah’s graduation, with a B.A. in English, from Virginia Commonwealth University in May.  Enjoyed a spread of bagels at Sarah’s house, and later dinner and dirty martinis at Lucy’s, with both families in attendance. 🙂

Wandered through tulips and sunflowers at Burnside Gardens in Virginia.  Visited four gardens around Philadelphia for my second trip to that city this year.  Imbibed in Cabernets and Pinot Grigios at several Virginia wineries.  Let our son’s lease in Richmond expire and watched with trepidation to see what he’d do next; fretted because we didn’t know where he would go or what he’d do.  Felt relieved when we found he took off for a Tribal Design retreat in Vancouver and finally went Hawaii, where he is now leading tours for a hostel in Maui.

Drove around the Ring Road in Iceland over a breathtaking 11 days (in search of a thousand cafés).  Climbed around, behind, and to the tops of waterfalls. Admired sweeping vistas from our Polo VW rental.  Hiked to the edge of ashy glaciers.  Poked around inside turf-roofed houses. Ate cod, cod and more cod, as well as langoustine, lamb and gas-station hot dogs.  Drove over 2700 km and walked 166,100 steps, or 70.4 miles.  Returned home with walking pneumonia, from which it took three weeks to recover.

Laughed at the “Kurios” of Cirque de Soleil.  Had a family reunion at our renovated house for my dad’s 86th birthday in September, where everyone except Adam attended.  Enjoyed sushi and sake with my sister Stephanie, who came from California.  Drove along the Skyline Drive amidst flame-colored leaves to West Virginia in early November to celebrate my 61st birthday and our 28th anniversary.  Enjoyed delicious pizza and craft beer at Pies & Pints. Strolled through the eerie ghost towns of Thurmond and Nuttallburg.  Hiked along the Endless Wall.

Barely survived our contentious election and felt heartbroken over the results.  Boycotted Facebook for a month and a half.  Realized I have nothing in common with 62 million Americans.

Read/listened to 35 books/audiobooks (meeting my Goodreads goal!), my favorites being All the Light We Cannot See, State of Wonder, Circling the Sun, The Ambassador’s Wife, and The Glass Castle.  Saw 39 movies in the theater, especially loving Joy, Eye in the Sky, A Hologram for the King, The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Music of Strangers, Dheepan, Hell or High Water, The Light Between Oceans, Sully, Girl on the Train, A Man Called Ove, Manchester by the Sea, and Lion.  Dined on Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, French, Japanese and Italian food.

Weighed 5 pounds more at year-end than at the end of 2015, despite continual attempts to lose weight.  Took Pilates and dropped out because of utter boredom.  Walked nearly 251 hours during 276 @3-mile workouts, or about 813 miles of dedicated workouts.

Passed the Virginia Real Estate Licensing Exam but never signed with a broker. Sent my novel to 23 agents to no avail.  Applied for 32 jobs, 23 abroad and 9 stateside.  Came up empty-handed on the book publishing and the job front.  Got discouraged.  Completed a Memoir class and wrote seven chapters of a memoir.  Dreamed about how my future might look.

Celebrated Thanksgiving with Alex and Sarah, and Christmas with only Alex (Adam was in Hawaii through the holidays, jumping off waterfalls, body surfing and leading tours). Felt dismayed at our shrinking family gatherings.

Returned to Philadelphia (third time’s a charm!) to see “Paint the Revolution” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Admired the Gates of Hell and Crouching Woman at the Rodin Museum.  Wandered through the Magic Gardens of mirrors and mosaics and found objects.  Walked and walked through the outdoor gallery of Mural Arts to shake 2016 out of our psyches. Drove home through Amish country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, amidst the clip-clop of horse-drawn buggies and faded laundry flapping on clotheslines.

Cleared our heads in preparation for 2017, when we are hoping for love, peace, healing, direction, confidence, boldness and endless adventure. 🙂

32 thoughts on “twenty-sixteen

  1. All in all, I’d say you had a pretty good year, with just enough not as good times to add some spice. I hope your next year is filled with enough of those things that really matter.

    1. Thanks so much for your good wishes, Carol. It was a good year in many ways, but we also had a lot of challenges, especially with our children, and my lack of direction (and that election nastiness). But overall, I must hold dear the happy moments, and I did have many of those! 🙂

  2. A very busy year! I realise I totally missed out on your Iceland trip through not noticing your Europe blog. Doh! It’s somewhere still high on my list to visit. All the best for 2017. I share your fears for politics (on both sides of the Atlantic) but let’s make the best of it we personally can.

    1. Thanks, Anabel. I guess in retrospect it does look like a very busy year, but not one of the best in my book. I hope you will drop by my Europe blog and visit Iceland with me! It was a fantastic trip. Yes, we will have to make the best of 2017 and the next four years (here’s to hoping it’s only 4!). Happy New Year to you! 🙂

      1. I will definitely go over and have a proper look. I’ve added your Europe blog to Feedly now in case I miss anything else, and quickly scanned the last post which had some great photos, but I’ll need to start at the beginning.

      2. That’s so nice of you to come along on our visit, even in retrospect. I warn you, it’s a lot! I just posted my last post about our Iceland trip, so you won’t see any new stuff, until I go back to Europe that is. I hope to go to Croatia, Prague and Budapest in the spring, and then my dream is to do the Camino in the fall. We’ll see if I can bring all that about. In that case, I’ll be posting those adventures to this blog. Happy New Year, Anabel. What adventures do you have in store?

      3. I’ve just read the first post as you’ve probably seen. We are off to the Canadian Rockies in the summer but I’m sure there will be something else before then. I need to get back to writing about last summer’s trip and I have a queue of Scottish outings to write about too. It’s hard work blogging!

      4. Yes, I saw. It really is so nice of you to drop by and visit those old posts. Most posts won’t be as long as that one, but I do tend to be pretty picture-heavy. Blogging is a lot of work, and very time-consuming. You see I just finished my last post about August in Iceland on December 31. And we just went to Philadelphia for two fun-filled artsy days on Dec 29-30. No matter, it’s hard to keep up because new experiences keep accumulating. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Looking forward to more of your Scottish outings, and it’s always fun to read of your American travels from a visitor’s perspective! 🙂

      5. I’m sure they do. To those of us who don’t live there, it is very exotic. I find my U.S. posts boring and commonplace as well. But I have too many blogs, and so I don’t get the visits that others get. I think I made it all too complicated! 🙂

  3. Dearest Cassie,
    Wow, what a year! I’m hoping to secure a sentence in your 2017 recap! Even though years and miles separate us, great memories keep you close to my heart.
    Keep writing.
    Yours in perseverance,

  4. What a year! I hope your 2017 is just as exciting (and that you rediscover something in common with those 62 million people…)

    1. Thanks, Marsha. It didn’t really seem like a very eventful year as it was happening, but in retrospect, I guess it was. I guess the main reason it seemed so sparse was because I was homebound so much, dealing with home renovations and household stuff (and our election!) and I didn’t get to travel much. I hope to remedy that in 2017! 🙂

      1. Carol told me you took a break. We’ve done a lot of renovations this year, too. Yet here I am in Australia! Lucky me!!! Hope you get to go much in 2017. 😀😀😀

      2. I survived. They are not 100%, but it is very comfortable. Hubby has a bit of finish work left, but nothing serious. I’m here in Toowoomba at Carol’s until Jan. 16.

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