When I was a kid, my Dad used to jokingly say, “When things were bad, they told me, ‘Cheer up! Things could get worse!’ So I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse!” Well, I never did cheer up from the effects of 2017, but 2018 was even worse. I really can’t see it end soon enough.
Besides the horrors nationally and globally, Erica’s mother died suddenly and horribly just days before the equally sudden and unexpected death of the best man at my long-ago wedding. The effects of these losses continue to echo, most notably with Erica and Jessica fleeing not just the county, but the country. There was no Junapalooza this year and there never may be again without the assistance and inimitable presence of my near birthday twin and aesthetic soulmate.
Megan and Rob moved away, too, leaving me the last one standing at the property our brother first moved to 25 years ago. They lived in that little house for 20 years – the only house they ever lived in, in fact. Before that, they lived on a boat at Pier 39, and before that, Megan lived in an apartment with me. Mom spent the last few years of her life in that house, and Dad visited us there, including the Thanksgiving when he had a stroke on the driveway. And don’t forget my Christmas concussion in Megan’s living room! There are a lot of memories in that tiny place. Megan and Rob live just down the road now, but I miss having them here. Another ending.
Add in some expensive and agonizing dental hell and seemingly endless problems and drama on the property where I live, and you have the kind of year where a girl who loves Christmas doesn’t have any decorations up and in fact ignored the whole thing. I didn’t send any cards out this year, so if you didn’t get one from me, it’s not you, it’s me.
It’s probably not surprising in this underperforming year that I read only 102 books versus last year’s 114, and we have only received a paltry 10 inches of rain so far this season.
On the bright side (though not as far as Audrey is concerned), I adopted a little Siamese cat named Dodge, and he’s still alive so far, defying the odds.
Here’s to a less crappy New Year. I don’t think I can take it if I’m back here a year from now, telling you how 2018 looks like the good times.
January: I still had the plague from the old year. Not a good way to start the new one. When is a potato bucket not a potato bucket? When it’s a cat latrine, of course. Watching the surfers and ballerinas in Point Arena. The beauty of the lunar eclipse – and a perfect cocktail or two.
February: Both the weather and the mail were delightfully surprising. It was the Mondayest of Mondays and the smallest of small town days. I note that Wednesday’s engine light is still on, a full year later. A power outage at work, but not at home. Thankfully.
March: Rob’s amazing ceramic art. The most unpleasant time change of the year, and a delightful visit to Angelika’s little salon in the big woods. The beginning of the dreaded mattress saga. Not one of my finer decision-making moments. Celebrating Dad’s birthday. Stormy weather and the continuing mattress saga. Mark repaired some problems at my house. I note that he mentioned then that he was planning to move, and he eventually did.
April: Spring arrived, along with more silliness on my part than usual. Spring fever? A huge storm dumped a bunch of rain on us. Amazingly, the power stayed on. The horror of the mattress saga finally ended. Enjoying some local history and scandal. My blog turned 17 and Jessica turned 15.
May: Considering joining the library Board. A delightful dinner, a creepy play, and the debut of Lu and Rik’s first grandchild. A road trip to Willits to buy plants for the garden, and Star’s 10 birthday! Two sudden and unspeakably tragic deaths in one week.
June: A memorial service right before Erica’s and my birthdays inspired us to skip the celebrations. There was no Junapalooza either. I had taken time off for my birthday and was rewarded by getting the flu again less than six months after having it. The welcome discovery of wood-fired pizza in the Village. Despite everything, I’m grateful for the love and support around me.
July: My DNA test results. The beauty of the annual quilt show. A delightful outing to Point Arena, replete with delicacies from Franny’s and a play streamed from London. Both my back and my heart ached with the news of my former mother-in-law’s death. Rest in peace, dear Marj. The breathtaking Flynn Creek Circus and the terrifying wildfires.
August: Megan and Rob get ready to move from their home of 20 years onto the family estate. Giving away the things that wouldn’t fit in their new place. The seventeenth anniversary of Dad’s untimely and unnecessary death. I will never stop loving or missing him. The arrival of little Dodge, the beautiful little Siamese cat.
September: Megan and Rob were all moved in to their new place, and Dodge was finding his place in his new family. The beginning of Dental Hell, leading to my first (and hopefully last) root canal. The delights of the Fair.
October: The case of the disappearing landlord. Catching you up on some details. A trip to the hospital for my string of pearls. The last sleepover with Jessica. A lovely lunch and an enchanting garden.
November: The annual cider pressing. Swamped in smoke from distant, late season wildfires. In November! More updates about various things around the Manor. Hint: Not many of them are good. Remembering my grandfathers on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. Sometimes I feel like John and I are the only people in California who wear poppies for Remembrance Day.
December: A memorable version of King Lear with the amazing Sir Ian McKellen. The great escape. The always delightful festival of lights. A lovely evening, including a live (and lively) 1940s style radio play. The Christmas that wasn’t.
A YEAR AGO: Looking back at another bad year.
FIVE YEARS AGO: Lots of trips to San Francisco, a shiny new divorce, a new car, and the arrival of Stella, among other good things.
TEN YEARS AGO: Adjusting to life in Oaktown.