The year was full of the usual fun times spent with Monte, our friends, as much family visits we could squeeze in, and my girl posse. I stopped coloring my hair. I gained too much weight. I missed my mom often. I was continually enchanted by Keeto. People often ask me what I do with my oodles of free time. On the spot, I usually can’t think of what the heck I’ve done to fill the days and weeks of this year of retirement. So, I spent some time today scanning the photos I took this year, to jog my memory for some highlights.
January brought many birding day trips and a number of lifers. More special were visits with 2 of my high school friends. Pilar was in Austin for business and looked me up. We hadn’t seen each other for … decades, not counting one brief wedding visit that happened many moons ago. We’d reconnected on social media several years back, but it was really wonderful to get a face to face visit in. Another friend from high school, Irene, texted me to see if I could join her in Lubbock, of all places, while she was there for her son’s sports event. And so I took a road trip and saw some interesting things along the way.
February brought a huge leap of faith, a drive to Florida with Lori, Monte & Joe, and then a journey across the Gulf of Mexico by sailboat to bring Lori’s new-to-her sailboat home to the Texas coast. It was an awesome and challenging trip.
March brought a really memorable road trip across Arizona and New Mexico. We celebrated Monte, Gene and Susanne’s birthdays together. I saw a couple dozen lifer bird species. Tucson, with its Catalina Mountains and the Sonoran Desert, is a truly amazing birding destination. And on the way home, we saw some glorious works of nature and man. We spent 2 days on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, staying overnight in a cabin sitting about 50 feet away from the rim. We marveled at a ginormous meteor crater off of I-40 on the drive to Santa Fe. Then we spent 2 days in Santa Fe, staying at the luxurious Spa at Loretto. We saw more new birds there, but the highlight was a visit to the Loretto Chapel, with its spiral staircase that legend says might have been constructed with divine intervention.
April brought a number of trips to the coast; one special one to visit High Island during a Spring fallout, and another girl’s trip to Kemah to officially rename Lori’s boat, S/V Trident. But if that wasn’t enough, I joined Irene again, this time for a week in Italy. I thoroughly enjoyed Florence, Pisa and Cinque Terra and points in between.
May brought more trips to the coast to help Lori with Trident repairs and projects. It also marked the return of warm weather and lots of fun boat outings on Lake Travis with friends and family on Nirvana.
June and July were full of projects at the house, in the shop, and in the yard. We popped down to the coast again, a time or two, and really enjoyed our almost full lake during the peak of the heat of summer. We delivered a beautiful table that Monte made for Doray and Tom in their new home in Wimberly.
August brought another trip to the Texas coast – to crew for Lori and Mike on their first shake-down cruise on Trident since she arrived in Texas. We sailed out to the Gulf of Mexico and down to Port Aransas. We stayed for a couple nights in the municipal marina there, and enjoyed one of our favorite towns on the Texas Gulf Coast, before our return sail to Kemah. Then we popped up to Seattle for a very overdue trip. We stayed two weeks, encased in smoke from the nearby fires, but did enjoy immensely seeing our family, and a bonus of 2 clear days on the Pacific coast of Washington.
September brought a month of non-stop rain to Austin. So we busied ourselves with more projects in the house. I began to dabble with sewing canvas projects for the boat. Monte made sawdust and honed his web site and various GPS apps.
October brought another trip to Kemah. I became a novice diesel engine mechanic. We also experienced historic flooding amongst the Highland Lakes. Monte worked on shop projects for a client or two. Autumn arrived in Texas, which I love only second to Spring in Texas.
And then it was suddenly November! Monte made another trip down to Kemah to help with last-minute projects. Thanksgiving happened. Then we made one final trip to Kemah together at the end of the month to bid bon voyage to Lori and Mike, and their crew, Janet and Will, taking Trident back east to Florida.
December brought the usual whirlwind of decorating, baking, parties, Christmas shopping, visiting with friends, and eating too much. And now, POOF, it’s the last day of the year.
Tomorrow, I will gear up to do it all again – starting a new year with an as-yet-unknown set of trips, projects, visits, fun and (hopefully only occasional) troubles that lay ahead. I am truly blessed.