After much thought, I am pleased with much of 2016 on a personal level. Thinking back on the year–especially in the bleak last days of December where inspiration is low and isolation high– it’s easy to fall to a low, critical place; I didn’t work hard enough, take enough risks, create enough…I didn’t show up for myself enough. But really, every year, including this one, I’ve grown: I’ve figured myself out a little more, loved more places and people, questioned normal a lot more, all the while encouraging myself to be present for it all.
My big resolution for this year is to do something. Simple yet essential…so much so that I underlined that in my New Year’s Day scribblings resulting from a large cup of coffee at a way-too-late-for-coffee hour while sitting in the back of my health food store. That’s me. I do a lot of thinking. I’m a good thinker. But ideas and plans have a funny tendency to remain such, so my resolution is to do something to bring them to life.
A little ‘year in review’. I had fun sorting through my pictures floating around the elusive ‘cloud’ and compiling a few I felt represented that month. Of course all is not represented, when is it ever? But my purpose here was to recognize the joys of 2016 amidst the fog, and for me it accomplished just that.
In January the city was blanked with the most beautiful if not destructive snow. We walked over six miles through it to retrieve my first new bike in twenty years.
In February we indulged ourselves in the celebration of the anniversary of our engagement two years prior and of course the Feast of Saint Valentine. Not Pictured: Health struggles that dampened the joy. Also Not Pictured: I had a travel article published for the very first time on Visit Greece’s site.
In March we were revived. The snow tapered off and we reveled in a blossom covered city. I conquered fears of biking through the city again and again and we went on a picnic date via our bicycles at Wissahickon Park. I went to a travel conference and ended up with a paid gig writing a bit about Rome.
In April we set our mind to savoring the city a bit more-new restaurants (PS&Co), our favorite museum (The Barnes Foundation), longer bike rides for both of us (me to Conshohocken, him to Valley Forge), and a cooking class at the Free Library’s beautiful demo kitchen. Oh and the beginning of my flower experiments.
In May we lived like kings and celebrated hard, truly. There were weddings and baby announcements. A recipe of mine was published in a women’s magazine. And after snagging an unheard of flight deal, we jetted off to Portugal to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We accomplished our goal of ultra-light packing. We ate and adventured very well in Lisbon and the Sintra province.
In June I dove headfirst into flower design, as well as honoring our area farmers markets. I found joy in the art of making Hawaiian haku lei, while adding my own twists. I gifted one to a dear friend on her bridal shower day and it brought tears to her eyes…It was the best gift I’ve ever given I think.
In July we feasted. The height of summer proved to be a period of needed recuperation. We were guests of the West Chester Farmer’s market. I pushed myself further with flower design and new recipes (see dolmas above).
In August we roasted…and feasted and celebrated some more. We celebrated another wedding and my mama and I toured Duke Estate in New Jersey on perhaps the hottest day ever. There were more flower crowns, more seasonal recipes using the bulk finds at our market. I walked a lot. I really love August.
In September we took the leap and listed our dear house for sale; It is still for sale if you’re interested. I created more and dreamed more- the picture on the top right represents the dreams, as this was a morning I woke up at dawn, packed my notebook, bought a coffee, and went to Washington Square Park and wrote down every business idea I had and its pros and cons. Necessary to get out of your own head. My beautiful friend grew her baby with gracious ease . We were handed down a car that is more us than meets the eye. I started a photography class.
In October we experienced perhaps the richest month of the year.
As far as flower pursuits were concerned, this was a big one. I gifted a beautiful mama-to-be with the haku above. I somehow got the nerve to respond to a call from freelancers from a way-hipper-than-me floral design studio in Brooklyn called Fox Fodder Farm and they hired me on for a wedding at Terrain in Glen Mills. It was flower heaven. The photos above show the wall I assisted with.
Then there was Montana. Oh, Montana. We had the time of our lives here, grizzlies (a grizzly), cold weather and all. We flew into Missoula, drove up to Columbia Falls following Flathead Lake, and stayed there along with Whitefish as we explored and adventured, mostly in the magnificent Glacier Park. Oh, and we were on television.
In November…well we all know what happened in November. So I went to my first protest. But I also learned quickly what can happen when you neglect yourself due to focusing on things you can’t control. So we also ate well (see South Philly Barbacoa above) and foraged for decorations. I went to a talk on The Company of Women. I started going to meditations at a local Buddhist center. Oh and I impulsively got bangs.
In December we endured the darkest days of the year, and did so with flowers and so much insanely delicious food (above: Christmas Eve fish stew, Christmas Day Saurbraten, gf/v banana bread). We also visited a friend in Washington, DC, who was the best host and he and Luke humored me with a morning at the Botanical Gardens (thank you.). We celebrated our nephew’s very first birthday. We spent the holidays alone for the first time, as Luke worked both. My due-any-moment friend and her family welcomed me into their home for Christmas breakfast. My dream of seeing Rick Steves speak in person was realized at the University of Pennsylvania.