the aftershocks of 2016

I’m still feeling physically a little meh. The US führer-elect is still tweeting.

I have composed, per usual, in my head a couple dozen various summaries of the year that tried to break us all in some way or another. Not that it’s not mostly documented on Instagram or whatnot. But I need to review before I revise here in the new year . . .

So I may get to the reflection, but mostly I want to say that I spent a chunk of this year working on genealogy projects. Mostly my own or ones I am studying for fun, but sometimes others. And I am developing a way to do more of this work in the world. But in 2016, I finally tested my DNA. And consequently discovered my maternal grandfather’s parentage. He was adopted. And based on what I know now, we would never have discovered the truth via traditional paper documents. It’s been a journey. But the story is long and for another day. As a collector and a completionist of sorts, I want to celebrate 2016 as the year I know the likeness of each and all of my great grandparents, which given the outrageously epic tales of at least three of those couples, is pretty impressive.


While I am here and typing, let’s see the year as I recall it:

My parents visited us in Virginia before we went on vacation with Hayden and Jordan. Disney trip #1. Highlights included seeing Illuminations from a private balcony and taking a side journey to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The drag was then hearing about the death of Alan Rickman while in the throes of food poisoning or whatever that was.

When we got home it SNOWED. A LOT. It was pretty and peaceful being totally homebound actually. I directed a children’s production that I loved working on. I did some really fun research with some of the archives at the museum. I had fun costume changes in a production of Dog Sees God. I took photos at baptism and weddings, for headshots and baby shoots and recitals. I got to work at the one room schoolhouse in my great grandma’s dress she made in the 60s.

I saw so many shows and so many more than once. I saw a friend in Fun Home and saw Do I Hear a Waltz with John and Frank. I saw She Loves Me. And Dear Evan Hansen before and after it transferred to Broadway. I saw The Color Purple on a whim and then had to take Kevin back before it closed. I saw Finding Neverland, which I didn’t love but was mesmerized when I saw it. I saw Hamilton. Again. (ducks) And met a friend to lead me backstage. That may have been the same day I went to the live Ham4Ham when it was INSANE but totally worth it because PATTI LUPONE. I saw Bright Star with Mason. I saw my first shows at 54 Below. A double bill with Jo Ann. On Halloween I saw The Shining parody. I saw CATS with Keith from the front row. Waitress, too and then again because I wanted to go with Jo Ann and knew Kevin would love it. And I saw Falsettos. With all the right people.

In fact. I see so many shows alone. And when people are with me, it isn’t always as important as it was this year. I think most of my experiences were better because they were so well shared.

Back in the real world ALL THE PEOPLE, or at least my best gays, got married or engaged. Jordan and Hayden’s wedding dominated Spring into June.
Then I went on vacation. To Disney. AGAIN. This time with mom and dad and Kevin and Chris and Monna. Tarpan Springs on the way. Fourth of July in St. Augustine on the way home.

I did so many things TWICE in 2016. I got super ill pukey twice and ugly colds twice. hahaha.  I went to Disney and St. Augustine twice. I saw a bunch of shows twice.

But I also went to the Morgan Library and its fabulous Bronte exhibit twice. I saw Becky twice in two months. And Rachelle twice after not meeting for so very long. I saw my friend Rachel twice, once with a baby inside and once outside!!!

I went to the Wild Goose Festival.

I went to Chicago! I soaked in the museums and spent a few days with a college friend I hadn’t seen in way too many years.

I got a tattoo.
I ate at Shift a ton and ran the one-act play festival.
I ate pears and fig and goat cheese and danced cooking with friends on the Autumnal Equinox.

I spent my birthday in NYC. Andy sang me the best Happy Birthday.
If I had a video, you’d be watching it.

I had an amazing brunch with my friend Trisha.

I did a murder mystery with the greatest cast.

(There was an election.)

I finally had that awesome slumber party with Leigh. Well worth the wait.
I got to help decorate the Stone House for Christmas
and took Kevin to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
And I slept at my parents on Christmas night.
Can anything be more magical than that?


This year so was. In good ways, and some trying.

I almost forgot to mention half way through the year, I became unemployed.
And it is okay.

My word for 2016 was LET.

It made it easier to ride the waves.

It’s that time

Even in the dreary, rainy cold, I love this season.
Even with piles of homework, I enjoy every moment of everyday.
Because transitional seasons pass too quickly.

A road trip with my papa ushered in my favorite month–
and 30 days of birthday. Winking smile

I’ve purchased cardigans and tights.
Turned up the thermostat.
Worn orange wellies 4 days in a row.

I’ve lounged in layers, flannel and patterns.
Worn my most favorite vintage owl/totem animal necklace.


But most importantly, it’s time to watch Practical Magic.


And sing pumpkin carols!



I got this card when I was little for my birthday/Halloween.


The usual messy quilt that is my life.

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First –
I am officially halfway through my Masters in Library and Information Science.
Second –
I feel wonky in the digital world. My domains are not on the same renewal schedule, my Flickr pro account expired, and I have to decide in 5 days whether to do Amazon Prime this year. AAAAAAAAAAAHHH.
Second and a half –
Not exactly digital, but UM what’s up with summer student loans not coming through yet. That almost $7,000 “past due” balance is skeeving me out.
Third –
(Why am I numbering? Addicted to lists? Yes.)
But most importantly I had a perfectly relaxing week at my in-laws in the Shenandoah Valley.
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To the tune of:

And *this* is happening. Yay Oz prequel!
This short trailer is perfect for this grey and humid summer day.

A Midsummer Day’s Nightmare (or Three Lessons from this Moon)

I want to talk about
— how HOT it’s been. Oppressively so.
— how I’ve gone swimming– something I have never done with regularity outside of vacations until now
— but now that nature has changed her mind and it is unseasonably cool, complaining about the heat seems silly

Lesson 1: Take Advantage of Reprieve

I want to tell stories
— about how CRAZY the June full moon turned out to be
— about how dramatic and scary and surreal the experience is of avoiding the nearby gunshots of an active shooter.
— about how hiding out in a room with a dozen people and no windows is traumatic in and of itself, especially when two of those people are your parents
— but it is over and everyone departed the ordeal unharmed, so that seems like enough

Lesson 2: Give Thanks Everyday for Health and Safety

I want to post pictures
— after all that’s how I usually convince myself to post
— after all properly processing and uploading one adventure before heading into the next seems sensible enough
— alas, sensible does not win out over furious summer livin’!

Lesson 3: Accept What Is

Coming out of Hibernation

But before I do so entirely, I must honor the Winter.
It’s deepness this year– and not just the snow’s depths.
But whew, was the snow ever deep?!
But so was my retreat into myself and my home and family.
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Isn’t this supernova-esque?
I love finding ordinary sights with possibly extraordinary photographic outcomes.

The snow not only caused a certain amount of confinement,
but it inspired my soul to mimic the scenes of solitude that I discovered in its wake.
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The (Complete) Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

Gwen Bell inspired bloggers to reflect on their personal bests of 2009.

December 1 Trip.  

Florida in May.  Even with the monsoon. 

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December 2 Restaurant Moment.

Tout Va Bien, always. Probably the meal with Keith and Andrea.  We had a blast.!


And Ohana at the Polynesian Resort, WDW. Even with the travel bug that hit us immediately after.

December 3 Article. .

Those Aren’t Fighting Words by Laura Munson

December 4 Book.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I had been wanting to read it and found multiple copies at a great price—convinced my book club ladies to read it with me.

December 5 Night out

Mexican food on this balcony and a walk around my favorite city, St. Augustine.

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December 6 Workshop or conference

WV Arts Assembly 

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It was on the Business of the Arts . . . and mostly I learned that I have a community right here where I live.

December 7 Blog find of the year. 

I am loving Elsa Mora’s style blog, The Hidden Seed.

December 8 Moment of peace.  


Sunrise at North Myrtle Beach

 December 9 Challenge.

Having to continue to deal with a number of situations that I have no control over, but which remained unresolved through most of the year.  But goodness, was all of that minor when compared to all the great living. 

December 10 Album of the year.  What’s rocking your world?

I am giving this one to Ingrid Michaelson, as much for her live performance on the Everybody tour as for the new album.

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December 11 The best place. 

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Ft. Sibert. Mountains! Summer!

December 12 New food. 

I finally love curry.

December 13 What’s the best change you made to the place you live?

see my previous post.

December 14 Rush. When did you get your best rush of the year?

At the Final Broadway Performance of the musical Spring Awakening.


The curtain call was a force unto itself.

Tom Hulce read these Sondheim lyrics sent by the choreographer Bill Jones from London for the occasion since he couldn’t be present:

‘With so little to be sure of,
If there’s anything at all.
If there’s anything at all,
I’m sure of here and now and us together.
Thanks for everything we did,
Everything that’s past,
Everything’s that’s over too fast.
None of it was wasted,
All of it will last:
Everything that’s here and now and us together.
It was marvelous to know you
And it isn’t really through.
Crazy business this, this life we live in-
Can’t complain about the time we’re given-
With so little to be sure of in this world,
We had a moment.
A marvelous moment.’

No dry eyes.

December 15 Best packaging.

I just love it when small companies and individual artists put effort and love into their packaging!

You can read blogger of bloggers, Heather Armstrong, gush about one of my faves here. 

December 16 Tea of the year.


Celestial Seasonings Green Tea with Antioxident Supplement—Not particularly exotic, but it got me HOOKED on green tea.

December 17 Word or phrase

"2009 was so full of ______________”

just plain goodness.

December 18 Shop.

I’ve been buying less. But I have to go with Amazon because I can never stop buying books! 

and ”Gabes” —good stuff for cheap!

December 19 Car ride.

So many! Rode with Rachel, Hannah and John to the beach.   


In May, the road to and from Florida was so much fun.  The ride to NYC with Andrea was an ADVENTURE.  Driving to NYC in August with Jim was fun. Anytime you sing “In the Heights” at the top of your voice, its a good time.

But I have a special place for my solitary ride home on the train after Thanksgiving. 

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 December 20 New person.

Again, there are many.

Jim, Odette, Rachael, Roz . . .


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December 21 Project. What did you start this year that you’re proud of?

I have finally, in earnest STARTED purging “things”. I’m far from done.  But in 2009 I started and have every intention of continuing until my connection to objects feels light and buoyant.

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December 22 Startup.

Once Google stopped further development on Google Notes, I decided I should find an alternative.  I knew there had to be one—and one better—or they wouldn’t have abandoned it.  What I found was Evernote.  I can easily clip articles and quotes like before.  Better yet, I know it has an untapped potential that I may someday discover.  In the meantime I use it faithfully to to store the gems I find on the web.

December 23 Web tool.

oooh this best list is getting so techy.  I stick by Evernote.

Though I am also pretty tied to StumbleUpon.

December 24 Learning experience. What was a lesson you learned this year that changed you?

I think I have finally stopped devoting myself to people who are not devoted to me.

December 25 Gift. What’s a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving?

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December 26 Insight or aha! moment. What was your epiphany of the year?

December 27 Social web moment.

I journeyed east to meet up with some lovely women I met in the Mondo Beyondo ecourse.

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December 28 Stationery.

Oddly enough, my stationary find of the year was all the stationary I hoarded as a teenager. I used to love it so much I wouldn’t want to use it! Now I am enjoying the fruits of my neurosis!

December 29 Laugh. What was your biggest belly laugh of the year?

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My favorite laugh probably wasn’t mine, it was Jim’s. We laughed alot. Especially on this random night in NYC. Of course, I likely had my deepest belly laugh when Jim chickened out diving backwards off the diving board!

December 30 Ad.

I have never loved Star Wars, but if anyone could convince me, it would be Disney. 

December 31 Resolution you wish you’d stuck with. (You know, there’s always next year…)

I have SO never made resolutions. 

Photo Post: Vacation 2009 has come to an end.

Here are a few fine photos of the vacation event, until I can get more online!


It’s true– Disney is still beautiful and magical, even in the rain!


This was our first time at Epoct during the flower and garden festival.
It is stunning– again, even in the rain! 🙂
This was taken in the butterfly garden that is set up there. Amazing.


I FINALLY saw Finding Nemo, The Musical at Animal Kingdom.
I was too lazy to wait in line last time we were there.
But it was sooo worth the wait.
Michael Curry, who designed The Lion King puppets, designed this show as well.
And the show was scored by Robert Lopez, one of the creator/composers of Avenue Q and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Peter Brosius, the Artistic Director of The Children’s Theatre in Minneapolis (winner of the Tony for Outstanding Regional Theatre Tony during his tenure), directed the show.
All this talent that went into the production was definitely matched by the Disney cast talent.
I was actually quite impressed!


BATS! One was fighting to pass the other on its way to a piece of juicy lettuce.
Somehow we ALWAYS miss the Maharaja Trail in Animal Kingdom.
Don’t make that mistake! The setting is one of Indian ruins and it is lush and gorgeous.
And there are tigers! ROAR. And a peaceful bird garden.


I just love the Star Tours/ Tatooine Traders building at Hollywood Studios.
And I needed to celebrate here that we were there the FIRST day of the FIRST Star Wars Weekend.
It was madness!


This is the statue of Mary feeding the baby Jesus.

Breastfeeding. If it’s good enough for the Blessed Mother and Jesus, then it’s good enough for the rest of us!

It is the Our Lady of La Leche Shrine on the grounds of the Mission of Nombre de Dios.
This is my favorite place on Earth.
Really. And it has been my entire life.


If I ever disappear suddenly and of my own will,
you will most certainly find me living the life of an artist, historian,
and beach bum in St. Augustine, Florida.


***I am sleeping downstairs because it is too.darn.cold (for me) to sleep upstairs.
That said, I said worn down one side of the couch and am switching ends for tonight.

Warm weather? please?

***I am drinking lots of Green Tea.
I have always wanted to drink green tea.
Because it’s hip. Because I like green. Because sometimes I need a hot decaf beverage.
But alas, I always found the stuff gross, UNTIL.
Celestial Seasonings Green Tea with Anitoxident Supplement
Seriously. It’s tasty. Not that I would know for all the honey I glop into each cup.

I know, I am a bad girl.

**I am discovering that I am as disorganized online as off. I have resisted tagging.
Now I have thousands of untagged photos, posts, etc that I will have to comb through painstakingly to regain any sens of order. ARGH. I spent a couple hours moving flickr photos around and beginning to tag and thematically present some of my photos.

It’s a start.

powder blue thermal underwear

It’s true. I match.
On Day 2 of crazy snow and ice I finally took a shower and “got dressed”.
I am also wearing super fancy comfy socks I get from the in-laws at Christmas.
Oh, and rain shoes sometimes if there is a chance of water on the floors– because I HATE wet socks.
And being rubbery, they are surprisingly warm.

Really this is how exciting life on a “snow day”.
And I love it.

Do other people get a high when they drag new music onto their iPods?
Because I also seriously think that is having an effect on chemical levels in my brain today.

More later, but I gotta go check on my tater tots. 🙂