Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hey 2016 . . . Can We Take Our Seat Belts Off Yet?

With all the highs and lows of 2016, I feel like I have been on the craziest roller coaster ride ever.  The Cyclone?  Nothing like 2016.  The MindEraser?  Not even close.  The Chipmunk?  Nope.  Right from the start, 2016 presented us with tragic news, amazing opportunities, devastating losses, and joyous moments.  How in the world does anyone handle that?  Well, we fasten our seat belts and hold on for dear life.  

Those lows were tough.  How many entertainers did we lose this year?  It seemed like I had just processed the death of David Bowie and the next thing I heard about Glen Frey, The Hag, and Prince.  And on and on and on and on . . . 
It continued right up to the end, too.  Hitting me hardest was losing Leon (blog to come soon about his place in my life).  My good friend Monroe, who has accompanied me to many Leon concerts, snapped me out of my despair like only Monroe can with "Well he didn't just 'hang out' for 74 years.  He LIVED.  Dying is a part of it.  Don't waste the living part."  Thank you, Monroe, and thank you Leon Russell.
Leon the last two times I saw him--2014 and 2015
There were other lows, of course--terrorist attacks in our country and abroad, disappointing football seasons for Nebraska (will we ever be a championship team again??) and the Broncos (why couldn't they end the year like the Super Bowl Champs they were at the beginning??), and that election that seemed to bring out the worst in people.  My heart still hurts from all the hate that infiltrated our lives, mostly through social media.  

I cried with family members and friends as they lost loved ones to cancer and heart disease and organ failure, and I pray they find peace in the new year.

Those lows--I'm sending them off to the universe with a kiss and hoping their light shines down on all those who miss them--because there were highs.

Oh those highs!!!!

In no particular order (well, maybe the last two would be at the top!) 2016 brought me:

My sister Kerri enjoys taking Mom and me on trips, and I'm so glad she does.  We returned to Maui, my favorite vacation destination, where we stayed at the Westin Maui Resort.  Sunny, warm days, sparkling blue water, pineappley cocktails, and beautiful traveling company transformed this weary teacher in a way that nothing else could  Paradise.  Thank you, Kerri and Nathan and Lindsey and Mom!

Maui Love

Somehow, I am surrounded by the most amazing friends--angels--whose hearts are as big as the sky.  Their support and genuine love shines in my heart always, and I am grateful for each one.  I love our conversations, our lunches, our cocktails, our movie and theatre dates, our happy hours, our book talks, our laughter, and our tears.  They make me say "Yay friends!"
Yay friends!

We welcomed a new royal baby this year, Russell Lee Hawk.  Nathan and Lindsey, my new niece!, are beautiful new parents, and I can't wait to meet Russell next month. The other seven Royals continue to bring so much light to our family.  Ethan 6, Drake, 3, Max, 3, Madi 3, Lucy 2, Quinn 1, and Archer 1 made 2016 beautiful.
Royal Babies

Bruce Springsteen came to Denver in 2016 and I got tickets!!  I have seen him many times, but this--The River Tour--was my favorite.  He just gets better and better.
That's my Bruce

Did I mention Bruce?  Because 2016 really could be called The Year of Bruce.  Not only did I see him in concert, but in case you somehow missed it, I MET HIM, TOO!!  I will write about that as soon as I can calm myself down enough to come up with sentences rather than #HEKISSEDME or #HECALLEDMEDARLING, but for now, just know that Bruce is real, he is sweet, and he is gorgeous.  #HighlightOfMyYear!  

*Update*  Blog finished!  Read it HERE!

The highest high this year and every year is my family.  At one time or other, whether in Nebraska, Minnesota, or Colorado, I got to see everyone, and there is nothing that will ever top that.  
Family over Everything

I'm really, really hoping we can all unbuckle our seat belts, at least for a bit, as we begin 2017.  For those of you who are ready to kick 2016 to the curb, I hope 2017 is better.  It will be, I know it.  And for those of you who are clinging to 2016, thinking how can it get any better, it can.  I know it, too.

I hope you are all ringing in 2017, this New Year, in whatever way brings you joy.  May you all meet your Bruce in 2017!

Happy New Year!

(my New Year's kiss!!!!)