With 2014 fast approaching I’ve been reflecting on the past year. If I look at it as a whole I don’t feel like it was anything extraordinary, I just lived from one day to the next which actually is an accomplishment. But there were trips taken, family and friends visited, weddings, funerals.

In February two of my favorite people took me to NYC to celebrate my birthday. Lots of walking and talking and laughing. We saw the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood and cast our votes for the ending. I’ve known both of these women for thirty plus years; there’s such an ease in long friendships.

Bill and I went to Boston for a long weekend in the Spring. I haven’t spent much time there so we took tours of the Freedom Trail and North End where we had a delicious pasta dinner before heading over to one of the many bakeries to eat fresh cannoli that were filled with ricotta cream while we waited. We walked all over the city. We window shopped on Newbury Street. We sat in Boston Common for a long time drinking coffee and people watching.

B&B in Brookline, MA

My aunt turned 80 this year. Thanks to my sister’s generosity my mother, aunt, sister and I met in South Beach for a long and spoiled weekend. We took advantage of the pool and spa; one of the days we went from our bathing suits to spa robes back to our bathing suits. I saw firsthand, from the three of them, where I get my mannerisms and quirky expressions.

My second cousin, on my dad’s side, got married this summer. I was able to spend time with relatives I don’t see as often as I would like. I’m glad we were able to catch up while celebrating a happy event. I’m glad there was dancing too.

In October 2012 we went on a bus tour of Italy with forty other people and made a special connection with four women. The six of us spent a lot of time together seeing the sights, eating gelato at least once, if not twice, a day and getting to know each other. When the trip ended we made a commitment to keep in touch. Helen, one of the four women, was an avid knitter. I was a novice and had just begun knitting a sleeveless shell with a cowl neck after only ever knitting scarves. I picked this pattern because it was ‘very easy’ according to whoever rates these things. If it were up to me I would have dropped the ‘very’ and maybe even substituted easy for moderate. Again, I was used to casting on 16 stitches and knitting row after row until I had a scarf. So when we met before Christmas 2012 I brought my new knitting project with me to the restaurant. After lunch Helen helped me with the directions and I was good to go….until I got to the arm holes. Thankfully we met this past January at her house so she could help me again. Apparently I am a slow learner because when we met in March at my house I was stuck on the neck/cowl and needed her help again. In between visits she would text me asking if I had finished. My answer was always the same – not yet.  During each visit the six of us reminisced about our trip and shared stories of other trips we had all taken. We even talked about taking another trip together.

Sadly, Helen passed away suddenly in March. Her dear friend, and now our dear friend, Marcia called to let me know. I had known these women for less than six months but mourned the loss of my new friend as if we had known each other much longer. Helen was one of those people that made everyone she met feel special. I think of her often and miss her. I haven’t finished that shell, maybe someday I’ll pull it out of the plastic bag it’s tucked away in. But I have started and finished other projects including a cowl that I made with some of Helen’s yarn that Marcia gave me. 

There were other weekend trips to New York City, Plattsburg and the Berkshires. There was our trip to Southern Utah. There were lots of days spent with family and friends, most recently over Thanksgiving and Christmas. There were busy, active days and quiet, relaxing days.

When I look back on 2013 I am grateful for all of the interactions I have had with the people I love, the people I’ve known for years and the people I’ve recently met. I like the process of analyzing things and making connections when talking to people and I’ve learned so much from all of them. One of my goals for 2014 is to keep paying attention and hopefully keep learning and growing. Here’s to a wonderful year ahead!

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