Usually, I do some year-end reviews on my blog. Earlier this month, I posted a top ten book review – the link is at the end of the post. I also posted on a December 20th Medium blog that 2022 was a year for transitions for me. Some of what I wrote there will be undoubtedly repeated in this post, so if you read it, feel free to move on. And I also mark the passage of a year with a statistical update on my blog. But this year, I have three going at the same time. I’ll do a blog comparison post on my, thoughts, experiences, and readership early in the new year.
We mark time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. A year is made of twelve months. Within those months are events that mark time in our lives. Therefore, I decided to review the year in months.
We went to Maui last January. It was the third trip there for my husband, son, and me. But, for our son’s girlfriend, it was her first time flying and being out of state for any great distance. She was a trooper and handled the long plane ride well. We stayed on Honokeana Cover, near Napili Beach. The cove is known for the number of sea turtles that congregate there to swim. At times, there were more than a dozen sea turtles swimming while our family snorkeled in the cove. We had great weather and fun adventures. I know we’ll go back to Maui in the future, perhaps for a much longer stay!
February brought some cold weather as usual – Wisconsin is a northern state, after all. February seemed to be a month of crafting. I made a walker bag for my mom’s walker. This enables her to carry books, pencils, and kleenex from place to place in their house. I also finished more reusable market bags and any jewelry I was taking to the gift boutique in Iowa where my handcrafted pieces are sold – beyond my Etsy shop. There was one final trip to Iowa State University to see our oldest son. He was finishing his terminal degree later in the year. We had gotten in the habit of seeing a show or two at Stephens auditorium. This time it was Fiddler on the Roof. It was good – not great – as we had come to expect from attending other shows. Still, was fun to go and visit.
March saw us cleaning out and cleaning up at our home and in our yard. We had decided to sell our home of 16 years in the early spring. We had a lot of “stuff” to go through – old school totes, collections like Pez candy dispensers, depression glass, and things we had not used in “forever.” At the end of the month, we traveled to Western New York to see my parents and my sister-in-law. It was the first time we had seen my mom after her lengthy hospital stay in the fall of 2021.
Fruit trees were pruned, some were cut down, and other shrubs were trimmed. It was a start on yard clean-up.
In April we sold our home! It did not even hit the market before an interested buyer looked and agreed to pay what we asked for it. This was so gratifying. When you put love and care into a home and see that others can appreciate what you’ve done, then it makes it all worthwhile. A garage sale was had and we cleaned out many of the things we did not want to move. We donated what was left to re-use-it store in our community! It was a win-win-win!
May was an exciting month for me! I became an indie publisher and author by writing and publishing my chapbook, Life’s Inspiration and Reflection in a Few Words. The impetus to get this done was being invited to a poetry reading at a gallery in Iowa. It was finished just in the nick of time and includes some of my nature poetry as well as some other more personal poems. Being published has been a life-long goal and I accomplished that this year! The reading was in late May and went well. I am gearing up to do it again!
We moved to our cabin in June after closing on the sale of our house during the third week. Both homes are in Wisconsin. The house is smaller but very comfortable for the two of us and large enough to accommodate family and friends. Summer days were spent unpacking what we didn’t put into storage, as well as taking hikes and sitting on our dock for a late afternoon cocktail or watching the sun go down.
July brought visitors for the fourth, a trip to see my parents, and getting used to living in the woods, as opposed to a suburban type setting. My husband was busy constructing a second bedroom on our lower level so that we would have more private sleeping areas. He finished a second bath earlier in the year. Our small wooded lot was much easier to care for and definitely less time-consuming. We started clearing part of the woods for a small storage shed. Thinning the forest takes work but I found a small amount every day was the best way to attack it for me.
We helped our oldest son move back to Wisconsin from Iowa early this month as he finished school. It was kind of ironic that we moved to the cabin just as he moved back. But, the job was a good fit and we were happy he found an apartment he liked downtown. It was a fresh start for all of us. At the cabin, there were visits from our middle son and his girlfriend, visits to St. Paul to see our youngest and his girlfriend, and lots of foraging in the woods for fungi with our oldest.
I learned more about mushrooms this month than ever before. And that says a lot since I went on an instructive foraging hike in 2021 and worked for a land trust where I organized a foraging event in 2019. It reinforced that I learn best by immersing myself in a subject, reading, seeing, doing, photographing, and discussing. None of those other opportunities provided the same degree of engagement.
Another learning experience was making our own pasta! It was fun and yummy!
September turned out to be a busy month. We traveled back to New York for a friend’s wedding and then went to Maine on vacation. My husband and I stayed at the Acadia Inn just outside of Acadia National park for three nights. Each day we hiked and hiked. Our favorites were South Bubble Mountain and the Wonderland Trail. There were a lot of things that were similar to Wisconsin but enough that was different (especially the shoreline). Granite is the stone of the land there, as opposed to our limestone bluffs. Both the ocean and land are filled with life that became edibles in restaurants and grocery stores. We especially enjoyed the blueberries. From Acadia, we went to Mt. Kineo and stayed at Moosehead Lodge, a Bed and Breakfast. Moosehead lake is one of the largest inland lakes in the United States. It was a great trip.
From Maine, we returned to Western New York to pick up our dog and visit family, again. Our dog stayed with my sister-in-law during our trip. By the time we got back to Wisconsin, the month was almost gone! We had fall yard work to attend to and a shed to enclose for winter storage. Plus, the dock had to come out.
We were so glad we did not vacation in October this year. Wisconsin is a beautiful state and the fall months really show off that beauty. We were blessed by a month of colorful leaves – some say the best in years – and nice weather. Our cabin played host to two sets of friends who visited spending time with us in the woods. We are thankful they made the time to come. Our finished bedroom on the lower level become our new place to rest, and guests now have our “old” main floor bedroom and bath for their privacy at night. It was nice to see everything come together.
The shed got finished and is providing storage for yard furniture and nice weather outdoor accessories like flower pots and extra storage totes.
October is always one of my favorite months.
November brought a Thanksgiving to remember. We did not celebrate as a family until Saturday but it was well worth it to have everyone together, along with each of our son’s significant others. Family time spent talking, eating, and playing games was a joy! It was one of our nicest Thanksgiving Holidays ever!
I started working on another lifelong goal this month and it was to write a novel. I’m not finished but managed to write over 30,000 words during NaNoWriMo this year! I am proud of that accomplishment and hope to finish by February 1st.
Here we are in December! We traveled back to New York again to see my parents, my sister, and my sister-in-law. The timing was perfect as we did not have to deal with the terrible storm that Western New York received. We had our own storm in the midwest, during the week leading up to Christmas, but it was not as terrible as predicted and the snow left us with very pretty woods.
Christmas was again a beautiful holiday. For some reason, I didn’t spaz out this year like I’ve been known to do in the past. We got to see all of our sons, if not on the holiday, close enough to it to still feel like Christmas.
Tonight, we’ll usher in a new year. 2022 was pretty amazing for us. I can hope 2023 holds just as much productivity, joy, and celebration.
All photos and text, © Carol Labuzzetta, with All Rights Reserved.