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2014–all over but for a lot of yawning and a good-night kiss

Posted by joeabbott on December 31, 2014

P1070153Well, I woke up today knowing it was the last day of 2014 but hard pressed to account for the time. It’s gone like a whirlwind. And yet, there have been some standout moments, both good and less so, that have become part of the fabric of the year. Time to reflect and not necessarily in the order of the year … just as they occur to me.

Suzy retires

We’re not sure if this “retirement” is a forever deal, but it could be. We have enough going around the house and in our lives that we shelve and have said “when we get time” that we decided it was time to free up some of our day to attend to these things.

As we looked at our options, freeing up Suzy from the 9-5 routine made best sense and so we did that. It was a many-year plan but I’m delighted for it: for the tidy yard, the clean house, the good meals, and someone who can plan trips and entertainment without squeezing it in during lunch hour.

Uncle Joe passes away

Uncle Joe and I shared monthly letters, each trip back to MN included a trip to see him, and he was an inspiration in so many ways: a generous heart, a sharp intellect, and a patient soul. He embodied so many good qualities and was so approachable and pleasant, it’s hard to believe this is a description of a real person, and not some fiction. But that was him. He liked fishing in his youth, sports his entire life, and while you sat with him, he listened, shared, and left you feeling good.

Over the past few months I’ve missed our correspondences and thought of him often and, in that small way, he’s not really gone. Not completely.

Trips to MN

Getting back home so many times this year was great, but there was sadness in that one of the trips was for UJ’s funeral. While all of the events were special, I liked our road trip back. We got to spend some great time together, listened to a wonderful book on CD, and saw some fantastic National Parks and scenery. It was a wonderful trip and made for a lot of grand memories.

I’ve been busy

Work this past year has been a blur of change and intensely focused; more so in the last six months but it feels like it’s colored the entire year. It means I’m feeling a bit more stress (and wearing my night-guard to avoid problems from grinding my teeth at night), it means I escape into video games a bit more (like now), and that I’m gaining a bit more weight (I’m a stress-eater), but I have to say that I like being on a project that matters and I understand its relevance to the marketplace. I just wish we weren’t coming in so hot!

I’m getting older

When I hit 40 years old, I didn’t notice a thing different from when I was 39 … at least in terms of physical capabilities. About the time I hit 44 years old I did notice a few things that were harder or took me longer or more committed effort to accomplish. This past year I’ve seen more instances of “this is new” that I chalk up to aging than I have in the past … I have to face facts: I’m getting older.

Some of it is weight-related … the pains after the 5K race, the discomfort when tying one’s shoes … and some is just getting old: the dizzy spells, the “man I don’t feel great this morning”, and the naps that feel so delicious on a weekend afternoon. I’ll do what I can to hold the forces of nature at bay but as the year ended, I submitted to eating a bit more than I should, sleeping in more than I used to, and generally being OK with not applying myself to stuff that should be getting done. I better bring my A-game to 2015!

And some other stuff

We had a leak in our roof, we spent an entire day watching the three Hobbit movies back-to-back in a theater, we rode a lot of miles on the stationary bikes at the Y, we got some new furniture, and I got some great books (and read a few, too!). There were stand-out meals both at home (Suzy cooks a wonderful steak sous vide) and at some five-star restaurants (Copper Leaf), there were fun times with family and friends.

I didn’t climb any mountains this year but did get in some good hikes. My car died but I got a new truck. I built very few things in my shop but I got some new tools.

The year was a bit of a seesaw with fewer true highlights to offset some of the pains and troubles; and yet there’s hope, harmony, and happiness to take us with confidence into the new year.

Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season and throughout the New Year.


2 Responses to “2014–all over but for a lot of yawning and a good-night kiss”

  1. Momma said

    I like the sweet tribute to Uncle Joe. I think his influence spread out over our own family in many ways. I was thinking of his generosity today and decided to spread a little cheer. I went to Burgher King and ordered a coffee, and when handing over the $1.50, I added a crisp $5 bill of UJ’s, and said Happy New Year! to the astonished young man – he said, “For real?” and I laughed and said, “For real!” as I drove off. Then I went down the road to McDonalds, ordered a small fries (my weakness) and when I couldn’t find the other $5 I’d had, I reached into my billfold and there was a $10… I did the same routine to the young girl who waited on me, and said “This is for You! Have a Happy New Year!”. Her eyes filled with tears as she said, “Oh. Thank you SO much.”. I just thought of my own kids and how much even a couple dollars meant at that age, and I thanked Uncle Joe for helping me to carry on his life of giving where it was most needed.

    • joeabbott said

      I enjoyed reading this and happy you shared. Thank you. Suzy and I have picked up a roll of dollar coins and, over the holidays, when we see a bell-ringer, we enjoy dropping in a few dollars to their kettle. While part of me would like to say, “hey, this is a dollar, not a quarter!”, what matters is making a difference. At least in a small way.

      Seems we’ve learned a thing or two from you when you didn’t think we were looking!! 🙂

      Here’s hoping for a grand 2015!

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