Greetings Family and Friends,
Here is my yearly “Christmas” letter. As I have mentioned in the past, it is a “highlights reel” of the year, which of course doesn’t mean everything was perfect. It is a reminder to me that at the end of the day, there is more “good” than “bad.”
For my yearly “big” trip, I went to England. I spent four nights in Bath, three in York, and five in London. It was my first time in Bath and York, but I had been to London before. I was literally booking everything a few weeks before I left. If you want to read about my trip, it is in my blog. Here is the first entry.
- I started off in Bath. I stayed at an Airbnb. I loved the routine of having tea with Becky each night and talking or sitting in comfortable silence.
- I loved walking down the hill each day to get to the city center in Bath. The fall view into the valley was breathtaking.
- I loved the walking tour that was done by The Mayor’s Corps of Honorary Guide. It was educational, and it’s free.
- I then went to York. I really loved the coming together of Roman and Viking history.
- I loved the wonderful breakfast I had each morning at the pub I stayed in.
- Seeing the Horn of Ulf and York Gospel manuscripts at York Minster really spoke to me as a history lover.
- I loved the hustle and the bustle of the Shambles, though I could picture it would be quite overwhelming during peak summer travel months.
- I ended in London. London is such an amazing city. My favorite part about it is quite simply walking between neighborhoods in the compact center.
- I love the site of the Tower of London. So much history has taken place throughout the country’s history in that one site.
- Westminster Abbey. What an amazing place that houses the remains of so many historical people. I also enjoyed Bath Abbey and York Minster.
- I could spend hours in the British Library and the British Museum.
- A day trip to Oxford and being able to see where Tolkien (and Lewis) tread.
- The Museum of History and Science in Oxford was fantastic. I could spend hours there really looking at the displays of telescopes, sun dials, sextants, abacuses, microscopes, cameras, sand glasses, and globes/celestial globes.
I remain grateful for the gift of travel. It is a reminder that regardless of race, politics, religion, etc., the majority of people pretty much want the same thing.
For more pictures, visit my Shutterfly page. Password is: italia.
I did a few smaller trips as well.
In March, I took a quick trip to Long Beach for my job. I got to see my friends from other port cities, so it was a very enjoyable business trip. Long days and nights and utterly exhausting. But so much fun and a great time to catch up with some of the amazing people I have met over the years. I also had a chance to hang out with Samarah and Mary and Louanne and Randy. I was originally going to go down a day earlier, but my flight was cancelled. Unfortunately, the way it stands right now, I will not be able to attend in 2019.
I went to Mississippi twice this year. My first trip was in May. I had not been there forever, so it was great to see everyone again and catch up. I will write more about my second trip at the close of the letter.
I also managed to get to Oakland. I had not been there forever. My friend Pam and her husband, Willie, opened their home to me, and I had a great time catching up with family and friends, some who I had not seen in such a long time.
My final trip of the year was to Las Vegas for a 40th birthday party. I hadn’t been to Vegas in a while, but it remains a good place to people watch and come back and muse about society. I have actually drafted a blog post about it. I just haven’t gotten around to finishing it.
The fitness journey I began in January 2014 continues, though I lost my trainer in September. She decided not to come to where I work because of the upcoming viaduct closer. It has made things harder, but I am just trying to maintain. I was able to get off of blood pressure meds a few years back, and I would like to stay off of them. I did no half marathons this year. Just couldn’t get motivated.
I did manage to get a 5K in, the St. Patrick’s Day Dash. I need to do better in 2019!
It’s hard to believe my church newsletter is entering its 18th year! If I have a prayer in general for 2019, it would be that I use my voice more in writing, especially writing where I am not self-censoring. I was looking back over past blog posts. I actually did not post that much this year. I will continue to try to fight the power through words.
As I mentioned earlier, I went to Mississippi twice this year. The second time was because my mom passed away in August. I have wanted to blog about it for some time, and I still may yet. Now, this is probably something most people would have led with, but for me, this sharing is for people who have taken the time to come all the way to the end so to speak.
Her death has put me in a weird place. While I am still not quite myself, I have at least begun social engagements. In some ways, there are times when I don’t quite believe it and maybe perhaps forget. It doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem possible. It doesn’t seem like that’s how it should have ended, so quickly.
My trip in May was a Godsend. I have learned over time that my mom and I are actually a lot alike even though she did not raise me. There are parts of her that I don’t think anyone saw, and I have regret about not digging more into her private parts. Death brings regrets. Things you should have done or said. But in May we had a great visit. We would spend the mornings and evenings playing dominoes and talking. We are both ultra-competitive, so we were keeping track. I will add that I won one more game than her.
In some ways, it seems like life has come full circle and like I have rediscovered things that have been left behind. I guess you can always go home.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and I wish you a Happy New Year!
love. hug. xoxo.