Friday, December 23, 2011

Reflections on 2011

Challenge 52: Give

I've already started writing a good bit about my plans for 2012 - "the year of intention".  But, before I wrap up 2011 and put a bow on it, I thought it would be good to take a look back.

The photos sprinkled throughout are a (pretty much) chronological display of some of my favorite memories from the year.  The text is a little more rambling ... Put more simply - don't expect the photos to match the text.
DSC_2820.JPG My red shoes! Happiness is a dozing cat

My One Little Word for 2011 was create.  And, create, I did. I painted, I tangled, I sketched, and I even sewed. I art journaled. I crocheted a scarf for my sister's birthday (and her son knitted one for her for that same birthday).  I played with mixed media and I swapped a bunch of art. My art was (but apparently I didn't take a photo of it)...and will be...exhibited.  (If you click on no other link in this post, that last one - which links to 1,500,000 butterflies is by far the "create" accomplishment I am most proud of in this year.) I tried to settle into my "studio" (I think you're going to see a lot more of the studio in 2012 as I try to figure out how to truly make it mine).

Don't I look innocent? Fluffy posing "Communion"
I cooked.  And...for some crazy reason I even made my own rubber stamps - which was probably the most fun of my "create" activities (although mounting them to wood blocks with dad's help made it more fun - I love the look on his face when I say I want to use power tools :-).

I took a LOT of online art classes.  I'll take anything by Alisa Burke or Julie Fei-Fan Balzer - all of their classes are wonderful.  I especially loved Alisa's Sketchbook Delight and Julie's 30 Days in your Art Journal.  Alisa is offering two classes at the start of the new year and Julie one - I'm taking them all - come join me!

With dad's help, I tackled two separate Daddy Do Lists!  I told a photo story or two - one involved Dad teaching us all how to harvest and prepare walnuts.  By far one of my favorite posts of the year.  I cooked even more with mom - any time I got the chance.  

Window at Second Presbyterean 20110123-DSC_3094.jpg Monuments from the air 20110204-Snow-on-Ice-09.jpg Diana in the Studio 20110206-SelfPortraits-10-2.jpg

I took photos (one of my favorite sets of photos of the year - and a great night with my friend Cherry Kay) - often with and of friends - thanks to Diana for always being willing to go on a photo hunt with me!  I enjoyed meeting and connecting with online friends like Deb.  I had planned to do a Photo 365 (for the second year in a row now I have planned to do one).  I got about 200 - 250 days shot, although only about 200 posts on blogger with photos.  (I posted more than 2000 photos to Flickr this year though - and took even more.  My photos have been viewed more than 40,000 times on Flickr (WOW!)- I'm using a stats tool to track that more accurately in 2012).  I sort of did Project Life.

I'm trying again with the Photo 365 in 2012 (and Project Life - it's in Clementine this year - YEAH ORANGE!!!).  Please watch my progress and hold me accountable to that task - I need all the help I can get!  Join my blog or subscribe or just stick a note in your tickler file to check in here every once in a while.  You've watched me thus far - with more than 6,000 page views and more than 200 comments to this blog in 2011 - that's incredible - thank you!  I love writing and taking photos - but I find that sharing that writing makes it more fun for me.  Drop a note, leave a comment - connect!  That's why we're all here.

Visiting Vero Beach DSC_3676 DSC_3709 Mom on Vero Beach 20110218-WineAndCanvas-18-7.jpg Ashley, Grandma, and Grandpa DSC_4035 20110305-LazyWeekendatGs-28-9.jpg

What I did do that showed up every single day in 2011 was post a quote to Tumblr - you can use the link or there is a tab for it above if you're viewing on the blog.  I add the quotes to a queue and one is automatically released each day at a set time.  More to come in 2012.  The words there have meaning to me - I select and type every quote.  I hope you find them meaningful too if you decide to follow there.

20110308-1500000ButterfliesProject-30-12.jpg I'm gorgeous and I know it. 20110318-MarchFamilyFarmFun-39-8.jpg 20110331-Groomers-and-GBday-51-30.jpg DSC_4649 DSC_4686 20110421-StudioPostcardEggTangles-DSC_4785.jpg 20110423-EasterWeekend-DSC_4879.jpg 20110423-EasterWeekend-DSC_4880.jpg 20110429-CamPhone05-01-2011-DSC_4902.jpg

We had an ice event on the last day of January/First day of February that turned much of the state into a literal ice rink that didn't melt for a month. Then it rained for what seemed like three months, it was HOT this summer, but now fall and winter seem to be dancing with one another in an actually quite lovely way that I hope continues (although as I write this my house is littered with more muddy paw prints as we seem to be getting a good bit of rain this week).

Close up of dad - in a tree Mom and dad Me, deck 4, and a mountain! Note to self Goofy...ope - I mean daddy! 20110507-Alaska2011-D2-DSC_5416.jpg Dad was there! 20110508-Alaska2011-D2-DSC_5483.jpg Welcome to Ketchican Swimming in Alaska! 20110509-Alaska2011-D3-DSC_5602.jpg
My nieces and nephews are bright lights in my life.  All six of them are doing extremely well.

Ashley turned 21.  She also got her "coat" at ONU - a milestone in her pharmacy education.  Ashley also brought "Baby Princess Stella" - an adorable, tiny, sleek black kitten - into our lives.

Mom! Daddy in his bow tie Servers Love Pinkberry! Aaron and Grandpa Dad and Johnny Happy Face Picnic in Paris at Wine and Canvas C4IT Staff Hard at Work

Andrew & Taylor graduated from high school.

Andrew is now a freshman at IU, making grades that make my head spin.

Taylor is a freshman at Sinclair - working in an awesome coop program. His dad told me last night he also got a 4.0 in his first semester!

Way to go to my own little freshman class.

Diana finding an angle on the cool tree stump Downtown Indianapolis 20110603-AndrewsGraduationWeekend-DSC_6063.jpg 20110604-AndrewsGraduationWeekend-DSC_6199.jpg 20110604-AndrewsGraduationWeekend-DSC_6162.jpg Andrew with mom and dad at graduation The Lego Bins Gayle at Poly Me at the Poly "Free" Belgian Waffle Pin Man Wilderness Lodge 1

Amanda got married.  She and Steve sent their first Christmas card with their two beautiful fur babies - Maggie and Reagen - so, so cute! Amanda also graduated from Purdue.  She works just around the corner from me a few days a week!

Cars 2 Poster Arizona Biltmore untitled 00016 20110603.jpg -bworld{Date (YYYYMMDD)»}-{Image # (001)»}-16.jpg -bworld{Date (YYYYMMDD)»}-{Image # (001)»}-34.jpg Crystal Sugar Churros Fondue with muddled raspberries and two chocolate dipping sauces 20110716-CatchUp-DSC_6747.jpg Fluffy and Dippy 20110805-JoshGrobanColumbus-DSCN0279.jpg

Aaron is going to finish up his program at the University of Northwestern Ohio in early Spring 2012.  He's choosing a job that will hopefully give him tuition reimbursement for his Bachelor's Degree!!!  I could not be more proud of that young man.  He has excelled so much in this program.

Giordano's...yum... Yarly in cake by Adam's wife Diane The front "porch" at West Baden Springs

I don't see enough of Dustin, but he seems to be doing great as well.  Hoping we get to see much more of him in the new year.

St Meinrad Archabbey StMeinrad-20110902-058.jpg StMeinrad-20110903-071.jpg
  Amanda has to wait until we're all done Connor says..."I'm not ready for this yet" The brides With her bow bouquet
Another daddy do list RandomSummerVacation-20110904-238.jpg

I said good-bye to a dear furry friend - my Dippy.  I cried with every muscle in my body that day.  As I type this, I'm crying again.  I don't know that I'll ever stop missing him.

The bride AmandasWedding-20110924-286.jpg Father of the Bride Taylor and Ashley Donny and Christy AmandasWedding-20110924-358.jpg Grandpa dances with the bride Ashley and Uncle Johnny plot what to do with all the money from the dollar dance! Ashley and Matt Our babies...all grown up!

Our babies and their sigs!

My girls!

Lindsay, my beautiful golden retriever, turned 8 and had two surgeries to repair aural hematoma - basically a fluid build up on the ear flap (it's discussed in the I cooked post above).  She's now got a slightly limp foot that seems to not want to heal.  Needless to say we've funded part of the vet's college fund for his kids this year.  But you can't keep that girl down - she got a ribbon in her very first Fun Run this year!  (Thanks Dog Walker Bill - we LUV you!!)

Fluffy tells me every day how to be a better human to her.  She and I are adapting together to life without Dippy.  I'm discovering a new side to her personality.  She has taken up as her own personal residence, the chaise lounge in the studio.  She has turned from being the shy kitty that never came out when someone was here to being with you all the time.

Sunset on a Rainy Day

We came together as a family to celebrate all those big events and the normal ones of life too - Easter, and Thanksgiving. In a few days, we'll gather to celebrate Christmas.  I will never forget my mom and Gayle visiting the night Dippy died or the wonderful weekend I spent with my sister at the Archabbey. The people in our lives - they are truly what matter the most.

Regular Buckeyes The view from my studio Fluffy

I bought a new car (which for some reason I've still not taken a photo of).  I didn't want to buy it - but I do love it.  I had to replace a computer and a television.  

Mom and Dad spent a month in Florida - Idris and Ron spent much more there.  I joined them, and went back myself a couple of times with Gayle.

In fact, I traveled a LOT. According to TripIt, I traveled to 25 cities in 2 countries on 18 separate trips.  That racked up more than 11,901 miles and I was gone more than 72 days.  Let's review, shall we:
  • Washington DC for a quick work trip.
  • Florida to visit Ron and Idris and Mom and Dad.  I set the goal of sticking my feet in all three major bodies of water surrounding the US in the same month (which I did later in the month)
  • San Diego, CA for a work trip - luckily my mom and sister tagged along!  And - I stuck my feet in the Pacific to round out that goal from the Florida trip.
  • Chicago Area for a one day consulting visit
  • Chicago again (by train - yeah!) for an annual conference.  I got some fun photos of a crazy run about town on that trip
  • I took my parents to Alaska!!  On the Inaugural (!!) Disney Sailing to Alaska!! We also enjoyed beautiful Vancouver. (Click thru the Flickr set in reverse - that's the best summary of that trip!) 
  • Long Beach, CA for a work trip - where I discovered that I love pinkberry.  I also met a wonderful woman who runs the Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse.  Long Beach isn't the prettiest part of California, but if I ever have to go back - this will be a must visit.
  • Went back to Orlando with Gayle for a no park's Disney vacation, where we spent a good bit of time planning our next Disney trip (and for the non-Disney-philes amongst you - yes - you can easily spend seven days on Disney property without ever once stepping foot in a park and still have a great time.)
  • Dallas Texas...and...
  • Phoenix, AZ...for quick work things (to my AZ family - I'll be back there in 2012 - perhaps even long enough to see you this time!!)
  • Las Vegas, with my whole team for a work trip.
  • Columbus, OH to see a Josh Groban concert on summer vacation with Gayle (we had AWESOME seats - thanks G!)
  • Chicago for work again, but I snuck in a bit of fun too
  • Labor Day trip with my Sister to St. Meinrad Archabbey and a serendipitous swing through French Lick and West Baden 
  • Philadephia, also for work.  The historical stuff was cool as was the huge depot market in downtown, attached to the convention center.  I'd love to go back sometime when I had time to visit the museums - I think I'd have a better appreciation for Philly if I did that.
  • Orlando again (a work trip, but Gayle tagged along and we added days in order to do Food and Wine Festival, (featuring two visits - one with Ron and Idris and Sweet Seats and a special viewing area for Illuminations - two nights in a row!!!), Osborne Spectacle of Lights, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (featuring Holiday Wishes), and Festival of the Masters - again - for the non-Disney-philes amongst you - to fit all that in basically four days - it's pretty seriously amazing!
  • Chicago for a trip that inspired my team to start singing "Movin' Right Along" from the Muppets - it was a work trip... I didn't blog it... it's just better that way.  
  • Somerset, Kentucky for another work trip
  • and rounding out the year, Davenport, IA for a consulting visit.  I drove to that one - all the rest were frequent fliers!  If you're ever in Davenport, you should definitely consider the Blackhawk hotel - gorgeous!
WOW!  That really was a lot of travel.  (2012 is shaping up to be just as busy - there are already seven confirmed trips on the calendar). I spent some time in my car shuttling Lindsay back and forth to the farm (with a LOT of help from Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Susie, and even her Auntie Gayle in a not to be forgotten, stuck on I-70 then off-road adventure).

Three Amigos Lindsay
  Dad's Winter Pasttime Why am I doing this again? Getting ready to demonstrate how we "finish"

The Harry Potter saga concluded. I saw the Green Hornet in 3D.  Gayle and I saw Cars 2 in IMAX 3D.

We saw Josh Groban live in concert - from row G - it was awesome. (And I went to the Container Store for the very first time!!)  I got to sit in the audience while David Letterman and Rachel Maddow had a conversation (thanks G!).  Google Plus got launched - I'm still trying to figure out if I like it.  Just before the Alaska trip, a prince and princess got married and on the first day of that trip, the US finally got Bin Laden!  There was a horrible tragedy at the Indiana State Fair and a devastating earthquake in Japan.

I tweeted and I somewhat infrequently posted to Facebook.  I'm still an AndroidGal and intend to be a better one in 2012.

The noisy part - and a good way to work out your frustrations Mom's hands - always working too!
This was the moment... George Washington was here The Liberty Bell

I worked - a lot.  I have a great team - that has grown significantly this year.  Yet again this year we've doubled in size.  We added Jeff, Adam, and Michelle to our little family in this last calendar year.  Laurie and Cathy, who we've worked with for a long time also officially joined our little family this year (they transferred in from regions of the College).  We moved into new space over the summer that should be temporary.  It's small, but has a great view.  We have a lava lamp, a disco ball, and - after our team holiday gift exchange - a ping-pong set that has made an appearance a couple of times.  [I wholeheartedly believe work should be fun!]

The Richmond campus's Foundation once again had  tea.  My dad helped serve for the first time!  My mom helped prep the food as she has for a few years now.  It is always a fun event.  My former boss (at the Richmond campus) announced his retirement at the end of the upcoming Spring term.  I wish him all the best in what I hope is a very long retirement where he can enjoy his kids, grand-daughter and grand-dog!

Lindsay Fall colors reflected in our pond Lindsay with Bill

As we turn the final pages in the calendar for 2011, I can honestly say looking back that I achieved more than I thought I would.  I did some things I won't do again.  I did a lot more things I will do again - and isn't that how the balance is supposed to be?  I have cherished the moments with my family, savored the moments with my friends, and created time just for me.

The hunt for the orange sharpie 20111104-FallBackSaturday-DSC_7470.jpg Holiday Wishes at the Magic Kingdom Rosa Regale Champagne in Italy Me - with cotton candy 20111112-SLOANCDisney-DSC_7844.jpg Muppet Movie chalk art outside the AMC Theatre Pluto Statue Walt Statue at Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle for the Holidays Cinderella Castle for the Holidays

I wish you and yours all the best in 2012.  To tie this back to my opening image, my wish for you in the New Year is that you may give of yourself in ways you don't even currently know are possible.  If there is one thing I learned this year - in the year of create - when I give to others I always get more in return.

So sweet Another shot with the carving tool! What else can we see? 

Thank you for sharing this year with me.  I hope you'll continue on this journey with me.

Waffles with warm blackberry compote Just before the steal Riley with Light Bokeh

From our family, to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 Kara, Lindsay, & Fluffy

New profile pic I think  DSC_8629.jpg  Fluffy with Christmas light bokeh - final


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