Thursday, December 31, 2009

best of oh-nine

Dear friends,

It's a cliche, yet almost obligatory. Best of 09. Worst of 09. All about me in 09. Some news organizations are even doing the lets-wrap-up-the-decade editions. I'm a stickler; I have one more year left in my decade, got it? So what do you think made my 2009 so fantastic?

Was it celebrating Alaska's 50th anniversary of statehood by standing downtown in sub-zero temperatures as fireworks went off all around us? Or the joy of exploring the frozen art installations on the park strip just a week later, then savoring my memories of the event as the works melted in the rainy 50-degree days?

Was it being with my parents and some of my siblings in the Land of Cheese when my mom celebrated her 85th birthday?

Was it all the pain-free bicycle riding I did with Jon and with friends in town and on the Kenai? Or the simplicity of hiking and camping during our beautiful summer? Was it skipping stones in a river or eating around a campfire? Watching steam rise from a volcano?

Was it leaving work to pursue writing; a workshop in the Wrangell Mountains? The days I was able to share with Jon away from work instead of working together as we have for so many years?

Was it political: the happiness and pride of seeing President Obama take office? The confused celebrations when our governor inexplicably left office?

Was it spending more time in the blueberry patches? Or harvesting fish from set nets in Kasilof? Was it bike camping with my girlfriends on a beautiful September weekend, just before my birthday?

Was it the process of the remodel, watching as our foundation was rebuilt, making our home level again?

Was it taking my first flight in a small airplane? Seeing the valleys, the braided rivers, ponds and mountains from the air with no obstructions?

Was it watching the second full moon of the month being eclipsed by the earth just before it set on this last day of 2009?

All these happenings are memorable for reasons that go beyond notations on my calendar. They aren't just events. They are events filled with people who are important to me. First, Jon, my partner who is patient and understanding, encouraging and funny. Handy, creative and meticulous about everything he takes on.

The people I worked with for many years (or just one or two) who are so smart and infuse humor and creativity into their work; the customers I got to know over the years who made me feel that I am part of a larger community of citizens who reach beyond cycling with their ideas about how our world can be a better place.

My family, most of whom are in the Midwest, for coming together whenever I go to visit, and do all they can to help our parents continue to live independently. And my family here in Alaska - my sister and her family, including my nephew and niece - who continue to open my eyes to what it means to be authentic about who you are.

Our friend Scott who, after years of encouragement finally convinced me to go flying one clear October day.

And my friends, including all the women from the Dirt Divas with whom I bike almost every week and some who are even willing to go on epic adventures with me. These biking women are a source of strength and energy and are consistently positive and supportive. They help me feel that I belong to something. They - and their partners, and several other people I've met through cycling and other activities - make up my extended Alaska family.

This is quite a place to live, but the people make it home. They fill the moments of each year by listening & sharing and by making me laugh.

happy full moon!
happy new year!

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