At the end of the year…

2021 was a strange year. Not a bad year. In fact for me it was actually a very good year. Watching the news I feel a little guilty about that.

I haven’t lost a loved one to COVID, or anything else. The COVID precautions like wearing a mask don’t bother me much, the only problem I have is my glasses fogging up. When my turn came along I easily found a vaccine and booster. So far the supply chain hasn’t failed to provide me with the things I need or want and we haven’t seen prices rise in the things we buy.

COVID hasn’t dominated my life, it was more of a back beat. It did complicate things when Dad was in the hospital and nursing home. We couldn’t visit which made communication a bit challenging. I did celebrate my FV (fully vaccinated) day: May 21 (14 days after the May 7 second dose) by having an old family friend over for dinner. My booster was less memorable. So very thankful that we have effective vaccinations readily available.

Waiting rooms dominated the first part of the year

One of many waiting rooms.

Dad had open heart surgery in January and between checking on his place and visiting him afterwards (he was staying at my sister’s place) that shaped the early part of my year. The surgery was successful but recovery took a while. Normally I wouldn’t list something like this as good…but the alternative was, literally, death. He had an aortic aneurysm that was ready to burst. They found it by accident.

But then I got in a little travel

This year I managed to get out and travel a bit between waiting rooms and COVID surges. Some local and some far flung destinations.

Columbia Gorge

One trip down to visit while Dad was recovering at my sister’s, I took him out along the Columbia Gorge for a day trip.

It was a real pick me up for the old goat between the big event and a follow on procedure to get things back in running order.

Mount Rainier

After missing a year in 2020 we were able to get down to Mount Rainier for a few days in July. It was, as always, beautiful. Still pretty snowy but, boy, was it melting fast. And the lilies were spectacular this year.

Separate and unequal

The Man Of The House (MOTH) and I had separate vacations this year. Our geriatric cat needs her food pureed and provided a few tablespoons at a time on demand. For that reason one of us needs to stay around home so we take turns going places. Mount Rainier was an exception since our niece, a cat lover and all-around wonderful person since birth, was available to spoil her majesty.

He went to visit family in misery…oops…Missouri, in August. While he was gone, I cleaned out our garage, the last time this was done was in 2015. I was exhausted.

Then it was my turn…

France

In September I took a trip alone to France. It was stretching my wings a bit. While I have traveled on my own before, I have mostly done so between meeting up with others, not just me solo for two weeks. I still would rather have the MOTH with me, but he doesn’t like to travel, so I don’t think this will be my last solo voyage.

It was splendid.

Viking had a single supplement waiver on top of a decent discount on a cruise on the Rhone River. I had credit card points from buying groceries for three households during the pandemic to cover airfare. So I stitched together a trip where I had a day in Paris on either end, plus a little time to explore Avignon, and a couple of TGV rides (I adore high speed trains!).

Here is a sampler from that trip:

Even though I was gone less than two weeks, I was able to fit in a nice blend of just being in France with seeing a wide variety of historical and cultural sites, cities, villages and countryside.

The river cruise was a very nice way to travel solo. I was able to see so much more than if I had had to organize everything myself. Not having to pack, unpack, and schlep my stuff around made the trip really relaxing compared with others I’ve done. I was very impressed by the variety of outings that they organized. While I could have spent more time, way more time in many cases, I felt like I had really seen the region. Kudos to Viking for both an excellent itinerary and their diligence in managing COVID protocols. I felt very safe.

While the cruise was fantastic, I was glad that I had planned some disorganized time on my own in Paris and Avignon to just wander. This trip was, by far, the highlight of the past couple of years.

I got back in time to take the dogs in for grooming and my dad in for his cardio check up-what a good girl am I!

Lake Chelan

In October my sister, my dad and I took a quick weekend trip to Lake Chelan which is in Eastern Washington. Even though I’ve lived here (Washington) all of my life except four years in college, I had never been to Lake Chelan.

Lake Chelan fall colors.

The fall foliage was gorgeous in the mountains driving over and along the lake. We took a boat trip up the lake to Stehekin in the North Cascades National Park. The post: There’s gold on them thar hills has more photos from that trip.

The day after our trip up the lake it rained…actually it poured. That put a damper on our stop in Leavenworth on the way home. I felt for the musicians who were out providing cheer for the Octoberfest.

Not the biggest crowds.

Hawai’i

My dad and I took a quick trip to Hawai’i after Thanksgiving. He has been rather down in the dumps. The surgery was hard, he needed some follow on work to get all of his systems up and running, and he didn’t bounce back the way he had hoped he would (He refused to go to rehab so that was at least partly his bad). One might add in the humiliation of his adult daughters learning way more than they wanted to about the aforementioned systems.

Around here December is a pretty gray month with short days, high tides and lots of precipitation. Dad lives close to the water (elevation at about 20 feet above high tide) and at times the world really closes in.

Hawai’i was a great antidote to that. Even when it rained it was much brighter and warmer than at home. My post Sunrise-sunset quickly go the days has a sampler of photos from that trip.

We didn’t do a great deal of sight seeing Dad, at 83, isn’t a particularly energetic particle, but he went out and walked along the beach and enjoyed the warmth. Also, we were on the 22nd floor and had a balcony with sweeping views of the ocean, including a peek-a-boo at Diamond Head and an excellent sunset view. More than that: we could watch sea turtles from the balcony. You had to look carefully.

Blurry Green Sea Turtle at a high zoom.

Just like Lake Chelan this trip ended with lots of rain.

Even so we were fortunate, we only had a couple of days of rain at the end of the trip, and it was, at least for us, bright and warm…and the storm that caused the major flooding in Waikiki was starting as we got on the plane to return home.

On the home front

I started a hummingbird garden

It started with a packet of seeds.

In February

I put in a no-dig flower bed around a support for a laundry line. It took a while to get going, but it does seem to attract the little ones. The solar fountain I made with a thrift store bowl attracts other birds as well.

Western Tanager taking a dip.

Even now with snow on the ground we are seeing them. We put cozies made of old socks on the feeders to keep the food from freezing today.

My little friend.

What so ever was lovely

This fall, for no particular reason, I was feeling rather blah. In an experiment I challenged myself to take and publish a photo a day of something lovely during November. I made it!

It was a real challenge, in part because I was feeling so very “been here done this” about photographing things in my ordinary life. Some days I really didn’t think I would find anything lovely.

The project does keep your eyes open to the beautiful. Many of the pictures are close up pictures of small things, things that I might pass by or take for granted as too ordinary to bother photographing if I wasn’t seeking to find something lovely every single day.

All in all 2021 was a really nice year.

As I started this post, much as when I started my “What so ever is lovely” project, I was feeling a bit “meh”. I think this is because of stress about the future.

But as I reviewed my year that changed. I feel truly blessed and lucky. The world I live in has its problems, many of them major, but there is beauty and seeking it out does help one to get through the stress.

Into the new:

I do not make resolutions on New Years. But I am considering starting a new project:

Doing a weekly “What so ever is lovely” and inviting you all to join in. Would you be interested?

Best wishes to you all in 2022.

16 thoughts on “At the end of the year…”

  1. What a beautiful collection of photos! It was another challenging year but you took some great pictures of things near and far. Yes, I might be interested in a “lovely” challenge. Have a great new year!

    Liked by 1 person

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