Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 RECAP: Roll With Change or it'll Roll Right Over You!

The year 2011 started off quietly, although I continued to be under a lot of stress in the office.  But then February rolled around and I was laid off as part of a firm-wide reorganization where most everyone in the nation with my role was eliminated, as well.  I have to admit I was relieved and spent the next few weeks decompressing.  The job hunt has been intense and regular ever since, although it’s been very slow.  I’m a middle manager, and categorically my position has been hit hardest in corporate America’s efforts to downsize and restructure in response to fears about the U.S. recession and global economic difficulties.  My guess is that when I do get back to work, I’ll fall back on the secretarial skills my grandmother insisted I get coming out of high school. 

Leslie, Elizabeth and I have spent all summer attending various venues with my art, and those of you who know me on Facebook or Blogger know I’ve been writing about our experiences all summer. We’ve done art and music festivals, large events in the city, and a number of smaller events.  I’ve been involved with the Art Guild of Pacifica, as well.  So, even though the job hunt is tough, I’ve always wanted time to focus on my art like this.  Doing it together with Leslie and Elizabeth is a bonus.

Rest In Peace, Dear One

(Donna’s Grandmother)
1921 – 2011

Thelma passed away in her sleep over night in June after a long time in Wallingford’s Regency House. She went quietly, and she will be missed.  What’s strange is that I feel her everywhere around like I did when she was living.  Almost right afterward, her younger sister, Tootsie, passed away, as well, leaving none of the Creech brothers and sisters on the planet.  Now their children are the older generation.

Making Connections

A spectacular bonus to this year has been the way we’ve connected with people we’ve known and loved for a long time.  Leslie got together with her niece, Tami, after a long time of estrangement.  We drove out to Sacramento in April to meet Tami and Sarah for a delicious meal at one of our favorite restaurants. Now, she and Leslie speak regularly over the phone and are connected on Facebook.  Tami had weight loss surgery recently and is doing very well with it; this has inspired both of us to consider having the same.  Leslie will go first, we think, because it will make a huge and significant impact on her arthritis.  Tami tells us that Leslie’s sister, Michele, got married to a very nice man.  Congrats, Michele; the third time is a charm.  Also, Leslie has reconnected with Nancy an old friend from the past who was almost lost to cancer this year (more than once).  I’ve been blessed with reconnecting to cousins from both sides of the family and now touch base with them regularly via Facebook. Sending love to Cath, Deb, Ellen, Pam, Elise and everyone else! 

R.I.P. Jack and Hello Teddy!

In May of this year, we lost our Golden Retriever, Jack, to an unexpected problem with his gastro-intestinal system.  He was put down suddenly, and we were all there to wish him farewell as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  We all miss him, but I think Daizy misses him the most. People think animals don’t have feelings, but Daizy was definitely grieving for Jack. She had nightmares and lost sleep, as well.  When we thought she was getting depressed, we got another little puppy at the humane society near Coyote Point.  Introducing Teddy, our Beagle/Jack Russell mix, who was put on the planet specifically to keep Daizy on her toes. He’s active, fun, and just plain happy to be here.  It took a month or two, but Daizy accepted him and is now a different dog as she’s re-established her role as canine matriarch and security chief of the Faber Pack.  But still, when Daizy sees a Golden at the dog park, she races over to see if it’s her big boy.

High School Rocks

Elizabeth is having the time of her life in her freshman year.  Her grades are good, but her social life is even better.  If you know our daughter, you know that she is a social adept who successfully manages both her obligations and friends with agility and success.  She goes to football games, does flash mob exercises in drama class, and has friends over all the time. When they’re here, you can hear them squealing out of the window upstairs at all the cute boys walking from the high school down the hill.  At the same time she navigates some of the dangers of high school with grace and caution. We’ve been on the periphery of more than one of her friends or acquaintances dealing with eating disorders, suicide, and even rape.  We are thankful Elizabeth has a good head on her shoulders and is well adjusted. She learns from these things and takes each lesson seriously.  We are so proud of Elizabeth. She’s had a great year!

Pacifica Becomes Home

There is a something special happening in Pacifica, California, something people on the outside probably don’t know about. When we moved here two and half years ago, I had no idea it existed.  Rather, I was focused on the town house we’d bought and the difficulty I anticipated in commuting to the city. I was perfectly oblivious, but no matter.  My awareness or lack there of didn’t change the fact that wonderful things were happening regularly in the lovely coastal town that lies quietly between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.  The heart of Pacifica lies in its sense of community, and at the very center of that is a strong commitment to the arts.  And even more wonderful, I find myself fitting in.  There were many things I didn’t expect this year, but feeling Pacifica become home was one of the most unexpected yet welcome of all.

Merry Christmas!

We approach this holiday season very thankful for our health and happiness.  We’ve gotten much closer as a family, although we are considerably more frugal and watching our pennies carefully.  While we have a feeling 2012 will continue to be quite the roller coaster ride, we hope that it brings good fortune and prosperity to us and all of you in the ways that matter to you the most. In the meantime, we’re hanging in there.  We’ll see you on Facebook! 

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