Wow...another year flies by. Blink and you'll miss it. It seems like just moments ago I was reflecting on the wild, crazy and absolutely true year of 2005, and yet, here I am, watching 2006 close.
To say this year has been like the title of my LPB is an understatement, to say the least. Let's look back, shall we?
2006 dawned with me in a bar called Horse and Cow in Bremerton, Washington, surrounded by Navy guys. Not a bad way to start off a new year! It also found me still employed by Mervyn's and teaching one period a day of 6th grade choir.
The Puget Sound region hit 25 straight days with rainy weather, and my family lost a dear friend, our grumpy old tortoiseshell, Maggie. I cheered for the Seattle Seahawks as they earned a spot in the Super Bowl, and also learned--the hard way--that my students are growing up much faster than my own generation did.
Ahh, the month of hearts and flowers. Presidental holidays. Love is in the air--and so are the wind storms.
On Saturday, February 4th, a massive wind storm ripped through the Puget Sound, leaving thousands of people without power...some of us for three days. Being powerless for such a long time was a huge upset to all of us--and it was during this adventure that Mom and Dad told me they wanted to return to California.
To say I was shocked doesn't do my reaction any justice whatsoever. I was coming off of a few huge upheavals in my life--going to England, Mom and Dad leaving California, the hugely stressful decision to leave England and set up a life in Washington--and the thought of packing everything up again and heading back to California did not appeal. At all.
But this train was rolling, and it wasn't going to stop for me, so I had a decision to make--and we all know which state won.
March was pretty calm, though Mom and Dad started readying the house for selling, and I was busy searching for jobs in both Seattle and California. The whole "move back to California" thing still did not appeal, I have to say. I did manage to have some fun, taking a long day trip to Seattle with my ever-present digital camera, taking lots of pictures.
April started off in the most lovely way: A three-day trip to our Northern neighbors in Canada. Victoria, to be exact.
Victoria is lovely--part Miniature London, part Far West Trading Post. The Canadians are a friendly bunch, and Victoria itself is clean, well-tended and blessed with gorgeous weather in a part of the world known for gray skies and rain.
In April I found time to justify some of my many quirks, and I survived a lengthy lock-down with 40-something sixth grade students.
Mom and Dad found a new home in Lincoln, California, and I started to resign myself to the fact that I would probably end up back in CA, myself.
The preparations for moving begain in earnest, and a date was set for mid-June. May was a busy month; a time for me to explore as much of the Puget Sound as possible before leaving it, and to desperately seek a new job.
Mom and I cheered like mad for the glorious Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby, only to be reduced to tears as he pulled up, seriously injured, in the Preakness.
We had a brief "power struggle" with Puget Power, leaving us really ready to go back to Pacific Gas and Electric in California, and also (in the same link above), the official announcement: I had been offered a job teaching high school choir in Antioch, CA.
To celebrate, I started catching up to technology, and revelled in how cute my brand-new iPod is.
Ahh, a truly adventurous month, June.
There were suitcases in my bathroom, adventures with root beer, and the realization that you can take the girl out of California, but you can't take the California (driver) out of the girl.
Heather showed ultimate friendship and loyalty by volunteering to spend 15 hours, and 700+ miles of Interstate 5 with me in a small Mazda. Of course, she got some shopping time in Seattle out of the deal.
In July, I finally realized the full impact of having a full-time job. I get to have my own place again!! Hooray!!
Before I could find an apartment, however, I had to come to terms with Tom Cruise, and I am pleased to report that while these days I still find him pretty much repulsive, he did not win--he did not ruin Top Gun for me!
After celebrating the birthday of my own country, I commemorated a sad first anniversary of my adopted country--the anniversary of the London Tube Bombings. I also found and signed up for a lovely little apartment in Antioch, and excitedly began readying myself for my new home--the key word being "my."
In my mind, I sort of divide 2006 into different phases, all of which feel like completely different eras of my life, instead of small chunks of the same calendar year. January through May revolved around life in one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of the country, and maybe the world, the Puget Sound. June and July were a brief adventure complete with long drives, hot days, and utter laziness.
August, then, was a beginning. For the first time since college, I once again had my own place, and I looked forward to a full-time job and the future looked bright.
I started off the month by settling into my new home, and making it my own (even dealing, on my own, with ants).
On the 12th I turned 28, and skipped my 10-year high school reunion.
Then, of course, I started my new job, and the LPB has suffered ever since!
September, October, November, December
In September I met my upstairs neighbor who happens to be a colleague, caught a cricket in my washing machine, and vacuumed a piano. I met the first day of school head-on and lived to tell about it.
October found me finally getting some time with Heather and Summer, and also making a day trip to Santa Cruz to cheer for my drum line kids. I also made it through my first big fund-raising event of the year, much to my ever-lasting relief.
November found me delighting in the arrival of Autumn (finally! It's always so late in California!) and cheering like mad for the high school football team as we made the playoffs...and lost.
December, of course, has been mad--between carol gigs and my concert, I barely had time to do the fun stuff, like my Christmas cards. But somehow I managed to stay on top of everything. My progress report grades were in on time, my cards got mailed with time to spare (even my English recipients got them in time!) and the only thing I ended up neglecting was to mail Christmas gifts to my brother's family in Idaho. Fortunately, they were understanding.
Here I am, three hours shy of 2007, reflecting on what a Wild and Absolutely True year it has been. One year ago, I thought I would be making my life and career in Washington, and only returning to California to visit friends, and yet, here I am, once again a California Girl. I still miss the wild beauty of the Puget Sound, and yes, even the cold, rainy weather. But mostly, I'm happy with where my life is. I have a great little apartment and a good job...even with the stresses and challenges it presents. My family and friends are near enough that I can see them from time to time without, say, a 14-hour drive along Interstate 5 or a trans-Atlantic flight. I finally have a little bit of savings put away, and I can afford things like servicing for my car without help from Mom and Dad.
Yes, life is good, and I'm optimistic about 2007. I'm sure it will bring all the Wild and Absolutely True Adventures I can ever hope for.
Bring it on...
And a very Happy New Year to all of you, dear friends. May 2007 be your best year yet.