The Saddest Moment of All
I had to say goodbye to my dear Millie Joyful this year...and God, it was so hard. Millie had been with me through so many homes, adventures--everything. She even waited patiently for me to get England out of my system. All pets are special, of course, but Millie was extra-special. It hurt so to let her go, but I don't regret that I listened to her, that I gave her what she needed from me, even though it broke my heart.
This picture is the last one I took of the two of us, a few short days before she took a turn for the worse, and I knew. She was painfully thin, but eating, and purring. I worried like any mama worries. I hoped for the best...it just wasn't meant to be.
Dear Millie, you are so missed.
A Moment To Hold Back the Tears...and Be Silly
While my career path took a decided turn for the better after I left the Large Suburban High School, I still hated--HATED--saying goodbye to "my kids," and I still miss them. I'll never forget my two years there, but most especially that last semester, where I had 25 really terrific kids, and a group dynamic that left little room for drama...there was a lot of fun, and some great singing. Our Spring Concert was awesome, with Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" capping off our part of the evening in spectacular style.
On the last day of school, I struggled to keep my tears in check, and asked my colleague, Lynn, to take a picture of me with my awesome choir. After a couple of serious pictures, we all let loose, and the picture at right is one I will treasure for a long time.
A Proud, Grown-Up Moment
The money is better spent elsewhere.
So Rosie and I parted ways on Veteran's Day, and Sylvie came home with me. A glossy, shiny Mazda 3--driving her is like driving a rocket after twelve years in Rosie...but we're getting along just fine. :)
The best part? I did this by myself. No help, just a grown woman at the dealership, knowing what she wanted and knowing how to get it.
The OMG Moment to Beat All OMG Moments
Of course I've thought about going to London about twenty thousand times in the last ten years. I've looked at tickets and lamented the costs. I lost a job and went through unemployment and thought, "Well, I'll go back someday..."
Someday is here. The trip is booked, it's happening...and believe me, no amount of state department advisories will scare me off of this one. London's calling, and I'm so ready to see my old friend.
I am finally, finally, back in a place financially where I can splurge on something like this (having a random week off in February, when travel is super-cheap, helps, too). When I paid for the trip (No credit cards! No borrowing!), I actually had tears in my eyes. "Excited" hardly begins to cover it.
No, I'm euphoric.
A Hopeful Moment
This was the first interview that day, and I surreptitiously took an Instagram photo in the main office while I waited, and wondered if this would be the kind of place I'd like to work.
I left a little while later, figuring I had just come across as a huge asshole...but whaddaya know, I got the job! And they were excited to have a VAPA teacher for the first time in the school's three-year history.
All I know is that my initial thought--that a school with toys and a huge rainbow rug in the main office has a kid-first approach to education--holds true. It's a good school, and I'm one lucky VAPA teacher.
A Sweet Moment
No, not a duckling, a quail chick. I'd recently seen families--Ma, Pa, and the kids--crossing streets in the area, and now, one...wait, no, two...hold on, three tiny chicks were darting around in the gutter, unable to boost themselves up onto the squared curb and get to the safety of the bushes beyond.
I had to help.
After considerable chasing, and a lot of high-pitched chattering--"I won't hurt you! Let's get you back to Mom and Dad!!"--I got three sweet quail babies onto the sidewalk, with the help of my bandana. (Turns out bandanas make handy elevators for lost and wayward wildlife.)
I like to think I earned some good karma that day.
The "When At Disneyland..." Moment
And my own Duck, Cali Swimmy, is getting his picture taken with Donald.
It simply has to happen.
And so it did, again, this year. I was in a bit of a hurry, needing to leave the park with the kids to go perform, but the picture is adorable. I love Disneyland and it's cast members for being so wonderful to park guests...and for humoring the rubber-duck-toting weirdos of the world.
A Snoopwich Sandwich Moment
When Summer and I decided to see Ben Folds perform in Santa Rosa, there was no question we'd meet up at the best attraction that fine little city has to offer--the Charles Schulz Museum. But first, lunch at the Warm Puppy Cafe, where I could not turn down a simple PB&J "Snoopwich."
Summer and I had a great time exploring the museum again (she went to the grand opening with me way back in 2002), and wandering around the Snoopy Gallery and Gift Shop. My adventures with her are always great fun.
Then, in November, the Peanuts movie released, so this year was a good one for this Snoopy fan.
A Very Proud Moment
I bit the bullet and paid for the program in April, but didn't start studying in earnest until June, when school was out. Several weeks of intense studying, and endless questions and texts to the ever-patient Matt, and I did it! It wasn't easy, either--a lot of memorization, and of material I had only minimal prior knowledge of.
Of course, with my career going back to full-time, I haven't had a lot of time to really use the certification, but I'm still learning a lot from working out with Matt and designing some of my own programs--especially in my running training.
A Moment of Hilarity
I love singing with Sac Choral, and this particular concert--in October--reminded me just how much, after several weeks of thinking, "I'm just way too busy and tired for this." After an attitude change during that morning's dress rehearsal, I donned my "Goth Anne of Green Gables" dress and asked Dad to take a picture of me. He suggested a pointy hat and a broom.
We didn't have a hat on hand, but we did have a broom, and the result is a picture of me uninhibitedly laughing my ass off in my too-large, too-much-dress-in-this-dress frock.
Keep singing, Meg.
A Super-Strong Moment
I still struggle--far too much--to feel proud of how my body looks, and my first thought when I look at this is, "Oh, I should trim my tummy down..." But then I look beyond the so-called (and self-perceived) flaws and think, "Look at those badass legs--four days later, they ran a half marathon!" Or I think, "Look at that strong body, that determined face...just look beyond all that to the girl inside who never quits."
Because I don't quit. I keep running. I keep lifting. I am worth it.
A Moment To Enjoy Family
It was a good afternoon, and a relaxing holiday. I'm so very lucky to have my parents, but especially to be so close to them.
Moments With Friends
So many moments. From seeing Shae for the first time in two years in November to every other good time I've had with my friends this year.
Dinners out, Halloween shenanigans, watching Sarah's daughter Julia cheer on Senior Night and marveling at how this young woman is the same human being that I held when she was two days old.
Endless side-by-side selfies, intentional duck face to mock those who think it looks good. Dancing in a very crowded bar and getting conked on the head by someone's elbow because I am just that short.
Ben Folds in concert with Summer, Katie and Tom, and dragging Summer around the Peanuts complex in Santa Rosa (she really doesn't mind).
Tea dates and bumming around San Francisco, days at the ocean, where Summer never acts (too) embarrassed at me taking the requisite duck-on-head selfie.
Sometimes I think I don't see my friends often enough--we just get so busy with real-world, grown-up responsibilities. I'm making an effort to push a little more, to get together with people as much as possible. Life is better with friends! And this lucky lady has some good ones.
Here's to the moments that made 2015 the beautiful roller coaster it was. I've grown, and learned. I've had some really great moments, and some crushing ones, as well. Here's looking ahead to 2016...may it bring good things to all of us.