Preparing to bid a fond farewell to one of the best years of my life...

It was a year like no other, that is for sure. I learned a lot, I became more myself than I have ever been, and I found my spot. I toasted the new year with a wonderful man, and with our lovely children, and I knew without making wishes or resolutions, that I was in for a big year.

 I got to travel more than usual. J & I went to Las Vegas (a first for me!) where I learned that not only did I adore him at home, but that he was far & away the best travel companion a girl could hope for.

I went to Portland, and got to see old friends, which was wonderful, albeit brief. I went on a whirlwind trip to Phoenix for work, which was...nothing special, as travel goes. Eventually spring rolled around, and I planned a trip to Seattle. I wanted my family and closest friends to meet the guy I'd fallen so madly in love with. We planned the trip for June, but on May 5th, he proposed... so in the end, I brought my fiance to meet the family. We had another wonderful trip together and resolved to travel as much as two people with four kids possibly can get away with.
So of the major highlights of this last year was just that. The proposal. The move to Santa Fe. {God!! I love this town. I thought I was happy in Albuquerque, but having moved to Santa Fe, I feel truly at home. It's like a very small Seattle, at least in terms of culture and ideology. Of course, it's the desert, so there's a pretty significant difference. It lacks the beautiful waterways of the Puget Sound, but oh! the sky is so blue. And it snows and feels like winter and has the most majestic cloud formations you've ever seen.}
And autumn. Autumn in the high desert is unspeakably beautiful. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to marry this man, to clasp his hand and promise him everything, on a sparkling, crisp October day. It was like everything that had ever happened in my life led to exactly that moment of pure magic.

Immediately after the wedding, we launched into holiday mode. This year has been nothing short of whirlwind. It's had its difficult moments, of course. A lot of change and transition, and especially seeing the kids through all of that...well, there have been challenging moments. I went through a couple losses in terms of friendships, which is something that had never happened in my life before. That was rough, particularly in the sense that for a while, it made me question myself and who I am in a relationship. But I came to the conclusion that really, everything does happen for a reason. And by and large, I'm the happiest I have ever been, so who is to argue with that outcome?

So, it's with some reluctance that I'm preparing for the end of this year. It's odd, I can't say I have ever felt that way. I'm usually glad for a new year, the notion of a clean slate. This year, I'm simply thrilled to be where I am and to continue to see how things evolve. I loved this last year and I welcome the next. I have lots up my sleeve, but I'm not one to make big declarations or resolutions. At least, not out loud.

Oh! And in case anyone wondered, after the baking fiascos of my last entry, the gingerbread apple upside-down cake was unbelievable. So delicious.

Yeah. So good.  For New Year's Eve, I'm making Cappelini with Beans & Greens (good luck foods... I never said I'm not superstitious!), with some chianti, and for dessert, Vanilla Roasted Pears with homemade butterscotch. Can you tell Smitten Kitchen is my favorite food blog?

J & I are sans children for five more days while they are off with their other parents. It's still not easy for me to put S & V on a plane, and this year was particularly hard, since it fell on the anniversary of my mom's death (there's an interesting story of a shooting star in there, but I'll save it for another day...) but I am glad they are getting time with their dad, and I'll be honest...solo time is good for us, too. It's rare.

I hope 2010 brings ridiculous levels of joy into all of your lives. All five of you who read this. And to those who used to, and to friends I've lost track of, and to my lovely family, all (or at least most) of whom I miss, to my dear friends far away, and to my newest friends and family, please...have a shiny, happy new year.


Warrior Princess said...
December 29, 2009 at 9:06 PM

Carole, you have truly had a wonderful year, and I was happy to be a part of it. Enjoy your solo time, and let's get together soon in the new year!

Anonymous said...
December 29, 2009 at 10:24 PM

It's so refreshing to read an account of 2009 being a GOOD year. I'm so ready for it to be over, personally...then I stop and think why. It wasn't a terrible year by any measure (2006 takes the prize for that one) but it was so frenzied...I'm still so tired from all the rushing around headless chicken style. I can't wait for 2010 to start. It's going to be the best year ever, methinks. :)
xox, Ana

Anonymous said...
December 29, 2009 at 10:27 PM

so happy to read again of your happiness! you completely deserve all the happiness you can muster into your life.

patrick said...
December 30, 2009 at 12:34 AM

I don't ascribe to the "things happen for a reason" school of thought, but I do believe that we can shape our lives based on those things which do occur to us; that we recognize choices ahead of us and act as we see fit at that moment. When someone divorces us (as happened to me fifteen years ago), we can choose to allow it to be an anchor to hold us back or a springboard to something better.

That said...

It's been nothing short of a pleasure getting to know you, Carole. It's been a delight to feel your humanness in words and pictures; it's been a treasure to witness the advent of your love affair with J. It was a privilege to feel the inspiration that brought "Brightest Light" to me, although, to be honest, its inspiration was somewhat personal, too, as I was falling in love at the same time. It was your story that triggered it and mine which somewhat fueled it.

You know, it's somewhat of an irony that I'm here at the behest of one of the people whose friendship you lost this year. Who'd've thunk it, huh? Perhaps you can look at it as a one-door-closes-and-another-one-opens kinda situation, but I think it's just how life shifts and bends. Sometimes, we just have to twist and bend with it until it fits.

I will be moving very soon to San Francisco to do a little shifting and bending of my own. I can only hope things work out as well as they have for you this year.

cjg said...
December 30, 2009 at 8:17 AM

Grace, yes! I'm looking forward to it.
Ana, I'm with you on 2006, and 2007 for that matter. I think you are right that 2010 is going to be a GREAT year, and I absolutely wish that for you!
Joyc, thank you, dear!
Patrick, I had forgotten about the initial point of contact, but you are right. And while intellectually, I think the idea that "everything happens for a reason" makes little to no sense, my mom always used to say it & while I refuted the idea with all kinds of lofty arguments, for the first time, whether I actually believe it or not, I feel it.
San Francsco! Yay!! I think that is a great move for you. Are you driving? If so, you should make your way through NM and stop for a bit.

patrick said...
December 30, 2009 at 8:37 PM

I'll indeed be driving, but it looks like the shortest (and therefore cheapest) path will be a few hundred miles north of you.

Mrs. Motley said...
January 4, 2010 at 12:04 PM

How did I miss that you started blogging again? Yay! So good to hear your voice again, in longer form than FB allows.

cjg said...
January 4, 2010 at 2:58 PM

hey! Yay, glad to see you here! :)Remember...NYC in June! (or maybe July...)

TheAmpuT said...
April 20, 2010 at 8:19 PM

I have to tell ya, I had totally lost track of your blog. I had your OLD url in my bloglines feed, and it just kept showing empty so I figured your posting had slowed down to a halt. I was about to delete it from my feeds, but found you on bloglines and have reread the top several posts and holy crap I am soooooooo happy for you and all of your great news!!! Congrats on your Love & new family, and good luck with the new biz. Looks great :-)
XO ~bonnie (aka AmpuTeeHee)

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