Blogger’s Version of the Christmas Letter

Do you love them or hate them?  Personally, I love the Christmas letters that we get from many people in our lives.  Sure, I remember previously hearing most of what I read, but not all at once and not always.  It is great to open an envelope from a long time friend and get a summary of their year, with photos of their kids and homes and favorite places.  Seems as though our little group of RV bloggers has taken to doing something quite similar, with wrap-up posts of their favorite travels, photos and experiences of the past year.  I love these posts as much as I love the Christmas letters, and the photos are easier to see! Sure, if I have followed you for a long time, and maybe even met you in person, your year end review will be the same for me, a review.  If however, you are someone I read but haven’t interacted with a lot, your year end review reminds me of who you are and where you have been.  Either way, it is wonderful to get these little summaries.  Besides, it lets me see what you think was the best part of your year, what was important to you, your favorite photos.  So, for me, and for you, this is my version of the Christmas Letter, the e-version. I decided to do some collages, and they are actually collages of collages. That is a lot of images, but the idea isn’t to review each image, but to get a feel for what that part of the year brought our way.


We spent much of January in Desert Hot Springs, and in early February we took an amazing trip to Las Vegas to see Elton John and the Valley of Fire.  Late February we spent time on the cold but beautiful northern portion of the Oregon and Washington Coasts, enjoying new places we hadn’t visited before. With snow at home in March, we reveled in a trip to sunny California for the Spring Equinox and gorgeous hikes at Pinnacles National Monument. In early April I drove with daughter number 1, Deborah, to her new life in San Antonio, Texas, and then came home to Easter with the local daughter number 3 and family before Mo and I took off on our amazing self guided tour of the covered bridges of Oregon.2012 1234


May is full blown springtime on both sides of the Cascades here in Oregon and we enjoyed it to the fullest.  We watched our tulips bloom, cleaned up the gardens, and traveled to Woodburn for the annual Tulip Festival.  We also started looking for some property in Grants Pass and saw what many months later was to become our “cottage”.  June is the perfect kayaking month, and in between garden chores we kayaked new lakes and reservoirs, visited friends in Oroville, and once again I took a photo of wocus lilies on Klamath Lake with the Mountain Lakes Wilderness in the background. In July we kayaked and camped some more, spent time with friends and family here at home, and enjoyed one more home town Fourth of July in Klamath Falls.  In late July and August, we traveled several thousand miles for a family reunion in Colorado, adding South Dakota to our list of visited states, and took in some amazing scenery in the Black Hills, at the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Devils Tower, and the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, and magnificent Twin Falls in…where?   Twin Falls, Idaho.

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September was a month for being at home, enjoying the best time of year in our own beautiful Klamath Basin.  I harvested goodies from the greenhouse, made jam and froze fruits, enjoyed many visits with friends, quilted and kayaked.  By October, I was ready for the long awaited trip to Eastern Europe with youngest daughter Melody.  We spent two incredible weeks seeing Budapest, Vienna, and Prague, learning about the history, art, and people and actually after 43 years, learning more about each other.  It was precious time.  In November Mo and I spent two fabulous weeks on the Star Princess, enjoying the magic of long days at sea interspersed with a few sunny, beautiful days in the Hawaiian Islands.  Home in December to check out our Grants Pass “cottage”, the new MoHo shed, Christmas decorating and baking, family time, and beautiful deep snows.2012 9101112

On a more personal note, forcing myself to sit down on New Year’s Eve and New Years Day, and extricate the parts of the year past that meant the most to me is a great exercise in remembering, and in appreciation.  I had to go through all the posts, through my personal calendar, through the months and months of photos.  In days past I often wrote lengthy journals on New Years Eve.  Some of them I can find and some I can’t, but the practice has opened my eyes to the blessings of the year and to just how much my life has evolved and changed over the past decades.  Sheesh.  Decades.  Remember when Y2K was such a big deal?  Remember when, back in the 80’s, lots of people were sure the world was going to end in 2012?  That whole Mayan thing wasn’t new, it had been around for a long time.  Yet here we are, all in one piece, and the world is still turning.

As I reviewed the year of going and doing, places visited, trips taken, I realized something that I knew all along.  It is the people in our lives that make it all worthwhile.  New friends and old, friends near and far, and Family.  Capitalized.  Meaning the people in our lives by blood or choice who are our chosen ones that we do life with.  Everything in my life is enriched by everyone that comes into my life in one way or another.  Blogger friends I have never met are somehow part of this extended world and add to its richness.  Facebook, Skype, Google Plus, Blogger, Gmail, Family Tree Builder, Picasa Photos, all these electronic means of keeping closer to the people in our lives may have a bit of a downside, but for me, with my friends and family scattered around the country, the ability to reach out and connect has enriched my life immeasurably.  If you are reading this, you are part of that enrichment.2012 all