While many may think I’m at a salsa party on NYE, I’m not. I wanted a last night by the tree, my son in the next room playing video games. He’ll graduate in 2012…too soon…and I haven’t had the chance over Christmas break to look back on the past year and thank God for all His blessings.
Many firsts in 2010…my students doing a book study with Sherry’s class in Ecuador via Skype. Classic Coup featured in Her Nashville, then my writing for the magazine. Examiner interviews with amazing people, like Alberto Fuguet and a salsera who inspired me with her story, soon to be published. Loving Middle Eastern food and eating it while watching the Super Bowl. First trip to Vegas and to Kansas City. Sharing Go-Jo with a friend before he hit the Road Less Traveled. Our bathroom restored over Thanksgiving when 8 Days of Hope came to town. The kindness of strangers.
And speaking of Tennessee Williams…my first trip to NOLA. Why had I not gone sooner considering it’s the most European-feeling city in America? There Kim did a reunion concert with her former husband/band member that loyal fans, Kim’s high school friends, and five of us from Nashville traveled to see. She sang like an angel, he played up a storm, and they bantered like June Carter and Johnny Cash. I’d met Kim post-Bill and her Rockabilly days. Seeing them slip back into something onstage so familiar and so different reminded me of the lives we all live and leave behind. Their reunion foreshadowed my own last fall when I saw girls–classmates most of whom I hadn’t seen since my high school graduation. Girls from ’77– different and yet the same.
2011 marks not only a new year. It begins a new decade. Since 2000 I’ve lost both grandmothers. Others have moved away or moved on. I look back each year to embrace the comfort of Wordsworth’s words: “We will grieve not, rather find/ Strength in what remains behind;/ In the primal sympathy / Which having been must ever be.”
In the last decade ten more senior classes graduated. My kids, pets, and I continued celebrating life with birthdays, vacations, Pokeman, American Girl, movie nights, soccer, drama, cheerleading and wrestling. I’ve seen my nieces grow up one street over, alongside my children. I became part of a salsa family that taught me to celebrate EVERY birthday–even the once-dreaded milestones. I’ve seen my sister, mother, and daughter see Italy for the first time. I’ve gone to the beach and Barcelona with friends, explored from Santa Monica to Malibu with Taylor and Cole.
New friends, new passions, new places…like Garden Brunch Cafe, Lassiz, Cantino Laredo, McNamara’s Irish Pub. And old favorites, comfort food, like clam chowder and beef stew, Radnor Lake and Mad Donna’s. A tradition, taking my sis out for her birthday, became new when Penny and I saw A Scattered, Smothered, and Covered Christmas at the new downtown dinner theater. Family and friends still here…passages as we change and move on. Welcome home from Africa, Sally, friends forever since we started Mrs. Monday’s K-5 class together. And hello friends-yet-to-be in 2011.
Once Upon a Time in Dublin in 2000…
And in Destin circa ’05 or so…
And all the time in-between…
It has been a wonderful life…decade…year…
Court of 2 Sisters
Full Circle…I grew up near Fairview where family reunions were held at the “Jeff Davis” monument.
Home in film, The Curious Case of Benjamen Button
Sandra Bullock’s home
One school of Brad P and Angelina J’s children
Mike, our Southern gentleman and host, showed us sites after my first night of Zydeco.
High school friends of Kim at Stanley, my favorite restaurant named for the character I love/hate–especially when played by Marlon Brando.
Carnival at Lime with Em
Classic Coup featured in Her…photo by Jude Ferrara
Birthday dance …photo by Anthony Jure
Author/Director Alberto Fuguet
Teaching my seniors to salsa in the park
Taylor reading my favorite contemporary Southern novelist in Destin
Thanks to Emily and Cindy D, our resident photographers.
Fun with Nashville Writers Meetup at Southern Festival of Books
Founder of Hands on Nashville, Hal Cato, speaks at our Career Day
Senior Prank…my knight captured
My TA, Margarita, consoles me with random acts of kindness.
Examiner article covering Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Awards–Spanish translation
Sonja and Elle’s launch of the Superwoman benefit for battered women
Volunteers from 8 Days of Hope…two families rich in love who blessed mine