Looking back at 2014


A year ago, 2014 was a blank canvas. Now, as I look back on it, the days, weeks, and months are painted in colorful designs, with some fireworks and a few black marks.

My granddaughter was born one year ago today, and her presence changed the course of my year. I wanted her to know me, so I’ve visited at least weekly, glad that she is only 40 minutes away. She has gone from that small, helpless babe in arms to an intensely curious, beautiful person who can run, not just walk, and who definitely knows her “Sassy”. (That’s me) Her mother doesn’t want pictures of her on the internet, or I’d post one.

Here are some highlights from the year, besides the sweet baby:

I had incapacitating back pain in January, missed work, went to chiropractors, had to become less active. I had thought I would get back into running, but there is still residual pain, so I have become much more sedentary.

In March and again in April I went to the Chopra Center near San Diego and in addition to learning something about Ayurveda and levels of consciousness, took up meditation on a twice daily basis. I didn’t really know what I was doing, sometimes still don’t, but I know that the continued practice is life-changing, in ways I can’t really explain. I am generally calmer, less reactive, and more in tune with my own rhythms. I highly recommend it. I wrote about it here.

In June I started this blog simply because in that moment I had something to say and thought it could be meaningful to someone else.  I wrote facing fear because those thoughts were burning in me and I wanted to get it out and own it. After I wrote it, I thought oh God, what have I done, now I have to keep writing! And have found the blogging world to be delightful and fascinating.

In July my youngest daughter moved out, and in August my second oldest son got married. My entire family was reunited for the wedding. I learned that letting go goes on and on and on, because children grow up to be adults with ideas of their own. It is the hardest thing, yet as I let them go, I also become free. I wrote about my empty nest.

The last day of August my sweetheart and I moved in together. We met in August of 2013, and it hadn’t taken too long before we were spending as much time together as we could. It didn’t make sense to keep living 30 miles apart. Having been married twice, living together without asking for the government’s approval just makes more sense for me, at my age. At least for now.

The rest of the year was pretty uneventful until this month. My family is pretty scattered and we don’t make a big deal of Christmas, so Robert and I decided to take a cruise, a first for both of us. The jury is still out on this experience. It was fun, but also exhausting. I think I prefer going to a destination and staying there for a while. Glad we went, though, and glad to be home.

Sara on cruise

Resolutions: Writing and Reading

I used to be a bookworm. I was one of those kids who read everything I could get my hands on, and my favorite position for reading was hanging upside down from a big overstuffed chair.

When I was 12, I read Gone with the Wind in a week. I remember being enthralled with the story, reading every spare moment.  I love mysteries, science fiction, biographies, drama, fantasy, and when I was teenager, Harlequin romances. I went through a phase of reading lots of self-help books and religious books. I’ve read much less for about the last ten years, and I blame the internet for that!

When I was raising my kids, I tried to pre-read the books they wanted to read. It worked for the older ones, but #7 was even more prolific then I ever was, so she got to read whatever she could lay her hands on.

Over time, I’ve purged my library. Mostly what I have now is collections of children’s books that I can’t bear to part with.  Some were my kids, some were mine as a child. I have Dr. Seuss (my favorite is The King’s Stilts), little Golden, Nancy Drew, and some from a children’s book club, Ribsy being an all time favorite.

As I’ve taken up writing this blog, I keep thinking I want to write a book. Actually, I’ve wanted to write a book for years but have buried that desire up until now.  I’d like to write a children’s book, or my life story, a suggestion of a friend of mine. I like the idea, but the thought of actually doing it is still pretty intimidating, mostly because I am still working on finding my voice. The above mentioned dear friend suggested that I read  some books that others have written about their lives as a starting point.

So that’s my plan for 2015.  Here’s my list so far:

1. Drinking: A love story
2. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
3. Liar’s Club
4. Glass Castle
5. Running with Scissors
There’s a wine bar down the street – one of those lovely places with deep old couches and bookshelves and a jukebox. I found this book there:
Having our say
It is the story of two sisters, both over 100 years old, and it is delightful reading, a perfect start to my pre-new years resolution to read!
Do you have any suggestions for books that I might add to my list?

5 things about attitude I’ve learned from 58 years of birthdays

1. Joy comes from within. Whether it’s a quiet birthday or filled with parties, if I put expectations on others, I will be disappointed.

2. I always give myself a gift. It may be material, or a service, or time doing something I want to do.

3. I don’t remember what I got as a present last year, but I remember the people I was with.  In other words, presence is better than presents.

4. People who have birthdays in months other than December will never understand that I LOVE having my birthday during the holiday season.

5. I’m not getting older, I’m getting better.

Happy Birthday

Cheers! And Happy Birthday, whenever yours might be!


For the last several years, the gathering with my  seven children during the holiday season has been between Thanksgiving and Christmas, due to the complications that come with adulthood, like work, and relationships. We’ve gotten away from gifts, for the most part, and simply enjoy the presence of family we once shared daily life with.

My five offspring still in Texas, along with a few significant others and one grandbaby, got together for what used to be “Mom’s Black Bean Enchilada Dinner.” That was always a favorite, and favored this time of year because turkey is plentiful at other tables.

This year my daughter, the one with the baby, took over the cooking duties and hosted the gathering. I live in a small apartment, and really didn’t want to do the work of cooking. And Hannah wanted to use organic, non GMO ingredients, as has been her philosophy for at least 2 years. She is a really good cook, and I was happy to turn it over to her and have it at her house.

Great. Date set well in advance, yes RSVP’s all around — a-and — the baby gets a bad cold, won’t sleep, mother exhausted — so I spent half a day at her house “helping”. It involved a lot of baby holding, which was nice, but before everything could be put together, mother and baby disappeared to nurse and sleep and I, along with Robert and another daughter, put the casseroles together and cleaned up. Way more work than I had counted on, and I went home and crashed.

But– yesterday, when we all got together, it was all worth it. The food was good, the company was great, and we all had a good day. Five siblings reuniting, reminiscing about their childhoods.  Hannah says she’s not doing it again, others suggested doing something completely different, or catering. I know a lot can happen in a year, and the most important thing is to keep getting together with family, whatever that looks like.

Here’s my Thanksmas tree.

Christmas tree 2014

I am thankful for my family. And actually, am thankful for the empty nest, because I don’t have the energy it takes to have a full one. I am thankful that my kids are all ok.

And life goes on.