A New Year……and a New Horizon!

Having not fallen off the face of the earth, but allowing life to side-track me and not to blog, I now look beyond to a New Horizon in 2012. We anticipate several delightful occasions this year and several key transitions.  The significant events which we will savor include the marriage of our daughter, Stephanie, to her wonderful fiance, Shane, in a late March ceremony with their families. In June Steve will graduate with his masters degree in Conflict Resolution. In early July we hope to attend at least a portion of the Sesquicentennial (150th) celebration of my hometown, Belle Plaine, Iowa. In October our nephew, Drew, will marry his lovely fiancee, Tiffany, in Amana, Iowa.

Ah yes, the transitions that await us this year will provide the impetus to “gettin’ on the move” once again! The $64,000 question is, “Will we remain in the Denver area?” Later this spring, I will resume my job search with hopes of finding meaningful work in Denver with health insurance benefits (of key importance). Sometime after graduation, Steve will begin his job search or begin consulting. By July 31, we need to have our next living arrangement in place, so yet another move will occur by that date.  Having downsized thrice in as many years, we will continue to discern what else no longer remains a possession, but would be better sold or donated.

Reflecting back on 2011, I’d like to update. At the last writing in May, we reached the one year mark since driving away from Batavia. In May we delighted in travel updates from our son, Jeremy, and daughter-in-law, Michelle, who were traveling Europe. In June Steve and I hiked in the hills (Rocky Mountains and foothills) a couple of times, some paths still greeting us with snow and others providing dry sandier paths. On June 5 we drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park only to come to a natural road block as 12 feet of snow stood firmly on the road in front of us with a parking lot providing a handy U-turn. Large industrial-sized snow blowers were busily working at shifting the snow from the roadways to an adjacent mountain lake as the National Park was determined to open Trail Ridge Road for the season, albeit later than typical from the record-setting snowfall in Colorado. Also in June a call came from our traveling duo in Europe, informing us of their desire to return to the U.S. Having spent time in Ireland, Wales, England, France, and Spain, they were satisfied with their two months abroad, including several days of walking on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James).

Over an extended July 4th weekend, we met our long-time fun-buddies, John and Karen (from Bozeman, Montana), in the Heber Valley of Utah with spectacular views of the Wasatch Range. Hiking, biking, eating local fare, and stargazing were at the top of the list of favorites with them. By mid-July, Steve and I were off to Arizona to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary belatedly, with a 2-day stay in Tucson to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Going north to Sedona, we remained a week playing in the dry Arizona heat. Whether it was hiking into picturesque red-rock canyons or madly negotiating single tracks on our mountain bikes, the week flew past beneath the deep blue skies of Arizona. The three predominant colors in the vista each day, “Tres Colores”, as I called them, were red, green, and blue. In observance of our 35th anniversary and the traditional gift being coral, we stopped in the Monument Valley area of the Navajo Nation, where we commissioned Lawrence Crank, a Navajo artist, to craft an intricately designed coral-colored Navajo wedding vase with a beautiful story crafted from Navajo native symbols. From Monument Valley we made our way to Arches National Park, where we witnessed a spectacular sunset and had a cabin stay in Moab for the night.

Returning home, we were greeted by Jeremy and Michelle, who stopped in Denver for two weeks to visit Grandma and us as part of their moving journey from Illinois to Portland, Oregon. (Here we go….another part of our family moves from Illinois.) Time together with them was too brief, yet lovely. Within days, Steve and I were off again on another driving trek across the Midwest, while at the same time Jeremy and Michelle were en route to Portland. Steve and I drove across the Great Plains with stops to visit family members and friends in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Two days were spent along the shores of Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin with Stephanie and Shane. At the end of July, and just days prior to leaving on our Midwest trip, Stephanie and Shane made the decision to leave Illinois and move to Denver (yes…more moves from the Felt family). Thus, part of our trip to Illinois included loading our mini-van to the hilt with some of their prized possessions, which we brought back to our home. Steph and Shane arrived later in September with their car loaded, having sold all of their furniture and remaining household possessions. Needless to say, we are all living in cozy style in our rented Denver bungalow as a two-generation home.

September arrived as did Steve’s second year of graduate school. He hit the ground running with 15 credit hours, his on-going internship at the Denver Court Mediation Services, and teaching a weekly class at The Conflict Center. Sadly, we lost Steve’s Aunt Nomy from Denver in September after a lengthy decline.  In October extended family arrived, providing several opportunities to gather surrounding Aunt Nomy’s memorial service. By the end of October, I managed to fulfill my role on an Event Planning Team for the annual fundraiser gala for Seeking Common Ground. It was a very successful event and one which I enjoyed immensely.

November was filled with paper writing and project completion for Steve. My volunteer focus shifted to interviewing church members as part of a Narrative Legacy (story-telling) project. My side work has been that of family archivist, so I have been imbedded in the archives, sorting, purging extraneous items, and scanning. I’ve created several albums using Snapfish. Most recently I’ve devoted many hours to writing and creating updates for my Patterson-McLennan and Plumb-McLennan lineage, which will be shared with family and my hometown for the upcoming Sesquicentennial. In December we took advantage of frequent flyer mileage, about to expire, and took a 6-day trip to Portland. We thoroughly delighted in the time with Jeremy and Michelle as they excitedly shared their new environs and introduced their new friends to us. One day Jeremy drove us to the Pacific Coast, where we were captured by its stunning beauty and curiosities, including the tidal pools at low-tide and basalt rock formations called sea stacks.

Returning to Denver, we were coming off such a cherished time with Jeremy and Michelle in Portland, only to return to more sadness, as Uncle Cliff died during our Oregon trip. Having suffered from a grieving heart of having lost his dear Nomy 10 weeks prior, he could now be at peace. Thus Christmas was bittersweet as we played games, shared in meals, and engaged in great laughter, only to feel sadness at the passing of another family member and seeing cousins grapple with a the loss of a second parent in such a short span. This year we also lost dear friends, which only reminds us of the fragile nature of life.

As I write this, snowfall is gracing us with a new 3 inch coat of white. Steve is doing laundry during breaks from reading books for his course. Jeremy is working for a virtual company in web development, while sitting in the comfort of his home-office in Portland. Michelle continues to create the most delicious raw-ingredient dishes and keeping her Feed Your Skull website updated. Stephanie arrived home from her job at an ice arena’s Starbucks shop to inform us of being promoted to manager. And, Shane has shoveled the walks yet again.

Happy New Year…..and may you have a New Horizon on which to set your gaze!


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