Year in Review — 2014

This past year saw some pretty powerful moments for me. Here are some of the things that stuck with me from 2014, in no particular order:

  • Strep. At the age of 47, I got strep for the very first time, and I would have like to have died. Eating, drinking, swallowing caused crazy pain. Even breathing was painful. I have said over and over again that I would rather have been in labor because at least you get a break from the pain every two minutes. I got strep in March and again in September. Every time I get a sore throat, I live in fear of what I might see appear on my tonsils.
  • Cruising. I was lucky enough to take three cruises this year — one in March with my mom; one in June with Jim, my dad, and Brenda; and one just last week with Jim, Becky, my dad, Brenda, Joe, Lucy, and Ethan.I gotta say — I love being on a cruise. I can’t wait to do one that is longer than five days.
    December Cruise

    December Cruise

    Me and Jim, June cruise

    Me and Jim, June cruise

  • Curriclulet. I started a part time job writing curriculum for a company called Curriculet. They offer online texts that contain embedded questions and annotations that are aligned to the Common Core. I LOVE this job. I am getting paid to read books and write curriculum — my favorite past time and one of the things I really love about education. My dream would be to keep doing this job for years and years until I retire from teaching; then writing for Curriculet can be my new job!
  • Weight Watchers. Jim and I decided in August that we were tired of being fatsos, so we re-committed ourselves to Weight Watchers. Since the middle of August, I have lost 34 pounds and I feel great. I love the fact that I am in control of my eating because I have a really crappy relationship with food. I also love how losing weight has helped my improve my running and that my running is helping me lose weight.
  • Madison. Once again, my world was rocked this past spring when one of my favorite former students, Madison Angus, was killed in a car accident. She was only a matter of days graduated from high school when she lost control of her car, went down an embankment, and was thrown from her vehicle. If you didn’t know her, then I could try to tell you about her but words don’t describe Madison very adequately. When I learned what happened to her, I noticed that the world was a little less beautiful and a little less bright. She was one of the few truly kind-hearted humans in this world. I think of her every day, along with Mitch Fajman and Allison Rivera, classmates of Becky’s who died when they were seniors in high school. That’s all I have to say about that.

    Madison in junior high when I was her track coach

    Madison in junior high when I was her track coach

  • Cayden. My friend Liz had a baby boy this fall. She was told it was a girl at first but a later ultrasound said boy. Either way, it was exciting! He’s as cute as can be and Liz is so nice — she lets me hold him and snuggle him! That little cutie has made me think that maybe, just maybe, it won’t be so bad to be a grandma someday in the future — no need for it to happen too soon! I’ll get my baby fix with Cayden!
  • Becky. Every year that goes by brings me a year closer to my daughter being a full-fledged adult. This past summer, she stayed at school and took a summer class and worked instead of coming home. This was also the first summer I’ve spent alone in 20 years. It sucked. She also had an amazing internship with a Democratic candidate for Congress in the fall. She worked so hard at it; I was bursting with pride at her work! She also spearheaded a fundraiser with her sorority that raised $11,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. My kid! At age 19! Blows my mind. She had some downs, too. In fact, she’s got a big change coming up in January that I am hoping will eliminate some of the crap happening in her life. And I’ll admit that her boyfriend Josh is such a good guy; I feel good knowing Becky is with him. He treats her with respect and with care, and he makes her laugh. Speaking of Josh brings me to my next point:
  • Biloxi. I took two road trips to Biloxi, Mississippi in two weeks so Becky could visit Josh while he was doing his tech school at Keesler Air Force Base. I went once with Robyn, Michael, and Alyssa, and once with my mom. I really liked the trip with Robyn because I got to spend some quality time with Michael and Alyssa; I feel like to got to develop a great relationship with them! I actually really enjoyed Biloxi. I’d love to take Jim there. Great beach town with some terrific bars and restaurants!

    My favorite picture from Bioxi trip #1

    My favorite picture from Biloxi trip #1

  • Ron. Right at the start of the school year, I learned my friend and former colleague Ron Moir died. He wasn’t much older than I was. It was sudden and unexpected. He was a guy that was always a way better friend to me than I was to him. Sadly, I took him for granted and now he’s gone. He was one of the most alive people I knew. He told such great stories and had a great smile. His passing made me feel my mortality big time. Damn, I miss him.
    Ron dressed as Little Bo Peep for a fundraiser my students sponsored. For $1000, he dressed this way for a whole day at Channahon Jr, High, and because of it, Room to Read built a library at a school in Nepal. His influence is truly global.

    Ron dressed as Little Bo Peep for a fundraiser my students sponsored. For $1000, he dressed this way for a whole day at Channahon Jr, High, and because of it, Room to Read built a library at a school in Nepal. His influence is truly global.

    One of my favorite pictures of Ron

    One of my favorite pictures of Ron

Next year is 2015 and I’m looking forward to a few things. I plan to keep running with the goal to maybe, hopefully, possibly run a half marathon in September. I’m going to keep plugging away on Weight Watchers, maybe even hit my goal weight. I’ve got some exciting things to look forward to in my job. In fact, I think I am less than ten years away from retirement. Crazy to think of that. My daughter starts her last year of college in 2015. You know what, I’m not going to think about that.

About renbog

I have opinions and I have passions and I like to write.
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