2015 ... Just an ordinary year
My art teacher was taking pictures to publicize our Art Market Jubilee! - a craft show to sell our art work at the end of the semester. She posted them on Facebook - and I shared the one of me on my Facebook page. My cousin Cathy said: "You look just like you!" My nephew Brad added: "Great smile Uncle Gary." My niece, Kim, finished the comments with " You look great!" What I saw was this old guy with white hair. YIKES! & this realization hit me: We tend to see ourselves differently than how we really look no matter how many times we pass a mirror. Not that we see ourselves with movie star looks - but that we see ourselves as we remember. I don't know what that has to do with a holiday update - but ... at the end of 2015, I still look like me and have a great smile (& to some - well ... I look great!).
OK - here goes ... . Some headlines (somewhat chronologically):
- I've taken two classes at Graceland University this year: Interactive Design (A Graphic Arts course) and The Printed Image where we worked with traditional, alternative, and digital print media, processes and techniques which may include photography, printmaking and graffiti (right out of the student handbook). I have absolutely no talent - and continue to be in awe of the students' talent & creativity!
- I still work out regularly at the university's fitness center, play racquetball weekly with Jim Jones, and biked for 2,279.11 miles. (Again, I have to report yet another year: Not, yet, a hunk ... but still trying!)
- April saw the passing of Bill Brown (Barb's father) - still "my father-in-law" - and very much an important part of our family's life. A lot of great memories! His memorial service was highlighted by an honor guard for his WWII service.
- I put together a web presence for the Bethel Park Senior High Class of 1965 with an emphasis on its 50th year reunion. (Again: YIKES! 50th year high school reunion.) I didn't get to go to the reunion as a very good friend's memorial service was at the time of the reunion - cremation now means memorial serices can be scheduled.
- At the end of August, I finally got a chance to see my second granddaughter - Maggie - who was about nine months old when I visited Chris (# 3 son) and Hannah in Perkasie (PA). What a cutie - as is her older sister (Grandfather - who me?).
- Saying "Good-Bye to my good friend Virginia Walsh in September was the low point of the year! She had been ailing (in & out of the hospial) for a couple of years - & it's what she wanted. I guess we have to respect that - but she'll be missed!
- Fall wouldn't be complete without Steve Anders' Sunday evening "Empty Nest" potluck picnics. One of the picnics was highlighted by a visit from Steve's guests | friends from Kosovo (visiting students Kastriot Ruhani, Mrika Karaqi, Elita Ceku and professor Dr. Visar Hoxha). I invited them to my art class where they surprisingly showed up - & later that night, I joined them for an evening of conversation at Steve's. What a wonderful opportunity to meet some great people - & learn about another culture. I found out that we aren't all that different.
- Thanksgiving: I met up with Andy (# 2 son) and enjoyed a snowy | icy holiday at the Mathews in Sioux City. Great time with Andy ... epecially Andy ... Don, Barb, Krista, Sam, Marsha, & Joe!
- I saw Nick (# 3 son) & Katie as they made their way from Chicago (as Nick says good-bye to Second City) on their way to California. (More later) It was a rugged trip - and they had to change their path to avoid a winter snow storm & missed seeing Andy because of the change.
- I won he annual March Madness contest with Darrel Baker! It's only fair as he wrecked me the previous year.
- My brother Dave & I call each other every time the Steeler's score. The Steelers have trouble winning the easy ones - making bad teams look good!
- Locally, I helped set up several geocaching sites, worked on a beautification committee, continued volunteering at Liberty Hall, became an RSVP Volunteer (connects senior volunteers with community organizations), continued as Trails Commission Chairperson, tried to grow timeBanking/Lamoni, and helped market Civil War days. I write a weekly column called "Around Lamoni" and numerous press releases for the Lamoni Chronicle. Articles like: Cultural Heritage Celebration, Full Moon Walk, Lego Competition, Can Kennel - a collection site for cans, Eggciting Library Display - a display of decorated eggs from the 2015 Iowa State Fair, new Emergency Medical Services Vehicle ... . You get it ... it's a small town - with a lot of pride & a lot of people who work hard to keep it going!
- I got my eyes checked - no real change & had a physical - healthy. Old guy with white hair or not ... isn't that all that matters?
It's been a year of changes. While Chris, Hannah, Betsy, and Maggie are in Perkasie, PA and Chris is still with the Bucks County District Attorney's office as an Assitant DA, Hannah changed her career path and is now in real estate. Nick left Chicago and the Second City Touring Company for newer goals in show business but is still working as an online editor and freelance writer. Katie is an still analyst. Both were able to take their jobs with them. They are raising (and spoiling) their two dogs - Sammie and Bennie. Andy is this year's constant - still in Scottsdale, AZ, where he works in medical sales with SureTek Medical. And then there's me and - of course - my cat Whizzer still in Lamoni, Iowa.
When all is said and done, I liked 2015 - I hope you've had a great year!
Family is the greatest gift!