Looking back at 2017 through last year’s wreath

There was a fresh snowfall on New Year’s Day, and this was the first photo I took in 2017. The snow, like the upcoming year, was perfect and unspoiled.

My half-hearted resolve to send Christmas cards with a newsletter ended like most feeble commitments. And now I’m tapping on a keyboard, hoping it will jostle memories I can share through Shallow Reflections.

Extreme weather

We had a blizzard in February that was enormous even by Maine standards. My joy about an unexpected day off, turned to horror when Patrick and I spent eight hours shoveling. Thirty inches of the vile substance landed on us that day, but at least we didn’t lose our power.

Visibility was poor.

In late October, we experienced hurricane force winds, and the view of Maine from the space station grew dark. We had to boil water on our gas cooktop to do dishes and drink instant coffee. In other words, we lived like pioneers.

The headlamp wasn’t bad, but instant coffee? Yikes!

My first drag show

I stayed up after 9 PM and attended my first drag show during Gay Pride week in Bangor. I felt out of place at first but decided to embrace the diversity. Plus I love rainbow colored hair.

What I enjoyed most about seeing Michael AKA Michaela perform was the reaction of his parents. They sat in the front, cheering and clapping for him like I did when I attended my son’s baseball games. What if all parents supported their children’s passions like that?

I need some of Michaela’s hair products.

Witnessing grandsons’ milestones

It was thrilling to watch our older grandson, Cameron, take his first faltering steps when he turned one year old. But that can’t compare with what we saw this summer: his first use of air quotes. I’m not sure where this fits in Piaget’s theory of child cognitive development, but Grandma slated it as, ‘excels at sarcasm.’

Our younger grandson, Maxwell, has been a picky eater, but we saw a breakthrough when we took him out for dinner. He couldn’t get enough bread and after every bite said, “More butter.” He then commenced gobbling a kid-sized steak and half of mine, leaving no doubt he’s Grandma’s boy.

We got a new granddog, Lottie, to compliment our perfect grandsons.

We didn’t go anywhere

We did not check baggage or sleep on the floor in airports last year. I spent a few days visiting opposite ends of the state of Maine – a trip to Aroostook County and a few days in Portland. I got lost in both places, so it’s good I didn’t wander outside state lines.

We are grateful our friends Liana and Richard endured delayed flights to visit us.

I met a celebrity

I attended the National Society of Newspaper Columnists annual conference and received an award. So I lied when I said I didn’t leave Maine, because I went to New Hampshire. And I met Maureen Dowd, who is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist.

But something happened to stain that experience. Jean Shepherd said it best in this quote from his book A Christmas Story: “Life is like that. Sometimes at the height of our reveries when our joy is at its zenith. When all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.”

Photo by Cynthia Ballard Borris, stain embellished by author

Health updates

The ads urging me to discover my ancestry are enticing; I almost submitted a DNA sample. Then I reconsidered when I read this warning: “Not responsible for psychotherapy if you discover a genetic link to Donald Trump.”

I had a long overdue colonoscopy, and the results scared the pre-cancerous polyps out of me. No more complacency about the next screening.

A dose of doxycycline prevented Lyme disease after I harbored a tick that I mistook for a skin tag. There is no cure for the emotional suffering I endured acting as an all-you-can-eat buffet for a parasite.

About skin tags, I plan to do some DYI surgery to remove the bothersome growth under my left arm this coming year. I’ve got scissors soaking in disinfectant and I’ve popped the cork on my anesthesia. Cheers!

What are some highlights from your experience with 2017?

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62 thoughts on “Looking back at 2017 through last year’s wreath

  1. A wonderful look back, Molly. I especially enjoyed your comments about the drag show – yes, wouldn’t it be wonderful if all parents embraced their children with such enthusiasm however and whoever they are. The world would be such a more joyful place. And your grandson’s growth and discoveries. Mine is 5 so I can related to the wonder of all those “firsts.” I hope you have a fantastic 2018 with many more memorable moments. <3

    • It has been a wonderful year, Denzil. No major illnesses or losses. So really all up! If the worst thing that happened was seeing a stain on my blouse after I had my photo taken with Maureen Dowd, I’d say it was great year!

      • I must have misread it Molly. I picked up on the colonoscopy which sounded disturbing. And the awful weather at the start, but I guess that’s the norm these days wherever we live, with all the severe weather being experienced.

        • I had postponed my screening colonoscopy for a few years and wrote a humor post about my prep for it. Turned out I had precancerous polyps so I am grateful I had it and will be more compliant going forward. So far this winter has been very sever in Maine – we just had another blizzard and a long stretch of below normal temps. Trying to keep my sense of humor in the midst of it!

  2. I love annual Christmas letters, not many people write them now. Thanks for sharing your year in review.

  3. You had a year of ups and downs, Molly (like normal human beings) and your humorous look at yourself and situations keeps your positive and sunny outlook in the foreground! Hope the cold isn’t too much for you all at this point (as I say this from sunny San Diego)! Take care!

  4. The picture through the wreath is beautiful, but the DIY skin tag removal may take several bottles! We’ve been to Maine several times over the years and it remains one of my most favorite places. Acadia NP is my favorite by far!

    • I may have to uncork more than one to get through my ‘surgery’ but we’ll see, Rena. So happy you’ve enjoyed Maine visits. Acadia is fantastic and less than an hour away from where I live in eastern Maine. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Congratulations on a very rich and full year, Molly. I love how your joy shines through in the simplest of pleasures.
    BTW – I attended a Drag Brunch in Palm Desert this past October. I agree — it is wonderful to watch people following their passions and having fun! (Although there were no performers’ parents in the audience…at least none that I knew of. I would have loved seeing that)!
    Wishing you a great year of adventures ahead!

    • Thank you, Donna. I do find joy in the simple things. It gives me a never-ending supply. Excited to be on this blogging adventure with great folks like you. Let’s be reflections of positivity in 2018!

  6. Love your year end review! Made me want to attend a drag show! Your Lottie is a total cutie, and those grandkids ain’t too bad either! As for the stain – I bit…I was so concerned that in receiving your reward something really terrible happened to “stain the event,” that I was actually a little relieved that it was just a food-based incident! Didn’t even notice! Belated congratulations on the award! You truly understand that life is about collecting experiences! ~ Lynn

  7. Hey Molly,
    I notice no one is talking about the headlamp photo or the extreme weather shot. I’m a bit fixated on both having just come in from shovelling snow AGAIN. We’re due to get another 20cm (8″ for you guys) in the next few days. If this keeps up over the next few months, as we’ve been warned it is going to, staying indoors sounds like the perfect and only solution.

    Your grandchildren are adorable, and so is Lottie. What a face!

    By the way, I absolutely love your line about your emotional suffering from the tick. I had 7 of the little bastards on the nape of my neck. They hadn’t attached but each time I reached back and pulled one off, it was horrible. Worse yet, I got four of them, thought I had them all, then saw three more floating in the water beside my head when I had a bath that night. I can’t even imagine how awful it would have been for you. Good thing you’re taking care of those skin tags!

    Happy New Year, Molly. I can’t wait to read your weekly updates through 2018.

    • I am pretty fixated on the weather right now, too, Karen, since we are in the midst of a blizzard with about 12-16 inches of snow in the forecast. Just praying we don’t lose power. This year I’m adding a generator to our wish list! I heard some bad news about ticks yesterday. I thought the crunch you hear when you walk in snow was from stepping on dead tick carcasses. Turns out even prolonged days of below zero temps don’t kill these monsters! I would have freaked out with seven of them on my body! Happy New Year to you! Looking forward to 2018. With one less skin tag. Haha!

  8. Congrats on your award!! And I thought the stain was a flower!! lol I was puzzled over which “edits” you had made! haha
    A heart warming post, as usual. Please youtube your surgery!! I have a few too, so I need pointers on removal!

  9. Wow, I’d say that was quite a year! The photo of the snow was beautiful. But brace yourself for what you’ll be getting the end of this week when the ‘cyclone bomb’ hits. And oh, I”ll say a prayer for you that you’re not related baby donny. 🙂

  10. I am so thick… I couldn’t figure out the stain until I went back to the picture a second time. I was afraid you were going to say you were sick. Tells you how much I have turned into a gloomy Gertrude. Going to make a resolution to look at the bright side of life.

    • Haha! I don’t think it was a given that everyone would immediately tune into the big splat on my blouse, Bernadette. I’ll try to help you look at the bright side whenever I can. That is a great resolution and can be as difficult as giving up chocolate. Which I am totally not going to do by the way, because it helps me look on the bright side of life. 😘

    • Hahaha! I need that shirt! Your brother and I are kindred spirits. While some women carry lip gloss and tissues to be prepared, I carry a full length apron. The people at work get a kick out of watching me set up for lunch when I don my apron. It helps keep me clean from head to toe – even my mouth when I refrain from saying bad words!

  11. Your year end reflections made me smile! I’m glad you found the joy in so many seemingly little moments. May your 2018 be filled with even more happy memories.

    • Glad you enjoyed my observations. And you understood the point – there is joy in the small things of everyday life. Without recognizing those things I would miss out on so much because the mountain top experiences are wonderful but rare. Happy New Year to you!

  12. All in all, sounds like it was a good year. Some ups, some downs, but then, isn’t that the story of life. January is a busy month for us this year and so I do not see me posting much unless I can squeeze something in between social commitments, son’s visit, and some pre-planned travel escapades. After all, we aren’t getting any younger and have to do this stuff while we can. Enjoyed your post and look forward to more in the future.

    • Thank you, Irv. What a wonderful January you have planned! It’s also good to take a break from the pressure of posting something. I’ll look forward to seeing you back on wordpress in February. Happy New Year!

    • Thank you Anita. The air quotes incident was one of the funniest things ever and our friends, Liana and Richard, witnessed it, too. We all had a great laugh over it. I’ll probably do a blog post on the skin tag surgery. Or maybe even a YouTube. The dermatologists of America will likely target me for censorship. 😂

    • Thank you, Jena. I won a writing award in the annual writing contest sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for Shallow Reflections – general interest category. I was thrilled about it and still am! Happy New Year to you.

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