Looking back at all this year has held for me, I’ve had a pretty good run. There have been some troubles, but far more highlights. My Facebook feed this morning reminded me of a post I had four years ago, looking back at my knitting productivity. I’ve continued to make strides in that arena. In 2016, I finished 83 projects including 21 shawls, 11 cowls, 19 pairs of socks, three sweaters and three afghans – only one of which was baby-sized. I’m quite proud of what I accomplished here – 36,725 yards used up in knitting projects!

But that’s not the only craft I put my time and talents behind. I was cast in three different musical productions and managed to land my first lead role. Performing as a Narrator in the King Avenue Players’ production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was certainly a highlight of my acting career thus far. And 2017 promises to have some similar opportunities. I’ve been cast in the ensemble for the Lancaster Playhouse production of Godspell, running over two weekends toward the end of winter, and I’m also appearing in another Columbus Entertainment Productions show in early Spring.

My travel adventures were few and far between, but I managed to visit both coasts of the U.S. In July, I flew out to Seattle to set sail to Alaska – visiting my 40th state in the country. Physical limitations made things challenging on that trip, as did weather. Still, it was an adventure with a few unique experiences. I’d say the highlight was witnessing several humpback whale breeches as well as a group of humpbacks bubble-net feeding.

In September, the company flew me to Boston to attend a training seminar on project management. My schedule didn’t allow for much sightseeing, but I was blessed to get to spend an evening with my niece. She cooked a delicious dinner, and we had a pleasant time catching up.

My last photographic adventure came on Christmas Day when I headed to the Ohio State fairgrounds to check out the Chinese Lantern Festival there. This was quite an extraordinary event with beautiful exhibits throughout the venue. They also had some very entertaining performers – jugglers, acrobats and more. The most impressive was the face mask changing act. Hopefully that festival becomes a regular event – it’s never been held in Columbus before.

I would say there were two lowest point for the year. First, I spent many hours at the hospital with my mother. Spending time with her wasn’t the low point, mind you. Rather, I took her to the emergency room after she hurt her neck. The eventual diagnosis was that she had fractured two of her vertebra. Talk about a scary situation! But, she was treated with great care both at Mount Carmel – St. Ann’s Hospital and the Ohio State University Medical Center. After she was transported to OSU, I was able to meet up with my son who works at the medical center and had concluded his shift just as we arrived. He was able to give me some insight into the nature of the injury. Thankfully, Mom made a full recovery, following a brief stay in a facility for physical rehab. That brought tremendous relief.

The other low point, though, did not have a happy ending. My aunt passed away in May following a couple years of declining health. The world lost a beautiful soul with her death. I had visited my aunt and uncle in their beautiful home in southern Oregon, and she was always so warm and hospitable. I’ll remember her quite fondly.

I don’t want to close out this post on a down note – though my Ohio State Buckeyes are not bringing a celebratory mood to this New Year’s Eve! I have plenty of plans to achieve goals, enjoy adventures and improve on things in the coming year. I’ll be celebrating my 50th birthday on Easter Sunday, and I would really like to be in better physical shape than I was on my 40th birthday. Given the challenges that a back injury has caused over the years, it’s been a rough road. But I need to reverse that trend.

So here’s to a better year in 2017. May you enjoy the adventure along with me!

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