2013 in Review / 2014 Projections

Things to do.Nothing overwhelmingly awful happened to us in 2013. Frank is OK. The Pumpkin is OK. The car is OK. The cats are OK. The house is OK. Employment is OK. School is OK. Although just maintaining the status quo is somewhat boring, I think there are just going to be some years where OK is actually pretty good.

We did have some highlights that I am really glad I wrote down because otherwise I just forget these things.

  • The Pumpkin got her first pair of toe shoes and is now dancing on pointe in ballet.
  • We welcomed a new boy into our extended family. I’m now an auntie twice over. The first time I held him, he barfed on me, which I’m going to take as good luck since the rest of the year turned out alright.
  • I made the Pumpkin’s first bustle dress, which she loves and wears out and about quite a bit.
  • The Pumpkin went to special summer camps this year for the first time. One was a science-based museum camp, and the other was an intensive ballet program. She now loves science, especially the part where you collect specimens and put them into glass jars. Her collection includes fossilized squid tentacles, shark teeth, and snake skin. Ballet camp was a challenge and we’re keeping ballet more fun than fundamental for now. There are some excellent schools here in Philly and at any given time we can create a more intensive training program for her if she decides to become uber-dancer.
  • The Pumpkin experienced her first sleep-away camp trip without us. Frank and I enjoyed a nice dinner date night.
  • Thanks to our kind friends, we went to the PA Renaissance Festival this year. We had the best time ever and are going to make the trip an annual tradition.
  • It was the year of Vermeer!
  • We slept over at the Academy of Natural Sciences where the Pumpkin dissected a squid and we slept with noisy dinosaurs and a mummy.
  • The Pumpkin entered the fourth grade, which has been easier than the third grade. She continues to do very well despite challenges. Some academic achievements include completing a visual project with nearly no help from us, unlike last year’s buffalo jump diorama that was awesome but required a bit of parental assistance. She’s also able to read chapter books with no pictures and actually enjoy them and remember what she read for the most part. Homework is just about tear-free and she has a much better grasp on the information.
  • The Pumpkin joined our church choir and we now sing together on select Sundays. The kids go through a special choir music program and when they complete all the stages, they can actually be a hire-able chorister. I had no idea such a thing existed but you can actually hire extra choir members if you’re short a soprano or two.
  • The Pumpkin learned how to polka at our local Oktoberfest gathering.
  • The Pumpkin (she does a lot of things, lol!) went through “Terror Behind the Walls” for the first time. We got her a “Frank” to commemorate her bravery.
  • It was the second successful year for organizing the Philly Tweed ride. I’m so happy to be part of such a fun event!
  • We ended the year with a trip to see the annual re-enactment of Washington’s Crossing.

Regarding our hopes and goals for 2014, it’s much harder. We pretty much didn’t plan anything that happened this year and just sort of went with the flow and had some pretty great adventures. I don’t like to commit to any big plans since I like to leave some room for the potential disaster. I’ve felt for some time that now is our time to maintain our current course, focusing on supporting the Pumpkin and keeping on budget. Still, there are a few things I hope we’ll do in 2014.

  • Make mommy-daughter sacque dresses. I’ve been researching the area for 18th Century things to do, which doesn’t really matter because we’ll wear our outfits anywhere. I’d like to make Frank a waistcoat and breeches. The good news is that breeches work for the Tweed Ride and Oktoberfest as well.
  • Re-point our kitchen wall. I have no idea why we are afraid to fix our house but this is the year we get over it and re-point the kitchen wall. It’s not hard and won’t be that expensive; I have no idea why we’re afraid of it. I’d like to patch and paint the front windows too. Also not hard.
  • Go camping again. We missed this year, which sort of was a bummer since we really like camping. We’d like to extend our stay into the week so we don’t have to deal with loud teenagers.
  • Go to the PA Ren Faire again. I can’t believe it took us so long to go but we’re totally going back.
  • Run another half marathon. I’ve got my training schedule all set. Just have to pick out the race. I’m leaning towards the Philly half. Along with this, I’d like to do more than five miles of the Rocky 50K and am planning an abbreviated route to start and end with the group.
  • Grow the Tweed Ride planning committee. I recently read that you should only do what you need to do to avoid being overwhelmed. For me, I love the graphic design and social media part of the event so this year, I’d like to recruit more people to do the other things we need. My personal goal for the event is to create a standard operating procedures document so that no matter who’s planning it, there are guidelines.
  • Establish a crafting brunch group. I know really creative people who I bet would really like each other. However, I have yet to introduce everyone, because I am lame. I’d like to get something together this year.
  • Work with our community association and get some new houses for the annual house tour.

It’s a quiet list with nothing too shocking or stupendous on it. Lots of little things like going to the Mütter museum, the art museum, and lots of local places; basically getting out more. We’re also terribly horrible at visiting friends and I’d like to make more plans to see people. I’d make work goals but just getting a website launched is going to take up all my energy. Next year will be exciting for work developments.

There is an underlying part of me that has really big ideas, like moving to the country, specifically Ithaca, New York, where they have lovely arts & crafts bungalows, liberal culture, nature, and rutabaga curling. Or moving to Canada, specifically Quebec, where people seem to be more civil to each other, there is low crime, a castle, and it’s so beautiful, like France but closer. Or running for Philadelphia city council because I have ideas on how Philadelphia could be really great, more than 80% improved greatness. Or getting a grant and going to Penn for a master’s in Architectural Preservation and spending the rest of my life rescuing historic row houses. Or moving to Williamsburg, VA, and getting a job where I can pretty much live in the 18th Century with the benefits of modern things like toothpaste. But in the end, I am quite content to have little adventures and hope that 2014 is relatively uneventful.

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