Closing Out Twenty-Fifteen

The quick creep of time has struck again. A mere twenty-four hours away from another January 1st and the wonderment of where time has escaped is playing on repeat. Time began to spin so fast that the last quarter of the year was somewhat of a blur with only the highest of highs and lowest of lows in focus. Preparing ourselves to enter the new year with traditional optimism and hopes of a better tomorrow, as the dust of the holiday rush settles, I finally get to take a moment and reflect. Reflect on the endless events that mark the Halloween to Christmas calendar and the unpredictable life happenings that give it the distinctive flavor that will forever be 2015.

October brings strong signs of autumn. As the leaves begin to change Ryan and I start dreaming of cold rain, heavy jackets and things that go with cider. Just like last year, we took to Chico for a grandma visit the week before Halloween. Streets full of yellow leaves and temperatures low enough for heated car seats, Chico felt like the best place to get into fall. After spending hours with Grandma we decided to give the local scene a try and head downtown for the annual light parade. Walking the parade line-up, it seemed as if the entire town was in one way or another a part of the procession. I begged the question, “who is watching if everyone is participating?” Lights, costumes and costumes made of lights, from floats as elaborate as a life size pirate ship to a pack of children on bicycles. Although I did not feel local by any means, I felt welcome. Capturing the excitement in the air as well as the bright uneven flashes of light and color was a challenge. It was an educational evening on the camera function front, to say the least.3G2A9830 chicolite1chicolite3chicolite4chicolite23G2A0037

Halloween was every bit as it usually is. We took the niece trick-or-treating, had a delicious family meal and then headed home for beer and a movie. This years feature was Witches of Eastwick. I will never understand anyone who doesn’t love Cher.

The major highlight of the weekend was Sunday festivities with Mom in Napa. Touring the Traditional Home Napa Valley Showcase properties and dining at The Pear on the riverfront, just the two of us gals, made the transition from October into November feel extra special. The homes were absolutely incredible. The wallpaper, the flooring, the kitchens and the bedding, I fell in love with a chair and drooled over a library. Tables, chairs, window treatments, floor to ceiling, everything hand-selected and strategically placed for our viewing pleasure. The Traditional Home Showcase is about to become an annual tradition.napa1napa2napa3

Most would think that my top moments of November would be feast related. Although I am just as big of a sucker for a leftover turkey sandwich as the next guy, my top moments of the month of giving are all photoshoot related. On our six year anniversary of togetherness, we headed to the breathtaking Marin Headlands for an engagement shoot of a fellow couple of lovebirds. What better way to be reminded of how priceless love is than capturing someone else’s. Starting at the barracks we took advantage of the Golden Gate Bridge background and concrete setting. Moving down to the lighthouse we caught just the tail end of tourist time and had to be kicked out as babe refused to give up the sun. Ending at Rodeo Beach for sunset, after six hours of shooting, the day had been a success, thanks to everyone’s joint effort. Possibly one of my very favorite days yet with our camera gear. 3G2A0259 2candr13G2A0172canrocean

The second shoot was spontaneous. Sitting on the balcony of the coast house in Fort Bragg on a random mid-month Saturday, fresh from the local vintage boutique with a slew of new pieces scattered around, I noticed how soft the sun was glowing in the middle of the road. Yelling at Ryan to grab the camera and tossing on my new maroon and gold velvet dress, we ran outside and took major advantage of the stellar golden hour. Sometimes you find yourself witnessing light that would be a sin to waste.UntitledUntitled23G2A0872

December finally brought the cold. Recently, it has even brought the rain. We began the month with Mom’s birthday that we weren’t supposed to call a birthday. So what I mean is, we began the month with my mom’s “happy unbirthday.” We celebrated with a perfect weekend at the coast house were we let Mom set the agenda which meant a lot of antique shopping and a stroll through the Botanical Gardens Festival of Lights before dinner along the wharf. Don’t tell my mom but it was such a good weekend we would probably do it again for no particular reason at all. mombday1

Holiday party after holiday party, we ate and drank our way through the season to the point that I now shutter at the thought of a cookie. Christmas was split into 4 different celebrations between our 2 families. It was a whirlwind of a lot of car time and a lot of feeling insanely spoiled by people we love very very much. It was amazing to see so many people that mean so much to us in such a short amount of time. There is nothing more important to us than the people we love.

Love is where we believe our wealth lies and because of that we often feel extremely rich. In this sense, I have been rich my whole life. I was, as so many of us are, raised by a village. I often refer to my village because they are still to this day a dominant influence in my daily life. Whether I am second-guessing a decision based on advice collected over the years, turning to a particular song to get through a trying time, or avoiding an easy mistake based on the stories of others, so many everyday choices directly influenced by those who always remained a constant in my life. As the holidays have passed, so has a prominent member of my village. The loss is fresh, just in time to close out the year, to not be joining us into the next. When a loss is fresh, emotions are raw and words are scarce. There seems to be a million things to say and nothing to say, all at once. Perhaps the fear of rambling on for hours about stories of happier days prevents us from starting to share them at all. There is no doubt that this next year will feel lonely for so many that have never had to go on without her.

Although I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions, this year feels different. There is an obligation that I feel 2016 brings to those that have had to say good-bye. Keeping the spirit of who we have lost alive is our obligation now. It is my resolution to never forget the memories, the hundreds of thousands of millions of memories. It is my resolution to keep listening to obscure classics like “Angie Baby” to remember her appreciation and passion for music and the nights she would sing instead of read to me before bed. It is my resolution to be more patient with our cat and remember some of the last advice she gave me about letting Smush’s “peeing in the tub” habit not bother me so much because I can just wash it down, making it sound so simple and mundane in the grand scheme of life’s problems. It is my resolution to always sell my kids in the original game of Life should the opportunity present itself. It is my resolution to do more stuff with my mom because I know how much she is going to miss her best friend. It is my resolution to remember the way she loved her friends and do all that I can to pay it forward.

Cheers to you Janel, we raise our wine glasses high. la