Roughly two months ago, I wrote what was intended to be my closing post of 2017. It was mostly full of flowery complaints about how horrible the year had been to us. Complaining is how we spent most of the past twelve months so, it seemed fitting, in the moment, to express the distain that had developed from every punch to the gut life threw our way. It was as depressing as it sounds. Fortunately, sharing our woes felt more cumbersome than therapeutic so, I walked away and re-collected my thoughts.
Mid-December, our life took a drastic change and for the first time in almost three hundred and sixty-five solid days, it was in a positive direction. Ryan and I had been having somewhat loose conversations about raising a “future puppy” and I had begun keeping an eye on our local shelters and rescues. The possibility of bringing in a new critter to the family started to go from a five year plan to a year plan to a “why couldn’t we pull this off now” plan. With a laundry list of prerequisites, we knew that we were setting ourselves up for quite the search to find just the right addition. You can imagine my surprise when I received a frantic text from Ryan with a screenshot of a litter of baby girl mix breeds that were available at the Petaluma Animal Shelter, just in time for Christmas. Within minutes of receiving the notice, I had clocked out early and headed south to fill out a rather extensive adoption application and set us up for a life changing event. Between the day we applied, the day we met her and the day that we actually got to take her home, fourteen days passed. Not knowing if you get to bring home a fur child that you are convinced is meant to be your third wheel makes time go by painstakingly slow and the fear of not being chosen to be her parents made us almost keep everything a total secret.
On the afternoon of December 19th, we brought home Mavis Charmaine Ottem, Mo for short. Mavis has been our long time front runner girl name as long as it seemed fitting for whatever dog we ended up with and Charmaine is a traditional middle name from Ryan’s mother’s side of the family. We’re aware that it’s sort of a lofty name for such a small dog to carry, but like her mom, she’s a little sassy, and we have all the confidence in the world that she will do justice to every part of it. Puppy life has been all consuming, as expected. Our conversations are constantly interrupted by “What’s in your mouth? What are you eating?” and it takes us so long to get through a half hour show, we give up midway. Potty training is every bit of what everyone says it is and then some. Also much like everyone says, we are just crazy about her and wouldn’t trade all the inconveniences or lack of freedom for the world. We know the puppy stage doesn’t last long so we are constantly reminding ourselves to enjoy it and not let the discouragements cloud the pure happiness she has brought to us and her new extended family. Two sets of grandparents and a very excited cousin have also become enamored and needless to say, after the year we all had, the joy is welcomed.
The one part of my previous and now deleted post that I would like to carry over was the brief mention of some highlights of 2017 because despite all the darkness, there were pockets of light.
Photography has become increasingly prevalent. Babe has truly developed into a talented photographer and has gained amazing experience working with some fantastic people. From a former San Francisco ballerina to local women who just want to be artistic for a few hours, he has had the honor to work with a rainbow of incredible subjects and I have had the luck of styling and assisting on many of the shoots. We’ve found ourselves in a groove that has been creatively rewarding and a great distraction from some of life’s current misfortunes. Every once in a while I help myself to my own styling and we produce random mini shoots together for no reason at all. Classic us. Film has become a huge part of this past years photography development. I love the grain that film gives and our cameras are old vintage Canons from the seventies which have been super fun to get familiarized with. Ryan is much more familiar than I.
Travel played a small part in our happy highs as well, naturally. Although we have most of our big trips ahead of us this coming year, we managed to squeeze in a few California adventures including an extensive weekend in Palm Springs with my parents and an end of the year trip to Los Angeles where we took in the infamous Museum of Ice Cream. We also took our mom’s and niece to the San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream. Although I wouldn’t consider them actual museums, more art exhibit, they sure are fun to play in for an hour or so. Our year was also sprinkled with numerous trips to Fort Bragg, as usual, with and without family.
One night, during our Palm Springs trip, a very special highlight of last year was planned. A highlight that has been a childhood dream and top three bucket list moment since as long as I knew what a bucket list was. My dad, with heavy support from Ryan and myself, decided that we were going to see Queen in concert during the summer. The seven year old, sitting in my dad’s truck, headed to Grandma’s for the weekend, singing Magic from the opening of Live at Wembley 86′ at the top of my lungs was so excited that she lost weeks worth of sleep in the months to come. Sitting in a room, now as a woman in her mid-thirties, singing at the top of my lungs with Brian May playing guitar on a guitar shaped stage, wearing a cape, was a very surreal experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Thanks, Dad.
2018 couldn’t get here soon enough and now that it’s here, for the first time in my whole life, something feels different. Instead of rolling my eyes at the endless broken promises people set themselves up for I actually made a few myself, without reluctance. I hope to make time to get back behind the lens of our cameras. I have stopped making time for that and although the time has been filled with other fulfilling moments, I miss seeing life through a personal window. I plan on raising Mavis to the best of my ability with my incredible puppy daddy, one day at a time and with as much patience as I can scrounge up. I promise to help Noodle put more effort into transforming our house into our home, a task we have back-burnered for the latter part of last year. With one month under our belt I can say that we haven’t drifted away from any goals yet and projects have been set in motion. So, we’re off to a good start.
Being as present as possible in every second of the day is my number one goal for this year and all to come. In case you needed some unsolicited advice, I give you this in closing. Don’t forget to keep your priorities straight. Don’t forget what actually matters and hold that above everything else. If you aren’t sure what truly matters then maybe its time to figure that out. If 2017 has shown us anything its that everyone could gain some respect, show some respect and remember our responsibility to keep humanity humane.