Its always interesting to review our year as we write our final blog post of 2022. Many things were the same as prior years but of course we're different people every year. This year we're writing about the few things that defined our year and perhaps changed us in some way. I will write S when Susan is speaking and R when Richard is speaking.
R We have listed 6 things that stand out for both of us. They include the following themes: Old and new friends, Libros para Todos, Exercise routines, Travel again, our HOA and creative endeavors. We will take a moment here to elaborate and record for our history purposes.
Friends both old and new
S Number one for both of us is friends, both old and new. Our trips gave us a chance to visit with our old friends and catch up on the goings on, especially because we hadn't traveled much in the prior 2 years because of the pandemic. We're always lucky and make a few new friends each year. (Unfortunately we loose a few as well.)
R Not to mention names but since we have returned to our UU church new people have come into our lives. It is a cherished event whenever one meets like-minded humans. I always get more strength from people and it is always a joy for me .
Libros para Todos
R Our not for profit that was started almost 10 years ago has grown in size and is thriving. Our director has been very successful along with the many volunteers. What pleases me most is that our meetings are held predominantly in Spanish and the number of young children benefiting has more than doubled since it began.
S I am so grateful that Libros para Todos is still going strong in Mexico. So many of you who are reading this post have supported this literacy program that we started 10 years ago. It has grown with Daniela Franco as its director and we are still involved behind the scenes as Board of Director members. I was able to attend a few of the summer camp days this year and witness the enthusiasm for learning and creativity of both the kids attending as well as the volunteers who help to make it happen. Our volunteer team has grown to include mostly Spanish speakers and it was a joy to attend a volunteer meeting in Spanish. (By way of comparison - when we began we were all English speakers and therefore couldn't really communicate well with the children.)
S Mostly new for me is Rocksteady Boxing - a special program for people with Parkinson's Disease. It is a national organization with great success helping us with strength, coordination, balance and large body movements. It is fun and exercise at the same time. While in Mexico I was able to find Janis who gave me personal boxing classes twice a week for the whole time I was there.
R Besides walking most days, usually over 3 miles, we both attend a gym 2-3 times/week. A new friend has given us his Nordic rowing machine. This device is a challenge but in time I hope to master it. I have been doing my juggling acts and practice almost daily.
Travel again and plans for the future
R Finally we have traveled this year outside of the country. We returned to San Miguel de Allende for 3 months and will be returning again in 2023 to share our time with all of our dear friends and of course actively participate with our team, Libros para Todos. We traveled up north to Cape Cod for an adult Vogel reunion and to Long Island to be with my niece and her family and recently to Saint Augustine, FL to share time again with the Vogel clan and my cousins.S Having traveled a bit this year felt VERY good again. As you all know, we've had the travel bug for a very long time and felt a bit stifled for a while of no travel. Now I am back searching airBnB and airlines/trains websites getting ready for a trip in Mar/April to Spain and ending in Paris. We'll have a few car trips in the USA and then Mexico again from Oct-Dec 2023.
Homeowner's Association - Volunteer
R I wanted to meet my neighbors and I was elected to the board of our homeowner's association as the contract coordinator for our 56 home community. I have really enjoyed the process and meeting my neighbors, many for the first time. It has been interesting and rewarding. I will be continuing this volunteer job for the year to come.
S I am very proud of all that Richard has done this year as a board member. His personality is perfect for working with others as he always brings joy to everything he does.
S I found a new art practice which I hope to continue and perhaps expand. I have done online weekly classes along with a one month challenge of slow mindful drawing of repetitive patterns mostly from nature. (For more information see https://mindfulartstudio.com/) I enjoy the calm, meditative act that this provides. I have also made a quilt which was auctioned and many placemats that we gave to Meals on Wheels as part of our UU Quilters project. This year we are making them again. It is great to be able to use my sewing and art gifts to give service to others.
R For me, I continue to practice Tai Chi which can be considered an art form. It can take a lifetime to master.
S We said our goodbyes to our friend charlie kast who left this world right after we headed to Mexico. We had been part of his "charlie's angels" team helping him in his last few months after his stroke. He was a very important person in our lives. I worked with him as he was the minister of our UU church during the 11 years that I worked there. We've been very connected to him during our retirements as well and looked forward to our time together. His greatest lesson for me was that it is OK to be me, whatever I am, without worry about pleasing others. He was a loyal friend who cared about others. He showed love and allowed us to show him love, especially in his last days. It was an honor to be one of his friends.