I have heartily and often called 2017 a dumpster fire for obvious reasons. This year started out with a lot of fear, tears, and rage and continued to be a rollercoaster of mostly negative emotions. It has been a challenging year for all of us, I’d imagine, but I want to make sure to recognize and acknowledge the good. I have to acknowledge the good to be the best mom I can to my boys who deserve a present and sane Mama. After all, my kids were 4 and 7 this year and a lot happened! So here goes.
- Women’s March: I know, I know, I’m starting with a politically related event. I have to as it gave me so much hope and strength to see the number of attendees, the diversity, to march with my boys and explain why we were there. It was also the first time we have been recognized as a family by a stranger at a non-gay event. That was pretty awesome ❤
- NC Chinese Lantern Festival: This was our first visit to the Festival, which was really REALLY cool! There were Asian-themed light displays (lanterns, Chinese soldiers, foo dogs, etc.) as well as holiday related displays. Our whole family enjoyed it and planned to go the following year (see December, below).
- Sarah P. Duke Gardens: This was our first time visiting the gardens and it was beautiful. We need to get back here in the warmer months to see things blooming!
- HKonJ march: This is a yearly march organized by the NC chapter of the NAACP. Again, recharged the spirit and made me want to continue to RESIST. I went to this one sans family and met a long-time blogger friend Sarah! No brainer great memory.
- Hedwig play: DW and I are ridiculously obsessed with Hedwig and were SO excited this was coming to our neck of the woods. It was great seeing it in play form (we’d only seen the movie about 500 times prior). LOVE Hedwig!
- Snow: We get snow 2 or 3 times in the winter and it is always an experience our family loves – especially because we hail from Southern California. It’s pretty, you get snow/ice days off school/work, and it’s fun to play in when there’s enough of it. I also enjoy putting out birdseed and watching the show ❤
- More snow!
- Artsplosure: Katena: This is a huge inflatable structure designed to be “lit up” by the sun filtering in through the thin colored plastic walls. We went to another one of these back in LA when the MM was a baby and loved it. Fun for kids and adults. A friend and his two boys joined us and we had a great time running around, taking pictures.
- X show at the Cat’s Cradle: Los Angeles legends X came through and it was incredible. These folks are getting up there in age, but still manage to rock it and sound great. The nostalgia and LA feels were high.
- Boating: A co-worker and her wife (no, we are not the only gays in NC) live on a lake and bought a new boat. They kindly invited our family over for a ride and some swimming in the lake and in their pool. It was great fun and the first time either boy has been lake swimming. They were both fans.
- Monkey begins reading for pleasure: On a whim, I picked up a copy of the first Capt. Under.pants book at Tar.get and handed it to Monkey in the car. When we got home, he laid down on his belly on the couch and read for over an hour! This was probably my most favorite thing that happened in 2017. The birth of a reader. He has been into it ever since and has read tons of books. My heart, you guys. MY HEART!
- Car Seat Headrest show at the Cat’s Cradle: We like them, we saw them, it was good. Seeing bands is a passion of ours, so I added all of them to the list to remind myself that we continued doing things we love as a couple.
- Durham Bulls game: Love our Bulls! Planned to see one game per month over the summer, but only made it to two. Cool ballpark, beers, food – SO FUN!
- Sold condo: After a couple of years of pain renting out our SoCal condo, we decided we were over it. It sold quickly for more than double what we paid for it 14 years ago (!!!). We socked most of the profits away to put down on our current house once we exit the dumpster fire. Sorry to be a downer, but we want access to money in case we need to make a quick exit from the US. We did use some of it…
- Bought new cars: We bought a black 2017 Toy.ota High.lander, which we are in love with. Also replaced our ancient Hon.da CRV (purchased in 2001!) with a silver 2014 Hon.da CRV. So, no car payments, no paying interest, and in solid vehicles for years to come seemed like a good way to spend some of our profits.
- Family beach trip (Edisto, SC): This was a VERY mixed bag, but I’m counting it in the win column because the kids had a fantastic time with their cousins. We had a little bday celebration for my nephew on the first night there, which was also a lot of fun.
- Paperhand puppet show, Of Wings and Feet: This is a local group that makes the puppets, which are incredibly, and puts on various shows. I didn’t realize that this particular show highlighted resistance. It was poignant, funny, and inspiring. The boys and I even went on-stage at the end to act as protestors. Loved it.
- Superchunk/Ex Hex/Waxahatchee @ NCMA: This was a Merge Records showcase at the NC Museum of Art’s open air theater. All three bands were really fun, but Superchunk was the highlight. We’ve loved them for many years and think it’s SO cool to see them here (they are from Chapel Hill) and get to go to shows at the Cat’s Cradle (epic indie rock club in Carborro, which is next to Chapel Hill). The museum is very close to home, so that was a plus as well.
- The eclipse: This? WAS SO FREAKING COOL! I didn’t have much in the way of expectations, and I was blown away. I immediately regretted our decision not to travel to Columbia (which is where my parents live), where they had 100% totality. We had 93% totality and it was amazing.
- Durham Bulls game: Go Bulls!
- Helium show (Hopscotch Festival, downtown Raleigh): We were HUGE Helium fans in the 90s and count ourselves fortunate that this revival came through our town. Mary Timony (singer/songwriter/guitarist) did not disappoint. First show we’ve seen at the Red.Hat Amphitheater.
- Monkey goes tree climbing: We have an arboretum near home that I follow on FB. They published this event to climb trees that looked really cool, so I got Monkey a spot. It exceeded our expectations and we can’t wait for it to come again. I’m totally climbing next time. You get a little instruction on how to use the equipment and there is an instructor there to help while you climb. You climb up huge old oak trees – 40-50 feet in the air!
- Carolina Tiger Rescue: Who knew we had a tiger rescue within 30 minutes of home???? We had a great time wandering the grounds looking at bobcats, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, lions, and tigers. Really great facility that cares for these animals who need somewhere to go. Will definitely be back.
- Guided by Voices show at Motor.co: First time at this super cool venue, across the street from Fullsteam Brewery, which we checked out as well. GbV is one of our favorite groups from back in the 90s (they are still touring and making records, God bless ’em), and this is our second opportunity to see them in NC. Fun ass show, per usual.
- Cults show at Cat’s Cradle: Show was okay, but a night out at the Cat’s Cradle is always a good time.
- Hosted Thanksgiving: This was my first time hosting Thanksgiving and it went very well. I made a turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, a squash casserole, and biscuits. MiL brought pumpkin pie and apple pie. A friend brought a roasted veggie casserole. Meal was delicious and we had the house cleaned up and appropriately spiffed up for the holiday. I call it a success.
- Hilton Head/Savannah trip: My parents have a time share on Hilton Head and we try to join when they go. This year, it was my mom and us (my dad was still in Houston, serving his time with FEMA). We typically do a day trip to Savannah as it’s only ~45 minutes away. This year we finally made it to the famed Bonaventure cemetery. We have a family plot there, where my great great grandfather and grandmother are buried. It’s a beautiful place with a ton of history. The boys were being out of control, so my mom offered to drive them around a bit so we could look in peace. We walked through the oldest area of the cemetery, took pictures, and then headed out to play at Forsyth Park.
- NC Chinese Lantern Festival: See January, above.
- Finalized DW adoption of the MM: We started this process early in 2017. After problem after problem after setback after setback, it was finally official in December. Thanks to my special friend SB for making it happen! So now both boys have been legally adopted by their Mommy. Suck it, 45.
- Tig Notaro show: A close friend here in Raleigh is a HUGE Tig fan and bought a bunch of Tiggets to her show (that is her phrase – lololol). DW isn’t a fan, but I really like her as does my mom, so we went and it was great. I typically like my comedy more on the edgy side, but I got a bunch of laughs and a night out with the girls.
- Christmas: Nothing out of the ordinary this year, but we love the holidays, so it’s always special. The MM’s “big” gift? Hulk riding a car. Monkey’s big gift? Nin.tindo Switch, with games and accessories from multiple family members.
And I must mention our fantastic karate family as playing a big part in making 2017 less of a suckfest. We absolutely love our dojo and our shihan, who is such a strong, caring, liberal woman who I’m proud to call a friend. It’s a wonderful community and we feel lucky to be a part of it. Monkey loves it and continues to thrive and improve. The MM, on the other hand, is the king of NO and decided he was done, much to our chagrin. Hoping that when he gets a little older he has a change of heart.
Not a bad year, right? It was fun to remember the good times and not focus on our national nightmare for a bit. I need to do more of that in 2018.
In closing, RESIST, my friends!