All my life the milestone birthdays left a path of devastation with me. Depression, upheaval, and so on. When 50 was staring me in the eyes, I felt the pains of the past. And then it occurred to me. Why not take a different route? Instead of dread and despair - it would be the year of new beginnings - of trying new things. I dubbed it "the 50th Extravaganza".
This was not only a milestone in my life, but my dad and daughter too. We are all 20 years apart, so my dad turned 70 and my daughter Jenny turned 30.
Turned out .... 50 was the best year of my life. A change in attitude was all it took. Here's some of the highlights. I thought I would remember it forever but I had to go back through photos to remind me how awesome the year really was.
The year started with my awesome husband who booked a day at the spa for me and my daughters on the day of my birth. I had never been to the spa before.We all took the day off, went to the spa and had lunch.
In January, I received the Certificate of Appreciation from the US Army for successfully deploying custom software which helps the army manage their equipment. It was a team effort. I traveled to Alabama to take on this challenge.
March 13th was Jennifer's 30th birthday. We had everyone over for a real grown up dinner party. My daughter the meat eater - we had prime rib, potatoes and all of her favorites.
Her money purse. I made the purse and filled it with money. She's a sucker for the leopard style.
April 2 was my grandson's 13th birthday so I painted these for his room. I just started painting this year. We bought stuff to do a room makeover. We went over and cleaned his area and made it real nice for him. He loved it!
For spring break, Burke, Holly and I took a southwestern trip. We flew to Las Vegas. One of the days, we took a bus tour over of the Grand Canyon.
We also toured Hoover Damn. Afterwards, we rented a car and drove through the Mojave desert to San Diego.
The drive through the desert was incredible. We stopped off at a rest area where Native Americans were selling jewelry. I bought a necklace. We drove until we saw the ocean.
We rented a suite right on the Pacific ocean. It was so beautiful. The sunsets were amazing and the sea lions added delight to our day.
We took a dinner cruise along the San Diego bay. There was dinner and dancing. When our server asked us what the occasion for the trip was - I happily said "it's the 50th extravaganza!". She looked at me weird and walked away. Some people have no sense of humor.
Holly and I suited up for a kayaking tour where we kayaked for 4 hours with a group on the Pacific Ocean. We also went through caves and snorkeled. Getting back into the kayak was a major challenge and one we still laugh about. On our way back into the beach, we didn't quite hit the break right and overturned our kayak. It was so freaking cold.
We spent a day at Disneyland. It was so much like Disney World in Florida. That was a great trip. Our flight left at 1AM and we were so tired, so all fell asleep as soon as we got on the plane.
I attended a meeting of the Saline Music Parents later in April that I thought was an informational meeting for the parents of kids in music. Turns out it was a Booster meeting. All 3 of us that attended volunteered for an office. I took President. One of my first duties was a community event called Drive 4UR school in which we earned $6,000. We also had a bake sale and raffle. I made the sign and bag.
June was Dad's birthday, the entire family gathered for a dinner. He met us here in Michigan and we (Me, Trudy, Holly, and Dad) drove down to Kentucky to see Donna, the youngest. I made that cake from scratch - it was pretty good. We had handmade pizza and cake.
We made a trip to Draffin, KY the place where my grandparents had a house. My sister Trudy and I lived with them for a couple of years. The house had flooded and the burnt to the ground. There was nothing left. The people that now live on the land was so nice - they knew our grandparents. The swinging car bridge had been replaced with a nice solid bridge.
This is the only thing left of that house. The foot stones.
My sister Donna got herself a stone from Draffin and we lugged it back to her house. My sister Trudy and I met Donna for the first time on our trip to Kentucky.
This was the church at the top of the hill in Draffin, KY. I couldn't believe it was still there! Trudy and I went to church there every week and summers. Lots of good memories of singing and plays there.
This was the creek that ran by the house. Trudy and I played there everyday catching tadpoles, crawdeads, and dragon flies.
The well outside the house. There was no running water so we used the outhouse and pulled water from this well. I remember getting spanked because I threw some dirt down it.
We visited the cemetery in Pikeville which held the tombstones of the McCoys. We found out later that we were directly related. Caledonia McCoy married into our family back in the 1800's.
Because of the trip to Donna's, I journeyed back into quilt making. This is the design I came up with. I created the design and loved making all the embroidered flowers.
This was one of my favorite paintings. I actually put this in a white elephant at work for Christmas. The winner sold it to someone who really wanted it.
September - I helped the superintendent of the Saline schools to do an event for Marching Band alumni. It was a fun event.
September was the Saline Music Boosters annual car wash. What a day that was! It was a big event where we raised nearly $7,000 and used ALOT of volunteers.
Then in October, we did a Zombie Bash at the Middle. It was a great success! We had a DJ, a photo booth, zombie snacks (which I made myself). We sold out everything! And the kids had a blast.
In October, I bought silk screening equipment to do my own sweatshirts and tshirts because I didn't want to spend extra to have someone else do it. It was really difficult to get those right. The Boosters sold a boat load of these things.
We attended all the school concerts and sold nearly $1,000 of spirit wear. It was neat to see the kids all wearing my designs.
There's no picture of this but .... I spoke at most of the concerts and tried my hand at comedy. Some people really liked it as they told me so - but I'm sure must as many didn't. :) I just figured I would spice up a boring talk.
The Saline Music Boosters reached their 501c3 status year end making them incorporated and a nonprofit. The process of doing that was very educational.
November my great nephew turned one and he was really into blocks - so I made this 3D block quilt for him. It was super hard to make but I only had to start over once. I wasted a lot of fabric getting this right - but in the end, I think it turned out fabulous!
The year ended on a fabulous note on New Years hanging out with the family. I really couldn't have asked for a better year. I am just getting started in life - and checked off many things on my bucket list.