Graduations, a wedding, a milestone birthday, and travel. A lot happened in 2013.
Rites of Passage
Sharon finished the nursing program at Bakersfield College and was awarded an R.N. on May 9th. Mary, Dick, and I hosted a family graduation dinner at the Bakersfield Petroleum Club. In July, Sharon passed the California State Board of Registered Nursing Licensure examination and was offered a job at Bakersfield Heart Hospital. She works in a medical/surgical unit and loves her job even though working 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. three nights a week is tough. Her next goal is to enroll in the B.S. in Nursing program at Cal State Bakersfield.
Chandler graduated from Garces Memorial High School on May 21st. Chandler enjoyed four wonderful years at Garces where she worked hard and did well academically. She made close friends and enjoyed many activities. Chandler participated in Mock Trial all four years and was named the 2013 Most Valuable Presenter (MVP). This was her last year of ballet to which she has been devoted for twelve years. In the fall Chandler began her freshman year at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
June 1st, Tommy graduated from St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School in Vallejo. Tommy played tennis all four years at SPSV and has done well. Graduation weekend was filled with celebration. Parents organize Grad Night festivities at the school. There are booths offering games, makeup, nails, tattoos, food, and a DJ. Breakfast is served early in the morning before the graduates head for home. A high point the of the evening for Tommy was a hypnotist. Tommy was fascinated and spent the next couple of days trying to hypnotize everyone he got close to.
When two people love each other they should get married. I was honored to witness the marriage of my dear friends Allan and David in Santa Rosa on July 15. Having known each other since we 16 years old, Allan and I share a long history. The evening before the wedding, David’s sister, Kathy, treated us to dinner at 101 Thai Way, our favorite Thai restaurant, in Clovlerdale. Keeping with the Thai theme, following the wedding we had lunch at SEA Thai Bistro in Santa Rosa. Allan and David bought a home in Middlebury, Vermont where they moved in August.
My cousin Lydia turned 60 on August 10th. Amber, here daughter, and Enola, her sister, surprised Lydia with a birthday party. The bigger surprise was seeing Enola, who flew from Vermont for the party. There are 15 first cousins in our generation who are now the elder members of the Irwin family. Ten of the first cousins were present for Lydia’s party along with some of their families. Many friends also came. There were barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, salads, chips, dips, and chocolate birthday cake. Amber organized and wrapped 60 birthday presents. It was a great surprise and a great party.
I flew to Vermont August 19 to spend a month with Allan to help him settle the home David and he bought. Located just outside the southern town limit of Middlebury, the house is nestled in an 11-acre wood. Built of post and beam construction, the house is two stories and a cellar. There are stunning views from every window. The living room and dining room windows look west to the Adirondacks were we watched many beautiful sunsets.
The moving van arrived about a week after I got there. Allan and I spent days lining shelves, unpacking cartons, and organizing kitchen cupboards and drawers, bedroom closets, attic, cellar, and garage storage. We washed windows, cleaned hardwood floors, and polished furniture. It was not all work. Weekends we toured the Vermont countryside…
I attended the 8th annual San Miguel Writers Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. An advantage of the San Miguel conference is its small size that allows participants to meet and to chat with keynote speakers. I was delighted to meet Cheryl Strayed, Lawrence Hill, and Luis Alberto Urrea. Conference attendees have an opportunity to schedule appointments with two literary agents to pitch a book proposal. I jumped at the chance. Neither of the agents I spoke with were interested in my book, but they gave me solid advice about how to make the book more desirable. Returning home, I reevaluated the project. Considering the advice the agents gave me, I decided this is not the book I want to write. I have other things to write.
My friend Cathy got tickets to a book signing with Khaled Hosseini in Berkeley for the promotion of his latest book And the Mountains Echoed. I enjoyed hearing Hosseini talk about his writing process; but, having him sign my copies of his three novels was a thrill.