Happy new year! I'm still allowing myself to say that even though there is only one day left in January of 2017.
In 2016 I continued my hiatus from blogging except for micro entries on my Instagram account. It doesn't feel as important to share, connect, and analyze my experiences when living in the US compared to living overseas. My life experience here seems to have a lot more in common with that of family and friends, many of whom also live in the U.S. or have spent a great deal of time in this country. Also, blogging just for fun (as a hobby) has fallen down my priorities list since becoming a parent in late 2014. If life were to take us abroad again, I'm not sure I could maintain the blogging schedules I used to keep pre-baby.
Still, I wouldn't want to skip my year-in-review tradition since I've done it now for the years 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. (Links coming soon). This will be a very edited overview. Here's a bullet list so you can scroll down to the parts that interest you most:
2016: A few memories and events by month (with photos)
2016: My writing and coaching brags
2017 Plans and possibilities
Memories by month
I have selected just a few highlights to mention for each month.
We enjoyed selecting a Hollywood apartment; we contacted our old landlord and were able to move back into the same charming complex where we met in 2010. My mom was so supportive and flew from NC to help us with the move.
Prince Charming took a work trip to Indonesia.
It was great to reconnect with our California friends this month.
Making new mommy friends and joining a "mommy and me" belly dance class with Bump.
A tough month. I locked Bump in the car. Everything turned out okay as roadside assistance came to our aid. Thankfully it wasn't a hot day.
Also, we made the difficult decision to find a new home for Jelly Bean. We couldn't take care of her in the way she really needed to be cared for.
We said goodbye and found a great organization that flies Canaan dogs and Canaan dog mixes to places better suited to their need for lots of space. She was quickly adopted by a new family and now lives in Washington State.
We took a fun family trip to San Francisco where we visited the SF zoo for one of the most vibrant zoo days i've ever had. The tigers were pacing, the lions were roaring, and the monkeys were swinging. It was really fun and cold.
We got to see my cousin Charlie who has started a successful craft-beer distributing company.
We caught up with Uncle Jeff and took a special picture. I noticed when visiting my Grammy that her baby pictures of her son Jeff (my uncle) look a lot like Bump. So I theorize that when Bump grows up he will look a lot like his handsome great Uncle Jeff:
I started learning more about my family's bicycle company, Cruzbike, and doing lifestyle consulting for their customers. I call and email people interested in the bikes and help connect them to test rides and decide which bike is right for their lifestyle. I'll post a photo later in this blog post of me riding a Cruzbike, the world's fastest and healthiest bikes.
This month I also got to see the Los Angeles premiere of a film made by one of my classmates and friends from the 2007 Act One screenwriting program -- the first class I did when I moved to LA and the community that helped me feel supported during my transition to living in LA after college. His movie was hilarious and I hope it will lead to more film making opportunities for him. It was great have an Act One mini-reunion and catch up with some old friends I hadn't seen in years.
See all the bridges in the photo below? Yes, that's a sign we're in Portland, Oregon, where my friend Liz lives. It was wonderful to meet her new baby (#2) and chase our toddlers around.
July brought a family reunion in Vermont and lots of Cruzbike fun.
I also celebrated my birthday with neighbors and friends. My belly dance teacher and dear friend Katya danced with me in my dining room:
Bump had been obsessed with his space shuttle replica toy, so in August we took him to see the real thing, the shuttle Endeavor at the Califoria Science Center.
My mom came out west again to watch Bump so Charming and I could take a vacation in Hawaii:
Kimberly was traveling through LAX and it worked out that we got to meet during her layover and eat brunch near the airport and then take a picture by the Pacific:
We took a few days as a family to go to Desert Hot Springs ("hot is our middle name" is the town motto). We enjoyed stargazing and hanging out by the pool. We drove by the smelly but beautiful Salton Sea at sunset:
I traveled to Cincinnati for the recumbent bicycle convention.
I'm proud to work with my wonderful family and sell the world's fastest, safest, healthiest bicycles to a growing tribe of eccentric and sexy athletes -- is there a better kind? -- many of whom have come back from overwhelming physical injuries to ride much faster than most cyclists ever will.
I also started a new creative project this month. I think we need more images of breastfeeding to normalize it in our society so I'm creating a breastfeeding awareness calendar. I'm looking for 10 more volunteer mommy-child teams to be part of this project. Let me know if you want in.
Birthday month for Bump. I celebrated two years of this life with my sweet genius 2-year old. Sometimes I whisper in his ear before I put him down to sleep,"thank you for being here." I just can't believe how wonderful he his and some part of me believes that he got to pick me, to choose us, to select this particular adventure and that he still remembers that brochure and making these trip arrangements.
Oh yeah. November was the election too. I don't keep my political views a secret. I'm disappointed by the results and feeling anxious about what direction things are going in here in the U.S.
Three dear friends came to visit me in LA and we celebrated Julie (below left) on her birthday with gourmet tacos and palm trees and the beach.
We went to visit family in North Carolina -- a nice long trip -- over the holidays. My family has been wonderful supportive during the adjustment to parenthood.
We relaxed, ate, relaxed some more, and I got pranked a little when my dad and brother showed me a mockumentary about dragons that I thought was true.
After Christmas it was birthday celebration time again.
I baked a cake for Prince Charming's late December birthday. I relish celebrating my brilliant poetry major husbands birthday (which is sort of torture to him). Today I am especially grateful for (and apt to brag about) his location-independent work building nonprofit programs to help refugees. Did you know he played a key role in saving a program in Los Angeles to help persecuted members of religious minority groups immigrate to safety in the USA? He has saved so many lives. He just keeps going in his low-key way. No big deal. My hero.
My writing and coaching brags
I had a lot of fun with my writing and coaching in 2016. I collaborated on a great screenplay project. I got paid to create an original superhero with a backstory for a comic book universe. I helped train a team of storytellers who used their skills and talents to raise over $48,000 for brain cancer research as they documented the 2016 Race Across America.
"I would NEVER have been able to do in many weeks what Genevieve accomplished practically overnight."
I really enjoyed continuing to coach and encourage writers and artists throughout 2016, and at the end of the year, I got to see the fruit of some of that time spent when one of my author contacts published her updated book manuscript with my support. She kindly wrote:
"When people talk about having the right person come in to your life at the right time, Genevieve was true to her word and took me by the hand and made my book happen! I would NEVER have been able to do in many weeks what Genevieve accomplished practically overnight. The book is available on Amazon.com, is being downloaded almost daily, and I've regained confidence to get the next project going."
Scroll down for more on the topic of coaching and publishing.
2017 plans and possibilities
I'll wrap up with website updates and general thoughts for what 2017 may bring for us as a family and for my writing and coaching.
Website and blog updates coming in 2017
As you can see, you are reading this blog at a new URL. I am moving my blog content from my old site (Packing Lust) over to this site since I'm changing the hosting platform and am ready for a web home renovation. Hopefully it will go well and you'll see my archive happily hosted on this site soon.
I experiment with different web site products because I always want to simplify my web maintenance and I like to keep things feeling fresh around here. I'm experimenting this year with using Squarespace as my new hosting provider and site builder. I'm hoping this will streamline my website maintenance. I got frustrated with WordPress since it seemed like I was constantly needing to be updating plugins or fixing something buggy.
In 2017 I'll be posting here about writing, publishing and coaching, as well as posting the occasional travel, family, or life update.
Some 2017 predictions and possibilities
I've grown wary of making yearly goals or resolutions publicly because either a) I get disappointed when they don't happen, or b) something totally unexpected happens and I want to embrace the new adventure that has arrived. I've learned to deeply savor the present moments and meanings as they come.
Our family has faced a lot of uncertainty over the past two years. I predict we will soon be entering another nomadic phase so the future is delightfully uncertain. Well, I guess I'd like some certainty at some point. Certainty could be delightful. As ever, we'll see. Right now I'm really enjoying the adventure of looking into the unknown. Someone recently asked me, "But don't you want to have a community, roots, support, something settled?" And the answer is yes, I do, but I also have the bug -- the travel/nomad bug. And it hasn't gone away yet. So I try to find some kind of balance between growing roots and exploring new places. I'm grateful there is technology that allows me to access my support system and keep up with friends all over the world.
I hope that whatever this year brings, I keep writing. In 2016 I wrote 128,187 words in my journal. While I didn't publish any books, I'm grateful for journaling. So far the first month of 2017 has gone well with my writing. I have intended to publish two books a year for the past several years and failed on that, but I keep writing and publishing in some form over the years whether it's on Amazon, my blog, Facebook or Instagram.
This could be a breakthrough year for my writing and publishing and that of others in my writing community. Perhaps this year I will publish one book. Maybe two. I feel that in 2017 it's important for me to defeat what Steven Pressfield called "Resistance," which for me is mostly comprised of the fear that what I write won't help anyone. I want to remember that if my writing helps, uplifts, or connects to anyone -- even just one person -- it is worth the time, effort, and risk of putting my words out there. I am so grateful for the support of my family, friends, and all the writers and creatives who support and encourage me as a writer and storyteller. We are all connected and we are here for each other.
I find more and more meaning in giving back by supporting and coaching creatives, which leads me to...
My work with writers and creatives
I'll be doing more writer- and creative-coaching with a special focus on self-publishing in 2017 so check back here soon as I'll get new coaching information and payment pages active just as soon as I can.
Best wishes for a creative and powerful 2017!