My 2013, A Look Back

My year began in Washington DC on January 1st when I visited the Lincoln Memorial on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation . It was a solo trip; a new old tradition in my life, as I found myself, single, once again.

The Windows of The Lincoln Memorial#(w) (5)

In February
I got a great deal on a room in Gettysburg. The only trouble with staying in Gettysburg in February is that there is hardly anything open, which is why I got a great deal on a room. But my sister lives less than a half an hour away and although I couldn’t convince her to stay in the room overnight with me we had a wonderful (but expensive, but I had a coupon, but it was still expensive, dinner in the hotel). We went for after dinner drinks (one each, cause we were behaving) at The Dobbin House, which was opened and then she met me the next morning for the complimentary awesome breakfast that was part of my great hotel room deal. It was good quality sister time and I hope to repeat it in 2014.

Inside The Dobbin House

Inside The Dobbin House

February for the second time in two years delivered incredible loss. Last year it was my dad who passed in February. This year my godmother, Aunt Joan passed.

March was a busy month. In the beginning of the month I had my first show. It was at our town hall, a small venue perhaps, but my goal is to charm the locals so it was actually perfect for me.

Right after I went on my second overnight solo trip; this time to Staunton Virginia. The weather was a bit uncooperative but I enjoyed myself nonetheless.

Staunton(w)# (3)

No month would be complete without time spent with girlfriends. My friends Carole, Yvonne, and I went to see a most eclectic museum/hotel/thrift store/antique shop/event venue in March called The Mansion on O Street where among other things this vintage hat was on display.

Hats(w)# (5)

In April I started what I hope will be a new tradition, time with two of my cousins. This year we chose picking tulips and then a nice long lunch with lots of catching up. This year was our first but I hope to do it again in 2014, picking tulips or whatever else we decide.

Tulip Festival (c)# (12)

May began with a momentous occasion when my youngest turned 21. Here I am, proud momma after a day out with one of my besties; Rick.

On his 21st birthday

On his 21st birthday 5-5-13

The following weekend was a bit of a bust. I had this wise idea to take my younger nieces and nephews to Harper’s Ferry to learn about our history. My great great great grandfather was a doctor there during the civil war.

So we got two cabins for the 8 of us (my siblings, their families, and me) next to each other at the KOA. The cabins were impossibly tiny and it rained all weekend. We never made it to Harper’s Ferry the historical park and it cost me more than it would had a got a nice hotel room; which I will absolutely do next time!

The saving grace was Friday night’s family game night with my siblings and their kids. We played a rousing game of Balderdash accompanied by an alcoholic drink for (or two) for the adults only. It was Great fun!

Our roaring campfire before being doused with rain.

Our roaring campfire before being doused with rain.

June started off with a trip to Morven Park on a dreary afternoon. This outing began a month-long craving for chicken and cherry pie that wasn’t finally satisfied until my birthday!
Morven Park(w)# (9)

My birthday is at the end of June so all month my friends tend to take me to lunch. I love that, not so much the lunch as spending quality one on one time with my friends. One of my most memorable was with Carole and our trip to The Newseum in DC to see the JFK exhibit. We had lunch at a restaurant new to me but was so good I would visit again; in another city a few months later.

Gordon Biersch(w)# (5)

Later in June Carole and I headed back to DC but with two of her old friends who are now two of my new fiends. We visited The Martin Luther King Memorial and better yet the FDR which before this I never even knew existed!

Martin Luther King, Jr.(w)

In July I started the month with my vehicle in the shop. My ex, however came to the rescue and drove me the 50 miles to Romney West Virginia where my sister and her family spend their fourth of July with her in-laws. This location is closer to me than her home so if I don’t have to work I try to visit them there for the holiday.
July 4 in Romney(w)# (6)

The following weekend my girlfriends Carole and Vonnie and I went to nearby Fredericksburg Virginia. It was a typically hot July day but we still managed to enjoy The Mary Washington House and the Hartford Winery.

I have started photographing parts of Winchester Virginia with the help of my friend Kathy but this project is in its infant stage and needs some serious attention in 2014.

August was a month I had been planning for most of the year. My oldest grandson turned 14 in August just after my sister Kathy’s birthday. Kathy and I are step sisters, she is the youngest and I am the oldest so we never really bonded, at least not as much as we did in December of 2012 when we shared a three-hour breakfast in the dining room of our Hershey Park motel. It was after that experience that we began planning more one on one time together and we were able to make it happen in August.

Kathy lives in Baltimore so I planned a mini vacation with my grandson to that city of the football team and the baseball team he loves so well. The three of us enjoyed walking around the Inner Harbor our first night; most entertaining was finding a place where we could get dinner and a glass or two of wine without going broke. My sister Kathy and I share that, our love of a dry red wine. We were finally able to satisfy that requirement after stopping at several restaurants and rejecting their ridiculous prices when I recognized a chain I had only learned about in June. There it was, Gordon Biersch, known for its beer but able to satisfy the wine lover on a budget; and my grandson said the food was “awesome”; success!

I thought our trip was great. We had a wonderful room at The Embassy Suites just outside of the city that offered Christopher plenty of entertainment in between our outings. We rode the Seadog, visited the Historic Ships, Camden Yards, and The Sports Legends Museum. I’ll never regret this time spent with my sister, my nieces, and of course my grandson.

Chris at The Inner Harbor

If August was my month with grandson Christopher September was mine with grandson Nathan. Nathan lives a lot closer to me but we have only recently started getting acquainted. We had several outings in September including one to James Madison University. but the best time we had in September was visiting the corn maze. We spent an hour walking around in circles only to come out the way we went in and Nathan said “Nana, I can’t believe you paid $10.00 to walk around in a circle”.
To shut him up, I bought him ice cream 😉

Corn Maze wNate(w)# (18)

I worked lots of hours in September as my friend Debbi greeted and bonded with her newest grandchild. I was happy to do so, although admittedly not at the time.
In the midst of all those extra hours I was able to keep a prearranged date with another cousin I hope to see annually. Jennie and I met for a long lunch and a quick tour of Shepherdstown West Virginia,a halfway point between our homes. I had never been to Shepherdstown West Virginia before but I hope to return next September for,if nothing else,a little window shopping with my cousin Jennie. We both loved the earrings here but no purchases on this day for either of us. A coupon might have helped. 😉

Jennie and I loved the earrings(w)

In September I also attended the wedding of my friend Danny and his beautiful bride Jodi. I wasn’t the “official” wedding photographer but I got enough good shots to help the happy couple remember their special day.

Danny and Jodi

October is my favorite month without question. I was busy this October promoting my 2014 Shenandoah County Calendar. I sold quite a few and was proud and pleased with this undertaking. I’m not getting rich on this project, barely breaking even, but it feeds my ego and validates my “work”. I’m already working on the 2015 edition.

I spent time with girlfriends in October. Linda and I had lunch at Griffin Tavern where I have art work on display. Later Sally met us at Narmada Winery to hear local artist Robbie Limon play.
Narmada with Sally and Linda(c)# (1)

My friend Rick came to visit on a cloudy Saturday toward the end of October and we enjoyed the Reenactment of The Battle of Cedar Creek. I have lived ten miles from this yearly exhibition for 30 years and this was my first time there. We hope to make it again in 2014.

I also got away for my third solo trip this year in October. I visited my step mother on her 70th birthday and although some of the circumstances were difficult, the time spent bonding with her was immeasurable.

Barb on her 70th birthday(w)
In November I did my first real portrait session. At the urging of my beautiful niece I visited their home in Quicksburg Virginia. This was my first real outing and I couldn’t have had a nicer family choose me for the occasion. I took a lot of pictures but of course do to inexperience many of them didn’t turn out. Tiffany and family could not have been more generous. Their praise and encouragement has spawned me into future portrait sessions, all with family, at minimal cost. As I gain confidence and experience expect the cost to go up, even with family. Of course when you start at zero up is not much, but I warn you, get your pictures now, my head is getting fat fast!

My niece and her oldest son.

My niece and her oldest son.

I also, of course spent some girlfriend time in November. This time Carole, Vonnie, Sherry, Cindy, Pam, and I went to a nearby winery to imbibe and listen to some music by the incomparable Robbie Limon. Only problem was too much girl talk drowned out most of poor Robbie, not sure if he noticed; he never said. But then he probably couldn’t get a word in.

Valerie Hill with Pam(w)# (16)
At the end of the month Carole and I snuck away on a Tuesday ( a day off we often share) and visited Hillwood Mansion and Museum a most interesting place that alerts my senses to the have and have not’s. I’m never sure how I feel about that. I don’t begrudge people who have worked hard and saved/spent smart but I’m always disappointed when they dismiss the people who have not had the same opportunities afforded them. Not the ones (perhaps like me) who have squandered their opportunities but those who never had a leg to stand on.

I appreciate that Mrs. Marjorie Post designated this home as a museum so we have artifacts that are categorized and displayed with the utmost information available but the enormous wealth on display bothers me,ever so slightly. Take a look if you have time and tell me what you think.

To put it all in perspective I lost my first cousin this November 2013. I cherish those who remain and crave moments with them.

I began December jubilantly celebrating the 80th birthday of my dad’s only remaining sibling; my Aunt Jell, or Emily as she prefers to be called; although I know of no one who calls her that. There was some serious cousin time here and I rejoiced in it.
I don’t make it back to that part of Maryland, on the fringe of where I grew up very often; when I do it naturally causes some reflection. Aside from that were the moments with cousins and other family in 2013 outside of facebook and the internet; hugging moments that I treasure until the next hugging moment comes my way.

80th Birthday Party of Emily Hanfman(w)# (33)

Christmas Day this year was spent at the home of my best friend. Her husband has been asking for a certain print for two years now. I finally got it to him and I think they really liked it.

Mcgowan Christmas 2013(c)# (84)

My resolutions for 2014 are simple, more time with friends, more time with family, those listed and those I left off (oops). Love you!

My brother and I 2013

My brother and I 2013

And as an FYI the links to my 2012:

14 thoughts on “My 2013, A Look Back

  1. What a fun packed, fabulous year! I remember that print (for your friend’s husband). Liked that one a lot. All and all sounds like a successful year. I wish you even more this year, Dawn. 🙂


  2. Pingback: 2014: It’s been a great year! | The Day After

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