The friends -
The family -
The annoying spam that visits weekly trying to sell me Versace handbags CHEAP!!,
It's hard to believe I'm sitting down to write this letter again.
Do you know what is even harder to believe?
That I have 30% of my Christmas shopping done one week prior to December 25 - BOOM!
It's time to quickly recap some highlights of the year while trying desperately to mask the fact that my life is 100% ordinary and 10% humorous.
And, I'm terrible at math.
2013 can be summed up in one question that we all asked ourselves after the Alabama/Auburn football game: What just happened?
In January I enjoyed the inaugural trip of the year to Denver with the Thomas Sisters. Generally speaking, these gals keep me sane, partially hopped up on wine and grounded at the same time.
I'm thankful for their perspectives on life and humor that delivers at the very second I need it. They're the kind of friends who keep your personal to-do in their phone when your head is spinning too quickly to get things done.
In March I had the amazing opportunity to spend a morning 1:1 with Temple Grandin.
During that morning with her I gained a lot of insight and learned one very important lesson:
Turning on someone's seat heater in the car is not always a welcomed gesture.
She had no idea why her bum was so warm and she did not care for it.
Try explaining that one.
Headline news story avoided.
In May I put my house up for sale, BY OWNER. A lot of good that did.
I got several phone calls about the little gem but only by folks who wanted to rent.
I still have nightmares about tenants from my parent's rentals in the early 90's who smelled like kerosene and peanut butter.
No way in heck was I about to rent out this home I adore.
It is still for sale and the price has been lowered. As well as the thermostat. No sense in heating two homes, I tell Cody often.
It's in a little town with a great atmosphere: three churches, a restaurant, two bars, a museum, a "fun house", a pet cemetery and a music store all within walking distance!
And it's close to a scenic, historic river!
It's basically waterfront property!
What more could you want?!
Can you tell I've been working on the Craig's List ad?
On August 5 Cody and I took the plunge and officially went up to our eyeballs in debt:
We bought a farm.
It's a real nice place....With room for improvement.
And a few cows.
Since the purchase, our time has been completely wrapped up in getting it ready for our arrival.
I've been to Lowe's and Menard's more times since August than I have been in my entire 29 years combined.
I've lost sleep over paint colors.
I've dreamt about horsehair.
I've had days when the greatest accomplishment I made was pasting kitchen cabinets with liner.
I've sold cowboy boots in order to get things to fit in this newfound space.
I've learned how to use a plunger. In the dark.
If we don't move in soon I'm considering burning the entire place to the ground.
Just kidding. Kind of.
Five days later on August 10 Cody and I took another plunge and got married.
Wind = Roped.
For the most part I enjoyed everything that came with wedding planning.
The stressed out mother.
The emotional father.
The black lady in the dressing room who ripped my underwear off of me.
Who am I kidding? By the time August 10 rolled around, I was so ready for the vows that it didn't matter if my dress zipped or not. I was walking down that aisle.
From Hawaii to northern Michigan, Oregon to Florida, and Canada to Washington, DC, we had generous guests arrive in Greens Fork, Indiana to celebrate with Cody and I. For that we are so, so grateful.
We consider that day our greatest blessing: Friends and family in one place, wishing us well and sharing our joy.
And parents who weathered every storm along the way with sails of patience.
While August put Cody and I on our greatest high, September brought us to a terrible low as we laid our two beloved pups, Birdie and Dixie, to rest. There is nothing better than a good and faithful dog, and we were fortunate to know two. They taught me the definition of patience and the importance of a vacuum with a pet hair attachment.
I miss them every single day.
Also in September Cody judged stock at the Washington State Fair and we enjoyed seeing that part of the country. We had an awesome CAB meal at the The Metropolitan Grill in Seattle and went to the top of the Space Needle.
Wouldn't recommend it.
I swear I stayed at a hotel in vegas that was taller than that deal, and when you finally get to the top, it's like a concession stand from the local skating rink.
Packed with a lot of folks who don't understand, "Excuse me".
It's a high rise melting pot with three times too many people.
Cody went ahead and carried his luggage to the top. I don't recommend that, either. It would have been less awkward and crowded if he would have just worn a fanny pack like the rest of them. But isn't he handsome?
In November I felt a sense of lost identity.
It wasn't the name change.
Or tossing some of my belongings so Cody could move in.
It wasn't even the Angus Journals and sale catalogs that began to fill our home.
It was the 40 lbs. of cat food I bought.
It's with great fondness that I recall the days when we'd play punt kitty as Greens Fork children. Now I'm breaking ice in cat dishes the size of my fist and tripping over black cats in the cold dark night.
Marriage: It changes things, folks.
But not the fact that some of my best evenings in 2013 were spent at BSG, working with the cattle that we take pride in. I'm proud of the house Momma and Dad have built.
And also the snow. We've just seen a lot of snow.
It all went by so quickly.
Many thanks for reading Jean's Boots Are Made For Talking - I hope you've enjoyed it and also learned something from every single story. That is what keeps me going.
Even if that lesson is how to avoid starting your own cat ranch.
They're everywhere, folks. And sadly, they have names.