Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Year in Review-2011, part II

Or as it's otherwise known, 5K Month. I ran three 5Ks in July, one of which being the Warrior Dash in Michigan. I was also testing out new footwear. I ran the Firemen's Race in the Merrell Pace Gloves and the Chase the Lake race in my Luna Sandals. I got many strange looks for running a race in sandals, but otherwise it was a good race. I ran the Warrior Dash in the Merrells and was very glad of it- the protection of a sneaker, but not the bulk. All the racers were caked in mud, but at least my shoes weren't heavy!
That's Mrs. Warrior to you, punks!
Buck and Alyssa hosted a post Warrior Dash party and de-mudding shower for all the warriors. A visit with Buck, Alyssa, and Baby Wyatt was the first leg of the Great Tour of the Mitten (also known as our annual trip to Michigan).
Asha, Uncle Buck, and Baby Wyatt!

After our stop in Brighton, we travelled up to Blanchard to the farm. Cyrus and Janet are always the gracious hosts and served up loads of tasty steaks and glasses of fresh milk. Asha was able to see first hand where the milk came from, too! She really enjoyed kicking off her shoes and running around with her cousins. She fit right in. While we were up North, we travelled even farther north to see the dunes up at Traverse, which I hadn't seen before. We went to the beach, but it was brrrrrrrrrrrr....... Before heading to Olivet, we took a paddle down the Chippewa River in kayaks. It was a good time!

Cousins, cousins, everywhere cousins!
Then we were on to Olivet and the Land of Hempel! Mom signed me up for a 5K that weekend, so there was more running. While we were in Michigan, we even got to see a band from Virginia that we got to know in Maryland play in Marshall, Michigan! It was such a fun date night to listen to the Steel Wheels play at the Dark Horse.

You'll never know what you'll find at Hempelonia!
Asha, Nana, and Gertrude!

We were home in Pennsylvania a week, when Erik's sister and her family came for a whirlwind visit. And I ran the final race in the Twilight Quad. After that, I felt pretty burnt out from all that running and just stopped, kind of like Forrest Gump. Then we were off again to visit family in New Jersey since we weren't planning to go for Christmas (saving up for a little sunny vacation in February 2012). We took Asha to the beach, an authentic New Jersey boardwalk, and to New York City!

Asha and I at the Jersey Boardwalk

Asha at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exhausted from all that travel, we settled into some semblance of a routine. Asha went to school with the bigger kids at the YMCA three days a week. Somewhere during that whirlwind summer, I was awarded a commission to do four three-quarter-life-size sculptures for a church in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. The studio situation didn't work out, so I started work in theliving room.
Living room studio.

On the 15th of September, Olde Town sponsored the first annual Art Walk in Grove City. About twenty or so artists were partnered with local businesses. Each artist set up a display in a location downtown and people walked from place to place, looking at art and meeting the artists. It was a very busy evening and the turnout was better than we expected!
Also, in September, a group of people in Grove City got together to form the Grove City Arts Council! under the auspices of Grow Grove City, a 501c3 non-profit revitalization organization. We are working on some very exciting projects, including an art center that will house studio space, a gallery, and space for classrooms.

The Cutest Picture of the Year was taken in September.

In October, Erik and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. We had a lovely lunch at The Pines Tavern. Then Asha and I were back in the car to Chicago. We stopped at Niles to pick up Aunt MaryBeth, Ben, and Abilgail and drove to the big city to celebrate the wedding of our cousin, Carrie, to Lee Donohue. It was a great chance to see relatives we haven't seen in ages. We had to head out just as the dancing started to get the kids in bed, but from what I heard, Granny closed down the place. She danced all night long.  Then we traveled north to celebrate Nana's birthday in Olivet! We stayed a few days and stopped to wish Baby Wyatt a Happy Birthday before heading home again.

I turned thirty-four on the first. 11-1-11. Pretty cool, huh? Also, the first weekend in November, Christina (or MissTina, or ChristmasTina, as Asha calls her) moved into our upstairs loft. She is a recent college graduate, an artist, and all around fun and hilarious person. We are two peas in a pod and she certainly brings more light and joy to the house. We are so happy to have her.

I was hoping for a quiet month, so that I could work on those sculptures for Carnegie, but it came to my attention that the National Portrait Gallery was hosting a big portrait competition and the deadline was November 30th. It had to be a recent portait, too. I had been out of the studio the past several years and had nothing recent. So, in a fury, I worked on a sculpture of Asha. I started over once. I even had to cast and finish it before doing a late night photo shoot the day it was due. I didn't sleep for a week, but I got it done and submitted. I won't find out whether or not I was accepted as a semi-finalist until April, 15th.
Slinging plaster to make the mold.

Asha, four-and-a-half, detail

On December 7th, our loyal dog, Emma, was laid to rest. She was fourteen years old and took at least two walks a day, every single day, totaling about 7300 miles. She could have walked to Juneau, Alaska and back. She was the dog who turned people who aren't really fond of dogs into husky lovers (myself included). She was gentle and loyal. She will be missed.
Emma Irani ~1997-2011. We miss you.
"I'm thinking about coming to visit," Nana said on the phone.
"Sure, when?"
"I'll leave today." And at 8:00pm, Nana pulled in the driveway! Asha was over the MOON! We had a great time all together. We got to go shopping, decorate the world's fattest Christmas tree, set up the Nativity, wrap gifts, and go to the movies. We took Asha to see her first movie at the theater. We saw the Muppets! She loved it, I loved it, everyone had a good time.  It had been raining so much that when Nana set out to leave, she got stuck in the mud. We had to call AAA to call a towtruck and pull her van out. Asha thought this was hilarious and repeated the story to anyone who would listen.
Christmas Shrubbery.

Then Christmas came so quickly! We went to the Christmas Eve service at All Saints. Asha really enjoyed lighting the candles at church. And she looked ever-so-adorable in the dress Nana got for her.

Santa visited and left a trail from the door to her stocking. She woke me up saying, "Mom, someone left a huge mess in here!" She was happy with the stocking for about a half hour before I pointed out that there were presents under the tree. She loved being the center of it all! She opened each gift carefully and placed the paper in a bag. It was a little overwhelming for her to know what to play with first!

And then fairies moved in! We'll see what sort of magic is in store for us in 2012.


Jeri said...

Love your year end review. It was nice to see the pic of Buck and Wyatt with Asha, and the one of Nora and Asha with the bird? Hempelonia must be a wondrous place. I wish you a Happy New Year.

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