I would not trade
these falling tears
if it meant never
knowing even just a bit
of you

I will cry
to balance the joy
of your existence
now relegated
to memories

I would not banish
this ache and pain
just to pretend
with life
there is no death

I will remember
with sweet melancholy
the spark of imagination
you wrought
in my very heart

I would not trade
this darkness
if it meant never
knowing the glow
of your smile

my best 16 of 2016 on Instagram

The end of 2016 is nearly upon us and of course I’m falling under the usual spell of looking back on the year.

For me, the single most personally sorrowful moment of 2016 was having to say goodbye to our last dog, the dachshund Holli. I miss that little bandit, my Holli-bolly. She also answered to Pookie but only to her daddy. If I called her that, she would give me that look like, “No, you’re not allowed to call me that, Mommy.” I’m glad her last days were spent in a house where she could run on carpet and sound like a super miniature horse. I miss her so much, especially when I’m home alone and I just want to cuddle with her. She was great at cuddling and napping. We often napped together. She’d sleep next to me, breathing into my hair, sometimes kicking me and sapping away my warmth. I never minded too much. I sigh a little whenever I look at my photos and the inevitable “on this day” photos that show up. I took a lot of pictures of my dog and now I’m so glad I did because it helps me remember her even as much as it makes me miss her…

So many deaths in the celebrity/notable world this year! People want to write off the year because of it but really, I can’t. It’s so sad, yes, that these people have left our realm but oh what they’ve left behind for us– whether their art or their personalities or their discoveries or their experiences. So mourn and rail against the fates but take time also to appreciate the richness and legacy of these departed souls. Maybe it wasn’t fair that they died but I choose to take joy in how they’ve touched my heart even as I cry here at their loss…

The election. I didn’t talk much about it while it was happening mostly because I like to keep that kind of stuff to myself. I don’t have influence so why share my thoughts to people who might not like what I have to say? And I don’t need the reinforcement of strangers to shore up my own opinions or thoughts. So I kept most of my thoughts to myself about the election. I voted. Now I go on with my life, hoping to keep myself positive against all the negative, hoping that people strive more towards love and compassion as opposed to divisiveness and hate…


my favorite photo is now one of my watch faces!

Highlights of my year! The fun stuff…

Tyler Rich – You knew I wasn’t going to go by without mentioning Tyler, right? I was very lucky to see him often in 2016 and I treasure each and every show, especially the Concert in the Park in Sacramento and Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys. I want more shows! But I also very much loved being able to see him at the G Bar. I know those days of seeing him there are likely ending very soon and even though I will miss them dearly, it will mean that he has taken another step towards realizing his dream. And that is my dream for him too. I can’t wait until that day people nod and say, “Yeah, I love his song!” when I mention him. Tyler has been sunshine and joy for me and he was part of the reason I had a kickass 2016!


with Tyler at Ironstone Amphitheatre in August

Music – I never thought I’d be part of an organized group of fans again but here I am, part of the Jacob Davis Squad. I LOVE IT. I have never been part of such a group of motivated, loving, and enthusiastic fans. It’s going to be CRAZY when Jacob’s star rises even higher. I can say I’ve been there since the beginning even though I haven’t met him and the cohorts yet. I’m just happy to be along for the ride and doing my little part to let get the word out on a really awesome artist.

Sullivan Stapleton – What, he’s part of my 2016 highlights? Yes! Back in June he was with his friend Josh Cartu and Josh was livestreaming on Facebook during Gumball 3000. I said hello in the comments and Josh told Sully to say hi to me because, and I quote, “She’s hot.” What?! Sully laughed and said, “Hey Valerie.” Boom, HIGHLIGHT. Oh, and Twitter SMS notification that never ceases to annoy the hubby. Ooops! LOL

Concerts – We went to a few concerts this year and not just Tyler ones! The Brantley Gilbert concert ROCKED but it was the Kenny Chesney concert at Levi’s Stadium that certainly set the standard for me. I don’t think I can ever thank my cousin enough for hooking us up with AWESOME tickets to that show. If you ever get suite tickets to Levi’s Stadium, you just don’t say no. I FINALLY got to see my Sam Hunt perform and it was amazing. One day he’s going to be the headliner and I will probably just faint from all the goodness. But first, I must get a picture with him and Tyler together because that will set my fangirl heart a pitter-patter!

Rich's Bi$ches and the girl with the purple guitar

Rich’s Bi$ches & the girl with the purple guitar

Friends – I have friends I chat online with everyday and I love that we can share pieces of our lives together. I have “real life” friends that I don’t see very often but when we get together, we can pick up and talk about anything as if not much time has passed. I have friends I’ve made because of artists we mutually love and adore. And I have work friends who make the days at work go by in more pleasant ways. I love and appreciate all my friends and I hope that we have more moments together in 2017.

Writing – Even though only a few people may ever read any of my work, I did complete two novel sized stories in 2016. Go me! I write for me and maybe one day I’ll work up the nerve to have people read and help me edit my work. It could happen, right?

Family – I don’t spend as much time as I could with my family but I do enjoy the time together when it does happen. I love seeing my cousins’ kids growing into such awesome people. I wish my sister wasn’t so far away but I’m glad she keeps us updated on the social media…

facetime!

Hubby – He’s really a daily highlight. I’m a lucky lady to wake up every day with him in my life. Truly.

with hubby Christmas Day

There was much to love about 2016 and in spite of all the drudgery and tragedy and downright insanity of some of the last 12 months, I would not take any of it back. The days that bring you more than you think you can handle are the days that test your character. How you respond is a testament to your resolve.

So go well into 2017, everyone! Love, laugh, and life.