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The month after the worst month ever. One day at a time.
I finally hung up those posters. They’ve been sitting in my upstairs office for nearly a year.
My SIX pin collection… I’m obsessed. Mark this day in history: Annie REALLY enjoyed a musical.
Thank you notes upon thank you notes.
Sadie continues to look for my dad. Though less now. I think she knows.
My babies!!
E colored that sugar skull for me. She gets me.
A sweet collection of gifts from the sweetest of friends.
Cherry glazers are next level good.
Happy almost-Valentine’s Day! The kids got me sweet cards and some Doritos (swoon!). I got them an axolotl cake. Cause who doesn’t love an axolotl?
On Valentine’s Day, Mike and I went up to Door County to scatter some of my dad’s cremains. Heavy, sad, bittersweet, peaceful, aching day.
But my Denny showed up… a little rainbow. A rainbow that has never been there in all my hundreds of visits to the dock. But it was there this time.
Mike made the day all the sweeter — roses, presents, and heart-shaped pizza. And a little Valentine from Annie and her kids.
Did I get flannel Costco sheets? Yes. Yes I did.
Get yourself a guy who buys you a GIGANTIC stuffed Peep because he knows it will spark joy.
The Christmas tree finally came down. Late February. It was time.
A new shower curtain because yes, I need more rainbows in my life.
Took the kids to a Bucks game!
Adios, February.


January. The worst month.

The month started out just fine. New Year’s Day Packers game!
While I was at the Packers game, my dad was hospitalized again. He never came home this time. Denny died on January 5th.
He died at 4:05am at a hospital in Milwaukee. We tried to get there in time but couldn’t.
Bethany was on my doorstep two days later. Rolanda soon followed.
I saw many rainbows in the few days after his death. An actual rainbow… in Wisconsin… in January. I’m choosing to believe it was his energy, telling me that everything is okay and will be okay.
Bethany and I hit the sights… Culver’s and Fleet Farm.
Cardboard mountain, Festival, the post office.
Marianne baked bread for me. Gregory and Steph sent the most beautiful, perfect flowers.
On the day he died, this piece was ready at the local framer. Another nod from the universe, I think.
Mike, Bethany, and I had drinks at Oblio’s. Then pizza at Ratch & Deb’s. Very Oshkosh.
we worked hard on selecting photos for his Celebration. Lizz dropped off more comfort carbs.
Steph sent rainbow treats and a toy for Sadie. We hit up Culver’s again.
Christina sent beautiful flowers. An Elmer’s toast to Denny.
Slices of normal life in a very not normal time.
Michelle gave me blue Jello, as my dad always did. And my emotional support iridescent Startbucks tumbler was my security object for two weeks.
My MPH girls sent beautiful flowers. And we went to Cleo’s to be enveloped in Christmas lights.
Annie sent me candy.
We went to dinner in Ripon with friends. And I got a sparkly new shower liner because… find joy where we can.
Oaks vs. Hughes showdown!
With a photo stop at the Oregon St dinosaurs.
The winner? HUGHES!
Best friend’ing and crying.
Star shoes for his celebration and a rainbow nail.
Mary Meghan made me beautiful pottery. Kelly gave me a rainbow travel book.
Anne gave me the Denny bracelet. I wear it everyday.
We did it. We threw him the best and most meaningful party that we could.
Bethany and Dan left. Mike and I went to see SIX… which was great fun.
More flowers. People have been so good.
My painting of all my dogs was finished! I hired a local artist to do it for me.
Twenty days after he died, we finally were able to bring him home.
I went to the Chalice and cried. His favorite Oshkosh restaurant.
I cleaned my house, changed out some artwork. Reorganized many things.
Made little photo nooks on my bookshelf.
Went to Little Switz for a day with Mike and his family.
Came back and took my parents’ Christmas tree down. Another step.
Sadie looking CUTE in her rainbow sweater. I wish my dad could have seen her. Maybe he has.
Went to Costco and cried.

It’s been quite the month, with every emotion in the book running through my veins.


December. My dad’s last month of life. It’s impossible not to look back of some of these photos with “woulda, coulda, shoulda”s. If we would have known that we had so little time left with him, what would have been different? But now my biggest fan and most loyal blog reader is gone. Do I even keep doing these monthly posts? Who is even reading them?!

In any case, here’s December.

We celebrated A’s 8th birthday
And Mike’s 44th birthday.
Santa was in my neighborhood!
My dad and I had a dad-daughter date to Elsewhere Coffee. Little did I know that it would be our last.
Game night with friends.
Annual tradition!
Sandwich making for the Hope Fridge
Celebration of Lights is always cute. And the spooky blue house on Menominee was back for another year.
Christmas Day
We gave the kids a trip to Chicago for Christmas. But they had to guess based on slightly obscure clues.
Nutcracker in the Castle on NYE
I remember being hopeful for a great 2023. In the words of Leslie Jordan: welllllllll, shiiiiiiit.

End of 2022.

1. What did you do in 2022 that you’d never done before?
Traveled to Europe!! A lifelong dream come true.  And I went on a cruise to Alaska — I had never cruised before and loved it!

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make resolutions for 2022. But I think my resolutions for 2023 are going to be: get hot and don’t die.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My childhood neighbor, Jordan, died and it broke my heart into a million pieces. We weren’t close in adulthood, but he was an indelible part of my childhood. And my best friend’s sweet dog, Hattie, died.  This also broke my heart into a million pieces. Hattie was the sweetest girl and she will be forever missed.

5. What countries did you visit?
England, Ireland, the Netherlands, and France (and Canada for like 4 hours).

6. What would you like to have in 2023 that you lacked in 2022?
A healthier body.

7. What date from 2022 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The dates of the sad days mentioned in question #4.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I’m not sure. 2022 wasn’t about achievement as it was survival and keeping my mental health afloat.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My now 40+ pound weight gain? I hate calling that a “failure” though… but it is something I’m not happy about.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
LOL yes. I was sick during my time in Ireland and I had a killer viral infection over Thanksgiving. And my sweet dad has been plagued with health issues this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Every year I make a photobook on Shutterfly, so that’s always my favorite annual purchase.  I also bought a dia de los muertos figurine while I was in San Antonio that I absolutely adore. It’s the creepiest and most beautiful thing and I love the juxtaposition of those two qualities.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
This question is weirdly worded, but Mike and my mom have been wonderful people to me this year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Nearly everyone. We are living in angry, awful times.

14. Where did most of your money go?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
All of my travels really, really, really excite me. I wish I could travel as a full-time gig or be a travel agent. There’s nothing I love more.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2022?
“I Ain’t Worried” by One Republic (Top Gun: Maverick sountrack!) or anything from Taylor Swift’s “Midnights”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?: Sadder
ii. thinner or fatter?: Fatter. LOL. Christ.
iii. richer or poorer?: About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Depression/stress eating.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my parents and Mike in Oshkosh.

21. What was your favorite TV program?
I didn’t watch a ton of new TV this year.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
It’s a waste of energy to hate people.

23. What was the best book you read?
I don’t even know. As soon as the pandemic hit in March of 2020 I stopped having any interest in reading — and that general lack of interest still remains.  I am halfway through “The Song of the Cell” though and I’m loving it. #sciencenerd

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Hmmm. I don’t know.

25. What did you want and get?
A successful and safe trip to Europe.

26. What did you want and not get?
To lose the weight I gained in 2020. Sensing a theme here?

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
TOP GUN: MAVERICK!!!! #Hangman4Life

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 38 and spent it here in Oshkosh with Mike and family.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
To not have the worry and sadness of my dad’s health looming over everything.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2022?
Stretchy pants.

31. What kept you sane?
Mike. My mom. SADIE!

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
There are too many to list. TOO. MANY.

34. Who did you miss?
Bethany. Lucky for me, we are reuniting for a girls trip in California in January!

35. Who was the best new person you met?
I don’t even know.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2022:
This too shall pass.  Whether it’s good or bad.  This too shall pass.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
*shrugs* I don’t know. Long gone are the days of my early twenties where we use song lyrics in our AIM away messages to be overly dramatic.


I’ve been a busy little blogging bee over the past month or so — I added much to my TRAVELOGUES page! Including posts covering Chicago, San Antonio, and Las Vegas. And here’s November!

My house was decorated for Christmas by November 5th :)
I think the Cheese Balls ornament — or the Henry VIII + wives ornaments are my new favs!
Mike knows me well and got me a Jazz Solo Cup mug. Long live the 90s!
I got to meet BEEFY! Great name for a dog LOL
Another successful TEDx
A and I went mini-golfing
I love collecting things… mmm pins. And that iridescent Starbucks tumbler is what my dreams are made of.
Happy Thanksgiving
And then the plague struck me down.
Good thing I have the best little friend to keep me company while stuck home sick.
Sinus infection fun to round out the month! See ya next month… which will hopefully be healthier!