2013 – A Year with a Mean Streak

One year ago, I tried to shake off a strange trepidation, an ominous foreboding that unlucky number 2013 would be trouble. It appeared with many personalities just like any other year. On most days, it wore taupey beige, occasionally donning colorful ups and dappled gray downs. These clever disguises fooled me, but every so often it revealed a glint, a glimmer of brass knuckles clenched in its fists under the hem of its cloak. It lurked in shadows. I shuddered.

2013-04-11_13-48-56_997 (2)

After flaunting a kaleidoscope of prismatic luminosity on my birthday in April, the bully bared its metal mitts. It punched my gut and flattened me. I never saw it coming. I caught my breath then stood. Nostrils flared, I stared hard into its cold dead eyes, (there were three of them). It laughed and receded into the shadows.

I prayed this black-leathered heathen would never return. I prayed it had the wrong person. There had to be a mistake. That’s what it was! Mistaken identity.

Something deep inside told me to prepare for battle if the darkest of years reared its heinous head once more. A week later, when I learned of my diagnosis, it rushed me from all sides. Clad in a studded bodysuit and a death mask which hid its hideous eyes, it struck hard. I flew into the air and crumpled to the floor. It used my body as a punching bag.  Then it stood over me with hands on hips. It sneered.

Thinking I had surrendered, 2013 turned its back. I gathered my strength. My blogging community, friends, and family helped me to my feet. They stood behind me. “Is that all you’ve got?” I screamed. We raised our collective fists. It cowered then disappeared.

The Boob Report 3

Life went back to monochromatic days sprinkled with vibrant color and dove grays. We traveled. My wounds healed. The bully hid.

Collage Cote d'Azur 1

Just as I breathed a sigh, it came back with a vengeance. This time it targeted Boulder County. It began to rain. It didn’t stop for days. We joked about building an ark. Then lives and property were lost. Roads and bridges washed out. Towns were cut off. That’s when I could hear 2013’s maniacal laugh bubbling up from the swollen and bursting streams rushing down the mountains and across the Boulder Valley. I worried about my children living at the bottom of the foothills in Boulder. Again we prayed.

Jessica Farris -Creekside 3

The rain stopped. The community rallied. Many rushed to help from all over the world. By November, every road and bridge had been rebuilt and reopened. Generous donations had been collected. Families survived.

It seemed as though 2013’s darkness had been vanquished until I woke with a chill. A few hours later, I checked the thermostat. It read 63 degrees. It wasn’t my imagination. Cold air poured out of our furnaces. Something was wrong. A regulator station in our area had broken down. It was 5 degrees above zero outside. That would be the day’s high temperature.

I heard a faint sound. It was 2013. It was back. It cackled and then it crowed up and down the neighborhoods. A gasket failed and gas was shut off for repair. The temperature plummeted inside and out. Later that evening, it dropped to 43 degrees. We shook.

gas outage

2013 continued to guffaw. It slapped its thighs.

At 10:00 PM, my husband Danny switched on the gas fireplace. A flame appeared. It roared. We were lucky. The power company had missed us when shutting off valves outside homes in our neighborhood. There was just enough pressure to light a furnace. By the following night, most of our neighbors had heat. The laughter waned and then disappeared altogether.

The last weeks of the year brought its colorful highs with my son’s graduation and promotion at work, my daughter’s excellent semester and some dappled grays with the loss of a friend to cancer.

Kelly's graduation 2

Today, the sun shines over the valley. I hear wheezing and coughing as 2013 splutters through its last few days. I have never looked so forward to the end of a year. Die 2013! May you rest in a sense of peace you had no sense to give us. I don’t ever want to hear its haughty laughter again.

I am prepared for anything in 2014, but I won’t tempt fate. I plan to take a self-defense class and wear noise-cancelling headphones, just in case.

Thank you for coming along with amazing support on my Wildest Ride ever.

Happy New Year!

Did 2013 rock for you or suck big time?

Google Zeitgeist: Here’s to 2013!

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Filed under Life

104 responses to “2013 – A Year with a Mean Streak

  1. Pingback: Jelly: Like minds afoot. | Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

  2. Catching up and have to say, I LOVE this. See ya 2013 and hope 2014 is full of peace, health and adventure! xo

  3. 2013 certainly had a few punches and bites along the way. Happy New Year!!!

  4. You have the best looking family on WordPress, Kate!

  5. It’s certainly been an interesting year for you and for us as well from our move to the floods to panic attacks and new jobs… it’s all there!

    • That’s so true. Your timing wasn’t the greatest! At least you didn’t go through the gas outage. It was freezing….. I hope 2014 brings you all kinds of prosperity and and dry clothes!

  6. A well written piece, Susie. I had a good year. Made better when I knew you had survived. I never doubted you. That is a wonderful family portrait. Those kids are lucky.

    • Awwww! Thanks so much Ted. I really appreciated the support during “my roadblock.” It’s funny. Approaching the New Year was hard since I had to look back. Now that 2014 is here, I am so completely jazzed for what’s ahead!!! :)
      Happy New Year Ted!

  7. The Regular Guy NYC

    You certainly had one wild ride this year Susie! 2013 did have it’s ups and downs for all of us. Here’s to a terrific, safe, and healthy 2014. Happy New Year!

  8. Not going to look/mention that year that shall not be named….you know how it is when you give it any attention…
    Hey, 2014 is the year of the horse. Horses are good. Perfect. Ride on wild rider – ride on! May you and yours grab a new year full of delight, wonder, and warmth! (especially warmth – of all kinds.)

    • Actually my bionic boobs are like hot water bottles! I should be able to stay out in the snow a lot longer when hitting the powder. So many reasons to celebrate life! Hahaha!
      I love horses! I am looking forward to galloping into this New Year! I wish you all kinds of peace and love Phil!

  9. Susie, I have been honored and tickled to have “met” your blog this past year. I agree with 2013 being a totally sucky year that can be gone and never come back. Your ride was particularly wild.

    I began the year in my mother’s house finding homes for her 2 cats and dealing with her recently deceased body. Then on to funeral and emptying and selling her (my childhood) home. About 2 blips later I broke my foot and tore a tendon, necessitating surgery. Still doing PT and acupuncture, and getting stronger every day. I do have to say that I’m fortunate to know people who are able to see the higher meanings in things (psychic, for reals), and, for me, knowing more about the most difficult things this past year, has made all the difference in my being able to cope with them.

    Here’s to a kick butt 2014!

    • Wow! You had some setbacks too. Sometimes that’s what it takes to realign our lives.
      I’m kicking butt right into the New Year!
      Wishing you all that is best and peaceful with lots of good health. :) Thanks for coming on the Ride! It was Wild…

  10. Happy, healthy new year, Susie! I imagine a self defense class will help with the thigh slapping. :) All the best!!!!

  11. 2013 was the Year from Hell for us. My husband lost his job, my son’s tonsillectomy that went wrong, a blown water heater AND furnace, surgery for our dog, multiple medical expenses, my daughter endured bullying at school, I forgot to RSVP to my sister-in-law’s wedding and now she won’t talk to me…ugh.

    Yup, this was not a good year overall. But there were some highlights, too, the biggest one being that my mother made almost a full recovery from her TIA. I think we have to be careful when we focus on the negative things, because more often than not, there is a silver lining. Things could have been worse — that was pretty much my mantra every time something went wrong.

    Here’s to a smoother 2014, Susie! Cheers!!

    • I agree about the silver lining. I’ve gotten a lot more from cancer than was taken away. ( not including the bionic boobs). :) For one thing, a much clearer picture of what I want out of life.
      I am sorry to hear about your struggles. What happened to your son? My daughter need hers out too.
      I don’t think there is enough forgiveness. People seem to want to hang on to drama for drama’s sake. It is such a waste of energy.
      I hope you have a much better 2014 filled with peace and understanding!

      • Thanks, Susie. My son’s tonsillectomy was one of the worst experiences of my (and his) life. I posted about it on my blog this past spring. He had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and vomited for a couple of days, then he got pneumonia from having aspirated something during surgery. He came out of it okay in the end, thankfully. After hearing about the two latest cases where the children are going to suffer forever, I consider ourselves lucky.

  12. 2013 had a lot of nerve trying to take you down…polease! Clearly it had no idea it was dealing with such a badass!
    Nothing but the best for you and your family in 2014! Cheers! *clink*
    Love the photos of your happy family!

    • Thanks Lisa! Us “Riders” stuck together this year. I’m so glad you came along! I never felt alone with so many from the blogging community like you cheering me on!
      Wishing you all the best of the best in 2014!

  13. Been a year and a half for you Susie – so pleased to have met you and the family this year, that you whooped the Cancer and boing boinged around for Xmas. Here’s to 2014 and more Wild Rides from y’all!

    • Here’s to you and me! **clink** So glad we met too! Danny and I talk about that meeting in the pub pretty often and how we got the giggles!
      I am a pretty dang strong Wild Rider! Thank God I listened to my intuition when I did and got in for a mammogram. It’s all good!
      Sending you lots of peace and love to you and your family! Next year is going to be Utopian!

  14. Happy New Year Susie! I hope 2014 is a happy and healthy one!

  15. 2013 was a very good and a very bad year for me. I lost some friends, I had some very bad experiences with people. But I met a lot of new friends. I had some amazing experiences as well. So maybe it was just a normal year for me… Thanks for meeting you this year, and all the positive energy that you radiate to the people who read your blog. You did an amazing job of coping through difficult times- thanks and God bless!

    • It was blogging friends like you that got me through this year! I think that friendships ebb and flow depending on what you are supposed to learn. I tend to put up with a lot, but will be more selfish with my time in the future. I am looking forward to a more normal year filled with a lot more colorful highs than lows and I wish you the very same. :) Happy New Year to you!

  16. Yeah, I can completely understand why you’d want 2013 to take a hike, Susie. It was a year with a bad attitude in your hood. I wish you all the best in 2014, buddy!

  17. What a year. Let’s all hold hands and gingerly step across that finish line. Thank you for your courageous stand against the nasties the year brought, and for not letting them overshadow your joys. Happy New Year! (Almost there!)

  18. Dear Susie,
    Without doubt 2013 was a wild ride but you rode that bronco and 2014 is bound to be an exciting ride too, but I trust in a much better way. The New Year is the time for the realization of dreams, may all of yours come true.

    Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Happy New Year! to you and yours.

    • Thanks so much and for sticking with on that bucking bronco! I couldn’t have ridden it out alone. I think we both deserve a fabulous New Year! I will take Emerson’s quote to heart!
      Wishing you the most marvelous, prosperous and healthy 2014!

  19. What a ride. It seems like yesterday you taught me to use the notifications thingy and then fought the fight of your life. It has been a spiritual experience for those of us who have witnessed your courage. I wish 2014 to be nothing but blue skies and powder. Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family.

    • Thanks so much John! I am so glad you came along for this of all Wild Rides. The blogging community here is truly amazing and I don’t think I would have come through it as well if it weren’t for friends like you!
      Happy New Year to you! I hope it is your best ever!

  20. One of the most beautiful and thoughtful posts I’ve read, Susie. I love that you refused to let any of it get you down and that you always come up smiling. Your cancer ordeal makes me ashamed to let my shoulder surgery slow me down as much as it has.

    • Shoulders are painful. My son had a front and back arthroscopic surgery and couldn’t take a shower for six weeks! Now that shoulder is better than the other! I hope you do take the time to let it heal properly. I was released into the wild mid November, but after playing tennis for twenty minutes, I waited. I went out and hit full out yesterday and felt great! It was worth letting it heal.
      Happy New Year David! I wish lots of good health and happiness in the New Year!!!

  21. You had a year of joy, worries, happiness, travel and pain. So glad that here you’re today ready to take on a new year. Thanks for letting me sharing some of your year … and I wish only the best for you and your family for 2014.

    • It was WILD! lots of rocketing highs and plummeting lows, but I survived to tell the tale!
      Thank you so much for being there through the thick and the thin Viveka! I wish you a very peaceful and healthy New Year!

  22. It’s funny because I definitely went into 2013 with some trepidation–and I did not lightly choose it as the year I wanted to get married. But it turned out to be a great year for me! One of the best in my life, in fact. I guess that proves my (slight) superstition wrong!

    I truly hope that 2014 is a much better year for you and yours!

  23. I had a year like that – 2008 – it was horrible. I never wished so badly for a year to be over. I tried to bargain with God, asking him to throw whatever else he felt I deserved at my feet on December 31st so that I could start 2009 with a clean slate. Apparently, God felt I had suffered enough, because things have been brighter ever since.

    But, don’t think for a moment that I’m getting complacent, because I know how quickly fate and the evil black monster can strike. I want to be ready and strong enough to deal with whatever trials might find me in the future and let’s hope they are few and trivial.

    Here’s hoping you and your family have a blessed, prosperous, safe and healthy 2014!

    Happy New Year to the Fighting Lindaus of Boulder Colorado.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • I am so sorry you had to go through a year of hell. I have to agree that it does make us stronger. I won’t be flying away in the wind of some bleak year if the monster blows through my door. If we survive it always gets better!
      Thank you so very much for all your support through the year! I wish you and your family lots of love and peace in 2014!!!!

  24. Die, Die, Die 2013! (cue maniacal laughter) I got your wonderful card of y’all dancing on the grave of prior years and if that doesn’t do the trick, I don’t know what will.

    Here’s to a happy, healthy 2014 (raises glass in salute.)

    • Hahaha! It was a pretty different card that’s for sure! Thank you!
      I wish 2014 brings you lots of empty trash cans at the local gas station and all the peace and joy of wearing stretchy sweat pants like the ones I wear every day!!!!
      Happy New Year my friend!

  25. My brother sells the best headphones lol. Congrats to your son. Sorry about your friend and here’s to a fabulous 2014 without the dreaded c word. Your sister’s paintings are amazing Happy New Year!

    • Thank you so much Catherine! It was quite a year. It’s funny how the bad ones bring clarity and make us stronger.
      Thanks for stopping by to check out her paintings! How are yours coming along?
      Note to self: buy noise- canceling headphones from Catherine’s brother.
      Happiest of New Year’s my friend!!!

  26. 2013 didn’t suck. It had it’s moments, but I can’t complain. I had so many bad years prior that this year kind of felt like a relief

  27. Susie, way to wup a$$ in 2013! You are such an inspiration to me and others. My year was full of ups and downs, with the downs thankfully not being devastating. The “up” for me professionally was publishing my first two mysteries! Looking forward to a hard-working and productive 2014.
    God bless,

    • Thank you so much KB!
      Way to go girl!! I think you probably had a more normal up and down year. I am looking forward to a monochromatic year with more colorful moments than dappled grays. I wish you and your family all kinds of peace and love in the New Year!

  28. Utterly brilliant.

    The year mostly rocked for me, despite losing my mom. That part sucked, but it was a gift in its own way. She had had enough and I felt her spirit tell me that. So I could let her go.

    2011 was the year that I still shudder to look back on.

    I really hope that, like me, you have at least a couple years of peace!

    One thing I can say for sure is that I am now aware of and very appreciative of times of calm and peace. I really know the difference. And I know that I have the strength and support to weather the rough seas, when encountered. I interpret your blog posts as the same kind of awareness.

    You are a huge inspiration in my life. I talk about you to other people. And I think about you a lot, with appreciation.

    Thank you for sharing photos of your happy family times, and for being so open and authentic. You are a gift.

    With all hopes for happiness and peace in 2014,


    • Awwww! Nia. Thank you so much for everything you said and for all of your kind words through this year. You made my day! I think a lot of people skim longer posts like this one.

      I don’t know what I would have done without you and others in the blogging community. Cancer can be so decisive and some friends have run the other way. I carry no ill will and plan to keep traveling light throughout 2014.

      I remember when your mom passed. It is always a loss, but you had such a peaceful and soothing way of talking about it.

      I wish you and your family a truly fabulous 2014 in every way!

      • Thank you, Susie. I feel so lucky to know you. Believe me, your bout with cancer is only an incident, in my mind. A huge inspiration and one that made me stop messing around and go get those tests because I really learned that by detecting something like that early you get more options. I learned that a double mastectomy is nothing to be afraid of and that I would love to have the outcome you have had.

        But you as a human being and as a writer, that is who you are to me. I think you have a real gift with the written word, which is good because what you have to say is amazingly helpful and uplifting. I love how you personified the monster in this post. You carried out the metaphor perfectly. And the way you characterized your sense of foreboding and your experiences through color. There is a remarkable pacing in this post. The moments of contemplation, the battle scenes, the moments of peace and joy. You work really well with imagery. And yet you are so humble.

        I am excited to think of your book coming out. I don’t know where you stand with it in the process, but whenever it is ready, I think you’re going to have a lot of your blog readers buy it and read it because, on this blog, you constantly demonstrate your gift of storytelling, your honesty, your humor, and your depth.

        And whoever gets to be on your team of agent, editor and publisher, they are very lucky people to get to work with you!

  29. Susie, no complaints. People had t a lot worse than I and dealt with it infinitely better than I did. A resolution for me, personally: Stop acting like a wuss when the s**t hits the fan. And stick with what I started. Have an outstanding New Year.

  30. I wonder if, somewhere up there in time, someone will gather together blog posts about 2013 and wonder what it was about 2013 and cancer?

    Like so many here, I’ll be glad to see the arse end of 2013.
    We have a Christmas tradition around the dinner table. We share what we have achieved in the year just passing. Mine was very simple, cancer didn’t kill me – a neat achievement I thought.

    … happy new year to you and yours.

    • There is so much cancer. I lost two friends to it this year and like you said, several were diagnosed. I am so glad to hear you are battling the beast! I wish you much love and the best of health in 2014!!!!

  31. As years go, 2013 was pretty stressful a good chunk of the time. I look forward to 2014. You, Susie, are now part bionic and therefore able to leap tall buildings with an exceptionally graceful leap.

    Wishing you and your family all the best in the new year.

    p.s. Your card is EXCELLENT!! Thank you again for your incredible generosity of spirit.

    • Oh thank you Mary! I am so glad you received it. Thanks so much for all your support through my WILDEST of years.
      Happy New Year to you and you family! May it completely rock for all of us!

  32. Мир вашему дому! :)

  33. I think you caught the gist of 2013 for most of us, to tell you the truth… It sucked big time for me, though not to the extent that it has sucked for may people (including you) that I know. Like you, I lost a friend to cancer and several more were diagnosed. I think you’ve got the right idea when you mentioned taking a self defense class… It couldn’t hurt, right?

    I’m choosing to walk into 2014 with my head held high and determination stiffening my spine. I refuse to give negativity a foothold…after all, finally publishing my first manuscript last week is a high note that laugh’s in the bad stuff’s face, right? Thanks for your continued support, as well.

  34. Melissa Lewicki

    Happy New Year to you and your family! I have so enjoyed your amazing posts. Thank you.

  35. Happy 2014 to you! I hope the constant theme of support, love and travel continue :)

  36. Hi Susie
    Hoping 2014 is a complete reversal of 2013 for you & family. I think you had more than your share to deal with this past year. Mine was bad enough but it paled by comparison to what you experienced.

      It was hard on everyone in my family, but I hit some pretty great highs this year too! I’m hoping 2014 is one of the best years ever for everyone!!!

  37. Love you Susie, my brilliant and resilient friend.

  38. You are an amazing woman Susie – strength and courage you have in quantities. May 2014 be awesome for you and your family. :)

  39. 2013 as you know sucked for me also. Maybe not as much as you but.. I am grateful to have you in my life.
    Through good or bad…
    Today I send you huge for good health in 2014.

  40. Thanks for sharing a wonderful piece. 2013 was mostly a good year, with settling into our dream retirement home, and my wife’s retirement. Health issues continued to be a challenge, but I remain stubborn and won’t give in. Lost my very best friend this year which still shakes me to the core.

    This last year was certainly nothing in comparison to the demon filled one you endured, but lets keep our fingers crossed that 2014 will be the best ever for both of us.

    Happy New Year!

    • Fingers and toes crossed!!!
      I hope you and your family have a year filled with good health and happiness! Thanks for being with me on my journey. It’s all in the rear view mirror!
      Thanks Barney!

  41. Happy New Year to you and your family, Susie. I wish you much love, peace and laughter.

  42. I have to say I’m with you on being glad to see the back of 2013. However, I have to say that all the nastiness of this year certainly brought into focus how brilliant the people around me are. We started the year homeless but a cousin let us “house sit” for him for three months. When I had to drag around an IV with me because of my spider bite people were very helpful. When my car final breathed its last breath my neighbour let me use hers to run errands. When I fell and ended up with a head injury a lot of people made it their business to get me to my appointments on time. Clients were very understanding about missed deadlines (something that had never happened before). In fact I would venture to say the goodness that was shown to me this year may have been worth all the yucky stuff that sucked. I would prefer not to have another year like 2013 but it is good to know that I won’t be alone in whatever it brings. Happy New Year to you Susie. You are an inspiration to us all.

    • Wow! You are amazing! There truly is a silver lining in every cloud. That was a lot of bad luck and goodness that came your way. I hope this year brings you a lot more good luck. You deserve it!
      Thanks so much for coming along on my Wild Ride!

  43. 2013 brought many health issues my family’s way, as well. But no one died, and things are stabilized at the moment. It brought some deeply satisfying moments, as well, like holding my first book in my hands and getting a 3-book contract for more. 2014 looks busy from here. I’m hiding in the last days of 2013 as an excuse to rest, because I won’t be getting any more of that for a while. But I do recall other years when the New Year couldn’t come soon enough. It’s a psychological renewal and another chance at moving into better days.

    Many blessings for a peaceful and productive 2014 for you and your family. :)

    • Good for you. It sounds like 2013 wore very little taupe or dappled grays in your neck of the woods.
      My batteries are in the recharger. I’ll be ready hit the ground running in 2014.
      Happy New Year to you and your family!

  44. My 2013 wasn’t half as bad as yours, Susie, but yeah, it sucked – it’s never fun coping with older relatives’ failing health (worse, much worse for them than for me). Hope things go so much better for you and your family in the new year!

    • I wish all the best for yours too! Taking care of others can be very stressful. I hope you are able to take some time for yourself and truly relax in the new year. Perhaps a massage or pedicure???

  45. 2013 had its opportunities and its challenges – in a teacher’s world the traditional New Year’s Day falls in the middle of the cycle so it’s the mid-year, I don’t usually make resolutions but there are a few things that need to change and need to change quickly! I am looking for a bright and even brighter 2014-15! Wishing you the best in the NEW YEAR!

  46. What a fantastic piece of writing! 2013 sucked for us both but one good thing about it was getting to know you better, Susie because you are a shining example of courage and beauty. Thank you for being in my world and I send you lots of love – Juliexxx

  47. Consider 2013 dead for good! It’s going to be a wonderful 2014, Susie! I can feel it in my bones. xo

  48. Wishing you and yours peace and joy in 2014!
    Diana xo

  49. 2013 had its ups and downs for me, but nothing like yours, Susie! So glad it’s coming to an end for you. May 2014 be a fabulous year filled with good health, wonderful times and many more adventures!

    • 2013 was one wicked year and I’m glad to see it go, but it had some amazing highs too. I’m just glad it is all behind me.
      Thanks so much Cathy and for coming along on my Wild Ride this year!
      I wish you the happiest of New Years!

  50. Hoping 2014 is a peaceful, healthy and happy year for you and your family.

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