justaMusing

A Personal Blog Worth Your Time

Gratitude for the Holidays, and Life

DSC_0305I don’t have the greatest memory, even about spectacular times in my life.  So I’m aided in this post by a little five-year diary Julia gave me that I started writing in this past March. 2013 gave me many things to be grateful for, as I hope they did you.

My Birthday

DSC_0111Nov. 20; close enough!  I celebrated turning 61 by telling a story at the U Street Music Hall for Storyleague.  Ten friends from Cheverly and elsewhere came.  I didn’t win the contest (it was a best-of the best-of their previous shows), but it was fun and really gratifying when two young women I didn’t know came up to me afterward to say how much they loved my story, how it reminded them of their brothers, and how inspired they were to become storytellers.  This is one of the best reasons to tell stories: getting others to tell theirs. And I got lovely presents, and Robin McClain of Sweet Bobbies made me a beautiful cake.

Apologies to Steve in advance for making him more of a villain than he was.

Not my best, but not bad?

Family Love 1:  Thanksgiving

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Justin, Nova and Nikki

Lots of fun with Julia and favorite son-in-law Anuj in from Chicago.  We had a double-date, introducing them to the Rappahannock Oyster Bar at  Union Square, then seeing Idina Menzel in If/Then at the National Theater.  She was just nominated for an Oscar for best musical performance for Frozen. (OK, someone tell me how to wrap text.)
DSC_0119Dave, Nikki and Nova Goodsmith came from NYC to stay with the grannies Smith, as did Justin from Mississippi, DSC_0116 and Karen and Larry.  Dan made a sweet potato pie that looked like a rose.  So sad not to have Leigh Ann here.

Friend Love

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Liz Tuckermanty and grandson Alexander

These spaces. I don’t know how to get rid of them.

The Terrys’ inviting front door.


It’s a joy to be part of so many communities, all of which show up in my little journal:  my Pittsburgh family and friends; Cheverly friends; friends I’ve met through Landmark Education; our Couples Coaching Couples community; my new storytelling buddies; and my wonderful clients and colleagues.

Parties and More Parties

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Carol Barthel’s lovely cookies.

There was the lovely fundraiser Christmas party for Cheverly United Methodist Church.  The over-the-top party thrown by our financial planner, who, among many other extravagances, had flown a hypnotist in from Vegas. Dan and I volunteered to get hypnotized along with about eight other people in front of about 200 people.  That was a trip.  Then the annual black-tie Christmas party at Cheverly’s original manse, which is owned lovingly by Dale and Liz Manty.  Then our 17th (really?!) annual caroling party, this year hosted by Paul and Paulette Thompson.  Leigh Ann arrived in time for that, which was wonderful.  Her very great video Tinder Hell went live around that same time.

I recommend Googling Tinder before you watch it.

I love the bouncing flames!

Family Love 2:  Christmas

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The Kinneavy Cousins after “Saving Mr. Banks.”

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Bob and Sue Kineavy with Leigh, Julia and Anuj




We drove to Pittsburgh Christmas Day and arrived just in time for the big dinner and the after-party,
1388019429978all at Barbara and Ken’s and attended by about my 12 siblings & spouses; their combined 14 cousins; some aunts and uncles; and even a grand niece. DSC_0174 DSC_0178 DSC_0145Much hilarity
and game playing, the usual off-key singing of the 12 Days of Christmas, DSC_0197the kids’ gift exchange, attended by Julia and Anuj via Skype.  They flew in the next morning and we all went to see “Saving Mr. Banks,” followed by a party at the home of nephew Jim and his wife Kim.  Drove home the next day to a dinner with the senior Smiths & Karen and Larry.  Had Ed Terry take a family photo before heading to DC Brau and the Botanical Garden, followed by a lovely dinner at the Terry’s.

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Anuj and Julia ham it up with Aunt Barbara

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The McCollums

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Anuj, Julia, Dan, Leigh and Cathy


New York City 

Hard to believe but that Sunday Dan and I took the Megabus and Leigh Ann

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Sign seen from the NYC High Line

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Leigh and I on the High Line

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Christmas Tree in Washington Square Park

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Window at Bergdorf Goodman’s

drove with a friend and her dog to NYC.

We stayed at Dave and Nikki’s, who were away in Boston for the holidays, had dinner at a Turkish restaurant, then saw the play “Domesticated” at Lincoln Center.  Leigh Ann had gotten tickets from Jeff Goldblum, and the play was great.

Us with Jeff Goldblum

Us with Jeff Goldblum

Next day we walked the High Line with Leigh Ann and went to Chelsea Market, then she went off with her friend and we traipsed through the city. We were in awe of the store windows at Bergdorf Goodman’s, the long line into The Moth that meant we couldn’t go to its Story Slam, the tree at Rockefeller Center and the video holiday card that ran for about three minutes on the entire side of the Saks Fifth Avenue building.IMG_20131229_223106[1]

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New Year’s

Angels and tree at Rock Center

Angels and tree at Rock Center

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View from Nikki and Dave’s apartment on the East River, bridge to Roosevelt Island


Rang in the New Year with friends. It was lovely to have Julia, Anuj and Leigh Ann in the area if not in the house.  Two parties on New Year’s Day,  the Nell’s annual chili party on the 4th, and Julia and Anuj’s flight home was cancelled due to snow.  I need to take a lot more pictures!

Since then …

We had a nice visit with Karen and Dan Laughman, then I went to my Book Club tea at Tea on the Tiber in Ellicott City (there went that resolution regarding my sugar addiction).

My Wish for You

May all of your days be sunny and bright, if not yet warm, as we look forward to spring.

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