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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Larsen

Was All of 2022 Bad (or Just the Last 2 Months)?

The year 2022 went out with a wallop with an emergency amputation surgery and a double case of COVID. And that was just in the last five weeks! But memories being what they are, (focusing on the most recent), I'd like to actually review the whole year because I think I'll find that it wasn't THAT bad!

January: In the first month we were still riding high on the joy and excitement of the birth of our first grandchild, Owen, in October! We had already visited him twice (once at a week old, and once at Christmas) and we were getting photos almost daily. His mom and dad were doing great adjusting to their new life as parents of an infant. Both their companies provided them with very generous paid leaves, giving them the chance to set up a routine together as equal partners. (Unlike when I had my babies -- I had six weeks paid leave and scraped by enough funds to stay home without pay for another month, while Dad only had the day of the birth off. How times have changed!

Another exciting event in January was #1 Son, who had been living with us for five months, moved into his beautiful new house that he'd bought in December. Oh, how exciting getting him in and settled and readjusting to life in our own home without a roommate.

February : The second month was exciting for two reasons: First, I flew to Orlando to stay with a friend who was "snowbirding" there. We enjoyed some fabulous meals out, a relaxing afternoon at her resort pool, and most importantly, an entire day at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park! Both of us are huge HP aficionados so we soaked in every imaginative, wonderful, geeky detail of the entire place! I bought a wand and was able to practice using it at designated spots there. I had been to the park when it first opened ten years ago, but they've added so much -- actually an entirely second park! We had such a great time!

In addition, February marked the release of my book, Her Secret Desire, the third in my Big Apple Blessings series of inspirational romance that takes place in New York City.

March : The third month proved why living in a beautiful vacation destination is a good thing -- one

of a million reasons -- people stop by when they're in the area! My niece Brianna and her then-fiance, now-husband Isaac stopped by for an overnight visit. We were able to catch up with them both, hear about all the wedding plans, take them out to our favorite restaurant and enjoy a walk on the beach.

In addition, Norm and I took a fun getaway trip to Nashville! Although I'm a huge country music fan and have been there many times, Norm isn't and hadn't. We went at the invitation of Dave and Nancy, two good friends who were sick of being stuck at home because of the pandemic and were ready to start traveling. We were too and we were happy to join them. It was a couple days of honky tonk bars, great food, music and walking everywhere. Wonderful!

April : More fun and excursions followed in the fourth month. In my role as President of my ACFW chapter, I planned a writer's weekend retreat at a beachfront inn on Pawleys Island. Eight or nine of

us attended and everyone had a great time. My stalled writing muse let herself loose and I wrote 17,000 words on a new project. The inn was cozy and rustic, and despite the temps being unseasonably low, and the fact that the inn had no central heat, we bundled up in front of the fire and had a great time!

My brother and his wife came to visit my parents nearby for a few days and that's always a great opportunity to get family together. And, Norm and I finally got to see the Elton John concert that had been delayed for two YEARS due to the pandemic! It was a stop on his farewell tour, and it was fabulous. We drove out (two hours away), went to the concert and spent the night before coming home. I'm so glad we went! Although I'd seen Elton in concert before, this was literally, the last chance to see him live before he retires. Now I'm hoping to see Billy Joel one more time.

May : Another fun and fabulous trip with Dave and Nancy! We had so much fun together in

Nashville, we scheduled a beach vacation in Marco Island, Florida. Oh boy, what a fabulous destination. Beautiful views, awesome resort, wonderful beach and pool, lots of great food and live music. Pure heaven.

This month brought more visitors to the area -- our annual week hosting the kids, and this time, grandkid! We had fun spending a day on a pontoon boat, and another day visiting the beach. We had several great meals out but unfortunately, sickness attacked us one by one that week. It was rough trying to go out and do fun things when someone was always sick.

In addition, four of my cousins had a sisters' trip to the area, and we spent one fun and raucous dinner with them at their beach house. My country concert partner Pam and her husband were here and we spent several days with them having fun. And my cousin Scott and his wife Tracey came for a Memorial Day visit. It was wonderful catching up.

June : The sixth month did not contain a trip but upon perusing the calendar, I see we had lots and lots of fun activities including attending a play, pool time with various friends, several Movable Feasts with best-selling authors, Book Club, Supper Club and more. Three big events were my 60th birthday (WOW that a milestone!), Norm's and my 33rd wedding anniversary and hosting our dear friends John and Krissi for a week! We always have a great time with them and this time was no exception.

July: The seventh month's highlight was my trip to New York City! I had

obtained tickets for GREAT seats to see Hugh Jackman perform in The Music Man! It's my favorite musical and holds a special place in my heart for a number of reasons and I was thrilled to nab tickets to see Hugh in it. I flew out on a Tuesday and met my fellow theater-and-adventure-loving friend Beth at LaGuardia. We spent a whirlwind three days there and fit in not only Music Man, but also two other Broadway shows (Funny Girl and Hadestown), had lunch with Beth's relative who is a Tony Award-winning actress herself and had performed as Hugh Jackman's mother in The Boy From Oz on Broadway! Oh my gosh, what a special, special lunch. We had a ball and also vowed to do more traveling together, Beth and I.

August: The eighth month featured lots of normal events on the calendar -- a couple guests, Supper

Club, Book Club and pool days -- but also I went to visit my friend Tracy who moved several hours away to Fayatteville, NC. We had a really fun and laid back (rainy) weekend together where we got caught up on hours and hours of conversation. We've been friends since 1995 and share so many fun memories together.

September: The ninth month featured a fun solo roadtrip to Carlinville, Illinois which is the home of my college alma mater, Blackburn College. It was

Homecoming weekend, and I hadn't attended in several years. In addition to touching base with many of my college friends and reconnecting with the campus and some of the faculty and staff, I had a special project there. One of my dear lifelong friends who I met my first day of freshman year, left us way too soon and way too suddenly 18 months ago. For the last year, I had been spearheading a project to create a memorial courtyard on campus. The courtyard was completed and dedicated that weekend at Homecoming. Lots of friends gathered to tell stories and share memories of our special friend, and marvel at the beauty of the courtyard, the benches, the flowers and the plaque with his picture and a poem he'd written while a college student. It was such a beautiful ceremony, and worth the thirty hours of driving roundtrip!

October: The tenth month was a busy one! We flew out to Dallas to attend the special first birthday party and celebration for our precious grandson! My son and daughter-in-law put on a wonderfully festive party and invited all four of Owen's grandparents. Later in the month, many members of the family traveled from all over the country to converge on Indianapolis where my niece Brianna got married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony and reception in one of the most scenic parks I've ever seen. That weekend I got my "fall foliage fill" that I miss out on in South Carolina.

November: The eleventh month took a bad turn when my husband's toe began aching (at first), then started shredding skin. For a month I treated the toe with

prescription wound care, dressed it carefully with gauze, while he took strong antibiotics and limped around in a orthopedic shoe. It got better for a while, and then it took a nose dive. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, his orthopedic surgeon said with a bit of exasperation in his voice, "I can't fix this. It's a bad toe. It needs to come off."

"When?" my husband asked with alarm in his eyes.


The day before Thanksgiving Norm had his toe amputated, starting a month of recovery.

December: By far the highlight of the final month for me was participating in a wonderful author event called The Movable Feast in Pawleys Island where I got to speak to 150 readers about my books and dress up in a sparkly pantsuit! Other than that, we cancelled our planned trip to Dallas for Christmas with the grandson, followed by first hubby catching COVID, then me testing positive a few days later. So, we had to cancel our revised Christmas with my parents and local son. It was a tough month of healing and pain and wondering if everything was going as it should. Amputation is something neither of us had any experience with and it's easy to get a little paranoid about. I'm happy to announce that as New Year's Eve arrived he was back in shoes and socks and walking fairly normally. We both recovered from what we considered minor cases of COVID and we are looking forward to a HEALTHY AND HAPPY 2023!!

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