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2023 A Year In The Life of A Safety Speaker

I just finished reviewing one of the best movies of the year! It was funny, suspenseful, sad, heartwarming, dramatic, and romantic, (It even had a cute dog!) I found myself rooting for the heroine, who experienced loss and fear, yet was blessed by many instances of kindness from strangers and friends, alike! I laughed with her and cried with her, as her life took numerous twists and turns!

It was the story of ME and my year…

It began with Covid still rearing its ugly head😬, causing clients to cancel presentations, but soon turned to successful trips to Washington, Texas and Oklahoma😃, and beginning a volunteer position at a local adult family home. Many Mondays since then have been spent playing rummy🃏 and watching old westerns🤠 with a delightful young-at-heart lady. Visits from old friends and discovering new ones in the first third of the movie were interrupted by harsh winter storms🌬️ and scary visits to the E.R.🚨 The excitement of a new website💻 and surprise party for hubby🎉 was watered down by the harsh reality of his mortality and a grim prognosis😟. Spring brought fruitful trips to Pennsylvania, Washington, Michigan and Georgia✈️, despite his condition and medical needs. I even got to visit my mom💞 while dear old and new friends took turns looking after Russ!😭 My ambitious plan to do a 5k every month, ended quickly, although I still practiced yoga sporadically🧘‍♀️, and went to the gym consistently🏋️‍♀️, for ALMOST a week at a time!🤣 (Goal moved to 2024…) Despite Russ’ hospital stays, I was able to enjoy some get-togethers with loved ones💝, celebrating each other’s milestones🍾 and grieving each other’s losses💔. We continued traveling to presentations throughout the country, and he was determined to stay as independent as possible.💪

The middle of the movie brought summer, and presentations in Texas and North Carolina, with amazing audiences.😃I was also able to volunteer at the ASSP PNW Safety Symposium👍, where I encountered many kind individuals…even though I found out I had been mispronouncing one of our local construction company’s names, for years…😳 I also had my first experience volunteering as a decoy for the airport dogs, who, I found, really do love their job!🐕‍🦺 It was in June that Russ and I experienced the joy of becoming grandparents👶, and were able to fly up, and see her for the first time, just two weeks later!🫠Russ was able to be the official “detangler”🎣 at our church’s Father’s Day fishing derby, for the umpteenth year in a row, and I came up with the idea of doing a blog – although I still haven’t started it!🙃 (Another goal moved to 2024…) I also got a wild hair, and wrote the Safety Serenade song, and actually posted a verse every week!🎙️ We were able to spend time in Alaska, visiting family🤗 and enjoying our annual fishing adventure🐟, although the trip almost got cut short, due to one of Russ’ medical emergencies…😔

In July and August we were able to do presentations for a U.S. Naval shipyard⚓ and another one in Kentucky. More doc appointments, hospital stays, and that pesky prognosis didn’t keep Russ from continuing our mission to share our message as long as we are able, and he ended up living past what he called his “expiration date”…🙄 Every day has been a gift, since then…🎁
During the final third of this movie, Russ ended up in the hospital again😷 – this time for twelve days, but insisted I travel alone😧, and we do the presentation “hybrid”, with me in-person, on stage with his empty wheelchair♿, and him doing his portion on the big screen, behind me, from his bed in the hospital.🥹 We were able to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary💍and had the opportunity to present in sunny California, Missouri (our 33rd state) and our 1st Canadian province (British Columbia)😲! Despite his pain, his many doctor appointments⚕️, uncertain health, and several nightmare airport experiences🫣, he continued to persevere, and was able to attend the rest of the year’s presentations, in person😃. Throughout 2023, I was able to squeeze in some “Laurel” time, every now and again, attending musicals, hockey games, concerts, fundraisers and comedy shows with my dear friends😊. We also did a handful of virtual presentations throughout the year💻, where Tater managed to photobomb almost every one!🐾 The kids were able to come down here, and visit us for Thanksgiving🦃 and we were unexpectedly able to go up there for Christmas🎄!


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