New Year, New Post

January 4, 2010

It’s 2010 — now we all have to decide if that’s Two Thousand Ten or Twenty Ten. Or we can all say it however we want. Probably a non-starter (po-tay-toe, po-tah-to). (TATERS!). Resolutions? Pooh! As someone else said first, why commit yourself to something important, then fail to adhere to it within the first month, and feel bad about yourself? I’ve done that enough times! My one thought each year about this time is to remember: there is more good in my little corner of the world, if I just look for it, than there is bad. This is really important, because it is a daily struggle to manage what my psychiatrist described as “a nasty little major depressive disorder.” Sometimes it is managed, but sometimes it isn’t, and remembering all that is good helps get me through those times alive. (Not to whine or anything — seriously, there IS more good than bad.)

My sister Nancy, who lives in Hugo, MN, left this morning; she’s been here only since the 31st. My sister Shari and I didn’t go to her house for Christmas because Shari, a physician, was on call. And if she hadn’t been, we probably wouldn’t have gone anyway because by Christmas Eve the weather was getting nasty, and on Christmas day, I couldn’t get my back door open. We only got 9 inches of snow, according to the weather station at the airport, but it was drifted past my knees outside my back door, and a little deeper further down the drive. I managed to push and push and push and get the back door open far enough that Kimiko and I could squiggle out, then I used my gloved hands and booted feet to dig and kick enough snow out of the way so that I could get the gate to her yard open, where she began to bound joyfully around the yard (at least someone was happy about the snow — which was STILL falling and blowing). I had an asthma attack so went in for a while, but then went out again and trampled, kicked, and dug (with my hands — couldn’t get to the shovel because if I opened the garage door, about 4 feet of snow would have fallen in…) and managed to clear enough that the door opened almost all the way, I could walk to the gate without falling, and the gate could open and close completely. But the car was still trapped. My driveway was finally cleared late the afternoon of Monday the — hmm — 28th? I get SO confused! I digressed extensively — we wouldn’t have been able to get to the Twin Cities if we’d planned, so it was just as well we hadn’t planned!

I love Christmas at Nancy’s. Besides having all three sisters together, I get to see my two nephews (Erik and Ben) and my niece (Kate) and her husband (Khan) and daughter (Lily), who’s now 17 months old and absolutely adorable, if apparently rather stubborn and independent (now where could she have gotten that trait from? Not me… maybe her mother? or her mother?). “New” Christmas traditions like the annual Ugly Ornament Contest. I had sent a glitter-covered styrofoam shoe that I thought was hideous, but it was beaten by a bug-eyed pickle in a grass skirt doing a hula dance. (Nothing says Christmas like a Hawaiian dancing pickle, apparently…) I love to see all the cookies — and usually bake my share of them, although not this year. I love to see the decorated tree, and to see when someone opens a gift that really was just right. And watching Christmas movies and playing silly games with that happy bunch of people. So I was not a happy camper, trapped in my house with my dog, on Christmas day! I must get a webcam, microphone, and SKYPE so that I can actually SEE people when I call them (although that’s frighteningly like 1984 — the book, not the year!).

But Nancy came here, and on New Year’s morning, in pajamas, we three opened our presents from each other (a remarkable number of them, since at least two of us had promised not to “buy” anything but stocking presents, and to “make” other gifts; I “made” Nancy a poem that showed, I hope, how I feel about her, and framed it; she painted pictures of my house, the side of my house with hollyhocks, and a close-up of hollyhocks). I am working on a summer sweater for Shari. I completed a little sweater for Lily before Christmas and sent it to Nancy’s house, so they had that “made” present from me. Somehow I can’t see the boys (they’re 29 and 33, not exactly “boys”) wanting to wear anything I knit for them. I gave Erik a scarf a few years ago, but Ben’s in Bellingham WA and I don’t know how much use he has for a scarf. It would probably just get wet!

I do hope to get more writing done this year — more that I want to do, not just assigned articles at Associated Content (where I am now a Featured Beauty Consultant — it cracks me up, since I also write outdoorsy blogs for a partner site, like white-water rafting trips and mountain bike tips! and frankly, I’m not all that great at any of those things…) or the Spooky (and possibly Creepy) South Dakota book. I learned just before Christmas that the photos in Spooky North Dakota will appear in black and white in the published volume (April or thereabouts?), but “Pete” wandered past my editor’s desk (he’s the owner/president of the publishing company) and looked at it, and decided that he wants South Dakota done in color photos, which means a photo per page. Now THAT is going to take some time… it’ll probably take more than the writing! But they can be background shots, pretty vistas, trees, abandoned houses or mines — whatever. They don’t ALL have to be haunted things. I think the research will be harder for this one, because I’m farther away from it, but the writing should be easier, now that I better understand what they want. I suspect that deciding how to organize it will be just about as difficult, though. (For North Dakota, by town or county just didn’t work, so I did it by type of haunt or spookiness: haunted houses; haunted churches; haunted businesses (hotels, stores, etc.); and so on.) I’ll decide after I see what I get.

One of my (unexpected and delightful) gifts for Christmas was a small digital video recorder. That could be quite handy, both in research and in general. Kimiko does some really cute things that I’d like to get on video. OK, it’s hard to think of giant Akitas as “cute” but when I say, “Anybody want a peanut?” and she raises a front paw with a look that says “I do! I do!” it’s pretty darn cute.

So, off to other writing. And yes, this is mostly for me, because hardly anyone ever visits my blog — but that’s OK.

Happy New Year, and New Decade!

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