"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Seeing Out the Year

Round here, the perennial end-of-year lists of the biggest locals news stories are mostly about disastrous weather: historic (almost record) winter snow totals, floods, devastating tornado (coming too close to the Lodge for comfort), destructive ice storms. Then there are the political stories (NH Primary, NH as a Presidential swing state, another historic NH general election with highest-ever turnout.) I won't mention the various controversies and tragedies the media are so eager to remind us about.

The national news is much the same.

Well, on this snowy final day of a busy year, I'm somewhat reflective and almost entirely focussed on the Good Stuff.

A long, productive summer by the Big Lake. Floriferous rose bushes. An extended period of autumn colour. Positive professional developments for the Chap. Finding out that my constituents wanted me to continue representing them in the State House. Occasional infusions of $$$ as my mostly out-of-print novels continue to sell well in foreign lands and languages. Rewarding diocesan activities. Seeing my longest, bestest friend not once, but twice--in NH and in our hometown.

In the mind-over-matter category, I'm chuffed about losing 26 pounds (as of this morning) since April. I'm in striking distance now of what I weighed on my wedding day...possibly also of my dancing/acting days. But I've no interest in ever being that thin again!

Terrific travels! The novelists' conference in New York. The ball, banquet and nostalgia overload in Washington, DC. Spending time with my family and surprising my dad on his milestone birthday. A longer than usual annual trek to London, hanging out with friends and researching the book and seeing a Queen.

I can report a horticultural triumph. Some of that kudzu I imported from the South in November (along with lots of cuttings from my parents gardens), is not only alive, it's thrown out new leaves!

And it appears to be sending up green shoots from roots I feared might be dead.

No idea if I can keep the kudzu going, but at least I can celebrate keeping it alive thus far.

Contemplating my year, I have regrets, but not huge ones. Our longest-lived dog Lola left us, but in such a lovely, graceful way--while I'll always miss her presence and grieve her inevitable loss, I rejoice that she lived to be 15 and was so vital almost to her last day. My novel still isn't finished--not that it was actually a goal. Didn't accopmany the Chap to Montreal this year and had second thoughts too late. Could've done a much better job groundskeeping at the Lodge after that first frenzy of spring gardening.

Recent days have been very busy, especially yesterday--mandolin lesson, post office, bank, cookbook project meeting. Watchmaker, because altogether six of our watches wanted replacement batteries. Plus my vintage tank watch needs a thorough cleaning and tune-up. (I've heard the Chap boast that he's got watches enough to wear one every day for a month without a repeat. Possibly longer. My collection numbers in the single digits--7 or 8 in good working order.)

I stopped at the furniture store to pick up a new acquisition. Miraculously, after years of searching, I found the perfect side table/bookshelf for the downstairs sitting room, at 50% off. At this moment it's wedged into the back of my car. Not permanently, I hope! This was a lucky discovery connected to an additional purchase at the same store. After a hunt of about 2 years, we also found the perfect stressless-type, swivel leather armchair with ottoman for the Chap, to replace the one he received as a wedding present long ago. The old chair isn't entirely trashed, it's going on to the cottage for an extended life of more limited use. The new chair is on order. We're so pleased that a local, independent downtown furniture store supplied all our needs. Quality goods at a significant bargain.

For the past couple of days I've ignored my general logey-ness until it became increasingly apparent that I picked up a Bug, most likely at church. It's the time of year when good spiritual health can be detrimental to physical health! As preparation for wintering in Reps Hall with 399 germ-bearers, I brought back from the UK lots of Serious Cold & Flu Drugs, the sort unavailable in the States with labels that make me nervous--but don't deter me. Consequently I'm doped to the max and intend to remain that way. Until I need to drive myself again. And I needn't leave the Lodge till Tuesday, so plenty of opportunity for rest.

By family tradition (mine) this is the day to de-Christmas the house. About half the ornaments have been removed from the splendid tree.

Last night at the library I picked up 4 DVDs and today Netflix delivered a 5th, so we're well-equipped for our snowy, sickly holiday. I'm making Italian tonight: angel hair pasta and fried calamari with a marinara-type sauce.

We'll see in the New Year twice, London via BBC America, and US via the television network of our choice. The bubbly is chilling. We'll have a fire, because I'm still scarred from the ice-storm power outage and doggedly determined to return to the mindset that "fires are pretty and fun and romantic" rather than "fires are essential to our survival." The girls, our precious companions, are sporting their festive kerchiefs with a sense of anticipation.

They join me in wishing you a happy, healthy, prosperous, productive, love-filled, and thoroughly rewarding 2009!

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