New Year's Eve is a very different kind of night. It's a time of saying goodbye to last year, both the good and the bad. For some it's good riddance, for others it's been a great year filled with memories to keep close for a lifetime. And for most, it's a time of reviewing where you are now compared to where you were a year ago and where you want to be a year from now. Nearly everyone makes resolutions - quiet naturally born of the review of where we want to be next year when the tooting horns and fireworks usher in yet another new beginning. Whether we keep those resolutions or not depends who who we are and how sincerely we want to reach the goals we set for ourselves.
For me -- I'm excited about 2012. Ever since I retired and moved into my cozy little bungalow by the sea here in St. Augustine, life has been good. Very good. Hard to believe, but I've been here three years now. At first, I was reluctant to even go out on necessary errands, I was so anxious about missing even a couple hours of time in this beautiful little corner of paradise. But I've gotten better about that - groceries, hair appointments and returning books to the library no longer threaten to steal precious moments away from the beach. I've gotten used to the fact that I'm not on vacation when every moment needs to be hoarded, and become secure in the knowledge that this IS my life now, every day. I settled back into my writing and got involved beyond my membership in Ancient City Romance Authors. For the past two years I served as secretary, coordinated one genre of the book contest and ran their annual fiction writer's conference (2010 in Jacksonville and 2011 in St Augustine.)
This past year, I got involved volunteering at the Spanish Quarter which has been a wonderful experience. For the first several months, I worked in the leather shop with a wonderful man, Marko, who got me started learning the skills of leatherworking (I've still got lots more to learn, of course.) Then, last fall, to the disappointment of many, the city decided to close the Spanish Quarter and most of the people I got to know there scattered to other places and jobs. La Taberna del Gallo, however, remains open and bustling and I was invited to spend my volunteer time there with Jenny, Bill and Josh, who are the tavern keepers, as well as a colorful bunch of characters who come in from time to time, including the Bilge Rats (who sing sea shanties) Captain Mayhem (local pirate) and dozens more. The friends I've made at La Taberna add such color and fun to my life, I pray, whatever happens to the Spanish Quarter in the coming year, La Taberna will continue to be a part of my world.
This past week, I took a whirlwind trip to New England to spend Christmas with family. I started with a day in Derry with my sister and dad, then drove north to The White Mountains, to spend Christmas eve and breakfast on Christmas morning with my daughter and grandson. Christmas morning dawned snowy and beautiful. There was already snow on the ground but this was the finishing touch to a Currier and Ives holiday. Then it was back to Derry for dinner with my sister and dad, and finally to Massachusetts for Christmas night and the day after with my son, his wife and their two kids. I was supposed to fly home on Tuesday, but the flight was so delayed, I missed the connection in DC and ended up jumping on the Metro and going out to spend the night with my daughter in Maryland. Her two girls were excited to see me - surprise visits aren't something you expect from a grandmother who lives almost 800 miles away!! I finally arrived home on Wednesday feeling like I'd been traveling for a month, but it was a great trip - lots of fun, got to see so many of my family and enjoy a wonderful holiday. Time for a nap...........
Jack, snoozing with the teddy I made for him.
And so ends 2011. I'm excited, as I mentioned at the start of this blog, about 2012. I look forward to hearing back from the editor who is reading a partial on my latest book and an agent who asked for a partial on the book I completed earlier in the fall. I would LOVE to hear them say they would love to see the entire manuscript, of course. In December, I was busy sewing for Christmas, but in the back of my mind a new book was brewing and I'm anxious to get started. Tonight I'll be volunteering at La Taberna del Gallo to usher in the New Year. I'm looking forward to that, as well. I look forward to another year of life on the beach, daily rambles with my feet in the surf and Duffy gamboling at my side, in and out of the water. I am also looking forward to the arrival of grandbaby number 13. (Alex and Noel expect their 4th sometime in early August.) And who knows, maybe this year is the year I'll meet someone special and fall in love again. Whatever the year holds for me, I'm eager and ready so BRING IT ON!!!