My Not-So-New-Year’s List

The blank slate of a new year
The blank slate of a new year

It was a roller-coaster year, 2015. Job changes, health issues, threats abroad and at home, too much time spent brooding about what is, and not enough effort put forth on what could be . . . I’m sort of glad it’s over.

Both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were more exciting when I was young. There were the nights my brother and sister and I talked my mother into letting us borrow pots and pans to clang noisily after we stood under the streetlight in front of the house chanting, “. . . five, four, three, two, ONE!!!”

Probably 30 to 40 seconds in, she would open the screen door and laughingly say, “Shhhhhhh, that’s enough, get back in here!”

And, for a few years, the neighborhood girls and I planned a slumber party where we stayed up all night watching black-and-white horror movies to usher in the New Year. By 1 or 2 a.m., my brain was fuzzy and it was all I could do to keep my mind on whatever threat was stalking the terrified actors on TV. One year, I managed to prolonged my misery until 4 or 5 a.m. before succumbing to slumber.

I’ve never been good about making New Year’s resolutions. And . . . I’m a bit of a procrastinator (note today’s date). But making lists and crossing items off gives me a sense of accomplishment.

So, inspired by the many changes, fears and uncertainties wrought by 2015, the new positions my husband and I both start this week (and also the brilliant sunshine extremely welcome after what seems like months of rain), I will make myself an agenda for the newly minted year. (Like most rough drafts, it will be big on ideas and short on specifics.)

Item 1 Keep moving

My passion for exercise dwindled over the past few years, as I spent all my time at work on my feet. In 2016, I’ll try to do something every day, whether it’s walking, working out, or furiously cleaning the house (I’m sure my husband is laughing at that last bit).

Item 2 Keep learning

I made it through Word 2013 and PowerPoint last year, and drafted a family newsletter and cookbook. I started this blog. I’m big on acquiring knowledge, but lax about putting it all into practice. This year, I’ll try to weed out some of the interesting in favor of mastering things I can do to improve things for myself and those I love.

Item 3 Keep investing in family

My husband and I have talked about relocating if necessary, because we aren’t yet ready (or able) to retire. Because of his current work situation, he travels more than he’d like. Because of mine, I have a fair amount of free time. Last year I was able to make several trips to see him while he completed assignments out of state. I enjoyed some of our grand kids for days at a time, and sought out conversations with our children. I made a trip to see my Mom. This year, I plan to do more of the same.

2016 is still young, but time, like a conveyor belt, keeps moving along. I’ve taken the jump, and my goals are in motion. We’ll see what the new year will bring.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you good at keeping them?







What’s not to love about Halloween?

A kid at heart, Josie still likes to dress up.
A kid at heart, Josie still likes to dress up.

Another summer has come and gone, and, thankfully, cooler weather has arrived. The leaves are changing from green to lovely shades of orange, yellow, pink and red, and one of my favorite months is coming to a close – but not before the celebration of one of my favorite childhood holidays. It’s Halloween tomorrow, and my town has the good sense to follow tradition and let the kids dress up and trek for candy on the holiday itself.

I grew up a few hundred miles north of here, and if my memory is right, it always seemed to snow at least once before the big night. I don’t remember trick-or-treating through the white stuff, but it did rain on us a few times. Never mind that, we would suit up excitedly and walk up and down the hills that formed the circle road we lived on. Then we branched out and spent probably at least an hour on a short side street which included accessible houses on the right, a few steps down from the road itself, and houses high on the hill on the left, which meant we had to climb hundreds and hundreds of stair steps before stopping at each colorful doorway and shouting, “Trick-or-Treat!”

I was always terribly unimaginative in coming up with costume ideas, and usually pulled something together at the last minute. One year, though, my sister had a clown mask fringed with carrot-orange “hair” made of paper, and I talked her into letting me borrow it. (My apologies to my youngest daughter – yes, I admit, I have masqueraded as a clown twice in my life. Please forgive me.)

That was one of the rainy nights. I remember water drizzling down inside of my jacket all evening, but we walked so long and hard, and were so intent on collecting candy, that it was easy to ignore. I must’ve looked pretty frightful, even for a clown, though, because that frizzy paper “hair” was a sodden mess by the time we got back home. Unfortunately, my sister’s mask would not live to see another October 31st.

It’s been a while since I was able to really see Halloween through the eyes of a child. Our kids are all grown, and for the past five years, I nearly always had to work on Halloween night. This year, I will be home, and welcoming four of our passel of grand kids, before they and their moms head out to impress the neighbors. I have no idea what any of them will dress up as. But sometimes, this Nana likes surprises.