High Note

We’ve almost made it through another year, and everyone is resetting. Everyone is looking at the new year as a new hope, and they’re trying to be positive. This is why I love the new year. I love it more than Christmas, more than any other holiday. Because at the end of the day, people are looking forward to something, whatever that might be for them.

Yes, bad things happened this year. A lot to celebrities that I respected died. Musicians like Leonard Cohen, Prince, and David Bowie. Advocates like Carrie Fischer. And honestly, celebrities I just felt attached too, like Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder. We live in a world where everyone is so visible to us. I am glad that I will have albums to listen to with Leonard’s rich, velvety voice when I feel sad. I am glad that I have Young Frankenstein and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I’m glad that I have Star Wars on Blu-ray. They are permanent reminders.

The new year is a time to take stock, to see where we are as we begin a new year. It feels like so little has gone right this year. However, when I looked back on it, I realized there are things to be proud of or happy for.

  • I graduated from college with my AA degree, after making straight A’s for the school year
  • I am staying on my path and headed for a Bachelor’s degree next
  • My relationship with Toby has improved
  • My husband’s construction company is growing
  • I wrote a book this year! It’s the next installment of The Gray Hat series and I’m excited to see it moving to the editing stage.
  • I had a wonderful talk with my editor regarding my next steps for my career

I’m sure there are more positive things, but it’s more usual to get lost in the day-to-day of managing life; appointments, maintenance, responsibilities. Not everything stands out but I know I’ve had more than a few good days this year.

Which is why it’s good to take a moment and look back and appreciate the good.

Winter Break

It has not happened in a long time, but this year my birthday was snowed out. Or, snowed in, I should say, as both my husband and my son had to stay home from work and school respectively. I’m on winter break, but doubtless my school would have closed, too.

The first day was fun. My menfolk played video games and entertained themselves while I wrote my newest installment for the Sanguinarian serial. Then Tuesday rolled around and my son’s school was closed again. My husband went out to brave the ice in my car instead of his truck, leaving us stuck to our own devices.

Eventually I bundled both of us up and took Toby out to play. The ice was bad on the roads but we walked over to the school field, and the powder was perfect for snowballs. So, we played. Toby had trouble making snowballs but I showed him how. We only had one rule – no aiming for the face.

We bumbled along, my son drawing happy faces in the snow, occasionally throwing snowballs at each other’s coats. Toby made snow angels.

I reached down for a fresh snowball when Toby raised his arms above his head and said, “Throw it at me, Mom! I want to show you something.”

Having already pelted him with a few good-natured snowballs, I complied. As I threw, I watched Toby drop to the ground, presumably to have the snowball fly over him. Which, if I had been aiming for his head, would have worked. However, because I threw the ball at his chest, as he dropped, he met the arc of the flying snowball with a perfect thwak of snow meeting cheek. This appeared to occur in slow motion as I watched in horror, realizing what was going to happen but unable to take it back.

“I’d like to go home now,” was all he said as I tore off my gloves and scooped snow off his cheek.

It was the perfect storm of events – the throw had been a light lob, which would have exploded harmlessly against his coat, but I had no inkling of what he wanted to show me. There was no way for me to have prevented it and my son wanted to show me a surprise, he wouldn’t have told me what his plan was.

It all had that vivid, ‘this is too real to be true’ moment that sort of echoes how a lot of people feel at the end of this year.

I’m preparing for some upheaval as we go into the new year. I’m hoping it will be beneficial upheaval, but given the nature of this year, I’m going into it expecting chaos and see what happens. The snowball is coming, it’s just whether I ducked fast enough has yet to be determined.

 

Moving Forward

I have two more weeks of school left. This is when finals happen, when final projects come due, and when people lose their will to live. It pushes on nerves and strains patience, but it’s designed to do that and the wise student doesn’t taper off.

I have started writing again. It took a month to recover my creative drive. I was terrified that it wouldn’t come back, but it seems no matter what the shock, my creativity will come back home. I have Typhon, Inc. out to beta readers, and with luck I’ll get some feedback over the holidays. I’ve already got some, but I’m waiting on the rest before making any big changes. This is the hardest part of writing for me, but it’s also a very exciting time as well. And at least I’ll be able to make the changes when the feedback comes in.

I started a Creative Writing class this quarter, and was surprised to discover that my writing capacity is at a higher level than I credited it. Writers are notorious for low self-esteem and don’t provide themselves with much credit for their ability. Seeing is believing, I guess, and I have an excellent grade in the class so far. I’m looking forward to classes in the University.

I’m terrified about going to University, I’ll tell you. Higher level courses, bigger course loads, and the competition for classes are 3 times more. Whatcom is a friendly college that is close to my end of town and has plenty of free parking. The professors are enthusiastic and focused on their students. I don’t know what to expect from the university except for what I’ve been told by my friends that started last quarter, and the reviews have been wanting. I’m sure I’ll learn to navigate but it’s that transition period that can be the doozy.

I haven’t done well this year with investing in the holidays. Halloween was barely noticeable and Thanksgiving was good but also very short. We had a five-day break and once Thanksgiving supper was done, it was over and moving on. We didn’t even participate in much Black Friday. We got a couple items we’d been planning on, online. Luke went to Best Buy and came back within an hour and I went to a little local shop called Spice Hut because we were out of thyme and they were having deals.

With luck, the future will hold some good things for us for 2017, even if they come from unexpected corners. I imagine that the road is going to be rocky for the foreseeable future, but life doesn’t come with a guarantee that things will always be good. We just have to find the good where we can.