Where Have You Been?

Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah!  And a Merry New Year!

I have been getting increasingly more desperate and pleading reminder emails from WordPress about my lack of postings.  Apparently, they miss me.  It’s nice to be missed, but I simply haven’t had the time to keep up with things until now. So in the immortal words of Indigo Montoya, “Let me explain. No. There is too much.  Let me sum up.”

October

I refrained from mentioning this on Facebook or here because I didn’t want my grief to be a public thing.  We had a great sadness in October when our good old dog, Shadow, passed away at the age of 15 1/2 years old.  I miss her every day.

Halloween and All Hallow’s Read was only a moderate success this year. Halloween was cold and soggy and with it being on a Friday night there were a lot of indoor, community events available and free to the public.  We only had about half the usual amount of trick-or-treat participants and I was left with a lot of books and candy.

November

The midterm election and No. 29 on my Fabulous Forty (FF) list concluded the first week of November and ushered in a brave new world as my husband was elected to our local school board.

I completed No. 38 on my FF list with my first ever (in my adult life), Girl’s Night Out.  Loads of fun and it’s nice to have a great group of ladies to laugh with.

We went to Missouri to visit my family and to meet the newest member of the clan, a great-nephew.

Mid-month, I was a vendor in a lovely little craft fair at an Episcopal church here in town, working towards crossing off goal No. 35.

The day before Thanksgiving, another one of our pets shuffled off this mortal coil when my 16 1/2 year old tabby cat, Sydney, died from old age.  I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know my husband is there for me when I need to bury a body, even if it is just a skinny old cat.  Sydney came with me from Missouri to California all those years ago, and she was the one thing that got me out of bed in the morning when I was going through some depression following my dad’s death.  She wasn’t a very affectionate cat and she had an aversion to using the litter box, so I can’t say she was wonderful, but she was mine and her loss was another ding in my heart.  We still share our home with two cats, Monkey (7 yr. old Siamese of giant proportions) and Amber (14 +/- yr. old Burmese with a weight problem and sleep apnea.  Yes, my cat snores.), but I think I’m ready for a new family dog and I have been scoping out Petfinder.com and Petharbor.com on an almost daily basis.

Thanksgiving was a domestic affair this year and I think we were all a little sad about that, considering we were in Killarney, Ireland on Thanksgiving last year. It was a mostly quiet, and I struck No. 36 off the FF list, “Learn to make tamales.” Ooooo boy, were they good.  I made them again for New Year’s and the second attempt was even better than the first.

November was also the Month of the Runny Nose and Cough. And so was December. Here’s hoping for a mostly snot free January.

It rained.  Hooray!  California needs rain, we’ve been in drought conditions for three years straight.  Then it rained and rained and rained and rained. The house got musty smelling.  The door on the Little Free Library swelled shut and the knob got yanked off. I was determined not to complain about the rain, but wow, it got soggy and I was getting cabin fever.

December

Following the election, there was a lot of making things official, such as swearing in and learning the duties of being a board member AND a conference to attend. You know that saying, “Behind every successful man is an exhausted woman,”?  Well, it’s true.

The Hobbit celebrated a birthday, which meant a party, and there were additional volunteer hours at school in preparation for a winter concert at school.

Also in December, I crossed off numbers 23 and 31 on the FF list:  Get a physical & all the associated tests; and implement a dietary supplement plan. It took me all stinking month to get all the tests done with our crazy schedule.  Clean bill of health, in case you’re wondering.

Between the sickness and scheduling issues and time drain, I didn’t get the Christmas tree up OR start buying gifts until Dec. 21st, which is a first for me.  I’m usually done with both by Thanksgiving weekend. I didn’t even send out Christmas cards.  It was all I could do to muster some Christmas spirit, and then I came down with a cold. Despite the coughing and seemingly endless river of snot that flowed through our lives, we had a nice Christmas and I spent the break from school mainly resting.

That brings us up to January, and a review of how I’m doing with my FF goals. I realized I hadn’t made much headway with it.  There just wasn’t time with all my other obligations, and I started to get a bit cranky and discourage.  I reviewed my goals and realized there’s one I’m just not going to be able to complete.  It’s not working at all, and that would be No. 5:  Complete the BBC’s 100 Big Read List. That goal took something I love, reading, and turned it into a laborious chore. I have barely read anything, avoiding books I want to read and painstakingly forcing myself to pick up books I should be reading.  So I’m changing it.  (My game, my rules!)  I found a reading challenge on Facebook and I’m giving myself credit with some of the books I’ve read since August. If you click here, you’ll see I have modified my goal list to reflect this new goal.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted!

My wonderful sister-in-law has made a massive contribution to my goals and gave me a ukulele for Christmas. It’s a beautiful Rip Tide soprano ukulele with a gorgeous tone and I have been having a blast sifting through ukulele books and getting to know my new instrument. That means No. 20 on the list is well under way.

I am also tackling No. 30 this month, “Complete a 30-Day Challenge.”  After looking at lots and lots of 30-day challenges, I finally concluded I couldn’t even think of doing any of them until I got things cleaned up and sorted, so I settled on a 30-Day Decluttering Challenge and started it today. I also posted that challenge to the Fabulous Forty list.  I will post a synopsis of my experience with that when I complete the challenge.

That just about covers the highlights, and now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go play my ukulele.

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