HAPPY (belated) NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!
I'll keep my list of wishes a bit shorter this year: Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous year filled with love and good memories; a year with less pathos, more empathy, less drama, more good happenings, less worry, more happiness, less cancer, more good health, less divisiveness, and more equality of every kind for everyone.
Somewhere along the line, I decided I should do a "year in review" post (Dude, you're getting predictable in your old age) but it seemed to keep pointlessly growing until even Dostoyevsky would've probably shaken his head and left the room. Sooo... instead of looking all the way back at a year that I'm not entirely unhappy to see pass into history, here are a couple of quick updates.
Due to some of the (many) medical misadventures in the family over the past couple of months, it wasn't too long after the Pipsqueak's first Nutcracker performance that I had to get to work early, then leave work to drive past my house to pick her up at daycare, then drive all the way back to work with her so that AJ could drive all the way back home with her when she finished her work for the day. Mom was kind of upset about it, but I kinda just shrugged and Miri thought it was all a really fun grand adventure.
As you can see in the photos above, the Pipsqueak discovered that Mommy's highliters made good crayons, but when she got bored with that she took to writing me "notes" on a Post-It pad (one or two of which contained actual words!), running all the way down the hall, sticking them to my office door, and then running all the way back to Mommy's office to write more (laughing all the way, I might add). By the time AJ took her little dynamo home, I had five Post-Its on my office door and another in my hand.
As the month progressed, we also found a really strange-looking critter on the couch at Mom & Dad's house...
...and discovered that my niece and my folks' cat share nearly identical senses of personal space (at least as far as my folks' kitchen floor is concerned).
Somewhere along the way, Cousin E's boyfriend V (a really nice guy) managed to get Miri hooked on Tic-Tac-Toe, so when AJ and I met E and V with Miri for Chinese food on Christmas (hey, we're Jewish, I think it's actually in the rules somewhere...!) they had a marathon session in between runs to the buffet. She even let him win a game...!
New Year's Eve was -- as if I needed proof that I'm becoming an old fuddy-duddy -- thankfully quiet and low-key, spent at a friend's house. Part of the discussion that evening was about the oncoming bout of winter weather that was expected to hit New York and parts north. Our hostess admitted to being bummed that we were going to miss out on the snow...
...but she needn't have worried. With January 2nd being my first night back at work, I found myself looking out my window at 2:00pm at steadily falling snow while the radio cheerfully assured me we were only going to have light rain mixed with wet snow, turning to all snow in the wee hours of the morning before tapering off. By 3:00pm the forecast had changed to just "after midnight" and by the time I was out driving in the slop they admitted we were likely to get "a light dusting" of no more than an inch, and that would be "only on grassy surfaces." By 10:30pm, while I was out clearing and de-icing the center's front walk, they were still chirping happily about "an inch."
I can normally make it home at night, from stepping out the door at work to stepping in my own front door, in about 20 minutes (assuming, of course, there aren't any police cruisers out & about). Well... I walked out the door at work at 1:40am... and didn't walk through my own front door until 3:05am. Just over half an hour of that was time spent digging, sweeping, and chipping my vehicle free of the combined 3" of fresh snow and hard-frozen slush from my drive in, and the rest was just negotiating roads that had been treated for that "light dusting" rather than the actual snow we had.
The roaring of the wind in the trees behind my house kept waking me up, so I finally gave up around 7:30am and went out to shovel the sidewalk in front of my house. (Not quite willingly; 'round these parts, The Law sez we gotta.) I have to admit it was beautiful outside; fresh air, bright blue sky, that special golden light that comes only at sunrise and sunset... Despite joking with neighbors about "biggest darn inch I ever saw" and "January has a twisted sense of humor," I appreciated the scenery enough to grab my camera and fire off a bunch of pics... a sampling follows...
The photo to the left's a closeup of the first tree on my block to catch the morning's direct sunlight; it looked more golden to the naked eye, but I still think it's pretty to see.
|There's a very prickly Holly bush on the side of my house that's not usually|
very photogenic, but this morning was an exception.
|Just a light dusting, no more than an inch on grassy surfaces, eh? <sigh>|
There's an Azalea bush under there somewhere...
|This little concrete bear lives on my front porch. I kinda got the feeling he|
would've much rather been hibernating in a warm, snug hole somewhere...
|The sunlight finally reached over the houses to the trees in the backyard; I took|
many photos of the white/gold/blue scene before the sunlight cooled to a more
usual blue/white hue and the trees reverted to wood instead of copper...
|One last shot out my bedroom window before collapsing back into bed for a bit|
of a nap. By the time I woke up, the combined sun & wind had stripped all the
branches bare once again.