Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Days of Auld Lang Syne

Well, Interwebs, it’s been quite a year.

About this time last year, I took the Holmes and Rahe stress test, and received a score of 349, which indicated an 80% likelihood of developing stress-related illness. This year - after a move, an IRS audit, and a divorce - my score still managed to go down to 217, with only a pitiful 50% chance of stressing myself sick. So hey, progress!

My goal for next year is to slide right down to the low-risk numbers, and I’d say I’ve got a good shot at it. Because if you take out the major catastrophes, it’s been a good year, and I only expect the next one to be better. Unlike December of 2008, I know where I’m going to be living in two months, I know where my kids will be in school next fall, and I know that I’m at least 98% done with the fallout from my failed business. Even more importantly, I know I have loyal, loving friends and family who will support me and my children through whatever comes next, just as they did during the past twelve months. It hasn’t been an easy year, but thanks to that support, it’s been much more manageable than anyone would assume. Exhibit A? Not a single sick day taken on my own behalf. Well, maybe one. But still.

I know there are still challenges ahead, both predictable and completely unforeseen. But the advantage of surviving a litany of personal disasters is that even the dark twists down the road don’t seem so scary. Maybe they would be if I knew I had to travel alone, but I don’t.

Thanks, y’all. Happy new year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Let Your Heart Be Light

For the 14th or so year in a row, I didn’t quite get it together to send out Christmas cards. I can’t quite bring myself to send out a mass e-mail (although I really don’t find it offensive and in fact admire the eco-friendliness of it, plus how it spares me the guilt of eventually throwing out pictures of your kids), so in lieu of all that pretty cardstock and personalized messages, I bring you …

The 2009 SAM Christmas Letter

Ho ho ho, y'all, and happy holiday greetings from Memphis! East Memphis, to be exact. After almost a decade as a proud Midtowner, and, I'm sure coincidentally, 5-time crime victim, I began 2009 with a cross-town move to the pastoral acres of the east. In February, the SAM household (SAM, Miss M and Mr. Baby) moved into a huge 1970s compound with the Sassy-Urf! family (R, K, C, JP, S and GK) and formed one giant acronym conglomerate. Adjustments to the new arrangement were smoother than anyone could have hoped, owing mostly to the fact that we already spent most of our time together but in a much, much smaller space. 

Speaking of small, Mr. Baby is the only member of the family still wearing the same size jeans from a year ago. What he lacks in size, however, he makes up for in smarts, adorability, and pure goofiness. He's currently thriving in pre-pre-pre-K, making friends, charming teachers, and singing most of the alphabet in almost the right order.

Fortunately, big sister Miss M is always at the ready to assist him in matters academic and otherwise. The girl finished kindergarten with finesse and made a wonderfully smooth transition to first grade at a whole new school, thanks both to her genuine love of learning and her wonderful teachers at both campuses. She's thrilled to be reading on her own, and has also discovered the joy of having longer books read aloud. We're currently working through the Little House series, and I can't wait to blow her mind by taking her to Laura Ingalls' old Minnesota homestead next summer.

And my year? Well, you made it to this page, so there's a good shot you've been reading the sporadic updates through the year, and if not ... well, I'll try to keep it brief. I've continued my tenure as a fully-employed professional writer, working with people so nice I'm reluctant to go into detail about them or they'll think I'm just sucking up because they found my blog (hey, guys!). I've tried to balance out the more stressful uses of my free time (e.g. gathering tax-related documents, visiting with lawyers) with completely relaxing-but-not-especially-documentable uses (e.g. reading, seeing how long I can stay in bed before I feel guilty about it). Most of my time off from work was spent with one sick child or the other, but we did manage to make a trip to the ancestral homeland for Corn Capitol Days, and are about to return to the frozen north for Christmas.

I hope that, if you've visited this blog this year, you've found something entertaining or interesting or at least worth your time. I thank you for reading and for letting me share these parts of my life with you.

To me, the spirit of Christmas is love and wonder and joy, and exists for everyone, of all beliefs, to embody and enjoy. I wish you that spirit during this season, as I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.