Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year in Review - 2011

All newspapers do a Year in Review this time of year, partly because there's nothing much going on in the community except drunken carousing, but partly because we feel a need, as human beings, to look back on what we've accomplished. We want to know, was it all worthwhile? Did we come out on the other side with anything other than a few new wrinkles and a lot more bills?

This is my third Review since I started blogging. Hard to believe Life on the Muskoka River is that old. It all still feels new. I still feel like a luddite, a beginner; sometimes I feel the blogging run has dried up and come to a close. Then I remember why I started blogging in the first place: because I missed writing my column in the weekly newspapers I used to work for. This blog has always been, and will always be, my column. It just doesn't get printed anymore. Oh, and I don't get paid, either. Who cares, though. When you're a columnist, you don't write for yourself as much as you're writing for your boss and for readers. This blog thing, well, it's for me. It's my venting, my personal recording device, my diary, my calendar. I've met friends here, really really wonderful friends, and the blog itself has become my friend. Sitting here at my laptop, banging out a few words here and there and tossing them to the internet winds, is as comfortable as my old jeans – the ones I shrunk out of and am now going to throw out.

Speaking of shrinking, 2011 was the year I realized how fat I was and how I needed to do something about it. I started Weight Watchers at the end of July and have since lost 52.5 pounds. I have let myself enjoy the Christmas holidays but I haven't lost sight of my goal and plan on losing another 50 pounds by July 1. That way I'll be bathing-suit ready when summer holidays roll around (I'm planning on stuffing any extra skin into my bikini top to make me look more well-endowed). My August photo for 2011 was chosen with a great deal of pain. It's the photo of me in a hammock at Inverhuron Provincial Park. Before losing weight, I would never, ever have shown you this photo. I look like an old, fat whale, bloated, pale and, oh, I dunno, BLOATED is as good a word as any. (Kudos to Dave for loving such a fat wife.) It physically makes me uncomfortable to look at it, but I need to see it and realize how fat I was. I can't go back there. I'm getting too old for not looking after myself. A body like that can cause a heart attack and, gawd, I want to at least finish writing my novel before I croak.

2011 was also about writing. This was the year I realized I could actually write a book, thanks to the encouragement of all my writerly friends and a successful run at National Writing Month. Writing 50,000 words in the month of November was gruelling but exhilarating all at the same time. I am now only 10 to 30,000 words away from finishing the book and it's my goal in January to get most of that done. I want it edited and sent off to publishers by the end of 2012. I'm going to shop it around first but am not going to get hung up on publishing the old-fashioned way. If it doesn't get picked up fairly quickly, I'm going to publish it myself. It's a good story. It will make people laugh and cry, and it deserves to be read. Whether that will be in the book store or via Amazon, matters not a whit. It's a fabulous time to be a writer and you can't believe how excited I am to be doing this.

Looking back, 2011 was a pretty good year. I rediscovered the joy of bicycling and cycled almost every day here along the riverbank, as well as on trails on some of this province's most beautiful parks.

I felt settled at work, despite the newspaper industry's state of flux. I contributed every chance I could and I feel my brainier efforts were recognized and rewarded. I finally feel like part of the team and that's a very good feeling.

My family life is solid, warm and welcoming. I have a wonderful marriage, I really do, and I continue to be amazed by my children as they grow up into intelligent, unselfish young men. My mom has had a rough go of it, healthwise, this Christmas but her indomitable spirit will see her through and I wish her nothing but good health in the coming year.

I have good friends. The best, really. I'm lucky, and I know it. I live a peaceful, happy, comfortable life in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

It may not be perfect, but what the feck is?

Happy New Year, everyone!

January 5, 2011
The view from our driveway.
The south arm of the Muskoka River was almost frozen over.  The world was white and wonderful.
I had the WORST cold in the first two months of 2011. I was never so sick and miserable.
OK, so I probably was. But it's whiny-cool to exaggerate like that.
The dead birch in the foreground finally broke off and floated downstream at the end of the year.
The big dead spruce is still there, though. It's a great cover for little fish and the big fish
who drop by to gobble them up.

February 19, 2011 
At the Big Nickel in Sudbury, Ont., freezing our nuts off.
Man, it was COLD. We were up north to watch our friend's daughter, Megan,
play in a hockey tournament with the Almaguin Gazelles. We had an AWESOME
time! As well as hooting and hollering at the hockey rink, we found time for
some tourist-trapping. Science North was closed but we did enjoy our tour of
Dynamic Earth and our photo-op with the world's biggest nickel.

March 26, 2011 
Posing with my pal and colleague Pamela Steel (and her pooch) at
a sugaring off party in her Port Sydney neighbourhood. Every year her neighbours
collect sap from the local trees and then get together to boil it down and share the
resulting sweetness. Speaking of sweet, the dear Mizz Steel
(amazing bestselling cookbook author, award-winning newspaper writer extraordinaire
AND chef) is someone I desire to be exactly like. Thanks for the party invite, Pamela!
We had a suh-weet time!

April 18, 2011
OK, this is ridiculous. I can't believe it's been since last April that
we were at Deb and Dave's house. We had the BEST time, drinking coffee and
talk-talk-talking and laugh-laugh-laughing about everything and nothing. The occasion
was bringing my favourite Great White North blogger buddy her prizes in my Damned Door Contest,
but really it was just an excuse to fraternize with some really outstanding
people. Seriously, Deb, we have to get together again soon. Hopefully before next April.

May 7, 2011
Every spring Dave and I go up north to Kiosk
for our spring fishing trip. This spring we went twice! Once
with family (Tom and Sue Webster) and once by ourselves.
The first time we got skunked, fish-wise (there was still ice
on the lake when we arrived) but the following weekend
we caught plenty. One of our biggest pleasures is camping,
being outdoors and fishing. Kiosk always signals the
beginning to camping season. This year, however, we're
starting things even earlier: we have booked a weekend in
a "yurt" in Killarney Provincial Park. Winter camping!
Bring it ON!

June 27, 2011 
My blue-haired baby, Angus, graduated from
Grade 8. The whole fam-damily showed up to cheer him on.
Thank goodness his hair is back to being blonde as he navigates
his way through the horrors of Grade 9. I remember Grade 9 with
no small amount of wretchedness. I keep telling him, things will
get better when all the dough-heads drop out. Hang in there!

July 16, 2011
Killarney Provincial Park. Dave and I left the trailer at home and
only took the tent and our canoe for an absolutely fabulous camping weekend.
Killarney has to be one of the most beautiful parks I've ever visited.
Staggering white granite mountains; crystal clear water. A zillion miles
from the madding crowds. 

August 8, 2011 
Two weeks into my diet. I'd already lost nearly nine pounds.
I am embarrassed by my bloated ugliness in this photo and thrilled that I don't look
like this anymore. Since then I have lost 52.5 pounds and dyed my hair back to its normal
brown colour. The woman in this photo was unknowingly drowning in an unhappy sea of fat.
I feel so much better now – and I still have so far to go. Losing weight is the
hardest thing anyone can do, but it's so worth it. If you're starting a diet in the new
year, I wish you nothing but luck. Let me know how it goes, will you? I think we need
to support each other.

September 30, 2011 
This was the night I met superstar Canadian author
Margaret Atwood. She was LOVELY, FUNNY, GRACIOUS and really, really cute!
Then, she TWEETED me! Squeeeeeeeee!!!!

October 8, 2011 
For everyone else, Thanksgiving weekend was a time of feasting
and gaining weight. Not for me and my bestie, Tammy. We spent all the entire
weekend at Algonquin Park, hiking, cycling and walking. We never quit.
It was like bootcamp, only with turkey. And it was FUN! Tammy is my inspiration.
She has lost a great deal of weight and she is more determined than anyone I know.
She is also a wonderful, loving friend and I consider myself lucky to know her.

November 23, 2011 
In the homestretch of finishing NaNoWriMo (National Writing
Month), in which insane people all over the world attempt to write 50,000 words of
a novel in the month of November. It was a horror show some days, I have to be honest,
but the thrill of banging down most of my novel in a month was FAN-FECKING-TASTIC.
My writing buddies were always my two lazy cats. And that's a sock stuck to my foot,
in case you were wondering. 

December 25, 2011
Walking along the banks of the Muskoka River. This seemed
like an appropriate photo to finish with ... walking into the great unknown of
another year. Will it hold great things? Will everyone be healthy and happy?
Will I finish my book? Lose another 50 pounds? Save some money?
Will I blog?
Does a bear shit in the woods?


  1. Of course 2012 will harbinger great things! Thank you for sharing your year in review, so much to be proud of. And happiest of new years -- may you wallow in productivity, panache, and peace...

  2. May 2012 be better and better.

  3. Thanks Linda and Delores! Happy New Year to you both

  4. It seems you have had a full and diverse year and I am sure you will continue in 2012 to explore different avenues of life.

    I have enjoyed getting to know you this year, and I look forward to reading your post in 2012.

    Happy New Year Cathy! ^__^

  5. What a beautiful post, and a wonderful year... Lovely family, success on the journey--here's to a joyful 2012!! Cathy, you make the world brighter and full of joy. Thank you for writing, and bringing beauty and laughter to my life!

    Happy New Year!

  6. Geez, what a full year you've had, my friend! I'm really happy that the Weight Watcher and writing things have had positive results. Looking forward to seeing the final product of your book, Cathy.

    All the best to you, Dave and the boys for 2012.

    Hugs, Alan

  7. Happy New Year Cathy.
    I'm looking forward to another year of great blogging from you. The topics you choose and your style of writing is funny,heartfelt, insightful and I always enjoy your posts.
    Oh, and Happy New Year to Bootcamp and the boys too!

  8. Happy New Year! I must tell you, your cabin in Muskoka looks like a mighty fine place to be. And Oh Yes, I can't wait to read your book.

  9. Happy New Year and cheers on everything you've accomplished!

  10. Looks like you had a great year and I'll bet that 2012 will continue that way.
    I wait with bated breath to read the new novel - keep plugging!

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