Monday, December 31, 2012

Year in Review 2012

Ever since I started blogging in 2009 I have done a Year in Review post. It's always a big, time-consuming pain in the ass and it's so incredibly boring to everyone but me that other bloggers turn away in droves. (Ha! There they go!)

The thing is, I've worked for newspapers my whole life and any newspaper worth its salt publishes a Year in Review between Christmas and New Year's. Why? Mostly because the editors are either drinking or hung over and haven't got the wherewithal to find new news. 

Seriously, life goes by in a blitzing fecking hurry and looking back over the past year slows things down, makes you remember all the things you've accomplished and may have already forgotten about.

For me, 2012 was a fantastic camping year. Dave and I really got "out there," hitting the great outdoors almost every month of the year. I'm really happy about that. Being outside, connecting with nature, spending time with the people I love, feeling sun and wind on my face, it makes me a happy human. Last summer I pledged to go camping every single month of the year in 2013. The thought of it scares me, as I say it. Especially since winter cold is settling in around these parts and the fire in the woodstove sure is cozy. Seems a bit foolhardy to think about winter camping, but then most goals seem foolhardy as we say them out loud. It's one thing to fantasize about finishing a novel, starting a new one, losing weight or camping in bug season. It's quite another to say it out loud and make it come true.

At this time I'd like to say a heartfelt thank you to all my bloggy friends. You've stood by me through thick and thin (mostly thick) and I hope you know what you mean to me. You truly are the best friends anyone could hope for and I love and cherish you all. I hope you have a wonderful New Year's celebration and a completely fabulous 2013. May all your hopes and dreams come true. I believe if you say them out loud, they will happen. 

So say them – go ahead – and be happy.

January - Dave and I tried camping in a yurt in Killarney Provincial Park.
 Loved everything about it except the frozen mountain of turds in the outhouse. 
February - I had cataracts removed in both eyes.
The fast-growing type, they got really bad really fast and finally had to step away from work
 for a few weeks because I couldn't see to work or to drive.
The operations were easy-peasy and now I can see! 
March - For me and Dave, early spring is all about splitting wood for the coming winter. It is a huge job, taking about a month to cut, split and pile a truckload of logs. While I don't relish all that work, I do appreciate our efforts at this time of year, when the house is so hot that we have to open the windows. It's also an inexpensive way to heat – a load of logs costs $900 but it heats our house for three years. People we know who heat with oil will pay twice or three times that amount for one winter and their homes are never really warm. The good news is, we won't have to split wood this spring because we have so much piled up and ready to go.
April - Awww, our baby painted turtles. This picture makes me smile so much!
They hatched beside our mailbox, which is next to the road, so we gathered them up
(it was like finding Easter eggs!) and released them in a safe spot along the riverbank.
Every time I pass that spot I smile and think about the baby turtles and hope
they're doing OK.
April - At the end of the month we went up to Kiosk for our spring fishing trip.
Nothing beats that first trip. Nothing! We had an absolutely fabulous time hanging
out with my sister Liz and her husband Don, and Dave's brother Tom and his wife Sue.
May - Every May 24 weekend for the last several years we have gone camping
at Balsam Lake Provincial Park. Why? It's just far south enough so there are
no black flies!!!! The last few years we have been fortunate to go camping with
our good friends the Raneys. We've had some great laughs, sitting around those campfires,
and I will always treasure the memories.
June - Dave bought a motorcycle! So excited! We spent many happy hours
tooling around on his bike. Maybe this year I'll get my license and get one
of my own! A little scooter - wouldn't that be fun?
June - Sam drove the boat for the first time! A big moment in a kid's life and he
did a fine job navigating up the Muskoka River. This was a banner day, a perfect summer
day. One of the best things about living beside the river is just setting off from your very own dock
with fishing poles, books and sunscreen. Summer perfection.
June - My Mom turned 75 on her birthday so we had a party for her at Algonquin Park.
I love her t-shirt! Kawartha Dairy is legendary in these parts for its amazing ice cream and
it just so happened the dairy is exactly the same age as Mom!
July - The Muskoka Novel Marathon was AMAZING for me this year! First off,
I finished the first draft of my novel, a process that took more than two long years. But most
important, I had a fabulous time, making many new writerly friends. If you've ever
thought about taking part, I couldn't recommend the experience more.
July - Had a terrific time at Algonquin Park for a luxuriously long week.
Took the canoes out for a day trip (that's Angus in front of me) that turned
out to be quite an adventure. I still don't think my muscles have recovered!
August - I love this photo of Dave and our little nieces and nephews shucking
corn. Looks like a Norman Rockwell painting, don't you think? We had a family party
to celebrate Dave's Mom's 80th birthday. We swam in the pool, we swam in the river, we ate too
much, we laughed like crazy. It was a fabulous day. 
August - Another photo from Alice's birthday party. That's the birthday girl
holding our dog, Misty, in her lap. To her right, sitting in front of me, is her
sister, Edna. They weren't just sisters, they were best friends and it
was really hard on Alice when Edna died a few weeks ago from cancer.
I'm so glad we had this party. I think she had a good time.
September - That's my sister, Liz, absolutely beaming over the big lunker she
caught during our fall trip to Kiosk. It wasn't the only one she caught, either! Her hubby Don
barely had any time for his own fishing as he helped Liz get so many huge fish off her line!

September - Northwords Literary Festival is becoming a real highlight of a writer's
year in Muskoka. This year I had the fortune of meeting several terrific Canadian
authors including Alissa York and Joseph Boyden (pictured in front, looking "writerly"
along with my writing buddies Dawn Huddlestone and Paula Boon). Also met Elizabeth Hay,
David Layton, Carmen Aguirre, agent Carolyn Forde and my good buddy, author Terry Fallis.

October - WOO HOO! My name in an actual BOOK! I was so excited when The Best of Friday Flash 2 was published. It was a stellar moment for me, to say the least.

October - Sam gives new meaning to the term tree-hugging during a Thanksgiving
hike in Alqonquin Park. He was clinging to the tree because he was on the
edge of a steep cliff. I love having Thanksgiving dinner outside on picnic
tables with family and friends. It's the best.

October - As you can tell from my photos I'm pretty much a country
bumpkin but occasionally I do make it down to the city. In October the girls
in my writers group spent a glorious weekend in Toronto bunking out
at singer/songwriter/author/amazing woman Linda McLean's apartment. We visited St. Lawrence Market,
 browsed in bookstores and did a whole lot of laughing and talking. What a fab group!
From left is Sasha Pringle, Linda, Paula Boon and Dawn Huddlestone.

November - One of the most amazing nights of my life and that's saying something,
because there have been many! Work buddies Gail Knaus (left) and Leah Burton nominated me
for a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award. The event was topped off by an amazing evening gala, where nominees were truly treated like royalty. With me and Gail in the photo is another work buddy, Pamela Steel, who is on the board of directors of the local YWCA.  Pamela, by the way, is
a bestselling Canadian cookbook author.

December - On Dec. 1 Dave shaved off his Movember moustache. If you're not
familiar with Movember, it's when men grow moustaches to raise money and attention
to men's cancer. It was the first time Dave has had a stache since I met him back in 2005. It seems appropriate to close with a photo of him, stached or not, because he is my rock, supporting me through all the bad things, and making good things even better. Everyone should have their own Dave. He's truly the best.

Happy New Year everyone!


  1. A pretty great year all round by the sound of it. Here's to an even better 2013.

  2. I love your photographs. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun this year. I hope 2013 brings you even more good times. Happy New Year!

  3. I remember smiling along with your blogs all year. Unless you were grumpy; sometimes I smiled then anyway, sometimes not. I enjoy seeing your happy face on my blog, so here's to a great new year to every one of us.

    1. Me? Grumpy? hahahahahahaha!!!
      Thanks so much, Joanne. Happy New Year!

  4. 2012 has been fun, hasn't it? For all the hoohah, all the troubles, it was a helluva year. I love reading your adventures, Cathy, and I'm sure you'll have even more in 2013, cuz that's the kinda gal you are. May your dreams come true and your heart be light in the new year. x

  5. I love the year in pictures Cathy, especially that giant stack of logs and the turtles. Of course, your outdoorsiness puts me to shame.

    1. Thanks, Tim! I love the outdoors. Even today we sat outside in the snow for a while, watching the birds at the feeders. Very peaceful.

  6. What a year you've had. Love the turtles. Happy new year to you and your family.

  7. Happy happy New Year, Cathy!!! You are so beautiful! I, for one, love your reviews and am just so darn grateful to have you in my bloggy life. Although, it sure would be fun to meet up and share a diet coke (or six and maybe some cake too) sometime...;)

    Here's to a brand new year! *clink*

    1. Definitely six!!!! Thanks for all your sweet words, Lisa. Cheers!

  8. I love that pic of the baby turtles! I remember that post, too. I wish you all the best in 2013, Cathy! Happy New Year!

    1. For some reason I knew the baby turtles would catch your eye, Madeline! All the best to you, too. Happy New Year!

  9. I wish I liked the idea of the great outdoors more. I mean, I like the idea of it, but I just don't really enjoy the whole camping thing enough to actually want to do it. I just wish I did.

    I remember the turtles!

    Happy New Year!

    1. Awww, I wish you liked it too, Andrew. It's a funny thing, we love it or we hate it. For me, it's as necessary as breathing. I just feel cooped up if I'm inside too long - and a nine to five job in an industrial plaza makes it worse. I dunno, the more I'm outside, the more I crave it. Except during bug season, then I hate it!

  10. Loved your look back at the year!!! I hope you have a great 2013 and I look forward to reading your posts!!

    1. Thanks JoJo! Thanks for being such a great friend. One of the best things I did in 2012 was run into you!

  11. Thanks for sharing the year. Happy New Year!

    1. No, thank YOU William! Happy New Year right back atcha!

  12. Those little turtles are something! I haven't been camping in so long I should make it a new year's resolution.

    Have a great 2013 Cathy!

    1. Aren't they the cutest things? I just can't stop staring at that picture. Dave lining them all up like that makes it even funnier, like they're starting a race or something. Thanks for being sweet as always, Mark, and yes, go camping! Happy New Year!

  13. As it's now 00:57 in the morning here in the UK I can actually say HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Cathy, thanks for all your posts in 2012, for all the smiles and laughter you've shared - I wish you & your family well for 2013! xxx

    1. Aww, thanks so much for everything you do, Sue! You've been a real friend and I appreciate getting to know you a little better. Cheers and happy 2013!

  14. I miss camping!! We used to go all the time when we lived in PA, but now that we're down in GA it's too hot and buggy!

    Looks like you guys had a lot of fun this year. Here's hoping 2013 is even better!!

    1. Pennsylvania would be a glorious place to go camping - some day I'd love to pack up our gear and do some touring in the States. I can see your point about Georgia and all that heat. Maybe you should try winter camping? (Hoping it's less hot and less buggy then, but not convinced)
      Happy New Year, Tamara!

  15. Not a boring review at all. Wunnaful. Truly wunnaful. Though my childhood camping memories have scarred me for life - you can keep that. Have a wonderful 2013 - health, and happiness to you and yours.

    1. And it's wunnaful for you to say!!! Happy 2013, EC! Life can only get better, right? :)

  16. What a wonderful way to celebrate your year! Sounds like Dave should be cloned.

    1. I should clone him... I'll ask him right now, see what he says!

  17. What a wonderful way to celebrate your year! Sounds like Dave should be cloned.

  18. Love your year in pictures. Look forward to reading about more of your camping adventures and just life.

  19. That seems like a pretty good year to me! Particularly for the defeating the cataracts. Seeing your name in print, celebrating with your mom - you must have been pleased with 2012, yes?

    1. Yes. 2012 was pretty awesome. Sometimes I get down in the dumps - then I look back and think, "WHAT was I complaining about? Life is fabulous!" And then I eat chocolate and carry on!

  20. I love the picture post idea. And I'm with ya on the pain in the butt to link back to everything... although looking back is fun. I realized that my life was less hectic, and pretty boring actually. Which was of course, just the way I wanted it. :)

    And although turtles still freak me out (and guinea pigs) those are so frigging cute!

    1. Guinea pigs freak you out? But they're so cute ... like furry sausages with eyes!

  21. Wow, you've had a busy year. I'm glad you had some milestones: like finding turtles and driving on your husband's motorcycles. Hope you have a great 2013 and maybe get your own motorcycle. Love the turtles. I used to have two. They ended up as soup but that's a sad story for another day.

    1. It was crazy busy, Clarissa. I honestly need to slow down and smell the roses but sometimes even that takes too much time!

      And yes! My own motorcycle! Wouldn't that be the cat's butt?

      You ate your turtles? Clarissa! And I always thought of you as so kind!

      Happy New Year!

  22. What a fantastic year! Thank you for sharing. Have a great 2013!

  23. Replies
    1. Great question!! But I don't know. Sadly they all scurried off into the river and didn't come back to the finish line ...


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