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!
|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!
|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!!!!