Auld Lang Syne

Today is the last day of 2008. It was, all things considered, a pretty good year for my husband and me. We got settled in the Midwest, getting out of that tiny apartment and into a roomy house. I got a new job less than 4 miles away, which saved me many headaches when the snow started. Plus, even though I'm not a full time employee, I'm glad to be working. I thank God that my husband had the foresight to get in wtih the government after 9/11. The first thing corporations do in lean times, as we found out seven years ago, is get rid of all their consultants. I do say a prayer every night for those who have lost their jobs. My husband didn't work for nearly two years after the terrorist attacks, and I know how hairy it can be.
It was a year of historical politics, with President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama making history and allowing black parents everywhere to croon over their baby boys, "Maybe he'll grow up to be President," the way white parents have done (and I guess the girl's chances are coming!) It was also a year of the 2008 version of the movie classic The Women, possibly the worst remake ever (unlike the scathing original, this version barely meowed, much less had any bite). It was one of the snowiest Decembers ever in Wisconsin; it even snowed last night. Some cities and towns have already used their entire salt budget for the season.

But the highlight of the year by far was my mother's 90th birthday in October, when four generations of our family (only 2 of my nephews couldn't make it) gave her the surprise of her life by coming to Kenosha:

L-R: 1) My 92-year-old aunt (who traveled from NY) and my 90-year-old mother
2) My brother-in-law, nephews, and my brother (standing in the back)
3) My young teenage grandnieces

L-R: 1) and 2) the group gathering in the basement (where many of them slept)
3) my nephews (the baby and the little guy on the right are the oldest and youngest grandnephews, the only boys of their generation so far).

L-R: 1) My beautiful nieces. 2) The youngest Griffin (who actually does not carry the name) with his grandma. Eight months old at the time, this sweetie was held by everybody at one time or another and didn't cry the whole three days, just looked up at everyone and laughed. I just love a good-natured baby.

As for my personal goals, I made a lot of Me Time this year. I read, did jigsaw puzzles, cooked, baked, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. More than anything, I'm grateful that my extended family members are all okay. Oh, yeah, I also finished a difficult manuscript and am on schedule with my next one, while polishing a proposal to my agent's approval.

I got some reading done, too. If anyone's interested, here's my favorite for the year:

Looking for Peyton Place by Barbara Delinsky had a unique concept: The author wrote a book about the townspeople of the "real" (of course it's fictitious) New Hampshire town Grace Metalious used as inspiration for her famous 1956 novel Peyton Place. It was an exceptionally well-put together book with many layers to the story, and included "conversations" the main character, a writer, had with the late novelist. (This part might leave readers who are not writers a little concerned about the character's mental health, but I understood it perfectly.) I've toyed with the idea of doing a book about small town resident scandalizing the town with a racy book myself and have some good pages written, but haven't done much with it. This idea is older than the White House, but as Ms. Delinsky has her character observe in this book, 50 authors will tell the same story 50 different ways.
I'm ready for 2009, and I've already begun my annual change of ways. I've already begun to watch what I eat (right after my last glass of eggnog for the year). I've also started using natural products for housecleaning, like making my own laundry detergent with washing powder, Borax, and Fels Naptha soap, cleaning my toilet bowls with baking powder and vinegar and cleaning my oven with baking soda, vinegar, and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. I miss my electric self-cleaning oven, but up here the houses are built for gas ovens and clothes dryers. At least I didn't have to open the windows because there were no fumes! I'm tired of buying a cleaner for this and for that; besides, baking powder and vinegar are also cheap.
I also vow to take better care of my health. I'm a year-and-a-half late for a screening colonoscopy and have numerous concerns. I missed my last doctor's appointment because of snow, but have rescheduled.
So here's to a healthier, slimmer me in 2009! I wish you and yours all the best. I also want to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading my blog.
Happy New Year!


Patricia W. said...

What a wonderful looking family! Family is a blessing.

Happy New Year to you and Bernard, Bettye!

bettye griffin said...

And the same to you and your Bernard, Patricia!

We are definitely a multicultural bunch. Some of my nieces and nephews are biracial, others are part Bahamian, and there are part Latino grandnieces and nephews as well. And I must say that every last one of them are wonderful kids.