In the Rearview Mirror

We had a postponed Christmas dinner last night with Laura and her family.

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It was lovely. We toasted with blue champagne, had oysters and shrimp from the grill, country ham on country biscuits and my excellent curried cheese ball while we stood and chatted in Laura’s kitchen.

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I don’t know where Laura was in this photo. On the far right hand side, I think, behind her husband in the Santa hat. Then we made room for tenderloin, potatoes and fresh asparagus sitting at the beautiful dining room table. Laura loves to make a festive table.

I made the desserts. Two Key lime pies at Laura’s request and an apple pie. And because I had eight egg whites left from making the Key lime pies, I made chocolate espresso meringues. I don’t have a pastry bag so dropped the whipped mixture from spoons. They were beautiful and delicious.

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I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I suppose I used to and they always seemed to be about losing weight. But 2017 was a year when I made a concious decision to step away from many volunteer activities. 2018 is going to be a significant birthday for me and I have a third novel to finish. It’s been marinating in my brain for ten years. That’s long enough. I’m getting close to the end of the first draft, but some of my characters seem intent on following roads I didn’t see, and I have to take the time to see what they want to do. They usually turn out to be right.

I suppose part of my decision in 2017 was because of volunteer fatigue. People come to assume that you will keep doing what you’ve always done. But I knew I was putting my own projects on hold and I didn’t want to do that anymore. The other thing is that I am making enjoyment a priority. If I raise my hand to volunteer, is it something I’ll enjoy doing? There are a lot of things in life that just have to be done, but I want to enjoy the things I choose to do.

Writing is one of those things. I find writing to often be an unconcious process. I get centered at my computer, sometimes using a dowsing crystal to help open my brain to the “movie” of my book. Then I write what I see. My friend, Helen, says I’m channeling and I won’t go quite that far. But I do enjoy the process!

In March of 2018 the Bay to Ocean Writing Conference will happen without me being part of the planning. For the past ten years I’ve been on the planning committee doing a variety of year-long tasks. By the time we’d get to conference day I was too tired to attend sessions. In 2018 I will enjoy attending.

Eastern Shore Writers Association is also going on without me. I’ll just be a paid member. Those almost daily hours spent keeping track of membership are now spent writing. I found some membership software to take over for me and the board agreed to the change. It was time that the organization moved in that direction and I gave them a push.

I stepped aside from my role as co-chair of Green Thumb, the St. Michaels Woman’s Club gardening interest group. It was time for new ideas, and there have been some splendid ones.

I did raise my hand to help at the St. Michaels Farmers Market last summer but it was just for an hour or so on Saturdays and an hour to send out a weekly market update. The market is undergoing a restructuring. I don’t know if I’ll raise my hand in 2018. I want to see what’s going to happen to the market before I volunteer.

And last year I was still involved in the organization of the St. Michaels Community Garden. A friend and I have been sharing the responsibilities for about five years. It’s time to pass the torch. We sent out an email asking for volunteers and got radio silence. The next step is to itemize what we do and send that out. Maybe if people see the discrete chunks, some will raise their hands. If people want a community garden it will survive.

I’ll stay connected with my Working Writers Forum. They’ve been reading what I’m working on for eleven years, and they always give me good advice.

Laura and I are hard at work for the Christmas play we’ve been commissioned to write for The Merlin Players in Faribault, Minnesota.  Collaborating with Laura is a priority for me. We both enjoy the process. It’s FUN!

It is now a little after 8 o’clock in the morning on the first day of 2018 and I’ve been up for several hours. I am at my desk and have just pulled up the file of my novel. I can’t wait to see where the story goes this morning.

I’m going to enjoy 2018. #enjoymylife

 

 

 

A Little of This, a Little of That

St. Michaels’ harbor was calm this morning when I took my two mile morning walk. The wind was gone and it wasn’t as cold as the last couple of days. I try to walk everyday, but when it’s really cold, I can’t force myself out the door. I like seeing what’s going on in the neighborhood. Has a house gone up for sale or been sold? Hey, that long-time vacant lot has a new foundation going in. This morning Talbot County trucks were out repairing some potholes. I met a neighbor out walking her hound dog, Rebel, and we stopped and chatted.. Dogs are a great way to meet people when I’m walking.

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At the Woman’s Club meeting Wednesday we were treated to an actor who portrayed Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was part of the Hugh Gregory Gallagher Theatre whose mission is “to raise public awareness of disability issues and discrimination in our society through dramatizations of real-life and fictionalized experiences. Our powerful, entertaining and insightful plays on persons with physical, developmental and mental disabilities, and others discriminated against based on race, ethnic origin or sexual orientation, help reduce prejudice and stigma.”

Roosevelt’s disability due to polio was hidden from the public. The actor asked if we thought a person with Roosevelt’s disability could be elected president today?

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Could a blind person be elected? What about someone like Stephen Hawking? It made us all think. Being president is an extremely taxing job mentally, emotionally and physically. It requires stamina. Stephen Hawking is brilliant. Do I think he has the stamina to be President. No. Would we elect a president who couldn’t speak? I don’t think so.

New Year’s Eve was fun. I made a meatloaf. Laura came with our friend Betty Ann. Laura’s husband was flying and she brought left-over mashed potatoes from Christmas dinner. We invited another girl friend who brought fabulous Brussels sprouts. My hubby was quite happy to be the token male. I did notice that at one point when all the women were in the kitchen after dinner cleaning up, he retreated to his office. Friends went home early and we were in bed by 10:00. A perfect New Year’s Eve for us!

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These flowers were a hostess gift from Betty Ann (she also brought some great wine). The bulbs were getting ready to bloom on New Year’s Eve, but now the yellow tulip is in full bloom and the hyacinth is perfuming my kitchen. There’s a purple tulip yet to come. When they finish blooming I’ll put them in the ground.

I’m starting out the new year with friends, good food, a little exercise tucked in here and there, and the fragrance of spring which isn’t so far away.