Tuesday, December 31, 2013



What's shown is a cake I had made for the 1999 I threw. Who knew, as I gathered my group of intimate friends around me, what lay ahead for each of us? I've posted this as a reminder to stop and toast, even as life sometimes slams into us and sends us reeling.

Below is another pic -- of me at the same party. I remember Mom telling me, as I scurried around in this dress getting the festivities going, that I looked like Mae West. That continues to be a compliment to me; Ms. West's brassiness and benign vulgarity actually inspire my view of myself as an older(ish) woman.

Fourteen years later, the evening will be different, but my hopefulness for the future still just as high. In fact, I've decided to bump things up and be defiantly optimistic. 2013 stank -- with both my own health challenges reminding me to pace myself better, and Mom's continued frailty. I'm leaving this year behind as a wash, and am actually eager for 2014. Even in thinking what possibly could "go wrong," my endurance so far gives me some combat skills. The future? Bring it on!

So, here's my scintillating agenda for the next 36 hours or so:

1. As I monitor the televised festivities in Times Square throughout the night, I'm going to be pressing my shredder into service. There's ancient paperwork in the corner desk and in a large cardboard box nearby. What isn't relevant going forward in 2014, goes through the cutting blades, and out with the recycling on Friday morning. Visual clutter is as painful to me as the tangible kind. Getting organized is a common goal I hear my clients voice, and one I share with them. And as I'm faced with more responsibilities in my mother's care, being as organized as possible with be a life-saver on many levels, now and in the days ahead.

2. Get organized for resumption of life on Thursday morning. Get my wheelie-case ready to go out the door, organize my files, see that my computer calendar is up-to-date, scrub down the kitchen and bathroom, and take inventory in the near-empty fridge. With my Mom's sudden hospitalization more than a week ago, I've focused an inordinate amount of attention on this situation, and allowed my home to be neglected. I need to trust that Mom's in good hands at the rehab center. Home is supposed to be my refuge; I should feel gratitude and honor it as such. How many times do I lecture people about caring for themselves? Now, the famous saying, "Physician, heal thyself" holds real meaning for me. Maybe I can sneak out and see the movie Nebraska during the matinee hours. The themes in this film are near to my heart, and I want to see if I agree with the reviews I've read.

3. Making time for my backyard. It's been neglected for so long, and it breaks my heart to see my rose bushes hidden among overgrown tufts of grass. There's a neighbor down the block from me, with whom I've had only a smile-and-wave acquaintance as I drive by. I want to knock on his door, and in our conversation, ask him about the native plants with which he has landscaped his front yard. I'm going on record, here and now, and saying I want to restore my own front yard's beauty with some fresh-looking, water-thrifty plants. Recreational gardening used to be more than some chore -- it was real therapy for me. I must get back to it; I long to get happily dirty once again.

People reading this might think that I'm taking on an awful lot for "downtime," but that's me. I've always been happiest when taking care of my home and personal life.

And 2014 is the year to keep my life up there on my list of priorities.

Happy New Year to all of you, with lots of love.

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