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Friday, December 30, 2005

New Years Resolution Time. Again. Sigh.

My 2005 New Years Resolutions were:

  1. Next time I open Spider Sol I'll have to figure out again how to do it.

  2. Weigh less than 175 on July 23, 2005.

  3. Write 1000 words a week on She Who Must Be Obeyed.

  4. CENSORED. [The fourth has to do with improving a specific relationship, and the way to improve a relationship with a private person isn't to talk about it in public.]

  5. Write Morning Pages at least 300 days in 2005.

  6. Reclaim my signature.

  7. Keep financial records well and on an ongoing basis.
I did a good job on abandoning Spider Sol, but I say that with a guilty conscience. While it is absolutely true, I am just as addicted now to Challenger Tetris, Destroyer as I was this time last year to Spider Sol. Sigh. Still, I proved I could get away from it, and I didn't play any game for about six months, so that's a win at least in part.

I did well on reclaiming my signature. Again, it was better six months ago than it is now, but it's still recognizable as a signature, and I'm pleased with that accomplishment without reservation.

The censored one I accomplished, too. That relationship has been better this year than ever before. The financial records, nope. I got through the tax session last year without a big problem, but I haven't been as organized as I should have been. That, however, cannot be said about the others.

Writing Morning Pages and on She Who Must Be Obeyed I didn't do. I worked for a while with great enthusiasm on my novel The Devil's Right Hand and my book Syncopated Summer will be published in 2006 and I reworked that in accord with the publisher's preferences.

The weight? Geesh. I lost a substantial amount before the July 23 wedding, though not nearly to 175. I've gained back most of what I lost. But I started working again on losing it again plus the rest of it this afternoon when I set aside the old patterns for the new ones of 2006, already adopted a day and a third ahead of time.

I'm not overly disappointed in my accomplishments, though. It's been a busy year. How busy? Let me tell you. Here is my Christmas Newsletter:

Christmas Newsletter, 2005

One Bodacious Year in the lives of Mike and Barbara Rollins

For many years I've enjoyed reading the holiday letters of others. Sometimes I've contemplated doing one of my own, but usually I don't get around to it. If fact, until now, I've never gotten around to it. This year, though, is different.

This year differs not just in that I'm finally writing the Christmas letter, but in the year it has been! The only way I can describe it is with that good old Southern word "BODACIOUS!

Bodacious how? In 2005 we have doubled our children. Jeffrey married Samantha Yager in our home on March 18. I had the honor of performing the ceremony, so I found myself as officiant, mother of the groom, hostess, and chief cook. I would add bottle washer, but that would be a misstatement, for I had plenty of help in that department. It was a great pleasure to meet Samantha's family who came down from Michigan for her big day. Sam is a delight and is good for Jeffrey. Both boys chose well.

On July 23, David married Desirée Muse at an exquisite church in Plano. Her parents Terri and Jerry took all the roles I had played in Jeffrey and Samantha's except for Mother of the Groom (and the role played by the minister, of course). The ceremony was absolutely stupendous and touching and an opportunity for me to fully relish what was happening. I loved every minute of it. I had dreaded the reception somewhat. In all my 58 years I'd never been to a wedding where people actually danced. At my first, I took a very early spotlight as I danced with the new groom. He had carefully chosen the music we were to dance to. I know he was considering it six months earlier. When he finally decided on a piece, I was honored, amused, and surprised. We danced to Lee Greenwood's version of "Amazing Grace." Talk about getting the chills in July....

Doubling our children in one year certainly would make it a bodacious year, but that's not all. We started the year working on remodeling our home. It was a huge project, but with the competent assistance of Jayne and Tim Probst, it went relatively smoothly. We had thought we could go away for a week and they would make huge progress in taking up our carpet and putting down tile. That was not to be, though, for the tile didn't come in timely. Mike and I lived out of our bedroom, eating, sleeping, and fretting there, for several weeks. It was interesting. (Some of you may remember Prof--actually Raymond, but Prof--Bynum's saying when presented with the offspring of his pupils and others. "Now THAT'S a baby." It ranks up there with the old Irish curse, "May you live in interesting times." Interesting living arrangements are not necessarily something to be coveted.) Still, it's kind of like having a baby. The longer the time-lapse after the pain and anguish, the more it all seems to be worth it, and we really enjoy the ease of care.

Sorry Sam and Dezi! Welcome to my family!

When I said we went away for a while with the hopes the house would transform itself in our absence, I glossed over our destination: Italy! We flew January 15 to Frankfurt from DFW then to Venice. The trip included two nights there, two in Florence, and two in Rome before we returned. Stops along the way were Padua (probably our favorite of the whole trip, St. Antonio's cathedral), Pisa (it was wet and miserable and pick-pockets would have had Mike's wallet had the water not made it so hard to get to!), and Assisi. While every stop reverberated with importance and shone with age and beauty, we'll always think first of the Coliseum when we think of Italy. That's not because it's stunning in the gathering dark and fascinating but because I managed to fall flat on my face and experience the Roman medical system (free!) while Mike experienced the waiting room which he found interesting. (Remember the definition of interesting set out above.) After nine stitches and two x-rays, as Mike would report, "They found nothing" and sent me back to the hotel. I managed the tour the next day through the Vatican museum and St. Peter's. We even dared out on our own during the afternoon to see Michelangelo's Moses at St. Peter of the Chains and wandered around the Roman forum. I say Mike has to take me back to see the rest of Rome, but he's not willing to risk it again.

The accident in Rome had nothing to do with it, but the next time I left the country, Mike dropped me off at the airport in Houston and headed to Abilene. I went to Nicaragua with a group of Rotarians and learned a great deal, not only mentally but emotionally and experientially. It was a trip I'll never recover from.

Although Mike threatened to make me wear a helmet throughout the trip, he did dare late in the year to go with me to Europe again. This, the longest trip we've ever taken, sparkled! We flew to Budapest, Hungary, by way of Frankfurt then boarded the Riverboat Odyssey after an all too brief a glance at Budapest. We stopped to visit Venice, Passau, Regensberg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Rothenburg, Wertheim, Heidelberg, Rodenburg, Koblenz, Cologne, and Amsterdam. We remained in Amsterdam two more nights and I saw Zaandam and Edam. I've struggled with the question "What did you like best?" or "What was your favorite town?" The answer has to be all of them.

Barbara and Mike Rollins

So. I've been busy in 2005. I won't berate myself overly for the failures on the Resolutions. I'll just set out again to conquor 2006. Here, then, if you still are reading this endless post, are my 2006 resolutions:
  1. Resist stupid computer games of all varieties.
  2. Think like a thin person all the time. Eat like a thin person as a result of thinking like a thin person.
  3. Write daily. Write at least 250 words. If it's not on a book or an article, then it can be Morning Pages, but really write something!
  4. Unclutter.
  5. Participate in life. Know what's happening around me.

So where does that leave us? At the beginning of a blank slate. We'll see. We will see.

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