Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008: Rewind

So, just a few days from a new year and as usual, I am excited about that shiny, glitter-laden (at least in my mind), January 1.

In last year's 'end of the year post' I wrote this:

If I am able to avoid the e-bay bankruptcy, I have trips with friends, more intense dog training, the start of competing with my own dog, family weddings, and just maybe another marathon in the works. If I'm really lucky I'll get to meet some new people and make some new friends along the way - there's a Bruce Springsteen fan in Austin I'm dying to meet, and a chance I'll be in Austin next fall. And then there's the best part - there's stuff I don't have any idea about that's coming.

I was indeed able to avoid e-bay bankruptcy, albeit barely.

The trip to Hatteras was all I hoped it would be and more. The picture on this post is from our very last day there. I can only tell you that 7 days like that, with those folks could never be enough. Plus, Hatteras was awesome from start to finish.

As for 'more intense dog training' check, and more to come... and oh hell yes, a shiny (first) and new title for the Mojo-dog and I (picture of trial day above!).

I didn't make it to the wedding - my niece had to throw it together very quickly (No, shotguns involved, people, please) her husband was heading off to training - he was an ROTC graduate and they had about 6 weeks from graduation to him being shipped to somewhere, and her needing to be in base housing in ALABAMA. The timing was bad for me, as I had already planned another of those trips with friends.

No marathon this year, but '08 did bring me the return of truly regular running, an introduction and hard and fast love-affair with speedwork, and the loss of 47 lbs. (Thank you Weight Watchers). I'll be looking for 26.2 in '09 because running is so much easier with those lbs behind me (or maybe, no longer BEHIND me -- heh).

I didn't get to Austin, this time it was money that kept me home. While I'm not one of the many dealing with a job loss my purse string grew tight and remain that way. I'll be looking for ways to end that in '09 as well. Cuz, damn., this sucks.

The stuff I didn't see coming.
The biggest, bestest one one has to be the horses. Thanks to a new friend I started riding again after a 17 year hiatus, and taking lessons and jumping, and jumping and jumping. I'm still at it eight months later, and I only know I want more time to do it, more money to spend on it and yes, Santa, a horse for Christmas would be awesome. I've met some wonderful people at the farm, and I have learned so much about myself it's embarassing. When I started riding there I told people it was the only place I didn't think about the problems in my life.
When this wasn't the truth, the horses told me. The horse you are sitting on knows when you are lying, and will show you whether or not you are tense or tired or distracted. These animals respond to the clenching of a buttock, the pressure of a calf, the tightening of a finger on a rein. They know if you're having an off day and will show you what it gets you.
Be here right now, is the lesson. Every time.
It has been an amazing ride, it every sense of the word.

My dad co-wrote a book this year, about the little coal-mining town he grew up in. I can't fully describe how wonderful it was to see this part of Pennsylvania through his eyes. It is likely this book changed something in me. My dad knew from a very young age he never wanted to go into the coal mines, and he worked very hard to get away. To write about this place with such love, and not a hint of bitterness for the father he lost, or the fathers of his friends lost in the mines, to only remember the good people, the good places, it is the definition of peace. I am proud of him.

The not-so-good stuff.
My dad had quadruple bypass surgery this year. The surgery was fine and went as planned, his recovery was really rocky and had prolonged complications that I could have done without.
My mom had a scare as well with anemia and kidney function.
Listen to me universe. It is not okay to screw with both my parents in the same year. BACK UP OFF 'EM.

I lost my friend Dennis this year. I have yet to fully deal with this. I can't erase his phone number from my cell phone. I go to his Police officer memorial page. I think of him randomly. I got a text message from a friend telling me they caught the guys. It helped.

In 2009, I hope to have more of the good, less of the bad, and just plain old hope for the unexpected.

I'd be a fool to hope for a quick cure to the economic trouble the country is facing or for peace in the middle east, for not one more solider to die, or the end to hunger and poverty, a cure for aids, and MS, but I'm going to hope for it anyway.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't be an egg-faker

Lately, it seems 'doing' has been much higher on my priority list than reflecting and writing. Typically, I find time for both, and I've been beating myself up a little for not doing it. I decided today, that I was saving it up for one big end-of-the-year post. No, I don't actually have that planned, I think it's just another way to procrastinate.

I haven't really been any busier than usual but I have been more tired and I'm blaming that on the stupid lack of daylight. Can I just say that I STILL hate this time of year? I do NOT understand the need for dark at 5pm. How exactly does this help ANYthing/ANYone. It doesn't. Anyone who says different is a liar AND they just plain suck.

I still have not gotten around to baking (or even deciding what I am going to bake for her - leave your suggestions in the comments please!) for the delightful Ms. Kaply and that makes me very sad. I have not finished my Christmas present for my mom, and if I did Christmas cards I'd be really far behind. I do have a christmas light adorned palm tree that sings and dances to rocking around the christmas tree when you press her hand/frond. It is the most awesome christmas tree ever.

I'm training for my marathon, competing my dog and horseback riding. I am busy. And inordinately happy. At christmastime and every other time, that is decidely, enough.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

If you aren't going to bake me a cake at least do this for me.....

That's right people, today is my birthday.

When I was in grade school mom used to let me stay home on birthday, she'd take me out to baskin robbins for mint chocolate chip ice cream cones and to the roller skating rink off Franconia Road. I got whatever I wanted for dinner and most everyone in the family was nice to me. (Being the youngest in a large family, this was the biggest deal of all).

Starting in high school, my oldest brother Mark was the first person on my birthday to call me. Usually by or before 6 am. The call would start with Mark asking me how old I was, I'd tell him, he'd spend 3 to 5 minutes telling me how OLD I was. Then he'd share a memory of little Cravey with me, usually the one where when I would get to crying mom would make him peddle around the court with me perched on his knee until I stopped crying, this frequently took a LONG time. I'd laugh with him, and remind him that however OLD I was, he was still 14 years OLDER. He'd tell me he loved me, and usually we made plans to get together for Mongolian barbecue.

The first year after Mark died, I couldn't answer the phone when it rang the morning of December 2nd. I wanted it to be him, knew it wasn't and wanted to believe I could make it all go away if I just didn't answer the phone.

Yesterday when I was thinking about my birthday and Mark, I decided I wanted to ask you people, my imaginary internet friends and those of you aren't so imaginary, for a gift.

If you're a brother or a sister, younger or older, call your sibling today (only children, you are not off the hook, call someone, a friend, a parent, whatever). Tell 'em you love them, make fun of them, share a laugh with them, something.
Just do it.

It'll make me feel better, and since I have a cold (which sucks, by the way), and it is my birthday (and you people aren't making me a cake) call your siblings. I miss him more than words can describe, every damn day and if I can't have him call me, I'm going to take some credit for making other people feel the way he made me feel every year.
Special, loved, and remembered.

Happy Birthday to me.