Looking Ahead – 2012

by Celia Hayes

It's axiomatic that the year seems to fly faster, the older you get. Someone explained it to me, thusly: the year is merely a portion of your total life. When you are four years old, a single year is a whole quarter of your entire life. By the time you are forty, that year is only one-fortieth of your entire life. This makes sense, if you don't think too hard about it. But 2011 was a year of events, portents and wonders. Sometimes I felt as if we were skidding from one extreme to the other, in between every kind of loss and gain imaginable, both personal and professional. We lost my father, for one – the day after Christmas, 2010 – and I spent a month in California early in the year, helping my mother adjust.

I had a book to launch early in the year, and another to finish in time to launch at the New Braunfels Christmas Market, so spent many hours slaving over a hot computer. I severed a professional relationship with one publisher, and moved over to another, smaller and local publisher. This which meant doing a second edition of a third book many, many months before I had expected to do so. I took on a number of paying projects as a free-lance writer during 2011, some of which did rather well. Between, the freelancing, my books and partnership in the local business that publishes them, I didn't need to take on a job such as I had to take some years ago, in a telephone call center – and I probably won't need to do so in 2012.

A bitter freeze last just after I came back from California pretty well demolished just about all of the tender garden plants and hanging baskets: but over the summer we worked to revive it all – and wonder of wonders, I finally managed to grow tomatoes. We found three grow-boxes put out for bulk trash – and we have ambitions for growing even more in them, come this spring.

At long last, I paid off a long-time debt in 2011. Another long-time debt will finally be paid off in April. Of course, the mortgage on my San Antonio home still has another eight years to run – but 17 years ago when I made the leap from renting to owning, I took good note of the conventional advice – that paying for a place to live ought to consume absolutely no more than a quarter of your income – and shopped accordingly. I bought only as much house as that one-quarter of my military pay and allowances would absorb.

My daughter brought another cat home, in January: the Moo-Cat, so-called because she is brown and white. Poor Moo is elderly, half-blind and not terribly social, but she has adjusted to the point where she will tolerate the presence of two of the other staid and elderly cats. And in September, we found ourselves another dog; a Maltese-poodle mix what my daughter also found, running loose in a neighborhood where no one recognized him. We thought sure that he had escaped from a fond and indulgent owner and returning him would be a piece of cake – but no, he was never claimed and so he is mine, now. We named the little lost dog, Connor, mostly because we found him near O'Connor Road.

The Christmas ornaments on the outside of the house were taken down this weekend; we're ready to face the New Year – with good cheer and high hopes.