New Years morning, an appropriate time to review the successes and failures of the year just past and resolve to do more, do better, do things I didn’t get to in the past 12 months. Like everyone else, its been a year of ups and down but pretty much in balance even though its been a yo-yo year. My daughter remarried, I took a couple fun trips, I had moments of creative rejuvenation and a few where I felt I was caught in the doldrums one minute and the next, in a jetty, unable to get my bearings. I didn't break any bones or chop off any digits which pleases me to no end but I’ve broken a few of my own rules, the only ones that really count, and that has taken a toll on my psyche. And I’m thinking about joining the Army because they promise to make me all that I can be. I replaced my old deathtrap truck with a slightly newer one. The old Ford had gotten to the point where I feared my emergency “I’m broken down on the side of the road” calls to my son in law might cause him to rethink his marriage to my daughter. There was one week that he had to get on his white horse three times and he even brought the cavalry along with him once. I’ve worked too much but enjoyed most of it. Trying to reduce my workload so I fired a couple of my clients. I used the old 80/20 rule. 20% of my clients produce 80% of my income so I got rid of the problem ones who tended not to pay anyway. I felt a little guilty over the first couple but it got easier and easier when I discovered they could survive quite nicely without me. I guess my over inflated ego led me to think they would have a difficult time replacing me but they’re all still in business – imagine that. I even declined to take on a new client who came to me last week. It had all the earmarks of being a very profitable arrangement for me but I knew my heart wouldn’t be in it and it seemed unfair to the client so I passed. I’ve gotten to the point that I only want to keep the clients I really enjoy. I still work for food but instead of settling for pigs in blankets, I’m seeking more steak. I discovered that should my daughter’s father predecease me, I can collect survivor benefits from his social security even though we haven’t been married to each other in almost 35 years and I have always worked and contributed against my own SS number. In addition, when I’m eligible to collect social security, I can collect on his rather than my own if his are greater than mine. Interesting! And people wonder why the social security program is nearly bankrupt. I split a small boulder coming up through my driveway by drilling into it with a ½” drillbit meant for concrete then pouring water into the holes and waiting for it to freeze which split it enough so I could get a log splitting wedge in then let it freeze again, pounded the wedge deeper, etc. Of course, getting it out of the pavement and underlying ground is an ongoing project that my not be completed until spring. I traded a friend a wood chipper and all the wood from one of my big trees that fell during Storm Sandy – all he had to do was get it out of my yard. That, too, has been an ongoing project. He made great progress one weekend but hasn’t touched it for the past 6 weeks or so. Hmmmm – hope its gone by spring or I’ll have to finish it myself. I got rid of my television and I’m surprised that I don’t miss it at all. I’ve returned to what was first an adolescent crush, then an all consuming passion, my first love – reading. Through the years, TV crept into my life like a primordial ooze until I didn’t feel ready to face the world until I heard the early morning news and couldn’t sleep until I knew exactly who was bombing whom around the globe. The only thing I can honestly say I miss is the weather forecasts. High drama two or three times a day, sometimes all day if anything of significance can be used to keep people glued to the weather channel, as if a half hour could never cover every possible permutation that might occur. Now, I rely on my trusty window, outdoor thermometer, and my old barometer, resurrected from its hiding place in the basement. And when I go to the market, if I see the bottled water shelves almost empty, I know something may be on the way. Not very scientific but it seems to be pretty reliable so far. Insomnia hasn'y miraculously cured itself, in fact, it may have gotten worse but after all these years, it's just the way it is. If I'm going to pop a pill, I prefer to be awake to enjoy the effect - remember that I'm of the old drugs, sex and rock and roll generation and I have fond memories that I wouldn't mind reliving every now and then. I wanted to get another pup but I let fear of loss overrule my need. Probably not the best way to make a decision but its what happened. So that about sums up 2012, some laughter, some tears, some joy, some disappointment. But I survived it in better emotional shape than I might have at a different time in my life. As for 2013, I’ll just take it one day at a time and see what happens.