My 2013 in review

I should take stock. Here I am winding down the hours of 2013. For the first time in my life, or since I was single any way, I’m invited to four New Year’s parties and one private New Year cocktail party with a BFF so I’ll probably hit the two parties and that one cocktail party.

But I feel a little melancholy. Maybe because my brother-in-law Dan had a stroke a week and a half or so ago and it really bummed me and the whole extended Jones family out. He’s an aces kind of guy — good listener and all. He’s recovering but has a long freakin’ haul. And I guess that’s the thing — no one’s promised another day. This is it. This day’s all we’ve got.

In 2013, I continued to draw life, energy, humor from my kids. What can I say? They drive me bananas but I like bananas. My husband also drives me bonkers. And I’m not as much a fan of bonkers as bananas. He got a bad deal with the Parkinson’s Disease and it’s slowing him down. When he asked the neurologist about the progression of his disease a couple of weeks ago, the doc basically said his progression is average.

Chris was diagnosed almost 11 years ago. It’s been a long time and continues to be a long downhill slide. That being said, I have a compulsive need to always mention him positively on this blog — in the event anyone who knows both of us reads this, so here goes: He continues to be a wonderful person — still very much into theater and cooking and family. He had a nice success in 2013 being featured on the radiolab podcast.

For myself, I also enjoyed some writing successes. The biggest deal was being featured in the Listen To Your Mother Show, a national reading by authors about mothers. We performed live on Mother’s Day at Symphony Space. My piece was funny and angry and honest. I loved performing again. The best part? I made some awesome new friends.

On the creative front, I’ve also been working on a novel that I’ve begun to show some people and the responses are pretty good. And I like it. It’s kind of like Breaking Bad for middle-aged mothers — angry, funny, and honest again! I want to add more sex scenes, but am overcome with embarrassment every time I try that. (And again, I’m very worried about people I know reading it and judging me!)

On this blog, I tried to systematize my posts and hit publish every Friday and Sunday, which helped me in the discipline department. I’ve loved posting pics and media on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook too!

For paid work, I’ve had some nice successes. But I’ll post more about that in the new year. I’ve got a couple of new things brewing. But I’ve got to run now — put on some lipstick and dress up for a night out.

So let me shake off this melancholy and shake the champagne bottle. Here’s to 2014!

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Here’s the WordPress.com 2013 annual report for my – MBCoudal blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2013.

Click here to see the complete report.

20131231-175646.jpgHere we are at a sushi restaurant in Montreal a few days ago! So cold!

20131231-175736.jpgThis was after our 5K run on Thanksgiving Day. I considered doing the New Year’s Central Park run tonite, but it’s too damned cold.

Halloween Begins the Holiday Madness

Happy Halloween! Wait! I’m not ready. Did I celebrate my daughters’ birthday, or even, 4th of July or Easter, well enough?

This is the first of the marching holidays and I’ve hardly finished my last holidays. But they march on, whether I am ready or not. I have to comfort myself that I do them well enough.

I am a do-er and I do the holidays well enough. But sometimes I want to celebrate Easter in November and Thanksgiving in March.

I am a do-er but also an iconoclast or an anarchist (or some big word that means rule-breaker.)

I can change some things, but I can’t change big things like the seasons. Christmas is good in the winter. Maybe it’d be better at the beginning of December? Maybe I should start a campaign to change the date of Christmas. I could start small.

Here’s my idea: Let’s pump up the less celebrated holidays, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Let’s make it a big peace and love day — bigger than Christmas. Same with International Women’s Day. Let’s really love on our international sisters that day.

And I can use the money I save buying shit nobody needs at Christmas to throw some really big Pace and Love parties.

I’m not a Scrooge. While I like, and even love, Christmas and other holidays, I reject the disgusting materialism and commercialism that pervades our culture. I don’t want new things. (I want new experiences.) I don’t want my kids — or anyone for that matter — to think the acquisition of goods leads to the acquisition of happiness.

I have been happiest traveling light. The less stuff I have, the happier I am.

I have been happy with friends, having — and going to — parties, being with my kids, my family. Happy Halloween! March on holiday madness!

So,  “If bloggers had their own Halloween and could go from blog to blog collecting “treats,” what would your blog hand out?” asked the Daily Prompt today. And I answer: more fun, more love, more peace, and more parties. 

20131031-125550.jpg
At the church retreat at Shelter Island last weekend, some of the teens carved awesome pumpkins. This is one.
beach scene in October
Leaves blew on to the beach on Shelter Island.

Walking to Work

The rain is getting to me. I am going to walk the 45 blocks to work today.

Due to some burst pipe at my office building, my noontime yoga and Pilates classes have been cancelled for the last two weeks. I have discovered just how much I need those classes to combat my stress.

Just yesterday, I was walking the girls to school and heading for the subway. After a particularly stressful morning of finishing science projects before 8 am, I was thinking Wouldn’t it be great if I smoked? I could just blow smoke and watch the cars drive by?

And as I thought that, who should I see walking towards me, but my yoga teacher, Shane? Seeing her was a sign to make the healthy choices in handling life’s stresses.

We chatted a few minutes about when our classes will resume. Shane hoped by tomorrow. It’s always funny to bump into someone out of context. And as I’ve said before, my exercise teachers are the most gorgeous and nicest people you will ever meet.

I don’t know why I have been more worried lately — my husband’s Parkinson’s disease, his extended family’s financial situations, paying for the kids’ camps and tuition bills — I don’t know, just worried. 

And so here we stand, mid-week through a forecast of rain and gloom every day. If it’s only drizzling, I can walk and think today.

I must remember my 7 Rules. https://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/about/ And the things that always make me happy:  travel, parties, museums, art, hanging out with friends, working out, and getting a good night’s sleep. And so I will commit to these things. I’ll start with a walk in the rain.