Happy New Year 2016

Greetings and Happy New Year!

Baby New Year

How was your evening? Did things get a bit crazy? My evening sure did. I ate way more than I should have, which in all honesty has been a recurring theme for me this holiday season. We bought a bunch of appetizer type food: chicken bites, cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers, cheese wontons, black bean empanadas, bread and spinach dip, and chips and french onion dip. Root beer made an appearance, as did his hops-based, grown-up cousin, beer.

With belly swelling, I descended to the basement to help with bedtime for my girls (relax, it’s a finished basement, complete with insulation, dry wall, heat, and electricity; we’re not barbarians). I read them a couple current favorite BerenSTAIN Bears books (Stage Fright and Mama’s New Job), then left the darkened room; when visiting Audrey’s folks, she and I take turns helping the girls fall asleep by lying down next to them as they drift off. I snuck out of the room with my copy of Jim Butcher’s Storm Front, book one in his Dresden Files series, and settled into an easy chair to read. But I only made it a few pages before succumbing to a snooze fueled by my heavy repast.

Storm Front

After about an hour of dozing, I woke up to my wife asking me if I wanted to go to bed. I waved her off, assuring her that I was comfy as could be in the easy chair. I rested “with my eyes closed” for another ten minutes or so, then got up.

My youngest was still wide awake despite my wife’s best hour long efforts to get her to sleep, so she just stayed up with us for awhile, and in a state of pure mania bounced and cavorted around the living room, keeping up an endless stream of chatter and inside jokes (to her).

We had planned to play a game (I was hoping for Settlers of Catan), but the night got away from us, what with my napping and Alp’s lack of sleeping. I read more from the Dresden Files and was asleep by 11;30.

Tonight, though, tonight everything is lining up. For dinner we had cornbread, black-eyed peas, and kale. I opted for my usual style of mixing all my food together, and added ketchup and sriracha to the top, then washed it all down with a New Glarus Moon Man, No Coast Pale Ale. The girls fell asleep and we are ready to spend the rest of the evening playing Ticket to Ride.

I’m not going to write about everything that happened in 2015. Overall, it was a solid year for me. I am looking forward to the new year. I received the most exciting news right before Christmas: I’ve been accepted into Augsburg College’s Creative Writing MFA program as part of their 2016 Fiction Cohort. This program begins during the summer with a ten day residency and then continues during the fall and spring with online classes and mentoring sessions. I feel like this program will help me get where I want to go with my writing, and whatsmore it allows me to still work full time at the high school.

Beside the MFA, I’m looking forward to going camping with my family. We acquired a pop-up camper during the fall and were able to use it once before the cold weather truly settled into the Midwest. I want to do a fair amount of camping on the front end and back end of the residency program. Something we’re mulling over is making a go of camping in the Black Hills or perhaps even at Yellowstone. We’ll see.

As far as goals go:

  • I want to get back in shape by detoxing off the sweets and beers I’ve indulged in far too much, and start going back to the gym at least three times a week
  • I want to spend more time with my family, whether that’s reading an extra story with my girls or playing a game with my wife.
  • I want to write more…at least one blog post a week, and at least 250 words a day, Monday through Friday for whatever story I’m currently working on.

That’s all I have so far. I’m sure I’ll come up with more as the year progresses, but these seem like solid goals for January.

I think that Neil Gaiman generally has the best and kindest wishes for the new year and I’m going to do my best to adhere to it:

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you are wonderful. And don’t forget to make some art-write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere, in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

Be well friends. Huzzah!

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