Monday, December 06, 2010

The 2010 Christmas Letter

Christmas 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

After 10+ years of Christmas letters, I finally have had a year that has really provided me with something to write about!

... In Which I Become a Homeowner

In April I finally bought my own place! I had been looking for over a year for a house, and in fact put an offer on a short sale property in July 2009. After over 7 months with no updates and no response from the bank making the sale, I gave up and started looking at condos, which turned out far better than I expected. I now live in Brighton Village, a small, brand-new complex right next to Nipper's Corner (also known as Brentioch by some of the locals; between Brentwood and Antioch, obviously). I had the great luxury of picking out my floorings & some fixtures, and now have the joy of a condo where everything except me and my possessions is brand-new. I do miss my old neighborhood terribly - the first month or so I was a little depressed and I kept driving back to Cool Springs on the flimsiest excuse.

I was also fortunate in that my condo was high up on a hill, which proved a great advantage when the Nashville May Day flood came roaring in less than a week after I moved in. For all the tragic losses of people and homes, it has been an absolute joy seeing how charitably the city responded. Nashville really does take care of its own, and even now I still love hearing stories of how people immediately pitched in, helping both neighbors and strangers to safety and then helping to clean up the destruction. My mom and dad's basement flooded and there was some damage, but my family and I were all safe (if inconvenienced), thank God!

I still have a lot of work to do; I turned the master bedroom into the Office/Computer Gutting Station/Library/Craft Room/Guest Room. Since my bedroom is just for my clothes and sleeping, I took the smaller one; I'd rather use the bigger bedroom for living in! After taking several months to get some nice bookshelves built (not built-in; I want to be able to take them with me to my next place!) I have finally put away all my books, which have remained in boxes for over 6 months now. What luxury! Then paint a couple of accent walls in the Great Room, and all my pictures can be hung up. It will be nice to have a (mostly) completed home. I still have some bigger pieces of furniture I hope to get.

... In Which I Become a Cat Lady

About 6 weeks after I moved into my new place, I finally took the plunge after years of waiting and got myself a couple of kittens. They are 2 grayish/brownish tabby twin sisters, and I named them Daisy and Bunny (although they are frequently referred to as my Lazy Daisy and Dumb Bunny). When I went to visit and see if I liked them, I discovered that they were born on the day I moved into my new home, which I considered a good sign! I still can't tell them apart unless they are right beside each other (Bunny is skinnier) or I can see the color of their collars. They make me glad to go home at night... although their medical bills? Not so much.

Daisy is proving to be my smart girl; when told NO or scolded, she usually meows wistfully but stops misbehaving quite quickly. She also comes when I call (if she isn't doing something particularly absorbing) which is unusual for a cat. I was giving her antibiotics for an ailment for a few weeks, and now whenever it's time to give her a dose, I call for her, she meows and comes running and stands by my side until I pick her up and give her a dropper-ful of medicine. She also likes being cuddled like a baby, or to curl into my neck and shoulder. She saves her energy for later, unlike her sister.

Bunny is my quicksilver girl; she is incredibly fast and has almost a morphing ability to get into my closet when it's open for a couple of seconds (where she dearly loves to pull clothes off of hangers). She's braver than Daisy and not as easily startled; at the same time she's slower on the uptake. A few months ago I had to give both of them medicine, and while Daisy (initially) would make a run for it and hide the minute I got out the medicine each morning, day after day Bunny would just sit and look at me with an expression of "What's that you got there, mommy? I've never seen that before... Will I like it?" She also adores playing Fetch with fake mice.

Believe me, I am being RESTRAINED in my description. I can talk about them endlessly. And do!

... In Which I Become Editorial

I had an unexpected opportunity arise this fall when I started looking into the world of public domain publishing. There is an author I adored as a child named Gladys Malvern, who wrote almost 4 dozen Young Adult historical novels. Her books went out of print years ago (she wrote from the 1940-60s) and so it has become difficult to find her books except in the occasional library, or for sale online for up to $150 for popular titles. I started scanning copies of the books into PDF files a couple of years ago (after checking them out through Inter-Library Loan at Vanderbilt) and have about 20 of my favorites preserved.

Recently I reconnected with an old high school choir friend through Facebook who has his own publishing company that specializes in reprinting and repackaging classic books in the public domain, and asked how hard it was to get out-of-print titles reprinted. One thing led to another, and I ended up signing a contact with him to serve as an Associate Editor and reprint the eligible Malvern titles! We hope to bring out the first book in Spring of 2011; it is one of her most popular titles, Behold Your Queen!, a novel about Queen Esther from the Old Testament. I am very hopeful that it will sell well and we can start bringing out other books in the coming years. I really believe that my fondness for history came in large part from reading books like these when I was young, and I would love for them to be available to my nieces and nephews.

... In Which I Become Insured

At the end of the summer, I was asked to increase my hours at the American Economic Association from 20 to 30, which made me eligible for medical insurance through Vanderbilt University as a full-time employee. This made me very happy! Not having had insurance for the last 3.5 years has been occasionally scary, although I am grateful that no significant medical expenses arose during that point. Now I regard my insurance as a treat, like a pedicure or a shopping trip: "Ooh, I can get that mole checked out now! I can get my eye exam! I won't have to pay to go to the chiropractor anymore!"

It has meant fewer hours are available for my House Calls Computer Service, and for a while there I was so overwhelmed with both jobs that I stopped taking new clients. But it has evened up now, and I finally adjusted to the additional hours. It wasn't as stressful as it might have been, since I adore my co-workers; I am really lucky to have such an agreeable group of people to work with! I am glad I do get to continue doing both jobs; it keeps me from getting bored or burned-out.

... In Which I Behave As Usual

Church Music: Still singing!

Crafts: Still stitching!

TV: Still watching!

Nieces and Nephews: Still sitting! Not that they really need it anymore... *sigh* the youngest one is 7, the oldest 17! Except for Greta's girls, who STILL live too far away.

I hope that you and your families have a wonderful Christmas season, and that 2011 is a great year for you.

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. Amen!



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