Oh. Hey. Hi.

Dear friends,

2013

This lovely 2013 day planner is available here.

I haven’t intentionally been ignoring you.

I have been unusually content in some ways, and contentment for me often leads to quiet reflection.

Life has been both perfect and hard, and I’ve been living it instead of writing about it. But I’ve missed you and I thought I ought to pop in and say so.

Our holidays were everything I needed. Kate was home from college for three weeks and I luxuriated in her company. Christmas break was low-key. On Christmas Day, we had a Barbecue feast that was super-simple to prepare and left me plenty of time to laze around with the kids. We dragged an air mattress into the den and piled on blankets and pillows for a marathon movie session. We tackled a zigsaw puzzle. (Who knew CupKate was a puzzle whiz?) We invited friends over and played board games. We had a bonfire. And then we spent New Year’s Eve in Memphis watching my alma mater (The University of Tulsa) kick butt in the Liberty Bowl and enjoying the flavor of Beale Street blues and seafood. The last two weeks of 2012 were so perfect I was lulled into a dreamy stupor, making Jan. 2 a particularly sharp jolt back to reality.

So the hard parts? Well, there’s been more developments on the mountain. Nothing I’m ready to write about. In fact, like most of the saga, Mr. Mom has been handling it alone in quiet frustration because I’ve blocked it out, so I really don’t understand the details of the latest developments yet; mostly I just tried to distract myself while I watched him spend hours on the phone with attorneys and surveyors and adjacent landowners and the dozens of characters that populate this unfathomable story. My most fervent wish is that this chapter of our lives will end in 2013.

Also — I’ve been running, chasing the thousand miles I said I wanted to conquer in my 51st year.  Lawzy, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  It’s been a mental and physical challenge that I wholly underestimated. The first three weeks almost reduced me to tears several times and very nearly convinced me I could never do this. I have ached. I have been so tired I lost all concentration at work, and I have gone to bed at 7:00 pm more than once. I have mentally shouted at the gods and cursed them for my lack of strength and  stamina. I have found myself hating Missouri and blaming its godforsaken hills for my misery. I’ve sunk to the lowest possible emotional depths a runner can reach without quitting.

I have a glimmer of hope, however, that I’m turning a corner. In fact, I need to wrap up this post so I can head out for a run. I must log a minimum of 10 miles this weekend and I’ve got a hot date with Mr. Mom later this afternoon so I need to get after it.

But, hey, you know what? My waist is making a slow reappearance in my life. It used to be a beautiful thing and it just might be again, who knows? And the other evening my left leg was aching so badly I asked Mr. Mom to massage it. He did two better: He massaged it, he told me how toned my legs were becoming, and he brought me a heating pad. A good man is such a glorious thing and I never fail to count my blessings when I notice them.  Which is one more reason I need to make an appearance here and remind you to do the same. It’s a great way to ease into 2013, friends.

With gratitude {for a sparkly, blessed, challenging, infuriating, totally-normal new year},

Joan, who invites you to tell her how you’re easing into 2013 and what you hope the year holds for you

Grumpybritches.

Dear Friends,

If there’s anything worse than Monday, it’s Monday after a long weekend. And if there’s anything worse than Monday after a long weekend, it’s Monday after a long weekend when Monday is really Tuesday.

Did you work yesterday? If you did, and if Monday was a holiday for you, then you know what I’m talking about. I can’t decide if the severe crankiness I encountered in everyone in my universe was a bad case of Holiday Lag (just like Jet Lag, only when you’re adjusting to the transition from time-off to back-to-the-grind), or if it was Holiday Lag compounded by a collective realization that “holy crap it’s 2012 and I’ve already blown all my resolutions and fallen tragically behind despite my pledge to catch up over the holiday.”

Aren’t new years supposed to bring new horizons? New opportunities? Fresh perspectives and rejuvenated psyches? I guess that sounds good on paper, but what I encountered in the workplace yesterday was harried souls with frazzled faces and worn nerves.

Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t whistling on my way in the door. In fact, I overslept. And when I woke up late, I looked at my calendar only to discover I had scheduled an 8:30 am meeting with a Very Important Person and I had half the necessary time to shower.

(By the way, who does that? Who schedules an 8:30 am meeting with a VIP on the first day back after a holiday? I’ll tell you who does that! A woman who is severely distracted by holiday-itis and who is so eager to get out the door before a long weekend she is clearly not paying attention.)

Suffice to say, showering at warp speed in order to be on time for a meeting on Jan. 3 is not exactly how I planned to kick off 2012, my year of gratitude (where gratitude equals all good things achieved via better planning and clear thinking).

So in the door I rushed, only to discover just about everybody was having a far worse day than me.

I actually said these words to one person early in the morning: “Wow. I’m sorry you’re having such a bad day. You know my new year’s resolution is to focus on gratitude. In doing so, I’m hoping to avoid worrying over things I can’t control and improve my outlook and productivity.”

Yeah. I knew it was a mistake as soon as the words escaped my mouth.  The person didn’t say as much, but the person’s . . . um . . . body language and facial expression were pretty clear indicators.

But you know what those words did for me? They made me realize I didn’t want to be the crankypants sitting across from me. And that, my friends, is a powerful motivator.

With gratitude {for making my meeting with one minute to spare},

Joan, who’s wearing her anti-crankypanties

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