Tis the season to receive letters from your far-flung friends and family telling you all about what they, their children, and their pets have accomplished during the past year. I really enjoy this time-honored tradition, since it is frequently the only time I get news from people who haven’t been sucked into Facebook yet.
And there is something extra special about the year-in-review letters, something about trying to sum up your life for people who you hardly care about that causes you to do very strange things, such as narrate the letter from the perspective of the family dog, or the newborn baby. Better yet are the letters that seem to be narrated by absolutely no one, referring to all the members of the family in the third person, as if they’ve hired a reporter to document life at home.
The star of this year’s collection is a letter which detailed how the new puppy got sick and required surgery, after which the vet divulged that the source of the illness was a couple pairs of fancy panties that the dog gobbled down, and would you like to have those back?
And now I’m going to transcend a new level of tackiness by posting my Year-In-Review letter here on my blog rather than sitting down and handwriting envelopes and taking them to the post office. I always mean to do that, but my good intentions never actually make it to the post office. If I don’t do this, I probably won’t do anything. Maybe next year.
Laura, Dustin and Minou: 2008
Hello friends and family! It has been an exciting and eventful year in the Floyd household.*
Dustin and I have spent the last year+ learning American Sign Language, a skill at which we are both becoming increasingly adept. We are capable of interpreting talks up to 30 minutes on a fairly impressive range of topics. Starting this year, we will begin focusing less on interpretation and more on using the language for conversation and discussion. I find this exciting but also a little frightening. We took a field trip to Denver in September to attend a one-day convention held specifically for the deaf community, and I felt lost and totally adrift all day. I guess that’s why I need to do more work dealing in ASL without anything audible to fall back on. Yikes!
Early in the spring, I undertook to participate in the first theatrical production to take place in the Deadwood Opera House since the place burned down 25 years ago. I fulfilled my dreams of stardom in the role of Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. It was a fantastic amount of fun, even though our opening performance was canceled by a record-setting snowfall on the 1st of May. Dustin got roped into running the spotlight, so he got to be involved too. The final performance was for a standing-room-only crowd, which made everyone involved very happy. I look forward to finding out what they’re planning to do for the coming year. Rumors say Grease. I hope they’re wrong. :p
Since, in the course of rehearsals, I spent my anniversary pretending to marry another man, we headed to Vegas for a belated anniversary trip in May. The warm and sun were lovely, the shows entertaining, and the million miles of walking between casinos was a good work out.
In June, I got to spend a week working as a Real Live Archaeologist for the Deadwood Archaeology Camp. It was a lot of fun. Myself, two other archaeologists, a handful of counselors, and 26 kids started excavating the site where an ice house once stood. We found bricks, nails, chunks of wood, shiny rocks, caterpillars, and all sort of other indicators of civilization long past. (It’s just as well that I don’t work with kids every day… the caterpillar thing might eventually have done me in.)
August saw Dustin and I escaping the insanity of Rally Week on a road trip to Washington DC driving a very small car. We took our time, drove the backroads, and finally spent a few days with my folks in DC. We didn’t do many of the things tourists are supposed to do. Seeing the FDR monument and part of a concert on the Mall were the extent of our outings, but we did discover a bakery that makes the best macaroons ever, and we got to visit our friend Scott from college, who is a Big DC Wahoo-In-Training. It was a nice trip.
After a long, lovely fall, winter arrived with face-slapping suddenness, catching all the trees still wearing their leaves and wreaking havoc with the roads and power lines. November brought one of the earliest big blizzards in my personal memory of the Hills, trapping us in our house for a couple of days. We couldn’t get out at all until our very gracious neighbors lent a hand, since ALL the snow in the neighborhood had blown into our driveway and our shovel broke.
We escaped the freezing cold for awhile when we flitted over to California to visit my grandparents. The weather was rainy, but compared to great drifts of snow, no problem! We toured around San Fransisco and got plump on my grandmother’s incredible cooking. It was wonderful.
That brings me to how I’ve spent the last couple months of the year, which is in a flurry of fiction-writing. I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, an event which challenges participants to write 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days. And no, despite my father’s total bafflement, no one actually reads the final product once you’re done. There’s no chance of me getting Discovered and becoming an overnight gazillionaire because of my brilliant work. (Even if someone DID read the NaNoWriMo manuscripts, there would be no chance of anyone calling what I wrote brilliant.) I completed my 50k words in the nick of time, then promised myself I’d finish the novel (50k words got me about 75% of the way there) in December, which I did not do. Maybe in January!
In Dustin news that doesn’t involve me being attached to his hip, he has taken over part of the family business, and despite the crappy economy, has managed to help scrounge up a good share of new business. Next stop: an office in Scotland. (Okay, so that isn’t in the official plans yet, but heck… optimism: pass it on!)
Minou has also been keeping plenty busy. She spent all her summer days running amok outside, escaping our yard to pick fights with the neighbor cats or sleep under the neighbor’s porch. She refuses to tell us why our porch isn’t good enough. Now that the weather is cold again, she has completely forgotten that cold = not going outside, and spends most of her days complaining about being cooped up. She doesn’t even seem to mind the snow very much, frolicking from drift to drift, just happy that we decide to let her out now and then.
Things that have not happened this year: I have not had any babies (nor are there any in the works, sorry); no personal or family disasters (thank goodness); no long-lost twins discovered (oh well). I expect 2009 will be equally full of joy and happiness and blah blah blah.
I hope the year was, on the balance, also good for all of you who might be reading this.
*I believe this opening sentence is legally stipulated somewhere. Exclamation point optional.