Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year's Wishes

There are years when it's hard to let go of the holidays, to put away the ornaments that bring warm memories, to take down the tree and sift through the pictures and sweet messages sent by friends from far away.

This has been one of those years. We didn't take our tree down until a week ago because the sight of it so delighted us. Bob and I thought -- for about two minutes -- about just leaving it up as a permanent decoration. But we soon rejected that idea. We don't need any more evidence of our eccentricity on display. And maybe making that glowing tree permanent would make it somehow less special. So we packed it away.

And we started talking about whether to make New Year's resolutions.

Bob decided resolutions were unnecessary this year. He is living his dreams: he is slim and fit, having lost 35 pounds over the past year and is running again on a daily basis for the first time in years. He is more active than ever with his music. He is taking a fascinating array of courses on tape, online and in person at our ASU extension center here. He is going to the movies weekly and to the library more often, with an impressive reading list. He is meditating daily, eating healthy food, practicing Tai Chi -- in short, doing everything he set out to do in retirement. He is absolutely delighted with how retirement has turned out.

                                       Bob jumping rope to warm up for gym workout

                                  Bob and friend Theo English making music    

                                         Bob meditating in Maui....

                                            ..... And with Maggie!        

                                Watching football - the big Alabama game -- with Gus

                               Studying neurological science on iPad with Maggie

                                            And relaxing with SweetPea     

Such a life!

I have to admit, I'm a bit behind Bob in all this. I weigh less than I did last January, but still have a way to go to reach a healthy weight. I'm exercising almost daily, but need to ramp it up a bit for maximum benefit. I'm writing again -- not only the blog, but also am working on some book proposals. I read a lot, meditate several times a week, am stumbling through the initial exercises of Tai Chi. I have fantasies of learning how to play the banjo and rediscovering Spanish. I'm eating healthy foods. So retirement is working well for me, too, but I have a way to go before I can catch up with Bob's healthy, active retirement lifestyle!

I've decided to skip the tyranny of specific resolutions in favor of ways I intend to pamper myself this year:

I want to take the risk of doing what I love.  I found inspiration for this recently when our neighbor Hank, a Superior Court judge by day, a heavy metal rocker by night, invited us to a nearby gig. It was wonderful to watch him singing and playing his guitar in a local dive called The River Bottom Bar and Grill. Bob and I discovered that the River Bottom, a place we had been too afraid to try for the past two years (so many bikers and just a stone's throw across the Gila River from the massive Arizona State Prison complex), was really quite delightful and had excellent hamburgers. But the greatest joy of the evening was Hank's inimitable musical performance. Following his dreams day and night, Hank is a great role model for living fully in midlife.

                         Judge by day, rocker by night: my neighbor Hank Gooday

My version of this might be writing more and tackling -- with joy and excitement -- two memoirs so long deferred.  It might also mean singing more often with Bob in the evenings, adding new songs and musical styles along the way. It might also include some self-pampering in the form of dance - however awkward, however basic in comparison to what I used to do, just because I love it.

I want to take time to cuddle and make warm contact with others.  This may mean reaching out more to Bob or to a friend who needs a hug. It may mean not walking past a cat who stretches out before me or who meows for attention. My cats, in fact, are a wonderful example of the art of cuddling:

                                   Gus and his late brother Timmy as cuddly kittens

                                    SweetPea and Maggie cuddling       

                          Bob getting a cuddle from Sweet Pea, Maggie and Gus                          

I want to savor the meaning of family. That means pampering myself with more contact not only with my brother Mike and sister Tai, but also with my dear sister-in-law Amp and also the next generation: Nick, now 22, and Maggie, 2 -- along with the new baby Mike and Amp are expecting this summer.  When we can't get together in person, I'm going to send more emails and make more Facetime visits and, if it comes to that, I'll even do some texting. I was so excited to get a text from Nick last week! Okay, I can do this. I'll follow my friend Sharon's example. She became an expert texter in order to stay in touch with her two busy adult children. And I want to be in touch more often, too, with my wonderful cousins and have another Cousins' Reunion soon! I'll give myself the gift of contact with them all -- in whatever ways work best.

                                 The next McCoy generation: Maggie, 2, and Nick, 22  

                           Wonderful cousins: Caron, George and Jack                     

I want to celebrate each day with good friends - both old and new. I don't want a day to go by this year when I don't rejoice in friendships. Some span much of my lifetime -- like Pat Hill, who has been my playmate from kindergarten to my young old age and Mary Breiner, so dear to me for more than forty years and so many others from various life stages -- from college friends like Tim Schellhardt and friends from various workplaces like Betty Price, Rita Warren, Michael Scavio and Nora Valdiviezo.

                            My lovely friend Mary Connolly Breiner and me - 1977                                   

                                 Dear college friend Tim Schellhardt and me in 2006

                    Betty Price and Rita Warren at 40th 'TEEN Magazine Reunion

                        My last boss Nora Valdiviezo and me celebrating retirement    

And I want to celebrate and thoroughly enjoy some of the new friends we've made in Arizona -- where neighbors have become a whole second family. Neighbors like:

                                 Wally Skurda, Phyllis Skurda and Larry Putrick

                                                Next door neighbor Louise Putrick

                               Bob and Larry with Pat and Joe Cosentino

And there are a number of others -- either camera shy or gone for the holidays -- not pictured but treasured daily! This coming year, I will pamper myself with memories and contacts with friends both old and new!                                                                           
 I want to create fun adventures -- whether traveling or at home.  Every day is full of opportunities for new discoveries and adventures! I plan to pamper myself by taking the time to notice and enjoy both planned and totally unexpected fun and enlightening moments. Bob and I want to discover more of Arizona and its fascinating history. I want to have some fun adventures in learning -- maybe picking up a musical instrument for the first time in my life. I have fantasies of learning to play Bob's banjo -- a tall order, I'm sure. But it's worth a try. And I want to enjoy memories of past adventures -- like our trip to visit my brother Mike and his wife Amp at their home in Bangkok for a the holidays a few years back. Every moment was a delightful adventure -- including our memorable visit to the restaurant Cabbages and Condoms (where condoms replace after dinner mints and profits go to family planning clinics throughout Thailand).

               Mike, Bob and me at Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant, Bangkok                                                                                                                        

I want to pay extra attention to health. That means healthy eating, careful flossing and daily exercise. It won't be a chore: I've come to prefer fresh fruits and vegetables to my old sugary treats. And the gym here has become a second home to me: wonderful exercise opportunities, fun socializing and all the best gossip -- all in one place!

                                       Our Sun City Gym - great place for daily workouts

                                       And a great place to socialize as well         

I want to find new ways to let special people in my life know how very much I care.  There are so many ways to communicate caring: the words we speak, the words we write, the time we take to notice, to listen, to try to understand another's point of view. I want to support family and friends I love -- as well as those in the blogosphere who have become dear to me -- in moments of challenge and pain, and moments of triumph. I want to empathize in rough times and celebrate the joyous times -- all the days of our lives in 2012!



  1. What lovely, lovely plans! I can see you accomplishing all of them quite happily. I do look forward to reading any of the books you produce in the coming year- I know they will be terrific!

  2. Hi Kathy, What a fabulous post.... There is something in there for each of us... Sounds like you and Bob are both working hard to stay healthy and happy....

    I think, as we age, that we are more aware of health issues and importance. I had a scare in October and ended up in the hospital twice... Ended up with a hernia --but it was covering my small intestine --so I was a sick gal for awhile.. That little episode scared me ---so I have been working very hard since then to get healthy again. I guess I have another chance --and I'm determined to give it my best shot...

    Happy 2012 to you and your family/friends...

  3. You are way ahead of me. I need to eat healthier and exercise daily. I exercise once a week now and I know that is not enough because I am heavier then I've ever been.

  4. Kathy,

    Thank you so much for coming to visit me this evening and leaving your very supportive comment on my newest adventure in having a booth at the Antique Mall.
    I can say in all reality that my dream has come true. A couple of years ago I had a dream in which my father (long deceased) came to me and told me that my creativity would make me prosperous. It was a beautiful dream in which I have never forgotten. I feel if you wait long enough and keep your faith all good things will come in time...the right time!!

    I love your post Kathy very much. There are a few things that I also want to do more of this year and that is like you, reaching out more to loved ones and friends, which is so important. My husband, me and my 92 yr. old mother live here in Georgia. The rest of our family is either in New Jersey California, or Arizona.

    I wish you all the Blessings your heart can hold,


  5. Kathy, this is such a nice post. I like your thoughts about what you want to do more of. My husband and I are in Sedona for two weeks to get away from Seattle rain (so it's snowing now!), and we've taken six two-mile hikes in the last week. It's been a while since I laced up my boots, and it's gratifying to know I can climb hills and descend them still. I want more of that this year.

  6. Kathy, your enthusiasm for life and for living are inspiring! I love how thoughtfully you have thought about the coming year and its possibilities. And Bob looks just great -- good on him! And that is a lovely photo of a beautiful you at the end -- you look just great!

  7. Dear Kathy,
    Your hopes and aspirations for the new year inspire me to do some shaking up of my very sedentary life. I need to lose weight and work more often on the manuscripts I want to get published. Like you, I need to get in touch with friends more frequently and do some fun things. I think I'm in a rut! Thank you for laying out your hopes so beautifully. You've inspired me.

    And thank you also for sharing the pictures of Bob and of the cats.


  8. My goodness, you and Bob have really set the bar high and make me realize I have been a bit of a slacker lately.
    Wonderful goals that you have all ready mostly achieved. Looks like a banner year for you two.
    You have inspired me to pick up my pace also.

  9. An inspiring post, Kathy, with lovely photos. I wish you both lots more achievements and enjoyment in 2012.

  10. What a wonderful post, Kathy! It is inspirational.
    A new year reminds us to clean up, clear out, and step out, with new goals and new activities. You said it best.

  11. A great plan. You are an example for the rest of us who are finding our ways in retirement. Happy New Year!

  12. That does not look like NO New Year's resolutions for 2012, that looks like a lot to me.
    I hope you will be able to keep up the pace, all you are really saying is that you want to live a healthy, happy and enjoyable life.

    Good Luck!

  13. Kathy, these are such wonderful goals and I won't call them resolutions, but they are exactly what resolutions should be. If we could all live our lives that way! (And by the way, Bob is looking pretty buff -- I admire his 35.)

    There isn't one of those that I don't plan to incorporate into my life. We'll see how we do! Happy New Year!

  14. Beautiful thoughts & dreams, Kathy, to implement in daily living ... for all of us. I so love cats, yours are beautiful. Cute as a button wee one ... how old is she.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    TTFN ~