.....of a new year and another birthday. My fifty-somethingth. And I am glad for both. New year, new beginning. You know, that whole 'clean slate' thing. Some things written on my personal slate in 2011 have left indelible impressions that one hopes will fade with the distance of days. Others will hopefully be repeated and highlighted. I have always been an optimist. Oh, cynical and snarky to be sure, but always an end-of-the-rainbow kind of guy. Hope is the one thing I have gone out of my way to cultivate and nurture wherever and with whomever I've made a home and contributed layers to my life--and hopefully theirs. I was supposed to be the headliner at a birthday gathering of glitterati this evening here at home. A small crowd but a lively one to help usher in the new year with all the accoutrements such a gala can muster in a small community behind the backwoods on the tundra. An ice storm put the skids to that plan so all will commence again tomorrow afternoon in milder temperatures and bright sunshine. And I am glad. I think I prefer to welcome the coming year in a quieter, more subdued atmosphere. I have never made resolutions since the day they're supposed to go into effect is also a day when you're supposed to do whatever makes you happy. Seemed counter-productive so I just gave up on the notion. I will not attempt to resolve anything. I will not make a list of past regrets, either slings or arrows, that will make the champagne at midnight sweeter by comparison. I will not inventory the dings, dents, and other damages to my chassis. I will not promise anything no matter how noble or sincere I might want to sound. The words of a promise are rarely sturdy enough to support the weight of follow-through. I will be quiet. I will think happy thoughts of what may be and how best to appreciate whatever comes. All I really need is just to be. That is enough I think. Time is too precious to be wrapped up in neat little packages all clearly labled. Here's to the adventure of living! Happy New Year to all of you, my friends and Gentle Readers!