On New Year’s and All That

I was thinking this afternoon, as I watched Paul the Plumber drive away in his white panel truck–the one which made my neighbors think he was a criminal, but that’s another story–that 2010 has not been a good year.  After all, I’m ringing out the old year with no running water, thanks to a busted water pump; the stupid thing gave up the ghost four days ago, and Paul’s been trying to get the right part since then (part and labor:  $200; new pump and labor:  $700).

This is not us.

Since then the heathens have effectively abandoned me for their father’s house, as they have little or no interest in melting snow from Monday’s blizzard to wash and cook with.  Quite frankly, I’d abandon me at this point, if I had any other place to go:  living Little House in the Big Woods gets old pretty darned fast.  Especially since I’ve no Pa Ingalls around here to set things right.

This latest addition to my trials and tribulations follows on the furnace contretemps of October, which involved having both the burner motor and the blower motor replaced before we could have more heat than that generated by the tiny wood stove.  In between, in November, during the torrential rains, the sump pump in the cellar quit, allowing a flood which in turn threatened to undo all the furnace repairs.  Imagine, if you will, me–clinging to the proverbial spar in my cellar while my furnace–my house–the contents of my bank account–float away in the general direction of Waldo County.

But then I thought, no.  This past year hasn’t all been one long bummer.  I made one New Year’s resolution at the end of 2009, only one:  to publish another book.  And I did. It wasn’t the one I expected, strangely, but then, I wasn’t that specific in my

The title says it all

resolution.  The Beauty of It, I always have to remember, is a love letter to no one in particular, and everyone in general:  in it, things seem bad at the beginning, but come right at the end.  Which is pretty much the story of my life.  Things come right in the end.

Other things about 2010 were good, too.  Not only did the heathens and I get to go to one Red Sox game at Fenway Park–we got to go to three.  And the Red Sox won two of them.  My way cool sister Susie and I got back on track with our adventures, getting out to Monhegan in the fall, which we couldn’t do last year; and we rode really well in the MS 150.  I finished the living room.  I was able to go to an Oysterband concert–and meet them, thanks to the instructions and encouragement of Brenda Prescott, that goddess.  I got to attend a week-long program at the Frost Place.  Fred Irons gave me a new trumpet.  I spent extraordinary time with people I love, respect and admire.  I read many many new books, listened to many many new songs and bands–some thanks to the wonderful Tommy Shea.  I took a lot of walks.  I cooked a lot.  The list goes on.  It really has been a year of miracles.

So.  Now it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’ve got a nice dinner planned, a new book to read, some really excellent music playing very loudly, two cats and two dogs lying behind the wood stove and snoring.  Maybe I’ll stay up until midnight, if the book’s good and the single malt doesn’t put me to sleep.  I’ve got quite a few adventures planned for 2011 already:  doing some public readings of my work in January and February; hanging out with Simply Not Done in February for our winter get-together; seeing the Saw Doctors, possibly twice, in March; and going to London with the heathens and Susie and my friend Karen in April–106 days until departure!  (Once again, I get to have my birthday in a foreign country.)  Lots to look forward to!  And that’s only the first four months.

Meanwhile, I present the new set of resolutions (note the plural this year):


Mine sort of looks like this. Except mine doesn't work.

2.  Complete the next draft of The Book of the Mandolin Player and get it agented (right, Brenda?)

3.  Find a publisher for Counting the Days:  Anti-Sonnets

4.  Retain my sense of humor in the face of adversity.



Happy New Year, all.  Here’s an Oysterband video to take away:


  1. That Ingalls family certainly could do anything, huh! Except take a decent photograph…I suppose Pa trimmed his beard for the occasion, so that’s got to be something.

    Good to see you’re keeping your chin up – I look back on 2010 and it wasn’t so good either, but there were some highlights if I think about it…2011 is however, going to be absolutely AWESOME…I can feel it in my bones – so stick in there! And get your water pump fixed!

    Lisa x


  2. Nancy Henry

    Your resilience and humor in the face of furnace AND plumbing challenges inspire me. Your book kicks ass. You will find a publisher and agent — I hereby sprinkle fairy dust on those resolutions!

    One of mine is to keep better touch with friends and READ THEIR BLOGS!


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