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Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the time has gone... where?

Here we are in December already. Tomorrow's my last day of work for the year, next week is Christmas, then 2008 rolls over into 2009 and we start all over again.

It's time to wrap it up and decide where we've come in the past 12 months.

I have no complaints to mention (barring the political, but this is not the time), and I'm awfully grateful for that. I know that a lot of people have had a much worse year than we have, and we have done our best to support friends and even strangers through these hard times. Financially we've been pretty well insulated from the worst of things, so for that too we're very thankful.

As a family we came a long way. Isaac is now almost 2, and what a year of changes and lessons that has been. It can be characterised primarily by the number of things that have been altered in our house to accommodate him: A fence was built, we replaced one pane of glass with safety glass after a smashing incident, latches have been put on windows and doors, and Daddy now has to be careful to tidy up all the cr@p he used to leave around the yard.

I started a blog, to my own surprise, and to my even greater surprise, the novelty hasn't worn off and I'm even still posting here. This is the first time that I've really appreciated the internet as more than just an online dictionary and encyclopedia. This year I have discovered that out there in Webland there is a community. Hi, y'all.

Writing Freshly Ground has made me more aware of the issues out there surrounding food, and given me a voice to raise my views with more than just the guests of a given evening. It has also allowed me to share all the recipes I've been making up over the years, and what with the photos and all it gives the false impression that I might even be able to cook. But I won't let that get around.

I've also hit a fair few landmarks with my writing work, which only happens in and around work-work and family life, but I try to prioritise it as much as possible. I have completed a third draft of my novel and started the long and arduous process of sounding out an (increasingly less stable) publishing industry to try to get said novel read by an agent. This is more work than it sounds. But once again, I have discovered the online community of writers, agents, editors, and publishers, who are more than willing to share a wealth of information with the rest of the community about what they should or should not be doing. It has been one h~ll of an eye-opening journey. I won't say that it has been discouraging thus far, but it is at the very least massively daunting. One thing is clear: there's no point even starting into it with subpar writing, so lots of revision is underway. It's amazing how much more critical you can be of your own work when you think someone with an opinion that can make or break you might be reading it. Give me that big red pen...

Also, Urban Driftwood was finally completed and made available in print form. I have some plans to release it as a PDF in the new year, so watch this space if you haven't laid your hands on a hard copy yet.

Putting politics aside, I had a great twelve months, and I'm looking forward to more good times to come. The garden is going crazy, and hopefully by next planting season I'll have more of a clue about how to manage the little space we have to get some really sustainable crops ticking over, so that we can rely even more on ourselves and less on the carbon footprint of stores and markets. I keep thinking about building a chicken run, but I really have to clean up the yard before I can even consider that seriously. A big shout out to Obi for slapping up the shelves in the garage this week - that's the first step! Next we need to put some up in the tin shed.

Which brings me to next year. Over the summer we have some jobs to do, like painting the roof and fixing the drive, but what do I see in the next twelve months for me, and for us? Well, I'm already racing along a fairly complex trajectory of paid work, writing work, and stuff around home, so I'm not going to sign myself up for too much more just yet. If 1 going on 2 was hard work, just imagine what 2 going on 3 will be like! And with any luck, sometime soon we might be lucky enough to have another little bundle of joy in the house. Which is of course something that is not really in our hands.

We're also looking forward to at least one wedding in the new year, and a visit from LBS and Uncle Carlo in March. We don't really need to plan on getting busy and racing through another year; it's just going to happen.

Freshly Ground will continue in sporadic bursts over the next two weeks, around Christmas and New Years and maybe a little excursion to the South Island or something, but come January things will be back in full swing.

So take care everyone, have a safe and happy holiday, and either keep warm or wear sunscreen, depending on what part of the world you happen to be in.

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