Happy Imperfect New Year!

Recently I posted an ode to imperfection, and the imperative to stop shoulding on ourselves. That nagging guilt of not being or doing enough, the Not Good Enough Wife-Mother-Friend-DogTrainer-RescueVolunteer-Hiker-CompetitiveAthlete… I’m exhausted and I haven’t even finished the sentence. Life is imperfect. My dogs are mega imperfect. My marriage is imperfect. All of this is old hat.

But today is the last day of the year and in honor of New Year’s Eve, I’m vacillating between not giving a fuck about what day it is, studiously ignoring all the focus out there in the world on resolutions and Year In Review posts and … well… reviewing the year. Participating in the ritual of Year End and New Beginnings because … well… I do actually believe in the value and power of rituals, underneath my curmudgeonly great coat. I enjoy many daily rituals and participate in precious few annual ones.

Thus in honor of the spirit of resolutions and the ritual of reviewing the year, I give you the 2019 round up, Red Eft Lodge and BramleyWolf style:

  • First things first: I have been imperfect in many ways in 2019, and while I fully expect that to continue, it won’t be without some kicking and screaming. Acknowledging one’s flaws doesn’t mean you throw up your hands and say “oh well.” It means you double down on them, identifying what you can change and then… CHANGING IT. If you’ve discovered you hold beliefs that are not consonant with the facts, change your beliefs. I know you love your beliefs; I love mine too. Letting go of beliefs or even entire belief systems is challenging. Maybe even wrenching. But if your beliefs are simply without basis in fact, they gotta go. Same deal with behavior. If you do things that makes no sense, or worse, things that are in conflict with your beliefs or ethics… no time like the present to stop it, and adjust your behavior to come into line with facts and beliefs. This is wisdom from my therapist days – behaving in ways that are out of sync with a) reality/facts and b) you beliefs and ethics leads to feeling miserable. Or at least wicked uncomfortable. So I’m jettisoning beliefs and behaviors that don’t make sense. Wish me luck. I’ll still be imperfect, but at least I might be a bit more comfortable.
  • 2019 was a year of changes, especially on the economic homefront. It was the worst year for sales in the jewelry biz. There are probably good reasons for that and I’ll do a bit of an autopsy as I prep for taxes, but that’s an interesting year in review starting point.
  • I worked at Burnett Farms from February through September and what a fabulous experience that was. Among the many gifts I received while in Steve and Kristie’s employ, I gained the confidence to grow my own garden here at home. The hubby busted his ass to get the structure organized and set up for a spring planting. I’m beyond psyched to get back to something that, for you followers of this blog know, started many decades ago.
  • I was thrilled to come out of “retirement” to work with Sarah once again. My fall gig at Coqui Content Marketing was an amazing blast of new skills and new friendships, as well as a wonderful refresher for my connection with Sarah. I have to say… I loved every minute of it, with special mention going to the chats with Deb, Gretchen (Grey), and Sarah. As sad as I was to see that gig end, I was much sadder to lose the daily connection with these strong women I had just met.
  • I finished a first draft of Asking A Lot: Life With Dogs on Bramley Mountain. Hang on, let me say that again. I FINISHED A FIRST DRAFT OF MY BOOK, ASKING A LOT. Hallelujah, praise the lord. I’m editing like a fiend and so grateful to Melissa and Emma for their read throughs and editorial comments. 2020 is going to include a heckuva lot more posts about The Book.
  • My photos were included in a book published by SUNY press, called Doghiker. Bittersweet, as a photo of Mica kicked up memories afresh, but I’m proud as punch to have a few of my photos make the final cut.
  • I have deepened some wonderful friendships in 2019 and am so humbled by the love and connection so many people share with me, both in person and via the magic of the internet. Locally I have bonded with a crew of women affectionately known as the 5 foot 2 club. Small but mighty, we are lucky to have each other as neighbors, friends, and confidantes.
  • Ok, now this might sounds really consumeristic and banal, but stay with me: we got two new cupboards for our kitchen and they have changed my life. Not in a Marie Kondo de-clutter fantasy way, but close. They are beautiful and old, wonky and imperfect (sense the theme here?), and Tom and I refinished them together. Totally outside my comfort zone, I followed Tom’s instructions and learned wholly new skills. Finishing this house is one small project at a time, with a ton of waiting in between, but these cupboards represented a Great Leap Forward.

Bindi doesn’t get a bullet point, she gets her own paragraph. On September 7, 2019, Bindi Bramleywolf (posh name: Große Indien aus der Roten Wassermolch Hütte) arrived at the Red Eft Lodge and transformed the pack and our lives. Technically B’Indi is a contraction of Big Indian, the name of a mountain in the Catskills. We just call her Bindi. She is an easy pup, playful and fun and a pleasure in every way except that she has that godforsaken Labrador retriever quality of eating everything and anything. If I don’t kill her for consuming inedibles, she will grow into being the most beloved and iconic pack member ever, wonky paw and all.

Eat All The Things… ~Bindi

And here we are, a family of seven heading into 2020. Looking back over the decade, all the dogs I owned at the beginning of 2010 are gone. My hair is a lot grayer. My body hurts more. I hike in the forest preserve less, my life circumscribed by this pack and their needs, Tom and his needs, and me and my needs too. I finished my term as president of the Catskill 3500 Club, and can forever rest easy knowing I did my best and left an indelible mark. We moved from within the Blue Line to Bramley Mountain and built this house. It’s been quite a decade.

I don’t make resolutions per se, but I do think about goals. I plan to read more books, and spend less time on social media. No offense, I just know how much is too much for me and I’ve hit that mark a few times this past fall. Time to nip it in the bud.

I plan to work on The Book until it is the very best it can be, ready to be placed at the feet of God. Yep, that much work, that much care and love and patience and editing. That much laboring over sentence structure and punctuation and word choice. That much time. It’s worth it. No regrets.

I plan to keep my mouth shut more. Given that it’s an election year, I am feeling serene with the decision that I will do all I can to further good, and fight evil. And not arguing is a decent part of that, especially not on social media.

I plan to make and sell gorgeous t shirts and other bling to make some cash so I can keep the dogs eating fancy schmancy gourmet meals. Stay tuned. I’m working with a graphic design student who kicks ass. I met her hiking when she was just a tyke and stayed in touch for damn near 10 years… and she is a killer fine and graphic artist. Bramley Wolf Press shirts first but there will also be Wonky Paw merchandise. And who knows what else. Like I said… stay tuned.

And to wrap this up, in post Christmas sales, Tom bought all the ingredients to brew his first batch of beer in six years. Can I get an Amen? It’s been too long for him to flex that creative muscle. I’m so happy for him. I bought myself a bone saw. I am going to cut up the carcasses I have been given. I am delighted and psyched to step it up a notch and get into proper butchering techniques. The old WHAM with a limbing axe days are over. Big thanks to Andersen for the recommendation for which saw… yes it was over a year ago when he told me to buy it. I listen, I just don’t always move all that quickly.

Be safe, have fun, and don’t drink and drive. Happy New Year!

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