Another year gone

Pork tacos are soooo yummy, especially with a good black cherry soda.

The end of the year always brings up thoughts on the previous 12 months and what we hope will be better in the year to come. And, if you’re so inclined (I’m not), resolutions for what you hope to change.

I’m not saying I don’t need to change; I do, but making promises I know I won’t keep won’t accomplish that change. If anyone thought I was going to give up chocolate or cat snuggles or carnitas tacos, well … you would be sorely disappointed, because all those things are amazing.

I’ll always miss my redheaded brudder.

This time last year, I was still deep in mourning for my brother Corey, who died last November after getting covid and then having a stroke when one of the clots in his lungs broke free. I’m still mourning him, and probably always will, just as with Mama and other family members (including furry ones; I’ll always miss my Luke) and friends who’ve left way too soon. It’s hard when someone you love is taken away, and moving on is sometimes even harder. Still, I press on.

This has been a tough year for me, between my grief, major surgery, more grief when a dear friend from my college years died, my having to replace an air conditioner, car keys and glasses, and now dealing with the possibility of having to find a new car when I’m tapped out (four major expenses in one year were already too much).

But there were good things this year too.

Besides being my birthday twin, Sarah is a wonderful friend who’s really come through for me this year.

There was the realization that I have true friends here who are willing to put me up (and put up with my weirdness) while I recuperate from surgery, or my air conditioning or Internet go out, and who trust me enough to take care of their critters when they have to travel. Considering how hard it can be for a hard-core introvert like me to make friends, that’s pretty amazing. They even expanded my circle some more for good measure. It feels really good to have found so many of my people.

And of course, there were those critters, especially fur-nephews Charlie Kinsey and Spike Phillips, as well as the dearly departed Josie Kinsey, who was one of my buddies during my recuperation. Their goofiness and sweetness have been rays of light when I most needed it.

I got to see my dear nephew Dalton marry the love of his life, Amanda, in Poteau, Okla., before they headed back home to Massachusetts. Seeing them happy was all I really cared about, and it still is.

Love these two wonderful people.


For 2023, I have some hopes, some of which will be easy to accomplish, and others not so much.

On the personal front, I’d love more cuddles with Charlie and Spike, and more time with their moms just hanging out, eating dinner, watching movies and being our weird and goofy selves. (I know, shocking that I would have friends who would be weird and goofy.) Better fiscal circumstances would be good as well (fingers crossed that my car Izzy will still be with me, and not just because I can’t afford a car payment now; Izzy is one of the last tangible bits of Mama I have, as she helped me get her, and named her after my great-aunt Isabel). I also hope that my family members and my friends get what they need this coming year: an end to persistent troubles, and brighter days ahead. Lord knows we could all use a rest from the insanity.

We’ll do what we can to make those things come to pass, but for other things, we need help.

This, from the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, was not a normal tourist visit; it was an attempted insurrection, and those who planned and promoted it must be held accountable. Reuters file photo by Leah Millis.

Let’s hope that 2023 is a year when justice is served to those who would attempt to circumvent our laws, especially those who flout the Constitution while swearing they are fulfilling its tenets, all because free and fair elections didn’t turn out in their favor. Let’s seek to ensure that accountability is upheld regardless of privilege. If we could also get back to sharing the same reality, that would help immensely in healing our divide. Perhaps we could start by insisting on factual, evidence-backed reporting being promoted over social media scaremongering that’s short on facts and high on hyperbole and opinion.

Maybe this is asking a bit much, but can we at least attempt to be nice to each other in 2023? I’m not saying we all have to be friends, but if we could tone down the hostility just a bit, that would help a lot. It shouldn’t be a trial to go to the grocery store or to pick up a prescription, but we’ve made it that way with our attitudes that we’re the only people who matter, and that everyone else should show deference to us while we do nothing in return. If someone wears a mask in public, don’t harass them for it, and if you don’t want to be around maskless people, just avoid them. Stop demanding everyone accomodate you regardless of merit, and stop expecting respect for your mere existence.

Like the mug says.

Remember that we’re just a few of the many people on Earth, and if everyone insists on getting their own way with no thought of their fellow humans, we’re going to keep getting stuck in a cycle of mistrust and anger. When I was growing up, I was taught to honor the Golden Rule, as I know a lot of others were. The concept of treating others as we wish to be treated crosses religions and moral structures, and for good reason. When we are kind to others, others are more likely to be kind to us.

But sure, that’s for losers, right? Being nice is for suckers.

Must be why there are so many people being complete asshats. Because, clearly, being a jerk entitles one to be treated as royalty, right?

I want 2023 to be a year of less anger, less division, fewer needless deaths, and fewer threats to democracy. Less strife, less misinformation/disinformation and fewer trumped-up controversies would be nice too.

But even more than that, I’d like to see more love, more understanding, and more good-natured humor. Let’s leave behind in 2022 the need to win at all costs, to put others down so we feel better about ourselves, and to be the center of attention. Let’s just be happy in ourselves and enjoy the ride.

A few good ways to start on that: Cuddle with a furry family member. Have cocoa with friends. Help your fellow humans.

And just be. It shouldn’t really be that hard.

If you’re really nice, King Charles might let you boop his nose, especially if you let him bed down on a heated throw.