A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014: All of the Above, Plus....

OK, so 2013 was a washout, resolution-wise. But it's a new day, a new year. I'm carrying forward all of 2013's resolutions, and adding a few new ones. Heck, I'm even using the same napkin as last year.

#8 on this year's list is "paint house." I've lived in the Emory House for over ten years, and it was in need of a paint job before I bought it. So it's high time. In case I had been thinking of putting it off for another year, I got a call from my insurance agency. I had changed providers recently, and so the new company sent an appraiser out to look at what they were insuring. Everything got a gold star except for the exterior paint. I'm supposed to deal with that in the spring and send them photos. So suddenly it's a priority.

#9 is "hike in the Dolomites." Some of my disgustingly fit and healthy European friends hike together every year, and I get to look at the pictures. I'm jealous of the camaraderie, but not much else. I'm terrified of heights, hate the cold, have zero experience hiking, don't relish carrying a week's worth of gear on my back all day, and am unimpressed by vistas. However, I've been invited along on this year's trip to the Dolomites, and in the spirit of never saying no to anything I haven't done before, somehow want to go.

#10 is "helicopter." I've never been in a helicopter before, and maybe this is the year. Actually, there's a particular helicopter I have in mind. It takes off from the roof of MassMutual, carrying company executives to meetings in places like New York or Philadelphia. My cousin, who's a director, rides in it all the time. As a preferred vendor for the company, I do my work from home, rarely even having to meet face-to-face with people in the building, let alone elsewhere. But I can imagine some scenarios where I would have to be in Brooklyn for a few hours on company business. So I will continue visualizing, and maybe it will happen.

#11 is "speak French more." I'm fluent, but rusty, as I don't use French on a regular basis. This fact was brought home to me recently as I worked to translate a manual into French for a local company. Granted, the manual was very technical--I don't even know what most of it meant in English--and I did manage to complete the project and do a pretty good job of it, too, if I do say so. But working on it made me realize that I didn't want to lose this skill. I joined a French conversation meetup group, and found them vraiment sympatique. Best of all, I remembered that Americans who speak French tend to be very smart, serious, nerdy people. Not one but two of the women at the meetup were engineers, for example. Just the kind of people I like to be around.

#12 is "blog." I started writing this blog eight years ago, as an experiment, and it was a successful one. As I am always telling my students: writing is communication, and your most important audience is yourself. Writing forces you to transform those random neural firings in your head into actual thoughts. I credit blogging--and writing a newspaper column for over six years--with enabling me to tackle the more lucrative projects I now am being offered. For a time, I suspended all writing-for-pleasure in favor of writing for pay, but this year I'm optimistic. My goal is to do both, and still have time to play as hard as I choose. And all the while, of course, not neglect my afternoon spot of tea.

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