Recently, I turned in the rough draft of my 18th novel to my publisher. Initially, there's always a sense of exhilaration that I completed this monstrous creative task but after the high fades, I'm swamped by feelings of loss.
Fitness seems to a reoccurring theme in my life lately. Our group of newspapers, Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon, has decided to introduce a monthly health and fitness section, which means I will be writing health and fitness stories at least once a month. Our office is also participating in a 100 miles in 100 days challenge, so I have been trying to walk or bike at least a mile a day. Add in all of the New Year's resolution talk, and I've had just about all the fitness I can stand.
After some discussion and observation, it seems to me that most people make New Year's resolutions that are related to better health. They usually go something like this: join the gym, lose weight, stop smoking, cut back on the beer, and so on.
And so the menagerie grows. Despite my best intentions, we seem to continue to add more pets to the household. Perhaps it is because I have long wanted to be a volunteer at the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center – I love animals – but haven't found the time to fit it in to my schedule.
As I've mentioned before, my childhood was a bit unorthodox. We didn't celebrate Christmas or birthdays or any holiday (with the exception of Thanksgiving) and I always felt left out when my friends returned from winter break with new clothes or at the least cool holiday stories to share. So when I was old enough, I tried to make up for lost time. I went overboard buying my sisters and brother Christmas presents and when I had children of my own, I wanted to do everything I felt I'd missed out on in my own childhood and ...
When I was a little kid I assumed that everyone celebrated Christmas exactly the same way that my family did. Christmas shopping was done no sooner than two weeks before Christmas. The outside lights did not go on the house until after Dec. 9, which happened to be my sister Sandra's birthday. And above all I knew that Santa did not wrap the presents he left on Christmas morning.
Friday night didn't end the way football fans in Escalon or Oakdale had imagined – or hoped – as both previously undefeated teams took their first, and final, losses of the season in their respective Section title games.
Black Friday has come and gone but it roused more emotions this year because many stores decided to jump the gun and start their sales at midnight on Thanksgiving Day instead of some ungodly hour the next morning.