December 31st, 2003


And now, the adventure continues.

I don't have any deep feelings this NYE. I feel a little hollow.

I haven't grown. I haven't learned anything earth-shattering.

I feel like a flkslkajdfljs.

But of course, this is nonsense. Just the illusion of perception. It's truly been quite the eventful year for me.

Funny what happens when you're busy doing other things. And man, have I ever been busy.

I quit a habit this past June. A habit that had invaded my every waking moment for over twenty years, and cost me over two grand last year alone. I'm really pleased about that, really really, you've no idea. I've since decided that smoking the occasional clove cigarette or cigar doesn't invalidate that, and never will, any more than drinking the occasional beer makes one an alcoholic. I never thought I'd hear myself say that, or even be capable of doing it, but there it is.

I met a man who would become my friend, my partner, my soulmate and my lover and someone I can grow old and happy with. (I stole someone else's words there-- I'm sorry, but they were just too perfect.) I mean, holy shit. That's pretty amazing, right? I totally didn't see that coming. I was becoming comfortable with the thought of being Spinster Catlady the Third. Quite comfortable, in fact. Instead, I found someone who sought the secrets to my heart, and discovered them: unconditional love, complete honesty and making me laugh. And he does all three effortlessly.

And I had a kid! OK, not really. But close. And he's cool, too. Definitely a kindred spirit. I look forward to helping him grow. I know he will do the same for me.

And I travelled all over the freaking place. West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Huntsville, Atlanta, New Brunfus, Red Bank, New York, Boston, Toronto-- I'm sure there are more. Delta luffs me.

I met a few of you, and am better for it. I've lost touch with others, and hope to regain what was lost.

I met a pirate, was swept away, and found that life on the high seas was lonelier than I'd expected. I still think of him dearly, wish him every happiness, and look forward to the day he finds that his keys were in his jacket pocket all along. Our chapter hasn't ended; our relationship has just been rewritten a little.

Job's been good, bad and ugly. I reached my tenth anniversary. There's something to be said for that, though I'm not certain it's complementary.

Somewhere along the way, I lost control over my life. I don't seem to have the comprehension of it I once did. I used to be able to see the waves from the shore, and have a pretty decent idea of which way the tide was headed. Now I'm too busy trying to keep a hold on my surfboard to look up much. But there's something to be said for that, too.

I got to play Titania. That was awesome. And playing Lysistrata at Cafe Lena in the First Worldwide Reading for Peace was definitely a high point. And Marley-- oh, how I love doing Marley. And we got to put together an original work for Halloween. It's been a very good year, acting-wise. I'm glad I got to spend so much of it with people I love.

Eman disappeared. That was and is a sadness. I miss him.

Michele and I have grown closer, even though she has moved out.

Friends died. Children were born.
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and dawn
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
--Joni Mitchell

And through all of this, I have lived with you. Seen your world through your eyes. Cheered at your achievements. Cried at your losses. And loved every second of it. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The year in the world was eventful, but not so grand.

As corto so aptly put it:
War, terror, disease, fear and ruin... these are the milestones of 2003...

Good bye 2003 ... may you be a low point from which we all rise up and find the sun.

I could put it no better.

This coming year promises more. Much more.

For the last few hours of this year, I'll be dong something I love-- making people laugh. And getting paid for it, too!
Then I'll be back in Gainesville, to celebrate my love's birthday with him.
Later this month, I'll be getting paid for making people laugh again.

February promises a trip to England. I've waited my whole life for this. Seriously.

March brings... what? A move? An engagement? Either, both, doesn't matter. We'll be endeavoring to be closer together.

And it looks like I'll be pursuing writing. I didn't mention much about Christmas gifts, but P gave me some nice ones-- like the current Chicago Manual of Style and a subscription to, and a copy of the 2004 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market. He also gave me sapphire earrings (*swooon!*), but the previous gifts say a lot more, I think. I hope I can help him follow his bliss as well as or better than he helps me follow mine.

There's an election in November. Pay attention. As Marianne Williamson so aptly put it,
"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,'Who am I to be brilliant, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in ALL of us.
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

We have tremendous power. Let's exercise it. Let's decide what we want, and elect officials who will make it happen. They work for us, you know. And if you don't like who's running, or what's happening, speak up. Maybe you can make a difference. Maybe you should run for office.

There's one last thing I'd like to leave you with this year. It's old, perhaps even trite by this point. But it has lasted through the years and become a part of our culture because of its truth, not in spite of it.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Excercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born out of fatigue and lonliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."

--Max Ehrmann, 1927

hugs to those who need 'em, those who want 'em, and those who don't run away quickly enough

A happy new year to each and every one of us. May 2004 be good to us all.
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