Saturday, December 24, 2011

Swimming, Winning, Sinning, Whining, and New Beginnings.

Considering this is me (photo left, with my sister),
terrified by a 5 degree angle,
I'd say I'm doing pretty winning at life these days. ;)
In an oh-too-predictible microcosm of that old macrocosm of Time, 2011 flew by in a blink of an eye.

Damn you, Time. I wish the days would slow down.

I did my best to seize them, to make the most of the hours, some days more successfully than others.

In this, my 47th year, it seems essential to seize every moment, or at least to try, as they blur past me, out the windows.

Here are some of the highlights, the good, the bad and the naughty:

That's me in the middle, finding my religion. . . and, yes, we swam on Christmas Eve day,
me sans Santa hat, but I did don my monkey hat after.

Swimming. My family fills me, my writing sustains me, but my swimming? My swimming saves me.

As I get older, the water keeps me young, keeps me pushing to achieve new goals. Frustratingly, I did not accomplish last year's resolution to complete a five-mile swim this summer (mostly due to logistics), but I am signed up for one this coming summer. Luckily, I did push myself in new ways, including by swimming faster, harder, in more challenging conditions, and through December. Good enough. I'll take it.

I am endlessly blessed to have found The West Neck Pod (here's the official blog of the Pod, if you are interested).

And here I am swimming today, on 12/24/11 with the other amazing nutjobs of the West Neck Polar Pod ;))

Winning. I've had some winning experiences this year, both family and book-related. My kids don't love it when I blog about them, so suffice it to say, both my boys are wonderful kids who are having some awesome and hard-fought-for successes, and I'm proud of them. This is my younger son, having one such moment (yes, that is his name they are chanting ;)). They say you're only as happy as your most unhappy child, and I can tell you that this is true.

As for winning book news, some of the many highlights were:

the Dolphin Bookshop reading in October 

the high schools that have picked up The Pull of Gravity into their curriculum (!), my Skype visits with Mr. Hankins' class and especially the boys of Room 407, and with the 9th graders of Clio High School thanks to Mrs. Sarah Andersen,

and, the winning-most things of all: the confirmation that I will be going to PAPERBACK (!!! Winter 2013) and    
my shiny, wonderful, and oh-so-geekily meaningful 2011 Nerdies Award in Young Adult fiction bestowed by the amazing teachers and educators who run the Nerdy Book Club. (Thanks again to all who voted in the final phase!)

Sinning. Oh, come on! I've been pretty good. What's nice without a little naughty? 

My "private" facebook page continues to be a silly, ridiculous playground for me to connect with my writer (and other!) friends around the country, one such friend being the deliriously sexy and, yes, slightly naughty, Amber Grayson Vayle.    

I've known Amber as a writer for a long time, but recently she has branched out to this sexier persona, and a few months back, while I was appearing on her non-naughty show, we unwittingly named her new late-night Saturday radio show on Shark Radio, The Naughty Slot (10 pm, Saturdays ;)). Gotta love a little double entendre. Since then, it's taken off  and is, I admit, one of my favorite, guilty, grown-up pleasures on an otherwise-quiet Saturday night. Sometimes, it's even a little too hot for me to handle, but most the time it's a fun, sexy and, most-impressively, loving and supportive place to *ahem* blow off some steam (or work some up, I suppose ;)). One of the things I love best there is that most of the women are either tipping 40, or have galloped over it, and each one is a sexy, smart, gorgeous person inside and out. A little titillating fun to spice up the cold nights of winter. ;)

Btw, if you are under 19 and reading this, or easily offended by ridiculousness but still want to interact with me for some reason, please seek me out on my author facebook page HERE, rather than my private one. :)

Whining. I am out on SUBMISSION. Need I say more? (If I do, you can read this blog post, or this one to learn more). Also, my old lady, bum hip still hurts despite months of Physical Therapy, and then there was the night I passed out and broke my nose on the bathroom floor. Also, my freaking house is a mess and I have zero desire to clean it. There. That should do it. That wasn't too bad, was it?

New Beginnings

So, there you have it. And, now, here it is, a New Year.

I have a fresh slate and a chance to do better. To be a better friend, to be a more patient parent, to let go of old wounds and find a way to embrace the unknown without so much angst and distraction. And to spend less time wasting time, and more time writing and doing.

This is what I've learned: the more I do, the less I long for all the things I didn't do. Simple, right?

I have books to write, friends to spend time with, a family that I love, and that deserves to have me not just there for them, but fully present.

I am grateful for all the good that has come to me in 2011, and I hope you know how much your readership, and friendship, mean to me.

Especially to those who inspire me, who swim with me, and to my classmates in the Class of 2K11 who got me through this first author year, a very heartfelt thank you.


- gae


Monday, December 5, 2011

Swimmin' Wimmin of the Polar Pod, Sans Arms (on behalf of the water-blog)

Can you find where water meets air?
Despite a morning of dense fog that had Carole playing"Where's Waldo" with the water (see, photo left), at shortly after noon, three intrepid members of the Polar Pod -- Cathy, Carole and I -- suited up and met for another unbelieveable, stolen December swim.

The air temperature -- a balmy 58 -- was warm enough that I was sweating as I pulled on my sundry layers of swim caps, booties and gloves, and we pondered how the same global warming that's so desperately bad for the real polar bears and universe, was giving us such an unforgettable winter gift.

Despite the unseasonably warm air, wading into the water was another story.

Last night's cold temps seemed to have lowered the water a degree or two, and we felt the cold rush in right through our booties (though not into our impermeable Psycho gloves ;)). But, as always, once we got swimming, it was business as usual -- or as usual as it could be swimming without our right (Carol Moore) and left (Annmarie Kearny-Wood) arms.

A brisk swim to the yellow sign felt totally doable as our faces and bodies acclimated, and we even stopped and chatted and aqua-jogged in place there for a while, admiring the scenery and marvelling at our great good luck to be out yet another day, before swimming somewhat reluctantly back toward the dock and home. 
Another fine Pod hat on display.

Back on shore we agreed that swimming right through December seems more and more possible (and necessary) with each passing day.

- gae