Tuesday, January 3, 2017

This Week (Hello, 2017!)

Christmas lunch at my in-laws'! We also had homemade tamales.

Howdy! It’s your friendly neighborhood Mandolin, back for another year of blogging. Right now I’m still on Christmas break, but the semester (and the accompanying slew of students) begins on Thursday, so today I decided to get my rusty writing gears in motion before more of 2017 slipped away.

I enjoyed the Christmas season this year— I surprisingly didn’t catch laryngitis, and got to see out-of-town family and friends— but as usual, I’m relieved it’s over. January is a quiet month for me after the craziness of Christmas Traditions, where I get to hole up indoors, reassess my life, and warm my cold fingers by holding a mug of hot herbal tea.

Zach with his bread masterpiece (see below)
Or, as the case may be, take a 14-mile bike ride with Zach on a day that the temperature barely hit 20, or a 17-mile ride through mud, or just a quick three-mile jaunt in the midst of driving freezing rain. Yes, we are venturing into the wonderful world of cycling— Zach bought a new bike recently, and after trying to keep up with him on my one-speed “townie,” I’m hoping to follow suit soon. Biking, unlike walking, isn’t relaxing for me: I must have a goal or a destination to make me force my muscles to be uncomfortable for a while. But considering it’s the only cardio exercise I get (yes, I’m so out of shape that riding a bike gets me wheezing like I’m sprinting), I’m enjoying it far more than traditional exercises.

Another exciting thing that happened in January was my official election to the position of secretary of the Historic Frenchtown Association! That means I get to type the minutes of the neighborhood meetings and read them back at the following meeting, which makes me feel unbelievably spiffy. I continue to be excited about the direction of our neighborhood, both as a business district and as a community of residents. One of the biggest things that pulled me out of my funk earlier this year was the idea of getting involved in my local community: I wanted to make a difference, but I just didn’t know how. Now the opportunity has been dropped in my lap, and I’m happy to be a member who has input, but plays a supporting role rather than being in charge. 

The past few days have been nice and relaxed; taking bike rides, ringing in the new year with two of my best friends, going back to church, writing in my memoir, working on side projects, baking bread (Zach has brought a sourdough to life again, and made a fabulous loaf of yeast bread for New Year’s!), and singing lots of Beatles songs, thanks to Zach’s Christmas gift to me: a complete score of every song the Beatles ever sang. Life is good, and I’m excited about the possibilities for 2017. Happy New Year, everyone!


P.S. Me, realizing I never take any photos of myself:

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