Hunkering Down

Snow falling on...eastern white pine.

Snow beginning to fall - can you see it?

We are in the midst of a winter storm, although it seems not to be the snowpocalypse that was predicted – just swirling snow and howling winds.  I spent the morning preparing for a potential power outage anyhow – I baked fresh bread, made a big pot of stew, washed all our laundry, and cleaned up the house.  Now I’ve got nothing left to do but craft and read.  Jim spent the better part of the afternoon helping our neighbor fix our snowblower, and I’m so glad we will have the luxury of not shoveling our driveway tomorrow.  I have a feeling it was good for him to learn how to fix a small engine, and it was nice to have the house to myself.  My goal was not to leave the house, and while I did end up making two excursions off our property, I also spent the majority of the day in domestic pursuits.  Yay!

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Welcome, New Year!

Merry Christmas from the Santa BananaIt’s a happy, snowy new year at the Flanagan household.  We rang in the new year last night with some friends at a low-key party with a pajama dress code,  a movie lineup that included Airplane and Blues Brothers, and a menu that inlcuded baked brie and eggplant parm.  If there is a better way to start a year, I don’t want to know about it, because I just had a wonderful time.

I think for many people, this past decade has not been their best, but for me, it’s been a pretty seminal decade – my entire adult life so far happened in the last 10 years.  I went to college and graduate school, I met the love of my life and got married, I found a career path and got a great job, I’ve made a lot of good friends and have divested myself of many unhealthy relationships, we bought a house and adopted two wonderful cats, and I’ve discovered many passions, including cooking, knitting, and homebrewing.  I’ve been very lucky this decade, and I have great expectations for the next.

View from my back door!This past year my parents bought the house right behind ours.  This photo is the view from my back door – it’s snowing out, so it’s not the crispest.  It’s nice to know they are up there.  This morning they came down to help us with our snowblower, and it’s nice to know we can help them out going forward, making sure they don’t work too hard mowing their lawn or shoveling their driveway.  Having a close support network is important to me, and I think the value to our family of close proximity is impossible to forecast, but I look forward to taking care of my parents as they age, having my children really know their grandparents as people, and being able to pool resources, among other benefits.

This next year holds a lot for me.  Most majorly, I’m chairing the committee to plan the Maine Library Association Annual Conference, which this year will be held in October at the Samoset.  That will be a major professional challenge, and I’m looking forward to devoting more and more time to it as the date approaches.  I think it’s going to feel very good to have that under my belt, and I hope to prove myself worthy of the trust that’s been placed in me.

One of my goals for the coming year is to articulate my opinions on books and beer.  I have been a member of goodreads for a couple of years, and have enjoyed rating books, keeping track of books I want to read, and seeing what my friends are reading.  In 2010, I want to start reviewing the books I read.  In 2009, I read 79 books – in 2010 I’d like to read 80 and review each one.  This evening should be a good one for reading.  I also joined Beer Advocate, and I reviewd my first beer this afternoon.  Jim and I seek out interesting and delicious beers, but I have made no effort to keep track of what we have.  Reviewing some of these great brews will not only help me remember what we try, but should go a long way toward refining my ability to describe beer and identify flavors.  Many of the other goals I have for this year are more personal, but if I keep up with the blog like I always mean to, I will share more as the year goes by.  I would like to start using this blog as a means of personal expression and as a way to keep in touch with friends who are near and far.  Reconnect and reflect are my among my blog goals.