Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Riddance, 2011, but Keep Rolling, Blogs I Like!

2011 was just about the worst year of my life and I am glad to see it go. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, 2011. It was a terrible year for many people I know, and they're likewise welcoming 2012, hoping that it will prove to be a happier, healthier, more hopeful one. (It's a leap year, too, so maybe it really will have more spring in its step.)

Of course, even the rottenest of years has some decent moments. (Yeah, I know, "rottenest" isn't a word, but it sounds rottier than "most rotten." Rottier's better than "more rotten," too. I've had a rotten year. Don't argue with me.)

So, in that more pleasant vein, I'll do something I haven't before (don't say I'm not spontaneous) and do a round-up of other bloggers' posts that I enjoyed recently, in the hope that if you're muddling about on the computer looking for something enjoyable to read you might follow one of them and find that it is a voice or a subject that appeals to you, too.

My friend Alison shares her experience enjoying 3 minutes of fame at the Ballard Writers Book Slam in November on her blog, "Slice of Midlife," where she recounts the unleashing of her inner Gloria. (Alison also has an array of delicious international recipes that she dishes up on this site.)

Local author and gardener Valerie Easton wrote briefly and prettily about nature's winter decor (as contrasted with the glitter of the mall) in a post about an apple tree on her blog, "Plant Talk."

Kimberly Hosey's blog, "Arizona Writer," features her gorgeous photographs of birds, spiders, insects, and stunning southwestern scenery and essays about the same. If you scribble for a living or just for kicks, check out her entry about the writing process and then wander into other posts to see the beautiful photographs.

Jane Badger's blog "Books, Mud, and Compost. And Horses" offers delights ranging from photos of beautiful morning walks through the English countryside and musings on gardening, cooking, and crafts to discussions about books, bookselling, everything horses, and some things distinctly human. I still get a chuckle out of this post about harvest decor.

Jane's blog led me to two others that I have recently tapped into.

One is called "Life Must Be Filled Up," and I knew I'd like it as soon as I saw that the author is a big fan of cartoonist Roz Chast. To rip off Annie Hall, well--I lurve Roz Chast, I loave her, I luff her! Ever since, I think, I clapped eyes on an illustration of hers depicting some sort of other-planet foodstuff called Vleedle Mix. (Plus, I went to a cartooning event in New York City in the 1980s and she was the person sitting at the table shyly taking people's tickets. That's exactly where I want to be at meet-and-greet hubbubs like that.)

The other is called "Mother of Invention 1" and my reading of it started off with the author's funny, self-effacing telling of turning 50 and a celebratory 3-hour bike ride with her sister. I spent my 49th year amusing myself with how I might celebrate turning 50, having no idea that it would turn out to be a year of terrible loss and sadness (friends have urged me to consider celebrating 51 or 53, those being perfectly good prime numbers). So I've truly come to enjoy reading about how others handle turning the big five-oh.

Last but not least, my friend Rachael Conlin Levy offers a list of suggestions for the holidays that tantalize with hints of the chaos and catastrophes (including inadvertently setting things on fire) and the general muddle of holiday preparation that inspired them on her blog "The Slow-Cooked Sentence."

Happy New Year, everyone far and everyone near!