positive highlights of 2016

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Happy New Year!!

2016 was a sucky year in multiple ways, from the political mayhem to the premature deaths of too many icons like David Bowie, Prince, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, and now George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debby Reynolds since Christmas. But as we look forward to a new year, I’m choosing to focus on some of the positive things that happened to me in 2016:

When my old publisher closed its doors, the uncertain fate of my writing career terrified me. But it turned into a blessing when I signed a seven-book publishing deal with Henery Press. I am so excited for the re-release of my new-and-improved five novels and the publication of the other two books in my contract.

My oldest and dearest friend gave birth to healthy and beautiful twin girls. This was a dream come true for her, and my heart is full with happiness.

After vowing never to revisit my high school days, I went to my twenty-fifth reunion and had a blast. It was a bit of closure for me, and I’m so glad I went. I’m super grateful to one of my friends and fellow alumni for encouraging me.

I had five years of braces as a child and my straight teeth lasted through my twenties. Over the last decade, they began to shift to the point where I hadn’t been as happy with my smile. I invested in Invisalign, and less than a year later, I have really straight teeth again and am much more confident in my grin.

I spent an amazing week in California with my favorite writer friends where we laughed, bonded, gave and received advice, and generally “got” each other. I left super motivated to get back to my work in progress which is now slated to be delivered to my editor on February 1st. (I’m gearing up for the 2017 retreat right now.)

I helped raise almost $20,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. These funds won’t bring Alan back, but I like to think they might save someone else the grief I still feel for his loss on a daily basis.

All my annual medical exams, as well as those of my family, were normal.

My oldest nephew, who I hadn’t seen since he was about ten, moved from Colorado to New York City for work after graduating college, and I am so happy to have connected with him again.

I spent a week in Arizona with friends. Besides the eating, drinking, sun-bathing, and regular vacation-like activities, we took a trip to the Grand Canyon and some of us (myself included) went on a hot-air balloon ride. This was mere months before hearing about a deadly hot-air balloon crash. I’m grateful for the timing since, as much as I enjoyed it, I’m unlikely to ever do it again now.

I went to several music concerts including Billy Joel for the first time (Jimmy Fallon was a surprise guest), Dolly Parton, and Stevie Nicks/The Pretenders.

After publicly expressing my issues with the word “Ma’am” a few weeks ago, I am officially over being insulted by it or taking it as a personal comment about my age. I’ve paid more attention to the way people use this word and to whom they direct it, and what I’ve noticed is that it has nothing to do with the age of the woman. I’ve witnessed people (men and women) use it on women in their twenties through nineties as a greeting to simply indicate they are speaking to a full-fledged female adult as opposed to a child/teenager. The term is also used on the young twenty and thirty-something heroines on Hallmark movies frequently. How bad can it be if it’s on The Hallmark Channel?? This discovery might seem like a small “great” event in the grand scheme of things, but it will save me much distress moving forward.

These are just some of the positive highlights of my 2016. What are some of yours?

my hair through the ages

I spent three and a half hours at the beauty salon today getting my hair cut and highlighted. I have a lot of difficulty sitting still for more than an hour at a time (or perhaps it’s a slight case of ADD) but thanks to wine and The Rosie Project, I managed to get through the day without losing my sanity and, more importantly, a stylist. Saki has been doing my hair for over a decade and it’s been about a decade since my hair started looking good. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

While I was sitting in the chair, I reflected on my hair styles of years gone by and I thought it might be fun (and a little bit humiliating) to share some of them with you.  At the outset, I confess that with a few exceptions, I have not been all that adventurous with my hair. Once I was old enough to demand that my mother stop whispering, “cut it short” in the stylist’s ear without my knowledge, I always kept my hair long. The most common variant was “bangs” or “no bangs.”

Classic "Pebbles" - cute, right?

Classic “Pebbles” – cute, right?

Long and tangled...

Long and tangled…

"The little boy" cut Short hair cut after my mom lost patience combing through my knots

“The little boy” Short hair cut after my mom lost patience combing through my knots

Dorothy Hamill

Dorothy Hamill

Farah Fawcett feathers (attempted but did not quite succeed)

Farah Fawcett feathers (attempted but did not quite succeed)

High School – I became a teenager in the mid 1980s, but unlike most of my peers, I never had big hair

High School – I became a teenager in the mid 1980s, but unlike most of my peers, I never had big hair

 

college: bangs

college: bangs

college: no bangs

college: no bangs

early twenties

early twenties

Mid twenties - the "blonde" year... I didn't have more fun,

Mid twenties – the “blonde” year… I didn’t have more fun,

late twenties. Between the tiny bangs and the blonde thing, the twenties were my worst hair decade (so far).

late twenties. Between the tiny bangs and the blonde thing, the twenties were my worst hair decade (so far).

 

my 30th birthday party - still with the tiny bangs...

my 30th birthday party – still with the tiny bangs…

 

Enter good hair (thanks to Saki)...

Enter good hair (thanks to Saki)…

Blow-out for first BookBuzz.

Blow-out for first BookBuzz.

Selfie taken today after hair cut. A bit short but healthy.

Selfie taken today after hair cut. A bit short but healthy.

 

Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane with me. I think I’m proof that the twenties are not necessarily the best decade – at least in terms of appearance :).