Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Almost There...

The countdown clock is ticking...

In less than 12 hours the New Year will be here. (How did it get to be 2009?) Of course, it already is 2009 in Australia, but either way, the time for decision is upon us. (Read: me.)

And I absolutely refuse to make any kind of New Year's Resolutions. I don't need to be a "resolver." I need to be a "decider."


What to do? What to do?

Should I try to figure out a way to recover my disappeared 401K?
(Santa was no help. I think I may have been on that other list.)

Or...should I move from my long held position in the Mac fold over to a PC?
My suggestion re: a rebuttal to the old and stodgy "PC" character vs. the young and hip "Mac" character TV commercials would be to show what happens when you need a young, hip Mac repair. There are only two Mac retail stores with the "Mac Genius Bar" in the whole entire state. TWO. And no independent Mac repair people in my area as far as I know. Of course, some people may like making a 100 mile round trip on a bad interstate highway that is essentially a parking lot traveling 80 miles an hour. Surrounded by 18-wheelers. In the rain and fog. With your hair on fire. Twice. (It shouldn't take six days to replace a hard drive, should it?) I have always been a Mac devotee, but this is the kind of adventure I can do without. The Dell factory is only 48 miles away, and think I can hear it calling my name. Or what about HP? I have HP peripherals -- they have prompt email support and seem to care if the printer won't print because Apple made me upgrade something.

(Yes. It's true. I am still in a South Park Mall Apple Retail Store-slash-iMac computer snit.)

(Maybe I should just retire altogether and not have to worry about computer repairs.)

(And maybe I'm not much of a "decider.")

Even so, and moving right along, here is something I can and will do during this coming new year -- regardless of what the previous paragraphs might suggest.

Whenever I think something is a "good thing," I'll say so. More of that, less criticizing and whining -- unless it has to do with my livelihood.

A few years ago, my editor at Harlequin gave me a souvenir card from Ireland on which was written a number of prayerful guidelines for not becoming an old poop in one's "Golden Years." The guidelines were written by a nun, and I found them very pithy and something to aspire to. In addition to that, my late sister-in-law told me something shortly before she died. She had come to realize, she said, that people "don't know," i.e., they don't know what you like about them if you don't tell them, or even if you like them at all. They need to be told, she said, and she was going to do that.

All of these these notions -- the nun's and my sister-in-law's -- worked for me, so much so that verbally appreciating the "good things" has become more or less automatic. The other day, while I was waiting in the doctor's office, I could see through the sheer drapes a man outside washing their very big, very tall windows. He worked the whole time I was waiting. After I'd seen the doctor, when I came back into the waiting room, the sheer drapes had been opened. The sun was shining. The huge, plate glass windows looked spectacular. So, without really thinking, I noted that the window washer had done a really good job. What I didn't know was that he was sitting a few feet away, waiting to be paid. He was both astounded and grateful to have had the results of his efforts complimented by a total stranger. "It's never happened before," he said. I think it made his day. I know it made mine.

Here's what the 16th Century nun had to say:

Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself, that I am growing older and will someday be old.

Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint - some of them are so hard to live with - but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.


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