As we reach the end of the first week of 2012, it seems fitting to review the progress I have made in realizing each of my various resolutions for the New Year. It is my hope that this exercise will prove instructive, if not inspirational, for others.
1. The Ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro
Let me begin by thanking all those involved in my rescue from the mountain’s north face. Truly, without your help this new year would have been, for me, a short one indeed! Who could have known that the temperatures would grow so cold and the weather so fierce as I approached the mountain’s summit? While I confess to disappointment at having failed in my first attempt to climb Africa’s tallest peak in 2012, I take comfort in knowing that 51 weeks remain for me to reach my goal. I will be sure to wear long pants in my next attempt. Also, no more flip-flops! In the meantime, if any of my readers happen to be in the area of Kilimanjaro and have the chance to retrieve my house keys, which I seem to have left behind somewhere on the mountain, I would be most grateful for your help.
2. My Novel
Progress on my novel has been, I am pleased to report, brisk. Although originally I had planned to set the story in the microfiche room of the local public library, I have decided instead to have the action take place in some slightly more exotic locale—either a 17th century village of the Sami people on the shores of Lake Inari during the early days of King Gustav Vasa’s ruthless colonization or the produce section of the Highland Park Costco. A final decision has been delayed until I have selected my author photo.
3. Inner Peace
I was made to feel most welcome at my first yoga class, even after I had explained that my phobia of bending over in the presence of others made it difficult for me to participate in several of the exercises. My instructor has promised that if I continue to make an honest effort, and refrain from ever again wearing my distressed cutoff jeans shorts to class, I may someday be allowed to ring the class gong. Namaste!
4. Redesigning the 50 State Flags
All state flags bearing the image of an animal—California’s bear, for example, or Wyoming’s bison--may remain as they are. This is in keeping with my deep respect for North America’s native fauna and my lifelong inability to draw animals. (Really, my horses always look like dogs!) Also, I am having difficulty with five-pointed stars, so these will have to become six-pointers. (If you can draw two triangles, you can draw a six-pointed star!) And do we really need so many eagles? North and South Dakota I have combined into one state to be called South Saskatchewan, for obvious reasons. Delaware I have eliminated from the Union altogether.
5. Mastering Conversational Spanish
Here I have exceeded even my own lofty expectations. Yesterday, for example, I successfully ordered two chalupas from the local Taco Bell. Also, I learned that the Spanish for Mountain Dew is simply Mountain Dew! Muchas gracias! Tomorrow I begin work on ordering breakfast burritos and saying hello to beautiful young women (or chicas bonitas).
6. Improving My Penmanship
How fondly I remember my time as a first-grader when Mrs. Thompson, my teacher, would gently place her hand over mine and guide it as I learned to form letters and words. Unfortunately, my inability to hold the pen in precisely the manner urged by Mrs. Thompson compelled her to prescribe the use of what she called “the harness.” This device did indeed help me to master the proper positioning of the writing implement in my hand. Unfortunately, its too frequent use atrophied the muscles in my right arm and rendered me, by the time I was an adolescent, unable to unclench my fist. But those days are behind me! Years of physical therapy have restored to me the full use of my muscles! Now, with the help of an excellent book called “The Palmer Method for Fun and Profit,” I am again mastering the art of penmanship. What a pleasure it is to write a letter and not have the phrase “please write me back” misread as “pour water on my bush.” I am certain that Mrs. Thompson would be proud.
I look forward to providing you with further updates as the year progresses.