Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Year of Transitions

Now that I've recuperated from the 6-hour drive and Christmas is over, I’m starting to decompress and I’ve had a chance to think about this past year.

It's been a year of transitions, that's for sure.

I moved into the house I’m currently renting on January 1, 2009. Before that I was living in a house I owned, struggling for three years to keep it. I eventually sold the house in a short sale, a process that lasted nine months. I left that house feeling that I had gone through a war. I was exhausted and depressed. I hadn't written anything in months.

I had two weeks last December to find a house to rent that would take three animals. I got lucky – I found a house, but it was a dump and from the minute I moved in, I knew I wouldn’t stay long. But while I was there, I wanted to make it comfortable. The backyard was completely barren – nothing but dead grass and dog crap that had not been picked up in a year. The first day, my best friend and I got busy and picked up the dog crap. I eventually planted a couple of trees. I started a vegetable garden. I watered the yard and the grass came back lush and green.

In the backyard there is a fenced off enclosure that the previous occupants had used for an enclosure for their dogs, but left it full of junk. I cleared it out and found myself a project. I turned it into a flower garden. I planted roses, lamb’s ears, foxgloves, black-eyed susans, daisies, lavenders, gardenias, columbines, sage, yarrow, herbs and Queen Anne’s Lace that grew five feet high. Morning glories completely covered one fence. When things had been planted, I put my wicker chair in there. I sat in there all spring and summer, reading, dabbling in a little writing, and just reflecting on how I got to this place in my life.

Over this past year, I made some wonderful friendships, both here locally and on the Internet. Some friendships deepened. Sadly, one friend died very suddenly. She was my movie buddy for many years, had mentored me in my previous job, and was there when I bought my first house.

I went to Pulp Fest, not expecting to meet as many wonderful people as I did and make as many friends. I reunited with some people, after many years, on Facebook.

I started to write again, slowly. Most of the writing was on my blog, and I found a community of people here on the Internet that supported my efforts and wrote comments. That kept me going. I began to get interested in some topics and started to feel excited again about writing. A lot of that is because of the comments I receive on my blog.

I’m still working, although my company went through three rounds of layoffs this year - over 25% of the company. I’ve spent most of this year trying to keep my head down and worrying about whether I will be next. It’s hard to get excited about work and stay focused with that going on.

Guess what. About a month ago I found out that the house I’m renting is now in foreclosure, so I’ll have to move again eventually. So the transitional house has fulfilled its destiny.

Although 2009 was a difficult year, some good things happened too. I’m looking to 2010 feeling more excited about a new year than I have in a long time. I’ve been through the war, have learned some valuable lessons, and have once again been reminded that as long as I have friends, I will be able to handle anything.

So, once again, I’d like to hear from you. Now that 2009 is almost over, what has this year has meant to you? What do you look forward to in 2010?

And thanks again for being there.


Charles Gramlich said...

There are certainly advantages to renting rather than buying. I'm glad we finally bought a place though. But the expenses are far more than just the mortage for sure.

David Cranmer said...

'09 in terms of my website has been very successful. '09 in terms of being away from my wife due to work has been tough. So a mixed bag. 2010 is shaping up to be a winner because of BTAP's print anthology and a story of mine appearing in A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS. And I'll be back with my charmer:)

And you arriving on the blog trail in '09 was definitely a highlight.

Barry Traylor said...

I have found in a very short time that what a year ago at this time I did not even know it existed I find I need my daily dose of Laurie's Wild West blog.
What you job is like I can relate to as I went through something similar a few years ago. It is tough getting revved up when things are in flux. A had a friend at work that used to wear a shirt to work from time to time that said on it--When Morale Improves The Beatings Will Stop. :-)

Chap O'Keefe said...

The year now ending certainly faced you with a raft of challenges, Laurie. But well met if I may say so. May 2010 help consolidate the good works of 2009.

Just where I'll be putting my own focus in the New Year, I haven't yet decided -- if indeed I'm given choices!

Laurie said...

Charles, yes, I kind of like not having to worry about repairs.

David - thanks for the vote of compliment. I know you've been on travel a lot and I know that's very tough. I'm really looking forward to working with you in 2010.

Barry - thanks for being such a loyal supporter. Yes, work has been very weird this year. I work at home most of the time now and I'm glad I don't have to be in the office - the atmosphere is terrible.

Keith: thanks for the good thoughts. Yes, I'm grateful - many people had much tougher times this year.

JerThom said...

I can truly relate to you on a transitional year, I've had two major ones in a row. --- First, the loss of my soulmate, as I've mentioned before. And then, when the economy took a dump so did my niche, and I lost over 90% of two profit sharing accounts: so in my graying years I find myself back in college. --- But you can't ever give up.... And your blog and a few others have given both entertainment and inspiration in the quiet times I allow myself. Thank you, and keep up the good work.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And thanks for being there. Meeting people like you via the Internet is something people who don't use it this way don't understand. It is possible to find people more like me than those I find in real life. Have a great New Year.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Yes, changes for me too. Glad to have you around Laurie.

Laurie said...

JerThom: yes, you have had gone through some tough years. I'm glad you're here, and I hope things get easier. I went back to college when I was 38 by the way and didn't get my BA until I was 43.

You contribute a log to my blog and I was wondering if you'd like to do a guest blog - write something perhaps about your western interests. Or maybe about your career as a stunt rider?

Patti: I agree. This community is unique and just as important, in my opinion, as relationships with people in person. I bristle when people say you can't have "real" relationships with people on the Internet.

Paul: Whether transitions are for the good or the bad, they're usually painful when you have to go through them. I'm glad you're here too.

Barry Traylor said...

"Patti: I agree. This community is unique and just as important, in my opinion, as relationships with people in person. I bristle when people say you can't have "real" relationships with people on the Internet."

I just had to comment on this as one the best friends I ever had was the late Jim Ellis a Science Fiction fan from Washington, D.C
He was introduced to me by Richard Minter (a well known name in Pulp Fandom) as Jim was confined to a wheel chair we corresponded for years by letter until Jim could no longer use a typewriter and began sending me audio tape letters.
I never met him in person (his choice) but it never prevented me from counting him as one of my best friends.

JerThom said...

I've never done a guest blog before, infact I've only been blogging a few months now, but I would be interested.

Laurie said...

Barry, my grandfather and the editor at Wild West Weekly, Ronald Oliphant, were very close even though they never met. They just traded letters for about 10-12 years. My uncle, Thomas, was given his middle name, Ronald in honor of Oliphant.

JerThom, if you're interested, email me at

Melissa Marsh said...

It's been a year of gut punches for me. Divorce, a cheating husband, and so, so many other things. Yet it has also been a year of finding incredible strength, of discovering just how blessed I am with wonderful family and friends.

Laurie said...

Melissa, I know you had a tough year but I didn't know it was that bad. Thank God for friends, huh? Thanks for your candor. As for your ex-husband, if it was me I'd have a hard time not killing him. But maybe I've been reading too many noir and pulp fiction stories. Still, maybe there's a story there....

Lana Gramlich said...

Ugh...My sympathies on your past transitions (& any possible future ones.) I find that the older I get, the more resistant I am to such "transitions." Hang in there, regardless. I'll keep good thoughts for your job & home.

Laurie said...

Thanks, Lana. You've had a year too. Hope that you're doing well. Let's make 2010 a year of great creativity.