Happy New Year!
On this first day of 2023, let others pen New Year’s resolutions. Why bother when stats show that by Valentine’s Day, 80% of us will have broken them. (All I can say is dice regrets, add small joys, find a substitute for guilt, forego kneading, top with gin, let rise and leave worries to ferment out.)
Instead, we’re looking backward (as we always do in this blog) to a conversation Magellan and I had in November on Small Good Things from 2022, five automatiste things that spontaneously popped up for each of us.
Magellan goes first, a significant #1… “I didn’t have a heart attack.”
I was sound asleep on Good Friday when I woke with chest pain, one of five symptoms of a heart attack. I “Googled” before waking Spice and phoning 911. The operator answered immediately and asked if I had taken any aspirin? “Yes–I’ve swallowed one.” “Silly boy–take four more and chew them.” Although paramedics are normally overworked on a Friday night, the ambulance arrived within minutes and ushered me into emergency. Defying the reputation of the medical system, blood work, EKG and X-rays were completed within 30 minutes, and again after two hours. All clear and I got to walk home at 5:00 am on a beautiful morning. But it took another hundred days before I was definitively advised that I hadn’t experienced either angina or a heart attack.
My turn, starting small. “My 2023 Moleskin diary—a special design dedicated to Frida Kahlo.”
After two decades of thinking about going to Oaxaca, it’s happening this winter, as well as Mexico City, where we’ll visit the Frida Kahlo Museum.
Magellan’s up next. “We had great weather in Iceland.”
Friends had visited Iceland in July and advised it was “long-john” cold. The average temperature in Reykjavík in July was 10.6 degrees, the coldest July in this century. Rainfall was 72.6 mm, 45% above the average for the years 1991 to 2020.
We were targeting the world’s shortest shoulder season for tourists, arriving on August 24, just after the start of the new school year. But many attractions close in mid-September as roads close because of massive snow in the highlands.
By Iceland standards, we had a tropical trip. The country recorded its highest temperature of the year, 25°C on August 30. We were warm and dry in our puff-jackets. Spice even wore her hiking skirt. September started windy and warm, a degree higher than normal, but deteriorated after we left on the 12th. A very bad storm swept over the country.
Spice #2: “Campaigning for Colleen Hardwick for mayor.”
Colleen lost, sadly, but how rewarding to telephone voters, deliver pamphlets, meet new people and Burmashave (wave signs at busy intersections) for the best candidate.
“Newfoundland exceeded our expectations, and our RV didn’t blow up,” is Magellan’s third good thing.
There are some places in the world that are perfect for visiting with an RV. Newfoundland is one of them, as are New Zealand and Norway. There were a few glitches with the rental, but all solvable.
Spice #3: “For the first time in a dozen years, we heard coyotes at night.”
Magellan #4: “Covid was just an amuse-chest.”
Like an amuse-bouche, just a small bite. A cough and fatigue for only two days, then two more weeks of few symptoms but positive tests.
Spice #4: Re-reading and discussing George Saunders’ The Tenth of December, in our Calgary Book Club.
Time says he’s “The best short-story writer in English—not ‘one of,’ not ‘arguably,’ but the Best.” Here’s a link to Victory Lap, the first story in the book. (You’re welcome.) About literature he says, “It reminds us that things— things out here, in the real world—are always many ways at once… We get a glimpse of who we might be if we decided/opined/were sure less often, or a little later in the game.”
Our last “Small Good Things” both relate to our granddaughter.
Our visit with Clare and Keenan in Halifax and the great Airbnbs we stayed in.
Yes, the meals they cooked for us and the new coffee we discovered thanks to Clare.
Now let’s hear from you. What are your Small Good Things from 2022?
Hubbard, Janine. “Most New Year’s resolutions will fail in 6 weeks. Here’s how you can beat the odds.” CBC News, Jan 3, 2020.
Saunders, George. Liberation Day. New York: Random House, 2022.
Saunders, George. The Tenth of December. New York: Random House, 2010.
Words by Bloomsbury. “A short story’s whole function is to make us wonder more deeply.” 20 Oct 2022.
Over Sea. Magellan found this real estate management company, which offers a nice choice of accommodation in Halifax and Newfoundland.