Happy New Year! (Among Other Things)

Hello, dear, dear friends.  I feel like it’s been ages since I was last blogging and, yes, it’s been awhile.  But the break was restorative.  Well, IS restorative because I’m still on break, both from here and from work.  I spent a few hours on New Year’s Eve catching up with some of you, the experience a reminder of why I blog at all.  Over this past year I’ve shifted from seeing my blog as a “platform” for my as-yet unpublished novels to a place where I can spend time with people I care about, new and old friends.

Now, some of this reflection is due in part to WordPress alerting me to my “2015 year in blogging” report.  The biggest surprise from this report:  My 2013 post on the suicide of Creighton in Treme has the most views of all my posts for 2015!  In fact, only one of the top five viewed posts was actually written in 2015.  WordPress suggests that my writing has “staying power.”  Excuse while I pick myself up off the floor where I fell laughing.

Like so many others, I’m happy to kiss 2015 good-bye.  My roller-coaster ride through the year hasn’t been as terrifying as some.  At times it was so boring the best I could was roll my eyes, and the real lows happened to other people, loved ones, family.  The worst is when all you can do is sit in your little coaster and feel utterly helpless.  A few months ago one of my sisters was told by her family physician that she might have Alzheimer’s.  I wanted to cry like a baby, but I was at work when I chose to return her phone call so I had to choke down the sobs.

I immediately thought back to the day she married, me standing there in the pew next to my other siblings.  My 9-year-old self stared at her 19-year-old self as she stood before the altar in a white gown.  It was all I could do to keep from jumping over the pew and screaming, “No! Don’t go!”  She was (is) my favorite sister.  The one who taught me how to do the Twist.

The mere thought of her having Alzheimer’s brought back my 9-year-old self and all her selfish fears.  Then, after a couple of months of waiting for a more definitive diagnosis from a doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s, I get this voice mail from my sister:

Sister:  The doctors say I don’t have Alzheimer’s.

Me:  Yay!

Sister:  I have Parkinson’s.

Me:  WTF! @#$%^&

Strange as it sounds, the Parkinson’s diagnosis (as much as they can diagnose the disease) is welcomed news.  Better that than Alzheimer’s.  Even her doctors say so.  She has a lot more tests to go through, but she’s already feeling better with the medications she is on and with the knowledge that she may not lose her mind after all.  She has six grandchildren, you see, and she wants to know them as they grow up.

So I’m more than happy to say good-bye to 2015 and bring in 2016 with the faith that I won’t lose my sister all over again.

Before I go, I want to give a shout-out to the top five of my friends who have commented the most on my blog:

Jill Weatherholt — Jill is living the dream many of us aspiring writers have:  she won a book contract and is currently working on edits with her publisher!  Go, Jill!

John Howell — John has a new novel out called His Revenge.  I recently wrote a review for Amazon.  Read it here.

Luanne Castle — Luanne is an award-winning poet.  Her most recent collection of poetry, Doll God, is available through Amazon.  Read my review here.

Charles Yallowitz — Charles is a prolific author of fantasy novels.  His latest is The Mercenary Prince, available on Amazon.  For more books by Charles, just check out his Amazon author page.

Phillip McCollum — Phillip is the proud author of a little boy named Angus.  Phillip doesn’t blog much these days because he’s busy perfecting the role of father and husband and all-around great guy, but you can follow his journey on Twitter at @beatbox32.

I love you guys, and I love each and every one of you who spends time with me here or elsewhere in this wide, strange, and wonderful world.

Happy New Year!

30 thoughts on “Happy New Year! (Among Other Things)

  1. Aw, Marie…you’re so sweet. I’m so sorry to hear about your sister’s diagnosis, but I’m happy it wasn’t Alzheimer’s. This past year has been tough for my family, as we deal with the new normal from this dreaded disease. I haven’t talked about it on my blog yet…one day I will.
    I wish you a year full of peace and joy, Marie. I’m so thankful for your friendship.
    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year, Jill! I am sorry to hear that your family is struggling with Alzheimer’s. If and when you do write about it on your blog, prepare yourself for an tsunami of love and support. xox

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year! Hoping your sister finds relief from her symptoms. Parkinson’s is slow and insidious, she really is one of the lucky ones to have it diagnosed early. That’s when the meds are most effective. Hoping you and yours have a wonderful new year with health and happiness. My only resolution is to focus on the positives in my life. I got sidetracked last year with so much family chaos, but I’m determined to look forward, not backward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Susan! Yes, I do think my sister’s diagnosis is early. Her symptoms are subtle and varied but she has been responding to treatment and we recently had one of our best (and longest) phone conversations in a long time. I like your resolution. You do have a lot of positives in your life, Susan. Kick the negatives to the curb and move forward 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Katie! Funny how we can embrace a diagnosis of Parkinson’s just because it isn’t Alzheimer’s but we’ll take it 🙂 Happy New Year to you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy new year to you! Sorry to hear about your sister but glad it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Goodbye to a sucky 2015 and bring on the good stuff already 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a crazy year 2015 was for all of us! I’m sorry to hear about your sister, but I agree it’s bittersweet news. My grandmother had alzheimer’s and her final years were not good for anyone.

    I hope your 2016 is much better all around for you. I plan to reevaluate where I’m at with the blog and writing in general, but right now, I’m enjoying a healthier lifestyle and a rambunctious little menace. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year, Phillip! My brother-in-law’s mom had Alzheimer’s, a long time ago and it was very hard on the family. So it was especially heartbreaking when we first thought my sister (his wife) had it. I need to get with the healthier lifestyle. That’s one of the problems with writing (and reading), especially if you already have a sedentary day job. When are you supposed to exercise if you think any free moment should be spent writing? It’s a big challenge with me and blogging.
      Hope 2016 is a great year for you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know that feeling all too well, about the free time guilt. My best advice is to start small. 5 minutes a day of walking for a week, then increase to 10. Maybe throw in a couple of bodyweight exercises like push ups, planks, dips…basic things that you can do most anywhere. I think you’ll begin to just feel better after a while and find time for it. It helps, at least for me, to think of the short term benefits more than the long term, of which there are obviously both… you will usually feel more energized and satisfied that you accomplished your exercise goal for the day.

        Anyway, some rambling thoughts. 🙂 I hope you’re able to find a balance that works for you this year!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve been off work for several days now and you’d think I would take the opportunity to be more physically active. Instead, I’ve had to really push myself to just go for a walk in my neighborhood. Much as I wish I didn’t have to have a day job, the schedule does help me with exercising. During a regular work week, I practice yoga on Mondays and Thursdays, go to the gym Wednesdays (sometimes) and Saturdays (regularly) and I take walks during my lunch hour whenever the weather allows. But it’s those hours of sitting in between the exercise that really gets me down. About a year ago I bought a Polar Loop and wearing that has helped me get off my butt, at work anyway 😉 Kind of wish I held out for a Fitbit that also monitors heart rate. I have to use a separate strap and transmitter if I want to measure my HR with the Loop. Then again, it’s more of a challenge to meet my goal when I don’t wear the HR monitor so … Thanks for the suggestions. They’re good ones because too often I put off exercise unless I have an hour to spare. Really, five minutes of walking can make a huge difference to my head and my butt 🙂 I’m looking forward to a bit more privacy in my new office too.


  5. Loved this post (days later–I’m a bit behind, you see). What a scare with your sister,and so glad she doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, though Parkinson’s isn’t exactly cheery news. Still, losing control of one’s mind would be the worst thing. Hugs to you both. 2015 wasn’t the most spiffy year for me, either. There was loss and bad decisions (or I think they were bad–time will only tell, eh?) and awkward pauses and just too many unproductive days. P.S. I lost a sister years ago and don’t think I will ever get over it, so I’m sending an extra hug for you and your sister. Cheers and take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cinthia! I’ve read your posts about your sister and my heart aches for you. No, I can’t imagine ever getting over the loss of a loved one. You might integrate it into your life, but not really get over it. Here’s hoping 2016 is an improvement over 2015!


  6. I too am overjoyed that 2016 is here. My most-viewed blog post is on Memoir Prompts. It’s had almost thirty thousand views. The next in line is at about ten thousand. Blogging largely remains a mystery as to what gets traction and what doesn’t. But whether we blog for business or pleasure, the resulting connections are undeniable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear your blog is doing so well. But, yes, it’s the connections we make that are so important. And I see from visiting your blog that you have a loyal following. That’s priceless 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy New Year! And how lovely to see this list of faithful people.
    I hope 2015 is better for you. So sorry about your sister. A dear friend of mine told me she has Parkinson’s. Another friend’s mother has it. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, dear, I’m so sorry about your friends. I only know of the celebrities (Michael J Fox, Linda Ronstadt) and Janet Reno. I guess Robin Williams had it too but he had a host of other health problems as well. It’s a sad diagnosis but even my sister’s doctor said she’d rather have PD than Alzheimer’s. That gives me hope that PD won’t ruin her life although it will make it more challenging. I hope 2016 is starting off well for you!


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