Speeding headfirst down a snow-covered hill, front side firmly pressed against the wood panels of a Flexible Flyer sled, pieces of snow fly into the air. Cold wind, turning cheeks rosy, settles into the bones as the grip on the red, metal bars tighten.
The experience was over in a flash, reaching the bottom of the steep hill in an instant. Then, the long hike back up, sled in tow, was a struggle. But it was worth it to do it all again, trying to go even faster the next time than the last.
Growing up in a wintry climate, sledding was all part of the winter vacation fun. Bundled up in oversized snowsuits, snowball fights, ice skating, and tunneling in deep snowdrifts provided hours of entertainment. Time lost but never forgotten.
Welcome to the Christmas letter 2022. Smell-o-vision not included.
The year flew by. A tendency that seems to occur more the older one gets. But embracing those (hopefully) pleasant memories from this time of year, whether it be sledding, ice skating, or whatever holiday tradition you hold dear, can help provide warmth and comfort as the December days rattle on.
Days breezed by with utter efficiency in 2022 but there was plenty to keep me busy along the way.
One primary focus held my attention in 2022 on the writing front: the finishing of my latest fantasy novel, The Dragon Slayer. Promises of a spring release did not come to fruition, even as solid progress was made.
Suffice to say, after a three-month sprint beginning in late-September, the final edits have been made and the book finally hit the market early in the morning of December 24.
More marketing to come later, after the first of the year. The Dragon Slayer is currently available to download ($3.99) and purchase in paperback ($15.99). Hardcover will soon be an option, too, so be on the lookout for that.
Priority belonged with the fantasy novel but writing about the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and Boston College Eagles continued over at Chowder and Champions.
There was effort, too, in sending query letters in hopes of getting an agent/publisher for Of Snow Forts and Santa. I do believe this story deserves a wider market to reach, and hopefully with an agent or a traditional publishing house, by next Christmas that can be a reality (I do appreciate all of you who continue to spread the word and share the book).
Also dabbled in some playwriting, putting my toe in the water with the early stages of a new play. And got some words down for other projects I've been working on and spent plenty of time in the world of theater.
Proud to say Alley Repertory Theater came back strong in 2022, with three productions. I worked on all three in one capacity or another, mostly doing work as a dramaturge. I am thankful to continue to work with this theater, forging a great many friendships along the way.
In the spring, The Royale by Marco Ramirez was produced. This play originally was supposed to be produced in the autumn of 2021 but was pushed back because of COVID-19.
This last autumn, Hot Asian Doctor Husband by Leah Nanako Winkler hit the stage. And we are currently finishing up our run of Cabaret. Each night has been sold out, including our final weekend beginning December 28th.
I managed to find some time for travel in 2022. Monthly trips to Nevada were interrupted with a couple of longer trips elsewhere.
In July, it was a long weekend in Phoenix. By long, I mean not one of hardship but a Thursday thru Monday deal with two fantastic friends, one who lives in the area. And it was pretty hot, so one can drink a lot of beer and it sweats right out of you. But kids, make sure to balance that with plenty of water. Have to stay hydrated!
A quick trip was also made with my mom to Bishop, CA. Of course, any trip to Bishop isn't done right if not stopping at Erick Schat's Bakery, where we loaded up on bread and delicious sandwiches.
A final little trek was done with a 25-minute drive to do some hiking in the Ruby Mountains. I hadn't hiked the actually trails there since, well, let's guess the late 90s. We didn't make it up to any of the lakes but hopefully next summer (when perhaps my sister and her family can make it out this way. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge).
Since the summer of 2020, going on urban hikes has been a core aspect of my exercise regimen. I mixed in jogging on occasion and finally got in a steady enough routine that I achieved one of my goals: running a race.
This happened only a week ago, as I participated in the YMCA Christmas Fun Run. It was my first race since participating in a half-marathon in 2013 and first time doing this particular run since December of 2012. I wasn't quite up to shape to do the normal 10K so I settled for the two-mile portion.
My goal was to finish in 20 minutes. Though I ended up slightly above that mark, I attribute that to being in a logjam and having to walk the first 2-3 minutes. Overall, I was happy with the result, finishing 11th in my age group (out of 30) and 122nd overall (out of 520). My goal is to build up to at least a 10K in 2023.
photo credit: Jim Larson Photography
Throughout 2022, I dove into the world of baking and cooking. Nothing too outrageous, mind you. Mostly a way to learn and make myself a new dish each week. Well, most of each week. All told, I ended up making around 40 items I'd never made before. This covered all range of things, from salads to entrees, breakfast dishes to desserts, and everything in between. Here's a sampling below, with photos of the many dishes posted on Instagram.
Thank for joining along in this brief journey of the last 365 days. Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings and wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. To family and friends, near and far, a hope for all of you to have a warm and wonderful 2023.
Be bold. Be kind.