|Last family picture with my dad in July 2009|
As I have done in these virtual pages since 2007, when I started this blog, the last day of the year is a good time to reminisce about the good and the bad and the not-so-bad. In looking over my calendar for this year, I am reminded of how busy it was with travel and scholarly projects.
Before December 2010 ended, I traveled to Annapolis, Maryland, to be with my family for a few days as they gathered, for the first time without my dad, who left us that year, to celebrate the New Year. That was in keeping with the tradition he instituted in 1999, when he thought the world might "end" due to the expected computer crash caused by the change to a new century -- the infamous Y2 scare that thankfully ended up being a dud.
In early January, I flew to Los Angeles, California, my first ever visit, to present a paper on Hawthorne at MLA, a presentation that yielded a query from a book editor about my work. In February, we traveled by car to a seminar on immigration at the University of Chicago, which was a disappointment, but the visit yielded an advance contract for my book manuscript from that editor. In March, my husband and I traveled to Puerto Rico for our usual spring break respite, and we got in the car again in early June to travel to Annapolis for my nephew's high school graduation and then to Richmond, Virginia, to visit a good friend. In August, I traveled to Puerto Rico to be with my mom for a medical procedure and then in early September we got in the car again on our way to Canada to the famous Stratford Shakespeare Festival to see Richard III played by a woman actor. In October, we took the car to Boston, where I celebrated my 50th birthday on the same day that the Storm of the Century hit most of New England.
I am grateful that 2011 was a good year, with a successful pre-tenure review completed in the spring, many scholarly projects undertaken -- one article written, revised and soon to be published, a chapter for an edited book collection accepted and sent by the editors to readers for comments, a proposal for an article on Approaches to Teaching Hawthorne accepted for a collection on such essays, the book manuscript started with one full chapter completed -- and two faculty development seminars attended. This was also the year in which I won two teaching awards, one of which serendipitously gave me a one-year leave to finish the book manuscript for which I got the contract in early spring.
Indeed, 2011 was quite generous to me. But because it was very challenging for most everyone else, on a national and personal level, especially for those I love dearly, I cannot celebrate 2011 as a great year and am glad to see it end. Hopefully, 2012 will be kinder, and gentler, and more generous to everyone.
After a year of so much traveling -- five road trips (counting Maryland and Virginia separately) and three airplane jaunts -- my husband and I are happy to stay home to welcome 2012. This will be, however, the first year the family isn't together to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another, as had been the tradition. Still, almost all the nephews and nieces got to spend time together with my mom and sister at my brother's house after Christmas, which might just be the start of a new tradition in itself.
In the personal arena, my main resolution for this coming year is to spend a lot less money on myself and do more for those who have so much less than I do. I pray 2012 is a prosperous and healthy year for everyone. ¡Feliz y Próspero Año Nuevo!