Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Highlights Reel

Ah, the ornaments have been stored away, the tree is down, christmas cards and wrapping paper perch precariously on the overflowing recycle bin. The toasts are done, and midnight has come and gone.... which means it's time for my personal tradition: the New Year blog post.

First to have a look back at old man 2011. This puppy went out with a bit of a whine as a venomous stomach bug invaded our home, causing us to cancel plans to take the kids to Grandmama's and celebrate New Year's Eve properly. So while it's tempting to look back and grumble "well that was crappy" I've decided instead to run a highlights reel of some of the best of 2011:

• In January, Jim Dear got the word that a particular co-worker was outta there. Now normally I would not celebrate someone getting the axe but this person had made Jim Dear's life - and by extention all of ours - pretty dang miserable for a considerable period of time. So seeing the back of this person was like plucking an ornery splinter out of the ball of our family's collective foot.

• On May 12th, Jim Dear and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary and the Small Fry graduated from preschool. It tickled me no end that 10 years after Jim Dear and I said our vows, we were back in the very same sanctuary watching our oldest solemnly follow the leader down the aisle in a pint size cap and gown. After the ceremony Jim Dear and I celebrated by taking the day off from life: We drank champagne in the middle of the afternoon at the pottery painting place.

• In June Small Fry's baseball team won their division championship. I reread my original post and I still remember my giddy bubble of happiness at the end of the last inning.

• for July I have only 6 words: U2's 360 Tour came to Nashville.
And I was there.
'Nuf said.

• August was an eventful month with Small Fry starting kindergarten. My professional high point of the year was the LA SCBWI conference, the highest point of which was shaking the hand of David Small. Later in the month Jim Dear and I embarked on a Caribbean cruise - the real celebration for 10 years of wedded bliss. My personal high point of the year was lying on the Paradise Island beach with the aquamarine Atlantic ocean slurping at my beach chair.

• In October a show of my work opened at the Zapow Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina. A well-stocked Uhles minivan made the trek out there. It was nice to have a another vacation, this time with the whole family, and get to write off part of it as well.

So while not exactly feature block-buster packed with good times, 2011 was not all boring ordinary-ness. Let's examine my resolution from last year: Draw every day. I think I kept this one pretty darn well. But what I really learned is that it wasn't really drawing every day so much as working on my dreams a little every day. Some nights I didn't draw, instead I worked on new book ideas, or stayed up late painting new fabulous work. But after 12 months of picking up my sketch book just about every night, it's definitely become a habit. So I will keep "draw every day" as a hold over resolution for 2012.

My new New Year's resolution is a compound sentence: Find more ways to be thankful for what I do have and quit trying so dang hard to get my hands around certain elusive dreams of illustrator stardom. Recently I read a Woman's Day article about making your own luck. One thing it mentioned was that people who turn out to be "lucky" tend not to live check-listy lives. I can say with all sincerity that I'm about the best list maker and checker on the planet. But perhaps going "great portfolio, check!", "awesome list of art directors, check!", "winsome schmoozy smile, check!" is not working in my favor. Not that I'm going to be a total slacker (and still plan on having all of the above: awesome portfolio, contacts and schmooze) but I think the point of the article was not to worry so much if you miss some rule out there but instead let what happens happen and let opportunity find you. Yeah even just typing that I feel my eyes rolling. But that tells me that I should give it a try, even if it takes me a little while to figure out exactly how.

So maybe my 2012 resolution should be "quit gripping steering wheel of life so dang tight."


either way I decide to phrase it, it will be a great thing to check off my list.

Happy New Year!

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