Apparently, a blog that doesn't get updated often tends to lose its readership. Oh noes! I must do something about that.
Here's a year-end, hit-and-miss update:
January: I don't remember a thing from January 2008.
February: At the end of February, I went to Brooklyn for the first time, for my fourth American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. It's always good to geek out among my fellow travelers for a few days. My goal is to spend almost no waking time in my hotel room—I have accompllished that goal the last two years, and expect to do so again in 2009. This time, I'm on the schedule—a blogging panel. Eek! Hundreds of people listening to me in a non-internet setting! In February 2008, I was on a radio show late one Friday night. That was terrific fun. There were people listening, sure, but I couldn't see them. And my Merv Griffin's Crosswords appearance aired on daytime TV. The entire time the show was being taped, my heart was pounding.
March: Spring break! We vacationed in Florida. We started out in Tampa with a trip to Busch Gardens, and managed to be bad parents who let our kid's face get sunburned on day one. Ben's cheeks were crispy the rest of the week, poor thing. But! In the Tampa hotel pool, suddenly, Ben could swim. Last summer, his ability to traverse the pool with his face in the water was nil. This spring, with zero practice in the intervening months? Like a fish. Or maybe an otter. Also in March, I started therapy for the very first time. It was a good move. Being driven insane by Ben's homework sessions drove me to therapy.
April: Ben turned 8. We partied at Chuck E. Cheese. I think this spring we'll bounce it out at Pump It Up, the place with giant inflatables. No 6-foot-tall rodents = a plus. I think April was the month that a friend and I constructed a Sunday crossword, submitted it to the New York Times, and got an acceptance in a few weeks. The puzzle hasn't been published yet. Any week or month now! We also
May: Winter was finally over, but spring was rather lackadaisical. Chicago got ripped off this year, since we didn't get decent weather until June, really. We don't expect much, but we expect better than we got in 2008.
June: Ben finished second grade and counted the days until day camp started. The Chicago Park District's summer day camp rocks. The place Ben goes has an outdoor pool, so he got to swim every day. They had one field trip a week (laser tag! the beach!). Thirty hours a week for six weeks, lunch included, for less than $250 total. Winner!
July: Summer. Day camp. Not too much air conditionining needed—cooler near the lake.
August: Is anything more blah than a 42nd birthday?
September: Ben began third grade. Somehow the homework proves less difficult than second-grade homework. My kid is maturing, and maybe those management strategies I learned in therapy are helping too. Some of you may be wondering how on earth a kid's homework could pose such woes for a parent—and some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
October: Wow, that wasn't so long ago, and I can't think of much to say about the month. Status quo.
November: Co-hosted Thanksgiving at my cousin's place. Why anyone spends all day cooking turkey, I'll never understand. It's so much easier to buy a cooked turkey from Jewel and warm it up for two hours. I flirted with destroying my pot of mashed potatoes, but fortunately, it was only the bottom layer that got scorched. Oh, and I voted for that guy from my city for president. Yay, Obama! Didn't his face at the Grant Park acceptance speech transmit a strong vibe of "Oh, crap, what have I gotten myself into? I'm really in for it now."
December: We seem to be largely unscathed by this recession business, aside from losing a third of the value of our investments and having my dream job offer rescinded by a newspaper about to file for bankruptcy. We spent Christmas week on our first cruise vacation. You know what? It was a lovely trip—so warm! Winter-dry skin became baby-smooth! Hours of basking in the sun, manufacturing vitamin D! No sunburn! No serious seasickness aside from a little queasiness!—but I don't think cruises and I mix. I've been back on ground for four days, and I'm stilll feeling a little woozy from landsickness. My system is having trouble resetting from "rocking" to "still." I read up on mal de debarquement and learned that while usually landsickness only lasts a couple days, the unfortunate few see it last for weeks or months or years. I should have known I was asking for trouble. Back when I was a teenager, one night on board Amtrak left my head rocking for a couple days. I'm thinking a week on a boat might have more lasting effects than a night on a train.
Best wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy, and not unprosperous 2009!