Monday, 31 December 2012

2012


Cro and John have posted little reviews on 2012, so not wanting to be left out, so will I.

I have done a lot of moaning this last year, and for that I apologise. The last few weeks I have been irritable with constant pain (I still am - I can hardly stand up today) but it's onset was timed perfectly to coincide with the holiday period, so only you and H.I. had to put up with it.

Last night, there was a bit of a celebration for Grandson's girlfriend's 21st birthday, but I opted to stay at home, not feeling much like going out in this shitty weather. As soon as H.I. disappeared in the car, I regretted not going with her, and felt very lonely, home alone. I realised how much I depend on H.I. for my happiness, and stayed up until she returned - like a small dog waiting at the door - so I could tell her so. Moral: Tell your nearest and dearest how much they mean to you, while you still have the chance.

I managed to tell my sister just that, a couple of days before she died this year, and even though I didn't see much of her in the 50 odd years since she left home, she was always a humorous and caring presence. Loose ends all wound up nicely, just in the nick of time.

My God Daughter and eldest niece was diagnosed with the return of cancer just after her aunt kicked the bucket, and now faces a pretty grim New Year. Being only about 15 years older than her, she has always looked on me as a sort of elder brother rather than uncle, and my titular role as 'Godfather' is just that. Like I said earlier in the year, I have now reached the age when I can work on my latent avuncularity, but I think I may have left it too late. Once or twice, I have stuffed a load of cotton wool in my mouth and asked her, "When was the last time you called me Godfather?", in my worst Marlon Brando accent.

I am only about 16 years older than H.I.'s daughter as well. She started off calling me the elder brother she never had, but now refers to me as her 'step-father' when introducing me to others. That's fine by me, just so long as her children keep calling me their grandfather. I have been adopted by as yet unborn generations of great-grandchildren, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that. I have learnt from mistakes in the past (that must be a first) and I tell all three generations what they mean to me on a daily basis. I cannot begin to talk about the guilt I feel for my biological daughter and grandchildren, who are so far away that I hardly ever see them, but it is a long story.

Work: I have always thought of myself as quite good at what I do, but suffered a bit of a blow to my self-confidence toward the end of this year (another first) which I chronicled here by recounting the arguments had with others, who accused me of not actually doing my own work, but relying on the superior skills of others to finish it off. Christ, that pissed me off, as you could probably tell.

So you can imagine how I felt when my best customer and patron (who is a household name - literally - John understands this little joke) gave me a Christmas card which featured a large carving I had made for his grounds, covered in last year's snow, with the hand-written inscription, "Thank you for being so brilliant and artistic" on the inside. He obviously had the same thought as me about taking the opportunity to tell others what you think (even if you over-egg it a bit) while you still have the chance. That meant a lot to me, coming when it did, at the end of a shitty year with weather to match.

This all sounds like it's all about ME, which - in a way - it is, but really it is about appreciating what makes the year worth living through - other people. Not things or money, but really valuable assets in the form of nearest and dearest.

A VERRY happy New Year to you!

Good story...

37 comments:

  1. Even though we all have difficult days, how lucky most of us are to have people around us who make our life matter. Every day is a good day to tell them that.

    May the sun shine more often in the new year.

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  2. I think I know your best customer and patron; is it Charles Durex?

    May your back feel better in 2013. Cro xx

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  3. I've just been watching the Sydney fireworks celebration live and crying into my wine as that is where my daughter is. And my back hurts too. Sob! Happy New Year Tom. x

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  4. It has been a year of losses has it not.?
    Let's hope for a 2013 of sunshine
    In all meanings of the word x

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  5. Oh Tom,
    What a very moving and honest post and one that many could write......we all have things to deal with throughout each year ..... life wouldn't be life if we didn't ..... and, I am sure that the good outweighs the bad. Obviously some have more to deal with than others but, focusing on all of the good, non-materialistic things we have is definitely the way to go.
    Sending Happy New Year wishes to you, H.I and all of your family and friends, many thanks for your blogging friendship and your humour throughout 2012 and here's to a wonderful 2013 ......... it's going to be great ..... I can feel it in my water !! Lots of love XXXX

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  6. Wise words Tom.
    A very Happy New Year to you too.
    And get that back sorted out!
    Jx

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  7. Thanks all - but nobody has mentioned that I spelt 'VERY' wrong, very wrong.

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    1. Christ - now I can't even remember how to spell it at all.

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    2. I'm going to leave it as it is and blame it on sticky Rs.

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    3. I thought that you were just emphasising the fact that our 2013 should be extra especially good !! XXXX

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    4. Like J@H, I thought you did it deliberately. Not just very happy, oh no: VERRY happy!

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  8. Verry nicely said. Happy new year; you're getting close.

    While your back recovers, you need a brace. Why hold your back up when something else can do the job for you. They aren't so easy to come by as when my grandmother had a corset maker, but your doctor can prescribe one and send you to a place that dispenses orthopedic stuff.
    Every vertebrae in my back is fractured. Bending over to do anything can be torture. I put on my wonderful brace, cinch it up and face the world again. With my usual smile.

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    1. EVERY vertebrae?! I'll stop complaining in that case.

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  9. Yes, get that back sorted. I have a munted back too, a legacy of my years of nursing in the 80s. Chronic nagging back pain is debilitating and depressing.

    All very - VERRY - best wishes for 2013, Tom. I enjoy your blog enormously, keep writing. XXX

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    1. A munted back - now I know what to call it!

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  10. The funny thing about loss, it always seems to make us more sensitive to the good things that we tend to over look because it always there.
    We are all somewhere in or circle of life, and loss of those we love reminds us of our location in our own circle.
    To my way of thinking, slowing down, taking inventory of our life and enjoying what is right in front of us is a GOOD thing.
    I love that you stayed up to tell your wife what she means to you.......I'm sure she loved that too.
    Happy New Year Tom.

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    1. All true, except she's not my wife. She means more to me than that.

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  11. Read all through your blog and the bit I want to comment is - Tom, you've always thought you were good at the work you do, because you are. Hope the pain subsides soon. Happy New Year x

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  12. wishing you a happy new year, Tom; verry peaceful and verry pain-free!

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  13. Happy New Year Tom!

    I've so enjoyed reading your blog throughout 2012. Enjoyed the highs, that is, and sympathised/empathised with the lows. That's life I guess. Full of 'stuff' whether we like it or not.

    So sorry about your back pain. Mr EM suffers quite a bit too. My theory is that it is a particular affliction of tall people who are too generous with their offers of lifting and carrying just because their height makes them seem to be so much bigger and stronger.

    Tonight make like Mr EM - avoid the pills and have a dram or two of whisky at the midnight hour - Happy Hogmanay!

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    1. Thank you Elegance. I have to lift, but don't have to avoid the pills - even though I do most of the time. I blame it on the elasticated waist-bands.

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  14. Happy new year to my verry most favourite blogger Tom! A lovely, heartfelt post.
    X Sarah

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  15. I have jusst begun to visit herre, enticed by the comments (often in awe and trembling) of other bloggers. I'm soryry you have back pain. That's a rreal bummer as we say down herre in antipodeanland. Influences everything elsse. It would be good to get that sorted. Then otherr things may simply ease into place. All the besst for 2013, Tom.

    (The exttra letters were inserted into this comment in a show of solidarity and sympathy for yours)

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  16. And a happy new year to you, too.

    That bit about the little dog and staying up... I know exactly what you mean. Spot on.

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  17. Dear Tom,
    a Happy New Year to you and your family! Just coming back from Munich, where we celebrated with our son and lovely daughter-in-law. I agree with you on telling people that we love or like them while we here. All the best! Britta

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  18. Blimey, you big soft mutt, is this what pain does to you? What of the man known as Tom Stephenson?
    Actually, I like the new you and heartily approve of always telling those you love how much you love them. (I am equally good at telling them when I am brassed off.)
    So, wishing you all that is good for 2013, Tom, and I hope that I've succeeded in amending my comments page so that you can cheer me up with sarky comments throughout the coming year!

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