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Looking back, my 2012 was only partly bad, I guess

Hi everybody, and welcome to my annual year-end letter, in which I brag about all my accomplishments and complain about all the bad stuff that happened to me.Kelly

Of course, the really great thing about these holiday-era epistles that come every year is the fact that we who write them don’t actually have to pause while you say whatever it is that you have on your mind because, well, we really don’t care about that, do we?

I think I’ll forego the old chronological approach, which always starts at last year’s big wind storm which knocked down the water line, outhouse, fruit room, maple tree — whatever — and just get right to the good stuff.

Who could forget this was the year I won a Pulitzer Prize in Smartaleckiness? OK, I didn’t really, but if I don’t push the envelope a little here, there isn’t gonna be that much to report. Besides, they don’t even HAVE a Pulitzer Prize for Smartaleckiness. Psych!

In the Dodged That Event category, it is with a great deal of relief that I point out the Japanese Tsunami, Superstorm Sandy, launching of numerous unauthorized missiles and rockets and the countless shootings of innocent people all over the world came nowhere near affecting me or the woman to whom I am married (who, of course, cannot be mentioned here, under penalty of death — mine).

I’d like to say our children achieved awesome things at their expensive, private schools, including attracting special attention for their talents in music, athletics, academics and altruistic efforts on behalf of the homeless and the disenfranchised everywhere, but I can’t because we don’t actually have any kids. We sincerely believe, however, that if we did, they’d be attracting that kind of attention constantly, and not without good cause.

We did pay off our mortgage this year, though, so take that, you fat-cat 2-percenters. In your face, Wall Street!

Of course, behind every silver cloud, there is some sort of shadowy black lining, and not having a house payment every month has meant we now have to set aside a certain amount of money for our property taxes, since it isn’t automatically being taken away from us by somebody smarter and richer than us and doing God knows what with it.

The other person who lives at our house and I both can report that we went through all of 2012 without hearing that we had any recurrence of cancer or anything similarly devastating. This hasn’t always been the case, so we choose to look at this as a blessing, and it makes us surprisingly giddy.

I know it’s a cliché, but you really do have to stop and smell the roses and appreciate each day as if it might be your last.

Another thing we find mildly satisfying is the fact that our family has experienced no deaths this year, but that’s mainly due to the fact that pretty much everyone in both of our families who is older than us is already gone. We have experienced this loss vicariously, though, as a number of close friends’ parents have passed recently, and that has served to remind us that we all face the same end, no matter how hot we think we are.

The year 2012 will not go down in history as the year we got a dog, the year we got smartphones, the year I traded my Honda in for an SUV or the year we won the lottery — all things we keep saying we’re gonna do, eventually.

We did make some new friends, though, and we got tomatoes to grow in a little patch of dirt at the front of the house. We went to Palm Springs, which was great fun, we had some dandy meals out (including first trips to Genoa and Ruth’s Chris Steak House), and we saw some very good plays at Portland Center Stage.

And, finally, we consumed more than our share of end-of-the-week cocktails (Manhattans for her, martinis for me), and that’s never entirely bad.

Former managing editor of the Times newspapers as well as the Lake Oswego Review, Mikel Kelly is now chief of the central design desk for Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune, and he contributes a regular column.




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