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January 01, 2004 - Thursday, 11:20 a.m.

It was a nice quiet New Year's Eve for me. No excitement, no noise, I didn't even watch the celebrations on TV. I just relaxed by myself. Phil and Curt went out to dinner and then to the movies ("The Return of the King"). I didn't do a thing really. I didn't think about the old year or the new year to come. I watched a little TV, played on the computer a little, and fell asleep after a hot bath watching a movie.

It's interesting how the New Year always makes us want to reevaluate all that we have done and are doing and make changes. Though, as a Baha'i, our New Year is the First Day of Spring, in March, the Jan 1st New Year will always be a time of reflection for me. What do I wish to change from the old year? What successes did I have last year.

Last year was really a good year for me. I started it off with some major surgery that left me feeling pretty weak and ill. But as a result I lost nearly 100 lbs this year!! What a transformation!! I feel better about so much!! This summer I did major work on my house that I couldn't have dreamed of accomplishing 100 lbs ago!! In the early summer I decided to go back to school for my MBA (shortly after attending Char's graduation for her MBA in May). I jumped on the wagon, completed all the testing and applications in record time, managing to get myself admitted to the University for the Fall Semester. I took a 'more than' full load of classes this fall and completed the semester with a 3.9 average!!! The best semester at University that I've ever had.

One of my old co-workers that now works in a different area, came by yesterday to wish me Happy New Year. He said, 'it's been like a transformation for you this past year, you look happier, and more confident.' It was a wonderful compliment, and I thanked him. That is how I feel, like I have been reborn again. Like I'm not even the same person I was a year ago.

I feel like I can look ahead now and success seems to be on the horizon, rather then out of sight.

This year is the year my grandmother will turn 100... in just a few months now. This is also Lake year. The year we all go to the Lake in Minnesota for a week. (My father and all his kids and grandkids, and my father's brother and all his kids and grandkids that can attend). We usually can top out at about 40 people, and often include many of our close friends. It is the perfect vacation... at least in my mind. We just have to get ourselves there (About 1200 miles) and then we just play games, visit, waterski, swim, and relax for a week... no agendas, no big plans or sites to see, just open time. A vacation in a spot that seems to never change... only we change. It is an odd feeling to be able to meter your life in 2 year increments... for instance... only 7 Lake Trips ago, my kids were all under 6 years old, in about 3 more Lake Trips my boys will all probably be married and I'll be a grandma. When I walk into the cabins there it's like we were just there last week, except the kids were 2 years younger. The furniture is all the same, the things hanging on the wall, the way the lawn looks as it goes down to the lake. The lake.. oh my... it hasn't changed at all. My father started fishing on that lake when he was 7 years old... and it is still the same to him. The fishing holes are all in the same spots. It must be an amazing time warp for him, when he goes there. It is a trip to see time pass like that.

This year I want to focus my eating to a healthier place. I spent most of this year relearning how to eat and finding what I could eat... but I haven't made the healthiest choices. I'd like to see more vegies and proteins this year. Additionally, I'd like to see myself exercise more. More then anything I need to strengthen my lower back (which will include strengthening my abs). My lower back continues to plague me. No ruptured disk this past year, but continued chronic back pain. I'd like to see that get better this year. I am also planning to have a very successful school experience this year, and will stick to the plan I have in place that has me graduating the Spring of 2006.

The only other goal I'd really like to focus on is to make my spiritual connection stronger. To spend more time reading from the writings, saying prayers and attending events. I want that to be a stronger part of myself, that commitment.

This year is going to bring many changes as well. This year I'll become a Great Aunt and a mother-in-law. I am looking forward to both events. The flow of life is continuing in what can now been seen (by me) as a steady stream. I love that circle of life that brings babies and life into your life no matter what your age is. Children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, great grandchildren.... How truly lovely the flow of life is.... how filled with hope and despair, happiness and grief... ever changing, touching each emotion in our heart, and ever flowing. I like the pace... I like all the pieces... what wondrous experience life is.

The sun is shining... the day is passing. Mao is curled up on the bed sleeping soundly at my feet... and Halfie is curled up on a blanket at the other corner of the foot of the bed. I am listening to the sound track from "The Return of the King". The boys are all sleeping... and it's nearly lunch time. I work tomorrow.. so I should really try to enjoy this day.

Happy New Year... may the upcoming year bring us all our hopes and dreams.

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