Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Quick Look Back by Alison Henderson

This month we're looking backward and forward here at the Roses of Prose. I have to admit I don't spend much time or energy looking backward, as a rule. I'm generally a forward-thinking person - full of optimism, energy, and plans. However, 2013 was such a watershed year for me that it deserves a few minutes of reflection.

January 1st was my first official day as a retired person. I'm still not exactly sure how I feel about that. After thirty-seven years, I was burned out on my day job and more than ready for a change. However, the change I cooked up was so dramatic my husband still hasn't recovered. In my family I've always been known as the logical, practical one, but after years of living cautiously, I was inspired to leave Minnesota (where we had lived for twenty-three years and raised our daughter) and move half-way across the country. So we headed west to our vacation condo in Carmel, California and started house hunting. We found a tired '70's ranch house in a spectacular location and signed on the dotted line. 


Sadly, at the end of February, my beloved father succumbed to the ravages of Parkinson's Disease at the age of eighty-five. Those of you who have lost a parent understand the empty, hollow feeling. My sister was able to show him a picture of our new house on her tablet before he died, but I'm sorry he will never see it in person. He would have loved the view of the golf course across the valley.

In March, we sold our house and packed up our most important possessions, saying goodbye to nearly half the stuff we had accumulated during thirty years of marriage. On Good Friday, we hit the road on our great driving adventure across the American West. I wouldn't want to repeat the experience, but like most adventures, it tightened the bonds between those who shared it.

April brought a flurry of activity as we settled into residence in a new state and embarked on the mammoth remodeling project necessary to turn our abandoned, rat-infested money pit into a beautiful new home. After nine months of construction and mountains of cash, we have finally started moving our belongings in this week. Hooray!

I also started a slew of new professional projects in April, beginning with my first book cover designs for fellow Rose Jannine Gallant's Secrets of Ravenswood novella trilogy. I loved the design process (and the results!) and went on to design the cover for my first romantic suspense novel. I spent late spring and early summer learning the skills necessary to self publish Unwritten Rules, which went live at the end of August. Thanks to a labor swap with Jannine in return for her covers, I had expert help with the editing. Everything else I tackled myself, if only to prove I could. It was a very satisfying experience and one I plan to repeat.

Back on the personal front, my daughter decided to leave her PhD program in Egyptian Art and Archaeology and look for a "real job". Never one to keep the ups and downs of life to herself, she allowed her father and me to suffer along with her every day of her frustrating, months'-long search until she finally landed a good job in mid-October. What a relief! I think it might be nearly as difficult being the parent of an unemployed child as being unemployed oneself.

Somehow, in the midst of all this activity, the rest of the year kind of slipped away from me. I'd planned to write and self-publish a Christmas novella. Oh, well, it will still be a good story next year. All in all, I have to consider 2013 a resounding success, even as I hope 2014 will be a bit less action-packed. Here's wishing you just the right amount of excitement for the New Year!



Margo Hoornstra said...

What a great year you had, Alison. I was sort of in on your cover development for Jannine. Nice job there. The one you did for yourself. Priceless!

Diane Burton said...

Wow, Alison, what a year. Congratulations on your retirement and move. Your remodeled house looks great. Wishing you much success in 2014.

Jannine Gallant said...

One of these days I hope we can meet face to face since we're both in the same state now! So excited for you and your move into your awesome new house--a great way to start the new year. Also good (and by that I mean forewarned is forearmed)to know the moaning to parents doesn't stop when the teenage years end. I'll prepare myself in advance! LOL

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Moaning to parents? I have a 42-year-old son who calls me for affirmation on his parenting. Was taking Ryan's cell phone for two-weeks the right thing? How did I keep from killing him when he was a teenager 'cause Ryan had just plucked his last nerve. I just laugh. So, yeah, parenting continues. You've had a great year. The move, alone, is traumatic. We went through the same process, but only moved 350 miles. Your move was epic. Yet you survived and are blooming where you've been planted. Yay you!

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, everyone. It's been quite a year. And no, the moaning never stops. I consider it a small price to pay for having such a close relationship with my daughter.

Alicia Dean said...

2013 was definitely quite a year for you! I love the house, I'm so happy you now have everything done and have been able to start moving in. What an exciting year of changes. Ditto on the moaning thing. My 3 grown kids vent to me often, but then I vent to them, too. I agree, Alison, it's a small price for a close relationship.

Leah St. James said...

Wow, Allison, talk about major changes (and major stresses). (And I can SO relate to the child going through the job search. Argh.) Wishing you a calm and happy 2014!