Year’s End 2010, Part 1

I intended on posting these before the end of the year, but somehow it slipped by me. (Must have been all that very last-minute Christmas shopping and then shoveling out from under 27′” of snow in NYC!!) In any case . . . I am, surely,  not alone in reflecting on the passage of yet another year. So if you’re not interested in my recollections of 2010, please feel free to move along to the next blog in your feed. I assure you, I won’t be offended.

Every year has interesting and unexpected times to be sure, and 2010 held lots of new things for me. I’ll keep it brief and hit one per month:

The Ashby Gap, Paris, Virginia.

January: New Job and move to Virginia. After working as a freelance editor for the better part of the decade, I decided to make a change and jump back into office culture, accepting a job as a production editor for a book publisher in Virginia. For those of you unfamiliar with what it means to be a “production editor,” I will explain. Simply put, we are the editors that take the raw material and make it into the finished product you see in the bookstore, or on your Kindle. I lucked out and landed in a very nice spot with a small, close-knit group of book lovers like myself. We sometimes call our humble office the “island of the misfit toys,” but truth be told, no misfits here. So, I picked myself up, moved to a cottage on my friend’s horse farm, and rolled up my sleeves for work.

Snow-covered Patio at the Cottage.

February: Snow-pocalypse 2010. The beginning of the worst snow season to hit Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro region in . . . well, let’s just say in quite some time, started in February. After only four short weeks at my new job, our office was closed most of the first week of this month and we all worked from home. Luckily, unlike many others, we did not lose power at all on the farm, but we were snowed in. I think the state road leading off the farm was actually the very last that the county cleared. What the total inches of snow fall of this historic week in weather was, I’m not entirely sure. Suffice it to say that it was as significant as the historic snowfall in 1996–incidentally the first time I moved to Virginia. It confirmed my suspicion that I bring snow with me wherever I move (which may very well be a study for another post).

Bluebells on the Shenandoah River, Clarke County, VA.

March: Promotion. In March my immediate boss, the managing editor of the production department, decided to move on to greener pastures after six years with our company. We are a small and busy department and this led to a bit of anxiety and concern with the question of who was to fill his shoes. With a bit of encouragement from my boss, I threw my hat in the ring and viola’, new job. I put on my big girl pants and got down to work–trying to pick up where my boss left off and find a replacement for myself. And amid all the activity and new responsibilities, winter melted away, and turned into spring.

One of the neighboring families in the area.

April: Work, gym, work, gym, work, taxes, gym. OK, April is a bit of a blur. All I can really remember is working a lot, going to the gym a lot, and fretting over tax returns the usual amount. I did manage to get out a bit and meet some more of the neighbors. A fine assortment in the area… steer, cows and calfs, horses, miniature horses, goats, and more… Never a dull moment in the neighborhood–from the random stray calf to the pet deer. Like I said, interesting!

The subject of the controversy.

May: The Lawn Jockey Controversy. A wonderful girl I know graduated from the University of Virginia this year, and as a contribution to her party, I decided to paint an old, cast iron lawn jockey found in the barn, with UVA’s colors and logo. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.  We placed it at the entry to the garden where the party for her and her friends was held and everyone seemed to love it. Everyone, that is, except one guest–a tenant on the property who took offense that said lawn jockey was black. I’d like to clear the record: the lawn jockey had decidedly caucasian features. He was black because he was made of cast iron, which is, traditionally, black. Not being a true artist, I decided to stop painting at his garments. Any attempts on my part at depicting facial features might well have offended other people on behalf of other cultures. I know my limits.

Polo field in Middleburg, VA

June: Polo, Food, and Friends Work continued to be really busy, and we finally found a new editor–hooray! So . . . with a new member of our staff and work settling down there was time for more important stuff . . . polo and more polo, some riding, and food and friends.

Someone else's darlin', Clementine.

July: More Polo, Picnics, and my pal Clementine Polo events continued to occupy my time on the weekends and provided many an opportunity for picnics, cookouts, and general fun socializing. July 4th provided a wonderful display of fireworks at Great Meadow, along with, you guessed it, more polo! Arriving home after the evening’s festivities I was unwinding on my little stone patio, when I heard the pitter patter of little paws that wandered onto the farm from the road. That was how I met Clementine, a Jack Russell terrier as sweet as her name. Collar, but no tag, she showed up around midnight and made herself entirely at home in my humble abode lapping up bottled water and eating roast beef. Too late to investigate where she might have come from or to contact the local ASPCA, she spent the night curled up on my bed, making me “dogsick” for my own rat terrier. The next day I called around to the usual places seeking her owner, all the while secretly hoping she would “just have to” remain in my care. As it turned out, she lived only about a mile down the road, with an acquaintance of mine, who had been worried sick all night. Happy to have assisted in this canine-human reunion, but still sad to see my new friend go, I brought her home. I saw her around the county from time to time after that, and I think she was pleased to see me. But maybe it was just the memory of the roast beef. Either way, it’s always nice to  make new friends.

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