Monday, 30 January 2012

Dilys and Dorothy L

sunny, cold, temps minus 10

Very beautiful morning - am in Montreal and heading off for a taped interview with Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio's The Next Chapter - a terrific national programme on all things literary. Love talking with Shelagh....who also happens to be a friend. So that always helps.

I'm actually declining all interviews and most work-related things - including reading books with a view to endorsing them - to try to do two sort of contradictory things...detach and relax and have fun with Michael and friends. but also, to allow for thoughts of the next book. I realize that I don't multi-task well. Like most people, I do it - but I am beginning to suspect what it means is that I do a mediocre job of many things instead of doing one or two things very well.

So now my priorities are: Michael and my personal life....and writing the next book.

Hard to do, honestly, without feeling willful and selfish. But am trying. I also know that there really is, as I've mentioned before, a season for everything. through the fall I plug into the greater that door....indeed, through the summer it creeps open. But now is the time to close it, and look after my own 'home'.

I imagine you know exactly what I'm talking about. Have to say - along those lines - we had a wonderful time at Hovey!! it was a great 'marriage' of relaxation and work. But the work was simply fun.

Michael and I talked (among other things) about one plot line for book 9, and then when Michael left, Susan and I talked about another plot line. I just love this part of the process. Creating....and inviting other ideas. And eating gourmet meals while we're at it.

have some wonderful news! A Trick of the Light has been shortlisted for the Dilys Award - voted on by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association for the book they most enjoyed selling in 2011! Here's the whole list...

Faithful Place, Tana French (Penguin)
Wicked Autumn, G.M. Malliet (Minotaur)
Tag Man, Archer Mayor (Minotaur)
A Trick of the Light, Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Ghost Hero, S.J. Rozan (Minotaur)

Congratulations to everyone!

And heard last night some more wonderful news!!! A Trick of the Light was voted the most popular book of 2011 at the very popular site, Dorothy L (which refers to the great Dorothy L Sayers). So pleased about that!!! And my friend Julia Spencer-Fleming was close behind with her wonderful book, One Was A Soldier.

You know, I hoped when I started writing to be published...I never dreamed one of the greatest joys would be all the amazing people I get to meet - and the friends I'd make.

Hope you had a fun weekend -

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Missing Link

overcast, mild, temps about freezing

yesterday was a lovely day inside at Hovey Manor - but rainy and ugly outside. I can't begin to tell you how unusual this is for Quebec - can't quite see the grass, but just about. And no cold or snow on the way. So we're in that netherworld where it's cold enough to be uncomfortable, but not so cold that it's pretty and we can ski and skate and actually enjoy it.

But having fun here...great food (sea bass, filet mignon, magret de canard) and stimulating company. Because of the bad weather yesterday Michael stayed here last night and left this morning...I think he prayed the bad weather into existence! Another dinner and breakfast. The omelette this morning was leeks, brie and blueberry compote - oh Lord. After he left Susan and I got down to work, discussing some plot points of book 9 - and she gave me lots of background....we discussed what facts would fit and where it would need to be fiction. I just adore tossing around ideas, building on each other's thoughts - and when something, even an aside, sparks, well, it's amazing.

Over tea in front of the fireplace we hashed out some extremely confounding areas....and I think you'll like the results. (If not, it's Susan's fault...)

Indeed, we got so wrapped up in what we were talking about, Marc-Andre at the front desk had to come by the remind us that I'd booked us back to back massages, and Susan was already late for hers!

So much suffering for my art - are those tears I see in your eyes? Perhaps not.

We're off to Montreal tomorrow - I'll drop Susan at her home and head to the apartment. Taping an interview Monday morning with Shelagh Rogers for her show, The Next Chapter. Shelagh's amazing and while I've declined almost all interview requests while I've tried to take 'down time' - I so enjoy my conversations with her that I agreed.

Then home to Michael Monday afternoon. Lovely man phoned as soon as he got to Knowlton (to drop off a package of special Manoir Hovey granola to Danny and Lucy at Brome Lake Books) to tell me he was safe and sound. You just never know, after a rain, the roads often freeze.

So, Michael is safe at home, we're safe here - life is good. I'd have made a great primitive man - only really concerned with safety and food. (they did have cream puffs back then, no?)

Speak soon - hope you are safe, and have enough food.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tailing Michael....or not

gray day - temps minus 3

Not doing much of anything outside - just cold and damp. We got up at 5:20 this morning - fed and walked Trudy then hit the road at 6am when Tony arrived to look after the house.

My car has a bit of rust at the door handle - the sort of thing that is aesthetic right now, but will become a problem if the rust eats more of the car away. This is a continuous problem in Canada, and why cars don't last all that's not so much for cold as the salt we put on the roads. it corrodes the metal of the cars.

I hate putting salt down on our driveway - but I did yesterday because it was sheet ice. Unbelievably dangerous. So, for the first time since we've lived in the country, I spread salt - and glad I did. But wow, does salt do the cars, the grass, the gardens, as the snow melts and it all runs away and seeps into the ground.

But for now, our problem was the dot of rust. We'd made this appointment at the autobody shop in Sherbrooke (about an hour from our home) a month or so ago. 7am. What were we thinking? Don't even have the excuse of being drunk! So, off we went at 6am. thankfully the roads were clear, though I could see the sheen of ice. Michael was in his car, I was in the VW beetle. He quickly outpaced me and I lost him on the highway - which was unfortunate since he had the GPS and knew where we were going. I knew it was somewhere in Sherbrooke. And I have to say, in the dark, in the winter, when all cars are covered in filth and dry salt, every car looks the same, so as I scooted along trying to find him, it was almost impossible. finally I got behind a gray car (they were all gray) and figured, good enough. I'm declaring this one Michael and will follow it.

And guess what? it was him! Took us straight to the autobody shop. thank heaven, because I was all but convinced we'd pull into some office building and a stranger would get out - having called the police about the whacko following him.

I asked Michael if he realized he'd lost me and he said yes, but he figured I'd find him again. Which sounds all quite romantic - but wasn't all that amusing or practical at 7am on the winter morning. Still, he was right. Damn him!

We dropped my car off and did what we always do when it's being repaired....we headed to Manoir Hovey for breakfast. Actually, we checked in, since the painting etc will take a day or two. Poor us. But makes for desperately expensive car repairs.

Still, no one's complaining!

The manoir is on Lac Massawippi. We sat and look over the skating rink Hovey has created in the middle of the garden - out onto the lake. Which is iced over. But the pre-occupation here is how thick is the ice? they're sending a crew out today with an auger to hand drill holes and see the depth. Not because they want to walk on the ice, or skate (though we've skated from Hovey to North Hatley one glorious visit after a thaw then rapid and deep freeze - so that the lake was glazed and perfect for skating) - the issue is far more serious....two of the manoir's guests will be arriving by ski plane on Friday and plan to land on the lake.

Frankly, the staff of the Manoir are sick with worry, which is why they're sending out crews to test the thickness of the ice. They're suggested other modes of transport, but the people are coming from another inn further north, where ice thickness isn't an issue.

I don't think I'll watch. I guess some people are more adventurous that I. Indeed, I suspect most people are....but I find as I age I'm far less courageous physically, but far more courageous emotionally. The inverse of when I was younger.

A storm is coming in Friday - so there's a pretty good chance the ski plane will be a no-go anyway. For now, Michael and I are sitting in front of the fireplace...reading the newspaper. We're actually also here for some quiet time, to discuss the next book. Some of the plot points. We'll be joined on Friday (weather permitting) by our friend Susan, who is a superb and senior journalist - so we can all toss around thoughts. I have two very specific plot points, but need some help and advice and expertise. I really enjoy tossing around ideas - thinking out loud. Not everyone is suited to help at this really demands people like Susan and Michael and my brother Doug is great at it too - who have thoughts but understand I need to own it. They can't be bossy. And not every idea will be good, but they all need to be respected....because sometimes the horrible ideas contain just a nugget of gold. There's a sort of alchemy that happens when people who are good at collaborating get together. Very powerful. So I'm looking forward to that too. And fun to do it in such beautiful surroundings.

Will speak soon - hope you're safe and warm!

Saturday, 21 January 2012


Light snow, temps minus 10

But rain in the forecast for Monday...the oddest winter I can remember - though last winter was splendid. An absolutely picture perfect Quebec winter. Cold but not endlessly bitter. Lots and lots of fluffy snow, that stayed. A couple of storms. Wonderful. Like the winters of my childhood.

I think we just sometimes get odd winters....and sometimes get glorious ones. Most of the time they're a combination.

But, what do I care? I've got Jamaica on and in my mind! Everyday I go to the website of the place we're staying (not an all-inclusive - more like Hovey Manor on the beach) and 'visit'. Trying not to raise my expectations - but really, alI we want is warmth, and peace and quiet. So as long as Jamaica doesn't get the snow Quebec is missing - and then the Hell's Angels come to stay in the next hut, we should be fine.

Had a fun dinner with Kirk and Walter in Knowlton. Thursday night is 'steak special' at the local auberge. At one stage in the conversation we were talking about Downton Abbey, which led to Upstairs, Downstairs (Lady Marjorie....I still get a lump in my throat) - then The Duchess of Duke Street. Kirk and Walter have the first series on DVD and when we dropped them off Kirk ran in and got it. Michael and I made the mistake of putting it on to watch an episode while we ate lunch yesterday. We got up at 9pm... six episodes later. And there are still three more disks.

We're off to Montreal - and will be watching the duchess before and after the football game. NY plays SF. Also tomorrow, New England plays Baltimore. And when we aren't watching 250 pound men slamming into each other we'll be watching an independent woman in Edwardian London. Like our winters, it all balances out. Though we sometimes feel distinctly unbalanced.

To thank Kirk and Walter, we're dropping off the first season of one of my favorite Britcoms, Gavin and Stacey.

Back on Monday -

Am loving this period in my life. Feeling, finally, more human. More relaxed. And getting more and more ideas, more thoughts, about the next book. Not trying, they just come. I collect them, then pick and choose which ones are valuable. some are big, some tiny. Some thoughts start out tiny, vague, like wisps, and grow more significant.

It's a funny sort of process. All the while I search for the way 'in'. The crack that will let me into the story and the characters....the major 'keys' of their emotions. So that I not only understand the story and them, but I feel them. I find and feel the emotion that connects the characters and the action.

I think I'm getting closer and closer with this book. Have had intimations of it. Very exciting. I love this stage. Like watching something I love come alive...get up, and walk, almost independent of me.

See what I mean by 'unbalanced'?!

Next week I'll be doing research for the book....trying to pin down some of the skeleton of the story and plot. The actions of the characters....and then their reactions. Lovely to have the time to do this at my leisure and not be pressed.

Time to head in to Montreal - speak soon -

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Oh, puh-leeeeze take me out....

Minus 11- prodigious wind! Good day to stay inside

About to go outside...take Trudy for a walk. She comes over and starts nudging me and I keep hoping she just wants to play - so I get down on the floor and we roll around for a while - then I get up and five minutes later she'd nudging me again.

I think she wants to go out. Oh, here she comes again...pretend you're dead. Pretend you're...too late, she's seen signs of life. Took a photo...she does this thing with her stinky ball where she nudges us with it, then puts it on the seat and rests her heavy and disappointed head (leaden with sadness and unfulfilled needs) on it.

I'm doomed.

A very odd winter. Desperately cold, then rains and freezing rain yesterday - and overnight it all froze. Great for skating. Michael once fell and broke his wrist in weather exactly like now both of us shuffle along as though our feet are attached to the ground. Do you remember the Carol Burnett show (fabulous) and that old man Tim Conway played who shuffled along an inch at a time? I laughed and laughed at that - and have now become him.

Invited to a wonderful soiree benefice which will be thrown by Blaise Renaud, of Renaud-Bray. They're a huge and influential bookstore chain in Quebec. He's assembling an evening with what's called 'coup de coeur' - in various field...literature, music, art, theatre etc, as a fund raiser. And he invited me (presumably not to make the dumplings). Unfortunately Michael and I will be in Jamaica. But it is an amazing feeling to be counted among the glitterati in Quebec - especially when for years so few Quebecois knew I, or the Gamache books, existed.

I called the very quiet resort and upgraded to a private cottage on the beach...steps to the ocean. I think I'm going to be sick with excitement! Which is most of the fun, of course.

Oh, the other photo is of one of the winners of the Maid of the Mist bright blue rain poncho. Michael and I gave ours away in the fall, in a draw on the newsletter, after we had a family reunion in Niagara Falls, and went on the boat that goes around the falls. Amazing fun!

One of the women who won is Linda (who is wearing the poncho) - and the other women are members of her book club - Kathy, Trish, Tina, Pam, Mary, and Moses (the dog) of The Most Righteous of the Righteous Babes book club. i'm not much of a joiner, but that's one book club I'd belong to!

Hope you're enjoying your day. Now it's time to take Trudy for a shuffle.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bog people

minus 27 - no need to say anything else

Here's a photo - I tried to capture what minus 27 looks like....but it actually looks a lot like minus 2. I couldn't quite get the ice fog - when the air itself actually freezes - hanging over the mountain...bitterly cold days are actually slightly misty. But God, as a reward, are they ever beautiful. All shiny, and silver.

Thanks to our friend Nancy, Michael and I have discovered a new piece of winter least, new to us. They're called (for reasons I can't be bothered to understand) Bogs...and are boots. They look like rubber boots but seem to be made from the same material as thermal scuba suits. They're also very comfortable - soft and squishy underfoot (perhaps that's where 'bog' comes from). And - best of all - they're warm to minus 40. We didn't really believe that, but I can say for sure, after the walk this morning, they're good to minus 27. Absolutely perfectly comfortable - while the rest of me, bundled and thermalled up, still shivered. If they made a Bogs body suit I'd buy it for Michael and me. Then we would, indeed, all look like creatures from the Black lagoon. And loving it.

Kirk and Walter dropped by this morning - had a fun visit. We're having dinner with them in Knowlton later this week. And had dinner last night with Louise, before getting together with other friends.

And Michael and I have decided we need to get away. having finished the line edits on The Beautiful Mystery (which will almost certainly come out in early Sept) and doing other pieces of work, we realize we cannot be at home and completely unplug - we need to actually go away.

So we looked for last minute deals in the caribbean.... all the things people complained about in resorts, we take as positives. No nightlife, no live entertainment after 9pm, no children's programme, no big pool with different bars. No beach volleyball, no waterskiing.

That's for us!

All we want it to be warm, and lie on a beach, sip fruit drinks and swim and read. We don't want to be entertained.

To everything there really is a season, and in this season of our lives we'd love to do next to nothing....and that includes cooking. So a self catering villa or condo was out.

We finally found what seems the perfect place. Will be leaving in a few weeks...yay! I've already been auditioning books....making a pile of the nominees....will choose three or four.

We are so lucky that we can do this. And part of the fun is in the anticipation. Bring on minus 27. Bring on the Bogs. The chapped lips, the hot water bottles in bed...because I have the caribbean in my head. You know, I do have to say, I wasn't raised with this sort of privilege....and no part of me ever expected to be living a life where we could make this choice. And so it just amazed and thrills me.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

As long as we're not traveling...

OK, so right at this moment, there's a storm - but if I blink it might go away. Temps near freezing. snow and blowing snow- very dramatic. Tub filled with water in case we lose power...we're on a well, so if we lose power, we lose water. So when there's a particularly violent storm, we fill the tub.

Apparently whatever we're getting today will get worse tomorrow. Forecast is for mix of rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain.

The wonderful people at Harbor Sweets sent two boxes of chocolates, so we pretty much don't care what happens outside - though we do hope that those of you who have to go out in it are very, very careful. I know - it sounds silly to even say that, of course you'll be careful - but just wanted to underscore it. In canada, not much will blow our houses down - and not many people break into our homes. The threat is almost always outside. It's not unusual to hear Canadians say, 'I love snow storms - as long as I don't have to travel'. There is always that qualifier. And it's how I feel. I just adore snow storms - the more dramatic the better. Bring it on - as long as....

Lise has just been and gone - discussing getting permissions to use poetry, and tax forms for the foreign language editions. who knew there was so much bureaucracy with writing books. Of course, the writing isn't bureaucratic, it's the publishing.

I've come to realize I'm not a detail person....and yet, I thrive in order. Disorder, and certainly chaos, gets me nuts. I'm actually fairly organized - but I hate the details. Of course, we all have things about what we do that we dislike. But wow - if we don't stay on top of the paperwork, and files and details there is complete chaos very quickly. In just a matter of days we're swamped.

Enter Lise. My assistant. She showed up this morning - through the blizzard - carrying bags of books to be signed and mailed, permission forms, licorice all sorts and a fresh loaf of cinnamon bread she'd just baked. I, of course, was still in my PJs, and Michael had egg in his beard. We felt like neanderthals visited by an advanced species.

Lise sorts us, in the most gentle of ways, and when she leaves everyone and everything is smiling and shiny and ordered and happy. she's the literary Mary Poppins.

Am off now to put up pictures our good friend Cheryl painted and gave us as a house warming. I photographed them so you can see. She actually writes and illustrates children's books, but also illustrates publications on herbs and medicinal plants. And the bee is just for fun. I think they're all magnificent. We have another painting of hers in our living room. Impressive woman. I see now there's a weird reflection in the illustrations of the plants...couldn't figure out those lines (not sure if you can see them) then I realized it's the tongue-in-groove ceiling of our kitchen. We have a wood ceiling - very old fashioned, but we love it.

The hammer and nails call - and the storm continues. But inside, all is calm. How perfect.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Winter in the City

Snow squalls, but mild - and sun coming out now - temps 2 degrees

But, since this is Canada, our temperatures are in celsius - which means - our zero is 32 degrees in the United States. So our plus 2 is just above freezing. It's actually quite easy. Freezing is '0'...then everything else radiates from or minus. But like most things, it has taken a while to learn. I'm in the 'shoulder' generation. I was in my mid-20's when the switch from fahrenheit to celsius was made. So I grew up with hot being 80 and cold being 20. Freezing was 32 and zero was desperately cold.

We also switched speeds to kilometers from miles, and that has also taken a while to learn. Our speed limit on highways is 100 kilometers an hour....but when I learned to drive it was 65 miles an hour.

I still think in both. When the gas fireplace was put in the 'kids' (young men) who did it apologized for the temperature gage being in fahrenheit, and said they could come back and change it....we said, 'It's OK' - both Michael and I were secretly relieved. I think temperature in F still makes more sense to me. Whereas for anyone under 40 it is a completely foreign 'language'.

But I realize I now think in kilometers. When we travel to the states and I see something is 50 miles away, I think 'kilometers' and then am surprised when it takes so long. Our speed gage on Michael's car is only in kilometers, so we pretty much take a 'best guess' at what speed we should be going. (Michael's guess is lower than mine).

We are a dying breed...those who remember and still, sometimes, live in the 'old days'. Before TV remotes. Before cable even. When we still talked about HiFis and records, and cars needed to be 'broken in'. When I bought my first 45 (Summer in the City) and there was one telephone in the house, attached to the wall. We played outside and took the bus and subway without fear and kids sometimes still died of polio.

I sometimes wonder what those young men who installed our gas fireplace will have to adjust to, when they're in their mid-fifties.

I wanted (on a different note) to thank the Indie Literary Awards. This is the second year they've handed out these awards and the first year they've had a category for Mystery Novels. A Trick of the Light has been nominated! Also on the shortlist are:

Missing Daughter, Shattered Family by Liz Strange (MLR Press)
The Cut by George Pelecanos (Reagan Arthur/LIttle, Brown)
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (St. Martin’s Press)
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey (Dutton)
Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski (Mulholland Books/Little, Brown)

Congratulations everyone - wonderful books!

The Indie Lit Awards are compiled in different categories by an association of internet literary the nominations come from all over the place. A panel of judges has been assembled and the winners will be announced in mid-March. I am thrilled to be on the shortlist! Thank you so much.

We're in Montreal now - drove in this morning. Am about to do an interview with the Journal de Quebec for the launch here of book 4 - Defense de tuer.

Tomorrow we have a few appointments (including dentist for me and accountant for Michael) then back home before the snow on Thursday. the line edited manuscript for The Beautiful Mystery has arrived. We will get to that on Thursday.

As you see - 'time off' is a flexible term.

Hope you're enjoying your week! Speak soon -

Saturday, 7 January 2012


freezing rain warning - temps 2 degrees - right now just spitting

I know we should probably be glad it's so mild, but on a walk this morning I ran into a neighbour and the first thing we both said was, 'weird weather'. then, being Canadian, we discussed it for ten minutes then parted. But we were of a mind. We'd rather have snow. We'd rather have minus 10.

I remember reading somewhere - actually, it was in a play, I believe it was called "A Walk in the Park" - in which history was described as 'geography spread over time'. I loved that. I understood it, and believe it to be true. Mountains, lakes, oceans, deserts protect us, or make us vulnerable....but I think they also help define our characters.

Canadians are used to cold in winter....if I wanted it otherwise I'd move south. Just like people in Florida want it warm. It's just what is natural. This feels unnatural. Now, having said all that, come April when it's snowy and blowy, we sure complain, like it's never happened before. I'll tell you, at least in this part of the world, April is always unpredictable and often snowy. And yet, every year it seems to come as a shock.

Had a bit of an active morning - but nicely spaced out (don't say it). Mike arrived to put up the mirror in the bathroom and fix some toe boards that weren't quite right. We made him a coffee and left. off to Knowlton. I needed to sign some Vive Gamache bookplates for Danny and Lucy, and some books, so we decided to have breakfast at Cafe Floral at the same time. Good decision! Started with decaf bowls of cafe au lait - then Michael had the waffle with fresh whipped cream, fruit and warm maple syrup and bacon. I had the eggs florentine. He won. My eggs were great, but really? No competition.

Then off to see Danny at Brome Lake Books. Then I drove Michael home, dropped him off and I headed to Vermont to do some mailing and get gas. We always gas up at the Pinnacle Peddler....partly because we just adore everyone there - partly because it's cheaper in the States, and partly as an ongoing protest against the gas station in Sutton for making their new building so tall it ruins the view on the main street of the mountains. The gas station, when we first arrived, was charming (if such things can be charming). A sort of throw-back. There was full service. Young men and women (teens with their first jobs) would fly out of the little enclosure and fill the tank and do the windshield. In the middle of winter it was a god-send. People would come from miles around for that....especially older people. but the new station fired all the kids, made it self-serve and despite huge protests by townspeople, built this huge convenience store. (we already had a small one in town just down rue Principale - so it was a shame to have a second - that competes and ruins the view).

Now, I have to say, when we have gone in the new gas station, the people have been very nice - but I think we'll continue to support the Pinnacle Peddler.

Off tonight to see friends - then home all tomorrow. Hoping, finally, to do nothing. but am beginning to feel like Charlie Brown and the football.

Hope you're having exactly the sort of weekend you were hoping for! Speak soon.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

True nature

snow gently falling, temperatures have risen to minus 6

Now this is my idea of peace. sitting by the fire, cafe au lait, Michael, Trudy, a Michael Innes mystery (There Came Both Mist and Snow)....nothing on the agenda. Yes, we have no bananas. Nobody coming over. Nothing to be done. OK, some laundry - but that will wait. And I can just drift into the laundry room and do it at my leisure.

I realize what I want - and what I suspect most people want - is to set the agenda. Kind and wonderful friends are asking us out...and I said to Michael that it's not that I don't want to see them - but I'd love to do the asking. It must be a psychological thing, of regaining control over our lives.

And for now, solitude and quiet is the goal. I think it's because, at heart I'm a bit of a hermit. so strange and contradictory...I genuinely like people. And need people. And yearn to belong. Long for a sense of community. And yet, I also want my privacy and solitude.

I think, as amazing and wonderful as the last few years have been - and I wouldn't trade them for anything, they really are my dream - there is an element of losing control of my life. going with the flow became a river, then a rapid, then a cascade...of all great things. But I do feel I want to rest on the shore for a while, before plunging back in.

This is our shore.

Hope you're feeling peaceful and energized as you head into 2012. The photo above was taken by Gary last week, when he came to take new pictures. Not sure this will ever be chose as a shot for the dust jacket - put I like it!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy 2012!!

overcast, very mild, temps plus 2

Freezing rain overnight - treacherous to go out - sooooo - we aren't. We take this as a divine sign that we must stay inside this first day of 2012, drinking coffee and hot chocolate and reading by the fire. Or watching movies and football. Oh, God - when will the decisions end???

We hope you're having a great day too.

We went out for dinner and a meeting last night (friends of Bill) - the perfect way to end the year and begin the new one. We spent much of the evening talking with our friends about gratitude, and the power of perception. Home early - but relaxed and ended up staying up to midnight. 12:01, actually. Saw the ball drop in Times Square, then turned out the lights and were 'bagging Zs' as my brothers used to say.

And today? Well, as I say, just a whole lot of nothing. Have been working toward this for years. Two months of tranquility. No plane ticket in my purse (well, one to London in march, but that's a long way off). No place we need to go. only places we want to go and people we choose to see. for instance, breakfast tomorrow with my great friend Cheryl - who I miss so much, and now finally have relaxed time to spend together.

I know you know how wonderful this feels. I suspect most people yearn for this too - time for ourselves. What is the TV network that talks about ;'Time well Wasted.' That's what I hope January will be.!

But I do want to tell you that having you as company makes everything so much more fun. Thank you!!

I hope 2012 is all you hope for, and more. That is it filled with health and laughter, with joy and peace. Good company - and perhaps even, some good books. But mostly, I wish for you what you wish for yourself.

Michael sends warm embraces, as do I. Happy New Year!!!