It's getting to be very 'Christmas-y' here. Snow has been falling since yesterday evening, and it's expected to continue until tomorrow morning. As I type, there is about 18" on the ground (and on my house). That's a picture of my house that I took a little while ago - before it got too dark to take a picture.
As I sit here in my home office looking at my snowy side yard (also shown) and peck at Newsvine from time to time as I do some work - my thoughts turn to the my Newsvine experience over the past year. I have to admit that there were several times I thought seriously about simply closing down my account - but I also have to admit that I'm glad I didn't.
For me - "Get Smarter Here" really has worked. I've learned a lot more about many aspects of government in the past year than I have in many years. I've also shared recipes, discussed television shows and movies, discussed gardening, discussed personal things that I would never thought of discussing (thanks Ms Cyprah!), I've taken many polls that have caused me to think about choices (thanks R. Donald!), and many other things. I've learned about insurance (yikes!), health care, the politics of business and the business of politics - even the Civil War and the problems that bees are having. Spurred by comments I've read on the 'Vine I've looked up many, many more things than I ever would have looked up 'on my own'. Heck, I've even found out that there's an 87% chance that my cat is trying to kill me! How else would I have found out if I hadn't been hanging around the 'Vine?
With very, very few exceptions, I have met folks with whom I think I would enjoy: 1) having a glass of wine, 2) having a beer, 3) having a snort, 4) going fishing, 5) going bowling, 6) going to a play, 7) sightseeing in some faraway, exotic, nearby, historic, urban, or wilderness place, or 8) having over to dinner to chat about any number of things. I've walked down memory lane and have speculated about the future. I've stumbled upon many 'small world' situations. I've seen thoughtful commentary from folks obviously much younger than I - and who have impressed me by showing an awareness and maturity well beyond their years. I've also learned a great deal from those on the 'Vine older than I - and who share the lessons of their greater experience. All in all - I've been very impressed by the passion of folks on the vine and the depth of knowledge and insight that they bring to the conversations.
I've been saddened to see some folks come to the 'Vine, and I've been saddened to see some folks leave. On the other hand - I've been delighted to see some other folks come to the 'Vine, and I've also been delighted to see some other folks leave. I hope I've become a better person because I've 'met' folks I want to emulate - and because I've seen behavior and attitudes that I must remember not to emulate.
I look forward to continuing my modest participation on the 'Vine in the coming year. I will continue to try to understand what Eric Albert is saying. I will look forward with great anticipation, amusement and yes, affection at the typing adventures of JouleBeef. I will try to participate in at least one risque conversation by dkaz, Hekofawoman, and their posse. I will participate in some more polls by R. Donald Snyder and 'touchy-feely' conversations by Ms. Cyprah. I will look forward to seeing more 'zingers' by Kim, and many others. I was going to take the four persons off my 'ignore' list - but I found that they had already left the building.
So - I would like to thank each and every one of you (especialy all my friends) for (hopefully) making me a better, smarter (or at least, better-informed), more tolerant person than I was at this time last year. As they say in disclaimers - if I have failed to be a better person, the fault is entirely my own. I also want to thank Tyler, Calvin, and the unseen 'others' that have kept Newsvine a good place to visit.
As I sit and watch the snow continue to fall, I want to wish each and every one on Newsvine a very Merry Christmas (or 'Happy Holidays' if you prefer) - and give you my sincerest best wishes for a prosperous coming year.
PS: No doubt this is a 'metaVine' article, but I don't know how to publish it as a 'meta' article. Perhaps Tyler will change it for me.
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.