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Happy Christmas Eve Eve to all

I’ve been at a gallop for the past 30 days.

I always seem to sucker myself right into the center channel of the Christmas maelstrom — and I like it. That’s the truth. I love everything about holiday prep, and this year I threw in a book release to see if I could, but I can feel the reins and my mind loosening.

Our daughter, Emily, is on her way from Portland as you read this. Butter cookies, popcorn and movies await our devoted attention. It’s a fine time to fall into red plaid PJs, sit back with a mug of hot chocolate and reflect on the year.

2018 has been revelatory to me and generous. I finally realized I could shed 24 pounds of ugly fat without cutting off my head. I ignored a lie that said women your age can’t lose weight so you might as well put your feet up with a box of Lindt truffles and embrace the flab. Low carb worked for me. It took time. I ate a truffle or three.

In spring, I returned to a women’s group to study the Bible after years of running from large groups of females and structured meetings. Don’t misunderstand, most of my best friends are women. As a writer, but not much of a joiner, it’s gratifying to note that not every experience conforms itself to my prejudices. I have shed barnacles of misbeliefs about others and myself.

I published a book. Most recently I’ve enjoyed two signings for “Trips & Tangents: 101 Favorite Southern Oregon Journal Columns.” The first at the Prospect Historic Hotel went amazingly well. I mean, you’d have to be hiding under the table to not sell books when you’re ensconced (thank you, Denise) in the cozy parlor waiting area near the restrooms. Fred and Karen packed them in with 280 reservations and a waiting list for two days. All I had to do was slide my foot out as celebrants passed. As I helped them up I showed them my eye-catching cover with The Blackbird and handsome Martin Majkut, RV Symphony director, vying for attention. I met many wonderful people who brought new meaning to the word festive, sporting fuzzy reindeer antlers and holiday couture fascinators. A few earned the title Grinch, and indicated that tops on their wish list was for me to take my chipper attitude and leap into Mill Creek Falls. Maybe next July.

I traveled from Victorian frills to Mid-Century Modern the following week, from the north end of our fair valley to the south, and had a blast at the far-out Luna Café in Ashland. While awaiting the crowd, I took advantage of their fab seating and posed on the many possibilities. Luna has a groovy array of ‘60s-style chairs, a leopard-print sofa, and curvaceous lounging furniture, and mirrors. These may be viewed on my Facebook page if you dare.

Some wonderful friends and fans of the column showed up damp from a torrential downpour. I pulled up two of the aforementioned chairs for visiting. Then, and I hesitate to mention this, but not too long. Jack Black and his band, Tenacious D, came to my book signing. Also, I sold a book to Jack Black. I dedicated it, “To Jack ...” and now he has my autograph. Oh, I doubt he scheduled my signing on his itinerary, and he may have arrived to hear the fabulous Ed Dunsavage Jazz Trio, but when I asked him if he wanted to buy a book, he listened. I told him Southern Oregon was a great place to live and rock out. I may not have said rock out. He said he’d heard of the theatrics in the area, to which I replied, “You’ve read my column?” I threw out, “It contains humor.” That proved the sealer. “How can I say no?” he replied.

Ah, me, it’s Christmas — born of hope, with challenges and serendipitous joy.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Peggy at pcdover@hotmail.com.