Belated Merry Christmas, Celebrate Kwanzaa, Happy New Year!

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect back on the New Year’s resolutions I made this past January. I am very proud that I accomplished the majority of things I promised to do. My front yard was gorgeous this past summer. The bald grass patches got filled in and the flowers added an elegant appeal. I even managed to purchase a window box that was pre-made from a house that was about to be demolished in Wilmette. The flower box is bigger than I would have wanted and I’m going to have to make some adjustments so it can fit. That will be a project for this upcoming spring. In the meantime, it’s sitting up on bricks and covered with tarp to protect it against the harsh winter elements. The prior owners even had a built-in sprinkler system for it. They gave that sprinkler system to me and I’m going to figure out how to make it work by just being able to do a quick connect to the main hose as opposed to one that involves built-in plumbing.

My garage is still on its last leg. There’s a special way for me to get the overdoor to go up. But the door does work, and I am so grateful that I don’t have to try to find a place to park on the street. My evicted tenant (that gnarly rat) has tunneled his way under my neighbor’s sidewalk. I am so grateful he is leaving my garage alone. There was one day this past summer, as I raised the garage door, he ran out and you could hear me screaming for miles.

I’ve done my best to blockade his way in, and it seems to have worked. I truly feel Chicago needs to host a reward program and people should bring in the rats, dead or alive, and get paid $1 per rat. Because until we know for sure that the rat is dead, we cannot assume that the poison is working — or that the population is being diminished — specially when there’s so much food being left out for the critters in the alleys.

I’m grateful that the Austin community still is a thriving, viable area. It has always been a great place to live, and if we can only get more people grateful to be living here, we can change negative mindsets into positive ones.

I’m grateful for my wonderful neighbors. Recently the post office lied and claimed they had delivered a package to my front door. When I went and checked, there was nothing there. Of course the initial assumption is that a porch pirate had got the package. But truth prevails and the post office didn’t actually leave the item until Friday morning. My neighbor, knowing that I had been going ballistic over the missing package, accepted it for me.

I’m grateful my health is good. To be 68 years old and the only medication I take is some vitamins, it’s a miracle. Yes I’m moving slower and I do feel certain aches and pains. I have to think twice about getting down on the floor because I recognize how hard it is to get back up. But I am able to do it and that is a blessing.

My biggest blessing is waking up every morning. I’ve lost several friends this past year and as time progresses, I’ll start to lose even more. It’s the natural circle of life.

And I’m grateful for this newspaper. It does a great job of reporting on what’s going on within our community.