2013: An Essentially Self-Serving Summation

1. Books

I had three books out in 2013 — two Topps League titles (You’re Out! and Batter Up!), and The Winter of the Robots. So now I have a nice row of books with my name on them.

Meanwhile, I floundered on a new manuscript that is still a mess, dabbled at some other things, and have no idea how to answer the question, “what are you working on?”

Unless I answer:

2. Running

I used to run, back in the 90s, through the early 00s, but stopped for about ten years. Then I picked it up again and have been running faster and further than I did when I was younger. I started in April, trying to go half a mile (and failing) before breaking stride. I finished my first four-mile run in August, and by the time the first cold snap came I was regularly doing ten miles. I discovered that running up to, say, five miles is all about leg strength and cardo function, and once you master it subsequent miles come more easily. I also discovered that running more than six miles opens up new challenges in friction. Succeeding at those runs were (and still are) all about blisters, chaffing, and bleeding (don’t ask where).

Of course with all that running, I lost…

3. Weight

You’re not supposed to talk about weight in numbers. It’s like talking about how much your house cost, or how much your last advance was. But I’ve always been uncouth and candid. I weighed 204 pounds a year ago today. I know because I went to a doctor around this time and he told me I had to lose weight. He was hefty himself and delivered the news with sympathetic frankness. I went on Weight Watchers, cut out the nightly desserts and cocktails, and lost ten pounds. Then I started running and lost thirty more. I’ve actually put a few back on since then — resuming the nightly treats as cold weather remedies — but I’m still a lot less guy than entered 2013.

Of course all of this is navel-gazing. The biggest story of 2013 is the same story of 2012 and 2011 and 2010.

4. The Kid

He continues to fill our lives with wonder and dumb amaze as he changes and grows. He prattles now, tells stories — his verbal skills are astounding. He cracks us up daily with his narratives. He loves to count and make believe. He is obsessed with Toy Story and his affection for those characters has made them, along with Curious George, feel like members of the family. He loves books and he loves the iPad and the computer and popsicles and cookies.

One of my favorite memories of 2013 is a long, drawn out fight over a third popsicle. He screamed and cried and banged the counter and tried to get himself while I said, in increasing exasperation. NO NO NO NO NO. Then I gave him a popsicle because I was drained. I just couldn’t squabble about it any more. His mood brightened instantly. He took the popsicle, ran into the living room and plopped down on my favorite chair to eat it. He scooted over as I came in the room so I could set next to him, and for a moment we just sat there quietly, squeezed into the chair, side by side. Then he stopped, looked at me, and said “Dad?”

“Yeah?”

“I really like popsicles.”

“I know, kid. I know.”