The Stroke of Midnight: 2015/2016

Carolyn’s Online Magazine


The WordPress prompt for January 1, 2016, was: where were you last night at midnight?

120413 IMG_9130e

On New Years Eve my husband Monte and I had dinner at my daughter’s house, then returned home, tired. I fell asleep at 11:45 pm and woke up at 12:15 am. Thus, at the stroke of midnight I was tucked cozy in my bed.

However, the moment 2015 turned into 2016 wasn’t neglected. I was probably in la-la land, a dream place having no time, reminiscing about 2015 as it was tucked in for its final rest.


2015 was a year that raced ahead of me with the energy of a souped up race car while I plodded along at the rate of the star fish, which moves, at top speed, .06 miles per hour.

Last New Year’s Eve I’d set goals for 2015:

  • use the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) technique during the first three months to complete the first draft of my novel
  • design a new blog (my first one pretty much filled up its allotted space with 1327 posts) and look into FaceBook
  • continue facilitating the writers group
  • finish clearing out the garage
  • keep up the house
  • lose weight/get fit
  • maintain contact with friends and family

These goals didn’t seem unrealistic as long as I persisted towards their completion. How did I do?

First goal. Actually, writing during the first 3 months went well, although the allotted 90 days was reduced by 17 days, which, never made up, were lost. During the 77 days I wrote on a 3-hour per day schedule I semi-plugged my way through some of the most difficult writing.

The NaNoWriMo technique calls for writing 1,000 words a day without editing or researching along the way. The expectation is that in the month (they assign November) you’ll have completed a novel which will need to be edited and re-edited ad nauseum before it’s complete. I knew I might not get through my entire novel, but was happy to break most of the logjams I was confronting in the writing. More about that in another post.

Research from original documents is a major part of preparing to write my novel.

Research from original documents is a major part of preparing to write my novel.

The daily writing regimen sapped the energy I needed to work on my other goals. Easter came and the house was a wreck. It took forever to clean and drained my energy preparing it for Easter company.

Second goal. The blog host site I used for my online magazines had become more complex. It took much time and lots of patience to work through the frustrations of creating this blog—which at one time was super easy, by comparison.

In June, I set up a Face Book account, which I plan to write about in a separate article.

Third goal. Facilitating the writers group suffered because I missed many meetings due to life’s interruptions. I appreciate the members who continued the group, even moved it along, in my absence. However, I began to feel like a non-member after a while. I’m now back in the saddle and moving it along.

Fourth goal. It was August before I could start cleaning the garage, so not much was accomplished. However, I now know where almost everything is, the Christmas items are more accessible, and I tossed a large bag of trash each week. Another job waiting to be completed.

Other goals. I did poorly on my goals of cleaning the house, losing weight, and maintaining friendships.

Not to shirk responsibility for my poor performance on my goals, there was a reason. Life interfered.

Oh yes, life. Not that the interruptions were tragic. For the most part I wouldn’t change them. It’s just that…my goals were forced to a back burner.

Perhaps the biggest interruptions were connected with travel. We were on the road 38 days—that’s 1/12th of the year. A 2-day minimum preparation and 2-day minimum cleanup time for each of 5 trips added 10 days. More than a month and a half taken up with travel.

Our first trip was a weekend in Pittsburgh attending a youth hockey league event my grandson was participating in. Great family time and photographic opportunities.

Vince Holland, #1

Vince Holland, #1

Easter brought the 2nd travel opportunity when Monte discovered the great Florida Drive-out: rent a car in Florida for $10 a day, for up to 21 days, and drive it to another destination in the United States. Reasonable airfare was very reasonable from Arnold Palmer Airport to Orlando, where one branch of his family relocated from Northern New York. If he had a bucket list, visiting them was #1, so I agreed to fly down and drive back. We had a wonderful time, visited people we hadn’t seen for up to 30 years, and met others we hadn’t met.

Flying out of Arnold Palmer Airport in Latrobe, PA: St. Vincent College

Flying out of Arnold Palmer Airport in Latrobe, PA: St. Vincent College

We returned to deal with crime in our back yard. A resident was prowling about stealing items from homes and 5 youth broke into our neighbor’s house. The neighbor was ill in the hospital and unfortunately passed on within a few months. It was disconcerting, and I continued to be watchdog over the property, which continued to be broken into by an unknown element.

The 3rd trip took us to Northern New York for my husband’s 60th high school class reunion, a wedding, and his family reunion. We enjoyed 9 days visiting and relaxing. En route home we stopped in Buffalo to visit my sisters and my high school friend, whose husband was very ill.

Ed & Pat in Ligonier, PA.

Ed & Pat in Ligonier, PA.

The 4th trip was back to Buffalo to visited my high school friend, whose husband died shortly after we returned home, and to share my older sister’s birthday.

We lost a good friend, Ed

We lost a good friend, Ed

Our final trip was to Jamestown, Pennsylvania, for a chicken pie dinner. While there a friend helped me paint some wooden doll heads that I had not painted for more than 20 years because I’m not a painter. She painted most of the heads for me, but I did 3 sets of 3 so I would have some dolls completely made by me. They now wait to be assembled. (see Why It Took 20 Years to Paint My Doll Heads )

151001 IMG_9344ELife is like 2015. One sets up plans, works to accomplish them, but LIFE interrupts with its own agenda. We can only hope that sometimes our goals and life’s agenda meet at times. But we must also remember that the interruptions carry a satchel of blessings. Thus, we should welcome them and reorient our lives accordingly.

Awakening in 2016 I asked myself: How can I improve the New Year to enable goal-reaching? Watch for my New Year’s article.

About carolyncholland

In several if my nine lives I have been a medical lab technician and a human service worker specializing in child day care, adoptions and family abuse. Currently I am a photo/journalist/writer working on a novel and a short story. My general writings can be viewed at My novel site is
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3 Responses to The Stroke of Midnight: 2015/2016

  1. Ed Cope says:

    Happy New Year Carolyn. Enjoy the year


  2. Pingback: The Stroke of Midnight: New Year’s Resolutions 2016 | Carolyn's Online Magazine

  3. Pingback: The moon is beautiful, isn’t it? | Ramisa the Authoress

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