Cathy Hamilton: A year in view, a year in review

— The year's end is a time for many columnists to review and reflect on stories they told during the past 12 months.

Not this chick.

I have gift cards I've forgotten to use since 2004. How the heck am I supposed to recall what I wrote back in April?

What I do remember - thanks to a handy folder on my desktop labeled "Reader Feedback" - are the wonderful people who felt compelled to correspond after a particular column I wrote touched them in a certain way.

So with no further ado, I'd like to acknowledge those dear readers and provide some of the updates you've requested:

• To all the dental workers, sleep disorder specialists and CPAP machine salesmen who wrote offering help for my husband's snoring problem, your suggestions were greatly appreciated. We're considering every option. But, believe me, you don't need our business to make your budgets next year. Within days of that story hitting the streets, I discovered there are more couples sleeping in separate bedrooms than I ever imagined.

• To the interested parties who keep asking if I ever bought that little Piaggio scooter I test-drove, the answer is no. But I will. Just as soon as I down-size my rear end to something that won't be considered a traffic hazard.

• To my fellow colonoscopy patients who shared with me - with no holds barred - the intimate details of their own procedures, thank you so much! I think we all agree: Colonoscopy prep = bad; drugs = good. (And if anyone else out there is older than 50 and has yet to have this life-saving test, get it done in 2008. No excuses.)

• Thanks to the restaurant workers who still apologize when they approach my husband's and my table and absentmindedly say, "Hi, guys!" My little rant about the ubiquitous "guys" used by food servers apparently hit a nerve in the industry. Still, no one has greeted us with the words I suggested: "Welcome, best looking 50-something couple I've ever seen!" Work on that in '08, will you?

• A special shout-out to the courageous, if flaky, woman who proffered her own confession after reading how I left my keys in the car - doors unlocked, engine running - in the parking lot for five hours. You made me feel so much better about myself. I mean, at least I didn't leave little kids in the car, too.

• For the people wondering if I'm ever going back to that hip-gyrating, pelvic-thrusting, foot-stomping Zumba exercise class - well, I'm giving it some thought. Check back with me next December.

• Sincere (and serious) gratitude to the many kind souls who sent condolences to me and my family after our beloved dog, Spike, died in May. The stories you told about your own love and devotion to your pets continue to warm our hearts.

• And, finally, a special thank-you to the readers who make a point to share with me their own foibles and afflictions, after I reveal mine:

• The women who suffer valiantly through hot flashes at summertime gatherings;

• Those deer-in-the-headlights folks who can't remember acquaintances' names when they meet them face-to-face in the grocery store;

• People who keep hearing cell phones when they aren't really ringing;

• My hormonally challenged sisters who wake for no apparent reason at 3 a.m. and resort to watching infomercials for the "Ab Doer" or "Free Government Money." (What's with the guy in the green and yellow "question mark" suit, anyway?);

• Empty-nested parents who, try as they might to resist, still strive to protect their adult children from danger, real or perceived;

• Otherwise sane people who talk to themselves out loud because their brains are overflowing with clutter;

• Men who smile and nod at cocktail parties because they can't hear a word being said (and they still won't buy a hearing aid);

• Couples who will try anything - even bowling and bird-watching - to keep their relationships interesting;

• And, last but not least, those optimistic resolution-makers who, after a calorie-laden New Year's Eve dinner, will eagerly hop on the bandwagon for yet another Jan. 1 diet, only to try again the following Monday.

I may not remember each and every thing that happened to me this year. (Some of it, I'd really rather forget.) But I am grateful to know you all are out there. And the idea that we're stumbling, fumbling and mumbling through this crazy life together makes me look forward to another year.

Cheers.

Cathy Hamilton is editor of BoomerGirl.com and a 52-year-old empty-nester. Events recounted here may be embellished, exaggerated or completely made up because she can't remember squat anymore.

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