I have a love-hate relationship with the month of December, especially the end of it, those final days when I realize one year is ending and another one is about to begin.
I love the idea of a fresh start, how January can promise to be the beginning of new things and better ways.
I feel compelled to write a book, run a marathon, organize my sock drawer and rearrange the living room furniture - all on Jan. 1.
Let's just say I have this euphoric feeling fueled by January's arrival and resolutions to do this and do that.
I picture myself the little engine that should and shall. Choo-choo!
At the same time, though, I hate to admit that December sounds that shrill whistle heralding the end of another whirlwind 12-month period of my life that didn't necessarily produce the results I had anticipated it would.
I'm a caboose derailed.
And my sock drawer remains a disaster zone despite last December's enthusiasm that I could get it all under control, that all the socks would be matched happily ever after and be in their neat little color-coded stacks.
I sulked and sighed a little over all this on Christmas morning after about my fifth cup of coffee, 11th cookie and third handful of white chocolate covered pretzels. And a grape or two out of guilt.
It didn't help matters much to sit on the living room couch at my mother's and watch Christmas morning television.
I flipped through the channels, amused to first settle on what was obviously a pretty slow news day given the morning anchors were involved in a seminar on how to make the perfect ugly Christmas sweater.
Then I caught a little Dr. Oz, discovering the reason that three out of four of us women are so tired and without energy is due to low magnesium levels. And here I just figured it was because we get up way too early, go to bed way too late and in between we do way too much.
Another remote control flip, and I landed on "Titanic."
Now there's a happy holiday flick.
Ever the optimist, I actually watched some of it hoping for a different outcome.
My wiring such as it is, however, I can only sulk for so long because sooner or later, I find something to laugh about or give me a fresh perspective.
In this case it was a Christmas card on the coffee table where I had returned the TV remote. The card was to my mother from my aunt in North Carolina. It read: "To my sister who taught me so much. I remember our walks to the library and how you asked me to name the composers and all the symphonies they wrote."
That would be my mother who as a teenager in Wheeling during the 1930s was far more interested in learning to play the violin and pass on knowledge to her younger siblings than be distracted by the advances of would-be suitors or other "normal" youth interests.
I'll bet she never thought twice about the condition of her sock drawer.
Happy New Year.
And may your December-January angst be light.
(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .)