Editor’s Notebook: January 08

January 1, 2008

Greta Belanger deJong

by Greta Belanger deJong The last month has been full of changes at CATALYST. Addie and Emma Ryder, who came to us as interns from Westminster College and became employees after graduation in 2006, have moved onto the next rung in their career ladders. We wish them them well and know they will go far. Pax is in grad school and teaches two classes, so we see less of him. Polly Plummer Mottonen, John deJong and myself are the primary people putting this publication together these days-much the same as it was 15 years ago.With faster computers that sometimes seem smarter than we are, and new software that, if it doesn't kill us will make us stronger, our learning curves are at a daring incline.

In the midst of all that growth I made the decision to move the business back into my home, which has more than adequate space to accommodate all of CATALYST's needs and, if I schedule my days skillfully, may not even require that I get dressed. Never did like those video phones.

After leaving the house and traveling downtown almost every day for 14 years, I thought it would feel strange, maybe sad, to only venture down the stairs. Maybe it's the novelty but so far, I haven't looked back, except to miss the office kitties (Spalding and Anna live with John, now). In spring I am sure I will miss the beautiful garden.

But now I am happy as a hobbit to be holed up here on McClelland St., happier as time goes on and the wrinkles of moving fall away. The website went down early in the month, taking email with it. (Mixed blessing; fun while it lasted, hell to pay afterward.) For a while we were getting Catholic Community Services' mail, and god knows who was getting ours. The new phone system went berserk one day with a recording that told our shocked callers they had reached an area code in California.

You know, the usual.

And that thought makes me smile.

Yes, at the drop of a hat I can give you a laundry list of what's not working-in the world, in my life (and probably in your life, too). Right now I'm moping that it's 3 a.m. and to make the 8 a.m. deadline, we have to keep going. I'm inexpressibly sad about Bhuto's assassination. I'm worried about my old incontinent pets, and the state of my furnace, and everybody's health insurance. And I wish there were some Granny Smiths in the fridge. I can make a great list of if-only's and how I, and the world, could improve. Remember "Would You Like to Swing On a Star?" You could be better than you are.

I will list my intentions for the new year. Eventually. But today, as we pull down the old calendar and put up a new, unscathed dozen pages upon which to mark the days ahead, I am breaking rank to acknowledge (and maybe this will become a habit) that everything is perfect.

Right now. These old dogs. This late hour. John in the next room having fits over typefonts. The year at hand may go well, or poorly, by certain standards. But there is grace in the worst of times. Maybe everyone should be smarter or more understanding. Right now I'm going to settle for myself being grateful.

For John and Polly, who are both working late into the night to bring all the stories and events together for you. And for Diane Fouts and Pax, both shining examples of sanity, who helped out at crucial junctures this weekend.

For electricity. Tonight it has brought me Anousha Shankar and KRCL Radio. It has powered the delivery of messages vital to this magazine coming together tonight. It has brought me an espresso.

For my friend Peter, who daily teaches me the meaning of appreciation.

I set down-just for now-my burden of unfulfilled promises: from neglected cherished family and friends down to undone dishes. This is my life. All lives have warts and some untied shoelaces. This is life.

Okay. I'm done. Now I'm going to bed, where I will continue this practice.

I just know it's going to be a great year.

Greta Belanger deJong is the editor and publisher of CATALYST. greta@catalystmagazine.net.