By Karen Cimms

kcimms@tnonline.com

@$:While just about everyone was glad to say goodbye to 2009, I was a little sad to see it end.

It was a hectic, sometimes crazy year for me, that's for sure, but it was also a pretty good one.

First of all, I stuck to most of my New Year's Resolutions. I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do, but for the most part, I stayed on task, and continued to move closer to my goals.

I didn't expect to complete all the year-end promises I made in 2008, but I made a big dent in them.

Early in the year, I joined the Carbon Schuylkill Community Theatre and directed a 10-minute play. I worked with terrific actresses, made a lot of new friends, reconnected with some old ones, and really enjoyed myself. I don't know if you will ever see me on the stage, but I'm certain I will continue to work behind the scenes.

In May I had the thrill of meeting Chef Emeril Lagasse when he opened his new restaurant in Bethlehem at the Sands Casino. Thanks to this terrific job I have, TIMES NEWS photographer Bob Ford and I attended the media lunch at Emeril's Chop House, and I even have a couple pictures of me and Emeril. I enjoyed the restaurant so much, my husband and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary there a few months later.

I didn't take my usual trip to Maine last year, saving my vacation time for a big year-end event (more about that later). Instead, my husband and I took a few weekend trips to new places, like Cape May and Gettysburg, and had a terrific time.

It was a good year for me professionally too, as I won six journalism awards in the spring, including first and second place awards from The Associated Press. That was pretty exciting as Donnie Serfass and I were recognized for our series on Autism and shared the stage with top journalists from across the state.

In August I experienced some success on the domestic front, when I took home three blue ribbons from the Carbon County Fair for my peach butter, zucchini relish and poppy seed tea bread. I never entered before, so that was a huge surprise and a great honor.

So while all these things were special, even more important things happened with our family.

First, I am blessed to still have my parents, who live nearby, and they are in good health and spirits. In fact, my dad's not only in good spirits, he's a regular comedian! Most of our children live within an hour and a half drive, so we are fortunate to be able to see them often. Our oldest daughter and her family live in Nevada, so we didn't get to see them at all this year, but thanks to technology, we keep in touch regularly by phone, Facebook, and e-mail. Her son, our oldest grandson, entered the Army National Guard this year and completed his basic training in Oklahoma. We are so proud of him, and I was thrilled on my birthday to receive a collage of photos of his military graduation and a book filled with photos from that experience. It was almost as good as being there with him.

So while all of these things were wonderful for me, and made this a terrific year, the very best thing came at the very end of the year.

On Dec. 15 at 12:38 p.m. I got my first Christmas present a brand new grandson.

Gavin Mitchell Lash was born to my daughter Margaux, and her husband, Chris. So while mother and baby were recuperating first in the hospital, and then at home, I enjoyed a "vacation" of running around after my 3-year-old granddaughter, Gabby. The one-on-one time I got to spend with her was another great gift for me. The one-on-one cuddle time with Gavin was pretty special too.

So last week, as the clock ticked down the last few seconds of the first decade of the century, I shed a few grateful tears of thanks, and hoped that 2010 will be just as wonderful for each and everyone of us.