At my Budget Vogue desk at the end of this year, I realize I look back at the days and months and ... it’s all a blur, an amazingly quick ride of life, of love, of challenges, of fun.

Alas, as I gaze in the rear view mirror of 2018, I realize that throughout the year, I received some tremendously wonderful gifts, fantastical moments, and joyous occasions of mirth.

First and foremost, it’s lovely to be healthy. While I’m feeling a bit rotund around the girth and looking at more double-digit sized clothing in my thrift store racks, I cannot complain about pain, hospitalizations, medications or aches.

Certainly my body is not entirely what it once was, but it works, dear Budget Vogue fashionistas — it continues to allow me to bask in the gloriousness of a fabulous find, allows me to wear shoes sans hook-and-loop straps, invites me to walk, to hike, to swim, to dance, to move.

My home is something of a crash pad these days. It was an entirely packed 2018 so my time has not been spent organizing, downsizing or cleaning the basement. Indeed, there are Halloween costumes from 2004 that ought to go, mugs that have no business taking up cabinet space, books that at the best of times will never, ever be read.

But I did paint the shutters during the summer of 2018. For three glorious, warm days in July, I utilized my driveway and painted, painted, painted. Our little house looks entirely different, simply due to a paint brush and a couple of cans of “Admiral Blue”. That is a lovely vision upon which I gaze every day — it doesn’t take much to feel as though I’ve done a complete home makeover.

As I type this, I am not entirely sure what my husband has gifted me for Christmas. Last year he found a hubcap for my 1993 Volvo and it truly made my day. I delight it the simple; Dan has never purchased for me a tennis bracelet or any jewelry requiring insurance, and with that I am entirely fine.

My husband shows up, takes out the trash, vacuums and puts on snow tires when necessary; that is glorious and, most importantly, even after 20-plus years of togetherness, we are still friends, still love each other. His fly rod and accoutrements adorn our living room; he never says anything about the 40th coat I’ve purchased from Salvation Army. It’s a gift to be comfortable at home, I am grateful.

Finally, I delight in the gifts of kindness I received in 2018; friends who listen to my long-winded voicemails, students who write legibly, do not mock my technological ignorance but help me with Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. I delight in the kindness of Gary the custodian who comes into my classroom at the end of my day and sweeps, chats of his life and his cat. I celebrate the kindness of wonderful thrift-shop volunteers and workers — those who so cheerfully sort and laugh and indulge me with patience and humor.

And to all Budget Vogue fashionistas — wearing strap-on shoes or reading this as a Tweet — I thank you for your time, energy, and emails and invite you to celebrate kindness and health as you bask in the blur that can only be 2019.

Susan Dromey Heeter lives and writes on the Seacoast. Contact her at