It was 2011.
Kiaski and her horse Coffee
Now it's 2012.
That seems to be how quickly the years come and go, how another chapter of life shifts from present tense to past.
I like New Year's although I can do without the eat-sauerkraut-for-good-luck tradition my family entertained for many years, warning that the growth of donkey ears would be the consequence for those who dared not participate.
I'd say 2011 was a pretty good year, though it had its share of personal losses with way too many calls to funeral homes to pay respects.
Such realizations in retrospect are reminders that no day should be taken for granted, no matter how "boring" or "routine" it may seem on the surface.
Each day of life is precious.
And each day has its beauty - that's the school of thought I entertain.
One day in June 2011 - the 20th to be specific - was a day that produced more beauty than I could have imagined when I became the owner of a quarterhorse named Coffee, fulfilling a lifelong dream I never really expected to come true.
But it did, even though I had long ago dismissed ownership as a prospect perhaps not very practical. Now I know it was meant to be and that while acquisition trumps anticipation, the two combined made for a double delight.
I have a photo of me riding her - a photo that's on my computer desktop at work and with this column, as a matter of fact - that was taken in the initial weeks of getting her.
It's one of about 300 gazillion Coffee pictures I have as I swear she's probably the most photographed horse in Jefferson County, courtesy of a camera-toting Better Half who is dutifully on hand to document my happiness.
Should I publicly admit that the quantity of horse pictures I have rivals the number of photos we have of our kids in the initial weeks of their arrival? Guess so.
Every time I look at this picture (and all the others) I have to pinch myself. I'm a horse owner. She's mine. I can ride whenever it suits me. Who'd-a-thunk-it?
Some people I've crossed paths with who know I'm horse crazy have wished me well, offering advice and pointers which I really appreciate. They've also said they hope I can find the time to ride that they can't seem to muster.
I'm here to say I do, even though the bookends of any given day compress more action and activity than I ever would have imagined between my newspapering duties and stepped-up personal responsibilities.
I make time to head to the barn, good weather or bad, dry ground or muddy.
To open the gate there is like opening a curtain to reveal a slice of life I'm ready to savor, a piece of the day that brings a smile whether I'm picking a hoof, pulling a burr, mucking a stall or taking a ride.
Grin. Grin. Grin.
How blessed and lucky I feel.
No sauerkraut required.
Happy New Year and happy trails. Giddyup!
(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist 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.)