A note from the writer: Last week's column was a tribute to my mom who passed away unexpectedly. This is the column that was scheduled to appear.

For several years I've spent New Year's Eve alone, reflecting on how the previous 12 months had affected me. I don't know how many of my readers keep journals, but I find it extremely helpful to keep a record of events.

At the end of the year, I compare the period to others, fascinated by how many things I've forgotten that happened. If you don't journal, I highly recommend this mental stimulation.

The year 2012 was wonderful. My writer's workshop at the Oro Valley Library continued to be successful, with some of my novice writers publishing their projects. This group meets from 9 to 11 a.m. the first and third Wednesday of the month. I get great pleasure from motivating and working with these wonderful folks.

In February I published a children's book, "Madi's Dollhouse," which I'd dreamed of writing for more than 25 years. In the spring I published my memoir, "Don't Die Before Paris," a tribute to my two daughters. I receive mail from women telling me how much they enjoy reading about another mother who feels guilt about her parenting skills. The fact that I was drinking heavily while raising two teenagers adds another dimension to my tale.

Reflecting on my life here in Tucson, I've made the most remarkable friends. I've mentioned Betty Crockpot, who fills my life with laughter and great meals. And then there is "Claude," who makes me roar with glee each morning, as we act like silly children while I walk my dog.

Along with these two, there is a woman I discuss brain-to-brain communication with, a fellow author who offers to drive me places (she knows I'm a New Yorker at heart who has a problem getting lost if I venture out of my five-mile radius comfort zone) and another author whose company I immensely enjoy.

I'm grateful to my wonderful brother and sister-in law who, insisted I leave Albuquerque when the altitude affected my health. They graciously rented me their townhome, which suits me fine. It's smaller than most of the places I've lived, but I love the view from my den where I watch coyotes, javelina, bobcats, birds and rabbits frolic just outside my window. A huge oleander tree keeps the sun from glaring into the room. Writing in this space is a pleasure.

This New Year promises to be filled with exciting adventures. On Sunday I'm speaking at the Society of Southwestern Authors. If you're interested in attending this luncheon event, it's scheduled at the Tucson City Center InnSuites, 475 N. Granada Ave. The luncheon is $25 in advance or $30 at the door. For reservations or call 546-9382.

On Feb. 2 I'll be speaking to a local book club. Meeting with these groups provides me an opportunity to help other writers fulfill their dreams.

Another thing I'm grateful for are Charlie and Toots. Now that my health is good, I walk them one at a time each morning. All of the dog walkers in the neighborhood greet each other with a cheerful "good morning." The dogs sniff each other and wag their tails. The adults restrain themselves from this activity!

May this New Year be filled with good health and lots of laughter. As John Campbell said, "Follow your bliss." Enjoy each day, relish the time you have, surround yourself with beauty and observe the little things we take for granted.

On StarNet: Read recent columns by Alexis Powers at azstarnet.com/alexispowers

Email Alexis Powers at northwest@azstarnet.com