I've started filling in my 1993 desk calendar (no, I don't often remember to look at it, but there's a brief feeling of maturity and organization as I make plans on those virgin pages each year), and I suddenly realize that January is not much past tomorrow.
It's not too early to sign up for some of the wonderful events and opportunities scheduled for January, such as the trip to see "The Secret Garden" at the Kennedy Center on Jan. 2.
Sponsored by the YWCA, the fee is $55 for adults, $40 for children and youths under 16. Non-members must add $5. Bus pickup is at 12:15 p.m. in Severna Park and 12:45 p.m. in Annapolis, with a late afternoon return.
Call 647-1500 for more information.
Also in January, with an audience limited to the first 200 children and their parents, is an appearance by Goowins Balloowins at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. The one-man (Allynn Gooen) show of story-telling, jokes and antics centers around balloons sculpted, wrapped and knotted into dozens of unballoon-like creations.
Audience members will be encouraged to try their own hands at the craft. A free workshop follows the performance. Tickets for the 11 a.m. show on Jan. 23 are $5 for Maryland Hall members, $6 for non-members.
Separate registration is required for the workshop. As with most Maryland Hall events, priority seating is available for those with physical handicaps, including hearing and visual impairments. Please notify Maryland Hall at least two weeks before the performance.
Back to this month. Thursday is cutting it close, but still allows time for Breakfast with Santa at the Mount Olive AME Church, 2 Hicks Ave. in Annapolis. The breakfast begins at 8 a.m. and includes bacon and eggs, sausage and pancakes. Tickets are $3.50 for adults, $3 for children.
Santa's Workshop will offer inexpensive Christmas gifts. Proceeds from the breakfast benefit the Mount Olive Scholarship Fund.
The Annapolis Chorale, under the direction of Ernest Green, performs Handel's "Messiah" at St. Anne's Church in Annapolis at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Seating is limited.
Seating also is limited at the City of Annapolis' Senior Citizens Christmas Luncheon tomorrow at the Fleet Reserve on Compromise Street.
Emily Green, director of the city's Community Services and Substance Abuse department, said that the response has been so great that another seating was added. The 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. seating is full, but there are a few places left for the 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. serving. This is one of three events sponsored by the city to honor and entertain Annapolis' seniors.
The Christmas luncheon is free, but reservations are necessary. Information: 263-7932.
Folks around here obviously take advantage of the wonderfully varied artistic endeavors offered locally. There are only a few seats left for the final performances of Ballet Theater of Annapolis' "Nutcracker."
Staged in Maryland Hall, tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children, full-time students and seniors. The ballet is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Anne Arundel Medical Center is offering a two-hour course called "Life After Baby: Your Care and Readjustments" from 9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The course is free to those who deliver at AAMC, or $15 per couple. It provides mothers-to-be with information about the physical and emotional aspects of the post-partum period, including wise physical and emotional care of themselves as well as the baby, and the baby's impact on family life.
Post-partum depression is not uncommon; neither is feeling blue around the holidays. This course sounds like timely insurance for families due to deliver soon. It will be held at the Health Education Center, at Jennifer Road and Medical Parkway in Annapolis.
One of the healthiest trends in this day of paying attention to how we treat ourselves is the alcohol-free New Year's Eve party.
First Night Annapolis turns the city into a stage, with magic, drama, music and street theater happening in store windows, banks, public buildings and historic homes. (As an example of the unexpected, a 15-minute excerpt from "Hamlet" in the window of The Gap, beginning at 6:45 p.m. and continuing, with intermissions, until 11:30 p.m.)
Elizabeth Welch, co-director of First Night, is as enthusiastic about the feeling of the evening as she is about the more than 200 performances that define it.
"Seeing the arts and business and the community coming together with such joy is wonderful," she said. "New Year's Eve is a night that normally divides people. This brings them together."
One $8 admission button ($10 after tomorrow) gets you into any performance. Admission is free for children, but they must be accompanied by adults with First Night buttons. A program, available that night, details the performers and their venues and indicates which are wheelchair-accessible.
There is free parking at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, an express bus to Church Circle, and shuttle buses that run all evening between performance sites. Performances begin with four special late afternoon children's programs and culminate with the traditional fireworks at midnight.
First Night buttons are available at Giant Food stores, First National Bank of Maryland, Maryland National Bank, Annapolis Federal Savings and local businesses including the Annapolis Country Store, Avoca Handweavers, Champion Realty (downtown and Riva Road), Cheese Connection, Dockside Liquors, Fawcett's, Giant Peach, Gourmet's Cup, Jack-a-Roos, Laurance Clothing, TCI Cablevision, and Thrift Inn.
For more information, call 787-2717.