Does anybody else have the sense that we've staggered to the end of 2012?
If so, join the club.
Maybe it's because we tend to judge a year by the last thing(s) we remember, and there's no question that, tragically, this has been a December to remember for all the wrong reasons.
It started with one of the worst acts of our lifetime - the killing of 20 children and six teachers at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 - and it continued locally a week later, on Dec. 21, in our own backyard, Geeseytown, with another senseless act that claimed three innocent victims.
Our condolences to the family of Kimberly Scott, who was decorating a church for a Christmas party, for crying out loud, when she was killed, and the families of Kenneth Lynn and William Rhodes Jr., a double tragedy in that, while shot in separate incidents, Lynn was Rhodes' father-in-law.
I do not pretend to have the answer on how to stop this violence. I only know our country is not safe, and I hope political parties will work together to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren than the one we face today.
The local tragedy, unfortunately, is included prominently in our most significant stories of the year - right there with other violence such as the conviction of Nicholas Horner for the April 2009 murders of student Scott Garlick and retiree Raymond Williams and the November death by arson of 3-year-old Darrel "D.J." Etchison Jr. in Altoona.
The year began with Joe Paterno's death on Jan. 22 and, five months later, on June 22, with Jerry Sandusky's conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse - events that shined the national spotlight on Penn State.
Here at the Mirror, we've forged on through challenging times for the economy and the newspaper business.
Unlike some other papers nationally that have gone to online editions only or reduced delivery to three days per week, we're still answering the bell daily, including holidays, and doing our best to report the local news and the stories that matter to you.
One change we did make to altoonamirror.com is the elimination, for the foreseeable future, of allowing anonymous comments on stories.
The vitriol had been complained about for years, and we've tried to respond to the public's sentiment. At some point, when our system is devised to include more responsible interaction (real names), they may return.
We also began accepting pet obituaries, which run on Mondays. Some readers have taken advantage of the service and have appreciated it. Others have written in and said it's the worst idea they've ever heard.
That tells us it's probably somewhere in the middle. Since launching in mid-July, we've received 20 so far - about one per week and way more than other newspapers that have tried it.
Most other changes have been more subtle as we've attempted to maintain our status quo while trying to champion the special quality of newspapers, and that's fairness, accuracy, consistency and reliability to accompany your morning coffee.
We wish you a happy, healthy 2013.
And we hope we have less bad news to report on.
Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.