happy. new. year.
Done with Christmas (Bing Crosby isn’t doing it for me anymore), unplugging from the Internet and all caught up on the adventures of Cousin Eddie, Kevin McCallister, Ralphie Parker and Rudolph. Starting to detox from the popcorn, hot cocoa, the leftover buckeyes? I’ve taken walks around the neighborhood to see the lights, built the gingerbread house, lit the pine candles. Pretty much crossed off every item on my winter break bucket list and ?
I’m itchy for the calendar flip. I’m ready. counting down the hours to a brand new calendar, excited, and ready for anything, everything, and then some, as the still-frigid morning sun feels like a gift to my solar starved self, reminding me that spring will return in 6,881,832 seconds, that's right, I counted.
I find myself fantasizing about getting kittened up in sequins and cha cha's and painting the town, and then I realize I'm wearing flannel pajama pants [even though they are the fancy, schmancy ones] and I practically need rocket fuel to propel my butt out of the house. So, it should come as no surprise that I'm a stay at home kind of girl when it comes to New Years eve, is there anything better than filling up on good cheer, then only having to walk up the stairs to my bedroom? Still.......
We made impromptu plans for dinner on the last eve of the year, with the promise of lobster tails, champagne and a leisurely stroll down memory lane. We will feast, reminisce, laugh, cry, share a glass of Veuve Clicquot. Toddle home, watch the ball drop and call it a night, a year... it's a wrap. Oh my, 2015 we are trying so hard to let go and say good-bye, but time is passing so quickly? Honestly. This, I could do without.
The light has been turning and the wonky sun stays a bit later. every single day. and just last night, I scooped up fistfuls of amber memories and flung them into the air like confetti.
Usually around this time I'm starting to make peace with it. For the past two Januaries, I've had something quite specific to say. But the calendar flips forward tomorrow and I find myself with empty hands, and no big plans.
Have I lost a bit of magic?
Have I finally run out of things to say?
These are the thoughts that plague me, on nights that are spent looking under my bed, searching the dark hallways, feeling stood up for my own party. It's on these nights I'm sure that my words have been plucked and fairy-danced away. given to someone more deserving. someone who appreciates them more. someone who does proper writerly things like drink strong, black coffee in an itchy cardigan and read the classics.
Other times, my words come tumbling out like a waterfall. on a dusty creek bed.
One these nights I can be found stumbling to the chair by the window with a spiral notebook and a pen, waving my yawns away because there's not enough time for sleep and all the words.
That's the big problem with writing, and also with the meaning of life, really. time. It's the thing that trips me up. every single way.
At times I've let the world tell me what it is, and where to find it, while I'm busy searing certain images into my heart. While I study the faces, the lines of a tree, a muddled box of oil paints. I look to the higher places, track the obvious answers. Does this make me a dreamer then? And what about everyone else? I've learned the best solution to my personal artistic stagnation is to run toward the very things that jump and squiggle around me every minute, all the live long days. I infuse myself there, and it truly is a beautiful thing. It brings me back to joy because I choose to notice it straight out of the mundane.
But what becomes of me on the days when I've used up all my words? Do I listen to music and write letters to Neil Diamond? ummm, yeah.
I've never been big on resolutions. We all know how that story tends to play out...
But for the past 6 months or so I've latched on to my own, personal, 3-word mantra:
Patience Kindness JoyThey are words I want to live by and attitudes I want to instill in my every day life. Some days, I want to Sharpie them on my walls. My walls. Other days, on my heart, when I struggle the most.
I've found myself thinking more and more about goals, for lack of a better word. I've been thinking about how I really want to live my life. What I want my days to look like. What I want to learn from this. What matters most to me and how to translate that into my everyday.
I am getting all wonky Franklin Covey style.
Leading up to the new year, I am always more inclined than ever to resolve to do something. A few years back I stumbled on the idea of choosing just one word. And when I say "stumble", I mean it. I couldn't take two consecutive steps in any direction without stubbing my toe on "one word".
I liked it.
So, for the next three or four days, I pondered. I stewed. I looked for a sign.
I couldn't decide. I take these kinds of things far too seriously, because here's a little something about me, I can't stand to fail. There are loads of things I never decide to do. But when I really do decide to do, I want to accomplish. It has its downsides (fear of trying new things, anyone?) but it also has its perks. It's my personal, pocket-sized, goes-anywhere-and-everywhere kick in the rear.
Stir that into my mile-wide streak of procrastination, and you'll find me here, on December 31st, wordless.
I tossed around "serve", because it's something I've felt called to do more.
I contemplated "joy", because I have learned that joy is a choice that changes every other aspect of life.
Still, I wasn't satisfied.
So, I talked to my Mama last night while she hemmed up some pants. She chose "seek". As soon as I raised the topic, she knew. It didn't surprise me and it made me love her even more.
Then, I talked to the hubs. He picked "Nikon" first, then I sent him to time-out, then he came back with his new attitude adjustment and picked "compassion". I loved it. I like knowing that we are both thinking about the same sorts of things and gearing up for the same sort of year.Talking about it with two of the people who know me best in this world helped. I told them about my three options and they helped me see that the choice was clear.
My word is love.
It's cute and pithy. It looks charming stitched onto a pillow. It's "all you need". But those probably aren't good enough reasons.
I want to love the direction in which my life proceeds in 2016, even amidst big changes. I want to love my relationships, my time, my life. I don't want life to just happen to me. I don't want my days to all just slip away. Some of them can, but not all of them. Not most of them. I want to love it all.
I have full confidence that my word will not transform me into someone more productive, more creative, more organized. But I know that my head cannot argue with my heart. When I say that something is important to me, my word will help to connect my mouth and my head to my heart and my hands.
Here's to 2016. I'll meet you back here in 364 days with an update. In the meantime, I'm anxious to see how it all shakes out.
The cliff looms and Times Square is jammed to the gills. People are hurting and Ryan Seacrest has the mic and this right here is the very best of life, all mixed up, rarely making sense, breaking my heart and tying it down with an anchor that never lets it float too far.
Happy New Year, Friends. Let's ring it in well, and let's keep on ringing. Let's ring with the good times and over the bad.
I'm more thankful than ever for you, your friendship, your remarkable propensity for coming back. If I could, I'd hand you a kazoo or a sparkler. We'd sway to Tony Bennett and I'd kiss your cheek at the stroke of midnight.
You're the best, you know. Thanks for being my friend for a whole 'nother year.
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. In another bowl, beat the milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour the milk mixture over the dry mixture and stir with a fork until just combined. Let sit five minutes to “develop” (just a fancy word for letting the baking powder activate).
Meanwhile, heat your waffle iron. Pour, or ladle, enough batter to cover about 2/3 of the surface (the rest will spread once you close the top). Most waffle irons have a handy light that goes on or off, signaling the waffles are ready. A sure sign of doneness is once you see all the steam has stopped shooting out.