Monthly Archives: December 2008

Random Thoughts on New Year’s Eve

New Years Eve has nearly always made me sad. To me it was not the beginning of a New Year, but the death of an old one.

I suppose I’ve always been the kind of person to look back upon my life rather than look ahead. You can see that in what I write — especially in my journals, but also in posts on my blogs.

As a child I’d envy my parents because they got to go out to parties while I was stuck home with babysitters. Their party hats and nosiemakers the next day were little consolation to a child.

As a teenager I babysat for couples who went out for New Year’s Eve. I’d envision sparkling parties and bubbly champagne and passionate kisses when the clock chimed midnight. Instead of parties I’d be writing in my journal as the old year became the new.

Then when I did have a boyfriend, we celebrated in various ways. I remember a party with some of his college buddies. Kind of lame. I remember one or two New Year’s Eves in Wisconsin — the most memorable being the one in which the proprietor of the bar shouted “drink more whiskey” while tossing firecrackers in the wood burning stove and arguing with me (a vegetarian at the time) about the merits of trapping poor defenseless animals. On the way back to the cabin I grazed a deer.

When the kids were small we’d celebrate with my brother and put the clocks ahead a few hours. Then we’d blow noisemakers and drink sparkling apple cider and hug everyone. The kids never figured it out.

We did celebrate 2000 by going to the National Mall in Washington DC. That was cold and wild. We even let the kids sample champagne at very tender ages. (shhhhh, don’t call the authorities).

Most recently we’ve slept through the festivities. Either because we had to drive from Illinois to Maryland the next day or because we didn’t care.

Tonight Dean is in Elgin and we’re in Bethesda. Even though we’ve had a number of celebrations put on hold (or forgotten) this year, it feels really lonely to be without someone to kiss (or snuggle with) on new years eve. I realized today that Dean and I have not been alone on new year’s eve since the year we met.

Random thoughts about this year.

Larry — Mom’s friend and companion — I wish I’d been more understanding. I wish he could have lived longer.

Our Ireland trip — a very special time and one not soon forgotten

Marcia — what her family must be feeling these days

My mom — she was such a wonderful hostess this Christmas. The time we spent together was perfect.

My dad — love him — he takes a licking and keeps on ticking

The Inlaws — !

My blogging pals — Thank you for sharing your lives with me and for reading and commenting on mine. Happy New Year

3 degrees from Neil Gaiman

So on Christmas Day my brother’s housemate, Josh, mentioned that he knew Charles Vess. (I think I’d said something about Neil Gaiman — perhaps I suggested that my niece might like his books?). It seems that Josh grew up in Lynchburg, VA and his father and Charles Vess were friends. Josh remembers going to Vess’ house as a kid.

Of course Vess illustrated Gaiman’s Stardust.

So — Dona Patrick knows Josh Holland who knows Charles Vess who knows Neil Gaiman. That’s three degrees right? (come to think of it, I met Josh’s father once but that doesn’t up my degrees to Neil Gaiman.)

But being 2 degrees from Charles Vess is pretty cool as well.

A Christmastide Mystery

Once upon a time a family from a town not so far away left that town to celebrate Christmas with their far-away relatives. Just before they left, they threw a festive gala where lovely people brought many delicacies to the family. The family had no trouble eating the left-over delicacies, except for one bag of chocolate.

Upon their return to their cozy home, the family wondered what became of the bag of chocolate, for they had a taste for it’s rich, cocoa goodness. They searched high and low for the bag of chocolate the night they returned, but it was nowhere to be found.

The first clueThe next morning, when the mother was up bright and early, she noticed a golden bag on the back porch. What can that be? she wondered. On further investigation, she realized it was the bag that the chocolate had been stored in — and the bottom was chewed up.  But where were the chocolates?

p1020323Then the ever-vigilant mother noticed some clear plastic wrappers leading in a line away from the bag of chocolate towards the door. More of the wrappers littered the floor of the porch, near the door.

p1020324Now, how could that have happened? the mother asked herself as she looked more closely at the screened door.

A HA! She cried. The screen has been damaged!

No more chocolateA hungry woodland creature must have chewed through the screen, leaped up and stolen the bag off the table (where it had been left). Then this creature must have gnawed off the bottom of the bag, and tried to carry the chocolates out the hole in the screen door. Something must have gone wrong, and the poor creature ate the chocolates instead of taking them back to its nest as a Christmas treat for its family.

But what woodland creature could it have been? I suspect a squirrel. Once one gnawed through the screen door to get to our nephew’s pie. (Smart squirrel — that pie was really good.)

Storyteller Wine & Facebook

In Illinois you can buy wine, beer and alcohol in the grocery store (as opposed to Montgomery County, Maryland) and recently I browsed the shelves for wine for Christmas dinner and again yesterday. I found a blogging buddy’s handle on a bottle of wine (delicious, by the way):

Storyteller Wine

Then I logged onto Facebook to show my mom how to use it and ended up making confusing and misspelled comments. I think it will be to my benefit to return to our nearly dry county.

More Weather in Illinois

FogAs I type this, I can only see the house next door to the one in which I grew up — anything beyond that is lost in a milk-mixed-with-water looking  fog. Dense fog advisories as well as flash flood warnings are in effect. And it is 51 degrees out there. Yesterday the problem was icy conditions.

What’s going on? Mother Nature must be in a foul mood. Or a playful one.

Either way — travel is tricky. Let’s hope she’s back to normal on Monday when 2 or 3 of us fly back to Bethesda.