Tuesday, January 01, 2008

from Chicago: is it about the Eve or the Day?

Without doubt, in Poland, it’s all about the Eve. The Day is only for recovering from the Eve. Maybe under the market economy people now make resolutions – to earn more money, to eat less junk food, that sort of thing – but I doubt it. You greet the New Year and then you forget about it.

I’m not sure where I fall on the Eve/Day dilemma. Which counts? The review of the past and the anticipation of midnight?

Maybe. Last night, the snow fell gently, the taxis were snatched faster than I could say, and we made our way, as last year, to Crofton on Wells – a downtown restaurant, where Suzy Crofton presides over a wonderful kitchen. (We have a tradition of saving the very best eating experience of the year for this evening.)

So, snow, a family frolic and finally, a feast. Not bad.

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potato blini with smoked salmon, quail egg custard, etc.

After dinner, a quick glance at the postmidnight crowds (as seen through the window of a moving cab)...

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... and then sleep. Had the ride been five minutes longer, I may have begun my night's slumber right there in the taxi.

Today, the snow still fell gently and the day moved gently as well. Here's what I could take in from the back patio of a third floor condo:

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It was the kind of day where my big excitement was a trip to the gym, followed by a purchase of coffee. There were many many people buying coffee today. And taking it easy.

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Someone sent me an email asking if I made resolutions. I’m on the fence with that as well. I, like millions of others, do believe in self improvement, but I also know that piling it on (be chipper, moderate indulgences, spend less on travel, etc etc) will freeze me in much the same way the computer freezes when it has too many applications open and running. Still, the “do better” slogan stays with me and I get to pick and choose which elements of it are pleasant enough to incorporate into the day.

Day is forward looking. Eve is full of nostalgia. Looking back is sad. Looking forward and doing better is optimistic.

There’s much to be said in favor of Day. Oh, but when I remember last night's mushroom and sunchoke soup...

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Happy days ahead to you. And many evenings of good eating!