Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve

Well, good bye 2017. Good riddance, you say? Are you sure? You're here to utter the words, so something must be going right!

My year -- no need to review it. It's all here, on Ocean. But I'll say this much: the calamities were few and far between. We grieved for the bad fortunes plaguing so many on this planet, but we mostly escaped facing bad fortunes at home. We're all still kicking around and being our same old selves. Family, friends  mattered a lot and they gave us countless beautiful moments. In other words, 2017 was joyous and noble. I can only hope that for you it was likewise.

Now, let's focus on 2018. (Oh, is it a different year tomorrow? -- Ed would say, just to emphasize that this calendar keeping is inconsequential and silly.)

For us (perhaps for the whole collective us), looking ahead, what matters most is good health. Good health of the young families and their soon to be born babies. Good health for the aging among us. Good health for our sweet friends. And so on.  Stay healthy, all you readers too, you hear?!

Do I stay up to cheer on the first minutes of the New Year? Do I resolve to improve? To write more, move more, stay calm, stay focused, be helpful, be good? Well, don't we always strive to be better than we were yesterday?

Still, it is the coming of the New Year, with capital letters, and so I treat it with special attention and care.

First, I thoroughly clean the farmhouse (Ed helps) and finish rearranging Snowdrop's play space (Ed does an eye roll here). The tree comes down (sigh... it still smelled nice, after a month of sitting in the corner, by the stairs). I do my annual budget where all the numbers in my books have to agree with those in my accounts. And finally, close to noon, we eat breakfast.

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Did I mention how cold it is outdoors?

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Well, I needn't bother. It's the national story these days. Half the country is suffering temperatures that properly belong to the Arctic circle. We are lucky: our furnace works well and sunshine pours in from the east, then south, then west. We offer no complaints. (We also stay inside. Ed throws out a few possible outings, I shoot down all of them.)

There was a time when celebrating the New Year on the eve of its arrival was so important! We'd travel to New York for that ball drop (it was as freezing then as it is now), we ate our best restaurant meal of the year on this night, we did dinner parties, and eventually took trips to celebrate the coming of the New Year in distant places. So important!

I can't remember why it mattered: was it a need to prolong the gaiety that Christmas reeled in and that then abruptly ended? Was it just an excuse to be frivolous, less focused on the daily grind and more on the playful aspects of our lives? Was it staring down the winter cold?

Now, of course, Ed and I stay home. We do what we love best: sitting on the new-ish couch, reading, perhaps catching a show or a movie on the big screen before us.

And yet, vestiges of that old me remain. Some celebration is in order! Toward evening, I go the young family's home...

(Sunset, as viewed across the road from the farmette... goodbye 2017!)

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The moon, not quite full, but plenty beautiful, rises just to the east of their home...

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Snowdrop is in snuggly mode, that's for sure.

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The girl knows nothing of the old year, or the new year. Her count is only of her own years and that count  ("I'm two years old!") has been holding steady now for 360 days.

(Grandma, can I have some water in a glass? Of course... which glass do you want? That one! -- she points to a margarita glass in the cupboard.)

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(She finds snow boots. Can I wear them? It's too cold to go outside, but we can pretend to build a snow castle inside...)

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It's time to leave. The young family starts in on their own dinner.

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Chop the artichoke, Snowdrop! 

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I head back home. Hi farmhouse. Hi Ed.

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For supper, I cook what I cooked last year -- lobster tails (tiny and inexpensive, once frozen -- hardly the fresh whole lobster you'd get by ordering from Maine, delivered by Fed Ex, with dazed but live lobsters ready to crawl out onto your kitchen counter, but still delicious!). This year, in addition to the salad, I add corn on the cob (another travesty, considering the fresh from the fields corn we ate all August long). And potatoes (now we're talking fresh and oh so very honest).

(The lobster tails are so tiny that I threw in a third one to share...)

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My wish is that I'll be sitting here on December 31, 2018, writing as I do now: with a heap of good health and good luck behind us and another year of farmette life, with plenty of family moments, and not too few opportunities to connect with distant friends. Travel would be the cherry on top. And yes, Snowdrop and I -- we do like cherries!

Happy New Year to all of you!

With warm hugs from super cold Wisconsin, and love,