Out with 19 in with 20

 

Growing up, I heard repeatedly that whatever you were doing at midnight on December 31st would set your path for the year. When added to the fact that I was born on January 1st, the amount of pressure auto-built into those two days was immense, literally from day one. Then I decided to get married on December 31 as well (it seemed celebratory at the time), and it’s a complete pressure cooker. Not to mention, most of my favorite restaurants are closed on New Year’s Day.

Now that I am solidly in middle age, I still feel this trifecta of the holiday squeeze. We’ve tried to move any celebration, minimal as it is, of our anniversary away from the end of the year landmark which is a step. For New Year’s Day, it’s best to focus on what is available — though since we no longer imbibe, and sobriety is now for the cool kids, it does seem a tad ridiculous that there is such a long list of closures on the first day of the year.

Taking all this into account, my truisms for ending this past year should serve me well into this new year as well.

  1. Rely on Asian restaurants – always. Chinese, Thai, Indian — have several favorites and one is bound to be open on January 1 (much like Christmas). This year, City Lights of China in Dupont Circle opened right on time at 11:30 am — just in time for brunch with friends. Next, rely on tried and true institutions — there will always be a museum open, somewhere close by. This year time at the Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum — and the piece above reminds me of my own olden days of New Years gone by on the town (Karen LaMonte’s Reclining Dress).
  2. Stick to the basics when it comes to activities — what do you really love? What is the one place that offers solace? For me, it’s the East Potomac Golf Course. It’s where I met my husband, played endless rounds with friends in my 20’s and it’s where my kiddo had her first golf lesson. It’s no country club, but it is gold. We really should’ve gotten married here.
  3. Midnight — well that’s all bonk. On the years I’ve been fast asleep it didn’t predestine me to great sleep the following year; the years I’ve been out late champagne-ing with friends didn’t necessarily predict a year filled with bubbles. Now we hygge on the last night of the year — carpet camp-out, appetizers from Trader Joe’s and possibly too much pie. This year, I did forget to light our TJ cedar candles; and don’t think I don’t miss black dresses, stockings with runs and the champagne — because I really do and I hope this kind of celebration circles back. But for now, it’s hygge.
  4. I am not too old. For all of us at midlife, squeezed between generations, career changes and concerns over college savings it is completely daunting most days to figure out how to get all the laundry done and ponder anything new. My own vow (not resolution, I don’t believe in those) is to remember every day that I am not too old to have what I truly want whether it’s a PhD or a book deal — it’s all about the focus and most importantly, eliminating obstacles. A fresh decade awaits – as Oprah famously mentioned several years ago — we’re going to be 50 (or any other age) regardless.

 

 

What I’ve read so far this year…

2019 is a big year — not only did I turn 50 on the first day of the year, but like everyone I know I set out to create the bucket list of things to do. And of course the list became way too long, way too fast; a simpler approach to this year was clearly in order because who wants to over-live it? Fifty is a watershed year without doubt, but I quickly realized that in the rush to stuff everything I’ve not gotten to yet, and all the things I’ve yet to conquer in just 365 days I was setting myself up for goal non-completion. Again, everyone I know is or has recently passed through this phase of mid-life as well. The solution: 50 books. So far so good, and here’s my list so far…hint: most of these can be purchase through my links to Powell’s just to the right –>I may never own my own “shop around the corner” but I can have my own little virtual shop right here.

Currently reading: Hammer’s The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu

Humor

Where’d You Go Bernadette: I just re-read this amazingly funny, sometimes poignant and omg did she ever nail every single stereotype about Seattle.

Nonfiction

Never Can Say Goodbye (compilation): For anyone that loves NYC, this is a sweet read of essays from authors that both love and hate the best city in the world.

Dunbar’s Never Caught – The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave Ona Judge. You’ll never think of the Washington’s quite the same after reading this well-researched and written book-form documentary. Incredibly sad.

Orlean’s The Library Book: Why don’t we know more about the mysterious fire at the Los Angeles Library?

Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Having grown up watching the horrors of South African apartheid on television, it was odd to explain all this to my kiddo as she read this for school. Not only does Noah’s book detail his own experience, it makes you wonder how far, if at all, we’ve come. Regimes and governments may change, but so much of our world remains under siege.

Historical Fiction: My favorite genre — plenty of history, some filler, plenty of literary language.

Benedict’s Carnegie’s Maid: The tale of a young Irish girl who inadvertently becomes the maid for one of the wealthiest families in America.

Hopper’s Learning to See: Dorothea Lange. We all know the Depression-era photos, this novel offers a glimpse into her personal life and how the Depression never really left her.

Chiaverini’s The Enchantress of Numbers: Ada Lovelace — Ever wonder where computers really came from? What role did women have in mathematics in Victorian England?

Godwin’s The American Heiress: If you love Victoria, this is quite similar — but the American version with wealth, the hunt for a Duke to wed and plenty of damp English weather.

It’s clear I have a ways to go — luckily the pool is open and summer is nearly upon us. Happy Reading!

img_20190607_160844-1