Monday, January 02, 2012

Warm sun & thanks, dear reader

readying for terrarium-making, Laurel Canyon 1-2-12

Strangely, there is optimism. Usually if there isn't, I won't comment, but today it was warm, the sun shone brighter through the eucalyptus, the dogs slept on the deck under blue skies and there was hope. I fixed the lock on the gate using a screwdriver, emptied a bucketful of rotting leaves out of the pool filter, and took apart the floating vacuum (with only moderate success). I moved the furniture, reclaimed the dining room, discovered places to buy Mexican tenangos in the US, spent a couple of hours building terrariums with Minks and saw my best boy friend for dinner.  The oldest spotted is walking a little better and I am convinced that it is the sunshine not the steroids that are fixing his ancient rickety bones.  New Year has come and gone. I did nothing. I have spent a few days with my children in a warm, beautiful place in Mexico. I have seen an ancient Mayan city. I've listened to various end of world theories and been amused by them.  I have made it through a half dozen BAFTA screeners. I have cried at War Horse, marveled at Rooney Mara, been told not to watch Like Crazy because it's the story of our life together, been disappointed by Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close -- a film I wanted to love like no other.  I have wept. I have smiled. I have realized that Life As We Know It will never be the same again and I'm determined. Determined. To make this year Count. So, strangely, there is optimism.  And fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

One thing I know: there are reasons to be grateful each and every day, trite as that may sound. Also, flan is a good way to end any meal. Three spotted dogs are more amusing than two. Catcher in the Rye seems to be riveting to sixteen and a half year old girls.  The sea is endlessly healing. Always.

And thank you to all of you who read this blog, who've reached out to me during these last six months and shared love and kindness and funny stories and hope and recipes and humanity. Bloody amazing stuff.  I am incredibly, ridiculously, humblingly full of gratitude.  Happy New Year.

I leave you with Winter Thanks by Marcus Jackson, from the most excellent Writer's Almanac. If you don't subscribe already, do yourself a wonderful favor in 2012.

Winter Thanks

To the furnace—tall, steel rectangle
containing a flawless flame.
                     To heat

gliding through ducts, our babies
asleep like bundled opal.

every furry grain of every
warm hour, praise each
                     deflection of frost,

praise the fluent veins, praise
the repair person, trudging
                     in a Carhartt coat

to dig for leaky lines, praise
the equator, where snow
                     is a stranger,

praise the eminent sun
for letting us orbs buzz around it
                     like younger brothers,

praise the shooter's pistol
for silencing its fire by
                     reason of a chilly chamber

praise our ancestors who shuddered
through winters, bunched
                     on stark bunks,

praise the owed money
becoming postponed by a lender
                     who won't wait

much longer in the icy wind,
praise the neon antifreeze
                     in our Chevrolet radiator,

and praise the kettle whistle,
imitating an important train,
                     delivering us

these steam-brimmed sips of tea.

-- Marcus Jackson


nancyblackett said...

Happy New Year, my friend. Your positive disposition is an endless inspiration. I am cheered that you wielded tools and effected repairs. The first time I got up on the ladder and cleared the gutters, I thought, wow, if only I had realised it was so easy. Wishing you a wonderful 2012 with your lovely family. Ooh, and the word verification is "ranties". How apt!

Katherine C. James said...


What you wrote made me think of Woody Guthrie's 1942 list of 33 New Year's resolutions. (Via Brain Pickings.) Do you know of it? Just in case you haven't see it, here it is:

I love all his resolutions, but particularly these: 18. Stay glad. 20. Dream good. 26. Dance better. 31. Love everybody. [And most importantly for me, the final two:] 32. Make up your mind. 33. Wake up and fight.

I, too, am searching for optimism, and share your tendency to get quiet about the lack of it. I tell myself: life is short; we have choices even when we can't see around that blind-seeming corner.

Love to you Bumble, and Happy New Year. (I also did nothing on New Year's Eve, except gaze at the fireworks out my window, and take pictures of the most beautiful of them.)


Seedy said...

Happy New Year! I mean every word...

Clara Walmsley said...

Once again you amaze me with your writing. It is sublime. It touches the heart as your voice is so deeply authentic and true. You are a beacon of hope whether you know it or not. I realize that you have been through a great deal as of late and your sharing your travails so honestly makes it possible for others to do the same. This is what true connection is all about and really there is nothing more important in this world. Thank you . Clara