As one year ends, and a new one begins, it is tradition to slow down for a moment to take stock.
Although I generally chafe at tradition, and although I tend to exhaust myself by taking stock every day of every year, I do like the notion of recording some of my favorite things from the past clump of days. Then, when my memory fails, I can come back and read this blog as though someone else wrote it, and it’ll be so fun to get to know the lady who wrote this stuff! I’ll be a new friend for my own addled brain!
A quick sampling of some of 2013’s delights, then:
1) Beer. I can never thank beer enough for all it’s done for me, and in this era of craft brews, whole new worlds are opening. I view the hoptimization of our country with great hoptimism.
2) Friends. I mean, there are friends, and there are friends. We have a good sampling of types, but there are a few specific pals who happify me with their ability to be playful, thoughtful, analytical. For me, the best friends will leap onto the sled that is life and take a wild ride down the hill (Hey, Addled Jocelyn, have you noticed how the lady writing this blog enjoys not only wordplay but also clunky metaphors? Just like you used to?).
3) Reading. This is not news, of course, but somehow I feel like reading in 2013 was particularly good; perhaps I was just in the mood to be entertained that way, or perhaps I happened upon a very good string of books, but, holy crikey, did I enjoy reading this past year. In particular, I liked feeling challenged by books without having to find them challenging, if that makes any sense. Books like Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, and Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries play around with structure and the limits of storytelling in ways that pushed me to pay attention and commit. Also, my friend Tim sent me a book that, at first, I thought was simply a joke, but once I started reading it, the thing was balm to all the stresses of every day. I’m not quite sure how she did it, but when Agnes Sligh Turnbull wrote Gown of Glory (penned in 1952 but set in 1881), she wrote a tale of faith and goodness that is much better than it has a right to be. I’m not a religious person–unless you count crying at the beauty of snow on a pine tree a kind of worship–but I was very taken by the story of a family completely living within the mores of the era while, at the same time, wrangling with the issues in their lives in a way that is surprisingly authentic. After finishing Gown of Glory, I went online and ordered two more of Turnbull’s books, hoping for similarly satisfying reads.
4) Boots. Family—cousins, specifically, in these photos. Doesn’t hurt to have a thirteen-year-old with a heap of forbearance, either.
5) This city. Duluth’s charms are many, from its lake to its greenspaces to its burgeoning culture of breweries. I adore that we’re currently experiencing a true winter (although you know it’s been damn cold for a damn long time when unflappable Byron announces, mournfully, “I need it to be, like, 20. Can’t it just be 20 outside?” That would entail a 40 degree spike from the current temperature, however, so it might actually be too much to ask).
Nevertheless, the North Shore of Minnesota is swell.
6) Equal rights for all loving couples, per the legalization of same-sex marriage in many states, including Minnesota. We had a summer full of celebration, as several beloved couples in our lives were able to make it official. As it turns out, I don’t only cry at snow on a pine tree.
7) The ability to give myself an inner chuckle. Last week, speaking of Addled Jocelyn, I couldn’t come up with the word that would follow “Mongolian…” or “marauding…” Instead of landing on “hordes,” my brain filled in “hoarders,” which then let me go off on a riff about yurts stacked to the ceiling with inflated goat bladders.
Then, today in yoga class, I had a little inward grin when the teacher kept telling us, as we lay on our stomachs, to rest our foreheads on the floor. Given the genetics of my proboscis, there’s no way my forehead will ever touch the floor unless I launch myself into an inclined headstand.
8) Music. So long as I can crank Kansas’ “Carry on My Wayward Son” or Bob Mould singing about the Hoover Dam, there will be a sashay in my hootenanny.
9) Always, the three people I live with. I actually dodge many opportunities to socialize, simply because I am so fully satisfied by just these three. They are soft, wry, creative, capable, goofy. And they never flinch, no matter what kind of nonsense I spout. They are my sweetest and my best.