Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Auld Lang Syne

Yep! That was us!
We got a Christmas card this year from my sister-in-law Jean Marie. In it, was a yellowed clipping she had saved—an interview Steve and I did with a Valdosta, Georgia newspaper when we were on our theatre tour waaaaaay back in 1979. It was pretty weird to read comments from my 23 year old self.  We told tales of crazy tour happenings (we performed in hundreds of schools in five states during 1 ½ years on the road—believe me, there were crazy stories aplenty). I showed the clipping to my kids, and they were predictably amused.  Julie looked at the photo and said, “Mom, you were pretty back then!” and, diplomat that she is, she immediately followed up with, “Not that you aren’t still pretty!” (Good try, Jules!) It was fun to go down memory lane, and got me thinking of all the years, and especially the New Years, that have transpired since then.

Long ago, we’d observe New Year’s Eve with our dear friend John Carter in Atlanta. John would prepare a fabulous dinner, we would have a champagne toast (we were never big NYE partiers) and call it a night. After our children started arriving, it was all we could do to stay conscious until the televised Times Square ball drop. But as the family grew, we still had some memorable midnights together. I recall the arrival of the new millennium, for example. Like so many others, we (mostly I) feared a massive computer crash as we hit the year 2000. To prepare, I had purchased several gallons of bottled water and, for some reason—a sale, perhaps?—an ungodly quantity of canned beets (never on our regular menu). We huddled anxiously in the family room, preparing for the worst (the worst being a future of canned beets). At 12:01 AM, we ascertained that all was well with the power grid, hit the hay, and the next week all the beets were donated to a food pantry.

Then my five were suddenly grown up, and usually not home to ring in the new year with us. But Steve and I remained exhausted homebodies. We’d take a stab at a romantic dinner à deux, and then conk out halfway through Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Wild times!

And now here we are, on the verge of 2016, light years from that silly 1979 interview.  Our youngest will soon be the age I was when I gabbed with that Valdosta reporter. And then, in the blink of an eye, little Aiden will be 23 too.

It is rather unlikely I will see January 1, 2050 myself, but even before that, 2015 will seem like a yellowed clipping from far in the past.  That’s the way life goes. So may I try to live my remaining years to the fullest, and welcome 2016 with an open and optimistic heart.  For I truly believe there are still some wonderful adventures ahead for me…and for you, too.

Christmas 2015 (we managed to stay up past Aiden's bedtime!)

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Very KonMari Christmas

This is what happens when you read Marie Kondo’s bestselling book on the Japanese art of tidying up, two weeks before Christmas…

Sheridan on Santa's lap 1987

Dear Santa,

I have been very good this year as I am sure you know. I have not gotten a speeding ticket, or a parking ticket, nor have I had a winning lottery ticket, but that’s beside the point.  I pick up my clothes (generally) and do the dishes (from time to time). I don’t take out the garbage, rake leaves or mow the lawn, of course, as that is men’s work. My language, while occasionally salty, is still rated PG for the most part. I haven’t coveted my neighbor’s oxen. No wait, that’s the Ten Commandments. But you get the idea.

I don’t wait in line to sit in your lap because that would be super creepy, but I still have a few requests for Christmas morning.

I would really love your sleigh to arrive at my door, to cart away everything that does not bring me joy. That would include my leather pants from 2004 (what WAS I thinking?), my collection of mismatched socks, and my winter jacket from a time when I was small enough for it to actually zip up (see 2004). I would love Rudolph to take a huge passel of books back to the North Pole, because, honestly, the odds of my re-reading The Thorn Birds are slim to none. I am ready to relinquish my juicer, my ice cream maker and three of my springform pans (I have been anticipating the call for a trio of cheesecakes, in vain). Do your reindeer operate in reverse, dear Santa? Because I have a dumpster full of unwanted stuff, and I’d much rather empty out than fill up at this point in my life.

What else does not bring me joy? Junk mail! Why, in the age of the internet, do people keep sending me flyers for their pizzerias and their car washes? In the spirit of KonMari, it’s all going straight to recycling anyway, so spirit it all away, Santa! Speaking of the world wide web, I’ve about had it with spam that eludes the folder. If “Brittany” wants to meet me for a good time, she can help me load up your sleigh.

As my home is decluttered and becomes pristine, I expect to attain an exhilaration I never knew when I was knee-deep in Lego blocks and Barbies. I’d tell you to deliver this bounty to other houses, but honestly? I’d be happier knowing that other people are living in vast, vacant spaces like me. Empty closets, empty shelves. No need for storage bins. Bliss!

But Santa, don’t expect me to part with the 350 drawings of a sunset by 3 year old Sheridan. Not gonna happen. Or Rose’s baby teeth. So if I’m keeping those, I may as well ask for a flat-screen TV. And, while you’re at it, a screened porch.

Thanks, big guy. You’re the best.

Love, Elise