We welcomed in the New Year with a bang. Well, several, to be more accurate. These emanated from some 1,000+ balloons that were let down at midnight over the crowded grand foyer of the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts and that were promptly destroyed by them. Which, by hook or by crook, my family just about managed to stay awake for. Perhaps cocktails and Big meals were not the wisest thing to do in the afternoon that preceded the party. If truth be told, the foyer celebrations felt more like being in a rugby scrum than a swanky ball gowned party. I was crouched on the bottom step by one of the stages where a big band swung in the distance beyond tall people's heads. My son, who had lasted till 11.15 before sleep knocked him into subconsciousness, lay strewn across me. My parents were on the steps behind me nestled in between bejewelled Washingtonians crammed next to one another. Not too unlike what it must have felt like to travel fourth class on the sweaty underbelly of the Mayflower. When new year struck and the war zone noises began my son lifted his head, gazed, unfased at the behaviour of the adults about him, took in the balloons and then made the wise choice of falling back to sleep. I too, have felt this kind of confused bemusement at the way we roll in January 1st. Now don't get me wrong, I love a party, and the dancing and everything that comes with it but I have an annoyingly inherent contrary button built into me somewhere deep down that no-one, not even myself could possibly reset. I would have been a very bad pack animal. I would have been the one they would have left to die in the wilderness or, more practically perhaps, eaten for dinner with cold cut leftovers for breakfast. I love a leftover cold cut. But I ramble, the point is, I find pre-booked group celebrations sort of numbing. I suppose I don't really like to pre-empt what I ought to be feeling at a certian time goverened by a handful of ancient men-types who decided it was January in the first place. I remember suggesting to a new colleague that we start radical change by challenging our division of the day by an unyielding structure of 24 hours that, most likely, are not in line with any sort of natural bio-rhythm. His look said it all. I never broached the subject again. We were, in fairness at the beginning of quite a long contract. But, at the risk of sounding negative I will add that it was very special to be able to cheer, if slightly confused, in the company of my parents and my husband and our sociable little son, who, despite being woken up numerous times after the big bang conducted himself in a remarkably amiable manner puffing out his be-tweeded waistcoat and english bulldog tie, proudly standing as a bastion of bi-continental living. I was very proud.
And so, perhaps, this is really what New Year was about. Taking a moment to contemplate our new, year. Of taking a breath to send some love to those absent friends who are so very dear, both living and dead for, on both fronts, we have quite a few, travellers as we are. This is why, come cabin fever o clock this afternoon, after the negative wind chill had sent us scurrying inside on an aborted trip to the outdoors I surfed for our friends on the net. Our wishes were granted when we were able to connect with friends in LA, whose little girl Arden is nestled firmly in Sammy's heart (they performed for each other, being as they are of creative parentage. It was the best show I've watched in ages) and also our best friends in London-town. They, great second parents to Sam as they are, performed some classic Skype tricks for Sam. My favourite being the one where he gives them a piece of his chocolate and they, having preprared the relevant props ahead of time, pick up a piece of chocolate their end and eat it. Doesn't get much better than that does it? This friend is one who moved into my world when we were about 4 and has remained an important fixture ever since. How she survived the bossiness of my childhood self (yes yes I know it hasn't quite been laid to rest) I will never know but it moves me so to think that in a few months time our little son will be the ring bearer at her wedding. I wish I could be there to listen to her fuss about details of the day. Though, to be fair this would be unlikely, she is an event planner extraordinaire and has already spreadsheeted every minute of the day. I would be more of a hinderance I would imagine.
Not to be sombre but in true honesty I think I may have hit my first soggy patch of homesickness. My dad went home yesterday, my mum is leaving in a few days time. Harsh wintry cities are on the horizon. We are entering the winter period of our journey. No shim shammy jazz handy cities in the near distance. Only the kinds of places that when you mention them to people they look at you with a barely concealed hint of condolences. Can Detroit really be that bad? Is Baltimore as dangerous as the rumours the crew have spread around about shootings and muggings and other all too real-life things to stop me sleeping at night? It would appear so. And yet, I resist with a little bit of might, pre-judgement, tourist as I am. Besides, hibernation may be in order. I have a novel hanging over my head that Must Get Finished and a children's story itching to be read by a publisher and illustrator (all suggestions very welcome). Besides if the nights get long there's always P90X to keep me company. Yes, for the true American experience I ordered something off an infra-mercial. Now, I feel part of it all. Yes, for just over $100 I have been promised a new physique. Inside and out. Food will not be scarce but utterly wild-ricedely healthy and protein rich, for you are reading the lines of a soon to be owner of abdominal muscles that do what it says on the packet. I mock myself, slightly embarassed as I am at admitting to the fact that I enjoy the challenge of seeing whether I can return from the land of the over-size a few sizes fitter. Also, it will be good comical fodder for the blog not doubt, that's if the workouts don't sap the energy from my runaway fingers. There's always vlogging should that happen. Sounds like something to do with vomiting but actually it stands for video-blogging. Not a good look for me. Besides, editing would be a chore even for little ole me.
And so to the New year. Resolutions? I am wary of them, seeing as the ones I might have set I most likely have broken already. If I am really honest it is to finish my book, get fitter, and discover the wonderful if somewhat illusive world of Patience. If I can keep watching the telly I might see an infra-four-low-payments-of-commercial for it. I am in the land of opportunity after all....