It’s New Year’s Eve. I feel compelled to write about it as I force myself to stay awake until midnight, so here’s something. I’m pretty sure I’m getting sick from spending too many nights out in the cold photographing the sky so if this post sounds a little muddled, that would be why.
Last night a party “blossomed” (as my mom explains it) for my last day at home—probably until next spring. We thought of inviting one friend over, then a family of friends, and then another and another. Last night we hurriedly cleaned the house and thought about what we’d serve. This morning, while we listened to Carol King and James Taylor my mom made a couple flavors of soup and I made apple fritters. Having those delicious snow-ball like fried batter balls with little bits of apple in them is a yearly tradition for our family but this year the treat was a little different: because I made them.
Okay, so I love to bake and cook and I can make many things pretty well but muffins are not my forte. I’ll probably end up having a family who always craves muffins. It’s too bad for them, then, because I just can’t make them. Guess what. Mixing up fritters is a lot like mixing up muffin batter so of course, my fritters would turn out dense and tough—and they were for company. Just wonderful. Hopefully I can try them again next year.
We had around 20 good friends in our house for lunch and several of them were able to stay for the afternoon. I played a long game of Monopoly, read storybooks to sweet kids and finished the party eating mint-chip ice cream and drinking a mugful of (decaf) coffee for supper. I don’t know what I’d do without coffee—I admit the sad addiction.
I’m really not into New Years’ resolutions but I do have a bucket list . . . a long bucket list that I cross more off from each year. Here are ten I crossed out in 2011:
1. Color my hair (but you all knew that one already)
2. Milk a cow
3. Travel by train in another country
4. Have three jobs at once
5. Attend a ball
6. Rock climb
7. Drive a motorcycle (How did that go? Well, I’m good at crashing.)
8. Watch a Broadway play
9. Live by the mountains
10. See Machu Picchu
I don’t normally like telling what the goals/dreams are I haven’t crossed off yet but I’ll let you in on two of them tonight. The first is I hope to cross off “work in a bookstore, preferably a secondhand bookshop” this year.
I’m watching You’ve Got Mail at the moment so once again (and here’s the second secret) I’m reminded of how much I’d love to open a store like The Shop around the Corner. There’s something simply delightful about selling all your favorite books from childhood to children who are just discovering them, being a “storybook lady” each afternoon after the kids get out of school and hanging strings and strings of twinkling Christmas lights to decorate the store for the holidays.
Tacked on to this dream, due to my addiction to a good cup of coffee or hot chocolate with a decadent chocolate-chunk brownie while reading a good book, I’d like to have an attached coffee shop/bakery to this store. Maybe this will never happen, it’s not the most important or successful sounding dream, but I love to imagine it.
“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.” —Kathleen Kelly from You’ve Got Mail
And happy New Year, dear void.