Oh to be finished! Guess how many days I “failed” this year at my 3rd resolution.
Less than I thought! My (nerd alert!) goal tracker says 96% complete. 4% of 365 days in a year is 15 days. I’m not interested in the tedium of reviewing how many of those are “cheater” photos… i.e. shots I intended to capture but didn’t actually pick up the camera until the following day. Maybe another 15? If I’m lacking chutzpah a total of 30 days in a calendar year, that bodes well for this year’s 30-Day-Challenge goal. I built-in 60 days of allotted “failure” – e.g. days I don’t have to spend any of my time or attention on goals.
Overall, my photo-a-day challenge was the only resolution that made it the whole year (see 2017: Some Things I Never Told You for outcomes on the rest).
This week? Tearful goodbyes, cheerful hellos, and nine photos instead of seven. Too bad this week is when I finally got a camera-case for the new-to-me-shattered-screen-still-works-as-a-camera iPhone 6 a friend gifted me. The better photo quality would have been nice to have this year!
Opening presents with kids is FUN!
The problem with loving kids is that they love you back with a ferocity. This particular child shouts, “Where did Jema go!” whenever I leave the family unit for longer than about 30 seconds. His adoration means I cannot ever pee, check my email, take an introvert break, or pack my suitcase in peace. I’ve been warning him for weeks that “Aunt Jema is going bye-bye for a long long time on long long trip and won’t see you anymore.“ His response on day T-minus 2 was to refute my statement with “eventually.” Eventually we will see each other, this is true. But I know to his three year old world, that “eventually” will feel like a lifetime. I worried the concept of my departure would remain beyond his little 3 year-old brain until I left, hitting him like a ton of bricks in the (hopefully insignificant?) throes of loss. But on departure morning he swarmed me like a dog, demanding every morsel of my attention he could get, crawling on/over/under/between me and my packing. He knew. I guess the problem with loving kids is really that you miss them probably more than they miss you.
Thankfully, the sadness of ending my family time was tempered by the open arms of two of the coolest people I know. Their New Hampshire homestead welcomed me with frigid temps, rarely hitting double digits, frequently below zero. To you Celsius users: the mercury hasn’t risen out of the negative since my arrival!
You know what I won’t miss about the photo-a-day stuff? The processing! The battles with wrongly-oriented photos. I don’t care enough to win. You can still see the coffee set-up from which I derive the comfort of familiarity and nostalgia.
So. Cold. The other night, after dinner, suddenly the temperature starting climbing. It had been 0.5 degrees. But then it was 1. And 2. And then three degrees! What is this alternate-universe vortex?! What’s happening?! Oh. The negative symbol is too far away from single digit numbers to be noticed. That old chestnut.
This is one of my favorite people of the world. Mind like a steel trap, diligent researcher, kind, thoughtful, kitchen whiz… he’s been reluctantly off gluten for 18 months. He misses sandwiches and avocado toast so much. The paleo bread recipe I love is now the paleo-bread recipe he loves. What a joy to bring happiness to someone who brings so much happiness to me!
Four different venison cuts, organic veggies injected with massive volumes of butter, the only cranberry sauce I have ever liked, and a beautifully balanced Portuguese wine. These are just a few of the dozens of reasons I’ll keep returning to a region infested with ticks and cranky people. I love these Mackintosh Homesteaders, everything they stand for, everything they do, and everything they cook!
I’ve really been wanting to write an article about how I think traditions are critical and how significantly the dearth of traditions impacts U.S. culture. In lieu of that, I am at least putting my money where my mouth is… or whatever. To shed the old year, we had a bonfire in which I burned things I want to let go of. To welcome the new year, we gathered “sacred objects” (pictured) and circled around to reflect on the contents of 2017 and share our intentions for 2018. ********* (As I stood in the guest bedroom looking at my small quantity of possessions and trying to find something “sacred,” I realized I don’t consider anything in my suitcase “divine.” I don’t pack around mementos or items imbued with meaning. Then I was surprised that I didn’t feel bad about that. Shouldn’t I feel “other,” isolated, and lonely at the contrast of my life with the more common life? Guess not. Next revelation: but wait. Just because I don’t carry “sacred” items doesn’t mean there aren’t many things I consider sacred and are a part of my daily life. Writing. Ideas. Books. Coffee. Salt. Butter. Cocoa. Fire. The fruit of plants. And actually my lacrosse ball – used for myofascial release – brings me great joy. So does the color turquoise. If I lose my turquoise items, not sad. But seeing that hue regularly? Alleluia!
The photo-a-day mentality caused me to really relish this moment on January 1st. Yet again the three of us unfurled our yoga mats to take care of our bodies together. Normally I might notice for just a tiny second, but photo-a-day life means 30-60 full seconds (obtaining camera, choosing photo composition) of celebrating the small stuff. I hope I continue to embody this Kurt Vonnegut advice: “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
Tucson, Arizona – USA
Lyndeborough, New Hampshire – USA