Thursday, January 3, 2013

News of the New Year

Well, here we are in the early days of another brand new year. Hmm...except for the fact that it's goshdarnstinkin' cooooold out there, not much appears to have changed so far from where I sit. So, I'll just catch us up on how Team WestEnders marked the transition from 2012 to 2013.

First, of course, there was a New Year's Eve party to attend. A lovely opportunity to engage in witty, sophisticated conversations with friends, partake in dainty, elegant finger foods, and imbibe a grown-up beverage or two. Oh wait, please forgive me, for a moment my mind must have wandered while I described some daydream scenario, rather than the one in which we were actually involved. Here's how it really went: adults clustered in tight groups, leaning their heads close together, attempting to hear and respond to each other over the ambient...DIN. Meanwhile, one had to keep a watchful eye out for the rampaging hordes of children that would suddenly appear, careening up and down the stairs, skidding around corners, and galloping through the rooms, doing...well, who knows what, really, but doing it at top volume and full speed. Every once in a while, I would spy Derek slinking past, toting a plateful of meatballs and wearing a blissful-carnivore-smirk. And once, a little later in the evening when things had settled down a bit, I approached Riley to see how he was doing. He guiltily glanced up, his mouth overflowing with suspiciously sweet-looking crumbs, and stammered, "This is my last cookie, I promise!" Oh-kaaay, just how many have you had? He shrugged nonchalantly, "Eh, I don't know...ten, maybe?" My face must have reflected my thoughts at that moment--"Holy, sugar rush, Batman, are you kidding me?"--because he hastened to add, "I'll go have some carrots right now!" And me? I was a total party animal...chips, chocolate cake, Diet Dr. Pepper...whew, it was a carb and caffeine bonanza, I tell ya!

My plan had been to get back home and watch the iconic Times Square Ball Drop from our own couch, in our pjs. Yeah, that didn't happen. As it turned out, we left too late and so welcomed the New Year on the road, in our car. We did have Derek do a countdown for us, and we toasted with Gatorade we'd brought along for the ride, so the ceremony managed to have a mildly festive air. Then Derek spoke up, "What're your resolutions, Mom?" Phhhht, easy question...since I have always declined to make any. Next? Derek responded with, "I'm gonna drink Miller Light!" many, many things wrong with that...and once again, damn those sporting events with their stupid beer commercials! I'm sad to report, once we firmly, loudly shot that one down, his suggestions only became increasingly ridiculous. However, Riley actually had the last word on the subject, as he came downstairs on New Year's Day wearing one white and orange sock, and one black one. He proudly declared, "My resolution is to wear mismatched socks, every day this year!" Yeah, it might be time to explain the whole "self improvement" concept one more time to them...

Speaking of fresh beginnings, we let an old family custom go this year. In the past, my mom had cooked what she considered a "New Year's good luck dinner" (including pork, sauerkraut, kielbasa, black-eyed peas, and mashed potatoes). My sister and I conspired instead to begin an alternative tradition for January 1st: Lunchtime Chili and Football Fest. And somehow, I can't imagine that lounging on the sofa, watching the Outback Bowl and eating yummy Wintertime comfort fare could start the year off on anything but the right foot, yeah? So here's to a 2013 filled with possibilities and promise, friends, family and fun!

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