Kage Baker liked a quiet New Year’s Eve. She liked to maybe go out for a modest dinner, at a local 5-star restaurant (there was one in Pismo). It had an ocean view, killer cocktails, and was decorated in a chrome/neon/aquarium style that she happily described as looking like Zaphod Beeblebrox’s bathroom.
We would wear glittery dresses and cardboard tiaras, drink just a little too much, eat steak and lobster … my original plan was to trade my steak to Kage for her lobster, but the plan backfired one year when she finally tried the lobster and discovered how wonderful it was. So I only got half as much crustacean, but had the satisfaction of seeing Kage admit she liked eating a giant arachnoid.
Then we’d go home, watch the ball drop in Times Square and listen to Casey Kasem pontificate affectionately from his glass jar. Kage always shot the champagne cork off the front porch at 12 AM, we made our constant resolution – “To Survive!” – and then we’d walk down to the beach so Kage could wade into the icy midnight Pacific and pledge herself to the creative arts … then she’d walk home blue and dripping wet.
How she avoided pneumonia long enough to die of cancer is an unfathomable miracle.
I’m still keeping that resolution for both of us. The last year has been an extremely hard pull, and I very nearly lost my momentum. Sorry, Constant Readers. All I can plead is one of those emotional sucking chest wounds that occasionally afflict all of us, and that I got mired in the infamous Slough of Despond.
But it was a good Christmas! And a lot of good things happened this year! And while a lot of bad things happened too – well, you know, they always do. Every year has truly ghastly things occur. We survive. We make things better. We recover some leverage and get the boot in on the bastards – or maybe we accede to the angels of our better nature and feel virtuous instead. Either way, we can take action and do better.
And yestreday, I got an exceptionally sweet reminder from a gentleman of my acquaintance that was time for me to get off my self-pitying arse and blog. It was a kind and paternal reminder, and it made me feel young and loved. Those are incredible gifts. And, also, he was right.
However, I am hilariously semi-crippled today, having woken up with an inexplicable crick in my back that is keeping me confined to my chair. (Probably happened when I crawled under my desk last night to plug in an errant cord. I forget I am 63 … ) But it’s okay – I have pain killers, I have heating pads, I have new slippers (Black! With fur!) and my pitiful hobbling is probably preventing Kimberly – who also has been issuing threats and ultimatums regarding my inactivity – from tossing me out with the Old Year’s trash.
Because here I am at my desk and computer, pecking away. I’m still in my nightgown, but it’s a fetching one with a hem ruffle; and I have my cool writing hat on. And any day where you manage to pull up your panties has to be counted as a good one.
Begin as you mean to go on, Kage always said. It was why we always pledged to survive. I have done so, and I will do it again.
Happy New Year, Dear Readers.