I’ve Got BIG Plans for New Year’s Eve!


It’s almost here! Huzzah!!!

Woot!! Woot!! Woot!!!

It is almost time to mark ourselves “Safe from 2020”!!

Such a festive and exciting evening! I just love New Year, with all it’s hope and happiness and all that other upbeat crap.

Of course, this year we won’t be going out for the usual midnight revelry with friends and family. We won’t be crowding into the city streets to sing and clap and watch the fireworks.

Instead, we’ll have a Happy New Year’s Hunker.

I’m going to make egg rolls!

I’m also going to try out a few quainte olde traditions of the past to increase the fun. And to increase the chances that I’ll make it safely through 2021.

For example, I’ve been reading a lot about the fascinating ancient times when pagans across Europe celebrated the solstice to welcome in the new year with health and prosperity. I learned that they would bring evergreen boughs inside the house, light special candles and bang on drums at midnight to chase away the old luck and welcome in the new.

Fun!

Lot’s of cultures have special traditions about what to eat and drink on New Year’s Eve, what to wear, what to say, and even specifically how to act. All to insure good luck in the next twelve months. Really interesting stuff!

So, here is my plan for New Year’s Eve as we finally kick 2020 to the curb and welcome 2021 into our loving embrace. I share it with you because I love you.

Also because I hope if enough of us finally start cooperating on something, life will be way more fun next year.

I plan to get out of bed around 8 AM. I’ll take a shower, but this old body is literally that last thing I plan to clean that day. Did you know that some cultures believe that you shouldn’t wash or clean one single thing on New Year’s Eve? No cleaning allowed.

I just love this one.

In some other countries, including Italy, you’re supposed to organize everything ahead of time and throw out all of your old clutter. Been there, done that. Been organizing ever since the lockdown started last March. So I’ll jump right into the no cleaning part of the day.

First I’ll grab some onions from my kitchen and tie them together with red yarn. Next I will hang them on my front door. Because Greek tradition tells me that I should.

Next I will venture outside to the woods. There I will gather an armload of evergreen boughs. This will be easy. The winter of 2020 has already given us three wind storms, so all I have to do is pick up some of the branches lying around.

Back inside the house, I’ll ignore all the dropped pine needles (no cleaning, remember?!) and arrange everything in a basket. I’ll put out three white candles, but I won’t light them until the sun goes down.

When that is done, I’ll grab a bundle of sage, or sweetgrass (what the heck is that, anyway?), or pine needles. I’ll light them on fire, blow out the flame and let the whole thing smoke. This is so I can “smudge” the house and get rid of any bad luck.

(Um….maybe someone should have suggested this last May???)

At last, it will be time to think about food.

Yes, I know. Some of us are always thinking about food. Move on.

In addition to my eggrolls, Paul and I will be dining on lentils, because they are shaped like coins. Really, teeny weeny coins, but still. Prosperity. We will also eat black eyed peas and collard greens, because eating these traditional foods will also bring prosperity. I don’t actually see the connection between black eyes and prosperity, but I’m not taking any chances.

This is where things get really fun.

Did you know that in Italy it is customary to wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve? I have no idea how this brings good luck, but depending on the underwear and age of the wearer, I can see where it might lead.

At any rate, after enjoying our prosperity veggies, Paul and I will change into our red flannel long johns and settle down to enjoy some delicious herring while snuggling under a lovely fur. (Said fur is supposed to be a coat, but I don’t have a fur coat. I’m hoping that having our big dogs on our laps will count for this one.)

As midnight approaches, we will light the three white candles that are arranged around the basket of pine boughs. We will chant something along the lines of

“Begone olde year, you stinking crone! We’re sick of hunkering alone. Welcome, New Maid, to set us free of masks and shots! So mote it be.”

I took some liberties with the chant, but you get the general idea, right?

Next it will be time to open up the front door and all the windows to let out the bad luck and welcome in the new.

(This is probably where the fur comes in handy.)

When all the luck has changed, and the house is down to about 4 degrees, we’ll eat the last bite of herring and move right onto dessert. It’s a good thing Paul doesn’t like lentils, collard greens or herring because he’ll have plenty of room to indulge in luck enhancing fried dough in various shapes and sizes and stuffed with various fillings. M’hm.

I suspect that the post holiday dieting tradition may have started here.

And…..as the moment finally arrives…..as the countdown at last counts down, we will ring bells, bang on pots and pans, kiss each other with love and joy and eat exactly twelve green grapes.

We will lean out the open windows, and yell into the cold night air.

“Good riddance, 2020!!! And don’t come back!!!”

We will close all the windows, turn up the heat, blow out the candles and have one last eggroll before bed.

And in the morning, as prescribed by Irish tradition, the first person to cross our threshold will be a tall, dark, handsome man. Good thing our daughter didn’t marry a redhead.

And it will be off to 2021, which we are absolutely sure will be a year of health, happiness, weddings, parties, hugs, kisses, singing, birthday parties and visible smiles.

Happy New Year, friends!

“Time Keeps On Slipping Into the Future.”


Sometimes, like all of us, I wish that I could make time run in reverse, and go back to earlier days.

I wish that I could visit my childhood again. I’d still have both of my parents. My Dad would be alive and full of fun and handsome and strong. My Mom would still be his beautiful bride, and their six kids would giggle as he pulled her into his arms for a kiss before dinner.

I wish that I could reclaim the sense of endless hope that pervaded those days. When I’d sit in the backyard and gaze at the full moon and dream of the adventurous and romantic life I’d lead one day.

More than that, though, even more than that: I wish that I could hit rewind, just for a few minutes, to see my three little children playing on the living room rug. I wish I could hold each of them in my arms, my beautiful babies. I wish I could hear those voices, laughing or crying, or calling “Mom!”

But time doesn’t work that way, does it? No matter how much we want to hold onto the past, or hold onto today, all of it keeps slipping into the future. And as impossible as it seems, here we sit on the eve of the year 2019.

I will turn 63 this year. My Mom will turn 89. Both are impossible from the vantage point of my heart.

My oldest child will turn 33, and her oldest will turn 4.

Impossible. Unbelievable. Somehow all of it simply wrong. Too soon, too quick, too rushed.

I am not ready.

And that’s the beauty of the whole thing. Time doesn’t care if we are ready. Time doesn’t care if we have grasped our own mortality, or if we’ve accepted the losses that it has brought us.

Time keeps on slipping into the future.

So what is that I wish for in my 63rd year of this wonderful, tiring, surprising, inspiring life?

I wish for another year with all of my children and their partners happy, healthy and filled with hope. I wish for a year of growth and new adventures and continued good health for my grandchildren, my best beloveds.

I wish, with all my heart, for another year with my Mom on this earth. I wish for more shared meals, more jigsaw puzzles, more hours spent pouring over old photo albums. Her memory is weak, so sometimes these jaunts into the past are more upsetting than pleasant. Even so, I wish for more time with her as the rudder in my life.

For my country, I wish for a year of healing. Somehow, some way, I hope that we can find our way back to the days of arguing without hatred. I hope and I wish and I pray that something will change to bring us out of these dangerous times and help us find our way back toward some sense of national unity.

Time keeps on slipping into the future.

We can’t turn it back. We can’t stop it.

We can only keep moving forward, faster and faster every year, keeping our minds and our hearts open to each other. Trying to grow and learn and improve.

Wishing all of you a Happy, Healthy, Joyful 2019.

Time Keeps On Slipping