1/1/11


For New Year’s Eve my husband and I hung out with friends, but I was also subject to one more round of let’s-see-how-many-ways-the-universe-can-play-a-joke-on-me. This month alone there was the Dog Thing and the Roast Thing and the Soup Thing, which some of you have heard about. Without getting into details, let’s just say they were all situations where they got so ridiculously over-the-top that the best way to deal was to laugh. As for last night, I don’t know which was more annoying, the fact that I lost a really cool glove, or that I burned a hole in my favorite fleece pants lighting off a bottle rocket. (Do you know how hard it is to find a good, inexpensive pair of fleece pants that have pockets?) Or maybe it was being subject to all that oh-my-gosh-who-will-Ryan-Seacrest-kiss insanity. #1, why should I give a rat’s patootie, and #2, can they fit any more advertising on those stupid New Years hats they wear in Times Square? The only thing I have to say about all that is, thanks a lot 2010. I should’ve known you’d have to get in one last shot on your way out.

With Christmas being so weird for me I guess it should be no surprise that New Year’s was, too. I know everyone else is going all Auld Lang Syne on the internet these days, but I’m not buying into the hype this time around. 2009 was a tease, and so was 2010. Nothing terrible happened in either year, but they both felt like month upon month of hard work, broken promises,  and unfinished dreams. They were too busy, too stressful, and they left me exhausted.

I’m sorry to be so cynical. I know everyone else is writing posts about hope, resolutions, and goals. But here’s the deal. If you don’t have expectations, you can’t be disappointed. I don’t want to set myself up this year. I think I’ll just go along for the ride. I have some personal writing goals, but the truth is, so much of what I want is out of my control. I’m tired of being plagued by desires. I think the Buddhists have it right on that count. Maybe if I let go of my longings, the suffering will disappear along with them.

Really I have nothing to complain about. Some of my friends and family members have had terrible things happen to them in the past 24 months. I’ve experience some very good fortune and generosity in that same time. I’ve made new friends and connected with old ones. By all rights I should be grateful and count my blessings. But mostly I’m just tired. That soul-crushing tired where you have a total meltdown because the checker at Fred Meyer didn’t use your cheese coupon, but instead tucked it back into your bag. And the only reason you bought that freakin’ cheese in the first place was because you had the coupon. So my main hope for 2011 is to have it be more peaceful than the last two years.

But, much as 2010 was a pain in the butt, I’m kind of sorry to see it go. I was just getting used to it. It was comfortable, like an old pair of jeans. To me, New Years feels like getting shoved out of the nest. I worked so hard to make it to December, and now they want me to start all over again from the beginning? Seems a little harsh, don’t you think?

Besides, January is a smug little month. Whereas December is cool, dark and soothing, January is all in-your-face with its bright, sparkly newness. It has all this promise, but it’s hiding secrets. Take last year for example. While I was working outside in an unusually warm February, I was full of hope for things to come. Little did I know that the coldest May in 20 years and wettest June on record were lying in wait. Little did I know that the summer would be much cooler and cloudier than normal, September much wetter, and that “fall” would linger into mid-December while the leaves clung to the trees like a little kid on the end of the high dive, refusing to jump.

I know what you’re thinking. So the weather sucked. So what? Let me just put it this way. Weather is safe to talk about, not too personal, not likely to get you into any trouble. But as we writers know, it can also be metaphorical for what’s going on in the rest of the book. So rather than complain about other things, I’ll just keep it on a meteorological level.

Before I wrap this up, I’d like to direct one little rant at the Lang calendar people. Why did you have to start making your calendars 1/8 of an inch narrower so they don’t slide into your personal calendar holders smoothly anymore? Every month I have to fight the darn thing, adjusting it “just so” to keep it from sagging out. I thought maybe the one I got last year was an anomaly, but no, I’m having the same problem with this one. Did you have some executive meeting where you decided you could save millions in manufacturing costs by shaving off that little strip? Or is it an evil plot to get me to buy a new calendar holder? And what about this picture for January? Do you seriously think I want to look at this all month? Don’t you know denial is one of my best weapons, and you’re dulling its edge?


Okay, rant over. I’m going to go look at the date and marvel over all those ones in a row. So long 2010. Don’t let the door smack you on the butt on your way out.

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13 Responses to 1/1/11

  1. Roxie says:

    Good rant. And you do have a point – expect nothing, minimize disappointment. but it’s so hard to suspend expectations. I wind up expecting the worst, then planning for it, then being disappointed when it doesn’t happen.

    Best wishes for 2011 – kitty kisses and pain-free knees, a decent growing season and leaves that stay dry all fall.

    Like

  2. Todd McCann says:

    I think it’s refreshing to hear a New Year’s rant instead of all the feel-good junk. Then again, I’m a gigantic stick-in-the-mud.

    Here’s to a great 2011 for you and yours.

    Todd McCann
    https://twitter.com/ToddMcCann
    http://abouttruckingjobs.wordpress.com

    Like

  3. KS says:

    I loved this!

    Like

  4. KS says:

    >>>> the Dog Thing and the Roast Thing and the Soup Thing,

    Sounds like a good title for a children’s story! 😛

    >>>> Do you know how hard it is to find a good, inexpensive pair of fleece pants that have pockets?

    No, I don’t! Can you find them online? Your birthday is coming up, you know. Send me some links!

    >>>> I’m tired of being plagued by desires. I think the Buddhists have it right on that count. Maybe if I let go of my longings, the suffering will disappear along with them.

    I hear that! I keep my longings to a minimum. Sometimes I don’t think I have enough. Sometimes I wish I could be Type A but I don’t want to trade doing more stuff for calmness of mind.

    >>>>That soul-crushing tired where you have a total meltdown because the checker at Fred Meyer didn’t use your cheese coupon, but instead tucked it back into your bag. And the only reason you bought that freakin’ cheese in the first place was because you had the coupon.

    Aaargg!

    >>>>While I was working outside in an unusually warm February, I was full of hope for things to come. Little did I know that the coldest May in 20 years and wettest June on record were lying in wait. Little did I know that the summer would be much cooler and cloudier than normal, September much wetter, and that “fall” would linger into mid-December while the leaves clung to the trees

    You summed it up! That was our year exactly! I have a pic of Heath shirtless in February, playing badminton in the yard! And then…crap. For a loooong time. And then that weird phenomenon this year where plants got such a late start that they had blooms even in to frost, but they were all stunted, and that weird thing with the tree leaves.

    -Katy

    Like

  5. rose lefebvre says:

    Seems that 2010 was a difficult one for many, me included.
    I want to say I laughed at the cat picture! My black kitty looks like that and probably weighs the same! LOL You gave me a laugh, which is a nice start for a new year. I hope I have more laughter and smiles ahead! It helps balance out the tears.

    Like

  6. Helen Wand says:

    The best advice for me is not to set high expectations. You’re right it just makes the fall harder.
    A good omen was that there was a 48.6 mph east wind gust (the hardest gust of the night at my brother’s house in Corbett) at 1:11 AM on 1-1-11. Maybe that means we will have a “normal” spring, summer and fall in 2011. I know it would perk me up! How’s that for a “glass half full” attidute. Some people will grab at any straw!
    At any rate, I wish us all a Happy, Prosperous New Year!

    Like

  7. Alice says:

    This last year has been crazy for me too, especially November and December. Good stuff as well as frustration. Let’s hope 2011 will be better for all of us.

    Like

  8. Angela says:

    I had a very bad 2010 year myself, and you know it. The worst was at the end when I should have been happy and joyous, for goodness sakes, it was Christmas. But I hated everything about it, and wished it would never have come. But it did, leaving me feeling guilty and thinking of myself as a whining baby. Which then made,bringing in the New year as one more year to get threw and that gas prices were going to get higher, and money was going to get harder to come by. Good luck with 2011 all, but I am not even over the crises of 2010, myself 😦

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  9. That’s how I view movies. If I don’t have high expectations, I probably won’t be disappointed. 😀

    Like

  10. Dude, January is the worst month of the year for me. It’s so cold and shiny. Smug, indeed.

    Like

  11. EJ Wesley says:

    I don’t think there is a thing wrong with looking back at a craptastic year and saying, “I hope it’s not that bad again this year.” Resolutions are made to be broken, so my viewpoint is to simply not make them.

    Don’t get me wrong, I def keep a positive spin on things. But sometimes when life gives you lemons, you’re allergic and the lemonade would kill you. 🙂

    Like

  12. Lisa Nowak says:

    Thanks everyone! I was surprised at how many of you agreed about not having high expectations. I was afraid that would come across as sounding fatalistic. I hope all of you have the best of luck in 2011.

    Like

  13. I gave up New Year’s resolutions and expectations some years ago. I have to say, I’ve enjoyed Januaries much more since then.

    This post is both poignant and funny. Goodbye, 2010…here’s to a stellar 2011!

    Like

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