Friday, December 31, 2004

New Year's Eve 2004

It's seven o'clock. I have no plans to go out tonight. I am watching Mulan, who is wearing her tap shoes, pitter and patter across the kitchen floor to the music playing inside her head. Oh my god, I love her so much.

This has been a very unusual Christmas/Winter holidays/New Year's for us. I am mostly, most often, in Spokane. Being with my father who I'm sure will die during the next year. But this year, he's already dead, so I am released from this bondage. Even though, I would give everything to have an evening with him.

In any case. Here we are. Family-less (well, dear beloved family member on the edge of death-less in any case) and we are not travelling for Christmas or New Years and I am not planning anything tonight except to write this. And have a fire with Mulan, and perhaps watch some Pee Wee's Playhouses tonight.

I have been on an organizing binge. I remember a time, a long time ago, when I lived on Sierra Bonita -- in a little garage apartment, four spaces big, when I was completely organized. I knew where everything was and everything was filed or in it's place and well...I have to say, it was a major psychological boost. Yes, a boost! Just being that organized. It's like it was a reflection of my mind. And I have to say, I think the organized nature of my apartment reflected the boom in creativity at that point. I was, of course, totally broke. And working as a bartender at a big hotel. But in many ways, I look back on this time as such a creatively fertile time. I thought up many of the characters I would eventually play, I constructed screenplays, made up scenarios, my mind was so free from the clutter of daily existence that it ran, unfettered for a long, long time. But since then, I have basically been just one step in front of disaster in terms of organization. I always have big boxes of I-don't-know-what and manila envelopes full of oh-my-I'm-about-to-have-a-dinner-party-and-let's-get-this-out-of-the-way kinds of stuff. And things have gotten lost and I've rebought things I already have and it's just been. well. bad. Yes, I would give me a C- or a D+. Not a good grade.

So this year, I sorta decided that I would take the two weeks of Christmas, where Mulan was out of school and I had no babysitter and there was no point in even trying to WRITE anything and I would really, truly, deeply get organized. And I have to say, I can barely stop myself from continuing on after the weekend. The last two days have been all about Mulan's bedroom and everything in it has a place of it's own. These two days have included two trips to IKEA to get organizing equipment. Clear plastic boxes for: 1.) barbies, 2.) brio train tacks 3.) Madeline and her outfits 4.) odd small toys. Oh, I am on a high of organization. The cds, finally organized. All Christmas music, downloaded! I bought new silverware, and new dishes -- in white and stark, plain stainless steele. I am clean and I know where things go! And things have a place! The newspaper, yes! It has a place! The mail, yes, it has a place! I have cards ready to address for thank-you's, I have stamps ready for bills, I have a spot for museum announcements. OHMYGOD, this is so the way to spend Christmas, just getting reorganized.

Okay. So, here I am on New Year's Eve and contemplating the year. It has been a very good year. Mulan is older and, actually, in many ways, easier and more enjoyable to be around. Parenting a kid at this age is less physically demanding, it's more of a psychological game now and I'm better at that. Or at least on most days.

Also, I finished my play this year. I remember after going to The Amazing Meeting last year in January -- James Randi's annual conference where I did a skeletal version of Letting Go Of God -- making a peronal promise to myself that I would get this show finished within the year --- really, really done, up in a theater and all that. And I did it. This gives me a lot of confidence about completing other things.

My New Year's resolutions for 2005 are:

1.) Lose 25 pounds (this is always on my list...but I feel this is the year!)

2,) Finish the book.

3.) Do more social type things. I feel I am always on task, always squeezing in a moment and then dramatically collapsing at the end of the day. And I want to do more fun, leisurely things this year -- go to more nice restaurants, see more people, actually....LINGER. Yes. I want to linger this year.

4. Read more books. I need to reinstate my earlier policy of having two books going at all times, one fiction, one non-fiction. I've reverted to my earlier habit of having five or six books going at once and then I don't end up finishing any of them. I need to really be more diciplined in the book arena.

5. Spend less money, and spend the money that I do spend more wisely. Man, this is a big one. I want to write down everything I spend in a book so I can look at it at the end of the day and just...think about it. Otherwise, money gets to be like food, you have no idea how it's surging out (or in, in the case of nourishment) and then, before you know it, bam! Not good.

6. Cook more. And cook less. You see, what I've been doing is buying a lot groceries for several vague recipies I have floating in my head. Then I never take the time to cook that food and it rots in the fridge while I exasperatingly run to a restaurant with Mulan for various meals. So, I'm going to take a more New York approach, which is to just figure that restaurants are going to be feeding your bulk of meals, and then have a lot of left-over take out and then really cooking something special a couple of times a week that is planned in advance, well planned and is special. Like get Mulan in on it. So you see, cook more and cook less. This leads me to...

7. More smaller dinner parties. My dear beloved friend Bob Blumer Surrealgourmet.com makes these wonderful meals for me (and sometimes Mulan) a couple of times a month when he's in town. And it's so great! And I"m used to having these big huge dinner parties with twenty people and I want to have a few smaller ones with just six to eight people and food I can fuss over a bit.

7. Visit Meg in Japan. I want to figure out how to get to Japan to see my sister and her husband. Maybe the end of March, on Mulan's school vacation. I want to travel farther south in Japan than I have before.

Okay, I am looking over my resolutions and they are so mundane and personal, but not personal in an intriguing way -- more of a BORING way, and honestly I feel I could just be anybody.

But maybe that's good. Why must I feel I need to be so...individual? I am typical in my new year's resolutions. And probably in my tendency to fail at my resolutions.

Ah well, into 2005. Here we come.