a new year now, or later.

January 2, 2019

The Christmas tree is still up, minus its decorations. If I tilt my head the wrong way, I can see a thin film of dust that’s taken up residence on my navy blue dresser. The last three days of the advent calendar never came down (the fact that festivities were enjoyed notwithstanding) but the sprig of greenery I tied up there with them has taken to dismantling itself, shedding a needle or five from its brittle stem daily. There’s a bowl on the counter with a few withered clementines, unable to tempt even the most willing snacker and a bag of laundry is waiting by the door—sheets mostly, freshly laundered but newly soiled by a small person who can’t always manage to rouse himself in the night for a trip to the bathroom. The small person? Sleeping. Snoring softly alongside his dad, both of them giving themselves over to the extra rest they need to shake the last of a Christmas cold that’s delivered more than its expected wallop.

My calendar hasn’t yet been filled to brimming with hopes and aspirations, but yesterday I made a pot full of black-eyed peas, rendered delicious with a charred onion and cloves and a bit of heat. (All thanks to the genius of Mashama Bailey.) Collard greens got a treatment of honey and smoked paprika and a splash of apple cider vinegar. I’m borrowing all the good luck charms I can find, in other words.

Eventually the dresser will get a wipe with a damp rag. The tree will be walked a few blocks to the park to get turned into mulch. The last of the pine needles will be plucked by hand from the rug. The advent calendar will get tucked neatly away for next year.

I’ll open my project book with a crack of the spine. I’ll pledge to do some things differently and strive to do other things exactly the same, cementing traditions and good habits and chiseling away at the stuff that needs breaking. Sculpting? I’ll embrace artistry in the New Year.

I’ll write a list of books I want to read. Maybe I’ll think some more about a book I’d like to write. I’ll pledge to visit a museum exhibit a month, no less. I’ll swear by color and sunshine and Vitamin D and promise to get myself through another winter without too much suffering. I’ll remember the spring bulbs I planted with Faye. I’ll water my new fern every morning. I’ll be better at saving pennies for taxes. (I’ll try to save some other pennies for travel.)

I’ll resolve not to sit at my desk all day. I’ll take myself for long, solo walks.

I’ll forgive myself for breaking my resolutions.

Here’s to a new year, whenever it gets here.

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  • Reply Karen January 2, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Happy New Year,
    Ya New Years Day, meal was like ours
    carrying on the Ole Southern Tradition
    by the P’s/(Parents)
    Pork Roast
    Mustard Greens
    Homemade Cornbread
    Black Eyed Peas

    We just hope to continue the on going
    process of renovating this old Farm house
    in The Deep Extreme Northern Woods
    of Maine/Canada.
    We retired to Maine from Big D/(Dallas).

    Love ya, post/(s) and pics
    Beautifullllll Family❤️

    We still strive at, Green, Mindful of what
    we buy, Authentic and Natural, we are
    so limited to stores here, mainly online.

    Thank you

  • Reply Jen January 2, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Yes to writing another book! Would also appreciate an occasional book review or recommendation as you come across any you’d like to share. Read a couple you mentioned in your book, and enjoyed very much. Happy New Year to you and family.

    • Reply Anna January 3, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      I second both of these! Would love a new book from you and would love book recommendations 🙂 Happy New Year!

  • Reply Bailey January 2, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    This is wonderful! I love the reflection and goal-setting that comes along with a new year, but sometimes get overwhelmed by doing it “on time.” This was a good reminder that it will all happen when it happens 🙂

  • Reply Emily Ouckama January 2, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    My favorite New Year’s post ever. And my second favorite post of yours after November 9, 2016.
    “And then I will tell them that I fought. That I refused to let racism and sexism and xenophobia rule the day. That I would not be fooled into complacency. I’ll tell them that I knew we had incredible work to do and that it would require unprecedented bravery. I’ll tell them of my renewed resolve to raise thoughtful, compassionate, big-hearted children. I’ll tell them of my commitment to being an ally to people far more marginalized than I am.”
    Thanks you & Cheers to 2019!

    • Reply Anne-Lise January 3, 2019 at 11:23 am

      I missed this post the first time–thanks for reposting it here. Gives me the chills!! <3

  • Reply Audrey January 2, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    I actually just cracked open your book yesterday looking for some inspiration to kick-start the New Year. Happy New Year and YES – please write another book!

  • Reply McKenzie Allyshia January 2, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Your writing is always so wonderful and I always look so forward to reading your posts. It sounds like a wonderful Christmas was had! I will be checking out that project book immediately. I hope that 2019 brings you much happiness and love ♥

  • Reply Christie January 2, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    This probably sounds amazingly silly to you, but reading of the detritus and dust lingering in your house and a bag of laundry just sitting there made me feel some comfort. We strive for simplicity and minimalism and cleanliness and order. But with two full time jobs and three kids the cleanliness and order can be hard to come by. It’s nice to hear that we all suffer from that. Also for the little one, my middle son is almost 5 and wears pull ups at night. We are mostly zero waste but that is one compromise we had to make (we use eco by naty so at least as eco friendly as possible). We have had a hard time with his potty learning. Only within the past 3 weeks has he gone long periods with limited accidents (one per week). We went to his pediatrician. Check. Child psychologists. Check. Everything is fine. Some children, especially boys, take a little longer than others. My first son potty trained by around 2 and was night trained by 3. We had the same expectation. But it wasn’t to be. Honestly, sometimes we have yelled at him in frustration. We have tried giving him a reward. Anything! He has taught us patience. I’m not saying your little guy is the same, but just in case, I’ve been there!

    • Reply Gesche January 4, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      Dear, hang in there. It takes as long as it takes but he will get there. My son was six and a half when from one night to the next he stayed dry.

  • Reply Huma January 3, 2019 at 8:01 am

    May your new year creep in quietly and softly, whenever it knocks on the door, and also: may it not wake the sleeping babes. So glad to have connected with you so much more these past few months. Huma x

  • Reply Anne-Lise January 3, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Yes, yes, yes. To all of this! Also so glad you posted about the Cobble Hill Park pile. We saw it on the 60 degree Monday we had, but didn’t know what it was for. We had put ours out to the curb, but just told our family we’re going to grab it from downstairs and bring it this weekend! #mulchforall. Also, for what it’s worth, I’m looking forward to trying for less online time for 2019, but this is one of the very few places I’m going to keep in my regular rotation. Thanks for always inspiring us! xx

  • Reply Rachel at Stitched in Color January 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Your writing has such a lovely tone and resonance. One of my readers recommended me to your blog, and I’m so glad. I want to breath more personal musings like this into my quilting blog. Thanks for the inspiration!

    p.s. Our family got hit by a rough cold in Nov and then in Dec. Not usual for us! It may be a tricky strain this year. Hope all are well soon in your home!

  • Reply Gill F. January 3, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Ah I needed this today to remind myself that it’s okay to not have it all together once that clock strikes midnight. The minute the new year rolled in Instagram and Facebook filled up with resolutions and promises to be better and stronger and greater and more put together. I made my word for this year ‘patience’, so I can work on being patient with myself when I’m not automatically a ‘new year new me’ or I feel just as stuck as I felt in December due to illness and exhaustion. It’s okay to take it slow and to linger and we’ll get there in our own time, or we won’t and I guess that’s okay too!

  • Reply steph January 3, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    i’ve always dreaded winter too but lately I’ve grown to love it – more thoughts about it this way: https://tps-steph.blogspot.com/2018/12/0026-to-do-winter.html

  • Reply Sarah January 3, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    I very much enjoyed reading this post 🙂 Happy New Year!

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