Friday, 2 January 2009

I resolve:

Little daughter, screaming with delight
Christmas 2008

How about this for a symbolic New Year's image? Wouldn't it be thrilling if we could all enter into the new year as if reborn?

I could definitely use some kind of cleansing at the moment.
I like the idea of January 1 as a fresh start -- hope springs eternal and all that -- but the truth is that I tend to feel fuzzy, lumpy and headachey on the first day of the year. This year, I felt jetlaggy as well . . . as we re-entered England just in time for my mother-in-law's 80th birthday celebrations, which quickly segued into the 48 hour food and drink fest also known as our annual New Year's Eve house party. I need the holiday bit where you hang out in your pajamas and watch old movies for a couple of days . . . and then I might be ready for a rebirth.

Although we were in the Bahamas this time last week, only the pictures and my daughters' peachy tans could prove it. I am as wan and logy as can be.

Poor Sigmund never did make it to the Caribbean, and we spent our first Christmas apart in 17 years -- first and last, we have resolved. We ran up such a big phone bill that our service got cut off . . . and we hadn't even realized that we had a spending limit! We both ended up being with our original families, and the cultural contrast was undeniably amusing. My Texas family spent the day swimming and beach-walking, and the day culminated in a chicken-foot domino tournament. Our biggest indulgence was passing around the Christmas candy, and we were all in bed by 10:30 pm. Sigmund's English family spent the afternoon at the Caterham pub, followed by a big Christmas dinner -- "all the trimmings" and then some. After feasting, they drank, smoked and danced their way to a 4 am finish. Which Christmas would you have preferred?

When it comes to pleasure domes, we all have our own notions.

The island we stayed on was called Paradise -- optimistic, hubristic or just opportunistic? Although you can't entirely spoil the Caribbean, I would describe it as crassly commercial -- but you wouldn't get my youngest daughter to agree. Sun and sand really are her idea of bliss. She was born in the Caribbean, just after Christmas in fact, so perhaps the islands are embedded in the pleasure center of her brain. My ideas of paradise are rather different . . . and probably most closely resemble being in my own bed with a good book! Or, if I'm feeling more adventurous, perhaps I'd read that book at some city bookstore or café. While my gutsy children and their cousins swam with dolphins and parasailed, I tended to be on the sidelines holding the camera. Is it just a coincidence that the only picture of me on the camera is the one below?

My idea of "going native"
(The Bahamas are totally Americanized.)

Which brings me to the subject of New Year's resolutions!

During my frenzied spree of pre-holiday Christmas carding, I made haphazard contact with a college English professor -- who was loved, admired and feared by me (and many others) in equal measure. I sent her my blog URL, and she replied, "really, beedrunken?" by email. Is it just me, or is there a raised eyebrow, a withering tone, in that "really?"

I do realize that Bee Drunken gives off a whiff of the Girls Gone Wild for the uninitiated; ironic, really, as I am such a boringly teetotal sort of person. And yet, it has so much personal resonance for me. I need to remind myself, pretty much daily, to live my life with emotional intensity -- to not detach myself. My loner side and my more extroverted side war with each other every day, and so often that loner side wins.

Which brings me to the corollary and concrete aspect of my New Year's resolution: I resolve to return phone calls and emails more promptly and faithfully! Thus resolved, I have many Christmas thank-yous to dispatch . . . and bloggy friends to visit.


herhimnbryn said...

Welcome back!
I prefer your beach walks christmas ( as you can see over at my 'place'). Such a shame you were apart from your beloved. I remember phone bills like that when Alchemist and I were parted by 10,000 miles:)

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had a very nice time from which to recover. Maybe another good resolution would be to actually be in more of the pictures. I know I need to make and keep that one. My kids pointed out to me that we have hardly any pix of me.

Happy New Year and welcome home!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I love seeing your blog peppered with pictures. It was great before, but I'm loving it even more now. That one of your daughter is precious. So in the moment. You look beautiful too!

How sad to be without your husband on Christmas, but it was funny to hear of the differences in your celebrations. I think I prefer your's, but maybe that's because I'm American.

I can absolutely relate to your daily struggle between the loner and your social self. I feel it everyday too. I like your idea of paradise, by the way. Sounds perfect to me!

JaneyV said...

She's back! We've missed you round these parts. I love that picture of you in the island paradise with a cardboard coffee cup from Starbucks. Says. It. All. Your daughter's picture is fabulous. I love it when that kind of childish joy is captured in the moment.

I'm going to have to go with the English Christmas although the 10.30 bedtime sounds great. That said I have always had a hankering to visit the Caribbean. I fancy Cuba though. Still unspoilt by globalisation and I love the music.

Hubby and I spent about 5 months living apart once. He was in New York and I was still here. We managed to get a couple of visits in but we hated it really. Oh but those phone calls were amazing. Hours and hours of just rambling on just so we had contact. It's so much easier now with the internet, but in those days - 15 years ago - we had phones and faxes. I don't think I could ever contemplate spending Christmas apart. I fully understand your resolve not to do it again.

I too have a slightly split personality because, although I'm perfectly sociable, I do also crave solitude. I find that as I get older the more solitary leanings are winning out. I spend as much time as I can in my jammies.

Enjoy your downtime and welcome back.

Beth said...

Love the Starbucks cup!
I would have preferred the English Christmas festivities - but not until 4:00 a.m.!
Enjoy some quality down/alone time - there's no place like home...

Brave Sir Robin said...

Bee -

Welcome back! So nice to see a post up at Bee Drunken, and if that Professor doesn't get the sheer joy of that poem, or the premise it surmises, well that's her loss.

The picture of your little one is wonderful! You are certainly learning your way around that camera.

You look very relaxed and happy in that photo. what's in the cup? For me it would be Americano, black.

I certainly spent several days lounging around and watching TV. While the rest was good, I could have used a little excitement, and I didn't get it.

As for chridtmases, I prefer your to Simon's I'm afraid.

If my family drank and danced until 4 in the morning, it would get pretty ugly way before then.

As for your loner/extrovert dilemma . . . . . . I strongly suspect you are not alone in that quandary. I think it is inherent in bloggers.

Happy New Year to you, your husband, your beautiful girls, and yes, Minstrel, Ralph, and Lauren.

Anna said...

You wrote Bee: 'I need the holiday bit where you hang out in your pajamas and watch old movies for a couple of days . . . and then I might be ready for a rebirth.' -oh I need those all the time, lol. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, nice read before bed. Happy New Year. Anna :)

Barrie said...

Happy New Year! I hope you get a chance to relax and watch movies, then ease into the new year. :)

Bee said...

herhimnbryn - I think that everyone deserves a good head-clearing walk at Xmas. Usually I am in a stuffy and steamy kitchen - although I love that, too.

DCup - A friend just sent me a picture (from his camera) of our New Year's celebration. Guess who was left out of the pic because she was taking it? Yes, moi. I never thought of that as a resolution . . . but let's just say that it is a good thing that I've started keeping track of my life via blog.

Alyson - I can't believe how much pleasure my camera is bringing me! How did I miss out on this fun hobby for so many years? Pictures vs Words - why choose? Definitely better to have both!

JaneyV - Actually, the English-style Xmas is a lot of fun (although I could do without the smoking, and it does go on a bit long). In general, I prefer Xmas in a cold climate. Cuba does sound terribly romantic, though. (The Bahamas is definitely not romantic, although I was able to score some Cuban cigars for Sigmund.)

Guess what? I'm still in my jammies! Little daughter and I read in bed for a couple of hours, and now I've switched on the computer . . . so who knows how long this could go on? I'm only on second cuppa, after all!

Beth - Sometimes I think that one of the functions of holidays is to get you to appreciate your home more. There is no place like my own bed!!

BSR - Several others mentioned it, too, but I think you put your finger on something that bloggers have in common: that loner side. Thanks so much for your consistent and kind encouragement about Bee Drunkenness.

As for coffee, I usually get a tall nonfat latte when I'm at Starbucks -- a cappuccino when I'm at a proper cafe.

As for the pic of little daughter, I really got lucky with that one! I couldn't see a thing because the sun was so bright! It really was "point and shoot."

Happy, happy new year to you, too. I hope that 2009 is a vast improvement over 2008.

Anna - If you don't get some lazy downtime over the holidays, then what's the point? I'm going to come visit you and see what you've been up to these last few weeks.

Barrie - Well, we are going to see "The Reader" tonight with some friends . . . but I don't think I will get away with wearing my jammies. Very happiest of new years to you and your clan.

Braja said...

I'm finding this a little hard to take. Firstly, how dare you proudly brandish a Starbucks cup around in front of me, a deprived Starbucks lovin' girl.

Secondly: you were in the Bahamas???! Where's my presents????

Jeez, the things I have to do to maintain relationships around here, I tell ya...

Barrie said...

Oh, Bee, you hit the nail on the head. I take the teenage withdrawal stuff far too personally. Thank you for the insight.

willow said...

Hey, you were missed in the bloggyhood! I am totally green with envy, too. You look totally relaxed and lovely in the pic. And the photo of your daughter is priceless.

Elizabeth said...

Wonderful beach picture.
But bed and books are wonderful too.
Glad you are back in blogland.

Audrey said...

Happy New Year Bee! I would err on Sigmund's side of the family for sure except I couldn't stay up to 4am on New Years. All that out-doorsy, clean-living stuff ain't for me. Though I could do with some sunshine...
As for your former professor, hmm... did she really italicise you? Ouch.

Susanna said...

Lucky you, it was VERY COLD HERE this Christmas. No I am not bitter.

Love the Starbucks photo!

Bee said...

Braja - Oh, there was SUCH a nice Rastafarian Xmas ornament that I could have sent to you. I just didn't think. So sorry, sweet one.

Barrie - Well, I have to "practice" that insight almost every day . . . if you know what I mean. I often want to write about the pleasures and pain of having a teenager, but I am cautious about bringing it into the public domain. My daughter finds it mortifying that I have a blog; how much worse would it be if I actually wrote about her on it?!

Willow - Thank you; I've really missed my peeps. I can't wait to get properly "caught up" this week.

Elizabeth - I do like the beach, but a day or two can satisfy me. My appetite for books and bed is insatiable, though!

Audrey - I'm looking forward to hearing about your holiday season. It would be great fun to plunk you down into Sigmunds clan and see how you get on? (Are you a social smoker by any chance?) As for my professor, the italics were mine . . . maybe I was taking the "really" too personally, but I don't think so.

Susanna - Don't you think the cold (not to mention the panto) are part of the fun? Ha ha.

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Happy New Year, Dearest Bee!! Wishing you and yours the very best. XO

Reya Mellicker said...

I would have been much happier at the Texan Xmas. Though the feasting and drinking sounds fun, too.

Happy 2009! Glad to "meet" you, too!

Dick said...

Well, what a choice! But being a dreary old limey beneath the super-sophisticated, cosmopolitan surface, I'd have gone for the full English.

Good to have you back. I'm looking forward to more to-ing and fro-ing between our blogs in 2009. And every good wish to you and yours for the year (international doom and gloom notwithstanding!)

Pete said...

Lovely pics and a great idea to be reborn in the new year. With all our senses renewed. I can relate to the Christmas spent apart. It's definitely not the same - even if you're in Paradise. Hope you have a great 2009.

Bee said...

JAPRA - I'm so glad you're "home!" Are you finding the UK a tad chilly?

Reya - It's nice to open the year with a new friend! Thanks for visiting.

Dick - The Full English is good fun, even though it demands more recovery time!

Like you, I look forward to more exchanges. You Ska post is deserving of a literary prize.

Bee said...

Pete - A bit of simultaneous commenting there. You have just posted your own rather paradisaical picture!

Bee said...

Dick - Let me rephrase: Your Ska post deserves a literary prize. Go read it, people!

chris said...

I am competely jealous. I've always wanted to go there. And, I am going to convert you to Disney if it's the last thing I do! Of course, if I'm going to do that, I better start lying about how great it was. Hmmm. . . . .

Regarding the other post, hate January. It's the worst.

Bee said...

Chris - If you like Disney, I'm sure that Atlantis would be right up your alley. We didn't actually stay there . . . but we did avail ourselves of their Starbucks (Jamba Juice, Ben and Jerry's, dolphins, etc.).

Anne said...

I love that picture of your daughter. The Suitor saw it and asked if you spent your Christmas somewhere tropical. I said that indeed you did, and he now wants us to spend next Christmas somewhere tropical! It would beat the pants off of Iowa. So, thank you for that. :)

Your resolution echoes something I've been trying to do for years... with little success. Mine is not to let things out of my control stress me out so much. Traffic, obnoxious drivers, being behind slow walkers on the sidewalk or in stores, and so on. More specifically (because I feel that a well defined objective is easier for me to achieve than a more abstract one), I resolve to let at least one thing go every day. So far so good.

Hilary said...

I love that photo of your daughter. It speaks VOLUMES! :)

Bee said...

Anne - Letting one thing go seems a very achievable goal! And yes, wouldn't it be nice if we could just let the small things wash over us . . .

As for a tropical Xmas, I have mixed feelings about it. I think that I actually prefer an at-home Xmas -- with a tropical sojourn to follow.

Hilary - It is difficult to get a photo that captures an unposed moment, and yet still has aesthetic qualities. That photo was like a gift to me.

Thanks for visiting me --

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