samedi 3 janvier 2009

Bonne Obama Year 2009!

Hm. That banner should say Bush, not 2008. George W. Bush, but you all would have known which one we were talking about.

So, indeed, it's 2009. It happened. Time continued to tic-toc right along, or make that little clicking noise my old alarm clock, the one I took to college in 1979, made when the flaps for each number turned over as the minutes made their steady march forward. I listened to it while studying and trying not to go to sleep for years, until I moved into the architecture studio and never saw that clock, or my bed, again until the flaps of the date on it got to the last day of exams and summer vacation.

Time doesn't make noise anymore.

It's also wrong, since my laptop came back from Dell, half repaired. 3:37 am at 4:27 pm.

I am adrift. Obama's elected and about to take the oath of office without a celebration by us and for all of us from MYBO. All that ball work kept me from paying attention to the transition, but I have the vague sensation that I am not thrilled with all of his choices. But, I warned myself and anyone listening to me that none of us would be. I knew he is not a progressive. He told us all. They don't make it past the starting blocks. Look at Kucinich. We could have had Hillary or Barack. Neither one a progressive, but no one really wanted to watch another four years of liberals and conservatives fighting, and most can't distinguish a liberal from a progressive, as worth learning to do as it is, so we got what many wanted most of all: a pragmatist with a combination of progressive and conservative values determining his position on the issues, always with an eye on a win.

We might get wind and solar energy locally distributed and a hybrid or hydrogen battery car in every driveway in 10 years if we agree to say that marriage should be a special status between one man and one woman, offering at least certain basic civil rights, such as hospital visitation and custody of shared children, to those couples otherwise composed.

Most of us (even the otherwise composed) were willing to make that deal, although I (for example) would never have made it to the White House because I am not pragmatic enough to ever have said that the otherwise composed should not be allowed the status of married. I also can't see why they shouldn't raise children together.

Still, Barack Obama has always been willing to explain to his constituents why he supports a woman's right to choose.

Maybe I'll settle for convincing him that it's time to change the political climate he claimed in a letter some months ago won't allow single-payer health coverage and make that the nation's newest social law on the books, and then ask why marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is more untouchable than abortion.

2009. Obama. I prefer to think in presidents. At the 44th now, I will forever more be older than the number of the president being sworn into office. Not interested in seeing, or hearing, the progression of time. I have never much liked New Year's Eve, though. Happily, I married a man who doesn't either. One point we have in common.

One'll do.

Wedding photos, Resolutions and New Year's Eve


We returned to Cloyes after Christmas to spend a few days in the company of his family. Christmas was 37 in the house. The numbers had diminished since we left late after dinner on Christmas. There were only 18 left, adults outnumbered by a margin of four or more. By after lunch on New Year's Eve, we were down to four in all: my inlaws, my husband and me.

Audouin and I went to the photographer's shop in Chateaudun with our selection of wedding photos for the album, finally, after 6 years. My reason was that choosing the photos and receiving the album put the wedding day, for which I had waited so very, terribly long (remember, I am older than the of presidents we have sworn into office, and only younger than the new one by a matter of weeks), in the past. Having the photos still to select kept it alive.

For awhile, anyway. Then, it was just absurd. And embarrassing.

My excuse was that there were over 400 from which to select and my first rounds had gotten us only to about 190. Ridiculous for a wedding album, even if it were intended to be somewhat photo journalistic and documentary. When Audouin finally made his selection (67, or 13 fewer than the minimum number for which we had already paid -- how did he do that?), the list disappeared. Mine? No problem. Right there, but his was the one we needed. It took months and months, it took both of us going to Cloyes for the first time since we last entered the photographer's shop (to apologize) a year ago for him to turn to me and say, "Il faut qu'on fasse les photos cette fois-ci."

He was right.

"D'accord," dis-je, "mais il faut que tu fasse ta selection encore." That nearly killed it, but I prevailed. This time he handed me a list with no more than 20 photos on it.


"Non quoi?"

"Non." He raised his head from his list.

"Tu ne vas pas me dire que tu ne veux que 20 photos! Il faut prendre au moins 80!"

"Mais tu sais que je ne suis pas très photo."

"Oui, d'accord, tu n'es pas très photo, mais la dernière fois tu as choisi bien plus et il faut qu'on prenne au moins 80, alors tu vas voir cela avec moi. Ce n'est pas la peine que les 80 soient pour moi seule."

We got to 137.

I did it all over again the next evening at Cloyes with him reading on the bed next to me, the one in which we spent our first night married to each other, which does not do justice to the history of that bed, to say the least. 106. I was brutal. Even 137 is ridiculous. It takes too long for anyone to look at all those photos. You forget before the end what you're even looking at.

So, one old New Year's resolution down.


My list looks like this now:

1. Learn how to live without a presidential campaign.

2. Learn how to do without Bush and his administration to despise and Sarah Palin to surprise.

3. Work-out daily.

4. Lose a few pounds. I can't say how many because I refuse to weigh myself.

5. Get my hair done every 3 months, maximum.

6. Be nice to my husband longer than one week into the new year.

7. Clean up the garden and really learn how to make one this year.

8. Figure out what I want to do now that I am really quite grown up.

9. Walk the dogs every day (they started to resent Obama as much as Audouin).

10. Stop yelling at Sam to work harder at school so he can get into a good university and be a success. It isn't working. Manifestly.

11. Keep the house orderly, clean and free of cobwebs.

12. Stop complaining about it being too small. Deal with it.

13. Stop procrastinating.

14. Follow Obama's presidency at least as closely as I followed his candidacy, without spending as much time on it. Hm.

15. Find a way to earn a little money and be useful economically.

16. Buy new clothes at least once a month rather than waiting to be in a real bind.

17. Stop eating standing up, and, worse yet, directly from the box of cereal, which prevents me from thinking about the next thing I have to do since I can put it off until after the next handful.

18. Get the animals' vaccinations done on time and never forget a single flea and tick treatment.

19. Find a sport to do regularly so I have a reason other than being thin, which I never will be, to be fit. Reason equals motivation.

20. Figure out how to finally be at peace with being a stepmother.

And then there are all the things that are too hard and too personal to write down. Those of you who know me best know very well one or two things I haven't added to my list.

Feel free to make your suggestions. I am sure I could benefit from them.

New Year's Eve

On the way back from Angelli's, his children gone with aunts and uncles for their New Year's Eve celebrations, mine snowboarding in l'Alpe d'Huez, we were alone. No place we had to be.

"Tu veux qu'on prenne des huitres, du champagne et qu'on passe le soir avec tes parents?" It was almost three years ago that their 6th took his life and New Year's Eve, even with my father-in-law's birthday the next day, stopped being fun. It never was much fun in the first place, if you ask Audouin and I, but now, it was almost hard. We drove back to Cloyes, bought the oysters from the woman on the plaza in the center of town, found the supermarket closing its doors and hurried to the corner convenience store, where we found the salmon, wine, clementines and champagne (this is France), and then returned to the Chalet with our treasures to deposit them on the kitchen counter.

"Mais c'est quoi tout cela?" asked my mother-in-law when she saw the salmon sitting on the box of oysters.

"We're staying for dinner, if you'll have us."

She set a table for four, with her best goldleaf-edged porcelain, crystal and vermeil (the table being too small for the silver -- my kind of problem!), in front of the fireplace in the living room and made a chocolate mousse while Audouin and his nearly 84-year-old father opened 4 dozen oysters from the Ile d'Oléron, north of Bordeaux. I laid them out on the pewter platters with quarters of lemon and made a red wine vinegar and shallot sauce. Together, we finished everything, including a bottle of champagne, another of Graves and one other of a white Alsacian, surrounded by the dogs and cats, sleeping on the hearth.

This is France.

Bonne année 2009, tout le monde.
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