New Year’s: Peaking at Nine?

Technically I was 8 1/2. We had been in the U.S. for about six weeks and it was the first New Year’s I remember, the first one I stayed up to greet, 1954.

My mother had quickly become friends with another English woman, who invited us to their party. I remember almost nothing of the evening but it remains a treasured New Year’s memory.

The other “best” was 1995, when my husband and I had been dating about three months. He had a murder mystery gig at a hotel in Fort Worth. Afterwards the manager sent a bottle of champagne to the cast table. I wore a borrowed black cocktail dress, there was a band, and we danced. Later, I did my first (and only) karaoke, “Leader of the Pack” with two other women. It was terrible, but great fun, both of which I attribute to the champagne.

The absolute worst New Year’s was 2001, when Gary had another gig, this time a private party that I attended with him. We left before midnight “to beat the drunks,” but we were hit by a pickup running a red light, totaling our car and sending us both to the ER, where we greeted the millennium on side-by-side gurneys. We got home at 5 a.m., lucky to be only slightly injured, but the repercussions (physical, psychological and financial) continued for months. We ultimately had to get an attorney to reach a settlement from, yes, I’ll name the insurance company: USAA.

The year before, with the Y2K “scare,” a friend joined us to celebrate in the condo hot tub with a bottle of bubbly.

I’ve missed many New Year’s celebrations, including a couple (1990 and 2008) when I was deathly ill, once with the flu and the other with a violent stomach virus. The best “miss” was Savannah in 2012. After dinner and a bottle of wine at Paula Deen’s restaurant we went back to our b&b to rest, intending to go back out. I awoke with the clock reading 12:00, wondering why it was so quiet, then the fireworks and horns began. We didn’t get up.

Lately we stay home and don’t even last till midnight. This year we’ll have Chloe overnight. I’ll let her stay up, but at age seven she probably won’t make it till midnight. We’ll go to a couple of New Year’s Day parties.

Saying goodbye to a mostly very good year, I am putting my blog on hiatus for a short while. I have some deadline projects, including the print publicity for the next Paradox Players show, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks; I am about six months late in getting out a condo newsletter (not that anyone but me is counting); and being OCD I am desperate to do a massive cleaning and reorganization of the house. We are coming up on 15 years in the condo, the longest I’ve ever lived in one house. I believe God intended us to move every five years, so it’s time to pretend we’re moving and do a major purge. I even have a sage-sweetgrass bundle to smudge and purify afterwards. I’m hoping for a year of music, poetry, travel, good health and new experiences.

I also plan to refresh and redesign my blog. In the meantime, thank you for reading the ups and downs (mostly ups) of “Radical Retirement.” I wish everyone a healthy, happy and blessed 2014.

A spiritual practice of mindfulness and meditation will be part of my 2014.

A spiritual practice of mindfulness and meditation will be part of my 2014.




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