Tuesday, January 6, 2009

it's a new year now

Happy New Year, everyone!

I rang in the New Year in a bar in Sydney, surrounded by good friends, and toasted it with sparkling wine. There were hugs and kisses, and somewhere in the background people sang "Auld Lang Syne". We swayed to it, singing even though we weren't sure of the words. Later someone started a dance party, and outside, the snow began to fall. The blizzard that had been predicted swiftly came on, and every so often I'd look out the window of the second-story bar and smile, because I was warm and happy inside, and it looked quite cold out there.

Helium balloons stuck to the ceiling, and we danced between their dangling ribbons, grooving to a really great mix until 3 am, when the bar manager shut the party down, and everyone groaned. "Oh, OK, one more!" He said, indulging the crowd.

Then three of us walked home through the blizzard, singing Christmas carols at first, then laughing at the ridiculousness of the winter storm as the wind pushed the snow against our faces, stinging our cheeks. Walking across the expanse of a mall parking lot, I joked that we were in the Arctic, and our sled-dog team had died. The other two tried to climb the "mountain" of a snowbank at the parking lot's edge, and got covered in snow, not quite making it to the summit. Our cheeks were red and we were quite happy to get back to the cozy little house where we were staying. We hung up our clothes over the bathtub, and went to bed.

The next day is lost in a haze of snow and sleep. All I know is we had breakfast at 6 PM, bacon and eggs, then stayed in our pyjamas and watched TV. I chain-ate clementines, piling the scented peelings on the arm of the couch. There was "Jeopardy!", then the news, then George Strombolopolous's show, "The Hour". I think by this point, 11 PM, we were on to our second breakfast, this time pancakes.

Strombolopolous was interviewing Alanis Morrissette. Somewhere in the middle of it, he said, "You were sad for a while. You're happy now..." She replied, "I was everything for a while. I'm everything now!" It struck me as apt, for how I've been, for how I am now, so I wrote it down on a green Post-it, with a pen that only half worked. "Strombolopolous", by the way, is twice as long when you're fighting with the pen to get the ink out.

I folded it up, put it in my pocket and forgot about it. I found it today, five days later, which doesn't seem like a long time but somehow has managed to be. After the festivities died down and I came home, I got a cold, and it still has me in its tiring and nasty grip. Not only that, but my period came early, which takes its own share of my "daily energy expenditure". And on top of both of those? I'm a bit sad, missing my friends as they return to the cities where they live, and missing the chaos of Christmas fun. Without them, life feels quiet, and the "normal" that I was feeling quite happy about before December now feels too quiet. Cape Breton feels abandoned, even though it's not.

The blizzard that hit on New Year's Eve dumped twice as much snow here at home than it did in Sydney, which is typical. So now the snow lies on the fields and in the woods looking like a thick, luxurious duvet, which is rather pretty but which makes venturing outside the house a little difficult. But venture I must: without my daily walk I would soon go shackwacky, and that is not a pretty sight! So each day I bundle up, starting with long johns, piling on the layers to cut the chilly wind, and head out for four kilometers of dirt road, stopping the walk every once in a while to blow my nose, or moan a little and wonder at how one body can feel this sore and crappy.

And I have to say, the movement pays off. When I return home, I know that I've worked out, I know that I've swung my arms and legs and aired out my head, and that even though I'm still missing people, and I'm still sick and sore, at least I've had those feelings while tromping up and down the hills of home. And there are clementines to eat, and my life to get back to, and if all else fails, another walk tomorrow.

One more thing: in the hustle and bustle of December, this blog's sixth birthday passed unnoticed. So Happy Birthday to huminbean!

Now I have to blow my nose. I hope your New Years was enjoyable, if not fabulous! And I look forward to what the next year will bring. I hope you do, too.

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