Many bloggers are doing these fabulous retrospectives of their blogging through 2007. Others are doing these awe-inspiring lists of resolutions for 2008. Some impressive bloggers are doing both.
Here's where I let my inner Slacker shine through. And do neither.
But I will throw out a few random and frank (versus Ethel, Lucy or Fred) comments here:
1. About resolutions
A while back (and dear me, if I were a better blogger or not so lazy I'd link to the post I mean here) (this is what I call a Typical Julie Guilting Self Trip---I travel this often) I went on a little rant about the abuse of prayer.
After my more recent rant about gift wish lists (again with the missing link), it will probably surprise not one person to learn the direction of that rant.
I was disturbed by the specific desires uttered in prayer.
It seemed to me that the utterly faithful would only ask for God's guidance, presence, support or peace to deal with outcomes that are usually beyond our control.
Only I tried to sound less judgmental and more diplomatic than that.
The trouble with strong and specific opinions is that there is no way to not offend someone, or most people actually (my usual). There is also no way to plead, exactly, that this is just about me, because let's face it, it's not. In this kind of opinion, I am thinking about what other people do. I don't judge it but I do note the difference. And thus...in so uttering my thoughts on the matter, I know I open myself up to debate, criticism, defensiveness and my name in vain.
Some of you made really good counter points in the gift wish list post comments. It gave me a few more things to think about, chiefly that not everyone is like me. Believe it or not I think we need this reminder often.
So I accept that my opinion is imperfect, full of flaws and holes that someone can drive a counterpoint tractor through, and I welcome you to do it.
I think what that will gain is better understanding and acceptance on my part of differing methods. I don't think it will change what I believe is right for me.
I know what I want, usually, at least I do when it comes to the little things. It'd be really easy to ask God for all the things I want: help me renovate my kitchen, change my kid's attitude in this moment, let me pick the winning lottery numbers.
But I don't ask for that. Someday I'll be able to articulate my "deal" with "expectations."
Dear God: In this prayer I ask that you help me find a way to articulate my "deal" with "expectations." (KIDDING!)
What I do ask for is the strength and grace I need to navigate life. I ask for help finding in myself and my faith what it is that I need to make it through today.
I know what I want in any given moment---my friend's cancer to go away, my kid to get well, rescue from my own disease---but I also know this is not in my control or how things work. I know what I actually need is the core to manage with what does happen.
That sounds passive and I am anything but that. I am also not peaceful and accepting, in all cases. I'm a fighter.
I think---I hope!---that with age I am simply learning the wisdom of what I can control and what I can't, and am hoping/praying/asking in a direction that supports that.
So with this course of thought so clear in my head when it comes to prayer and gift wish lists, it begs the question about why I am so unresolved when it comes to new year's resolutions.
Today I said to Chani, "I'm so immured in a goal-oriented culture where one must write a thesis goal and action plan to work towards that and I find it hard to think that's *all wrong* because it's such a big *should* and works for so many people but something about it niggles at me."
Then it started to come together in my head.
As I read through people's resolution lists, I found myself most attracted to the general ones, the ones that aligned with my beliefs---that fit with how I like to think of prayer and gifts, for example.
They might not be specific. They aren't necessarily traditional goals. They might not include an action plan. Many are a list of improvements, and as I looked at them, I saw an underlying single goal, a theme if you will. So I decided to, privately, list out my own goals for myself, specifically, and see what underlying theme they revealed.
I won't be surprised if my resolutions match my prayers: dear God help me live more mindfully and with grace, courage, nobility of mind and spirit, and kindness.
2. About music
Jon got me an iPod for Christmas and a trip to Vegas in the Spring, because he can be really, really good that way (and maybe I can be really, really good too to get such things).
This is about more than shutting up my complaints about how radio in this town sucks rotten eggs. This is about more than pulling me into the 21st Century.
This is about pure aesthetics and pleasure.
Do you know the joy it is to be able to have your music go with you everywhere you go?
I bet you do.
I think I am the last person in the US over the age of 10 to find it out.
And Thank Goodness iPod understands my musical style and can list it out for me---and even suggest things to me!
Here, according to iPod are my Top 25 (so far...because I need a new computer hard drive to finish loading the rest of my music, such as the stuff that I carry with me always in my car):
Please Don't Tell Her---Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Super Duper Love---Joss Stone
When the Stars Go Blue---Ryan Adams
So Nice---Bebel Gilberto
Dancing in the Moonlight---King Harvest
The Good Kind---The Wreckers
Chain of Fools---L'Aretha
A Peak You Reach---Badly Drawn Boy
Something to Talk About---BDB
Walking Out of Stride---BDB
Crazy in Love---Beyonce
Stir It Up---Bob Marley
Everybody be Yoself---Chic Street Man
Mustang Sally---The Commitments
You've Got a Friend---James Taylor
Cool Lookin' Woman---Jimmie Vaughn
Crapped Out Again---Keb' Mo'
Can't Get You Out of My Mind---Kylie Minogue
Sweetest Goodbye---Maroon 5
I haven't even added the rest of my R&B. Corinne Bailey Rae. John Legend. Alicia Keyes. My ska music. Mighty Mighty Bosstones. My disco music. That is but the tip of the iceberg. More R&B, more Latin, more alternative rock (grown-up version). Blues. Southern rock.
And is it just me or do all the bands coming out now sound like garage bands by the sons of Flesh for Lulu, The Smiths, The Cure, and so forth?
Are we in an 80s revival?
3. About the 80s
So tonight happens to be New Year's Eve which means the end of 2007 and the usual rocking new year's eve, in some form or fashion.
We will be ushering out the old and welcoming the new in 80s fashion.
I kid you not. (It is fun, people, not pathetic.)
Within walking distance, thank goodness.
A while back my neighbors and I decided it would be loads of fun to get one of those online mysteries and host a party, which got shuffled to New Year's Eve at my neighbor's house. After a flurry of email votes, we decided on Murder in the 80s. Because most of us are almost 40 like that.
My character is Samantha, and I think it needs no further description but think Molly Ringwald in a John Hughes film. (If you don't know what I mean here you are too young to read my blog. KIDDING!)
The game Strongly Suggested I play this part and I do not even want to deconstruct that.
Jon is a GhostBuster. He's just thrilled.
I got a funky fun prom-like cocktail dress and will do an 80s 'do complete with one of Persistence's tiaras, which she has graciously loaned me for the evening (since I seem to have none of my own).
Jon will probably wear his REI casual hiking pants and a sports tee-shirt. He's currently constructing a bookcase rather than a cardboard box with a hose, as the game suggested, so I'm going to venture a guess he'll carry no ectoplasm pack type accessories.
The kids will be spending the night with Nana and their cousins at my sister's house, because they are good to me that way.
I'm just hoping I can harness enough brain power to figure out a clue or two, and not get too distracted by Whip It or Dancing With Myself over in the Karaoke/Dance corner. My clever friend, the hostess, is offering prizes for best costume, best 80s drink and appetizer, and best dancing 80s style. I've got the last one sewn up.
I know this because the last time I was at a dance club dancing my happy heart out, this man tapped me on the shoulder and with a big laugh said, "You graduated high school in the 80s, didn't you?"
No, I did not bitchslap him. I just laughed and admitted the truth. I am a mature person with a rich life and confidence in my age. See? Good sides to getting older.
So we're looking forward to a night out, but especially this night out because historically we do a Big Party and then sit home for the next five years (or so) to recuperate.
Our last huge bash was 1999. Apparently that year a big group of people in Boston decided the only place to party like it was 1999 was in Chicago, so unbelievably we all chartered seats on a plane, flew to the Windy City and then really closed out a century in style. We were on a subway...and at some ginormous sports bar...ate pizza...went to a blues club...somebody had managed to hire up a bar for the group party...then the big excitement was when my guy friend proposed to his girlfriend at midnight (with a little teensy help from me) and everybody was really happy after that. So happy that the following year we had to all get on a jet to Sarasota for their lovely wedding. But I was pregnant by then and thus ended most of the jetsetting.
Tomorrow we'll all gather at my sister's before my mother heads back home. We'll eat black-eyed peas, of course and probably watch football, of course. The kids will run wild.
Not a bad way to begin a year. A good way, actually.
Happy New Year wishes to you!
P.S. I did post a bit of fiction yesterday.
Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
Using My Words
Julie Pippert REVIEWS: Get a real opinion about BOOKS, MUSIC and MORE
Julie Pippert RECOMMENDS: A real opinion about HELPFUL and TIME-SAVING products
Moms Speak Up: Talking about the environment, dangerous imports, health care, food safety, media and marketing, education, politics and many other hot topics of concern.