Raw, adjective: 10. not diluted, as alcoholic spirits: raw whiskey

Remember that annoying book that was hot ten years ago or so, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?" Yeah. Well, I won't go so far to say that it's all I *really* need to know - I could probably use a little more physics and, oh, some human anatomy, along with some sharper music theory skillz - but I did indeed learn quite a few things over the New Year's weekend that, well, have me realizing that even the most seemingly blase times can be unintentionally instructive. So, here's a little "All I Need to Know I Learned Over New Year's..."

* WaWa is the most underappreciated national treasure of the Eastern Seaboard. That flavored non-dairy French Vanilla creamer! The 72 different pots of coffee you can choose from! The pre-packaged melon and celery sticks! The fabulous donut selection! I'm in love. And he lives on the East Coast, and his name is "Wawa." Why, oh why, won't you come to the West Coast, my darling?

* Jersey accents are still fucking ugly. My ears hurt.

* The Whole Foods in Princeton, NJ brings "deliciousness" up to a new and unmatched level. The free samples. The vast hangar-like space echoing with the clack of flip-flops and high heels. The bookish academic crowd. The little kid at the counter who asked, "Is that organic non-fat milk?" Do you laugh or cry at that point? Your call. (Although, for the record, the hippie boy content, albeit surprisingly good for suburban New Jersey, was still trumped by the lush pickings of my local SF store.)

* Don't venture anywhere near Rockefeller Center and the tree and the skating rink and shit anytime between Dec. 1st and Jan. 3rd. Just don't do it. Especially if you don't want to be accosted by annoying tourists walking sloooowly and sporting fanny packs and loud Southern accents.

* There is nothing like yoga on the beach looking at the young sun just up over the horizon and feeling the cold, cold winter wind whistling past your frozen ears. I snuck out Sunday morning and busted out some warrior and tree poses to open up the old bod after a few days of traveling and vodka, and in spite of the cold, the brilliant December sun slipping in and out of the clouds on Rehoboth Beach took my breath away. As much as I like Rehoboth during the summertime, there's something about the quiet and the chill and the winter wind in the dunes that just makes me feel alive. Combine that with a little hungover yoga and wham! happy new year to that.

* If you don't eat cheese for like two months, and then suddenly you live on cheese for three days, your body might freak out, just a little bit. Or a lot. The weekend was kind of a little freebie for me; you know, let up a little on the trying so hard to be healthy, and just enjoy the local cuisines, i.e. rip into that badass Nicoboli for all it's worth. And whoa, mama, delish. But, wow, that was a fun flight home. Bring on the ginger and the fennel! Let the detox begin.

* You can never have too many Kate's nachos. Right, Sarah? 'Nuff said.

* They closed the schools in Delaware for the Gerald Ford funeral. Is it just me or is that slightly bizarre? I've never seen that done before, in any of the many states I went to school in as a kid. Strange. Speaking of the funeral: anyone with a heart had to've felt it twinge a little on seeing fragile little Betty Ford kneel, alone, at that coffin. Fifty-nine years of marriage; fifty-nine years of that warm body on the other side of the bed, and then, suddenly, there is only empty space. I cannot imagine the void. Your heart has to go out to her.

* On that note, it's always at once a little heartening and bizarre to see all of the past Presidents and their wives gathered in those first few pews for the service, political divisions aside. Bush Daddy and Babs are looking older, aren't they. Jimmy and Rosalyn are hanging in, too. But who was the random lady between Barbara and Bill Clinton? I couldn't place her.

* Parodies of Christian boy bands + being a pastor's kid = funniest thing I've seen, like, ever. Ever. So we finally got to hit up NYC and see Shaun's amazing! brilliant! hilarious! off-Broadway show, Altar Boyz. And if you haven't seen it yet, you really just need to drop everything and haul ass up there to catch this. I can't even get started. The dancing was tight (soooo well-choreographed), the harmonies tighter (so musically-sound, if you could catch your breath enough from the laughing to hear the chords), and the pants even tighter (Shaun & Co. = little hotties! Decked out in the ultimate boy-band gear). Really - I couldn't recommend it more highly. Check out the link over on the right for more music and info on buying tickets. I noticed in the program that the guy who wrote it is the son of a Peruvian minister and a church organist. Ha! Sounds strangely familiar...now, if only I can milk my matching pedigree into something so brilliant. Just rich.

* Babies are fun. Duh. But, really. My little boy Chucky, beautiful spawn of my two dear friends Matt and Sarah, provided constant entertainment for his Aunt Rach this weekend. I didn't know I could love a little gurgling spitting pooping laughing thing so much. But then he rolls up in his little Delaware outfit and my heart goes to mush. I could sit and sing "You Are My Sunshine" to that little guy till the end of time. (Sidenote: we are officially grown-ups when there's a small child at the New Year's extravaganza.)

* Sometimes it's enough to just be with people...to just be in the same house, to just breathe the same air and watch the same stupid bowl game (sigh, Huskers, get it together!) and drink beer at noon on the back porch. Dabbling in Buddhism over the last few years has done so much to open my eyes to that, this whole idea that what we really need and what's enough to make us happy are just so simple, so easy, as being in the same room with people, and I'll be damned if that isn't just so true. Just breathing the same air. Remembering you have shit in common, shared memories and shared outrage over the destruction of the Balloon to make room for overpriced condos. Amazing.

Time to go drink some water. That's my primary project today: rehydrating from the weekend of alcohol and cheese. I will say, though; I was jotting down a few thoughts on the plane last night, and realized how much I'm looking forward to this new year, this fresh month sans the distractions of holiday parties and the like, to really gear up again and dive into my writing and my yoga and the projects I've got running right now. As much as January can sometimes feel like the echoing post-holiday void, I think it just might be rich with some productivity. My resolution this year is to write enough that I have a finished book-length manuscript by my birthday in February...which I think is actually pretty realistic. I don't know what your resolutions are, but I've kind of quietly committed to having a book deal by the end of the year...which seems totally possible. And by actually saying that out loud, it makes it much more real. And scary.

So, there you go. Hope your New Years hangovers have officially subsided and you're enjoying the energy of a fresh start. And, the next time any of you drive by a Wawa, please ogle it longingly on my behalf.


molly said…
speaking of huskers, been meaning to tell you there is some huskers-oriented bar in your city. my unl college friend sara sometimes watches the skers games there and last time was chatting with a man that turned out to be katie curry's uncle. small world for the nebraskans. if you havent heard about it ill find out what its called for you. you should meet sara anyway, shes fab.
happy new year and good luck with writing motivation. i have a similar resolution regarding a dissertation, though not to be done by february, no, certainly not. well, maybe february 08.
cheers to the new year!

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