I like the chance to think over what's been happening over the last month. It reminds me of what my life is, how much has actually happened, and how meaningful what I choose is. It's an opportunity to see where I've been, who I've become, and maybe where I'll be going next.
Last month, it didn't feel like I did much more than work, Christmas shopping and wrapping and shipping, and rest. Once I got past the stresses of being away from home at Christmas for the first time, I quite enjoyed it.
I attended an Episcopal church for Advent and found that I was getting used to the services, and glad for the liturgy. I'm still learning and deciding what to do for church attendance, but there are many things that I find I quite like about the Episcopal church.
So there was Christmas, and there was more, and remembering makes me grateful.
I read five books in December, one of which was the final book in one of my favorite series, The Ranger's Apprentice. Long anticipated, it didn't disappoint. I loved spending time with my favorite characters, meeting a new one, and seeing how time has changed them. Flanagan managed to break my heart and put it back together with laughter and perseverance. The story has a few, deliberate parallels with the first few books, which adds to the nostalgia, yet it is uniquely its own tale. I love these books and the final one was sad but beautiful. (Though I still want to ask "but whhyyyy?")
For Christmas, my sister-in-law and brother gave me the book format of Neil Gaiman's "Make Good Art" graduation speech. The words are inspiring, challenging, and encouraging, and the book is visually creative and fabulous. Neil Gaiman and Chip Kidd certainly made their own rules, and the whole piece is better for it. As soon as I had a solid chunk of time, I read it in one sitting, and promptly pulled up my current novel and risked some wonderful mistakes.
For 2013 I had challenged myself to read 25 books before the year ended. I knew I could read more than I had been, and I wanted to see it happen. I've been enjoying keeping track of my reading progress with Goodreads, and you can find what I'm reading there. At the end of the year, I'd recorded 35 books (five of which were by Neil Gaiman...I feel like a stalker). Nearly all of the children's picture books I peruse on any given day didn't get recorded. I'm not sure why. Some of them are quite fabulous, and should be noted. This year, I think I'll change that.
After seeing Frozen early in the month, I just could not get enough of the song "Let It Go" and I'm not sure I would want to. (I actually went to see the movie twice, not something I do often, but Frozen was worth every penny.) Among many and many other reasons, I geek out that the song includes the word "fractals". I mean how cool is that? I love how fiction and song reflect, inform, and inspire real life. There were other factors involved, but it isn't a coincidence that I shared that I am an empath on the same day that I saw Frozen (the first time).
And when my sister-in-law found the Frozen soundtrack at Target, she bought it for me. So the last few days of December to now, I've had the songs dancing in my head quite a bit. So good. There's nothing quite like driving to "Vuelie" surrounding me with the fresh daylight or stunning sunset over the river.
Out and About:
I learned first hand that 3:30am has beautiful traffic, no joke, when I took my friend to the airport so she could go home for Christmas.
Went with my sister-in-law and niece to a local ice skating show. It was like a dance recital but with blades, coldness all around, and, you know, ice. Very neat and I had a great time. Hoping to see Tim Dolensky on the TV for the competition on Sunday. He clearly loves skating and is good at it. I love his choreography and freshness he takes to the ice.
Aubrey and I took an evening and headed out to the Festival of Lights. We saw everything from aliens and the solar system, to the Ravenel Bridge, to an owl peering down at us and a patriotic eagle. We listened to Josh Groban wish us a merry Christmas and chatted as we drove through the display.
Odds and Ends:
I got woefully behind in writing to friends, practiced a bit of honest expression with people I don't know very well when they came to visit, grabbed more books and movies from the library than I can possibly carry at one time, shared my one word for 2013 and chose a new one for 2014. I like my new word for 2014, but it's awfully big.
At New Year's Eve, I had no plans and no party to go to, but that was okay. I didn't much feel like celebrating. 2013 had been good, and in some ways, I was sorry to see it go. In other ways, the new year would just be a continuation of the present. And that brings us to now, to January, to 2014. If I knew a little better where I was going from here, I think the new year would excite me more. For now, I'm content to take it one day at a time.
Have you been into anything this last month that you want to share? Pull up a chair; I've got some tea...