New Year’s eve morning as I write this. I’ve spent the week between Christmas and today pondering the events of 2016. I’m surprised at the number of surprises I had in 2016. It was a year of surprises.  And I’d like another please.  I believe this is because of my new commitment to extemporaneous living, instead of planning everything out.  There’s a flow going on.

Here’s my list. I suspect you had tons of surprises too.  What’s on your list?

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This is where I’ll be this week

Whilst many of you in western countries are returning gifts and shopping the ginormous after Christmas sales, I, here in Tropica, will be on the yoga mat, taking stock.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is when newspapers, magazines and television make their round ups of 2016. I too find the need to take stock, to quantify and review the past year as I approach the new.

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The oranges in this orange strawberry salad are clean sectioned, a lot of work. Mine is easier, below. And even prettier!

I’ve cooked it all.  Legions of cookies and cakes.  Gallons of egg nog and mimosas.  Baked hams. Beef Wellingtons. Roasts of pork and lamb.  So many turkeys I can’t even count. Creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes, Sacher Tortes, Buches de Noel.

I asked myself, what do I really feel like eating at Christmas this year? The answer was: not complicated elegance. More like sexy bistro food. I have visions of pulling a bubbling casserole from the oven, served with a glass of seriously fabulous wine. My DD tells me I’ll be everyone’s new best friend by bringing a large Spanokopita, a Greek spinach pie to a Christmas eve supper I’m invited to.

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The marg: a vacation in a glass.

In keeping with my goal of a “no gifts, just experiences” Christmas …a surprise slipped into my life at the last minute. Effortlessly. Just how I like it.

Extemporaneous. Glamorous. Inexpensive. Yes please!

Whilst you read this, my daughter and I are in Tulum for a few days. We hopped on a bus across the peninsula to step away from the red and green scene which is so cloying in Tropica. You all know that living in Tropica has dulled my lifetime pleasure in Christmas. Santa next to a palm tree? Wreaths and frost, mulled wine and carol singing don’t sync in 90 degree Latinoland. So the beach is a perfect place to leave the anachronisms behind — for a few days anyway.

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Keep calm and sparkle on

 

In keeping with my theme of making Christmas more meaningful and gentle on the soul, to calm the longings and the expectations met and unmet, of Christmas’ past, present and future…here’s an update.

I live in a provincial state capital of Tropica.  It’s a tropical city of a million although it doesn’t feel that way. I live on a funky street. The safest street in the world, but funky.

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Fresh, light, minimal. That’s what I’m thinking this year.

 

It’s official now.  “The hols are coming, the hols are coming.”

I need to do things differently this year. Have you ever felt this way?  For years, I rejoiced in all the traditions I created for my family that made our Christmas such a happy, cherished time.

But I don’t need to be the magic maker anymore; I’m not responsible for anyone’s happiness anymore.  I can change how I set the scene and observe the holidays, knowing that I create intimate, compelling magic whatever I decide to do.  Because that’s my style.

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A lifelong friend of mine passed away last week.  At first I felt numb.  Then I felt sadness and loss.  I accepted the condolences. I grieved.

And now I feel angry.

We are uncomfortable with feeling anger in general, and especially uncomfortable with feeling angry at someone who has died.  It doesn’t seem right, or “seemly.”

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tea

Something broke in me this week.  It was palpable, and a surprise to me. I hadn’t been expecting it at all.

Of course it had to do with the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

Yes something shifted.  I let go, gave up, turned inward.  I said, it’s not my world anymore.  I feel out of touch.

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