I Hereby Resolve…
January 15, 2005
So, what did you do New Year’s Eve?
It was miserably cold, wasn’t it, and combined with the
unimaginable horror of the situation in South Asia plus the tail end of a bout
of bronchitis, I found it difficult to get into a spirit of celebration. On the
one hand, I had neither the tickets nor the inclination to join the usual
suspects in seeing the old year out; on the other, I felt that custom demanded
some recognition of the occasion. Finally, faced with an evening of more scenes
of devastation coupled with Gibson’s endless whining to go out and pee another
six drops, I put on the four requisite layers, tied them all together with a
couple yards of woolen scarves and lumbered forth a block and a half to spend a
few hours in the bosom of some of my family.
"Oh good, Gram, you’re here. Come on, we’re gonna
play Spoons." Oh goody, I thought, Spoons. Musical chairs
with fingernails. Aloud, I said, "Gee, Spoons, I haven’t played that for
thirty years. What fun!"
Well, it was. And for nearly two hours we passed cards and
grabbed for spoons and screamed so loudly with both laughter and anguish that at
least one neighbour was observed out on their front stoop, obviously trying to
determine where the carnage was being perpetrated. Finally, glasses askew, band
aids on both hands, and my 1942 Beauty Queen hairdo, fussed up especially for
the occasion, wilted and listing to port, I pleaded pee-time for Gibson,
re-wrapped my somewhat damaged person and fled into the snow and -40.
At home, having first taken Mr. Gib out to be drained of his
pent-up piddle, I poured the last of the Bailey’s into a glass – well, okay,
maybe it was a glass and then another glass - and saluted the brand new year. A
few minutes later, I fielded a couple of phone calls wishing me the best for
2005 as well one from someone who ‘jes luffed me an’ wash gonna come sh-she
me ri’ away if’n shummon cou’ jes bring him.’ As nifty as that sounded,
I assured the latter phoned that I was too tired to be much company, hung up,
and sought my repose. In the morning, I got up, made an assessment of my life
and wrote out my New Year’s resolutions.
Yes, well, the New Year’s resolution.
Lord, how I despise those endless lists of promises and
compromises. And though I know that you’re looking to me for leadership on
this issue, it grieves me deeply to tell you that you’re looking in the wrong
direction, that I am a weak reed, bending in the wind.
The thing is, what exactly are our most fervent intentions?
Stop smoking; start walking. Eat this. Don’t eat that. Curl your hair; uncurl
your lip. Bite your tongue; don’t bite your nails… the list is endlessly
depressing and besides, what good does it do? You know, going in, that the new
diet you begin this morning will, by evening, have you eating peanut butter with
a spoon in an attempt to assuage those seven hours of stringent self-denial. You
know the daily walk is doomed before the ink has dried on the page. You know…well,
I don’t have to go on with this litany of self-negated reformation, we both
know what an exercise in futility this whole resolution thing is.
Oh, it’s not that I don’t believe in taking stock and
seeing what can be done better.
Once again I have every intention of getting those boxes of
old photographs into albums so that I don’t have to rummage, every time, to
find that pertinent one I know is in there, somewhere. Certainly, I will make
every effort to establish a regular schedule of beauty care, thereby ensuring no
surprises in the matter of hair colour and/or the appearance or not, of
eyebrows. It goes without saying that starting as soon as this is finished, I
plan to begin next month’s column so that my beloved and beleaguered editor
need never again stew and fret its possible non-appearance. And, yes, naturally,
I have plotted another new diet, the old one having gone sedately to its grave
bearing smudges of peanut butter and flakes of butter tart pastry.
A new diet is, of course, a given – the quest for a taut
and well-tuned body never far from my mind for lo! these many years. Not only
that, at weigh-in last Tuesday, it was determined that our little chapter (14
members) of TOPS had gained an aggregate 36(!) pounds during the past 12 days of
you-know-what and that my own share had been substantial. "Not to
worry," we were told by June Hurd, our illustrious leader. "Remember,
it’s not what you eat between Christmas and New Year’s Eve that make you
fat; it’s what you eat between New Year’s Eve and Christmas." Words to
live by, June, and though they were instrumental in the development of Diet #
(by my best calculations) 172, they did not resonate with me as did annual
trying-on of the blue dress.
Ah, the blue dress.
Now, I know that the words ‘dress’ and ‘Ellen’ rarely
crop up in the same sentence and for that, there’s an excellent explanation: I
gave up dresses for Lent, oh let’s see, back in about 1965, and never saw any
really good reason start again. But every now and again, a well-submerged
feminine gene raises its frivolous head and demands equal time with the slacks
and jeans. The last time it caught me all unawares and defenseless, was several
years ago, in front of a sales rack in Saans. I had gone in to find a denim
shirt; I came out, dazed and ill, with a blue denim dress.
It’s ankle length and slightly fitted, sleeveless and with
a neckline that skims my collarbones, which are sometimes in evidence, depending
where I am with my latest eating regimen. There are red and yellow tulips
printed at the empire waistline and around the bottom of the matching jacket
which fits as if it had been made to my somewhat changeable specification. And
it was upon that fit alone that I had made the decision to appease my girly
Unfortunately, as it turned out, the dress was a whole size
smaller than the jacket and no amount of sucking in or rearranging was going to
make much difference. The truth was, unless I could make one of those diets work
– and I mean really work – I would never have the nerve to wear that
blue dress out in public.
So why didn’t I just take it back to Saan’s? Good
question and I can only tell you that my tough little female gene really, really
likes that dress and is hanging onto it with eyeteeth and toenails. It’s
denim, got pretty trim, and shows off my occasional collar bones and the first
morning of each New Year, I take it out and try it on.
It is a wee bit looser in the heinie, this time, but still
smooshes my bosoms flat as fried eggs and there is no doubt in my mind that
whatever resolutions I eschew, the diet one is there for the long haul. That
one, and the one that suggests it should be another 30 years before I agree to
another evening of Spoons.
I may be a weak reed and prone to eating peanut butter right
out of the jar, but I am not without a strong streak of self-preservation.