Elder Predictions for the Future of Books and Reading
Welcome to a Brand New Year

New Years Eve at Home

category_bug_journal2.gif Even by age 30 when I was still young enough on other occasions to party all night, I had begun my New Year's Eve ritual which I have followed unerringly ever since: purchase something wonderful for dinner, a meal not frequently indulged in due to health or price considerations, a good book I've been looking forward to reading or finishing and sleep before midnight.

To be honest, I've broken my December 31 ritual a handful of times. Long ago, I held a few New Year's dinner parties with friends. One year, some young friends on their evening rounds dropped by unannounced, catching me in my newest, although definitely dowdy, flannel granny gown. But they didn't seem to mind and we had a fine ol' time until they moved on, a couple of hours later, to their next holiday destination.

The New Year's Eve that sealed the stay-home-alone deal for me happened 30 or 35 years ago. A friend whined enough that I agreed to accompany him to his cousin's annual party at her penthouse on the upper East Side of New York City. He had never attended before and, he said, she insisted he not come alone. It wasn't my usual style, but friends are friends and you do what you can to help out.

It was a formal-dress occasion requiring a tuxedo for my friend and a long dress for me. I demurred; no way would I purchase an expensive gown I'd never wear again and anyway, I had a sensational, new party dress that year, although only knee-length, and any number of fabulous, high-heeled shoes to choose from. My tiny (as in, hard to know they're there) diamond earrings would complete the costume.

We taxied to the party, my friend in his handsome cashmere overcoat and me in my dressy but light-weight velvet coat on that cold, winter's night. It was evident, when the cousin greeted us, that I was way out of my social class.

In her exquisite gown, ears, throat and wrists afire in diamonds and emeralds large enough to be museum pieces, she glanced at the the length of my skirt with – was it disdain? She covered her near-faux-pas quickly, but I was the only woman there with her legs hanging out.

There is no telling how many millions of dollars in designer duds and precious jewels swirled about those rooms high above Central Park. A table was laden in sterling silver and several pounds of mounded caviar – the really good stuff I had tasted maybe twice before. Many waiters circulated with champagne and sumptuous hors d'oeuvres.

It was a gender-segregated party by default if not design. The men gathered in the wood-paneled den smoking cigars and talking Wall Street. I didn't have much more in common with the women who mostly discussed clothes, dropping haute couture names like rose petals at a wedding and making arrangements for lunch at Le Cirque the following week. Peasant that I am, I was more interested in one waiter's odd, furry shoes. He said they were monkey hair, but maybe he was pulling my leg.

After a couple of hours, my friend suggested we taxi back downtown to the Village to a favorite old restaurant for a quiet supper. Good idea, but it didn't work out so well.

A light snow had begun falling. Every taxi that passed was in use so after ten minutes waiting on a windy corner in frigid temperatures, we trudged – me in my strappy little high heels not suitable for long walks in winter weather - toward a subway ten blocks away. We paused now and then to see if there was a free taxi. Nada. With nothing between my skin and the icy air but a satin dress and evening coat, my toes and ears were numb, and my butt too.

The only difference between the outdoors and the subway platform was relief from wind and snow – but not the cold - as we waited half an hour that felt like three days for a train. Now my fingers were numb too. A second cold, half-hour wait among the chaos of hundreds of drunken, noisy revelers when we changed trains at Times Square and my misery convinced me: all future New Year's Eves would be spent at home. No exceptions. Even for good friends. They are welcome to come by, but they must do the traveling.

And so it has been ever since.

Tonight, I will happily sit down to hot clam chowder and warm lobster with a glass of good wine. Then I'll snuggle up in bed with Ollie the cat to read some more of the book my brother sent, The Museum of Excellence Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. It's very good and I'm eager to get on with it.

What about you? What are your plans tonight?

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Claire Jean: Hanes Black Magic


Loved that story, Ronni. I too remember scouring stores for that elusive New Year's dress. We don't go to NY parties any more. We prefer to be on our own, downtown Montreal.

Our ritual, we go to the Holiday Inn Select in Chinatown. Great bar, koi fish pond surround. Lots of Americans visiting the city. Fun atmosphere.

We have one drink, then west along St.Catherine Street to the Star of India restaurant, where we have reserved a window table. We watch people slip and slide outside, some wearing ridiculously wrong clothes for the freezing weather, like shorts, no hat, t-shirts, high heels, and that's just the men.

After dinner, we take the bus home, no hassle.

This ritual reminds us about our trips to Southeast Asia. We pretend we're still there, as we celebrate.

Today, we are packing to leave for Florida, one month.

We'll celebrate down there, in the sun.

Happy New Year, Ronni and readers.

Once again this year, I have no plans at all for New Years Eve. No particular experience, good or bad, is tied to my indifference to the event, but somehow the whole thing has always struck me as spectacularly dumb. We turn the calendar over 12 times a year.

Your story about the penthouse party makes me shudder. I loathe cigars and couldn't even find Wall Street without a GPS. I wouldn't have lasted 10 minutes in that wood-paneled den. I do, however, have a fondness for wearing a tux.

Anyway, most of my friends these days are sober. We refer to New Years Eve as Amateur Night. It's a good night NOT to be on the road. I expect to be asleep well before midnight. My life sounds boring, but if it is I wonder why I smile so much.

Happy New Year to all!

No plans, but like others my plans are through out the year. Beginnings should be down with care.

I meant done with care...so should typing.

Your post brought back memories. It has all been done.
In an hour I will go pick up my two little granddaughter's - 4 and 7.
We will party on pizza tonight and try and work this puzzle my son gave me for Christmas.
Has been a blessed year for One Woman.
Building small home and moving back to her "woods". Final move of belongings just a few weeks ago.
Happy New Year to all!!
May you be Happy
May you be Well
May you be Safe and at Peace

I can think of some memorable New Year's Eve, some parties, some private, but lately we are usually home and comfortable. We may go out to dinner, early before the crowds, maybe just pizza at our favorite place. (Memory: light snow, a walk in the woods with my husband, a fire, s'mores and wine. Near perfect.)

I'm looking forward to the New Year - I think back on how lucky I am, but it was a disappointing year anyway.

Oops too late, it’s already next year.
Melbourne started 2010 with a massive thunderstorm after a 38 degree day (that’s about 100 American degrees). Much more spectacular than the fireworks over the city. I like New Year’s Eve even less than Christmas (and I’m pretty bah humbug about it). I spent the time flicking between “The Glen Miller Story” and “Back To The Future” on TV. How’s that for a rowdy new year?

Not liking to be out on the streets or roads with all those drunken drivers has kept us home and contented. I really don't remember the last time we went to a New Year's Eve party. The only time I've stayed up late to welcome in the New Year was in 1999 when we celebrated the new millennium (depending on how you want to count it) with a chaste glass of brandy.

My favorite New Year's were spent with my grandmother, looking after us while my parents were out. She would make her special treat, a mix of Chex, nuts and pretzels baked in the oven (I think you can buy it ready made now) and we'd watch TV. She'd wake us up to see the ball drop in NYC.
My mom once went to NY to stand in Times Square with thousands of others and she loved it.
Here, we'll stay in and sleep through it with two cats cuddled up. The parents next door will stay up and do a Scandinavian ritual of "hopping" into the New Year.

Planning to walk the Labyrinth held in our town each year at a local church, sit and listen to the music offered there and watch my fellow townsfolk walk, and contemplate a bit. Then I might move my body at a multi-generational dance for an hour or so before I head home.

Ronni, thanks for your instructive, entertaining posts. Wishing you and all a wonderful 2010.

Like you, I am not the party type for New Year's Eve. We have had some dinner parties for friends over the years but they usually all left well before midnight. This year will be different for us. We are heading over the Cascades for Sunriver to spend three nights with our kids and grandkids. The pass is packed snow; so the drive could be interesting but pretty. We will have a nice dinner there and maybe make it to midnight although they all have small kids and busy lives; so they aren't much for the late night either. Clothes will be jeans and warm sweaters.

To us, it's just an ordinary evening with an ordinary bedtime. I see 1/1 as just a date on the calendar, like any other. Having a year that starts on that day is a human artifact, not an actual solar or lunar event. (Just like the date of Christmas is arbitrary, since Christ was born in March and the Church changed the date so as to hijack the pagan winter festival of Yule.) For me, it's really only the solstices that feel special, as they mark an actual, planetary happening.
I guess if I liked parties instead of detesting them, it would probably be a good excuse to dress up and attend one. However I'm glad I am me and can stay in my slippers and sweatpants, read my library book and go to bed at 11.00 - and gladder still that my mate feels the same.

The New Year is one of my favorite holidays. Maybe it's the Catholic in me, but I love rituals and symbolism. More than any other evening, New Year's reminds me of possibilities: possibilities of new beginnings, unexpected good things, a chance to start afresh, to say Yes to what life brings.

I go to my sister's. With her son, his friends, and her husband, the earlier part of the evening is board games...and the struggle to stay awake til midnight. At the magic moment, we model our celebration on what we did as children. We eat herring and clutch money for luck and wealth as we watch the ball drop in NYC. We rattle, toot, and bang noisemakers. Then we open the door and invite the New Year in.

Do you really want to know? OK, here, goes. The tiny local theater I play at is having a fund raiser, partly for the theater, and partly for an AIDS hospice. It is billed as "Theater Under the Stars," and is a musical revue of Broadway tunes.

I am performing "Gotta Have A Gimmick" with a drag queen and a much younger woman. I'm the one with the lights. I have not yet begun to build my costume.

I have, however, made a Crusader's tunic for a song from "Spamalot," and a technicolor dream coat for one from "Joseph and same."

Then I will come home to my jammies and my computer.

For many years in the 1980s, I was part of organizations that put on public New Years Eve parties and dances to support people in war torn Central American countries, Nicaragua and El Salvador. And for many years I served on the committees that did the work on these events.

I've always said that that the most dangerous thing I ever did for the Nicaraguan people was drive the shuttle we provided from the dance hall to public transportation on New Years Eve.

It is with great pleasure and relief that we spend a quiet evening at home.

We will spend the evening with our best friends in their apartment downtown eating a good dinner then playing our latest game craze (rummy kup but you may not have that in the US). At midnight we'll go out onto their balcony and wish all the Turkish neighbours (who will also be out on balconies) 'Mutlu Yillar' which I also send to you - Happy New Year in Turkish. Confession: I had to have a 2-hour nap late afternoon to guarantee staying awake for midnight!

Our anniversary. We met on my one and only ever blind date. He was a West Point cadet and I was his "drag."(yes, that's the official tag) It was traditionally a "hop." That's a formal dance. I got a beautiful gown (ONLY long with long gloves would do) on sale and off I went. Didn't want to go at all but said I would.
That was 48 years ago.
Now, I've never been impressed with New Years celebrations. Always thought it ridiculous to get all wound up because we start a new calendar. Our wedding anniv. we celebrate. We rejoice in our meeting so long ago and still think each other number one. But, New Years Eve celebrating? Never impressed us to make the effort.

Since I left the library empty-handed yesterday because my list of books was left home on the kitchen counter, I, instead, pulled out ELVA by Durward Grinstead, 1929, from my bookcase.

It once belonged to my Aunt Nancy. Her name is written on the inside cover along with her Newark NJ address and telephone number. I don’t know how old she was when she read this book or if she even found it interesting.

However, I’ll be thinking warm thoughts of her this night as I begin to read after our usual Chinese take-out dinner.

Happy New Year!

Aren't we all quiet types on New Years. Is it age or were we always like this?

One thing, Marian: Tonight in the northern hemisphere, we will have a blue moon - the second full moon in the space of one month. I think that's a nice thing to celebrate a little. Here in Maine, however, snow is on the way so I doubt I'll be able to see it.

People in the southern hemisphere will have a blue moon at the end of January, as this full moon appears for them on January 1.

I also would prefer to stay home and normally we do. Tonight, however, we're invited out. The good news is that it's neighbors who invited us, so we can walk 3 houses down and back. I can live with that!

Happy New Year, Ronni, and Happy New Year to all of you other delightful people who comment here at Time Goes By!

My husband and I have a standing date on NYE for an early but very elegant dinner with two or three other couples, then go back to our own homes long before the witching hour. We like to get all gussied up (i.e., we wear our newest snow boots) for this special get-together, but probably couldn't stay up until midnight if we wanted to.
Happy New Year to all the TGBers!

First of all, Happy New year to you and your fur person.

What are we doing? A light supper of some sort...perhaps a chicken casserole and salad, then we are off to an Alcathon....a 24 hour a day AA meeting that starts mid day today and ends mid day tomorrow.

Usually we attend mid day New Year's day, but some bug attacked me and we are off for a few hours of schmooozing with recovering drunks, eating wonderful goodies, and learning a few things too. Always a good way to start something new on this Amateur Night.

Have a great evening. :) She says waving your way. Thanks so much for being here.

My New Year's is quiet and it doesn't really matter what I do. I have a stack of DVDs to watch and a couple books. There's a bottle of wine chilling in case someone stops by. My hell-raising are pretty much done.

With the way my teen-age neighbors have been keeping my walks clean with all the snow we're getting, I'm thinking of asking them to come over for snacks and Monopoly!

And yeah, I've got kraut, knockwurst and dumplings in my crockpot! My Bavarian heritage rules at New Years!

I plan to be in bed by 11:01 PM, 12:01 AM your time, all warm and cozy, reading a book. That's as close to ringing in the New Year as I get these days.

(I am excited about the blue full moon tonight and plan to raise a glass of something good to it before going to bed.)

Fascinating reading!

As a teenager on New Year's Eve in New York either '46 or '47, I got so soused
that I was in bed by 11:30, almost hearing
all the bells and whistles going off a half
hour later. Never got that drunk again.

Spent many New Year's Eves in New
York, driving a taxi (working my way
through NYU). Who knows Ronnie, I
could have been one of those cabs who
passed you by.

Now a different age, different era. Will
see the last three fifths of the Kennedy
Center awards (three cheers for tv recorders!), read one of the two books
picked up at the library yesterday and
will turn out the lights by 11:30--as
usual. I am fortunate that my wife of
45 years will be joining me as usual.
May sound boring, but we never have a
dull moment around here.

Best wishes to you Ronnie for a healthy and productive new year---and more of
the same for your readers who also write such lovely responses to your posts.



Wonderful story! I used to work in hospitals and I always seem to have drawn the night shift on New Year's Eve. Having to check in one too many stricken party goer who had gone astray, either with drink or drugs, completely took away any enthusiasm that I might have for partying on that night. Now, I go and stay with a friend who lives in a quiet part of SF as my part of town explodes with noise. We have a "elder ladies pajama party" complete with food that we don't usually eat, DVD's and champagne. It's utterly fabulous and we don't have to worry about wearing designer duds.
Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy and productive 2010.

This year I'm going with my friend to her daughter's for an old fashioned sleepover. Yep, bringing my jammies and everything. We're going to play games and eat WAYYYY to many goodies I'm sure...and just have fun. Actually, it's the first time in a long time that I've even gone out on New Year's Eve. We've had many years where we had a few friends over; but I've spent a quiet time at home for quite a while now. Usually all my kids call around midnight to say Happy New Year....and that's really the best part.

We use to go out all the time to a formal party (same attire as in your post) held by friends every year who lived right off of Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. It was quite a wonderful event and they always had a spectacular spread and made a delicious dinner. When I was a young newleywed, we were invited to one of the big restaurants in downtown Chicago where my husband was asked to walk around and do magic tricks at guest's tables. That was pretty different...and interesting.

Have a beautiful New Year Ronni. Enjoy that clam chowder and lobster...it sounds pretty good to me. Cheers sweet friend...Love, Joy

I'll be having dinner with a friend who lives just down the hall from me here in Florida. Don't even have to drive!

She lives in the same community as I do up north so it makes it nice to be able to spend time with her here in Florida.

Years ago my husband and I went to a new year's party at a restaurant right near the beach. I still remember walking out on the beach after midnight and didn't even need a sweater!

Warm wishes to all!!

We have spent NYE with one other couple (on occasion two), old friends, for the past 15 years. Cooking lobster and bringing in wonderful dessert this year. We talk, watch a movie and turn on the TV at two minutes to midnight to watch the ball drop.
Unfortunately (for us) we go to their house and so must drive home - which always makes me nervous. We try to leave their house by 12:15, hoping the drinkers are still partying and not yet on the road. I must say I heave a sigh of relief when we pull into our driveway.

Happy new year to all.
Although I don't usually post, I really really enjoy this blog. Thanks for everyone's wonderful, interesting conversations.

I have a NYE ritual I've followed for several years now: there's a nostalgia station here that plays the tapes of old jazz band New Year's broadcast from the 1930s and 40s (the real programs, not recreations): Fats Waller from NY, Gene Krupa from Chicago, Kenton from LA, etc. I enjoy these with something unhealthy to eat, and a bottle of cheap domestic bubbly. I have not seen midnight local time in years, but since it's always midnight somewhere, I don't feel like an oldtimer turning in early, regardless of when I actually do it.

Happy new year to all.

According to SpaceWeather.com not only will we have a blue moon tonight, but this will be the first blue moon to fall on New Year's Eve in almost twenty years. More reason to celebrate, however you choose to do so!

Hey -- it's not really a new year -- that was the solstice that just passed. Yet, I know it is traditional to celebrate it now. When I was a child I used to step outside my front door and clang pots and pans with spoons. I thought that was the greatest thing going. Haven't been able to resurrect those feelings about new years since. -- barbara

Head cold. Snow. Mom. Brother. This is the way the year ends. Whimper. Whimper.

It's a blue moon. I hope this is the "once in a.."

I remember one fifties NYE in New York when a bunch of us young singles traveled by subway to a dance downtown. We were nicely dressed up, but not formally--none of us could have afforded that. I was talked into going with a fellow who was miserable because his girlfriend had just broken up with him. It was sort of my duty to cheer him up. The evening was fun, anyway. As we were leaving, one of the girls, who had imbibed too much, got sick all over her expensive new shoes. That really made me wonder why people considered drinking so much fun!

NYE nowadays is calmer and more suitable to our advancing years. We have something naughty (unhealthy) for dessert. Then we watch movies, hug our cats, and enjoy a few of the fireworks celebrations on TV. Out in the country, some people--not us--observe midnight by firing guns. Fortunately, we've never been hit yet.

Thanks for the many enjoyable posts during the year, and the good comments, too. May you all have a good 2010.

My husband and I went out for NYE lunch, home by 3:30 pm to spend the evening making phone calls to wish friends a HNY. Counting our blessings as the new year rolls in.

Hunky Husband and I had turkey and all the trimmings for dinner, last night (I had a couple of glasses of white Riesling, unusual for me.) After cleanup, we watched TV (he in the living room, me in my den.) I watched "Burn Notice" reruns until my eyes fell out, then toddled off to bed.

The neighborhood obliged me to awaken at midnight with the firing off of a multitude of fireworks.

Ronni--I join others in thanking you for being our friend in 2009, and wish you good health, contentment, and all other good things for 2010.

P.S. I, who have never seen anyone (in person) wear haute couture nor tasted "the really good stuff" caviar, enjoyed your recounting of the evening of long ago. It must have been a miserable evening for you, then; but, what a tale!

The old saying is, "Whatever you are doing on New Year's Eve is what you will be doing all through the coming year."
And I hope I will be doing what I did last night -- like you, in bed reading a good book and listening to firecrackers go off in my neighborhood at midnight ... warm, safe and healthy in my own home.

It snowed here in the afternoon of NYE. I felt a strong pull to stay home, snuggled up with a good book and the cat, but decided to spend time with friends instead. I went to a party early in the evening--good food and convivial conversation--then left at 10 to meet up with close friends and sample a bit of our town's first night celebration. Was home with the cat and my book by midnight and am spending the day today quiet and cozy at home. Feels like the right balance of connection and quiet time.

We did not go out. CNN reported 75% of ? stayed home this year. When I lived in France, I always went to dinner or a party with friends. I don't know if it's because I'm older or what, but I actually prefer to stay home now. I like your ritual: good meal, good book, good wine. Happy 2010, Ronni!

BTW... I think you meant The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. Not The Museum of Excellence by Orhan Pamuk.
Have you finished it? idHow did you feel on completeing it? :-)
Happy New Year!

Of course, you're right, Marion. "Age of INNOCENCE." I must have been thinking that it is excellent when I was writing that - or, well, anyway, that's a good excuse for the error.

I haven't finished it yet - but I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I have been doing the same for years! Even when my husband was still alive, we used to stay at home, have a nice dinner and either watch a good DVD or talk over dinner. Now, except for a couple of times, when I was disturbed from that routine by well-meaning friends who wouldn't hear that I did that by choice, I do the same. This year, I had bought a slice of foie gras and a quail. My eating capacity is not what it used to be so I froze my quail and will have it some other time. I listened to Haydn's The Creation and started reading The Help, an excellent book, on my kindle.
At midnight, my daughter called me and we exchanged greetings. This was also a lucky year, because none of my neighbours was too noisy.
I guess I just enjoy my own company ;)
A happy new year to you, and Ollie, Ronni

For 52 years, despite being age 29, Syd and I have been there and done that and now glad to stay in bed and watch the "balls" (you make up the middle) drop. It is nice to have this quiet life above the grass. We relish in our togetherness and our separate times. I have been watching the series Ballykissangel and loving it. He enjoys his puzzles - crypto and crosswords along with CSI....and when the famous ball drops its kissy huggy time etc. etc. etc. Thanks all and HNY. Ronni you are wonderful.

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