The Year of the Toast

2012, people.  It feels good, don’t you think?

Last night was festive: a crowd of us went to Dos Taquitos Centro for their special New Year’s Eve menu.  They have never, ever let me down, even way back in the day when they just had the North Raleigh strip mall joint.  (Still a fabulous place.  But it’s even better now that I can walk to the downtown spot from my house.)  Last night was worth the wrecked budget.  There were cocktails, and itty-bitty shrimp kabobs, and salmon with avocado, and tres leches cake, and champagne toasts.  Everything was sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, including the champagne, which is apparently another New Year’s Eve good luck charm.

It was a good looking table.  We all showed up sparkly and festive and done-up.  I went with a black fringe dress, a slightly-teased half-updo, red boots, fake eyelashes, and a wide swath of midnight blue liquid eyeliner.  I was going for “New Year’s Glam,” but I think I overshot the mark and landed on “Country Western Singer Circa 1977.”  Which, of course, is exactly who I’d love to be, so that was all fine. I might as well stop fighting it.  I had to take a picture of everyone’s clutches lined up on the table, since they all formed a perfect snapshot of who we are.  Willow’s was textured and in an architectural color, but swirly.  Julia’s was black and sequined and sleek.  Veronica’s was vintage beaded and elegant.  Mine was fringe with a silver bracelet (a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, right?)  Betty had a handbag, probably the only one with a responsible amount of gear for the evening, unlike the keys and lipstick our clutches would hold.  The men at the table were not all that impressed with the clutches.  I once had a guy at a  bar watch me put mine away, and slur, “Di jew jus put yur purse inside ova purse?” Which was pretty astute, all things considered.  Whatever. It’s a girl thing.

JJ declared 2012 to be “The Year of the Toast,” and that got us talking about what we’d all be toasting this year.  New houses, a honeymoon, a trip or two to Europe; there were big things on the list, around the table.  I, for one, am excited about a series of small and important things.  It’s not a trip-around-the-world kind of year ahead, but there are lots of possibilities for long weekend excursions, and concerts, and classes to take, and new adventures, and a new romance or two.  I’ve taken a look at the Life List to see what things I might be working on checking off this year, and here are a few that are in the mix:

  • See the Old 97’s live.  I have tickets for January 27; my only fear is that the show will set the bar so high that nothing else in 2012 will live up to it. (Actually, I have a second fear: that my New Year’s underwear might end up on the stage.) I may be overly excited.  But I don’t think so.  I think I am exactly the right amount of excited.
  • Visit Nashville and hear music at the Bluebird Cafe and tour Hatch and eat at Loveless.
  • See a Yankees spring training game.  Nobody heckle me for being a Yankees fan; it’s Joe Torre’s fault, and I have an autographed picture of him hanging in my living room with my family photos.  And if I’m going to spring training, I might as well do it before Jeter retires someday. I can also go visit one of my all-time favorite people, who may or may not have gotten fired from Disney in high school for “smacking someone with a sword a little” while dressed as a pirate at the photo booth.
  • Something related to music, but I haven’t figured out what that is yet.  (That’s a total lie.  I know exactly what it is, but I’m too scared to up and start a honky tonk band.  I’m working on it.)
  • Take a class at The Cookery in Durham
  • Chip away at goals in progress: start taking my architecture exams, visit another MLB stadium (probably the Nationals), keep working towards the Airstream writer’s retreat in Saxapahaw, keep in close touch with all my small people, continue to enjoy my family, do a lot of yoga, volunteer
  • and ooo, I still have oodles of flight credit thanks to Hurricane Irene.  I haven’t said this out loud to anyone yet, but speaking of fun with family, maybe I’ll convince them to meet me in Siena for Il Palio this summer? That one might be a long shot.
  • Dance On Top of a Bar. Nothing, well almost nothing, could be more out of character for someone who is an introvert and “Is Not Cut Out For Disobedience,” as it’s been correctly pointed out.  But my friends saw my outfit last night and said, “That is exactly the outfit you’ll be wearing when you cross ‘Dance on top of a bar’ from your Life List.” We’ll see.  That’s not really one you can script; the music has to take over your soul, at the exact moment when you’re wearing the perfect outfit and close enough to a bar you can actually climb on.  And someone has to be ready to catch you.  Or bail you out.  I’ve been surveying people for likely local spots; when I asked the fabulous guy who cuts my hair about it, he shook his head and said, “Honey. You’ve got to take that mess out of town.” But a local bar with character, and music good enough that I’ll dance to it, and management who might have a sense of humor about it?  Lookin’ at you, Berkeley.  Lookin’ at you, Pour House.
  • Lastly, and most importantly: Be open to surprises.  Make some room for adventure.  Unwrap this guarded heart.

Happy New Year, all.  Good things ahead, for all of us.  I can’t wait to toast them.  Cheers!

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