Here I am, a year older. Somewhat more employed, a bit more engaged, definitely better housed, and altogether glad to be here. As a friend with a nearby birthday says, a wonderful time to take stock and make resolutions, far less arbitrary than New Year's. For my part, I plan to up my volunteer work, look a lot more deeply into the various religions that interest me, and, regardless of what I find, start going to church again regularly (if only for the wonderful rhythms of the liturgical calendar and the music), take up running or something I can do safely in my neighborhood. Keep up with friends' birthdays and cultivate the conscientious attention to detail I appreciate in others (no excuse not to with Facebook!) And then of course, there's always learning to drive.
Birthday itself was a tad gloomy, as Slim was awfully sick so all celebrating had to be put on hold. His fever seems to have broken. But I received a few lovely gifts - a cocktail hat, an antique "Jennie Wade: Killed at Gettysburg" pin, and a book on YSL and Lagerfeld that I've been wanting to read, as I'm interested in creative "scenes" whatever they be.
Speaking of: went on business (with the necklace thing to prove it) to a lecture series on Sunday, and saw two panels, one tedious and one, starring Marc Jacobs, pretty interesting. He was willfully frivolous but very smart, and said some things which made one forget he was sporting a kilt and several million dollars' worth of diamonds. There were questions, which are always my favorite part, although in this case they were all too obsequious or silly - "what advice would you give someone who wants to go into fashion?" - to be worth much. I asked how one goes about firing a muse, but he didn't answer it to my satisfaction, which I suppose I ought to have expected. That same morning, I ran into a couple of friends who live the adult dream - they're currently in the process of buying a brownstone. When I told them where I was going she said, "Do you care about Marc Jacobs and Narciso Rodriguez?" - no question whether she did, or what she thought of those who do - and I said, "Well, I care about the people who care." And it's true, although I could have just explained I cared about everything which is more to the point. Some things I don't understand, but that's different.
Slim and I sometimes joke about which of my collection of inherited tote bags - "Wesleyan University," "Dobbs Ferry Democrats," "Friends of the Seaside Branch of the Montery County Library" - is least likely to get one's ass kicked. It's a tough call. Usually I resort to an almost-worse one I got for free when the Brooklyn Urban Outfitters opened, which not only says "Brooklyn" on it, but then has pictures of Ebbetts Field, Biggie Smalls and Jackie Robinson. At Target the other day, a middle-aged fella stopped me to ask where he'd gotten it - I'm guessing he liked the stadium image - and he seemed so downcast at my answer that naturally I emptied it out and gave it to him, not without misgivings regarding his safety should he carry it in public. I am on the lookout for a tote bag that is neither precious nor irritating. I enjoy these vague ongoing challenges; I was without a key chain for months until I found just the right one - a miniature suede moccasin from Montreal.
Saturday, I actually found myself at the Green Market holding a "Wesleyan" tote full of ramps, rhubarb and organic bread - feeling like the walking cliche I was. Did some good people-watching, though; we couldn't decide if the #1 slot went to the old man in the zoot suit or the hippie complacently munching on a stalk of raw rhubarb.