Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 So Far

The end of 2011 was a little bittersweet. What an amazing year it was for me, between the trips to Tampa and New York City and New Orleans for various writing gigs, the book release, and everything else that made it all a year of wonders. Along with it, though, came the hope that this year would offer similar opportunities, that it wouldn't all just go away. Thus far the new year is off to a delightful start.

My youngest one got a box of 24 cans of Play-Doh for Christmas, but it was the 9-year-old who was very proud to have turned it into this lovely gift. Just behind it you can see, coincidentally, a copy of "The Alchemist," the book I am reading right now. So far this year I have already finished "The Picture of Dorian Gray," a new favorite, and "A Thousand Lives," a narrative nonfic book by Julia Scheeres about the Jonestown cult and massacre. I could barely put it down and flew through it in three days. It was a fascinating read. I'm reading books at an unprecedented pace these days, but maybe it's because I'm procrastinating finishing the book that's due to my editor next week.

This past week also brought a radio interview on a UMass station and a little spike of new Facebook fans, accompanied by glowing comments on Facebook and Twitter. This makes me very happy. Bit by bit, the writer's life comes to me.

Last weekend I took my 9-year-old snowboarding for the first time. Despite the fact that my second novel, "Desperado City," has a protagonist who is a snowboarder, I had never actually been to a ski resort in my entire life. (I didn't need to for that novel-- it takes place during the summer months.) It was a 90 minute drive, but the weather on Saturday was very mild, so once we settled in I enjoyed watching my kiddo on the bunny slope all day while I drank a $5 mocha latte and tried to write on my MacBook. It didn't work at all. I gave up and read "Dorian Gray" instead. My kid had a fantastic time, and that thrilled me.

To start the year off right-- and soothe my nerves from a stressful email exchange at my day job-- I took myself to Lebanese Taverna in Annapolis following a run to Trader Joe's and then to the Amish Market. Even a cursory glance at my Traditional Platter will explain why I'm having such a complex time getting rid of the ten pounds I acquired in the second half of last year, but I justify it by believing there's only but so much additional damage you can do with cucumber yogurt salad and parsley. It's delicious, too. If I am ever on Death Row, for my last meal I will be ordering a Traditional Platter from LT.

And just to drive the point home about those ten pounds and why, my husband and I went out to Jaleo to take advantage of the DC Restaurant Week menu. For about the past fifteen years I have read Washingtonian's "best restaurants" cover stories-- the ones they seem to publish about ten issues of every twelve-- and bemoaned the fact that I can never go to any of those places. But I finally did it-- made a reservation at a place I'd dreamed of trying out for years-- and it was as fabulous as I'd hoped. Above you can see my chocolate mousse dessert with a scoop of hazelnut ice cream and candied hazelnuts, which was so completely delicious I expect I'll be daydreaming about it at random moments for years to come. There are many more Restaurant Week dates in my future, be sure of that.

I hope this year will be one of expanded horizons, new experiences, and at last trying out some of the things I've put on the back burner as I've raised my kids. I wish all of you a wonderful 2012, too.

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