Thursday, January 04, 2007


Okay, here's something very exciting. Read this. Sunshine says that I can no longer whine about how nobody ever reads my blog. I have adopted the title of "Guardian Source." Well, not really, since this is only the associated blog of a Guardian writer. But whatever, it's well-written and has a top newspaper's logo right at the top. What I find funny about the whole thing is that during this time, back in August, I was combing the daily papers of two different countries trying to get interesting México-related news into this column. Apparently that even worked: people were actually interested. But I was entirely unaware that I'd made any splash, however small, at the Guardian Unlimited in a third country, with these comments, until today--over four month later. My friend Ellie called my attention to it this morning. Maybe I should Google my own name more often? Allow track backs? Set up a hit counter? Alas, intrepid I am not; nor overly vain, apparently. Other than this exciting revelation, today is a slow day. I am writing this in the kitchen office of Ellie and Dan's house, with their varied collection of cats occasionally milling around my ankles. Sunshine is off about town, probably visiting a number of thrift stores. I have the afternoon off to catch up on this, my email, and maybe finally get a little ahead in my book, listen to my music, and eat my leftover deli sandwich. Are these not interesting subjects to write about? I don’t know. I suspect that the Guardian will not bother lettings its readers know what I think about this. But after days and days of being social and having constant plans, it is nice to have nothing going, to sit back and relax with cats. [Cavin]

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I would have made New Year's Resolutions yesterday, were I planning to make any. The last few years I've adopted a strategy of choosing compelling resolutions that I've had fun meeting. For example: one year I had to buy a certain number of DVDs. No vice-denying or heavy lifting for me. Last year I was a little more ambitious. I resolved to write one letter per day I was abroad--among other things. While I managed to stick with this letter-a-day scheme, I faltered on some of the more difficult writing-related addenda to the resolution. Did this failure make me wary of future resolutions? Currently, Sunshine has begun a four- or five-month, lent-esque period of self-denial to celebrate the New Year. She has adopted this task in the form of a dare among a number of friends and family members. Winners will receive prized bottles of Kentucky bourbon in May. Even with that compelling pay-off I find the reward incommensurate with the cost. I'm not interested in self-denial while celebrating returning home; or indeed, so soon before leaving home again. An excuse? Possibly so, but I was unwilling to participate. Certainly I could do with pursuing health-related goals; but my resistance to setting personal rules was resolute, and I didn't make any New Year's Resolutions at all, even the silly type I've become accustomed to. Along with not quitting drinking or doing sit-ups, I've not set weekly movie goals or plans for acquiring higher percentages of the Criterion Collection. At least I'm not requiring myself to: I resolve to have a less-resolute year. Things good for me may come about under their own steam, though, and I hope they do. All I'm reducing is the act of proclamation, not the desire to become healthier with healthier DVD collection. [Cavin]

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year. Awake sometime before the afternoon in Dan and Ellie's house, where there's a plethora of cute photo opportunities featuring cats, plants, and especially the baby BB. (At present, the baby has eaten green beans for the second time ever, and seems pretty sanguine up in her hippo chair.) Sunshine arrived in town yesterday afternoon with a large bag of wrapped packages and baked architecture. There's just something great about starting a day I know will be good. Tonight we will exchange presents under the tree in Ellie and Dan's living room, and then we'll head over to the annual New Year's Eve thing at Café Europa. There will be champagne and traditional oyster shots and balloons and a whole lot of our friends. It will be crowded in the good way: a press of people who are all just as happy to be there as I am. There's even a large gingerbread gazebo to destroy (prettily) and eat. In the ten minutes before the ball drops on what was a pretty great year for me (what with a wedding, a fantasy vacation to El Dia de Muertos, and moving home after our first position abroad), pockets of pranksters will loudly shout ersatz ten-second countdowns for the benefit of those who cannot see the TV. Soon, it will be next year. There's just something great about starting a new year I know will be good. For weeks we can relax and spend time with friends and family; then we move to DC and enjoy that city of museums, restaurants, and, hopefully, snow for half-a-year. In the fall we will move to Vietnam. Next year's holiday will probably differ from our annual tradition of the last five or six years, but I'm not thinking about that yet. [Cavin]