December 31, 2005

And Days of Auld Lang Syne

New Year’s Eve: a time to reflect on what was and look ahead to new possibilities. Well, I’ve never been one to follow tradition. Why, I’ve already started my annual January clean and tidy around Chez Gates and it’s still December!

Yet writing allows you to document these transitory points in time. Without them I would remain consumed with the moment-at-hand: working on my most pressing deadline or putting out sibling rivalry fires at home. And so today I took a few moments to reread my entire year’s posts from Life Outtacontext.

2005 started with a trip downtown to a swearing in. What I didn’t mention in that piece was that later that night my friend Randall and I met up with his wife Phyllis for dinner. And it was on Inauguration Day that she introduced me to apple martinis.

When she offered to buy me my first one I replied: “I don’t like martinis they taste like perfume (not that I’ve ever imbibed Chanel) and I don’t like sour apple.” But then the waiter brought hers to the table and I marveled at the simplicity of its design and color: a conical glass filled with chartreuse liquid with a bright red cherry resting sublimely at its lower tip. I was sold. I have always been a sucker for a good visual.

And for the next few months I went about introducing the drink to my family and our friends. In each case it was as hard a sell as Phyllis had with me that first night. But after one they too were hooked. Every holiday was marked by a shaker of vodka and apple pucker. That is until Thanksgiving when the family requested my bartending skills before dinner. After two we were ready for bed and the turkey was still roasting. 2005 may have been our year of the “Appletini,” but after that, we’ve decided to move back to more traditional liquorial pursuits. Tonight we will be sipping small amounts of a nice old vine Zinfandel to say hello to 2006.

As I raise my glass to ring in the new, here’s a bit of old: some of my favorite posts from Life Outtacontext this past year. A jigger of public commentary mixed equally with a few stories about family. Stirred gently, never shaken.

On Death and Waiting, Soviet America Resampled, On Writing That Last Story, Revising the Pledge, Don’t Get Mad Get Even, Living on a First World Edge, Getting a Freeway Education, Hollywood Style, High Adventure in Disney’s Tomorrowland, We’re Old Enough to Know Better, The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 7

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