how to return or, happy birthday michelle obama

You know how when you get an email or a phone message that you probably should return quickly, and then you don’t, and then the longer it goes the harder it feels to return the call? So that what would’ve been a quick little note or a short conversation starts to loom larger and larger, and then it feels like too big a task, so you put it off even longer and the task gets bigger, and maybe it keeps you awake at night because you know you should get to that unanswered message tomorrow, really you should but then you just…don’t. And it drags on until finally one day, for no good reason, you figure oh what the hell, and you return the message and the person on the other end is like “what? what message? Oh thaaat, yeah, I just wondered if you wanted to grab a coffee or something. Whatever.”

Oh. That doesn’t happen to you?

Well then you won’t understand this weird little “blogcation” that I’ve taken. I didn’t really mean to stop writing, I just stopped. Let’s call it a hiatus, shall we? And then the longer it went, the harder it felt to return.

And I know, your lives have been empty, positively desolate without me.

In the intervening month, we’ve been in New York: family, friends, really good pizza, many museums, theater.  Saw “The Goldfinch” painting that is at the basis of Donna Tartt’s ginormous book (which would’ve been a great 350-page novel but was unfortunately 800+); saw a great Magritte exhibition at MoMA as well as an exhibit about applied design that was fantastic (a wind-powered land-mine detector made of biodegradable materials); went to the Met for Balthus and other paintings, as well as a reunion for the boys with their beloved “Arms and Armor” wing.

Then Sri Lanka for New Year’s to recover from all that urban culture:

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In Sri Lanka, there were fresh coconuts, harvested by this guy:IMG_7773

And then the coconuts were turned into charming beverages: IMG_7765

fresh coconut milk, from the coco-mouse, on the left, and a pina colada on the right. Two kinds of coconut fabulousness

Sri Lanka helped me come to terms with my impending millstone milestone: I turn fifty in forty-eight hours. Michelle Obama, my BFF (well, we would be, I’m sure,  if only we’d ever, you know, met), turned fifty already and she makes it look good, so I am comforted by that fact, despite my lack of defined upper arms and political clout. I suppose my AARP card is wending its way from my NYC postbox to my Abu Dhabi mailroom even as we speak. Maybe Michelle and I can get together at a “newbie AARP mixer” or something like that.

There is already much on the docket for 2014 – a book project, another writing project, telling myself that fifty is the new forty, mulling the wonder of Benedict Cumberbatch’s cheekbones.  For the first time in almost thirteen years (which, coincidentally is the same age as my oldest child) I am not teaching this semester, which leaves me with lots of time to read Tom and Lorenzo binge-watch Orange Is the New Black work on my writing projects.  True to form, I am already berating myself for not getting anything done with this mini-sabbatical. I wonder if Michelle O does that? Hmm.

What I have done, however, is slowly begin to remove areas of productive procrastination – you know, those things you do to avoid what you should be doing, which in my case is writing. And yes, in fact, I have already re-arranged the linen closet, complete with using my beloved label-maker to identify which sheets get piled where. I also turned the storage room from this:

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into this: IMG_7814and you will want a close-up of this bag, which I got in 2008 at Economy Candy, the best candy shop in NYC.  I love this bag and frankly, I think Michelle would love it too. I’m telling you, we would totes be besties.

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So. The blogcation is over, the new year has begun, and a bonne annee to you all.

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Written on the sand in Sri Lanka on New Year’s Eve

 

 

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10 Responses to how to return or, happy birthday michelle obama

  1. Michelle Longo January 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Happy birthday! I did miss your writing. It sounds like 2014 is going to be a very exciting year for you and I can’t wait to hear all about it!
    Michelle Longo recently posted..Spreading Bug.My Profile

    • Deborah Quinn January 20, 2014 at 7:38 am #

      Thank you! I think we are *both* going to have a great 2014.

  2. Ellyn Lem January 18, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    Welcome back, Deborah. Always great to read your blog and you make 50 look good. I am right behind you in March and found the Michelle Obama article in the Times refreshing–esp. the “me time” theme–who know that was a possibility. Good luck with your projects–I have closet envy for that beautiful organization that you showcased.
    Happy 50!

    • Deborah Quinn January 20, 2014 at 7:38 am #

      I have to say that I look into my newly organized storage room and it makes me incredibly happy. I don’t know if that suggests that in fact I’m a tiny little person or what, but hey. I think that Happiness Project lady (Gretchen whatserface) would approve!

  3. stephanie smith-waterman January 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    Happy 50th Deb. You are such an amazing writer-of course you were missed! Glad to see you back in action and I can’t wait to see what your 50s hold in store for you. Hopefully as you said, more writing projects, and hopefully lots of yoga, travels, time with your hubby and family and enjoying those boys while they’re still home with you-here’s a loving wish for your health and happiness and for more dreams in your heart coming true xx

    • Deborah Quinn January 20, 2014 at 7:37 am #

      Well golly that’s a whole lot of good vibes coming at me through the interwebs! Thankeee…..

  4. Poor Princess January 19, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Welcome back, Deb! I have been wondering if you had given up the blogosphere! I am so glad to see you back –HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
    Poor Princess recently posted..Hello world!My Profile

  5. Poor Princess January 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    Welcome back, Deb! I have been wondering if you had given up the blogosphere! I am so glad to see you back –HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
    Poor Princess recently posted..The Poor Princess in the KingdomMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn January 20, 2014 at 7:36 am #

      hey thank you – have loved keeping up with your adventures & writings

  6. mamamzungu January 22, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

    I’ve been on an inadvertent blog-cation myself! But, unlike you, I can’t get back into the swing of things. But you might just be inspiring me!

    And I totally know what you mean – people could always tell when I had a big assignment coming up because my room would be impeccably neat! Looking forward to hearing more about your writing projects!!
    mamamzungu recently posted..Am I still blogging? Not sure.My Profile

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