Old Years Evening

New Years Eve has a different name in Icelandic and with that comes a slightly different meaning.  It's called Old Years Eve.  It emphasizes the end of the old year rather than the beginning of the new.  The name may be why I find it an almost a melancholy time.  I think back.  To old times and old friends.  To people I loved.  The people who have died.  And then I think about myself, as one does.  I wonder if I have changed over the years.  Most of the time I don't think I have, but I'm pretty sure others would think so, not having the inside scoop on the logic of my life's journey.

The similarities between the chain smoking, cola drinking, make-up wearing, fashion conscious art student and the juice drinking, Pilates addicted, business woman-cum-back-to-nature-and-the-simple-way-of-life naturally graying middle aged woman may not be obvious, but I'm all still here, although neither smoking nor drinking cola, but still wearing make up and enjoying beautiful clothes and other materialistic things in life.  My curiosity about everything is still the driving force in my life and having mastered some skills during the first fifty or so years of my life, I am now tackling some that I was vaguely interested in back in the seventies (macramé anyone?) and others that I never gave a second thought.

I have to admit that my interests are centered around women and what women do.  Mostly, no actually almost exclusively, around women that are older than I am.  Their lives are interesting, their knowledge and the skills that they had to have fascinate me.  Most older women have lived lives that are far more interesting than any man's.  At least to me, but I have to admit that I find men rather uninteresting people.

I was at a friends's birthday party the other day.  It was a fairly large gathering, with many "important people" there.  I'm not one of them and only knew most of the guests in sight.  But I did find wonderful company in a lady in her eighties with whom I shared the major part of the evening.  She was much more interesting company than any of the politicians or business people who were there.  I got to hear of her life as a poor married student living in Germany in the late fifties, driving across America with her husband and three children (the northern route) to live in Palo Alto in the the early sixties, driving back across America (the southern route), this time with four children, moving back to Iceland and then moving to El Salvador with all four children to live there for a year in the seventies.  I also learned a few tidbits of her life as a teenager, a bit of her handsome husband's infidelity and consequent divorce, her work as an efficient CEO, mother and housewife as well as her political work.  All quite remarkable, but unknown to most people.  I got to hear about her children, her second husband, their happy life and how he died from cancer in only two weeks.  This woman is still very beautiful, her skin is perfect (and I asked, she uses Nivea cream) she dresses distinctively and in a manner that makes anyone envious of her good taste.  What a wonderful woman and how I appreciated her willingness to share her life with me.

I think it is remarkable how women have kept traditions alive through the ages.  They have kept alive skills that modern society has deemed redundant and I would love to master more of them.  I know that growing dye plants and experimenting with dyeing is going to take up quite a lot of my time in the next year.  I am beginning to try my hand at spinning.  I will continue to make my own creams and lotions and I know I will make soaps, but probably always on a small scale for my own use and enjoyment.  I really did miss not having made any soaps for Christmas to give to people.

I also have six dining room chairs to refinish and I finally have what I need to make milk paint to paint those, as well as some other pieces of furniture that are half done.  I even have ambitions of building my own sofa.  I have yet to try out an old Iceland craft of card weaving and the same goes for bookbinding.      I have been doing more knitting and crochet lately, mostly because I have to do something with all that dyed yarn, but also because I enjoy having something going.  I also know that I need to sort through my piles of stuff, get better organized and try to stop acquiring more stuff.  Althought all of it is really wonderful old stuff that I absolutely love.  Oh, well.  Balance.  That sounds like a perfect project for January.  Happy New Year, to all my blog friends, I look forward to following you in 2013!


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