Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Champagne & New Earrings

Here's a personal question for you: do you celebrate your successes and milestones? And if you don't mind my asking. . .how?

The reason I ask is that I need to learn this. I have a hard time stopping, relaxing, celebrating the good stuff. One time, the usual carton of freshly minted books arrived from my publisher and after the delivery guy set it down in my front room, I scooted it out of the way with my foot, and started to walk away. Suddenly I stopped and said to myself, "What are you doing?! Those are the first copies of your new BOOK!" I made myself turn around, go back, open the carton, pick one up and, I dunno, pet it.

Pitiful! Absolutely pathetic!

One of our friends here, Sally, celebrates each of her novels by going out and buying herself a pretty pair of earrings when a new book comes out. Sally, if you're reading this today, do you still do that? I always loved that tradition of yours. It's small, but it's yours, and it marks every lovely literary milestone in your life.

My family celebrated things we didn't have any control over, calendar events like birthdays or Christmas, but not anything that any of us did, if you see the difference. Cake for getting older, but not for getting promoted, in other words. Maybe I swallowed a little too much of that hook, line, and sinker. We were encouraged to be quiet about our own and each other's accomplishments. Maybe too quiet?

Do any of you have ways you celebrate the good stuff? Do you celebrate it? Any traditions akin to Sally's earrings? How do you get yourself to absorb the happy fact that you DID it, you really, finally, and in spite of everything, did it?

How would "Matt Daimon" celebrate it? :)


Nancy P said...

G'morning. That was fun yesterday, and the post keeps growing, so the fun's not over yet. Have you noticed that we have smart and funny people around here? :)

Anybody a Buffy fan? (Waving at MYL!) If you are, see if you can still catch last night's episode of "Saving Grace," with Holly Hunter. There's a charismatic guest actor you may recognize if you squint just right.

katiebird said...

Good Morning Nancy. I've been thinking about my answer to your question. But, I think I'm even slower than you to recognize an event.

I tend to see that something happened, years after the event.

Hm. (thinking about Eat4Today)

Anonymous said...

Nancy, the date on your posting scared me. I thought OMG, did I sleep through a month? And did I miss anything important? :-)

Anyway, I think we should definitely celebrate steps accomplished toward bigger goals. Not that you should pop a cork when you finish each scene, necessarily, but a first draft, certainly! Losing 5 pounds - making a tough decision - whatever you do that takes you one step further along life's road. We are conditioned not to pat ourselves on the backs, but I think if we wait for someone else to do it, we're going to miss a lot of attaboys. And who knows better how hard it was to do that thing, achieve that goal, climb that mountain??

My celebrations usually include wine and/or chocolate...and a happy dance in the privacy of my darkened living room.

Jen said...

I'm not good at this game, the one about self-congrats, so I will eagerly read other people's ideas.

(Oh yes, we have the entire Buffy oeuvre on DVD. If Whedon and Espensen wrote about a trip to the laundromat, I'd buy it.)

Nancy P said...

My how time flies, Beth! Thanks for letting me know. I hardly ever know the date. :)

And you actually DO those celebrations? I need me some of that!

katiebird. . .! You're katiebird again, instead of Catharine! Since you and I can get together in RL, we could help each other with this. Your blog, for instance, Eat 4 Today, is a BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT. When is, or was its next anniversary?

I would think that growing up in such a large family, as you did, would have made it hard to celebrate everybody's big stuff, or just to get recognized sometimes. Yes? No? I'm an only child with an only child, so this is foreign territory to me.

Kelly McCullough said...

Laura and I always go out for a celebratory dinner with minor milestones in both the academic and book worlds--things like finishing a first draft or getting a grant out the door. For bigger things like a book coming out or or having written 1,000,000 words of fiction on my side or tenure or promotion on her we throw a party.

P.S. Hi everybody--grabbing ten minutes of connection in a lull at Laura's conference.

Nancy P said...

Jen, lol, me, too.
I was watching Saving Grace last night and this character appeared and I thought, Hmm, he's interesting. Who is that guy? But I didn't recognize him at all. Not a glimmer of recognition until he showed up again and I squinted and went, "SPIKE!" It was really proof--as if I needed any--of the intense appeal of that actor. I'd celebrate with him any day. :)

katiebird said...

I actually forgot another (for me) huge accomplishment. This is the anniversary week for when I decided to NOT eat between meals and NOT take seconds.

And as of this morning, I've lost 65 pounds on that program!

It's possible that the big family thing had something to do with it. But, I think my parent's fear that I'd turn into one of those bossy-egotistical-oldest-daughters had more to do with it.

They tended to spotlight the achievements of the younger kids more than mine. Assuming I had any to spotlight. Besides reading.

Nancy P said...

Hey, Kelly!

Your account gave me one of those rare moments when I wished I had a significant other. I know the ideal is to feel that sense of satisfaction within myself, but man, it would be nice at the end of a day of good writing to click a glass with somebody. You guys do it right, but then you each picked right, too. :)

katiebird said...

(Sigh. I really should get to work)

Oh, and Nancy -- we really should help each other with this. I'll start thinking of ways to celebrate....

Nancy P said...

Katiebird, that is a staggering accomplishment. We are definitely going out soon and I will toast you with something that doesn't add an ounce to your sveltness.

That is truly wonderful.

I think my parents felt similarly about me, their only, so with my only, I've tried to make a bigger deal of his achievements. I think maybe I'll have a conversation with him about this, and see how it looks from his point of view.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, katiebird - that IS a great accomplishment!!

Not having a significant other does make it a little harder - but at the same time, it means you can orchestrate your own celebration (Gee, honey, a new vacuum is a MUCH better celebration than dinner at Tony's on the Lake...).

When I printed my first mss and saw it sitting on my desk, I was at loose ends for a few minutes, wondering who I could share the feeling with. I emailed my writer friends, and got lots of strokes from them, which was great. Did my happy dance. But had to clink my own glass.

Yep, N, I make a point of celebrating everything. Life is short. And who's Spike, asks the newbie? ;-)

Nancy P said...

"Who's Spike? asked the newbie."

Evil grins on faces of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans everywhere.

Spike, m'dear, is the favorite vampire for many of us, played by an actor who made him so funny, so sexy, so intense and surprising that we couldn't get enough of him.

There was that time when Spike and Buffy brought a building crashing down around them. . .

Ah, good times. :)

AndiF said...

Another Buffy/Whedon fan (I love Angel and Firefly, too). I hold a great fondness for Spike, though it's nothing compared to my feelings for Willow.

Having been greatly influenced by my bubbe's admonitions about the Evil Eye, I don't believe in celebrating stuff.

But then again, every vacation photo we take is a celebration.

FARfetched said...

We've gotten out of the habit of celebrating, at least our own b-days and anniversary. (That would be Mrs. Fetched & me.) One of us is tied to a fairly long commute, and the other to four chicken houses, and that doesn't leave much time.

OTOH, I have a couple of personal celebration events planned: one for when I get below 200 pounds and stay there for a week (not long now), and the other when Bush-league leaves office (not soon enough). I won't go into details, but Mrs. Fetched is threatening to get video.

And we're blowing off the second week of September and spending it at the timeshare… that in itself will be a week-long celebration.

Richard said...

Wow. I'm going out tonight with husband Richard, daughter Alison, her partner Germaine and my friend since we were 3, lela visiting from Berkley. Yesterday the oncologist said I was clean of breast cancer and today my ankle surgeon said I could bag the wheelchair and walker and start walking on my own! La Casa tapas on the patio here we come!

Nancy P said...

Mary Alice, I "knew" there was some big reason to bring up the topic of CELEBRATION TODAY!!! And to use a year's worth of exclamation points, lol!! That is the BEST news ever. I am-- everybody is--so happy for you! And for all of us who love you. Yay, doctors, yay Richard, yay all of your support network, YAY MARY ALICE!!!!

OMG! Laughing and jumping for Joy in Kansas!! Thank you, thank you for sharing this tremendous news. xxxxooo!!!

katiebird said...

Congratulations, Mary Alice -- That's wonderful news. Really, really fantastic!

Thanks for sharing it.

Nancy P said...

In the midst of this dramatic news, I don't want to forget to say. . .

farfetched, I like your style. :) And Mrs. fetched's, too.

And Andi, you are sooo funny.

Maria Lima said...

Dagnabit - no Saving Grace for me last night - must check to see if iTunes offers the ep on download.

For Spike/James Marsters fans - he will be guesting on Season 2 episode 1 of Torchwood.

John Barrowman AND James Marsters in the same episode...my ovaries will no longer be the same!!

Nancy, your reminder of what happened in the Buffy episode Smashed makes me want to go back to rewatch it. Have you ever seen the deleted bits? It's a several second continuation of what happens *after* they fall through the floor. ::g::


Nancy P said...

Torchwood?? I must look that up.

Maria, there are cut scenes from that ep of Buffy? OMG. Must look THAT up. :)

Nancy P said...

Ah, Torchwood is a spinoff of the Dr. Who series, and incredibly popular in Great Britian, I just read. Coming to America on Sept. 8 on the BBC America. Thanks, Maria. :)

AndiF said...

And the newest Dr Who is on the SciFi channel. It's not as good as the Tom Baker years but it's pretty fine.

Not sure that I was that funny but how's this for hysterical -- I have to leave the house at 3:30 a.m. tomorrow to catch a flight and I'll be getting back home around 1:00 a.m. Friday. Laugh a minute, eh?

See ya some time much later on Friday morning.

Man Eegee said...

Mary Alice - that's fantastic! we've not met, but you still brought a huge smile to my face and day.

kb - wow! i remember when you switched up your sigline at BT to start the program. you have done a fantastic job, wish i could celebrate with you and nancy/kansas!

I don't know if it's my culture or just my family, but we celebrate everything. I love it because it gives us all a chance to build up those things that are worth building up in our lives - especially love and fellowship.

Personally, I try to give myself one vacation a year (by myself, usually) to decompress from my life and slow it to a halt. I'm still plotting this year's excursion, but looking for a return to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. As if I need more sunburns :)

GreenMinute said...


I automatically think of Neil Simon's "prostitutes and ice cream." But would quickly add, not necessarily in that order.

I like to celebrate everything.

Today it was banana pudding (w/ vanilla wafers) and two cartons of different "candy bar" ice creams. This celebration may take a a few days.

I witched my doctors and I am rather amazed, which is why I celebrated. A bit longer than a year ago, I was put on medication for high blood pressure. I was in a high risk group for my age.

I don't like meds unless them come genetically interwoven within the stems of mushrooms. I quit taking the prescript meds in April and did my own Zen witchcraft thingie to concentrate on bringing my blood pressure down.

Today at a regularly scheduled check up, I clocked a 114/70. The doctor said, "I see your meds are working. With blood-pressure like that, you'll live to a ripe old age."

So, yeah, banana pudding and ice cream. Ripe old bananas, I thought.

I do NOT recommend witchcraft for high blood pressure, btw. I may have simply fooled the lie detector squeeze-me machine. But, you know, I can live the the lie.

I hope.

Wait! I just spelled both necessarily and recommend correctly on first try. More ice cream!

And, oh what the heck, Beth, a little dance, too.

Anonymous said...

I'll dance for Mary Alice tonight - for green's success without nasty meds - and farfetched's reaching your 200# goal. See how much there is to celebrate? You can always find something - no hurricanes threatening Florida - no snowstorms in Kansas - and I'm finally packed!

Thanks for dancing with me, green!

And now I feel REALLY sad that I've never seen Buffy (are you going to disown me?)...

boran2 said...

Great question. Although we haven't celebrated our periodic achievements (only the regular yearly milestones), we have celebrated those of our son, the boran2 boy. Two standards, one of adults, another for children. Go figure.

FARfetched said...

Mary Alice: Wooooo hoooooo!!!! That's worth a dance, confetti, and a couple of good strong drinks!

Greenminute too! High BP bedevils me from time to time; I blame it on the stress of living at FAR Manor. :-) Having dropped 20 pounds, I need to get serious about working on the next 20… then maybe I can get off the meds too — without witchcraft.

katiebird said...

FARf, that goal of getting off medication (for diabetes in my case) is my dream too.

Sally said...

Am I too late to get in on today's lovely line of conversation? What an interesting group of people! I still do buy earrings whenever a book sells, before the gas company and the phone company snap up the advance. And then I remember the celebration and joy of finishing something and tossing it out there, letting go. But sometimes I think i need to celebrate more things, clink glasses more often. Simple things. Tonight we celebrated life, not with earrings but with hugs--my youngest son found out HE is having a son. My once toddler...soon to be father of...a son. Not a profound addition to this clever, funny, thoughtful collection of conversation, but heartfelt, nevertheless! Aunt Nancy--a son! (I know in my heart that there must be someone else out there who has become a grandmother....but right now I can't imagine who they might be....)

Jen said...

Wow, hearty congrats all around!

Nancy P said...

What jen said!!

You guys! What a bunch o' wonderful news. Sally, Oh BOY, it's a BOY! And greenminute for reaching your goal, and far for being so near to yours. And Beth for finishing your packing. (Disown! Girl, we'll just pressure you until you get a Buffy DVD, that's all. ) And Man Eegee, who is young and wise. And Maria. . .I found that clip on You Tube. Now I need to find me a fan to cool off.

Journey Mercies, Andif!

Nancy P said...

And boran2, I think we need one standard for both the kids and the grownups, don't you? Paper hats and party favors for all of us.

Jean Sheldon said...

Good Morning. Nancy, this is an amazing blog and you keep it moving. I can't follow much of the Buffy, and media comments, but sincere congratulations to the wonderful accomplishments I read on here. You're great.

Nancy P said...

Hi, Jean, and welcome!! Honest, we rarely discuss Buffy, so don't feel you have to be a fan. :) I hope you stick around and join the fun.