It’s New Year’s day and I’m sitting here drinking my coffee. I, in no way, had a wild night last night. Our big plans were to cook some steaks that were in the freezer but then Nate got called offshore for a small job leaving me solo for the night. I cooked myself lamb chops, ate a mini peanut butter pie I had been gifted with earlier that day, and drank a whole lot of wine. I snuggled my pups in bed while I watched Netflix and it was so nice and relaxing. I listened to the fireworks outside and I thought about how this is probably what it sounded like if you were living near a civil war battle field. The holidays are so great because I actually do give myself a chance to breathe. I don’t think about what other things I should be doing and I just take the day for me and only me and it’s okay because it’s what you’re supposed to do on days like Christmas and New Year’s. Although, if I’m being honest I feel like I should go and open the shop today, ugh. On Christmas Eve, in Gramercy Louisiana, they have this crazy awesome tradition of lighting huge bon fires. The story goes that it started as a way to light a path for Papa Noel (Santa Claus) so that he would know where to land his sled and bring presents to all the good boys and girls. Over the years it has evolved into a wild night, almost like a festival; I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s one of those “only in Louisiana” things that I’ve grown so accustomed to seeing in my time living in New Orleans. For ten miles, every 100 feet or so there is a HUGE bonfire. It’s an insane sight to see. Everyone is partying their tits off: high schoolers drinking cheap beer, kids sliding down the levees on card board, you never know when the fires are going to topple; it’s madness! This was Nate and my first year seeing the fires. Our friends Brent and Lissa had been before and drove us the hour or so it takes to get into the small town. Gramercy really only exists because of the oil refineries in it. It’s such a rural place that you would never visit otherwise. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
Christmas day we woke up and drank coffee, we opened presents, I baked us some EPIC cinnamon rolls (thanks Joy the Baker!), and I made the dogs take pictures in their Christmas tree hats. They are not fans of the Christmas tree hats. We made bloody mary’s and took the dogs to the golf course to let them run around. We called our families and took it easy. It was so nice having the time with Nate because we’ve both been so busy. He’s been offshore a lot and now that he’s been in he spends everyday working at the house while I spend every day at the store and my days off in my studio. I can’t wait to get into our new house and get my newest series of paintings up in the gallery so we can have some more days like these ones. That night, Brent and Lissa invited us over for an amazing Christmas dinner. We drank mulled wine, played trivial pursuit and watched their new pig Lily Munster grunt and root around the house. So low key and perfect. I missed my family this Christmas but I still couldn’t have asked for a better one here in New Orleans.Now for my resolutions. I have a hard time keeping them so let’s just call them goals. These are realistic goals that I am setting for myself and I am actively going to try to achieve for 2014:
1) In my business life I want to be better at record keeping. I’m already prepping for 2013’s taxes and if I would just track things and organize my receipts on a regular basis I wouldn’t have such a daunting mountain of paperwork in front of me. I want to take a day every month and track all of the gallery’s expenses. I want to account for every receipt and keep them all together so that when 2014’s taxes roll around I won’t be pulling my hair out and if I ever get audited (please god don’t ever let me have to deal with that head ache!) everything will be neatly stored for my IRS agent.
2) In my life as an artist I want to make time to produce more work. The hardest part about having the gallery is that I have NO time to work on my own pieces. Every day people come into the store and ask if I am also an artist. I say that I am and they inevitably ask which work is mine and then I have to be like, “Oh, this ornament…” It sucks. What I really want want to say is, “Yes, these insanely awesome paintings covering this whole wall just so happen to be mine, BAM!” I’m already working to facilitate this goal. While we’re remodeling our new home, I’m renting studio space from my friend at her shop. Once we’re in the house I’ll have my permanent studio space. I’m going to have a new grouping of work for February because I already have a group show planned for the 19th. Let’s do this 2014.
3) In my social life I want to make an effort to go and see more live music. I’m currently listening to a record I bought from the opening band of the Steve Earle show. They’re called The Mastersons, and I saw them back in November. I had a great time! I live in one of the greatest cities to go and see live shows. Why don’t I go and do it? I don’t know either! I think this goal will be made even easier to achieve once we move into our new home and we’re walking distance from both Tipitina’s and Le Bon Temps.
4) Take more pictures, not just phone pictures, real camera pictures: I’ve got a REALLY nice Nikon and a great little digital cannon. Those pictures from Christmas, I love ’em! I don’t bring my camera out enough. That needs to change. I also need to back up my photos on hard drives and print them out and stick them in frames. Totally doable, you got this, Shannon.
5) Stop worrying so much. I am a worrier, people. It’s just in my nature. It’s what I do. While researching Ernest Hemingway quotes for my Dad’s birthday presents I found this one. There are many like it but for some reason, this one struck a chord. “Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will loose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry; worry never fixes anything.” Damn, Ernest you are so right. I have definitely already lost a year or two to worry. I’ve got to work on that.
6) Then there is the usual get healthier. I’m not talking about some crazy diet or running five miles a day. I’m just talking about being more active, going for longer walks, eating less sugar. This body is the one body I’ve been given, I’ve got to treat it right so it will take care of me in return. So bring it on 2014, I think you and I are going to make a great team!