Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy F-ing New Year!

That's Happy Freezing New Year!

Yes, it's true. We're freezing in Key West. I know...I know...this is nothing compared to the rest of the country but we're setting some kind of record here. If not the lowest temps ever recorded it's certainly a record number of brrrrr days. You should see us -- everyone is in as many layers as they can come up with (and tank tops don't count). There's not a space heater to be had. Who knew my study had no heat? Who cared until now? So George has moved my computer to the kitchen counter (feels like the old days when I wrote my first books at the kitchen table on my college typewriter).The thing about cold weather in the southernmost city is that it's so unexpected. We don't know how to deal with it. I drive a '99 Jeep Wrangler and we took out the windows so long ago we don't even know where they are. Also, we just discovered, the heater isn't working -- not that heat would help much in an open car -- but still.

My only other source of transportation is my bike and I'm still riding it but pedaling into that north wind takes my breath away (literally). Please don't take any of this as a complaint -- I know better -- and probably in another week we'll be living in our tropical paradise again (please!) if not for our sake, for the manatees, who are suffering.

We had a lovely holiday with Randy, Elliot, and Larry. Amanda and Jim couldn't make it this year and we missed them. Here we are at breakfast at Sarabeth's the morning after Christmas. (Note: it's still warm!)

Randy prepared homemade pizza for New Year's Eve. Yum! Then she and I played Scrabble with the set she gave us and later we saw a movie. Larry went back to New York on the 30th and Elliot was especially sad until a friend with two granddaughters visiting heard he was in town and invited him to join them (here they are with their grandpa) to ring in the New Year watching Sushi drop in her red shoe from a building on Duval Street. He had a great time! As usual, CNN was there to capture it all.

Randy made a delicious fritatta for New Year's brunch, with homebaked buttermilk biscuits.

Elliot still had one essay to go on his final college application but managed to make the deadline -- midnight on January 1. Now it's nail biting time until April, though I don't think he's as nervous about it as his Mom.

They left on January 2 and that night six old friends of ours arrived in town. They're not staying with us but while they're here we want to see as much of them as possible.

We spent a week together in Mexico about 15 years ago and performed our version of an Esther Williams water ballet. I'm the only one without a bathing suit -- forgot mine and had to jump in the pool in my underwear. I'm also the only one with white goo on my lips to prevent a sun blister. What fun we had! Our Key West reunion is bittersweet because we've lost two of those beautiful women, both from lung cancer. But the rest of us are still kicking.

And last night, the Literary Seminar kicked off with Take a Poet to Dinner. This year the KWLS celebrates poetry, and especially the poetry of Richard Wilbur who lived here for many years. He'll be speaking on Saturday night. Can't wait to hear him. My poet for last night's dinner was Maxine Kumin , who had just arrived in town. She said Key West felt about as cold as New Hampshire. Now that's something! I'm sad for the poets and the 400 members of the audience who looked forward to a warm, sunny get-a-way.

As for work -- Larry and I are still slogging away at the screenplay (but not, I'm happy to say, slugging each other). I have to admit, it's frustrating. But I have the feeling it will come together eventually. Or maybe I'm just being optimistic. In any case, I'm longing to get back to the novel I started last spring.

Wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year. Keep warm!