The Quest For Lady Luck In 2021
The first week of 2021 is here! It feels really good to say that, even though I have no idea what lies ahead.
Here in our SW corner of France we sailed through the transition with a minimum of fuss. Just another quiet dinner at the house with the three of us and Polly, where we feasted on roast beef, fondant potatoes (YUM!) and my first attempt at molten-core chocolate cake (I used this excellent recipe from Bon Appetit and I’m happy to say it was a total success!). We finished the evening with a cozy log fire in the sitting room, Calvados and coffee, where we lasted until about 10pm before deciding to call it a night.
Zero fireworks and zero parties, but that’s perfectly OK with me.
We wanted it to be simple and nice. A celebration of what’s to come, rather than what came before. And all our hopes pinned with Lady Luck in the New Year ahead. For that purpose it was the perfect evening, and for the rest we’ll just have to see…
Good Luck Charms For 2021
Today I can finally say we are after 2020, in the year after the year where the world stood still. This past year has given a whole new meaning to the old adage “hindsight is 2020”, and I like to think that’s somehow predictive of a better 2021.
All of my friends were happy to see the end of 2020 too. In fact I’ve never seen quite so many superstitions shared on the 31st. Opening your doors right before midnight to let the old year out and the new year in (an Irish tradition), eating black eyed peas (an American tradition, at least in the South), downing 12 grapes at midnight (a Spanish tradition) and carrying around an empty suitcase to set yourself up for new adventures in 2021 (a Columbian thing). I rather like that last one…
Everyone seemed to be getting in on the act, doing their best to get rid of the bad of 2020, and bring good luck to the New Year.
We didn’t really do anything specific here, although if I’d planned ahead I’d probably go for the Scottish tradition of “first-footing”. Basically the first person to enter the home in the new year dictates your course for the year, and the luckiest type of person is supposed to be a dark-haired male, who brings a lump of coal, a piece of bread, a coin and a drink, representing warmth, food, financial prosperity and good spirits.
Hmmmm…..a handsome dark-haired male shows up at the door with a drink at midnight….yes, I can totally see how that would work….
As for the luckiest people, they may well be the Spanish who won the annual Christmas lotto in December which, if you’ve never heard of it, is the richest lotto in the world. “El Gordo” (the fat one) is a long-standing Spanish tradition that started in Cádiz in 1812, and in 2020 the prize fund was a mind-boggling €2.4 billion (yes, that’s BILLION!)! People usually gather to buy tickets as a group (e.g. whole town, offices etc.), and the complicated draw-system means that up to 10% of players end up winning something, even if it’s just a small amount. Not a bad way to enter 2021!
As for us, we’ve neither lottery wins nor superstitions, although we do have a good supply of dark-haired men in the neighborhood (SW France has a strong Catalan & Spanish influence), so I guess our good luck is naturally strong? I like to think so.
2021 And The Pandemic
Even though we’ve turned the corner on 2020, we can’t quite get rid of its baggage just yet.
We’re in a tricky spot with the pandemic right now, that in-between place where a vaccine has been launched, but not enough people have gotten it yet, and cases are still on the rise. On top of that there’s a new, more infectious strain of SARS-CoV-2 on the loose, making it even more difficult to get ahead of the curve. Many countries are already seeing record infections, with hospitals reaching crisis levels…..yet again.
Ah yes, the ghost of 2020 past.
We’re OK here in France at the moment, the last lock-down having done its job to get us out of the “red zone” of November, but cases are already rising rapidly again in the East, and Christmas & New Years Eve gatherings are likely to show their effects a few weeks from now. Given that we’re vaccinating at a rate something akin to a slow-moving sloth moving on a winters day (we’re up to a mind-boggling 432 total doses today, which is exactly 0.0006% of the population that needs to be vaccinated for expected herd immunity), I figure we’ll be in lock-down again by the end of Feb at the latest.
Yup, I fully expect lock-down #3 to come along shortly, both here and everywhere else.
This means we can’t quite let loose, or rather we have to be prepared for what is to come. Aaaand if we don’t want it to be an exact repeat of 2020 we’ll have to do things differently.
The Gold Will Be In The In-Betweens
I think 2021 is going to be a year of “in-betweens”.
Given everything that’s going on it’s clear the pandemic is not going away, at least not just like that, so we’re going to have to prepare ourselves for waves; times where it’s OK and times where it’s not OK. Some of us will be able to get vaccinated quickly (and so perhaps worry less about our own situation), but we’ll all still be hampered by local lockdowns, as they come and go. So, the moments in-between will be gold.
And that’s really our one and only plan for 2021.
We hope to travel this year, at least part-time and it’s all going to be centered around those times where the waves calm and the virus bar lets us pass. They may be short outings, quick trips out to land in-view while we can. And we may not know when or where we can go, until right before we do. So, it’s going to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda plan, a firm-ish jello if you will. Nothing fixed in ink, but ideas on hold ready to be launched at any time.
I think that’s going to be the key to our sanity this year. And for everyone who dreams of travel.
We Have Ideas & We’re Ready For Anything
We’ve talked a lot about 2021, Paul and I. Where we would go, if we can go, how we will go.
At this point nothing is off the table. We have a motorhome, so if we’re able to drive there’s a lot we can do, even if we have to avoid campgrounds and other people. We also have the ability to rent (e.g. Airbnb or the likes) or to stay with family, both of which would be a lovely change, even if just for a while. Quarantines & testing can be managed if we plan ahead, plus we’re both totally ready to travel to get the vaccine, if it comes to that. It won’t be the easy kind of travel we used to do, but it should be do-able nonetheless.
So I’m taking my three turns, touching all wood, and wearing the same yoga pants for a week (okay, that last one just might be sheer laziness). All this in the hope that Lady Luck will be with us in 2021 and we’ll manage some adventures, even if they’re small ones and not far away. It’s a small dream, but I hope and believe we can make it happen. And I really hope you can too. Here’s to us all finding gold in the in-betweens of 2021.
HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!
I’m curious my friends. How did you celebrate New Years Eve? Did you practice any superstitions to bring luck to the New Year? Or did you make anything yummy (I’m always open to new recipes). DO comment & share below!SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Terri Ann Reed says
After I made sure all the farm critters were OK (I’m farm-sitting near the capitol of the USA for the winter) I went to bed about 6 PM with a book recommended to me by a friend, A Promised Land, written by Obama our previous president. Being solo most of the time for most of my life, I’ve found books are wonderfully entertaining and absorbing, and this book is no exception, it’s wonderfully witty and conversational, moving along at a comforting pace that doesn’t put me to sleep 🙂 I will be SO happy to see a new face in the Oval Office!
Gloria M Emory says
You are not alone. Our New Year won’t actually start until 1/21/2021!!!! as far as we (husband and I) are concerned. I am about to buy Promised Land, Obama has a way with his writings. Did you read Michelle Obamas’ Becoming?
It has alot of insight into her life and Barack’s presidency.
Happy New Year
Brian Kilpatrick says
I really enjoy this website. I wish everyone would help to keep it nice by keeping politics out of the comment section. I’m glad you are going to be happy but not everyone feels the way you do. So by definition what your comment does is to draw a line to divide us. Your political comments have nothing to do with this lovely website and just bring it down.
Have a happy new year and I hope you try to be more sensitive in the future.
Betsy Gregor says
YUM – how do you make fondant potatoes! We spent the evening with my granddaughter (6), ate pizza and walked the beach with the full moon glistening on the water. It was beautiful, peaceful, restful. Stay well. Best to you in 2021.
Fondant potatoes are easy…and VERY yummy. Basically you cut the potatoes into cylinders, brown the ends, and then slowly roast them in butter (we used duck fat). You can add herbs too if you want. Here’s a decent recipe:
Stacey Milligan says
A million thanks for the fantastic posts this past year. So sorry you were unable to travel and move about, we do so love hearing about your adventures. Please know that I mentioned your post about the baguette vending machine to more people then I could count. We all found great joy in that story and are dying to give one a try. Our New Years eve was spent home in our comfy cloths and noshing on an array of homemade appetizer’s. I gave pot stickers a try ( I can say I need to give them another chance…lol). May the new year bring you joy and travels. I look forward to hearing more.
SO glad you enjoyed that post. I’m going to have to see if I can find other France-based quirks like that. They’re fun to share. And thank you for the good wishes!
Happy new year!
This year was definitely a different celebration. The group I have been celebrating with for more than 20 years didn’t gather. But one creative soul bought us little model dumpsters. The directions were to decorate our dumpsters, write down what we’re going to say good bye to from 2020, then put the papers in the dumpsters and put the dumpsters in a safe place and have a dumpster fire. We had to document the burning of 2020 and share it with the group.
It was a creative way to commemorate a year we’d all rather “forget-erate”.
What a GREAT idea!! I love it! Very therapeutic way of getting rid of all the bad of 2020.
We celebrated small with our bubble of safe friends and ate black eyed peas on NYD–I did, the Cowboy ate three whole peas! We too are eagerly anticipating the vaccine, Michael has even said he will fly home to Montana to get it if he has to. Arizona numbers have gone out the roof–17,000 posted today. YIKES!
I may join you in Montana for that vaccine lol. Glad you ate those black eyed peas. We need all the lucky charms we can get for 2021.
Cynthia Huff says
Happy New Year ‼️
We Watched the ball drop in Times Square on tv … no one allowed this year… just zoom celebrities. Dinner was Roast Beef and mashed potatoes, garden green beans for two. I didnt do the good luck black eyed peas— but a large pot of pinto,white,Lima beans took their place. My greens/$$ were parsley,poblano,onion with lemon juice— raw—to top my bowl of beans.
It was a Very quiet evening… then deer rifles and automatic weapons shockingly rang in the new year… the Wild West.
I will feel the New Year start on Jan 20th when we have a new president and will be done with these four horrid years.
We are missing being in warm weather for winter this year. The rv is ready! the cold here is dry (but still 6-10 degrees is COLD ) and the sun comes out daily in Taos but I do miss biking and walking on the beach in Mexico.
Covid is not disappearing because of the new year—vaccines are starting but I am afraid too many think they are a preventative and so the cases will increase again because of carelessness. We have an excellent governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham who has kept NM quarantined and we are grateful to not be in TX or AZ where they have had few restrictions and extensive deaths.
I am trying to be cheerful but I sure miss seeing friends and socializing.
Love your posts, photos and news from France.
I also worry about the roll-out of the vaccine & how people will handle the in-between. It’s going to take a while to get everyone vaccinated, and in the meantime masks & social distancing will continue to be important to slow/dampen the spread and keep hospitals in the green zone. It’s going to be an interesting year….
Koos de Heer says
Thank you for this great post and for all the posts of last year, a little happiness and inspiration every single time. Our NYE tradition is one from the Nether Saxon area, the rural area that makes up the East of The Netherlands and the Northwest of Germany. We bake small crispy wafers and roll half of them around a stick and keep the other half flat. You have to be quick and roll them immediately while they are still hot, otherwise they will have cooled down and they break. The flat (open) ones are for the last year, which is known to everyone. The rolled up ones are still closed and symbolize the unknown of the year to come. The rolled up ones can be filled with whipped cream – emphasizing the wish for a sweet and yummy new year. I can’t post any pictures here of the ones we baked, but they look like this: https://www.maxvandaag.nl/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/MAX-VANDAAG-SARENA_V2.00_06_42_24.Still002.jpg
What a COOOL tradition! Thanks so much for sharing it!! Love to hear about stuff like that.
Bob McLean says
Happy New Year! We haven’t actually gathered for a New Year’s Eve party or the like for many years, but prefer to get together later for a dinner or some such thing. That won’t happen either this year.
One of our weekly Zoom attendees had the novel idea of getting together virtually on New Year’s Eve early, and at precisely 2020, we all let out a big raspberry to say “so long” to the year. There we no “time limits” on the Zoom call, but we all sort of trailed off after another hour or so of yakking. Virtual gatherings are simply not the same of course, but we did get to “see” some folks just before the changing of the calander.
It’ll be a while I suspect before we can safely get together in person, so virtual hugs are the best we can muster for the time being. Stay safe!
Glad to hear you managed to socialize, even if it was via zoom. I agree…zoom is great, but it can’t replace in-person gatherings. Hopefully soon we will be back to the latter again.
We shared dinner with our “pod” friend consisting of Brisket, roasted carrots and potatoes with a bottle of champagne. For dessert a Hit fudge chocolate pudding cake…talked and laughed… our friend left and we went to bed early… glad yours was successful.
Lovely! A small, intimate gathering & good food. Sounds perfect.
David Michael says
A very quiet New Year’s Eve having talked with our kids on zoom during the day. We enjoyed Dungeness Crab dipped in melted butter with a touch of lemon accompanied by Pinot Gris wine. For entertainment we watched two episodes of “The Morning Show” on the Apple Channel, which I recommend. We’re smack in the middle of the rainy season here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Together with the Pandemic, we are hunkering down with our new 65 inch Samsung TV catching up on programs we’ve put off for months. We escape the dark, gloomy wet weather by driving an hour away either for snowshoeing in the Cascades or van camping along the Oregon Coast. The vaccine should be available within the month. Wishing you and family a Happy and Healthy 2021.
Sounds like a lovely evening, and snow shoeing is a wonderful idea! I actually just found a snow-shoe place about an hour and a half from where we live, and want to give it a go.
Shelley Young says
Thanks so much for your lovely posts Nina, always very thoughtful & thought provoking. We’re currently in central Florida & celebrated New Years eve with friends on the patio. Ribs, blackeyed peas, rice, collard greens & carrots were our traditional good luck charms on New Year’s day. Unfortunately, the forecast for the next 2 to 4 years is rather dark & bleak. But as the saying goes …for every action ect ect.
MoHo Princess says
So sad… Really enjoyed your blog, but can’t abide blatant censorship. Seems to be the theme of the day.
Sorry to hear you say that. I haven’t deleted any comments recently, so I’m not sure where you see the censorship. And I keep politics out of my main posts. That said, if you’re looking for something else, I hope you find it. Good travels and I wish you well.
Jodee Gravel says
I like your “in between” expectation as I believe that’s what our adventures will look like as well. While we have reservations and plans through the summer, we’re prepared to make changes as needed and to hunker down if we have to. Just making plans has been a relief 🙂 Our new years was quiet as well. More than ready for something newer, safer and less embarrassing. It was a good start until the 6th and yet even that wasn’t completely unexpected given the clown is still in office a couple more weeks 🙁 Must be interesting watching from afar!
What a week it’s been in the US! I agree that just the act of making plans has been a relief. We need to think ahead, hope and plan, even if we don’t manage to do everything we aim for.
MoHo Princess says
I apologize Nina… I originally posted a comment with my name (Shelley) & didn’t see it. I then posted a comment using my online name ( yeah, silly!) about censorship. No wonder all the confusion. So sorry again! I do agree with Brian Kilpatrick’s comment about no politics & divisiveness. I shouldn’t have posted my comments either that were obviously political. Hopefully we can all live & learn together. Best!!
No worries. I try to be as neutral as possible on this blog about politics and other potentially contentious issues. I do have strong feelings about them, but just prefer to discuss them in other places.
A gal in Maple Valley, WA says
Feel free to edit/remove this if it doesn’t fit here. Can you help me with questions I can’t seem to answer myself about some comments. If someone notes their feelings of better things ahead because of changes and those changes aren’t what others had hoped for, some folks may not agree with some comments. Would it be best to just embrace the fact people have differing opinions and share something positive instead of making others feel they can’t be themselves because of the difference? I am trying to be a decent world citizen and am finding myself at a loss navigating social interactions. You moderate your comments so gracefully and intelligently. If someone doesn’t agree with a comment that is only expressing what someone else finds optimistic …… wow, this is a big can-o-worms. Words. Nuance. Feelings. I’m so confused.
[I wanted to reply to a comment that called another comment ‘not for this site’. Someone wrote that things are looking brighter for them because a change in management may help things so we all can travel and be safe. Someone else noted that wasn’t their outlook so it wasn’t appropriate here. Would my best retort be none?] Thank you for taking the time to guide a mind full of thoughts in need of a smarter one; yours.
MoHo Princess says
Great comments & something alot of people struggle with I’m sure…How do we respectfully share our opinions without offending others? Some people (and blog owners, thankfully not this one!) don’t want to hear or allow others to express an opinion different than their own. The use of derogatory words, like “clown” to describe someone that others may admire is incendiary behavior. Guess it comes down to intent?!
You know I wish I had the perfect answer to this. I try to let everyone express themselves in the comments without excess moderation, and I try not to let politics enter into it as much as I can (again, I try not to censor and be respectful). It’s not because I don’t have opinions or feelings about politics, and it’s not because I want to squash the emotions of those who may be feeling elated or defeated in light of recent politics events. It’s simply because once politics becomes a topic in the comments it becomes THE topic, and a very contentious one at that. It simply takes over completely. So I guess a rambling answer…but yes, for the sake of this blog I guess my best answer would be to “let it be”? And if someone feels hurt or offended by a specific comment, please just e-mail me personally?
I don’t know if that answers your comment, but hopefully it did.
I did also want to add. I am ALL in favor of folks talking about a positive outlook, or sharing their feelings (positive, negative, neutral) about their lives or the future. In fact I fully endorse that. It’s much of what I try to make this blog about (sharing, lifting each up other etc.). It’s just that if politics comes into that discussion, the whole thing simply becomes about the politics and not the feelings. Does that make sense?
OK….I’m off to walk in nature now 🙂
A gal in Maple Valley, WA says
Again, thanks for taking the time. Walking outside is so beneficial!