Flamingo Jill and the 2007 Indulgences

Another cold has laid me low, a gift from the universe that has forced me to stay off the roads and away from my family for fear of giving them the plague for Christmas, and it’s turned out to be a very good thing because it’s given me a day of complete quiet to look back on 2006 without thinking of my 2007 resolutions. Those would be the resolutions I have to make later this week along with sauerkraut and hotdogs (my German family’s nod to the gods for a good new year), the resolutions that will make me a Better Person in 2007. But tonight I’m just curled up, staying warm, blowing my nose and contemplating 2006 and my Christmas gifts, among them Flamingo Jill.

Jill is supposed to be Cerise, the flamingo from Agnes and the Hitman, but as you may have noticed, she’s not pink, nor is she cerise. She’s a pretty violent purple, not quite Magenta (although I wouldn’t turn down fishnets for her if I could find some to fit her skinny legs). So I named her after the lovely woman who gave her to me. Just as wonderful as Flamingo Jill herself are the nine outfits that came with her. She’s wearing her Santa costume as you can see, but there’s also a witch outfit for Halloween that will come in handy for promoting The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, and you’re not going to believe the bunny costume for Easter. However there are omissions. There is no Valentine’s Day. There’s no back-to-school for September. There is no Miss June. If Easter doesn’t fall in May, there’ll be no Queen of the May for our Jill. So of course, I began to plan to make them (maybe a fuzzy wig with a little apron and cap . . . sorry, it’s just once you’ve said, “Magenta,” it’s hard to go back).

Where was I? Right, making little flamingo costumes.

Which was when I realized I could. I will have the time to waste on ridiculous fun things. Because for 2007, I will not be working 24/7, criss-crossing the country like an insane person, trying to collect a Dasani receipt from every airport on the continent. The Year From Hell is over. Of course, that doesn’t mean that 2007 might not turn out to be just another flavor of infernality, but at least it’ll be a change of taste. I will be driving to the very few conferences I’m doing. (Except Australia and New Zealand. I would if I could but I can’t. They don’t have a ferry yet.) I can pack all the liquids I want. I can take one of my dogs if I want; Wolfie loves to travel. I can take Flamingo Jill if I want. But mostly I am staying home. I am writing a solo novel in which all the conflict will be on the page. I can do frivolous blogs here about painting my bedroom and the zen of purses and the latest addition to Flamingo Jill’s wardrobe. Honest to God, I want to wriggle all over like Wolfie does when he hears the lid to the dog biscuit jar clink open. Nothing but good times ahead.

Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

And that made me start to think. I’ve got the serious resolutions coming up next weekend, the ones where I promise to cook more and take a yoga class and do all that stuff, but it’s Christmas and I want to be good to myself, so what if tonight I made kind resolutions, the things I really, really want to do but never get to, the stuff that I’d kill to do but never get to because it’s too ridiculous and I have to be Serious About My Life and Career, what if I made my Five Indulgences of 2007? (I decided to limit them to five so I wouldn’t feel greedy.)

Well, that seemed like an excellent idea. I decided they had to be specific so I’d actually accomplish them (not that “Go back to painting” or “Start sewing again” garbage) and after much deliberation, this is what I came up with.

Indulgence #1. Do the paintings in one of the books I’ve done, The Cinderella Deal or Faking It or Nadine’s book that I’ve been thinking about. I’ve always wanted to do that and always meant to but . . .

Indulgence #2. Sew the collage kimono tops I’ve been collecting fabric for. I’ve got the perfect pattern for them, and I’ve got a fabric stash that’s ridiculously gorgeous. Plus I’m a collage freak. It’s time.

Indulgence #3. Draw or paint or collage every day. Remember why I used to love it. Remember what it used to be like to create things just for the joy of creating them.

Indulgence #4. Spend a week in New York without working on anything. Go to museums, plays, see my daughter and my friends, walk through the Village, and not write a novel.

Indulgence #5. Take a course in something with my daughter. We took an art glass class together several years ago that was terrific and billards lessons that helped me write Welcome to Temptation. I’d love to do that again. I don’t even care what kind of lessons, as long as we take them together. Of course this depends on her cooperation but she’s a good person and she lives in New York so there must be a week-long course there in something we could take.

There, that’s pretty good. All things I’ve been wanting to do and putting off because there have been deadlines and a million things I had to do, a million things that were more important than selfish pleasure. Now that I’ve made my promises to myself, those things are more important, too. Along with reading for pleasure which I can justify because it’s really good for my career and making more outfits for Flamingo Jill because . . .

Uh . . .

Because she’s good blog material which is good for my career because . . .

Oh, hell.

Indulgence #6. Make outfits for Flamingo Jill because I want to, that’s why.

Make your 2007 Indulgences today, people. Because tomorrow, you’re going to be stuck making those damn Resolutions and after that it’s all diet and exercise and no flamingo bunny ears in sight.