Saturday 20th January 2018
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Off I go

This is the place we rented in San Miguel

OK ladies, I’m out of here until after the New Year; expect me back on the 2nd or the 3rd, depending on how long it takes me to get it together after I return from my trip to Mexico (which I mentioned here; I will be leaving the clogs at home thanks to the many warnings you lodged about the tricky cobblestone streets of San Miguel). I hope you all have the most excellent holidays imaginable, and if this time of year is tough for you, I hope it passes as smoothly as possible and is over before you know it. I’m happy to see batshit 2017 draw to a close, but am so inspired by the many ways in which women have risen up over the course of the past year, and look forward to more of the same moving forward. And on a personal note: I recently noticed that this blog has had over 35,000 comments since it launched back in 2012, and am so grateful to those of you who’ve made this such a lively, happy, deeply supportive environment. You bring me happiness every day. Meanwhile: I’m very curious as to what you are up to during the break, and would love to hear about any and all of your favorite holiday traditions (which I know I’ve asked you before, but I’m curious again).

Posted on December 22nd, 2017 58 Comments

58 Responses

  1. Ann Marie says:

    I’m in the “hope it’s over fast” group. Currently in Utah to see my teenage daughter, who is in a treatment center here for depression. It’s our second Christmas with our family in different places, and my amazing girl still struggling and unable to come home. I’m grateful for people who work in the mental health field, and I’m also grateful that we can (barely) afford the help my daughter needs. But it would be entirely so humane if insurance covered this stuff, and if the stigma of needing it didn’t exist.

    • Anne-Marie says:

      Bless you, Ann Marie, and bless her. I hope and pray for her to emerge from this stronger, and beginning to possess the tools she will need to triumph over this condition. Hugs to you and to her from one who lives with, and has a really good life in spite of, anxiety and depression.

    • DeDe says:

      THIS. Hang in there. xo

    • Heather says:

      My heart and my thoughts are with you. Your amazing girl has you in her corner so she’s luckier than most.

      Here’s to erasing the stigma of psychological illnesses!

      Sending you love and strength.

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      Love and admiration to you, Ann Marie, for being a great mom and for walking alongside your daughter in her struggles. As one who knows all too well how difficult recovery can be, know that there is hope: I’ve gone from my lowest point last spring to having a very good fall and winter. I hear you about the stigma, tho, which angers me. Let’s hope that people become more enlightened.

  2. Heather says:

    Kim, have a wonderful trip – and once again, thank you for building this amazing community.

    My break will include about 48 hours at my sister’s (the length I can withstand her and her husband’s bickering), followed by a trip to New Mexico to visit a dear friend and go to a hot springs.

    New Year’s is tentatively planned with a man I’m seeing. We’ve been friends for several years and only recently crossed over. He’s an emotionally mature, sober, financially sound adult, so, you know, new territory for me.

    Just after New Years I will travel to the small town in Tennessee where my father grew up, where he is being presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from his high school. The banquet will take place in the cafeteria and the ceremony during a basketball game. Safe to say I have NO IDEA what to wear to this event. What I would normally wear might read as too ‘fancy’ or ‘city’ to these folks. I would welcome suggestions!

    • DeDe says:

      Oh, I hope your New Year’s is fantastic! Here’s to you and your guy!

      • Dana D says:


        I found love at 48 with a man who is exactly as you describe. It was the first “easy, nothing-to-apologize-for” love of my life.

        Yes, here’s to you!

        • Heather says:

          Thank you for these kind words! I am almost-47 and he is 51… we’re both rather battle-weary/scarred at this point, but this feels natural and normal and comfortable (but not boring).

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      Your New Years sounds wonderful, Heather! For the awards thingy with your dad, I’d suggest black pants and a nice but simple sweater…maybe a cashmere v-neck? Color will read as less “city.”

  3. DeDe says:

    Have the most fun end-of-December ever, Kim. As always, thanks for all you do here – the vibe of this place begins with you. We’re just all following your lead.

    Probably my favorite tradition is our (admittedly indulgent) New Year’s one: my husband orders a few Dungeness crabs from a woman-owned place in San Fransisco (fresh, but not live, yikes!). We each have one for dinner NYE, and then New Year’s Day he makes the extra one into crab cakes for breakfast. Usually by afternoon we’re regretting it a little (my chiropractor calls this phenomenon “crab belly”), but it’s sooooooo good.

    Happy holidays, everyone, whatever you celebrate! And if you don’t, or if it’s tough for you – what Kim said. It’s almost over!

    • DeDe says:

      PS, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to stop abusing perens. Just so you know.

      • DeDe says:

        (Parenthesis) (Ok stopping)

      • jenny says:

        Have a great holiday, Kim and all the girls from GOACA!! We have my husband’s mother (do you know him, Kim? He’s also from Oberlin) come in from Vermont for the holiday, to help us choose our tree and then decorate it, bake a bunch of cookies, listen to music and hang out, and generally just enjoy gabbing with her for hours through the holiday. She’s one of the coolest women ever, so I ADORE her!! We like to have Indian food with champagne on New Years’; not sure yet if I’ll make it or grab from a restaurant. I LOVE the idea of celebrating New Years in London, so my daughter can get an earlier bedtime!!
        DeDe: I love your parens!!

        • DeDe says:

          Haha! Thanks, Jenny! Happy holidays to you!

        • Mamavalveeta03 says:

          You are so lucky to have a great relationship with your MIL. My husband’s mother hated me, no matter how hard I tried (possibly even more BECAUSE I tried!).

          Obviously, I’m taking over DeDe’s abuse of perens. 😉

  4. Elle says:

    We have an advent calendar that I just made (felt and glue). Counting down to Christmas is exciting for my boys (11 & 8). We also try to make it about giving – we donated to a shelter, contributed to food pantries, bought gifts for the tree at our church. Heat Miser plays a key role in our festivities.

    NYE we make silly hats and watch the countdown from London at 8pm so our boys get to bed on time. Jan 1 my family does a polar bear plunge at Coney. I’m land support (aka I hold the blankets and hot toddy). Then we spend the day with friends – the best way to ring in a new year.

    • Elle says:

      Also – love GOACA – I don’t always comment but I do always <3 Thank you, Kim!

      • Mamavalveeta03 says:

        Teaching your kids to give and being a part of making it happen is such a great value to pass on. We’ve done that from the time our girls were little and still choose several organizations to donate to every Christmas. I even suggested to my grown-up girls that we just give each other one gift and that way we could donate more…You should’ve seen the look on the face of my 19-yr old – ever the baby of the family!

  5. Dana D says:

    This IS a supportive community and I love what you’ve made here Kim.

    The comments are positive, funny, inspiring and honest.

    I learn new, important things and am inspired to try new fashion which allows me to not take every little damn thing so seriously.

    Thank you for all of it. Have a lovely, clogless holiday in Mexico!

    My sweetheart, 22 yr old son and 23 yr old daughter are driving (literally over the river and through the woods) from No. CA to small town Oregon for a simple holiday with my mother and brother. I learned how to love from my mother (there is not one fancy or fashionable thing about her) and my two, her only grandchildren, adore her…

    DeDe…please eat a crab cake for me (and don’t ever stop with your parenthesis…)

    • DeDe says:

      Done and done (you and Jenny and Cdub convinced me!). Merry Xmess to you and your family, Dana! PS “Clogless holiday” 🤣🤣

    • Dana D says:

      (I am sorry that I use the term “sweetheart”…it sounds dorky and perhaps uppity/weird…but I’m tired of being a 55-year-old with a “boyfriend” and I just don’t know about “partner”…he’ll never be my husband, so I HAVE to find something…)

      (anyone have any other ideas?)

      • Mamavalveeta03 says:

        Sorry, Dana D, but all I can come up with is POSSLQ, and that was a bust in the 70’s. 😉

        From Charles Osgood’s poem, MY POSSLQ

        “You live with me, and I with you,
        And you will be my POSSLQ.
        I’ll be your friend and so much more;
        That’s what a POSSLQ is for.”

      • Heather says:

        I quite like sweetheart! I agree, ‘boyfriend’ sounds juvenile (and noncommital) and ‘partner’ so bloodless. Plus people get confused and think businesz partner.

      • DeDe says:

        Call him whatever makes sense to you and screw anyone who thinks it sounds dorky. I think it’s sweet.

  6. c.w. says:

    Have a wonderful trip, Kim!!

    Thank you over and over for this blog. This group of women is so supportive and funny and informative and FUN. First thing I read every morning to start my day off right.

    Happy holidays everyone however you celebrate! I’m off to my brother’s ranch for Xmas Eve (not a tradition) then back to Austin that night so Xmas day I can pick Ned up at the airport (tradition since he moved to the east coast). My “tree” is up and this year I’m starting the Icelandic tradition of giving myself a book on Xmas Eve to read in bed while eating chocolate. (In Iceland they give books to each other, but since I’ll be alone I’m giving one to myself) (stealing your parens DeDe!!)

  7. AC says:

    Your blog brings a little bit of happiness and joy to me every day! As you said what a wonderful community you have created. ❤️ Enjoy your trip!

  8. Elise says:

    Happy Holidays! And yes, this year has been nuts, I’m looking forward to at least a few days of no news.

    We have lots of traditions, but one of my favorites has become decorating cookies, my family has been doing this for about 30 years with the same cookie cutters and recipe on the box from my mom’s childhood (probably 50s?). I also always look forward to our rice pudding – mostly whipped cream flavored with almond, served with a raspberry sauce.

  9. jean says:

    Your rental looks A-mazing!
    Our two daughters and their bf’s/fiances will come her Xmas eve.
    Simple soup and cranberry cornbread before the feastings of the next day.
    Then, head to local pub for a brew.
    Up early with baked french toast, open presents then prepare the big meal.
    (Making peach pie-with peaches from our tree, pecan pie and cranberry chutney in advance).
    This year people have to leave to get back to work Christmas day night. 🙁

  10. AnneMarie says:

    Have a fabulous time – and Happy Holidays. I have two children – now 11 and 7 – and five years ago Sandy Hook shook me to the core. So for the past five years,our tradition has been for as a family to aim for doing 26 acts of kindness (for the 26 teachers and children killed) during the month of December. They don’t know the significance of the number, and I am going to keep that from them as long as I can.

    • Holly says:

      What a lovely thing you do with your family. This kind of thing inspires me and reminds me that all is not lost. Thank you.

    • DeDe says:

      Wow. This is *amazing.* Cheers to you and your family.

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      I’ve been crying a lot lately, over this in particular (one of my dear friends is a teacher in a neighboring town to Newtown, and her classroom aide lost her precious granddaughter, Olivia Engel.)

      It’s so good to know that there are people like you out there in the world, Anne Marie, literally “being the change.” Thank you!

    • Heather says:

      That is a beautiful project.

    • Elle says:

      Same for me – looks like we both had 1st graders in 2012. How you honor their lives is so wonderful – I’m going to borrow to do with my boys. Thank you!

  11. Sheila says:

    Enjoy your time away. Thank you for your wonderful blog. It has helped me get through this crazy year.

    May 2018 be better than last year. #resist

  12. Kate says:

    Hi Kim,

    I have never really commented on your blog but I do want you to know this….I look forward to your blog EVERYDAY. It is the FIRST one that I read and it brightens my day. I so appreciate your humor and insight and you are the best personal shopper ever (and this from a woman who, before you, didn’t know she needed a personal shopper!). Thank you and thank you to all of your thoughtful commenters…….Happy Holidays! I hope that your vacation is restful and full of adventure!

  13. Kate says:

    Have a wonderful holiday, Kim! I love reading GOACA, and all the comments.

  14. joannawnyc says:

    Our Christmas tends to be minimalist for a variety of reasons but I bake stollen, and this year, knekkebrød. Then we have a family get together with my mom and sister and family usually on Boxing Day but this year it will be the 27th.

    I just got a text that my college roommate is getting a double lung transplant today in LA, so fingers and everything crossed!

  15. Heather says:

    I don’t celebrate Christmas and Chanukah is over so now we just have vacation.

    Tomorrow (with my husband and 17-year old daughter), I head to Australia! My 22-year old son, who goes to university in Scotland, will be meeting us in Melbourne. We’ll visit Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and end in Perth.

    The trip was triggered by my son — born and bred in Manhattan — being named the CAPTAIN of the British National Under-24 Ultimate Frisbee Team! The world cup is being held in Perth and we’re going to spend a week watching my son lead his squad!

    SO EXCITING! Oh, and we’ll be in Sydney for New Year’s so, for us, 2017 will end 12 hours earlier than usual. WIN!

  16. Candy says:

    Jewish, so we celebrate Christmas Day the Jewish way — going out for Chinese food and then a movie.
    Have a wonderful trip Kim! I, too, read GOACA first thing in the morning with my coffee. Love all your ideas and all the other witty, kind, commenters. Best wishes to you all in the coming year!

  17. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    Have a wonderful vacation, Kim! San Miguel looks magical and you deserve it. Thank you for building this wonderful, meaningful, safe place for women of like mind to share our thoughts, fears and hopes. That’s YOU!

    I’m going to bed with a smile on my face, because my daughter, Rachel, 29, is home for the first time in a year and a half from her Peace Corps assignment in Colombia. I can’t stop hugging her and just thinking of how grateful I am to see her. And she’s HAPPY!

  18. Kathy says:

    My husband, daughter, and I joined my 3 sisters and their families at one sister’s house for food, gossip, and a $5 (!) gift exchange tonight. Also in attendance were my mother and my stepmother. They each brought their third (!) husbands. 20 years ago, they were enemies. My Dad has been dead for 16 years, and now these two ladies get along like gangbusters. Christmas Eve will be spent with my sisters (again!) and cousins on my Dad’s side. Christmas Day is just my little family of 3, and Christmas dinner and evening is spent with my husband’s large family. As horrendous as this year has been politically, I feel very fortunate to have my people around me!

    I left my longtime career in June 2016. Because of that, my world suddenly became very small. This blog is a bright spot in my day–it is unlike any other blog I’ve ever read. It’s a little bit of Lucky, made even better by the interactions between all of us. So, Kim–thank you!! I hope your vacation fills you with bliss.

  19. Katie says:

    Since we don’t live near any blood relations, we do things with our family of choice. We have a fondue party with some dear family friends on Xmas Eve and then home with our grade schooler to open one present. It’s always new Hanna Andersson pajamas for all of us. Xmas morning includes presents, a French toast casserole with fruit, bacon, coffee, etc.

    This year I’m posting an open invitation on FB for my local friends and their friends to join us at a local Chinese restaurant for an early Xmas dinner. After having an emotional breakdown every Xmas season for the past 10+ years, I decided to “do” Xmas my way and not the way we’ve always done it because that’s how we were raised. Why recreate all the pain and trauma? Let’s do something different and enjoyable.

    • Katie says:

      Oh yeah, we’re a “mixed” family. Jewish/Catholic on one side and Catholic on the other. So the Jewish/Catholic member wants Chinese food in Las Vegas with a ton of bling, gifts, and glamour. The Catholic member wants family, tradition, cold weather, and food. We’re a mess. HA!

  20. Gables girl says:

    When my mom died in 2001 my husband and I decided to spend every holiday away from home. So far this trip we have been in Budapest, Vienna and today in Munich and Monday off to Amsterdam. Europe does Christmas WAY better than the US.

  21. Sally says:

    Will you post the link to your rental in San Miguel when you return? (If you like the place, that is!) Would love to look into staying somewhere fabulous there and I’m 100% sure your choice is great. 🙂

    As for myself, I will be grinning and bearing the holidays with family that lives too close for comfort! Next year – Mexico LOL!

  22. Kay says:

    My ex-boyfriend of four+ years recently ended our relationship because he said he fell in love with a woman 20 years younger than he (he is about to turn 60) who he met while on a three-week writing bootcamp/escape from real life. He lives in NH, she lives in Asia! We had spent the last four holidays skiing together in Jackson Hole. He is going skiing with her over this holiday instead. The end was a shocker – he was loving and caring, and seemed happy in our relationship. I will be spending the holidays licking my wounds and skiing with family on the East Coast. I am focused on being grateful for my family and new and old friends, and holding my breath until 2018 . . .

    • Katie says:

      That’s brutal. I suspect that he may soon be writing about his heartache after ending a long term relationship with a wonderful woman to take up with a young fling he met while he was disconnected from the “real world”. The title will be “Classic Mid-Life Crisis is Boring and Trite; How I Became A Cliche”.

      I wish you health, love, happiness, joy, laughter, amazing sex, and even more amazing shoes in 2018.

  23. Jenn B. says:

    The Greenbrier in WV…always wanted to do the holidays there, and finally did! It’s so weird, old-fashioned and wacky. Had a great time. And you’ll love San Miguel! Don’t miss the bird and plant sanctuary on the top of the hill and I rather love this handpainted clothing atelier, though don’t really know how the clothes would work in real life!

  24. Lisa says:

    San Miguel is wonderful! Enjoy!