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Dec 29, 201710:29 AM
Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

No New Leaves

Taking stock of my life as the year changes and deciding to change … nothing, really.


“What’re your new year’s resolutions?” I asked Ruby as we chatted over FaceTime (she is visiting her dad in St. Louis this week).

“I don’t make them anymore,” she said. “I always say it’s going to be to stop biting my nails, but I realized last year that I’d made the same resolution for five years so obviously it wasn’t working. So I stopped. Making them, I mean. Not biting my nails. I still do that. I probably always will.”

“Makes sense,” I said.

But still, I asked Georgia, just out of curiosity. “Hey, Georgie-Boo, what’re your new year’s resolutions?”

“What’s that?” she asked.

“You know – something you’re going to do differently in the new year …”

“Oh,” she said. “Uh. I want to … eat more Nutella.”

She went back to watching disembodied hands play with toys on YouTube.

Basically, I am where Ruby is. I don’t have any drastic plans for self-improvement. The things I’d like to change about myself – be less anxious, be more organized, have some damn self-control around a bag of potato chips – are things I’ve more or less accepted are too innate for me to ever effectively change. I’ve learned my own workarounds – the occasional Xanax, hundreds of Post-It notes, and not keeping potato chips in the house – but at 37, I’m not going to change who I am at my core, which is a messy neurotic salt addict.

Ruby is wise to realize her limitations at 11, although of course she might yet stop biting her nails, and I always encourage her to push her own boundaries. But she’s 11, not 37, and thus slightly more malleable. Still, we are who we are. Mostly, I think, we’re born who we are.

I’m lucky enough to be pretty darn content with who I am and how I live. I am content with the frequency with which I go to the gym: anywhere from three times a week to never. I am content with the amount I eat and drink. I’m content with my hobbies, which are basically shuttling my kids to their hobbies and reading terrible fiction in the bathtub. I’m content with my job. I’m content with my house. I’m way more than content with my friends and family.

My life isn’t exciting – my to-do list for the upcoming week includes ordering new contacts, calling someone to come fix the dishwasher, and figuring out the source of the unpleasant smell in my car (although, typing this, I have just puzzled out that I bet it’s water that leaked from Georgia’s straw cup – the purple cup is missing, and water, left soaking into a floor mat, can smell almost as bad as milk, a fact almost everyone in New Orleans has learned after a heavy rain).

But I don’t want excitement. I never really have, not even when I was much younger, and certainly not now. What I want – basic contentment – is what I have. My life is satisfying and full of small, simple joys. (And frustrations, too, of course.)

My goals for next week are simple goals, easily achievable and solvable (with a little Febreeze). They don’t rise to the level of resolutions, but I am going to take a cue from my kids and not make resolutions this year at all.

Except maybe to eat more Nutella.



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Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans


        Eve is further proof, if any is needed, that New Orleans girls can never escape the city. After living here since the age of 3 and graduating from Ben Franklin High School, Eve moved to Columbia, Mo., where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Missouri School of Journalism and became truly, unhealthily obsessed with grammar.She had originally intended to strike out to New York City and work in the cutthroat magazine industry there, but after Katrina, Eve felt a strong pull to return home, to her roots, her family, her waterlogged and struggling city – and a much more forgiving work atmosphere that would allow her to skip a routine of everyday makeup and size 0 designer label business suits and enjoy the occasional cocktail or three with an absurdly fattening lunch. She moved back home in January 2008 and lives in Mid-City with her two daughters, Ruby and Georgia; her stepson, Elliot; and her husband, Robert Peyton.Eve blogs about the joys and struggles of living in post-Katrina New Orleans, the unique problems and delights of raising a child in such a diverse and challenging city – including her experiences with the public education system – and her always entertaining and extremely colorful family.Eve has won numerous writing awards, including the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal, the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for column-writing and Press Club of New Orleans awards for her Editor’s Note in New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and for this blog, most recently winning the award for "Best Feature Affiliated Blog."She welcomes comments, advice, empty flattery, recipes, drink invitations and – most especially – grammatical or linguistic debates.




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