02 January, 2008

to live by proportion

Started the Shashin Project: one photo every day for one year. I hope I can keep it up! Link to the right or here.

Reflections from the party:

So wonderful to see everyone! Catherine, Jonathan, and Matt came up around 10 and spent the day with all of us and it was terrific to have them here. We had a great lunch and then a fun excursion in Charlotte, where we got lost before coming back just in time to meet Alex and Lydia. It was great to have them here for a while before everyone else arrived. The melding of old friends and Carolina ones was fun and interesting to observe. Though I certainly can’t speak for everyone, I think it all went off successfully.

I was reminded, though, of why I only throw these sorts of events once a year. I feel personally responsible for everyone’s happiness. If people look bored, I feel like it is my fault. If someone is left alone in a corner, it’s my responsibility to talk to them or find someone who will talk to them. If no one likes the game, it’s my job to either make it fun or come up with something else to do. A whole night of this kind of thing and you’re mentally and physically exhausted. I have to say I was happy when it ended and it was just my sisters and Alex and Lydia on the couch, sighing.

As some have told me, I am not a very good hostess. I get frazzled too easily and I grumble about people. I love hosting gatherings like this but I’m sure I have a lot to learn about doing it gracefully. I was trying to organize a chaotic round of the Hat Game while some other people were dissatisfied and urging people to play outside instead. My nerves were reaching a refined pitch of strain, I admit it. Matt was sitting beside me and, like his usual perceptive self, could tell that I was irritated. He patted my knee and said, “Hey, it’s okay. I’ll help you; don’t be stressed out.” He got everyone’s attention and they listened to him and I was so grateful. It is so heartening when someone observes you are distressed, but more than just mentioning it, actually does something to help.

Photos from the party:
New Year’s Day Soiree

To close, this great quotation from Margaret Schlegel in Howards End:

“Life’s very difficult and full of surprises. At all events, I’ve got as far as that. To be humble and kind, to go straight ahead, to love people rather than pity them, to remember the submerged—well, one can’t do all these things at once, worse luck, because they’re so contradictory. It’s then that proportion comes in—to live by proportion. Don’t begin with proportion. Only prigs do that. Let proportion come in as a last resource, when the better things have failed.”


fiercest said...

hooray--i'm excited about your shashin project.

hope your break has been grand, abby. see you in a few weeks....

Ivy said...

I loved Juno. I thought it was a very sweet, funny movie. You should definitely see it.

Happy New Year to you too. =)

elisabeth said...

yeah, i'm going with a band or at least just not a diamond myself. (someday, someday.)

you have no idea what a letdown it is to work is without you all!