RHYS BOWEN: It's still close enough to New Year's Day to be thinking about resolutions, and one of the things I try to do each year is to learn a new skill. I believe one is never too old to learn. I also believe that pushing onesself to do something out of a comfort zone is great.
So my next decision is what am I going to learn this year? Last year it was Tai Chi (as a martial art, not a meditation)and watercolor classes. I have just bought a collapsible bike, so that I can fold it up and take it with me in the trunk of the car. Riding a bike isn't a new skill for me. I used to ride to school for several years, up a hill that always felt like Mount Everest. Every day I used to try to beat my record to see how far up the hill I could ride before I was forced to get off and walk (no fancy gears in those days!). But riding a bike again after many years will be a good challenge for me.
Not all the new skills I've tried out over the years have been equally successful. I tried fencing once. I thought I'd be a natural after years of ballet training and being a good tennis player. I was awful. I guess the thought of a sharp point coming in my direction made me want to retreat rather than attack. My daughter, on the other hand, took up karate to encourage her son to try it and is now a black belt and an instructor.
So, dear Reds--are there new skills you're planning to try out, or want to learn some time in your life?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: WHen my mother died, we inherited a lot of stuff, none of which has arrived yet. However--a piano is on the way! Yes. A piano. Do I play the piano? No. Does Jonathan? No. But you can't learn without a piano, and soon we'll have one. (I have to write a book, for gosh sake, so maybe I'll see if Jonathan wants to learn the new thing. Does that count?)
Riding a bike? Three little words. I FORGOT HOW. We'll discuss it another time.
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh a piano, Hank, that will be fun! I've taken some lessons over the years but never got too far past beginner...As for new skills, I'm having trouble coming up with new ones too.
I might try my hand at a children's book, if I ever catch up with the deadlines I already have. And I bought a new cookbook, the MY KEY WEST KITCHEN by Norman Van Aken, but after skimming through decided most recipes looked delicious but too involved to tackle. Maybe I'll take one of those on...And taking a boat through France sounds wonderful!
HALLIE EPHRON: I am in awe, Rhys - Fencing, watercolor, karate WOW.
I tried making bread after insisting for years that I don't do yeast. Actually, cinnamon buns for Christmas morning. A lot of work, and I definitely need more practice, but delicious.
I tried yoga and hated it -- does that count? I'll just stick with my weights and workout, thanks very much.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: Love to try new things and new destinations, but the older I get the harder it is to come up with things either I haven't tried or will NEVER try. (No skydiving, downhill skiing or parasailing for me thank you very much.)
I am anxiously awaiting the next big snowfall to try out my new snowshoes. I have a tennis lesson next week (I love to watch but don't play.) And I will be brushing up my Italian for an upcoming trip. Brand new stuff? Going to Mozambique in September..that should be interesting.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I feel like such a boring person next to the rest of you! The new trick I really want to learn this year is "how to write a novel in twelve months or less." I have started something new - I got Ross and The Boy snowshoes for Christmas, but The Youngest and I have been taking them out ourselves. Snowshoeing through our fields makes a nice mother-daughter date. We'll just have to cross our fingers the snow doesn't all melt in this mid-January thaw we're having!
I'm also learning a lot more about mid-century jazz. The Boy has gotten into jazz percussion in a big way way, and as a result we're all listening to a lot of Monk, Coltrane, Corea, etc.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm with Julia. (And yes we are Boring!!!!) The new skill I want to learn is time management, which includes finishing a book a year (while Rhys finishes two) and just generally being more organized and enjoying my life more. Rhys, give us lessons!!!!
I bought a bike for the first time since I was child two years ago, discovered it terrified me, and have hardly ridden. So hoping to improve that. Also, bought fabric to make a quilt and had a friend help me with the design. I've sewn one little block. So really, I'd just like to make a little progress on those.
Oh, and Rhys, I so envy you the canal trip. I've wanted to do that in the UK ever since I wrote Water Like a Stone, but hubby is not interested and it's not an adventure I'd take on on my own...
HALLIE: Debs, laughing at the one-square quilt. I learned to crochet and started a bedspread; ended up with a handbag. I took up quilting after that and ended up with a baby quilt. Eyes bigger than stomach, as my mother would have said.
RHYS: I remember learning to crochet when I was pregnant, and the baby blanket that started out three feet wide ended up about 12 inches. The only trapeziod baby blanket in the world. And I don't know if I am organized, really. I just find ti hard to slow down--I keep meaning to but I'm like an energizer bunny. I have to keep on going. And I can't sit still and do nothing. Watch TV and I have to knit, paint, do crossword at the same time. My mom was the same. But I have to admit I'm a little scared about taking up the bike again--was it always such a long way down?
And I'm dying to go to Hank's first piano recital, to watch Ro and Julia in a snowshoe race and to see Deb's quilt for Barbies.
So, dear friends, what new things are you going to learn this year?