Went to bed in 2013 and woke up in 2014. Not even the youngsters frolicking in the street outside my house last night could disturb my slumber. Rose this morning clear-headed and well-rested. Later today we'll be hosting my mother-in-law for lunch. On the menu is a huge leg of lamb, mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables (turnips, parsnips, potatoes and carrots). Good wine for the drinkers and Champomy for the non-drinkers (the younger Frenchling and myself).
I thought carefully about my New Year resolutions. From experience, I know that it's unrealistic to aim too high or to have too many. Best to keep it modest and achievable. As I was expanding my vegetable bed last week, the perfect resolution came to me: Less grass. I resolve to remove about 1/3 of the grass in the back garden and replace it with ground-cover, vegetable and flower beds and a soaker system. More pretty, less water. (And after having seen the water bill for last summer, my spouse enthusiastically agreed.)
2013 was quite the year for writing: 219 posts here and several articles published elsewhere with the best writing partner ever, Lynne Swanson of The Maple Sandbox. Just for fun I put together a list of the posts that I enjoyed writing last year and that you seemed to enjoy reading. Here they are and may 2014 bring each and every one of you your heart's desire.
The Sovereign Citizen (January): A review of Patrick Weil's superb book about the making and un-making of American citizens.
Other Ways of Looking at Integration (February): A few thoughts from someone (me) who has lived through the process of integrating into a host country culture. Why it is not nearly as straightforward as the natives might think.
Global Labor Mobility and Taxation (March): "Globalization has forgotten the worker. Scholarship on the tax consequences of globalization emphasizes the movement of capital and corporations, neglecting labor."
Subservient Citizens and Anarchist Calisthenics (April) Some ideas from one of my favorite political science professors, James C. Scott.
A Day at the European Parliament in Brussels and Public Hearing on FATCA at the European Parliament (May): A post about our trip to Brussels, our lobbying efforts, and what went on at this public hearing.
Lapsed Agnostics and Exile from the 'Land of the Free' (June): The first is about my journey toward sobriety and faith. The second is about homeland efforts to permanently exile American emigrants.
On Being an American (July) "Love where you're from; but bloom where you're planted."
Tales from the Homeland: Seattle Tattoos (August) Got inked again while I was on vacation in Seattle. Extraordinary work from a very talented Seattle tattoo artist.
Portraits of American Women Abroad (September): An extraordinary book about some pretty extraordinary women.
Transplanted Women and the Transmission of Culture (October): Gabrielle Varro's research into American/French families in France and how language, religion and culture are (or are not) passed along to the next generation.
A Liberal Critique of the US, UK and French School Systems (November): My take on The Demands of Liberal Education (a very good read).
Cosmopolitans, Global Citizens and Internationals (December): Speculation about why some developed country migrants prefer these terms to "immigrant/emigrant".