Privilege Blog

Novelty In What We Know Already, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:58am

On a scale of love for novelty, 1-5, I’d put myself at a 4, even though I’ve lived in the same house for 35 years. This long stay has been one of circumstance, but in 1982 nobody went to India by themselves for more of the same, and the trip was a choice.

However, when we’re young, novelty requires the actual new. Good thing about our 60s is we can do things we’ve done before and they can feel new.

Sometimes because 15 years have passed.


I spent last week with my daughter skiing in Park City, Utah. To be precise, she skied and I slid down hills telling myself, “Go me! I can do this! I’m having so much fun!” Mostly I meant it. I took my cue from this little snowboarder. A recent article on CNN Traveler suggesting singing.

I was never very good at the sport, even young and oblivious to frailty, but I always loved it and in recent years had begun to wonder if I’d taken my last run 15 years ago, oblivious to my future. I wanted to at least say goodbye to the smell of snow.

My daughter and I had the most amazing time. It was both new, and with any luck, repeatable.

Sometimes the old becomes new again because what we did has insisted on degrading. That might sound sad, but on the other hand, where we repair we find novelty. See where I’m going?

New website! Hurrah! Enough of the old design to feel right, new underpinnings to keep us from technology avalanches.

Same old blog posts to be sure. The only content you might not have have seen before is the amalgamation of my writings that have been published elsewhere around the Internet, and a very brief description of the two novels I’ve drafted. Click on Other Writings in the navigation bar if you’re curious. But comments will work now; the mobile interface will work now; categories will gradually become more sensible. I plan to rededicate myself to posting well. This will mean I may not write the Saturday posts all in one morning anymore. Editing photos takes time!

I might be reaching, imputing the concept of novelty to such not-the-same experiences. But isn’t that the point, also? Reaching for these connections? Situational novelty might deliver us risky situations, but we are less apt to feel foolish in those, if we are me, than when attempting new ideas. Going for the novel (the pun given my attempts at fiction is annoying but inevitable) while sitting on the same sofa , or picking up a sport of youth and trying again, offers more opportunity for embarrassment than using the wrong word for butter in Paris. If we are me. We all know that High WASPs dread being seen to try and and seen to fail more than almost anything.

Take that, cultural shibboleth! I cannot thank you all enough for giving me this venue to deconstruct and redecorate my relationship to WASP mores and aesthetic. I owe you.

Sometimes novelty is plain ol’ rain. Here’s a new look at my fringe bush. Usually quite somber in this season but we’ve had so much precipitation this winter it’s as pink as though I bought it at Target in the girls’ toy section.

Sometimes a pansy escapes a patio pot to find a new place in a bed dedicated to wild plants. You go, girl.

One more possibility for newness. Sometimes we can have forgotten something ever happened. Like my mother, in her Alzheimer’s, who was at first sad to find out I was her daughter, then happy to know that since I wasn’t a baby she didn’t have to change my diapers. Man, it’s the perspective, isn’t it.

As Nina Simone said, “It’s a new dawn, a new day…and I’m feeling good.” Badomp, badomp, the horns concur.

Have a wonderful weekend. And Frances, I hope you got some sleep.


31 Responses

    1. Bandbox fresh! Now that’s a culture of origin comment if I ever heard one. Thank you!

  1. Dare I try skiing again? Yikes, knowing me I’d break my neck as I race down a Black Diamond.
    Love your new blog face. Love that I remember so many of those writings. I’d love to read you books. I’m quite intrigued. My garden is also greening up. No pansies yet but I’ll wait.
    Happy Saturday?

    Sandy oops Sandra

    1. I love that you remember my writings too! Happy Saturday. And I never even got off the green runs this time LOL;). But with any luck, next time.

  2. The new blog design is beautiful. Good on you for going skiing. I’d be willing to try cross-country again if my thighs agree. xo.

  3. Nina Simone, a new website, beautiful garden photos, and skiing for fun and not appearances (which is all I could manage, as well!) — I love it all! Missed your post last week and hoped you were doing something fun. I’m glad you and your daughter had such a wonderful time.

    There are actually two baby fringe bushes in my yard; while only tiny and brave, they’re just as pink as yours.

    I’m excited to look around the new website and read your other writings. Have a beautiful weekend!! xoxo

    1. Thank you! I send your brave fringe bushes all my best wishes. Long may they pink!

  4. Brava re the gorgeous website and the garden and the always wonderful words . . . but maybe especially for the skiing! (and such a bonus, to be doing that with your daughter! ;-)
    Your anecdote about your mother is bittersweet. I remember Paul telling his mom about our new g’daughter eight years ago — news Mom heard completely anew several times during that phone call, every time she asked how R was doing . . . The novel . . . (My own mom a few years earlier, when I introduced myself at the beginning of a phone call, checked to make sure she knew who was calling: “Of course I know who you are. I was there when you were born, you know!”)
    Thank you for the slumber wishes. I’m sure your magic wand will do the trick. xoxo

    1. Thank you. It was such a bonus to do it with my daughter. I never would have gone without her support. I love the stories about your mom, as you know, and I am glad that Paul’s mom got to understand she had a great-grandchild, even if only intermittently.

  5. Your new website is so beautiful ~ a real treat to be on it and browse around. I too went skiing with my daughter and grandkids last week, but Mammoth got 8 feet of snow those few days, so the conditions were such that I didn’t ski, but watched the baby while everyone else did. So wonderful to go with your daughter to what looked like great conditions.
    I like some novelty, but I’m less adventurous for sure and find happiness and comfort in the familiar.

    1. Oh thank you! It was snowing while we were there, at least the first two days. And that second day, it was wild! So cold! So little visibility! But it cleared up enough that we had one beautiful day. I hope you get another chance, if you want one, and I imagine the baby-watching was its own kind of glorious.

  6. There’s just nothing like skiing! Skis are wings for mortals. The delight, the whooshes, and surprises on the trails…not to be missed. Delight is hard to find these days. I am 68, and am newly committed to skiing this winter in New England. The new style skis make it all easier now, too. There’s great skiing not too far from you…give it a whirl and a swirl, and your heart will soar.

    1. I am so happy to have a skiing companion, albeit on the other side of the country. It is the closest we can get to flying. And delight is absolutely how I feel, escalating to gleeful from time to time. I am looking into the closest ski places, and thinking about how to get up there for a day trip!

  7. So happy your visit with your daughter went well. The idea of novelty is not really on my agenda anymore. I do live vicariously through your experience and am glad you’re coming around the mountain with wonder and joy.


  8. It’s beautiful! Congratulations. I’m so excited I can comment now. Well done. I took a 2 hour website development class at work and honestly – it is getting easier to create better content. I am going to go check out the writing area next. And go you – skiing! After my 3rd friends knee surgery I’m kind of….eh. I miss cross country though.

    1. I’m so excited you can comment too! Thank you:). I worked on my knees in physical therapy before going, and I don’t regret a single wall squat.

  9. Love the new design, clean, fresh just beautiful like yourself. Also seriously easy to read with a decent size font☺️❤️

  10. Well here goes nothing…will my comment be printed?
    Skiing downhill sounds rather daunting but I have never done anything more than snowshoeing and cross country. How fortunate that both you and your daughter spent time on the mountain. You must have had a wonderful time.
    The plants look so lush after all that rain…living a long time in a home offers a chance to plant and create a garden, watching it mature and grow is so rewarding.

    1. Your comment works! Hooray, hooray! I think downhill skiing isn’t for everyone, but we did have a good time:) And you’re so right. Living a long time in one house does mean I’ve watched the garden grow, and die, and shift and regrow over these decades.

    1. Cara, I have always loved your aesthetic, as you know, this is really really really nice to hear. Thank you.

  11. Your new format is very elegant, and makes a perfect setting for your always-beautiful pictures and thoughtful writing. But I note that you have removed the word “Amid” from the title of your blog – would you care to share your reasoning for this?
    A week’s skiing – what a great getaway for you with your daughter! I haven’t managed a trip alone with my own daughter in twenty years – but I hope that come September, with her two children in boarding school and college, we’ll have that chance. Although I expect a trip alone with her husband might come first…

  12. PS: I just re-read my entry after submitting, and let me hasten to say that it is my daughter who will be
    “tripping alone” with her husband, and not me!

    1. Thank you! First, I hope your daughter does take that trip alone with her husband (I did understand;)) and then with you, somewhere really salubrious.

      Second, the name change. The blog started out as A Midlife Of Privilege, has been named just Privilege for a long time. The URL remained amid, because the URL was taken by the time I streamlined the blog name. Now, given that this is my writer website, with the blog nested inside, I wanted to put my name as the overarching URL.

      When I started this blog, the term, “privilege” was infinitely less freighted than it is now. Although my politics may have shifted with the term, embracing its current use by the left, my writing really doesn’t focus on deconstructing the concept as it is used now. Does that make sense? So, the blog is Privilege, in all its meanings, and the website is Lisa Carnochan, in, well, I suppose all its meanings;)

  13. Your writing is elegant; the font is so pale (for these aging eyes) that it is a strain to read. I wonder if there is a font that is darker, maybe larger (but that can be fixed with computer adjustment) but still looks elegant?

    1. Carol, hello! I’ll never forget your guest post. So good.

      I am so sorry you can’t see the words well. I can look into darkening the gray a little bit. Thanks for the feedback.

  14. I love the idea of novelty and of embracing it, even if we know we won’t be really good at it. That’s one of the joys of getting older – the realization that we (or at least I) no longer care what people think and I am doing things just because they are fun for me.

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