Because, in the words of my little neighbor, “It just keeps raining and raining and raining,” I can think of no better way to wish all of you a joyful, healthy, and prosperous 2019 than with these cheery sunflowers, even if I’m repeating them. In any language, they will make you smile.
I have a feeling that if we were being truly honest, we’d all choke on the word “resolution.” Easy to make and hard to keep. Nonetheless, New Year’s Day is always a good time to reflect and reconsider. I’ve found that I get off to a better start if I keep things simple and attainable. So here goes:
Stay fit. I’ve begun the New Year with the usual resolve to get back on the exercise track I left behind Christmas week. That means at least 8,000 steps per day and Pilates at least three times a week. Last summer, I invested in an AeroPilates reformer that truly has been worth the expense. Whenever I feel myself stiffen or reach one of those low energy points, I can go downstairs and stretch out. I would recommend a home reformer only if you have taken Pilates classes or had some good personal coaching, as I find it extremely difficult to watch a coaching video and maintain correct form.
Read more. I upped my Goodreads reading challenge from 30 to 35 books. That’s not much given that some of the book bloggers and avid readers out there in the either log more than 100 books a year. I’m not in this for the race, however; more power to these folks, but I would rather read fewer books at a deliberate pace that allows me to enjoy every word. While I know that many enjoy audible books, I much prefer the printed page. Hearing a story may be lots of fun if it’s well read—and these days some fine actors are recording books—it is just not the same for me. When I am digesting a book, that’s all I want to do. I feel the same way about good music—it’s never “background” for me, and that’s why I have never been able listen to music and work simultaneously.
I started my reading challenge off this morning with Adriana Trigiani’s Tony’s Wife, which, appropriately enough, begins at Christmas time. I fully expect a wonderful read. The last book of 2018, by the way, was Annie Barrows’ The Truth According to Us, a family saga set in 1938 West Virginia. The characters are beautifully developed and the setting so well crafted that I could “see” every single scene.
Eat less. Last Christmas, I was trimmer than I’d been in ages, no real thanks to will power since it was the result of surgery and recuperation. I’ve regained a bit more weight than I’d have liked, so I’ve resolved to make soup on a weekly basis and cut out sweets once this week is over. Because I like to bake, one good habit I’ve acquired is making a batch of whatever—muffins, cookies, biscuits, cupcakes—sampling a few right out of the oven, giving some to the neighbors, then throwing most of the rest into the freezer for a future special treat.
Be a more creative cook. I’ve been pushing myself to try new things in the last few months, and I hope to continue. It’s way too easy to slack off if you rely on your tried-and-true formulary.
Have fun. Winter is long and cold and dreary. We all need ways to get through it. I’m better at indoors than outdoors December through March, and I love to curl up in front of the TV at night. There’s a bunch of stupid stuff on “regular” television, which I almost never watch, except for Hallmark Christmas movies, of course. Thanks to streaming, however, we now have access to really good, intelligent, entertaining fare from all over the world. Beyond Netflix and Amazon Prime, why not broaden your horizons in 2019 with Acorn, BritBox, or MHZ Choice, all of which have free 30-day trial periods?
Learn new stuff. The older we get, the more important it is to stretch the brain as well as the body.
Get braver about using a pastry tube. For the first time ever, I tried decorating a “prefab” gingerbread house that my cousin Liz made me buy the first weekend in December. I was terrified that I’d fail miserably with the piping and stared at the box for three weeks before opening it early on Christmas Eve morning. But guess what? It turned out to be pretty cute and made a great centerpiece. I’m up for more. If all those Hallmark heroines can decorate cakes and cookies, why can’t I? Stay tuned.
Make time to be a better [wife, mother, cousin, friend, whatever applies]. A no-brainer. If I spend more time doing nice things for and with others, I don’t worry so much about yourself.
New Year blessings to all, and thank you for your readership these last two years.