Monday, January 31, 2011

Whatever: Checking up on the check list

Don't you love lists? I really do! It is so satisfying to check things off of them and it really makes me feel organized to have them.
I even have a book that is about making random lists such as :
  • Albums to be played on a Sunday afternoon 
  • Knightly duties
  • Incompatible household pets
This is fabulous book entitled  Curious Lists  is the equivalent of a scented candle for me. Stimulating AND relaxing.

So, as I make my Monday lists (Things to do , Menu, and  Errands) and since tomorrow is a new month, I thought I should check my BIG LIST to see how I am doing.

BIG LIST  2011
#1 Eat less sugar (well, I had a doughnut on Saturday night)
#2 Cook a new ethnicity once a week (Last week, Thai AND Indian, this week Mexican)
#3 Paint the doors and trim in my house (Bought paint and step closer)
#4 Read 100 books (Have read 7, Summer will be when I make up for lost time)
#5 Find inner peace (Will I know it when I have it?)
#6 Learn 60 Bible verses (Three down, 57 to go...this could be painful)
#7 Get a new hairstyle  (check!)
#8 Reduce my carbon foot print  (currently buying nothing brand new...have lasted one week and realized that ALL of the good sales are in January...a little sad! Looking for other ways as well. Trash this week was only 2 bags for a family of 4 wonder if that is good or not?)
#9 Reduce my spending (See above- plus starting Dave Ramsey's envelope system)
#10 love more (I  must have been in a bad mood when I put this on here, but I will say, I have made a conscious decision not to be a basher. It is a bad habit that I am trying to break)
#11 Train for a half marathon (CHECK- I am actually a little bit ahead as I know the weather will be bad again in a week or two)
#12 learn to swim (have been practicing holding my breath in the shower...does that count?)
# 13 Embrace my inner craftiness ( hard to do since I don't have the supplies to create what I want and I can't buy anything new...but I did hang my Mardi Gras wreath which I made last year from crap items lying around my house. )

So...I guess I am doing pretty well.  They say you have to do something 30-40 times to make it a habit.  Life is a journey that needs lots of lists.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Things that are easy and things that are not

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to do something that is meaningless?

And how hard it is to do something that actually benefits you or someone else.

I am the queen of best intentions. Actually, I am the queen of  endless laundry. But that is my official title. My unofficial title is QBE.

I make plans every summer with my girlfriends to ride bikes and do lunch and go bowling. Do I do this? mostly no. My intentions are not based in reality. The reality  is that swim team is every morning and I am not done until 10 am when it is 1,000 degrees outside. And my  husband rides in the evening after he has worked himself into a stress ball all day running his own practice. And my kids hate bowling and the vodka tonics are really expensive at the bowling alley. (That actually has never stopped me.) Lunch is great with girlfriends, but all these darn kids we chose to bring into the world sorta wreck our mojo. THEY want food, and money for candy, and to go...right now. (Unless we want to go, then they want to stay. FOREVER.)

These are fun things that I end up blowing off. Can you imagine the hard things like exercise, taking vitamins,weeding my garden or walking the dog? Well, one of my to do list items has fallen into this trap. Learning 60 Bible verses. I have learned And, I sorta knew it already (John 3:16). So, you can see how much progress I have made. However, the reality is I need this. I need to feed my soul, to build my foundation, to give my mind good seeds. (Can you tell I have sat through many, many sermons in my day?).

Now, I used to be a better Bible scholar. I knew the names of the Bible in order AND essentially what each one was about. I competed in not one but TWO Bible Bowls at summer youth meetings ( and placed in one, thank you very much). But for the past 10 years, I have had a very casual relationship with my Bible. We are dating, but not exclusively.

Of course, I think "Oh, my verses" when I am doing leg presses at the gym. Or when I am standing outside waiting for the dog to go potty. Not when I am sitting in front of the t.v. watching Modern Family (best show on television, by the way) or when I am making my daily to do list. This is a hard thing. A focus and shut the rest of the world out thing. A selfless instead of selfish thing.

So, I am putting it out into the universe. As a reminder that I need to do it. That I need to exercise my spirit as well as by body.So, off to learn them. Ask me if  you see me what I have learned. I am starting with "In the beginning..."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Foodies unite

Don't you just love to eat really good food? I do! I love eating. Whether trying something new or eating an old favorite, eating is something I love. Food is comfort. I am stress eater, a happy eater, a sad eater, a celebration eater...Let's face it, I love to eat.

Now, I am a "picky" eater of sorts. I don't eat poultry or red meat. I don't like fresh water fish. I don't like peas. I have texture issues ( I don't like mousse, even chocolate, which is weird because I love chocolate). I can't stand carrot cake, but have an unnatural love for baked goods. So, I am picky. But I will try just about anything that does not involve meat, peas, fluffy foods, or carrot cake.

So, I read cookbooks, cooking blogs, cooking magazines and menus as a hobby. I love to eat out, especially at new hipster restaurants that are trying to be the "NEXT BIG THING".  My husband and I went to a new pub in town and I really wanted to try the fried deviled eggs. But the smoke was so bad, I could not think about eating. Bummer!

At home, we try to eat super healthy. My husband has type 1 diabetes and insulin really messes with your metabolism. This fact and also that I firmly believe you are what you eat, has made it my mission  as a  homemaker to put super healthy foods into all of my family members mouths. I try to eat as organically as possible, keep the hormones to a minimum ( I mean seriously, I have two preteen daughters, like we need more hormones!) and the fats and sugar natural.

  Now, when we go out, all bets are off. We eat like junkies who have just finished their 28 days!  We love Mexican food, hot dogs (Good Dog is one of our favorite restaurants) and Moon Pie banana pudding. My oldest somehow has a love for wings ( I find this really, really disturbing) and the youngest has never met a "steak" quesadilla she could turn down.

So, today, instead of a menu ( of course I have one and we are eating two new ethnicitys this week) I am posting a partial list of some of MY favorite foods and guilty pleasures. What are  yours?

BookGirl LOVES:
  • Goat cheese ( I would eat it anything. Seriously. A blade of grass.)
  • Tomato Pie
  • Hummus
  • Veggie hot dogs with chili, slaw, mustard, cheese and onions from Good Dog
  • Cookies
  • Really good Neapolitan pizza ( I have never been to Naples, but I have been to Little Italy and the pizza is freaking good!)
  • Sushi
  • Italian food that is NOT pasta
  • Mussels
  • Cheese Its
  • Green Curry Shrimp
  • Enchiladas 
  • Cucumbers (I eat them like chips in the summer)
  • Ice Cream ( it is a food group)
  • These weird "crab" cakes from the restaurant I worked at in St. Louis. (pretty sure crab was spelled with a K)
  • Kashi bars
  • Soup (" We have a lot in common. We both like soup, we like to talk. We could talk or not talk for hours.")
  • Guacamole
  • Anything someone else makes

Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Impact

One of my "To Do's for 2011"  ( I wished that rhymed) is to reduce my carbon foot print. Now, those of you who know me have seen my ride. My wonderful, comfortable, sweet 2005 Suburban does not a small footprint make. Nor does the almost 150,000 miles that I have put on my sweetie. Also, I live in a house that is old, really old with old windows that have bubble glass.

Now, I do a lot of things already to create less waste. I recycle vigilantly, buy local first and try to purchase the least amount of packaging possible. I bring my own bags, buy used books and trade them in over and over. I check books out of the library and have started a compost pile for my yard.  I am part owner of a consignment business and so I have a service for others to reduce, reuse and recycle AND a way to buy really nice pre-loved clothing for my own children. I myself am a huge fan of vintage, especially furniture and clothing. I try to make the new purchases smart ones.

My kids help out, too. They are big fans of " If it's yellow, let it mellow" and wearing hand-me-down's like it is their job. (It is actually). After a brief lesson on the pollution caused by consumerism, my oldest has carried only two backpacks to school since she was 3. The new one bought only because the old one was too small for the middle school work load. The fit that came with the enforcement of the new backpack, epic. She loves the earth, dammit!

But I don't feel that this is enough. I went to hear Colin Beavan speak recently and he inspired me to do more. He said " One person CAN make a difference". I really think that is so true.
  • One person started recycling as a cause in the 1970's and  now  millions of dollars are saved every year by using materials that already exist to make new items, which is much more cost efficient than using raw materials. 30% of Americans recycle at least  aluminum cans. 48% of Californians recycle.
  • How about the Green movement?  Many buildings are being created to use energy efficient materials and to use less energy. Chattanooga has one of the few movie theaters that is LEED certified. Less energy costs, means less money to run it, means  more profit. It makes so much sense.
How can I make a difference? 

I would love to say that I am giving up my car, but I am not. I would love to say that we can afford to replace all of our 26 windows. Right now, we cannot. However, for the third year in a row, I am buying nothing new for a designated period of time. The last few years it has been the month of February. This year, I convinced my shopaholic husband to join me. So, starting Monday, January 24th we will not buy anything new for eight weeks. This means, other than groceries, gas and normal household items like shampoo, soap and toilet paper, we will not be buying anything brand new.

It is actually weirdly rewarding to do this. I mean, I can find all kinds of new outfits in my closet and tools that we thought we lost. I just make a list of things I need for that time period (gifts, outfits, etc.) and get them before hand. Thriftiness and organization? Excellent side affects! Also, I realized last year that I sometimes shop to avoid other things like exercising or chores.  Self reflection is easy when you are not at the mall.

So, here's to reducing, reusing and recycling. If you see me and I am wearing the same shirt AGAIN, you know why.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Exercise... run like a girl

So, I have not been able  to run much lately as we have had ice and snow on the roads and I HATE treadmills. They are like Chinese water torture to me. So, I have been plodding along on the cross trainer at the gym or our spin bike at home. But, today... I got to run!

My oldest had a swim meet and I sat perfectly still for three hours watching and waiting for what ended up being a combined  time of 2 1/2 minutes of her racing. Good for her, bad for my bee-hind.

I officially start training for a half marathon on February 12th. My sisters and I are committed to walking the half marathon in Nashville in April, but I am training for it as a runner. Both sisters have knee issues and in the off chance that they cannot do it, I am gonna be ready to run.

Running is  a love/hate relationship for me. I know people who cannot stand to NOT run. I am not one of those people. I will do just about anything to get out of running. Need me to cut the dogs nails? Check some homework? Clean the grout? Yep, yep and I am  your girl! But I actually like how I feel when I do it. I like that my back doesn't hurt and my stomach is flatter. I like that I am almost always happier after even a short run. I like that my jeans fit and I can have a glass of wine without worrying about the caloric intake.  I have placed in my age group in  a few races, but I will NEVER be confused with fast. I am  a distance girl. I can go slow for a really long time!

I have had some run ins with various dogs ( they usually follow me home and become my pet-i.e. the one in the photo above) and a few nasty motorists that decided I needed a bath from a foul puddle. But mostly, I see people that I know, and we smile and wave.  Life is good and I try to hold onto that for the next time I think the dogs nails are too long.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Whatever: Being creative

I watch my  kid's lives and they are always creating. Writing songs, drawing, cooking, tying pieces of cloth on their dolls to create outfits, the list goes on. I remember being so creative like that, but at some point, grown up life got in the way and now trying to stay on top of things has taken precedence over creating things.

I have some pretty creative friends that inspire me to be more so myself. My sister makes homemade hot chocolate kits and note cards for Christmas gifts ( I stole the note card idea one year and made some for her).  My best girlfriend makes her own curtains, knits and creates things out of thin air. My b.i.l. is a master craftsman and builds things like forts, bird houses and cradles for his children. One of my most prized possessions is a set of Adirondack chairs that he built for me. Oh, and the puppet theater he built for my kids. Another friend writes music and sings. The list goes on and on. I meet people all the time that are so crafty and I aspire to that as well. But mostly, I get really distracted (short attention span) and ideas get lost. I am adding to my New Year's to do list. Follow through on creativity.
Ideas I want to follow through on this year:
  • mosaic tile my front walk
  • make book page wreaths (have the books already picked out for destruction)
  • learn to crochet and make an afghan ( I really want to make one for each of my kids)
  • make a t-shirt quilt out of all my race tees
  • write a cookbook for my family (family, pretend you didn't see this!)
The list is short, but all are time consuming.

I have struggled since about 6th grade to figure out what my "God given talents" are. That parable in the Bible  really, really bothers me. I think because I feel so much pressure to find it, I am so scattered in my pursuits. Everyone else seems to be able to find theirs. Why can't I? I try everything that comes my way that I find interesting. But I rarely finish anything, wondering if the next thing will be where my talent lies.

With a little reflection and some maturing, I have come to think that it means, whatever you do, do well (and maybe finish it). I also think God gives us these imaginations and skills in order to allow us to find peace. Some draw, some create beautiful works of  poetry, some make curtains.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Exercise and addiction (or the gift that keeps on giving)

I am married to an addict. No, he is not addicted to drugs or alcohol. He is addicted to exercise. And...he likes to share. Just ask all his buddies who he drags along on various adventures. Cycling, running, roller and ice hockey, rowing, judo, sailing, flag football, soft ball, lifting weights, hiking,  cross fit,snow skiing, water skiing, wake boarding,  skating... You name it, we have the gear or he has medal, scar, or t-shirt.

For the first three birthdays, Christmas and anniversaries that we celebrated while we were dating, every gift involved exercising. Roller blades, cross trainers, a gym membership, aerobics classes, a bicycle...I started to get a complex. Then I realized, he was sharing his heart and I embraced it myself.

So, as a girl who played outside, climbed trees, and hiked, but never played a sport, it was very foreign. But, I started down the path to addiction and I too dabble in it.  I had never run more than a mile in gym class, and he urged me to try a 5k. 15 months later, I had run a 15k, and a marathon. I got it bad.

I love to run, to clear my head and kick up my heart rate. The gym membership has lasted for 15 years and I miss it when I don't go.He has introduced our kids to his addiction and they too are junkies.

We skate as a family, have skied as a family (well at the end of the day... my husband is a daredevil and I am not) and have ridden bikes, run and rode scooters together. THEY all skateboard ( I took all the skin off my already broken toe this summer skateboarding in flip flops and have given it up). The kids do summer swim and play soccer. We all have the addiction and I cannot thank him enough. My life is better and I hope, will last longer because of my husband's addiction.

Now if I can get him to embrace my addiction to putting the laundry in the hamper...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cooking: The menu of the week

I  have been writing the week's menu every Sunday since January of 2010. Doing this has helped me stay on track with our goal of not eating out as much. I also found that I spend less money when I plan what we are eating and buy the ingredients I need on Monday when I grocery shop.

My friend gave me a to do book that makes my list making heart sing. And I spend about 20 minutes every Sunday making a list of what we will eat, where the recipe is located and what ingredients I need to buy. We have eaten such a better variety of meals since I started to do this. My fellow blogger over at A Barefoot Day does this as well. She is the master homemaker and makes the rest of us want to be just like her.

My family is full of eating "issues" and I always end up cooking a meal with "options". For instance, I am a pseudo vegetarian ( I eat fish), my husband has been eating vegan for about 8 months and just recently decided to try paleo ( no beans, grains, sugar, dairy, fun) and the kids eat pretty much everything and resent not getting lots of steak.

 So my menus usually something like this weeks:

-baked fish with mustard marinade, roasted sweet potatoes and sauteed kale
-spinach quiche (girls)/ spicy tuna and spinach frittata for the grown ups
-roasted tomato and kale soup with ricotta toast (again, girls) and green salad
-Thai soup with shrimp and snow peas
-Chicken tacos ( taco salad for the grownups- mine sans chicken)

We try to eat all organic and definitely buy all hormone free beef and poultry. Fish is harder, wild is first choice and hard to find. I try to buy local as much as possible, so we eat seasonal. Meaning lots of kale, squash and citrus now and strawberries, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers in the spring and summer. Canned tomatoes get us through the winter and I froze lots of strawberries  for our cereal this past summer. So, my menus reflect this.  I appreciate a home cooked meal at someone Else's  house so much because I know the work and planning that went into it. 

Does everyone do this? I managed to be a full time homemaker for almost 10 years without doing this. I am amazed at how much more efficient  I have become in the past two years.  Must be my age.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Whatever: National referendum on politeness

There are lots of things that puzzle me as an adult.

The fact that some people really like driving mini vans. Scotch does not take like the caramel that I thought it would when I imagined drinking it as a teenager. Jeans are so hard to find, that I have pretty much given up. My house is never clean longer than 30 minutes after I spend an entire day cleaning it. Things that were okay to talk about in your twenties, are taboo when  you are in your thirties or older. Politeness is really, really hard and truly almost a lost art.

I will never (knock on wood) drive  mini van. I personally think that they are not safe. I drink wine and occasionally, especially on vacation, vodka. Jeans...I can't even talk about them. Same with the house. Taboo subjects: politics, how much money you make/don't make, who is having an affair with whom, who is a drunk, etc. basically anything that is uncomfortable. Politeness...well, let's just say it's a struggle.

I don't care what side of the aisle your political beliefs fall on, mostly because I think for the most part we all are the same. We all want to be healthy, have a good job, education for our kids, and safety in our communities.

There is nothing to be gained by screaming or bullying. We tell our toddlers not to throw fits, but use their words. But as adults, we choose to not use words with each other. I cannot have a conversation with my friends with whom I don't see eye to eye about the wrongs in our country.Why is that? In my twenties, I was passionate about politics. I would rise to any challenge. However, now, I am hesitant to even reveal my thoughts to anyone. How have we gotten here? Why can't we talk about what we all are facing? Insane debt, an environment that is quickly turning hostile, a generation that sees war as something of an after thought to everyday life, people losing their homes, insurance that will soon be a luxury for everyone but the wealthy, we all are facing these things. Why is it taboo to discuss our feelings and thoughts about them?

Are we being polite? I don't think so. Politeness is waiting for someone to finish talking before you speak (which I am terrible at). Politeness is considering another person's feelings before your own. It's "please" and "Thank you" and holding doors. Mostly, it is having good manners and following etiquette.It is agreeing to disagree, not not speak of it because we disagree.

  As a mom, I try everyday to instill politeness in my kids. I also try to practice it. But, it is exhausting. It is hard to always think of others first, and I fail terribly sometimes. I have gone off on "rude" sales people (pot, meet kettle) and  fellow shoppers who have run into my children in their hurry to get their shopping done. I find it a vicious circle.  However, if we had more politeness in our country, we would probably have less screaming and more dialogue. Less road rage and more cars waving each other on at stop signs. Less irritation during the holidays. More letter writing and less "cross hairs" maps. More compromise and less " MY WAY or THE HIGHWAY".

I think that if everyday people like me,  you, your mom, my sister and our neighbor actually spoke about the "taboo" subjects politely we could solve them. Then, in turn, if our leaders would be as polite and actually listen, we could have all the issues solved by then end of the decade. Nine years to solve our problems? If we are lucky. If only I could find a great pair of jeans by then....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Food of my body... Cookbooks

I love to cook. Anyone that knows me very well knows that I love to cook. I also love to eat, and while I have issues (no red meat, poultry, peas...), I like just about everything. Especially, bread, goat cheese, Mexican food, Thai food, Japanese food,

I also love cookbooks. My favorite ones are pretty disgusting, pages stuck together, encrusted with who knows what, greasy and dog eared. My nastiest is Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book which is my oldest. I buy cookbooks everywhere and I read them like novels. Things that I would never make, much less eat (or drink for that matter) really intrigue me. For instance, my newest cookbook is Nigella Lawson's How To Eat. Nigella for those of you that aren't cookbook junkies, is a lovely British food journalist that is very curvy, very beautiful and very not afraid of food. She has a section titled traditional British Sunday lunch which includes Yorkshire pudding. Now, I would not eat Yorkshire pudding on a bet (actually I wouldn't eat anything on a bet, I don't bet, unless it is on the horses, dogs, or roulette wheel). However, somehow, I read the recipe.  I mean seriously, pudding with beef drippings.Awesome!

The paleo took a brief hiatus (according to my husband, snow days are not paleo days- according to me, snow days require  wine). However, I have been pretty true to it yesterday and today. I made paleo shepherd pie and baked ginger salmon last night. Today, it was gumbo ( no rice and roux) and almonds. So, I am dreaming of a lovely minestrone soup and fresh baked bread or sushi or green curried shrimp or shrimp tacos....maybe I will just read about them.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dirt: Quest for inner peace

We all have dirt. We like to dish the dirt. We try to hide the dirt from our friends, sometimes by cleaning it up, and sometimes by sweeping it under the carpet. It weighs us down, makes us crazy and tired.

I have a lot of dirt. Mine is usually my anger issues ( driving, sloppy family members, and being told I am wrong usually bring out the visual sightings) and I have struggled since I was a middle schooler with them.  However, I have an ongoing internal dialogue that goes like this " Seriously? I mean, seriously? Did he really leave his workout clothes 10 inches away from the hamper?....... Is it worth getting irate about?...... No....But seriously?...10 inches?" 

I have had years of this. Not always about my husband. Sometimes about the dog, cat, mailman, person in the minivan in front of me, the lady in the store that smacks her kids, the fact that my sister ate my doughnut...the list goes on. I have periods of keeping the outbursts to a minimum and have even deluded myself into thinking they are gone. Once they were for over two years. However, as a mother and wife, they are always right there below the surface and they usually show up at THE. WORST. TIMES. I know I am teaching my sweet kids that it is okay to lash out. I realize that I love my husband more than anyone else in the world, but yet he is the one who I lose it with the fastest.

Inner peace, I recently read, is not being in a calm, serene place away from chaos, but being calm and serene when surrounded by chaos.  Since my to-do list included inner peace, I figure the anger probably needs to go. So, as I drive to church this morning with my angry child who does not want to go because it is a waste of time, I will strive to keep the dialogue focused on being serene and calm.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Food of my soul

I have been reading for as long as I can remember. I actually remember my dad teaching me to read and I wasn't in school yet, so I must have been around age four. I was always enthralled by books and I guess he got tired of hearing me complain about not being able to read. So, like everyone else in the 50's, 60's and early 70's, I learned to read with Dick and Jane. I loved their lives. They had adventures like nothing I was having in 1975. 

They had a dog! They had and ice cream man! They had parades! I had a baby sister who stuck foam rubber up her nose and a t.v. that I watched like it was my job.

I also liked books and my mom subscribed me to the book of the month club and it was on! 

So, reading is like breathing. I have to do it. And I read every night and if I am lucky, sometime during the day. Usually the day thing is a cookbook while I am eating lunch. They fascinate me. I had started keeping a log of the books I read and a little note about them a few years ago after my amazing friend Dominique told me her grandmother did just that. I have slacked lately though, but as part of my "to do" of reading 100 books, I am going to start it back up. My granddaughter ( I hope I have at least one) will probably get a kick out of it. 

So, I have read three books and am going to the bookstore to trade in my used ones and get some "new " ones today. (Thereby checking off  my carbon foot print "to do").

Le Marriage-Diane Johnson (picked this up thinking it was going to be a mindless read, it was actually a pretty deep reflection on marriage)
Lulu in Marrakesh-Diane Johnson
The American- Henry James (thought I needed to read it)

I am always appreciative of book suggestions. I read like a schizophrenic.  I bounce around from genre to genre, like I said..."Squirrel!"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Starting out

Well, as I said before, I am not a "resolution" kind of girl. But, I do like lists. So, I am not going to call them "resolutions" I am going to call them items on a to-do list! 
My husband has us ( mostly him with me complaining and threatening to jump at any given second) on a 28 day Paleo diet trial. I am cranky as can be because I can't have any sugar, grain, beans, flour or the worst part of it 

I am a sugar junkie, cheez-it crack head, chickpea lover. Plus, I like a glass of wine most nights. So, my attitude is a little cranky. 

Here is the start to my "list":

#1 Eat less sugar
#2 Cook a new ethnicity once a week
#3 Paint the doors and trim in my house ( this was on the list last year and got ignored)
#4 Read 100 books ( I used to start this on my birthday and the highest I ever got was 76)
#5 Find inner peace (this might as be the year for it)
#6 Learn 60 Bible verses
#7 Get a new hairstyle ( I already did this!)
#8 Reduce my carbon foot print 
#9 Reduce my spending
#10 love more
#11 Train for a half marathon
#12 learn to swim (again repeat from last  year ).

I am sure I will add to this once I am not such a crank. However, it is a good start. I figure taking my kids to church on Sunday will NOT get me inner peace, but is an exercise in loving more ( and using nice words on the way to church).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New me

As someone who is living the 40th year of her life, I have had quite a few NEW years. Some I remember fondly such as the one I spent at around age 15 with people from my church at someone's home playing games until midnight. Others, I would rather forget. I have however, never been a fan of resolutions. I have made them halfheartedly mostly due to peer pressure, but I have never taken them seriously, feeling that those I make on my birthday in September are better thought out and less likely to be made because I over indulged during the holiday season or was too open to suggestion during everyone else's time of reflection.

However, this is the year I turn 40 and while I am not afraid of aging, or even mildly affected by turning a new number, I do see it as a milestone of sorts. A new decade, a new age of  (hopefully) enlightenment, and truly, a time when people notice how old you are. I go. Making "resolutions" and since I want to keep them, I am making them public.

My five things are things I already do or enjoy.
#1 Reading: the food of my soul
#2 Cooking: the food of my life
#3 Exercising: what allows me to enjoy the food that I love!
#4  Dirt: what we all have, want to keep out of sight and need to work on
#5 Whatever: the clutter in my head that fights to come out be it music, paint colors, finding jeans, whatever!

I am giving some thoughts to my resolutions... they are to come.
However, they will, as always incorporate my five things.