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Archive for the ‘New Year’ Category

A New Year

happy-new-year-for-2017

With a new year brings hope and desire to want better. Some want a better world in which to live where people are treated with kindness and respect while others may seek more self-desires.  Closing the book on a year past may be easy for some but difficult for others. It is what it is. The future is coming whether we like it or not and there are only so many things that are in our control but if we don’t dream of better then who is responsible for not making those hopes a reality? In other words, without dreams of hope and then putting those thoughts into our daily actions, why do we dream and hope at all?

 

Reality is overrated but it is the cement of life. I stopped making resolutions some time ago. I’ve written about it here a few years back. I used to make concrete resolutions—things that I could achieve say in 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and so on. If I achieved the goal, I felt that was the end. If I didn’t achieve a goal, I felt failure but would move the goal posts. Both became negative feedback that I didn’t need so I made more general goals. And lastly, I would resolve to make every day better than the one before rather than make resolutions once a year. It works for me.

 

We are constantly changing—each of us. To put a finish line out there is great when we need positive reinforcement (goal achievements). Nothing wrong with it but for me, and maybe it’s because I’m getting older, I look to each day. So here is to a better year. May your dreams and hopes be achieved and may you never stop working for them while realizing we are all together on this big sphere we call Earth.

 

Happy New Year! (And goodbye 2016!!!) 😀

 

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New Year’s Fare

As tradition, our big meal for New Year’s is probably similar to most people’s except for the main course which changes as the years change. Long ago, I was taught that in order to have plenty of health, wealth, and happiness (good luck), certain foods needed to be served (and eaten). Some say it is superstitious, but did you know that many superstitions came about for good reason? For example, walking under a ladder can be bad luck because anything can fall and hit you including the ladder. Black cats crossing one’s path can be bad luck because one can trip over the cat at night if you do not see it, and so on… So, what do we eat that is supposed to bring us health, wealth, and happiness (health and prosperity)?

First on the list are black-eyed peas. They are always on the menu. I love fresh black-eyes but dry ones will do. I cook them with bacon or hog jowls. I think they taste good but I understand it can be an acquired taste. They are considered a symbol of prosperity or good luck.

I didn’t like greens as a child (and we had plenty of them), but I have been cooking collard greens for about 20 years or so. It is a lot of work for such a small amount of greens. A mess of greens, as I often heard it called when growing up, can be prepared many different ways, but I prefer mine with ham, bacon, or hog jowls cooked to the point where they are melt in your mouth goodness with some extra salt cooked in (don’t tell the doctor). I strip out the main stalk, roll the leaves, and chop away. I don’t like to add pepper sauce (either homemade or store-bought) but my parents swore by it. My husband loves collard greens and says it is one of several foods I taught him to like, so I guess we acquired that taste together. Too bad I cannot get him to like grits, but that’s another story. Greens stand for wealth but they are also so good for you, so I lump the health and wealth together. Photo-My collard greens from this year. I cook them until they are dark green like this. It doesn’t take a lot of water. And, I boil my hog jowls or bacon before adding.

Our main entree is usually a ham, symbolizing a few things. A hog roots forward for his/her food but a ham also symbolizes wealth-a plate of plenty. There is always enough for another meal, but we don’t always have ham. I have cooked thick, center loin pork chops many years. And, for others there has been meatloaf, grilled bbq pork ribs, steak, or other. It is really a matter of choice. Fowl is said not to be eaten because it roots backwards and can fly away with your health, wealth, and happiness. Maybe that is why we have had such bad luck this year-just kidding. I have been known to cook a chicken casserole…

Other items that complement the meal are usually lima beans, pickled beets, peas and asparagus casserole (with cheese), and cornbread or rolls. I have never settled on a certain fruit for the day and I have foregone the peas and asparagus casserole because I am the only one who likes it. There are exceptions to every rule, but this is the model I try to follow. If I have bad luck or lose in health, wealth, and happiness, did my New Year’s fare cause it? No, but it is an interesting way to start the New Year.

One tradition from my childhood that still reigns to this day is watching the Tournament of Roses Parade. I try to plan my kitchen duties around it. Since it is not on until Jan 2 this year, I don’t have to worry so much. Oh, and this year we opted for grilled sirloin steak—don’t know if that will bring us luck but I hope so.

Do you have traditions you follow? Are there reasons you follow them?

Happy Gardening and Happy New Year!

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from kids.baristanet.com

As I teeter on the edge of the New Year, I am like many people, debating resolutions. It is good to resolve one’s self to do better but it is better to commit to those resolutions rather than quickly making a list. When the girls were little I encouraged them to write down things they wanted to improve on. Their lists were kept available to see if they were making progress but like so many of us by that following June the list had become a faint memory. I remember one year when my eldest daughter took her old list and changed the year to reflect the new year. I asked why she thought she would work on the same things if she made little progress the year before. Her answer was that she still needed to improve. I think a lot of us are like that—we know what we need to do but doing it is another thing.

Many of my projects and dreams did not make it to fruition this year, but I cannot fret over them. In fact, this sentiment is reflected in my first resolution:

1)  I resolve to follow my heart in my designs and to not beat myself up over incomplete projects—no remorse. If I lose interest in something, I will put it away until my heart gets into it again…I do this pretty much anyway, but I let it get to me—guilt, and the guilt just makes it harder to go back to.

2)  I resolve to grow my talent in new things such as tatting and improving my painting skills. I have tried to learn to tat and could never master it, but I want to make sure that I succeed in 2012. I lack confidence in some of my artistic talent. This holds me back. I want to break through that wall next year.

3)  I resolve to sell some of my creations. I didn’t sell anything this year, and this has hurt. I think this will also give me more confidence and the feeling of self-worth.

That’s not all that I aim to work on, but these are my main three as far as art goes. If I feed the artist part of me, the inner part will also blossom. If I get to the things that I did not finish this year (or get off the drawing board), so be it. If I don’t, so be it also. I believe that if my heart is not in it, I will not like it no matter how it looks. I want to try new things and improve on the ‘old’ things. I want to be appreciated for who I am and what I can do but I know I must appreciate myself and my work first.

Life is short. We should make the most of what we have.

Happy Gardening and may you be blessed beyond measure in the coming year!

Happy New Year!

Happy 2012!

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