I think one is supposed to wait until January to do a Year In Review, but that is what’s churning right now. What a year it has been, too.
You know, it is a very good thing The New Year comes right after the fat indulgence of December. All those cookies that require taste-testing. All those new recipes with creamy sauces and butter that you don’t want to serve to someone until you’ve made sure it’s as delicious as it sounds. All that Southern Winter weather, it keeps you from being able to go outside because it’s not interesting and playful like snow. It’s rain, cold and damp and demanding hot and creamy and buttery because there is this cave-man brain that says Winter is time to pack on the pounds, in case we get snowed in and have to starve.
Then there is the New Year (well, Gregorian calendar, anyway) and all those magazine covers with Lose Those Winter Pounds! and Now Is The Time! and photos of emaciated models with thigh gaps along with the admonitions. Apparently The New Year is a good time to start. Out With The Old and In With The New or something. I suppose it’s as good a time as any.
Will I make a New Year’s Resolution to develop a thigh gap? Will I walk every day and practice the piano an hour every day and eat more vegetables, make the bed, read the Bible, be more, better, blah de blah blah or will I simply resolve to try not to inadvertently insult someone’s haircut/pants/casserole? Resolutions need to be do-able, right?
Maybe resolutions are for the young and optimistic. I can resolve to Eat Better.
But how is that defined? Does it mean setting the table properly and having a sit-down supper 5 nights a week? (I don’t cook on Sunday, so no sit down then, and Friday is Movie night with something not-very-nutritious like tacos or pizza) (and no, I do not want a recipe for lo-fat tacos or pizza.)(I mean really…ground turkey tacos with 2% lo-fat cheese and non-fat refried beans….or a pizza with no meats and fresh vegetables and a thin whisper of non fat mozzerella. Seriously. What movie would you watch with that? Forks vs Knives? Something by Michael Moore? Please.) Besides, I have a garden with lovely things in it.
A couple of hours were spent today, with the RH Shumway seed catalog and a yellow highlighter. Assuming everything comes up and grows as expected and the squash borers choose the other end of the county, we will have wonderful fresh
organi…well, not entirely covered in pesticides vegetables from probably February (for the early peas and lettuces) through November, which are lovely and nutritious and only as low in fat as the dressings and fat-back allow them to be. Even now I am picking bok choy and there are parsnips growing. Another advantage to The South: Winter gardens. So I am ok with the bowl of Wavy Lays and the onion dip I had for lunch, after the breakfast of leftover dressing and cranberry sauce. onions are a vegetable, and cranberries are a fruit.
Anyway, The Year In Review is churning away in my head. So much has happened….
Himself’s bosses changed, along with the entire culture of the place where he works. It’s a very, very good thing.
#1 has had some philosophical changes, gradual and subtle, but there.
#2 also, and he is approaching his final semester of engineering school, and staring at a trip to Germany because he minored in German and is considering working there.
#3 got married, then his wife promptly became pregnant.
#4 grew mutton chops. Real ones. He’s 15 and discovered his ability to grow facial hair and is pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable by his conservative private school. The headmaster hasn’t tacitly disapproved, which #4 has taken as permission.
I acquired a big garden, had the entire yard emptied of all but one big oak tree, and discovered that approaching 50 is pretty dang amazing. Half a century old, come May. Himself turned 50 in January and will soon be 51. I have friendships and learned to actually like living here, instead of just tolerating it. There are people here I can rely on for emotional support, or company, or cookie recipes…sometimes all 3 in the same people (plural, y’all! I have never actually had a plurality of real friends, well not since college and that was 30 years ago!)
All of this, while it seems kind of unremarkable, when compared with “I won the Nobel Prize in Medicine” and “I invented this thing that will make clean water for the entire world” and all those other things people put in their Christmas letters, is quite remarkable for me. Wonderful, even, because they are all blessings. Even the mutton chops.
Yes, I believe in blessings. They are never deserved, never earned through good behavior or what-have-you. They are a responsibility. They are meant to be used in ways that are blessings for other people, that whole pay-it-forward thing. Even in small ways. I haven’t figured out how #4’s mutton chops can be used, not yet. But they do make people smile, because he has the face of a 4 year old, with white blond hair and NASA Nerd glasses and these….Dwayne Allman curly blond mutton chops.
Blessings indeed. Wonderful gifts, undeserved, but there they are.