Because, of course, this is a time for looking back and for looking forward.
I’m often better at looking back…and beating myself up for things I didn’t do, or didn’t do enough. I’m really good at that. And then I look forward and I do one of two things.
Either I give myself too many things to do in the coming year – not just resolutions, but projects, plans, lifestyle changes and challenges – and then I freeze because the list is so overwhelming – or I just curl up and worry that the coming year I’ll be a bigger and better loser than the last one, and while, yes, it’s important to try to improve on things, I don’t think improving loserhood is something to strive for.
I want to make 2012 a good year. For me. For my family.
I want to do more canning, for one thing. Our pretty well stocked pantry has been…well, I was going to say a godsend, or a blessing, but actually it’s just been really nice to have things I made from things we grew. So I want build on that. Now that I’ve got the hang of my pressure canner, I feel like there are no (major) limits to what I can “put by” for future meals.
I would like to get back to cheese making. It’s been an on and off thing, mainly because I don’t really have a good way any more of aging cheeses. So I’m a bit limited. I think my first course of action, besides just getting into the habit of making the softer things – yogurt, ricotta, mozzarella – on a regular basis – is to keep my eyes open on Craigslist for a decent sized used wine refrigerator. Something I can regulate, something that is separate and devoted solely to aging cheeses.
As you probably have noticed, we’ve been making some sausage. And we’ve also, even before we started with the various sausages, been making bacon, or slow-cooking pork…well, we’re just getting started. We’ve got (and by “we” I mean me, Bill, and John) all kinds of plans and ambitions for making various aged sausages and not-so-aged sausages, and cured meats of various kinds, and oh, there are stories I have yet to tell you…I’ll get to them. I will.
Anyway, currently John’s basement, or part of it, is better suited to aging meats, and, while that is fabulous for us as a group, I’m just selfish enough to want to be able to age some meat in this house, too. So…a decent sized wine fridge is something I need to bring on board.
So that’s that.
And then there are other food things I want to pursue. When I made the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding this year, I used – as I always do – a cookbook my grandmother had as a reference for the pudding. It’s a book of British cooking, and I want to make more of those recipes, because they are part of my heritage. I haven’t had steak and kidney pie since I was young and my mother made it, for example, and it occurred to me there’s no reason why I can’t make it. (It takes me a while to realize I’m an adult, even after being one, technically, for a long, long time now.) So that’s one of my want-to-do things.
And then, of course, in conjunction with all this cooking, there’s the extra five or ten or fifteen or twenty pounds I could stand to lose at any given moment.
I had the…bizarre experience on Christmas of my father – who will soon be 87 and you’d never know it – poking me in the arm, the upper arm, and saying “My arm used to be like that….not any more!” He was referring to the…okay, the jiggle in my upper arm. An arm which is plenty strong enough to carry around a heavy pressure canning pot or, when necessary, one of my children, who are no longer toddlers and not so lightweight any more. My arm – both upper and lower portions – has served me well (so has the other one), and it threw me off balance A BIT to have MY FATHER, of all people, point out that I’m not as ripped as he is. My dad works out three mornings a week, and, all semi-feigned outrage aside, I’m incredibly proud of him for doing that. He started a number of years ago and not only does the program (part of a senior program at the hospital in town) provide cardio and strength-training opportunities for its members, but it’s also a place for Dad to go hang out and socialize. He loves it, and he loves the physical and emotional benefits as well.
So I forgive him for poking me. Mostly. And yes, I need to do something about my arms. If for no other reason than my competitive nature bristles at being in worse shape than my father.
I want a better year financially. There, I said it. I don’t write about money stuff on here, because it just doesn’t interest me to do so. But we had a pretty rough 2011 financially, and I’m so over that horribleness. So I’m looking forward to making 2012 a much, much BETTER year, money-wise, for us.
I guess that’s all I feel like writing about all that.
I don’t want to make resolutions because then there’s all the stress of keeping them. I’d rather just work on doing things better, healthier, more sensibly, with more joy and laughter.
That’s what I want this year.
That and a wine fridge.
How about you?