Out with the old and in with the newI confess I am not a big fan of New Year's Eve. Parties scare the hell out of me and, even staying in, there is a temptation to mull over regrets and failures. This year's seasonal break has been particularly testing - a cough and cold combined with the year ending as wet and grey as it seems to have been all year (the second wettest year since records began apparently). I wanted to get out and about and feel cold, fresh air on my face and soak up gentle Winter sun, but instead going outside meant getting wet and muddy. The news has been full of poor people fighting to keep the elements out of their houses - and often failing to do so and facing a new year of clearing flood water out of their houses. After walking around Bailbrook on the first not quite so rainy day, Mark and I decided to carry on and walk down to Bathampton and along by the canal. The river looked wild and scary - and even the canal looked ominously full - it feels as though Nature is turning on its human squatters. Of course, the feeling is not helped by watching "2012" and "The Day After Tomorrow" on consecutive days!!
|the rainy view with which we have become so familiar|
|River Avon at Bathampton|
|River Avon reclaims fields and trees|
New Year ResolutionsWhile I find New Year's Eve somewhat testing, I really enjoy New Year's Day. Even though the cough/cold was deteriorating fast and Mark had to do most of the clearing of decorations, there is something liberating about putting the Christmas tree and decorations away and of having finished the rich foods of Christmas. It feels like a fresh start and I like to look forward to the coming year and the opportunities ahead. New year resolutions feel less like a straight-jacket than embracing the chances a new year brings. Particularly this year; the year I leave the job I have had for 16 years and set out on my own...well not really on my own, as I have a great support network.
Where to start with the resolutions? Well, firstly I will do my upmost to keep things in perspective! So when I get a cough and cold and miss my seasonal visit with my stepmother in London and she has to go to the ballet without me, and to "Matilda" with my sister's family, but with my seat left empty, I will not wallow in self-pity (well not very much). Mostly though I want to focus on positive intents - what I want to do, rather than not do:
- I want to keep up my FitnessPal log every day and stick to my planned calories;
- I want to take positive action where I can - for instance, the dark dreary days are a bit of a struggle, so I have bought myself a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) light box and will make sure I use it, and I will take my multivitamins and do the exercises to improve the movement in my left shoulder and not eat melted cheese or MSG or drink the sort of red wine I like but that gives me bad headaches. A lot of things are within my control if I choose to make them so!
- I want to make sure I add a photo every day to the my365 app (Six days in and I already have followers...but had not realised it is principally a Japanese (I think) app; how strange to think of people so far away looking to see what photo I add every day!);
- I want to keep a sketchbook...and use it. I love notebooks and sketchbooks and have a very silly reluctance to sully the lovely white (or black) pages with my words or drawings, but that is what they are for! At least once a week I will add to a sketch book; whether it be a drawing/painting for its own sake or inspiration for some craft item or other;
- I want to finish decorating the house. We have half-stripped 1980s wallpaper in most rooms and, when I finish work, I will allow myself a couple of weeks to focus on the decorating and finish all the rooms we have started;
- I want to make the garden both beautiful and productive, planning what I plant (for a garden with lots of clay and not a huge amount of sun), build raised vegetable/fruit beds in the areas with most sun, clear the once-shrubbery-now-jungle, fill my little grow-house with seedlings, plant up the hanging baskets with strawberries and tumbler tomatoes, replace the rotting wooden slats in the seat beneath the wisteria, etc;
- I want to go out to dinner or even a party (yeah, you know what I'm like at avoiding parties!) without trying on everything in my wardrobe and getting anxious and miserable because I don't like the way I look. I do want to lose more weight, but more than that I want to learn to like the way I look now!;
- I want to finish my 'sampler' quilt;
- I want to perfect my Bryony Bunny design and make up a few models for the real life Bryony's approval;
- I want to get my head round wordpress and put together a website for the business I want to start in April;
- I want to transfer my recipe notebook to a website/blog. I will probably make it open for others to see, but mainly it will be to get rid of the pile of scraps of paper with recipes that have not yet made it in to the notebook and to record how I get on with them; and
- I will keep my to do lists to a manageable length and I will pat myself on the back for the things I do and cross off, rather than beat myself up about the ones I do not complete!
2013: the first few days
As I have already
whinged about mentioned, with the exception of New Year's Day (when I was too poorly to do anything but lie on the sofa feeling sorry for myself), the weather has been very gloomy. I like to put away the Christmas lights, but do miss the candles and twinkling lights, but this year I have not had to go cold turkey on the lights as my friend Tracey sent me a lovely lantern, made by punching holes in to a tin can to make images (in this case of cats). It is not really a Christmas thing, so I can use it even when the rest have been packed away...and I love it!
|Tracey's tin can lantern|
Another bonus has been Mark's new coffee maker. I suggested I got him one of these a couple of years ago and, not one to rush a decision, this year he decided actually it would be a good idea. The little blue and white mugs Irene gave me for my birthday are the perfect size for hot chocolate, cafe crema and cappuccinos and we bought a couple of the larger size ones from our local Scandinavian shop (Shannon on Walcot Street) for the lattes and I had also bought Mark a couple of latte glasses which show off the layers of frothy milk and coffee. It is a bit decadent - and I have to record the calories every time - but we are really enjoying these treats.
|first latte from Mark's new Tassimo|
|Max and Rio: brotherly love|
Of course it could just be they are competing to sleep on the old clothes (too big now!) I had left on the dining table before cutting them up to make things from!