Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Obligatory New Year's Post? Not Really.

Happy 2014, everyone! It is so trite to disappear for so long and come back today, but it's also fitting. We get this fresh start and the promise of a blank slate, and my goodness, I'm taking it!

I won’t even begin to apologize for my extended absence.  And I don’t typically make resolutions, and we all know I have broken many a promise to “write more soon” here.  But I do make goals, and I am hereby promising and resolving that I have made some goals for this new year.

First of all, I will get back into writing.  I’ve even had a few folks comment privately to me that they miss my check-ins and that I need to write more.  Who knew?!  Thank you, my dear friends, because you made my heart swell a little by telling me you not only were following (or at least checking in) every now and then, but that you enjoyed it.  Thank you.  That’s not pride; that’s humble thanks.

I’ve been down a lot last year, and I stopped writing for a few reasons.  Primarily, it was because I stopped having much fun to say – or at least, I was told I did too much complaining.  I am quite sure that’s true (although I’d like to reserve the option that my honesty is not always complaining, even if it was sometimes interpreted that way. Perception is reality, so if it’s coming across as complaining …) 

I also obviously keep a very different schedule than I did in Georgia, and my computer time here has been mostly in the evenings, sitting at the desktop in the living room. In turn, this means that if I am writing, I am not participating in family time.  Not that we do much of “family time,” but we are at least all together, and if I'm on the computer or Mick is engrossed in his iPad, we're not really present. Since that was my only real free time (I can’t/won’t -- mostly can't, but wouldn't anyway -- blog at work), blogging took a back seat to try to keep my priorities right. I am not sure how I'll work out my schedule, but I will figure it out.

Second of all, one way or another I am going to get back to cooking.  I fell off the wagon about Sweet As Pie.  And that happened for a few reasons.  First – the grocery shopping!  My word, it has become such a chore for me to grocery shop since we moved to Maine.  I can’t quite figure out why (although neither Hannaford nor Shaw’s is even in the same universe as Publix), but I don’t enjoy it. And the prices!  Oh, the prices. So a simple cooking club recipe has gone from something I shop for after tutoring and cook the afternoon after pre-school to a daunting endeavor requiring budgeting of both time and money, and the patience to grocery shop, to boot.  But I’ve also made no secret of not really liking the lack of cooking through a book anymore. There were just too many un-vetted recipes.  Recipes that were in poor formats where I first had to translate what, exactly, they wanted me to do, or recipes that were “diet” or just Pinterest nonsense – let’s be honest, more often than not, Pinterest recipes are failures.  I just couldn’t get my heart into it. That’s not to “call out” anyone who picked any diet or healthy or “fit” recipe.  I think those are noble, and the recipes may well have been tasty and healthful. It just wasn’t for me.  Gosh, this sounds so incredibly mean.  I don’t even know who picked what anymore, so I assure anyone and everyone that this is nothing personal.  It’s just that for me, the cooking club was about trying new recipes for meals and sides and desserts, and homemade granola or "diet" mushroom pizzas that cost nearly $20 didn't exactly whet my appetite.  So, between my lack of enthusiasm for the cooking club and my lack of enthusiasm for the shopping (and, let’s be fully open here, for even cooking at all anymore sometimes – sometimes, I just hated everything about everything), it just faded away.  THAT will change this year.  Even if I make my own “Cook Through This Book” club of one, I need for my own sanity to get back to cooking. It's not as if we don't go to the grocery store; I need to just make my lists better and with more lead time to make extravagant recipes fit our budget better.

So there are two Not Resolutions: to write more, and to cook more. I am also going to try to tackle some of the things on my “101 Things” list, the deadline for which is rapidly approaching.  Anyone want a cake from one of my Williams-Sonoma pans?!

from Looking for Mary, by Beverly Donofrio. I found this book at Goodwill a few months ago and have been reading it on and off. This paragraph really stuck with me.  It's not really as random as it seems; she'd gone on a hike and when she got to the end of the trail she was angry that there was no "scenic overlook."  It was only when she was kicking dirt and turned to come back that she saw it.
I’m still me, and I still miss “home,” wherever it may end up, but I’m trying to keep things positive.  There was a time when a friend described me as always finding alternative perspectives and looking for the best of people.  I have lost some of that and am trying to get back there.

I am having a simultaneously better and worse year at work this year compared to last, and that’s certainly something that warrants some more exploration and explanation. Mick is still without a real full-time job, and our struggles there continue, but we've settled into a bit of a routine and we've figured out at least where we don't want to be, even if not quite where we want to be!  WHM is thriving in his pre-school – yes, the full-time program that I literally sobbed about for hours because I didn’t want to send my baby to full-time school, has turned out to be absolutely amazing.  CAM is also loving her first grade class and she has a teacher who’s been doing this for 37 years. Mrs. J is nothing short of amazing, is everything a great teacher should be, and I have come to the conclusion that despite all my misgivings about so many things the past 18 months, God put us here for a reason, and that reason may well have been these two teachers and this school experience for CAM and WHM.

And that’s about it.

I turn 40 this year and there are a lot of blessings in my life. I've struggled for 18 months with feeling like a failure in just about every way imaginable, and it's killing me. I've got to make this year count.  I said when I started teaching at 26 that I didn't want to wake up one day and be 40 and be floundering ...  and well, it's looming.  I have the power to change things, and although sometimes I wake up and have no idea what to change because I don't know what I want to do, I do know that I can do better in a whole lot of ways.

I'm taking on this world this year, because one day, I want to hand it to my kids.

And in the meantime, I’m back on the blogging and cooking wagon … I promise



  1. It's funny how one woman's "floundering" is another woman's envy. I know, I know...we all feel sucky at certain times (see: Marianne's entire winter), but know that you are a wonderful, smart woman with awesome hair that I kind of want to be when I grow up (even though I'm already 40). May this be the best year ever! And thank you for the awesome Christmas card (I love when these show up and my husband is all "Who ARE these people??" I was too depressed to get cards together this year, but still love getting them. How selfish am I? Hang in there, super-mom.

    1. Thanks, Marianne. Always there with the kind words … I'm waiting to live closer so we can turn that into cocktails, but I'll take the kind words! I'll look forward to next year's card from the Walsh fam!