I’m mystified as to why it’s suddenly unfashionable to make New Year’s Resolutions under the theory that they’re impossible to keep. I’m a huge fan of resolutions, but there’s an art to making them.
I discovered this the year I resolved to make more salads. I can take them or leave them, but my husband salivates over a well-made salad, and theoretically, they would have been a healthy addition to our dinners.
The dilemma was that my husband was raised by a salad-maker extraordinaire, and the other Mrs. Glamore doesn’t merely plop some greens and a chopped carrot on a plate and top it with Italian dressing. One of her signature salads involves candying walnuts (cooking the walnuts in butter and sugar until the walnuts have a sweet, crunchy coating), locating Craisins (are they a fruit? a snack?), crumbling funky cheese, such as feta or Stilton, slicing a red onion into tiny dice, or a scallion into fragile rings, and mounding all of the above on top of some beautiful mixed greens.
Next she creates a homemade vinaigrette, with balsamic vinegar, garlic, onion juice (you haven’t lived until you’ve squeezed an onion) and so forth. Each salad requires its own plate, which takes up twice the dishwasher space, and once you’ve gotten all the salad ingredients prepped and ready to go, it’s time to make the real dinner.
That same year, my sister’s resolution was to drink more champagne. I’d call Aunt Su around 6, bitching about the onion juice, she’d muse dreamily about the champagne she was drinking for no reason at all, and I’d slam down the phone in disgust.
Although it was a resolution I made with loving intentions, I didn’t keep it. Now I make simple resolutions I can’t screw up.
The most important resolution I make each year is to hug all three of my sons every day. Those of you without children may think this is an easy assignment, but in fact it’s quite challenging, and grows more demanding each year.
When children are toddlers, they are easy to locate and hug. That changes.
Drew, always so quiet, can easily be overlooked in all the excitement, and before you know it the day is over and he’s nowhere to be found. After a brief hunt around the house I’ll find him in his bed, asleep, and I’ll hug him then, but I feel a twinge of guilt when that happens, as a hug is supposed to be a bilateral event. In fact, Drew was the reason I made this resolution in the first place.
I’ve had to interpret “hug” loosely. Porter’s recently been going through a phase where he doesn’t like to be touched, and most hugging requires a minimal amount of touching, unless you resort to the imaginary force-field hug, which will have to do for now.
And last week I was doling out hugs when I located Finn in the basement, drumming. He was way into some Led Zeppelin, so I resorted to sort of scritching him behind the ears like a puppy. He leaned his head against me, indicating he liked it, and never missed a beat, literally.
I’ve also resolved to wake up earlier. This has been easily accomplished by setting my alarm earlier. I purposely planned to “wake up,” not “get up.” Porter and I snuggle in the morning, so while I haven’t been getting more laundry done as a result of this change, we’ve both been listening to more NPR and we’re fully versed on current events.
There’s no law I know of against making purely superficial resolutions. The older I get, the more I see a need to make minor changes that aren’t earth shattering to others, but make me feel better about myself.
This explanation carries with it the risk of TMI*, but I shall plunge ahead. Since last summer I’d been having uncomfortable symptoms which were extremely vague, suggesting a number of conditions, including ovarian cancer, which killed my mom. I’m conscientious about screening; I feel like every week someone’s probing my lady parts and examining my blood. I hied it to the doctor, and was delighted to find that I was not dying, but mortified to learn that I was afflicted with a common condition that rhymes with “Irritable Vowel Syndrome” whch wld b mch mr plsnt.
(Holy Hell! What is it about turning forty that causes everything to begin to break down? Faithful readers will recall that I’d already been advised of my need for bifocals this year, and rejected that suggestion outright.)
In the hopes that the following steps will help me keep my spirits up while the rest of my body continues to break down, I resolved:
to wear more eyeliner
it’s difficult to photograph your own eye
to keep my nails manicured with a bright color
the color for debutantes and Republicans!
I’m Not Really A Waitress
less Tiny Kingdom; more me
Bonus points for readers who spy a depressing product in the background
to wear my nice clothes more often
to commit to my haircolor
(Loreal Coleur Experte 6.3 Light Golden Brown)
My theory for the first three resolutions was that drawing attention to healthy parts would divert attention from my less attractive features. Also, life is short, you only live once, etc etc, so what am I saving the dry clean only shirt for? If not now, when?
As to the hair color, at some point a woman should pick one and stick with it. I’ve experimented with everything from platinum to bright red to brunette and all shades in between for thirteen years, which is more time than many drug companies spend developing new drugs. Choosing one shade will simplify my life and I can throw out the other hues I’d still been considering– my work on the outside of my head is done.
What resolutions have you made, or not, and why?
*For women, is there such a thing as Too Much Information? I think not. Why don’t we tell pregnant moms that the first three weeks after the baby comes home will suck donkey balls, and that some moms not only don’t love their infants at first, but are often tempted to throw them out the window because they’re so much damn trouble, and you realize you’re stuck with them for eighteen years, (God willing)?
Why don’t we tell each other that when you’re around forty the shit hits the fan– the affairs start, friends get sick and die, people divorce, and others discover how dysfunctional their families of origin really are?
This might be a whole post in itself, yes?
Anyone want to reveal their dirty laundry? Really– you go first…