Happy New Year!

So, do any of you eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day? Growing up, this was a required tradition. The truth is, I hate black-eyed peas, but each year I would dutifully eat one. More recently I’ve blown this off, but it came up in a recent phone conversation with my mom, and she was adamant. “Oh, you must eat at least one. Just a little bit.” I whined that I just don’t like them, and I heard my father calling out, “Katie, sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do.” My parents are a little freakish on this topic because the one year that they didn’t eat black-eyed peas, there was a big, painful stock market crash. They won’t make that mistake twice.

Luckily, Sylvia’s makes black-eyed peas, because she’s the best chance that I can possibly like them. My favorite are her pinto beans, which have inexplicably disappeared from every local grocery store shelf. But that’s another story.

Anyway, I decided to check the whole black-eyed pea tradition out on Wikipedia, and I found, among other things, this information:

In the Southern United States,[5] the peas are typically cooked with a pork product for flavoring (such as bacon, ham bones, fatback, or hog jowl), diced onion, and served with a hot chili sauce or a pepper-flavored vinegar.

The traditional meal also features collard, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion.[6] Cornbread also often accompanies this meal.

Would you believe that I happen to have collard greens in my freezer, bacon in my fridge, and we were already planning on making cornbread johnny cakes with our leftover chicken chowder for dinner tonight? So now I think I’m going to have to make the whole dish. But I’ll probably go easy on the peas themselves.

Besides eating black-eyed peas, I don’t have much in the way of New Year’s traditions. I do like to do post-holiday clean-up and try to clear the decks for the new year. I had a stack of stuff to go through on my desk for the blog, so I made a few updates that I’ll share in the next day or two.

I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions, because I’m always making new resolutions all through the year, and I always have too many, so it’s hard to choose. In fact, I just looked back at last year’s post and I realized that I said much the same thing last year, so let’s see how I did, shall we?

Here’s what I had. . . . and the results:

Umm, be a better and more patient mother. . . . Eh, not really. I’m basically holding steady. Actually, my kids were more pleasant to be around in 2011 than in 2010, so I think there was overall improvement.

be a more thoughtful person who remembers to send people birthday cards. . . . Actually, I did pretty well with this, sending cards to my family quite well all year until October, when I crashed and burned for the remainder of the year. I’ve also taken up writing random thank you notes, although I’ve also missed a few thank you notes along the way, too.

eat much better and work out regularly, resulting in a loss of at least 25 pounds. . . . Eating’s been spotty although I did improve my breakfast. Working out’s been mostly quite good, and I’ve probably lost about 10 pounds, so yay.

learn to write better and do more writing every day. . . . I took a class over last winter and started submitting articles for publication, which was scary but good for, you know, personal growth. More recently I haven’t been doing as well at writing every day. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I rebooted with a resolution to just write randomly every day for 20 minutes, and it was going well until I got so busy that it wasn’t anymore. I’m going to re-start that this week.

make money. . . . Yay, me! I sold several articles and started getting paid for work with KidsOutAndAbout.com. It’s not a ton of money, but it pays better than the mama gig. Plus, getting stuff published was a great confidence booster.

and at the same time manage to make my house much cleaner and more hygienic. . . . Hmm. I did institute little cleaning wipes in bathrooms so that anyone could do a quick wipe-down. Actually, I’d say I have been a little cleaner than 2010. But you’d have to look pretty hard to notice.

floss every day. . . Well, maybe not every day, but that little floss holder thingy has absolutely upped my flossing frequency.

and stop grinding my teeth by achieving Inner Serenity. . . I haven’t achieved Inner Serenity, but I’ve been good about wearing my little mouth guard so that my teeth aren’t ground down into nubs.

Okay, when I sat down to write, I really hadn’t intended to do this whole personal assessment thing. It’s not that kind of blog. But now I’m kind of glad that I did, because I did pretty well, really. I’d give myself a solid B, maybe even a B+. Yeah, what the hell? I’m going with a B+ for 2011.

And I’m not going to come up with a whole bunch of new resolutions. I mean, when I wrote the ones above for last year, I was kind of kidding, anyway. But one little guiding quote that I’ve had for this year, and that I’m going to shoot for in 2012, is from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

How about you, dear readers? Any resolutions? And how was last year for ya?



  1. Sara

    I generally don’t make resolutions; although I do have general ideas about how I would like to be a more patient mom. This past year was great. My husband and I paid off two cars and a student loan, and I applied to nursing school (I start Tuesday!) Talk about “do one thing every day that scares you”….
    Finishing up the year by winning Laurie Berkner tickets was pretty great too! Thanks for that Katie!

  2. Pattie, the Sylvia’s were surprisingly good!
    Sara, congrats on the financial triumphs and on starting nursing school. Be brave!

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