Year End Reflections

The end of Christmas Day has come to symbolize the end of the year for me. Our New Year’s Eves have become quiet, at-home affairs, thoroughly enjoyable but also somewhat anticlimatic after the hectic days of Christmas. Now that all the baking and cooking and wrapping is done, it feels time to mentally wrap-up the preceding year.

2006 was an interesting one for me. So much happened to me this year. I am happy to say that it was mostly positive, mostly an improvement to my spiritual/emotional self. That is a nice feeling. There are still things I would like to change, about myself or my circumstances, but- on the whole- I am feeling rather pleased with things.

My chef d’ouevre, of course, was the birth of DD#2. Even though that actually took place in 2005, it was late on December 30, so this year has been all about her. She is now walking and charming the world with her beautiful four-tooth smile. I am so proud of my children. When I look at them, I see all the love our family has created. Sounds corny, but it’s true. A well-loved child is very easy to spot. So is a neglected one. I am proud that my kids are in the former category.

This year we managed to divest our home of a lot of its clutter, accumulated from several now-gone households plus our own aggregation. A lot of it is just letting go of That Which Might Be Useful. The difficult part for me is proper disposal of things that are still serviceable. The notion of waste – and landfilling perfectly good materials – is nauseating. But, it takes time to Freecycle or sell or even recycle things piecemeal. Couple that with the neverending influx of more clutter, and it truly is an uphill battle. But it’s one I intend to continue with renewed vigor in the coming year.

I still need to take control of myself in terms of diet, exercise, and the like. I tend to go in erratic cycles of uber-health and self-destruction. Mentally, I am working on living more mindfully and purposefully. I am trying to be more present, more “in-the-moment”, particularly where the kids are concerned. They are so much fun, especially when I relax and allow myself to laugh at them. This usually involves a bit of extra cleaning on my part, but it’s well worth the effort.

Minor goals for the past year included improving my kitchen skills, which I am happy to report have definitely come along. I have a sufficient mastery of gravy and pan sauces, can roast just about any domestic fowl, and bake apple pies sans recipe– all to my husband’s immense delight. I no longer consult cookbooks for technical things like the proper oven temperature for bread-baking, or a definition of braising versus broiling. Instead, recipes are now springboards for my own concoctions, and usually – usually – they are quite tasty.

Next year, I hope to garden more. Both ornamental and kitchen gardening. I want to get rid of the bulk of our grass lawn and put in a more eco-friendly landscape that requires less fuel to maintain. I also want to grow more of the food we eat. Maybe I will have two vegetable gardens, instead of one tomato plot and one weed plot.

Along the lines of gardening, I want to get outside more next year. Having a new baby meant a lot of indoor time for all of us. Now that DD2 is walking, I have no excuse not to take the kids outside to work and play. DD1 seemed to like digging in the garden, and is excited to see the flowers from the spring bulbs we just planted. I hope to instill an appreciation for growing things in both my girls. Next year is the perfect time to start.

Actually, as in most things, the perfect time to start is now.

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