A resolution of real strength

by Jason Tudor  

My friend Nadine did not have a good 2010.

For the better part of the year, she lay in a hospital bed fighting cancer.  Few people came to visit Nadine and even fewer called, so she sat alone with nothing but television and the hum of fluorescent lights to keep her company. At home, her husband, a military officer, worked an aggressive schedule hampered by, well, military life -- extra hours and the personal sacrifice needed to keep military units moving.  In between, military temporary duty assignments would pull him away from home, Nadine's hand and their two sons, aged 3 and 5. Eventually, Dad's home life got more steady and he marched into the washing, teaching and hugging chores at night and everywhere else where Nadine could not. 

Some days, Nadine's Facebook status updates reflected her struggles: "...feel like a huge, huge truck ran over me today....need a nap, or two......" Somewhere in between, her husband's stepfather died and Nadine had knee surgery, but even in the toughest times, her Facebook status updates reflected what was most positive about her fight: "Life is good, even when things are really, really hard..." and "..it's hitting me pretty bad this time...oh well, like I always say...could be worse..." and "...another rough day, but I'll keep going ...." 

While Nadine fought her own battle with cancer, her sons endured similar hardships. Nadine's youngest son fought a condition that threatened to damage his spinal cord. He struggled through pain, MRIs and other medical tests. Meanwhile her oldest son's best friend, just 4, fought a similar battle with cancer -- and lost. He struggled through radiation and chemotherapy. At one point, they thought the boy was cancer free, but died this month.

Fortunately for Nadine and her family, the end of the year was better than the beginning. She fought her way out of the hospital, her cancer in remission and got to see her oldest son dress as a pilgrim during a Thanksgiving school play. She makes the 20-minute drive to school to see him off to school each morning. She's become a voracious runner and an even greater advocate of living her life.

Nadine (not her real name) is by no means, out of the woods. But she is alive, happy and has put 2010 behind her. For those who've given up on New Year's resolutions because they didn't have the "strength" or willpower to lose weight, write more, cut down on sweets or trim television viewing, take a moment and think about how many resolutions Nadine and those close to her might have lost if she hadn't had the strength to stay alive. 

Thankfully, her 2011 will be better for it.

Jason Tudor is an American writer and illustrator who lives in Bavaria. More of his writing can be found at his website.


The Dance

In late 2009 my little family unit suffered a tragedy that made me question everything – life, faith, you name it and I questioned it.

However, as the weeks wore on, I began to hear faint traces of music in my heart. I didn’t find it in the sterile silent confines of the politically-correct hospital chapel. I found it in simple kindness. The cafeteria worker who gave me the biggest slice of cake. The nurse who didn’t make me leave at the end of visiting hours. The post office clerk who kept my mail safe. A sincere and thoughtful gift from a co-worker. Those small acts of decency reconnected my heart and anchored my soul.

As 2009 gave way to 2010 I resolved two things.

First, I would be kind and show my gratitude. No act was too small for a sincere “thank you.” For all I knew they were in the same throes as I and needed the healing power of a kind word. It worked. I received my reward in tired smiles and extra black olives on my sandwich at Subway. 

Next, I would learn to dance. Not the Hula or the Hustle, the world doesn’t need to see that (although my business building has a long aisle that is perfect for E Street Band air guitar and sax performances). Instead, I would listen to the music in my heart and follow wherever it leads.

The result? Micro-adventures that make the journey worthwhile. I blog. I laugh. I write. I freelance. I reach out on Facebook and connect with others. I go to lunch. In short, I dance.

While I was caught in the grind of being a care-giver and the burden of carrying on the family business alone, 2010 faded into 2011. However, my two resolutions continue to serve me well. So, I added a few more.

I resolved to give gifts and help unselfishly and to receive gifts and help humbly.

I resolved to care less about appearances and fashion and more about substance and sincerity.

I resolved to guard my own health and strength as the precious commodities that they are.

I resolved to continually challenge myself, reinvent myself and not accept the status quo.

And if none of that does the trick, doughnuts . . . lots of doughnuts.



by Amy Mullis

According to a local expert, who happened to be eating meatloaf at my dinner table the other night right before we flunked out of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” and went to bed early, there are a hundred billion billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.

That’s about how many shoes I tried on with my “shoe buddy” when we took our last stress-reliever trip to the discount store for footwear.  And approximately the number of times I opened the door today for the dog to go out.  And in.  And out.  And also about how many times I told the kids to TURN DOWN THE TV before I sent the whole widescreen mess, complete with DVD player, Xbox, and Wii Sports into orbit.  If my New Year’s Resolutions involved patience, I shot that list down with an outerspace-bound video game controller.

It’s not that I expect the boys to do what I say the first time.  I am painfully aware of how the restrictions of my generation bind their tender psyches.  Since society has massaged us out of the “beat some sense into him” school of discipline, and I’ve found that “trial by time out” is not effective at my house, I’ve resorted to a cleverly orchestrated system of limitations and groundings as a way to enforce house rules.

The way Son Two reacted when I restricted the recreational use of chocolate around the house was pitiful to see.  It’s not that I don’t indulge in the occasional Butterfinger binge myself.  And I’ll admit to more than a passing acquaintance with the Nestle Quick bunny.

But this kid has taken up temporary residence with a cousin who still has leftover Christmas candy and is allowed to use it any way he likes without any sort of parental supervision or quality testing at all.  The thought of what they’re up to with the peanut butter balls is distressing to say the least.  Don’t think I’m not considering checking all the social media sites for unauthorized activity.

I’ve also considered restricting random use of exercise videos, but the physical exertion the children get from the spasmodic giggling contortions they experience when I attempt a Downward Dog is the only thing that keeps them from being listed as a hairball on the President’s Physical Fitness list.

The mostly effective restriction is likely to be a ban on zombie killing.  But somehow that seems unfair to the rest of us who are ever at risk from the ravaging hordes of the zombie apocalypse.  Who wants to be the person who throws the world’s population, defenseless, into the path of the undead?  Not me, I’m sure.

So, if anybody besides me is wrestling with the idea of chucking it all and taking up residence at the shoe store at the mall, come along.   It’s the last place the zombies will look.

Come join me at Mind Over Mullis. I'm searching for myself. I'll probably find myself munching Oreos over in Aisle 5 at the Piggly Wiggly.


I Resolve to Not Resolve

by Angie Mansfield
I don't like to brag, but it's only the end of January and I've already fulfilled my resolutions for the year.

See, I don't go for the traditional resolutions; while everyone else is vowing to lay off cigarettes, overeating, and kicking small children, I am making more realistic promises to myself. That way, I can avoid the self-loathing that comes from breaking down and having that first cigarette, eating that first Snickers bar, and chasing that first eight-year-old down the block.

No, no impossible resolutions for me. Instead, I made only three resolutions this year, and knocked them all out in the first three weeks, leaving myself the rest of the year totally guilt-free.

I can smile smugly while the smoking-quitter starts snorting the contents of every ash tray he comes across and goes dumpster-diving for butts. I can roll my eyes in a superior manner while the newly-minted fitness buff drags herself out of bed to "work out" exactly three times before giving up in shame. I can tsk-tsk in disapproval as the cranky old man next door sits scowling at the neighborhood children on their way to school, his feet twitching every time one of them strays an inch onto his lawn, until finally he can take no more and chases them down the street with his cane raised overhead.

All of their resolutions are the result of good intentions, and we all know where those lead. So while making my resolutions this year, I cut out good intentions altogether and went instead for "easy and vaguely evil."

I'm sure you're dying of curiosity, wondering what my resolutions were this year. I'd love to tell you, but you see, that would be violating the "vaguely evil" part of my plot--er, resolutions. But be assured that I have accomplished them all.

Now, if you'll excuse me, the neighbors aren't going to silently judge themselves. Happy New Year, indeed.

Angie Mansfield swears she is only slightly deranged, but her friends and family say differently. She lives wherever her trusty Chevy Malibu takes her, with only her dog and a cranky jade plant named Fred for company. You can visit her at the Wandering Zebra or the Zebra Rag, both of which she updates when she darn well feels like it.


Urban Dogsledding

“Mush! Mush!” I whipped the leash, urging the beast faster.

He pushed harder, legs pumping, finding purchase on the ice. A heavy mist surrounded his head, billowing like a halo in time with his panting. His ears lay flat against his head and a thick froth covered his mouth.

We sailed over the tundra, trees and hills and vegetation buried from last night’s snowfall. The crisp air burned my lungs but I forced a deep breath. The next turn would decide our fate.

I bent lower, hunched behind the creature. Previous attempts had ended in disaster -- a collision with a tree, a busted lead, and worst of all, a surprise attack from the natives – but I was determined to make it to the end of the line.

“Faster!” I cried.

Our speed increased, the turn approaching too fast. A quick tug left and we entered the turn, muscles and tendons and fingernails straining against the centrifugal force that threatened to topple us into the snowbank on the side of the trail.

Almost there…

His ragged breathing reached my ears and I loosened the lead. We’d made it. No sign of—

“Hi Melanie!” My neighbor waved from his driveway, a plastic shovel resting on his shoulder. “Nice day for a walk, eh?”

“Hi Bob, sure is.” I pulled on the leash, slowing my dog to a gentle trot.

We’d have to try again tomorrow.


Local Procrastinators Anonymous leader makes resolutions... for others

by Rhonda Schrock

A new year has begun.  A fresh chapter waits to be written, along with my goals for the year. 

I like goals, see, but I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions.  For the most part, they don’t seem to work.  If I were, however, this would be a prime example of what I, as a responsible citizen, should make one about.  But because I’m a procrastinator and proud leader of the local PA (Procrastinators Anonymous), the list remains blank. 

This whole procrastinating deal is just ripe for a firm, strongly-worded resolution.  Interesting things happen when it shows up in the laundry room, for instance.  Let’s say ‘someone’ is getting ready to go to work at a local restaurant and suddenly realizes that none of his uniforms have been washed.  Panic sets in.  Inside of 30 seconds, he has convened a one-man tribunal, and the head laundress is tried, convicted, and court-martialed.  Never mind that he is a muscular, able-bodied young man.  I’m about to be hung. 

Or let’s say Mr. Schrock is getting ready to run and discovers that his favorite running suit is still in the hamper.  Oops!  Clearly, his recycling tendencies come to a screeching halt in front of the washer.  When I suggested he try this, he stared at me as if I’d sprouted a third eyeball.  And when I offered him a fresh pair of jeans to run in, he simply went back to waving his arms in the air, which, I noted, were whole and unbroken. 

He, on the other hand, has made two resolutions – to lose weight and to get more sleep.  If I were into resolutions, this would be a great place to start.  After all, if toddlers start crying and small dogs set to barking when you back up, something should be done. 

What would really be fun, however, is if, for one year, we could make resolutions for other people.  Now, I could get into that.  Here’s how my list would begin. 

“I resolve that heretofore sons one, two, and three shall quit running the 50-gallon hot water heater dry.  Effective immediately, all showers shall be of moderate duration.  There’s no need to shower through another birthday.  I simply refuse to serve cake and ice cream under the shower head. 

Furthermore, all baths shall be no more than six inches deep.  This is not Sea World and you are not dolphins. 

To make this whole deal more fun, I resolve that you shall adopt your cousins’ strategy and make a contest out of it.  Using their trusty stopwatch, they have set a record of two men racing through the shower and presenting downstairs in their PJs in 2 minutes and 7 seconds.  If you want to see your mother speechless for once, beat that. 

 Lastly, I resolve that Mr. Schrock and his eldest son and heir shall, using their four perfectly good arms, learn to run the washer so that I no longer have to face the firing squad should I forget to launder certain very special garments.  This would greatly improve my life expectancy and my stress level.  Thank you for cooperating.  You may sign right here.”

Disclaimer: As no scratch-n-sniff test was applied to the nephews, their level of cleanliness cannot be verified.  At least they got wet, and that’s the point. 

Rhonda is a working-from-home mother of four sons, a weekly columnist, and a professional blogger.  To read more of her tribal adventures, visit her blog, The Natives are Getting Restless.    


Resolution 2011 - The Cone of Silence

by Stacey Graham

My resolution was simple. Get more writing done while still being Mother Extraordinaire to Daughter #5. She's the last one home and when she boards that giant Twinkie of a school bus next August I'll have books to write and blogs to pen. But until then, I need a little help, thus The Cone of Silence. I've upgraded since the last pair but the concept is the same: a visual signal to my offspring that when the Cone of Silence headphones are on my head -- no pleas for juice, telling me that the dog has once again rolled in raccoon poo, or that while picking their nose they've poked their brain. It can wait until I finished a chapter. Unless it's the raccoon poo.

Vyolette Stella has different ideas about my resolution. When she sees the Cone of Silence headphones on and me seated at my desk, it's her signal that I'm suddenly working a drive-thru and desperately needs her order.

:: Grabbing mic ::

"Hello! I would like to order a pizza. A pizza with pineapples, and two cakes, a seahorse, and Justin Beiber. And a Diet Coke."

"Beiber? Vyo, I need to work on this. Can we play later?"


"What was that?"

"I can't hear you. You need to talk into the speaker thing."

"A mic." I adjust the mic to be near my mouth and not inside hers. "Vy, how about you work on a puzzle until I'm done with this one page?"

"HONEY! I need that pizza quick! I'm dyiiiiiiiiiiing here." She clutches her stomach and rolls on the floor, only to be licked by the dog. "Send help. Fading fast."

"Vyolette..." Grabbing the headphones off my head, she wandered the room.

"Hello. We need a chicken order... Hey Mom, this isn't plugged in.... And some salmon and a Christmas tree so we can blast off. We need a CHICKEN!"

So the writing part of the resolution is taking a little more effort on my part but the headphones work – at least until she finds that Christmas tree.

Stacey enjoys long walks, sleeping, and zombie poetry. She is the author of The Zombie Dating Guide, and the new website: Coffeehouse of the Damned. Stacey isn't above begging for votes for her Austen-inspired short story, Willoughby's Boogie Nights at BadAusten.com.


Dangerous Donuts


            “Honey, come quick,” I shrieked to my husband, Kevin.” That couple in the car across the road is in trouble.”

            Standing at our picture window of our living room, I clamped both hands over my mouth to keep from sobbing. My heart hammered in fear, a contrast to the serene blanket of snow on the lawn.

            When we relocated from Los Angeles to Paris, Illinois three months earlier to pastor a rural church, we were surprised at the differences in culture. The stores displayed Udder Balm at the checkout counter in place of breath mints. Gas stations sold mulch right alongside the antifreeze. People waved as we passed their tractors on the highway and spoke to us at the farmers’ market, even though we were strangers.

But no kind greeting or wave could’ve prepared us for the harrowing scene taking place before us now. This was culture shock at its worst.

             Careening out of control just fifty yards from our house, the car was a flash of red and silver atop the frosty ground. Our eyes stayed frozen to the window for several seconds, watching the horror unfold. But, what could we do? All of our urban savvy was worthless to this couple, spinning on the snow like a child’s top. I grabbed the only weapon I knew how to use, and bawled out a prayer:

            “Lord, deliver those people,” I shouted. “They need Your help right now, before they die, or flip onto the highway and hurt some…”

            Kevin placed a hand on my arm to interrupt my hysteria.

            “Wait, Jeanette. Look over there, opposite from the car. There’s another one spinning in circles, going the reverse direction. I wonder if they could be doing that on purpose. Do you think it’s some sort of winter game they play around here?”

            Squinting to focus, I realized he was right. The cars faced each other, revolving in opposite directions, like two steel monsters dancing to the music of “Winter Wonderland.” For several minutes they whirled, grinding their tires into the gravel. Picking up speed, their chrome bumpers reflected light from the pristine ground cover. When they’d reduced the snow to a slushy rut, they stopped. Paused. The drivers appeared to sigh in contentment. And off they blazed, leaving us to stare at each other, befuddled.

            The following morning, I worked for several hours before I gathered courage to ask my co-worker what we’d seen the day before. I certainly didn’t want her to discover how dumb we city transplants were. She made it easy for me by reading my thoughts.

            “You live six miles south of town, don’t you? I bet you get a lot of teenagers coming out your way after it snows, doing donuts. It’s safer out there, away from the highway” she explained.

            I shook my head and grinned. “That’s what you call it: donuts?” 
“Yeah,” she chuckled, “young people do it for fun when there’s a good snow. It’s pretty harmless. Just our method of keeping the boredom away during a long winter. I should have warned you about it. If someone from the city saw that for the first time, it might scare the stuffin’ out of them!”

            “Yeah, it just might,” I replied, trying to sound nonchalant. 

            Since that first winter’s excitement eleven years ago, I believe Kevin and I have adjusted well to rural living. We buy our mulch at the Speedy Fuel and say “hello” to people we’ve never met. But, I may never get used to donuts in the snow, rather than my coffee!


Reluctant Athlete

by Carole Lee

Anyone who has seen me in action knows that sports and I are not a safe combination. I am so uncoordinated, I make a bouncing football look like the Bolshoi Theater. I once tried out for a softball team. After taking out half the outfield and three parents in the stands, the coach pulled me aside and suggested I try something a little less dangerous like competitive sleeping. Turns out, the rules of dodge ball and softball are entirely different. With my history of deficient athletic prowess, voluntarily entering a sporting event is just about as appealing as a slab of bacon to a failed Atkins dieter. Unfortunately, every January I find myself in my own special Winter Triathlon.

Sidewalk Skating / Interpretive Dance Combo
I rarely salt, sweep or otherwise prepare my front steps or sidewalk for safe passage in winter. Of course the moment a perfect sheet of ice has formed outside, I remember something I absolutely must have. This means leaving the house. The top step launches me into a slipping, sliding, twisting convulsion down the sidewalk. My neighbors have posted scorecards in their front yards. Yesterday, I earned a perfect 10 for unsurpassed originality and the most successful flailing/flapping combo ever before seen. Good thing plowing into my car is considered a perfect landing.  

Gas Pump Jitterbug
If the temperature is below zero, it’s a safe bet you can find me at a gas pump without a coat, hat or gloves. Pumping gas is as fast and furious a winter sport as ice hockey, but not quite as fun as a puck upside the head. Points are earned for successfully inserting the nozzle into the gas tank with shaking hands, jumping up and down for warmth and keeping my frozen nose attached to my face until I am back in the car. I earn a Hat Trick for skating and interpretive dancing to the office window when my card doesn’t work at the pump. 

Grocery Store Slalom 
By far, the most competitive winter sport in my area is grocery shopping the night before a predicted snow. If it’s a flurry or a foot, the grocery store will be packed with people and buggies frantically stocking up and jockeying for position at the checkout. Two nights ago, a woman buying the entire produce section, 3 cows, 5 gallons of milk and three loaves of bread eyed me as I ducked past. I lunged into an opening at the speedy checkout, bought my frozen pizza and Pepsi and made it out of the store alive before her precision eye-darts hit me in the back. I earned extra points the next morning when the whole town woke to clear roads and sunshine.
So while softball is out of the question and I will never run a marathon, wintertime brings a triathlon of winter sports where even I can excel. As yet, emergency room visits have not been required, but the season is still young.


Ice Capades

by Sara Spock-Carlson
I haven’t been ice skating in years. I could easily say that the opportunity hasn’t come up or that I don’t have many friends who like to skate, but I’d be lying. Ice skating is a winter tradition in my family. Hockey, figure skating, we love it all. My siblings and I used to walk miles through the frozen wasteland of suburban New Jersey to reach our favorite little skating spot. We’d pack a thermos of tea and skate for hours on treacherous patches of a half-frozen river.  The spins, lutzes, salchows, lunges, and lifts weren’t learned techniques, but a byproduct of trying to find the most secure section of ice. A half a dozen neighborhood kids would leap from one scrap to another, tossing the smaller kids over watery gaps, in hopes that no one landed ankle deep. 

Through all of our death defying feats, I don’t remember anyone getting hurt. That came later, when we moved our ice capades to an indoor arena. Balanced on one skate with the other high above my head, one might say my execution was flawless. My choice in partner however, wasn’t. Sure, he was cute, but his klutz skills would put Don Knotts to shame.

When he tripped the first time, I should have disengaged to lock and load with another cohort. But I let it go with a teeny bopper giggle and we tried again. His second fumble jostled us forward and he completely lost his footing, forcing me to the ice. My support leg was the first to hit the ice, but it didn’t break until a spindly mass of awkward 16 year old boy landed on top of it. He blushed and moved off, offering a hand to help me up while attempting to keep his footing. The angst and embarrassment could have been endearing if an ostrich hadn’t just laid an egg on my knee cap. Six months of recovery, including various forms of casts, immobilizers, braces, and physical therapy, made me rethink winter family traditions and clumsy, cute boys.

Skiing, anyone?

Sara Spock-Carlson is a mom, wife, anthropology student, lab assistant, English tutor, and freelance writer.  Sara can be found hiding at her green-living blog or at the Sex Lab.  No, that’s not what we’re calling it these days.

Image credit: flickr.com


Resolute in my Failure

Since it's January, and I'm approaching a big ole turn in the road that is my life (that there is an understatement), I thought I'd try and stick to some resolutions this year. Problem is that I'll fail. I always do, often catastrophically.
I always start with the best of intentions, but as many of you know, intentions are slippery little buggers. As soon as you turn your back, they've slipped out back for a smoke and a game of hacky sack. Damn hippies.
So, for your delight and delectation, I shall not only give you my list of resolutions, but also tell you how and when I will fail them. Partly because I like the sound of my own voice, and partly because Stacey said she'd hit me with a zombie if I don't do this or 'winter sports'. Pfft, please. I'm a writer. I don't do the S word.

Sports, not-- Never mind.

Where was I? Oh.

1. Write a bare minimum of 2,000 words a day. (Facebook, Twitter and emails to celebrities do not count.)

This will be failed on January the fourth at around three thirty in the afternoon, when I look at how much I've done so far and think, "Awesome! That's nearly ten percent of a first draft right there! That deserves a day or twelve of browsing the internet while listening to geeky podcasts." Some guilt will be felt.

2. Get fit, in readiness for my trip across the high seas. Well, 30,000 feet above 'em anyway.

On January the 17th, after more than two weeks of walking around the block and pedalling on the cross trainer, I'll decide it's rather cold outside/in the garage, and my time would be much better spent eating chocolate. After all, it's been a long time since I've had a cold, and I don't want to push my luck. There will be a little guilt, but that's what the chocolate is for.

3. Read more books in genres other than fantasy and comedy to expand writing horizons. Note - Cereal boxes do not count.

"Where the hell are the dragons/magical swords/turnips?!" Date of failure - January first. Guilt will last the time it takes to open a real book.

Thankfully it's the thought that counts. Right?


Happy New Year, peeps.



Resolution Redux

by Beth Bartlett

It's that post-holiday time of year, when every third commercial is about dieting, gym memberships, or unbelievably buff people touting exercise machines that cost more than my first car. After a few days of these spots, I start thinking about resolutions for the new year. Maybe fitness would be a good place to start, I ponder. Something besides tummy crunches. I make a few pseudo-kung-fu moves.

"Hee-ah!" I try out a kick in front of the television. It feels impressive. I try a couple more, a little bit louder. "Hwah! Hoo-hah! Hee-ah!"

Suddenly I hear my husband's voice from the next room. "I'm hearing weird sounds," he says. "Did the cat just throw up?"

Okay, maybe fitness isn't my strongest suit. I could work more, but I already spend enough time at the desk to have a pitiful lack of hobbies. The last fiction I read was a brochure at the doctor's office touting the joys of broccoli. And while I do watch TV, I don't think George Lopez can count as a viable pastime.

Maybe it's a good year to get organized. First, I'll need a pencil, some paper, and a new calendar. I begin searching through old Barnes & Noble bags for the calendar. No luck. My husband suggests I look in the filing cabinet. Ha! That man and his crazy notions. However, sometimes he does have an occasional helpful thought. I open the filing cabinet gingerly, just in case a giant spider has taken up residence in there since the last time I filed papers. Instead, I find lots of other cool stuff, like a box of dried-up ink pens from 2002, a box of stuck-together envelopes, and three pristine calendars, still in the shrink-wrap. Eureka! I take a closer look at the date. Two of the calendars are for 2001, and the other is for 1999. Undeterred, I open the box of pens, take one, and do the zero scribble on an envelope for about three minutes. I'm encouraged by bits of blue appearing in the grooved circles, so I consider my calendar options, then go with the 1999 Scooby-Doo calendar, a classic. I begin scribbling in potential goals on each month, like "Write best-seller" and "Find good tuna recipe."

Just then, my own personal Scrooge peeks over my shoulder. "You know, that calendar is sadly out of date."

"Don't stomp on my dreams," I reply, writing in a note to lose hubby's socks in March.

He shakes his head and leaves, mumbling something about institution and commitment. It gives me such a warm glow when he talks about our marriage, so I carve in (the pen has quit working by this time) a reminder to lose only half of his socks; this gives him a foot to stand on. My goals now set, I wander back to the living room, wait for the Ab-Killer commercial to end, then relax with a well-deserved glass of wine. I think it's wine, anyway. I do vaguely remember buying some grape juice last July. I sip delicately from my plastic Shrek glass, comforted by the fact that the new year is all planned out, and I've got everything under control. I ignore the giant crash from the kitchen, followed by a plaintive 'Meow?' Yep, everything's under control. Best of all, George Lopez is coming up next.

This essay originally ran on Beth's personal blog, www.plaidearthworm.com, in December 2007.


The New Year’s Refusal

Nu uh.


No way.

I’m not going to do it this year. I refuse. I will not get sucked in. Every year I do and every year I fail at it, miserably, on the very first day. The. Very. First. Day.

Naturally, I’m talking about making New Year’s Resolutions. Every year I make the same grandiose plans that most every other woman makes: eat healthier, lose weight, exercise more, dun dun dun…go on a diet. And like I said, I fail every time. Every. Time.

I have a great excuse, though. My birthday is New Year’s Day. The day we’re supposed to start the year with a clean slate and the high expectations of accomplishing our resolutions this year, I’m celebrating with cake, pizza, and all the largesse that a birthday is required to have. Talk about blowing the slate clear out of the water -- mine is circling in the atmosphere somewhere.

Sure you ask, “Why can’t you start on January 2nd?” Easy. I’m too stubborn and filled with OCD. Whenever I start something new it has to be the first day of the week, the first day of the month, or yes, the first day of the year. I find I have the most successes when I start in May -- whichever first I happen to land on.

Why can’t New Years be May 1st instead? Is that too much to ask?

So this year my resolution is to not make a single one…


I’ve failed again.

Image credit: parentsconnect.com