New Year’s Resolutions, Traditions and Memories

When I was a kid, I would spend all of the New Year holiday listening to Casey Kasem do his Top 40 countdown (based on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart), trying to guess which song would take top prize. Would it be my song or would I be disappointed? I probably started listening in 1984. That year the song of the year was Prince’s When Doves Cry. I was probably rooting for either Quiet Riot (24 weeks on the charts) or Pat Benatar (21 weeks on the charts) but I can understand now why Prince won. Or at least I think I can . . .

The novelty of this tradition probably wore off around the time I started high school, so 1992. There were some really good songs that came out of this year and some really bad songs. Just think of the difference between Radiohead’s Creep and Boys II Mens’ End of the Road or Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Under the Bridge and Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back. Just look at this list of popular songs from 1992 All that garbage and then one gem, all the way down in position #20.

This was the year I gave up “pop radio” to some extent but I was living in Nebraska and they aren’t exactly known for their music scene so I did the best I could, buying my music at Twister’s in Lincoln. *Side Note- Twister’s must be gone now, a quick Google search just brought me a radio station based in Omaha and a few balloon twisting professionals’ sites. Actually, Metallica’s black would have come out the year before and I remember going to Twister’s to buy it only to be HUGELY disappointed so maybe I gave up pop radio before that. But anyway, the topic of this post it tradition and memory, not musical tastes . . .

In 2000 I was working as a bartender in Alabama. We had stocked up on several cases of fine champagne for the event but were nervous about Y2K. Would it keep people at home? IT DID! Well, in Alabama anyway, not sure about your neck of the woods but when we were expecting a crowd of about 300-400 people and had a total of SIX people (2 of them employees) in the bar at 11:45 we were panicked. We had even hired Duke Ellington’s nephew to come and play jazz (not cheap). I’m pretty sure I lost money that night after making maybe 10 bucks in tips and then going across the street to my watering hole, Head on the Door.

I remember they were slow as all get out too- the two bartenders (the same two still work there) were sitting out front in lawn chairs, as if to make a point. Hard to believe I once lived some place that allowed you to sit outside in a lawn chair on Jan 1st and now I live somewhere that currently has over a foot of snow on the ground. Anyway, after midnight had come and gone, the place did eventually fill up a bit and get somewhat wild, but nothing like what was expected. People really must have thought that anything computer-related was going to implode!

Most of my other memories from New Year’s don’t really amount to much. Yeah, I drank like everyone else but when I used to drink, there was no difference between New Year’s and any other night- I always managed to get sloshed. Now that I have been sober for 5 years I enjoy my New Year’s much more even if they do only consist of a game of Scrabble and some fancy snacks.

My family is so different from my husband’s. We were just talking the other day about what food we might have for the last “meal” of the year (you know, before all the faux dieting starts!?) and he shrugged his indifference as usual. I told him that we always had Velveeta cheese and tortilla chips in my family- an indulgence granted just once a year (processed cheese being a big no-no in any health conscience family I would assume). He sort of thinks I’m crazy, my husband. He says I must have been raised in a missile silo or on a commune but really I wouldn’t do anything different. I’m thinking he grew up with processed cheese being a staple in his home so to him Velveeta at the party would not be a big deal. So I bought him some fancy cheese from Ireland and myself some fancy oyster and wood ear mushrooms to roll into my eggrolls and we’ll start our own food traditions.

So this brings me to food and New Year’s resolutions. I just love the idea of a fresh start. A lot of people say to themselves no more cupcakes. Several thousands I imagine say NO MORE SMOKING and to that I say, “I wish you the best of luck!!” and “You can do it!” If there is any resolution I hope people keep, it is the one that costs them money to give themselves cancer!

There is research that proves that if you tell other people your resolutions, you are more likely to have success in keeping them. So here are mine (in order of importance):

#1 Put more time into planning meals for my family. Josh and I really don’t agree on what food we eat. I would eat vegetarian tacos every day if I could and he likes strange things like “chow mein hot dish” and the only thing chow mein about it are those terrible-for-you crunchies which are placed on top as a garnish. Also, I am not native to Minnesota so I struggle with this concept of “hot dish”.  My resolution is to put more time and effort into researching healthy food that the whole family can agree on.

#2 Put more effort into fixing up our house. We are going on three years here now and we have yet to paint it (which is the first thing we said we would do) or replace the windows, shingles, and other things that should have been done when we moved in. Yes, a lot of it is financial, but if I cut out say DIET COKE or some other evil I could probably save enough money to paint the house- it’s pretty tiny!

#3 Put more effort into the garden this year. I was off the hook somewhat last year since I had a baby at the end of May but this year I have no excuse. Oh, and we need to can too. It would be nice right now if we could open up a jar of jam from our summer strawberries or open up a ziplock bag of frozen sweet corn!

#4 Spend less time on the computer and more time reading this giant stack of books next to me! Yeah, we’ll see how that goes . . .

#5 Buy quality over quantity! No more impulse buys because “it was cheap”. I can’t count how many pairs of winter boots I have been through and just got rid of because they were cheap and sucked. Spend the extra money, get what will work and LAST!

#6 Schedule time to clean (so that I do it) and get organized. I’m tired of living in a dump and I fear turning into a pack-rat.

#7 Reduce the amount of chemicals used in the house and study up on cancer-causers.

That’s it! This will probably go down as my longest blog post ever. The carpal tunnel is certainly flaring up (see resolution #4). I wish you all a happy New Year and here’s hoping we all keep our resolutions (for at least a week)!