Here are Eric, SeDonna and Nathan at our New Year's Eve dinner.
If you look closely, you can see my dog, Karma, trying to get in on the action.
We had Mexican Lasagna and Spicy Black Bean Salad (recipes follow) and packaged Spanish rice. Everything was delicious, if I do say so myself.
One of my favorite meals.
Donna and I did some beading while the guys played video games; then we watched the countdown in Times Square. I don't know about you, but it warms my heart to see Dick Clark every December 31st, still going strong in spite of everything he has suffered. I totally love, admire and respect that man. After midnight, we played "Apples to Apples" and watched a movie, and finally called it a night about 3AM. I love my family.
This morning, I woke up early and cleaned up from last night and contemplated this blog post and the list of resolutions I need to write. And I have decided not to write one. At least not my typical list. If I did, it would look something like this.
1. Lose 20 pounds.
2. Hire a trainer and exercise at least two hours every day.
3. Write 10,000 words each morning.
4. Have my novel published, become a New York Times best-seller, and chosen as an Oprah Book Club selection.
5. Declutter the entire house, including the garage.
6. Keep the house (and garage) immaculate at all times.
7. Cook a gourmet dinner every evening.
8. Polish and memorize all of Beethoven's piano sonatas and perform them in Carnegie Hall.
9. Meet my knight in shining armor, have a $10,000 wedding, go on a 6-month honeymoon, retire in the south of France.
You know Einstein's definition of insanity, right? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, every year, I make my New Year's resolutions and every year I fail to keep them. Sure, I end up closer to achieving my goals than if I didn't have a plan. But maybe I have been asking myself the wrong questions.
This year, as I make my to-do list every morning, I am going to keep the following in mind.*
What MUST occur in order for me to feel that 2011 was a success?
What is my DREAM for 2011?
What am I WILLING to do to make these things happen?
What am I willing to STOP DOING to make the year a success?
Who is my SUPPORT GROUP?
Who am I ACCOUNTABLE to?
I have actually written this list down, along with my answers, in the front of a shiny, new spiral notebook; this is where I will write my daily goals, too. I think it will help having everything in one place.
I am also intrigued by the thought of a "one-word resolution."** Although I wasn't able to narrow my intention to just one word, I came up with three.
FOCUS: I enjoy doing many things; all of them are worthwhile, but only certain activities will really help me meet my goals and find my dreams. For example, I love knitting, but if I choose to knit instead of write, I will never achieve my goal of being a published novelist.
ABUNDANCE: I tend to imagine that I don't have enough of certain commodities - time, money, love - and forget that there is plenty of everything to go around. There is more to life than mere survival.
REST: I tend to push myself too hard; there are days I might NEED to knit instead of write. Sometimes a change of activity helps get the creative juices flowing again; also, all work and no play makes Pam a crazy person. So I am going to give myself permission to have one unstructured day every week, to engage in interests and hobbies I don't have time for during my regularly scheduled life, or to sleep late and do absolutely nothing if that's what my mind and body craves. And not feel guilty about it at day's end.
Rather than wait until the end of the year to evaluate my progress, I am going to take stock in six months, and determine whether or not any tweaking is necessary.
Do you make New Year's resolutions? If you were to come up with a one-word resolution, what would it be?
And now, here are those recipes.
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (16-ounce) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 can (10-ounce) enchilada sauce
1 can (2.25-ounce) sliced ripe olives
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 corn tortillas
1 cup cottage cheese (small curd)
1/2 pound jack cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
Brown first two ingredients. Blend in tomatoes, enchilada sauce, drained ripe olives, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Meanwhile cut tortillas in half, and combine cottage cheese with egg. Then spread 1/3 of meat sauce in greased 13 X 9 pan. Top with half of jack cheese and half of cottage cheese mixture, then half of tortilla halves, smoothing each in even layers; sprinkle 1/3 of cheddar cheese on top. Repeat layering, ending with layer of meat sauce topped with cheddar cheese. If desired, sprinkle finely crushed corn chips on top of all (I don't do this). Bake uncovered in 350-degree oven 20-25 minutes. Let stand before cutting.
SPICY BLACK BEAN SALAD
3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red onion, minced
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/3-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon papper
Combine all and refrigerate.
Let me know if you try either of them!
*Inspired by Amy Ahler's blog post, "Countdown to 2011." Click HERE.
**Inspired by Christine Kane's blog post, "Resolution Revolution." Click HERE.