Saturday, January 1, 2011


I have enjoyed this holiday season so very much. I had little time to prepare and less money to spend, but it was soul satisfying in ways I could not anticipate. I spent precious hours with family and friends and got some much-needed rest. I am relaxed and refreshed and eager to move forward with the rest of my life.


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?

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 egg
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.


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.


Denise said... glad that first list wasn't the REAL list. I don't make resolutions but decided to give it a whirl this year as I too feel pulled in 1000 different directions. As I started to create a list, similar to your BAD list, I realized that I needed to take a step back a focus on my priorities. My priorities are my health, my family, my friends, and my work in that order (a girl can't take care of her family or hang out with her friends if she's sick, tired, or dead). From this I've written a plan that holds these ideals central, while giving me some action points. I've decided it'll be a work in progress and I'll change it as the need arises, so failure will not be an option. 2011 will be a good year...

Pam said...

Well said, Denise. For me, what MUST occur in order for me to feel that 2011 was a success pertains to health, family and friends; my DREAMS for 2011 involve work. And I agree that our plans must be flexible; that's why I'm going to evaluate my progress in six months Yes, 2011 WILL be a good year. Cheers!

Nicki Salcedo said...

If you aren't using the first list I will! Here's to good things on 2011.

Pam said...

Hey Nicki, you are welcome to it! Keep me posted. ;-) Happy 2011!

SAIDFRAZ said...

gonna have to try the Mexican lasagna, it looks delicious. I love your three words, I'm going to have to see if I can come up with some of my own. I made one resolution this year. It's to post one photo on blog every day of the year. Do you think I can do it?

Pam said...

Sherri, I just caught up on your last couple of blog posts, and saw your New Year's resolution; I think it's a great one, and YES, I think you can do it! I will be watching you... ;-)

Tami Brothers said...

Yummy! Those recipes sound wonderful. I'll definitely be trying that lasagna.

I loved your BAD list. Too funny (especially those last ones...grin...).

I also love your new list.

I'm still working on mine. I haven't sat down and put my thoughts on paper yet, but I do plan to do it.

Happy New Year!!!

Pam said...

Yes, Tami, those last two resolutions on my bad list are too crazy to even DREAM about. ;-) But I think the new list will keep me on track throughout the year. Good luck with yours; I don't there is really anything magical about January 1st. What matters is that you formulate your intention, declare it to the universe, and get to work. Happy New Year to you, too!