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Quotidian Ambitions

New Year’s resolutions are in season now. But I always feel a little disingenuous making them. After all who really cares about someone else’s resolutions once it’s not a third grade writing assignment? Also, it sometimes seems like the wrong time of year to be making new beginnings. Everything in nature has gone dormant and I often feel the summons to hunker down with them until spring.

And yet

Something in my psyche needs this shot of motivation after the let down of the holidays. Perhaps instead of dormancy, I ought look at the bare branches and listless patches of ground as a blank slate. Since I squander so many of them, I can use all the new beginnings I can get.

Perhaps it’s just the terminology I struggle with. Resolutions seem so rigid. They resound with do’s and don’t's. By mid-February most of us Resolutes are engaged in some form of double think. That didn’t count because I was tired. It was a special occasion. I won’t do it from now on. New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep precisely because a year is long time to hold to an intention that’s stiffer than a starched collar. I need something more along the lines of a pair of jeans. Something that I can take with me through my days, good, bad, and bland. A list not about guilt but about ambition.

Yes, an ambition. That’s a much better word.

Glad I got that sorted out.

Here’s a peek at my home and hearth list of ambitions for the year:

  1. Make fermentation a habit. So far I’ve only thought of fermenting foods as a way to preserve them. I’d this practice to become more integrated into my kitchen. Inherent to this practice is learning to make some kind of fermented beverage, be it kombucha, kefir, ginger beer, ect.
  2. Learn to sew or knit proficiently. Like, actually be able to make useful things, not just row after row of stitching.
  3. Relearn photography basics. Even though I took a photography class in high school, I can no longer remember exactly what’s meant by words like aperture and focal length. I’d like to reclaim this skill.
  4. Make soap.
  5. Learn to use more organ meat. Other than the occasional liver and onions for dinner (that I’m obligated to warn Mr. Quotidian about at least three days in advance, serve with dessert and sandwich that meal in between other more normal meals to make up for it) I don’t really know how to cook these parts of animals.
  6. Make regular trips to the thrift store. I’ve known for awhile that effective thrifting is habitual thrifting. While there are magnificent treasures out there, they most often go to those who are familiar with the bins, shelves, and racks.
  7. Learn more about traditional Southern food. Not the Crisco and food coloring South, but the way people cooked deep in the South’s history. Places to start my research are Anson Mills and Southern Foodways Alliance.

Posted 11 years, 5 months ago at 5:24 pm. 7 comments

merry and bright

As the holidays fade into ordinary time, these are a few of the moments I’m savoring:

  • watching people’s personalities being imprinted onto gingerbread men
  • private moments of affection in the midst of a crowd
  • the way a simple piece of clothing can carry the weight of family connection
  • music making whether solo or tandem
  • the various qualities of light this time of year–multicolored smudges on the wall from Christmas tree lights, candlelit staining the floor, weak winter sun fading across muted brown tree trunks
  • the omnipresent tree as backdrop for all family activities
  • that one last game before bed
  • tossing coins into the train bed for good luck
  • Baby-tidian’s comfortableness in the many willing baby-holding arms

Posted 11 years, 5 months ago at 8:36 pm. Add a comment