Monday, January 7, 2008


You’ve all heard the statistics about the increase in suicides, divorces and anti-depressant prescriptions during the month of January. And is it any wonder? Look at what we do to ourselves.

*We swear off chocolate at the exact time our bodies’ serotonin levels are at their lowest
*We go on diets just when our ancestral memories are telling us to eat, eat, eat in order to build up that fat layer that will keep us from freezing during the months ahead
*And speaking of freezing, we start that new exercise program when the predicted highs are in the twenties and the wind chill off the lake is –excuse me??– minus 12? I don’t think so!!
* We decide to give up drinking– all drinking– at a time when every fireplace you pass calls for a glass of wine. Believe me, curling up at the end of a long day with a good book and a glass of ginger ale just isn’t the same.

If we keep our resolutions, we’re miserable. If we break them, we’re failures. Combine this with the lack of daylight, the afore-mentioned wind-chills, and the inevitable holiday letdown, and it’s a wonder that the whole of western civilization doesn’t simply join hands and walk into the ocean on January 2.

So this year my resolutions (which any life coach worth her fee would insist we call goals) are a bit more practical. In addition to a daily dose of chocolate --which should go without mentioning-- they are:

*To pause at the end of every day to watch the sun set. When I first moved into the old barn, this was a ritual that filled me with an almost transcendental delight. With a western exposure and what real-estate agents like to call a "270 degree close and distant layered mountain view" it seemed almost criminal not to take a glass of wine to the deck at the top of the hill and simply sit, for the 15-20 minutes it takes the sky to pass through all the shades of the color wheel, and say "Thank you, thank you, thank you." I was shocked to note, when flipping through some of my old journals, that it has been close to eight years since I sat and worshiped a sun set. What happened? Trees grew, partially obscuring my view. Deck boards rotted. Cement trucks came and violated the serenity of my woods. But guess what? The mountains are still there, distant and layered. The sun still sets and turns the sky shades of magenta and cerulean and lemon and peach that the greatest artists who have ever lived could only dream about capturing on canvas or film. And this year, it’s mine.
*To dance once a week. True confessions, here: originally my resolution was to dance every day. I love dancing. It shouldn’t be hard. But sometimes the frantic pace we are forced to live–yes, even in Paradise-- takes precedence even over the things we love. Not right. Not fair. Wish it could be different. But let’s get real. I hope to dance every day. I resolve to dance once a week.
*To learn a new skill. This has actually been one resolution I have made– and kept– every year since I was thirty. One year I learned to sew. Another year I learned to make jewelry, and yet another I learned yoga. Another year I learned to oil paint. (Please note that nowhere do I claim to have learned any of these skills well). This year I will learn to belly dance. That is to say, I will take one lesson. We’ll see how it goes.
*To eat more macaroni and cheese. I firmly believe that comfort foods, particularly during these dark winter months, are the key to happiness. To that end, here is a recipe I came up with the other night when there really wasn’t much of anything else in the kitchen. Tell me how you like it!

Three-Cheese Macaroni

Prepare pasta according to package directions to measure two cups cooked (try using a mixture of pastas–angel hair, spinach noodle, penne for different texture and taste)
Melt 2 tbs butter in a 1 quart saucepan
Add 1/4 cup flour and stir
Salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/4 cup sharp white cheddar
1/4 cup shredded swiss cheese
Cook and stir over low heat until cheeses are melted and mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat.
In a small buttered casserole dish layer half the pasta. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated cheddar. Pour half the cheese sauce over this. Top with remaining pasta, remaining cheese sauce, and a mixture of ½ cup cheddar and 1/3 cup bread crumbs. Dot with butter.
Bake at 350 until bubbly and golden brown, app. 20 minutes

Approximately 4 servings
Calories per serving: If you have to ask, you can’t afford them


  © 2008 'Ladybird' by

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