Saturday, January 07, 2023

Out With The Old And In With The New


It feels pretty late to tell everyone to have a Happy New Year. Also, it feels a bit prescriptive and even silly. Of course I want you all to have a Happy New Year. I also wish you had a Happy Old Year; did anyone? Someday this coming week, I need to sit down and really look back at 2022 and see if it was a Good Year. Lots of people bitched about it pretty solidly near the end, and I wonder if it was as bad as all that. 

(I did manage to end the year with one minor fall--up my basement steps with my arms full of stuff--right on my face. The first thing I did was check my teeth. They were intact--hooray!--but I split my lip. I put ice on it immediately, so I just looked like I had a collagen injection. Talk about 2022 going out with a bang, huh?)

This is also That Time Of Year when everyone's Spirit Of Resolve plucks up again, and we decide upon Guide Words or Programs or Philosophies that we hope will make us happier, better, or more purposeful going forward. As I always say, I am on a Continuous Path Of Self Improvement, so I don't usually use January 1st as an impetus for change or growth. Often, just ushering Christmas out the door makes me feel such a vast sense of Relief and Renewal that I get a rush of energy and a lift of my mood. I feel the urge to get things organized. I'm ready to throw things away.

(I have to tell you:  one thing I threw out was the remainder of a batch of Christmas Crack I made. Do you know of this stuff? It's aptly named. I was eating it for lunch, snacks, and anytime I passed the refrigerator. It's addictively wonderful. The day I dumped it in the trash can outdoors was liberating. I may never, ever make it again.)

We enjoyed some uncharacteristically warm weather for several days, and I was able to air out the entire house in January, and go walking in just a sweater. We were in the low sixties, and I was in heaven. My parsley perked up in the herb garden! I saw a dandelion in bloom on my walk! Strange days, indeed.

(Some strange things here lately:  we're both eating a lot less; I'm really sick of cooking; I'm observing Dry January; I'm listening to more music.)

About that last one--I'm listening to more music partly to drown out the persistent whine of our furnace, which needs a new inducer motor. Every time our furnace revs up to get to temperature, it sounds like an airplane getting ready to take off. Then it simply settles into a high-pitched whine. This will go on until mid-January when they come and replace it for a whole lot of money. A whole lot. Definitely not a high point of 2022.

But Winter has returned with her frosty mantle and icy breath. A sprinkling of snow covered some high spots this morning, and I shivered as I took out the trash and fed the blue jays their breakfast buffet. Lately, some squirrels have gotten wise to the free food and grab some peanuts, too. Oh, well. We don't exclude or discriminate at our restaurant. All are welcome, and my cats are entertained.

I'm hopeful for 2023, as I am for every new year, and I'm sure you are, too. Let's hope that it makes us joyful, content, and satisfied. And let's do everything we can to make it so.




  1. You may wish anyone a happy new year whenever the mood strikes. As for your furnace, blah. As for walking outside in a sweater in winter, yay. I'm with you about how it doesn't have to be January 1st to decide to make self-improving changes. You can do that any day of the year. But that idea seems to be lost on some folks.

    1. Ally Bean--I've read several articles that recommend pursuing change/goals during spring or summer instead of the dead of winter. They posit that motivation will be higher when the weather is warmer and sunnier. I get that. Regardless, I work on my weaknesses throughout the year.

      Maybe the problem is that I need to make Fun Resolutions instead of dull and worky ones.

  2. Wasn't it absolutely decadent to have the windows thrown open in JANUARY??? It was so nice to have some fresh air. I noticed one of my daffodils is starting to poke up through the mulch. I'm guessing it is going to have a nasty surprise when it gets poked all the way up. I'm sure cold weather is not through with us.

    1. Dee--Open windows in January--and enjoying it--certainly was a luxury. The whole house felt ten times lighter. So did I.

      We're already back to reality here in NEO, but temperatures are still going to be generous midweek, when they will be in the forties. I'm grateful for any time we don't have snow. I've even tried to stop fussing about the persistent lack of sunshine. I may be learning Patience after all.

  3. The weather has been wild here too. Over Christmas, we plunged to rarely seen temperatures here and then for the past week or so it's been positively balmy and now we are getting cold again.

    I have never had Christmas Crack...I don't know, maybe I'd like it? I probably won't make it to find out though...I usually have plenty of treats laying around here as it is during the holidays.

    Happy New Year, Nance. It's definitely not too late for well wishes.

    1. Gigi--Christmas Crack is basically a crunchy, buttery toffee that is covered with chocolate. It's ridiculously easy to make. And eat. And eat and eat and eat. If you do make it, make it for a party or a gift so that you don't have any left over. Trust me.

      I guess you're right about it never being too late to wish someone well. Who wouldn't want to hear something happy and nice at any time at all?

  4. I'm with you. No resolutions for me. In general, I try to do good and behave and occasionally I opt to clean up my foul language habit. I do not need January to influence my do-better-damn-it goals.

    Eek- the furnace. Sorry about that. I went for two runs on days that were oddly warm and I was thrilled.

    All the best in 2023.

    1. Ernie--I've decided that my profanity is an inextricable part of me. I clean it up for certain audiences and occasions, but beyond that, oh well. Like you, I know what I need to do and strive to do it.

      I'm grateful that the furnace is still warming us and doesn't need to be completely replaced. But--yikes. This noise is so damned irritating. I'm surprised I don't have a constant migraine from it.

      Lots of runners were out and about on the warm days here. And dogs. I love it when there are lots of dogs out and about.

      I hope 2023 is a fantastic year for us all.

  5. Happy New Year - wishing you peace and joy in 2023!

  6. I like Happy New Year wishes any time. Thank you! Happy New Year to you, Nance!

    Continuous improvement makes more sense. Plus, there are so many traditional activities tied to New Year's resolutions that just aren't timely. Planning to walk more in 2023? Unless you live in a warmer place, January is not really a fun time to do it. Even when you have the best intentions, your plan can soon get derailed. Unless you get an unexpectedly warm period as you just experienced. We had one as well. It was terrific while "the kids" were here!

    I do agree that putting away the Christmas stuff gives one a boost to clean and organize a bit though. Like you, I always appreciate that!

    A new furnace. Ouch. A new heat pump was part of my house debacle recovery. Part of the reason it was all so very expensive. Wouldn't it be wonderful if such appliances lasted for the lifetime of the house? There's never a good time to have that kind of expense. Ugh.

    And ouch on your fall! I'm so glad you came out of this one in better shape. But they're scary. Even thinking you're going to fall. I feel much less flexible and balanced than in the past and I don't like it.

    I refuse to make anything with Crack in the name. Honestly, that's a long-going phenomenon that I wish would disappear. How can we make light of serious drugs and addiction? Would we call something Christmas Heroin? I know that I sound like a fuddy duddy nut job but I wince every single time I see or hear such a name.

    There never seems to be a shortage of things to be upset or concerned about so trying to make our year "joyful, content, and satisfied" definitely makes sense. Admittedly, I continue to struggle with the need to be informed and maintain my joy, etc. (There's even a meme on it. But I guess there's pretty much a meme on, well, everything now.) I won't give up though! That aspiration might be challenging enough to be one's only goal. Seriously. That's okay because it's definitely a worthy one!

    1. Shirley--I know exactly what you mean about the name of that confection. It sounds low-class, trashy, and in light of the serious addiction problems facing especially my state, insensitive. I like Bug's friend's new name, Party Bark, or perhaps Saltine Toffee or something. From here on out, that's what I'll call it.

      We were given a price on either replacing the inducer motor or the entire furnace. Thankfully, replacing the motor is cheaper than the whole furnace although still quite expensive. Interestingly, the HVAC company that we use is entirely woman-owned and operated. After the original owner's husband died, the wife took over and made it a point to hire female techs and office help. It's a great operation and we're happy to support it.

      You make a great point about balance and flexibility waning as we age. I'm noticing it more and more, and I'm really aggravated about it. I guess I didn't expect to physically age so dramatically. I keep remembering my grandmother saying how she felt like her body was letting her down. She always said her mind was full of ideas that her body wouldn't let her accomplish. My strength, especially in my arms, is so reduced.

      And I hear you with regard to metering news intake to safeguard mental health. So many of us feel that way. It's a fine line.

      Stay well, Shirley. (Another goal to strive for!)

    2. Nance, now that you've said that about the name, perhaps that's part of its appeal? Or was initially. The whole shock factor and outrageousness of it. It would be bad enough if it were just a single type of recipe but it's being used in so many recipes. Dips, chicken dishes (just saw one of those that a food blogger friend shared today), and more. A lot of my friends simply call the type of recipe that you love, homemade toffee. You all can call it whatever you like of course. I was simply expressing my personal opinion. Usually when you try to change the name of something, that makes folks cling to the old name even more. Anyway, I did get a chuckle out of the fact that you were talking about the future with this treat after saying that you may never ever make it again. LOL

      I love that you have that type of HVAC business you can support! I have a plumbing issue that male plumbers have not been able to figure it out and worse don't seem to care. I feel like a woman plumber would be committed to helping me solve the issue.

      Your grandmother certainly nailed the situation. I get so annoyed with friends who post the aging memes online and share similar jokes. Probably because they hit too close to home. I felt like doing firewood with Smokey and using a wooden spoon (vs a mixer) kept my arm strength pretty good for a long time but I'm doing very little of either activities these days so it's declining rapidly. Nothing makes you feel quite as weak as that fact does so I'm very sorry to learn you're experiencing the same. I'm resuming yoga to help a little with everything and hoping I can successfully avoid the poses that increase my risk of repeated vitreous detachment.

      It's ridiculous what qualifies as success when it comes to goals here some days but I'll take it. Again, I have to remember your worthy goals of joy, contentment, and satisfaction. I need a sign posted, or at least a catchy mantra to repeat. ;-) Thank you for always making me want to do better!

    3. Shirley--I recently read somewhere (maybe the NYT?) that when you are feeling happy, joyful, or some other positive emotion, you should stop and say so. In that way, you're sort of Marking The Occasion and making it memorable for yourself. It makes it so that you can feel that you actually do have more positive times than not. As someone who talks to herself (and to her cats) often, this isn't a problem for me. And I have no trouble at all telling other people I'm with that they make me happy or that I'm having a good time, etc. This may be something I try, if for no other reason than to combat my SAD.

      Thanks for your email! I'll get back to you soon.

  7. New Year's Resolutions: I decided decades ago that the symbolism of doing it once a year was counterproductive. Like you, I'm always looking for little self-improvement changes I can make whenever the inspiration comes. We are all a work in progress so to speak, and taking the symbolism out of it is much more conducive to success. If I have to start over with something, as often happens, at least I don't get a mental image of JANUARY FIRST glaring back at me, lol.

    I checked out the link for Christmas Crack. That same page also mentions using white chocolate. OMG. That would be killer for me. I wouldn't just be grabbing a bite every time I passed the fridge, I would be inhaling it all day long, lol. Especially if I made it with Ritz crackers which they also suggested. Every now and then I buy a little packet of (6) Ritz crackers with peanut butter and I have been known to wolf them down in one sitting.

    Sorry to hear about your furnace noise and the hefty cost of replacement. I would go bonkers with the high-pitched whine all the time as well, and likely put a second mortgage on our condo if it came to that, haha.

    I am feeling hopeful for 2023 for no particular reason except that I think the universe owes us a new year that makes us feel joyful, content, and satisfied. Even if our joy is based on what doesn't happen. After last week's sh*tshow in congress, I was delighted and totally blown away at the speech by Hakeem Jeffries made before passing the gavel over to McBarfy. Cheered me up immensely. XXOO

    1. Ortizzle--Hakeem Jeffries is a very worthy successor to Nancy Pelosi. He, too, is fearless, well-spoken, and smart. His speech showed exactly what the hapless and corrupt republicans will be dealing with when they try to sneak around the Democrats.

      Have you tried the Ritz Everything crackers, which are Ritz made with Everything Bagel seasoning? So good alone or with cheeses or peanut butter. Probably not good made into the candy recipe.

      I like the idea that we are all Works In Progress. It's true, of course. I am a very different person than I was even ten years ago. Maybe even five years ago. Do we all get better? That's the big question, I guess. Maybe we all get more tired and just cut a lot of shit loose, you know?

      In 2023 we *are* owed some satisfaction from the Universe. I like to call it The Great Reckoning. Fingers crossed.

    2. "Maybe we all get tired and just cut a lot of shit loose." = That gave me a belly laugh!! I think that's an immense part of the positive side of aging: there is so much flotsam and jetsam that we need to deal with as we get older, and I have noticed a strong tendency in recent years to abandon a lot of things that I once considered important or did because "it's what you everyone expects you to do." Some may think this is being narrow-minded, but I think it is just the opposite: freeing yourself of expectations that no longer apply to your life, traditions that are no longer sacred, or anything that just isn't worth it anymore is truly liberating and allows you to be more tolerant and forgiving, even if it is because you just don't give a crap about something anymore. (Insert laughing emoji with tears.)

      I was listening to an interview on NPR the other day with Arthur Brooks, author of "From strength to strength: Finding success, happiness and purpose in the second half of life." I decided to splurge and order it (paper, not audio, as I need fewer electronics and more physically tangible stuff in my life!). In the interview, the author focused on the two types of intelligence that we function on: fluid (in early life) and crystalized (in later life.) This is spot on with how I have been feeling in recent years: I don't think my creative abilities have dried up altogether, but things don't flow as smoothly as they used to, and I do find, working with my young college students, that I am prone to inject 'advice for life' comments more and more. It's very satisfying to be able to encourage a new generation about their potential. I laugh with them about the "OK Boomer" jokes and then I add little tidbits of advice for when they go out in the workforce. One of my favorites is "Don't be the problem. Be the solution. There will always be something to complain about in your job; keep that to yourself until you can suggest a way to make things better." Probably seems obvious to many people, but it's something that took me years to perfect since I am highly critical by nature, lol.

      My apologies for once again writing a novel in the comment section!

    3. Ortizzle--You can blog on my blog any old time. You know that.

      I'm going to look online for that interview. I will say, however, that I still feel a little fluid in my intelligence: I am learning a lot and am surprised by a lot almost every day, especially from my sons (and their gf's) and what they tell me about their work experiences. My *desire* to be creative is often not there as often; sometimes I just feel like "been there, done that", you know? Is that what Brooks means? I'll find out when I listen, I guess!

      I do like your axiom of keeping complaints quiet until you can suggest the solution. Or, I might add, you are ready to help work toward one.

      (As far as cutting shit loose, if you want a really good belly laugh, just go to a craft store or a home decor store at holiday time and look at all the junk on display for *that one holiday*. Extra chuckles if it's Halloween. Too much.)

  8. Oh, my. Getting into the 60s would be such a delicious treat this time of year! What do you think will happen to that parsley?! It must be so confused.

    We used to have a fridge that whined at a very high pitch constantly. I had no idea how much it was putting me on edge until we replaced it. I wish you good luck in your quest to drown out the noise of the furnace! Do you have noise cancelling headphones? That might be a solution for when it gets really bad!

    1. NGS--I'm sorry that your area of the world didn't share in the Warm-Up. It was a nice respite from the normal Januaryness. Perhaps your turn will come.

      My parsley is well-sheltered, being planted on a narrow strip between our house and the house next door. I often have fresh herbs well into December unless there is a terrible winter storm, which we did have, but with this odd warm-up, the parsley got confused. I think it will be nipped by weather this weekend, when we have a bit of snow.

      Thanks for the hint about headphones, but I cannot wear them. Due to 40+ years of migraines, I am unable to have anything that touches the top of my head or presses in at my temples or the sides of my head. And I have to be able to hear other things, just in case, since I am home alone all day long. Sometimes, I just turn the furnace off and use a heating pad at my back if I'm sitting down for a bit.

      Our refrigerator doesn't whine, but it runs so loudly--its fan, or whatever--and for so long! Sometimes, while prepping dinner, it really gets on my nerves.

    2. What about earbuds with a noise cancelling function? If they will stay in your ears, they don't touch your temples OR the sides of your head. I have some Bose earbuds and the noise cancellation feature is the best. Of course, it's true that you basically can't hear anything, so maybe it won't work, but any whining/droning in my world must be combatted!

    3. NGS--I wonder if my earbuds have that function. I'll check. Even having it briefly would be a godsend. Thanks for the idea.

  9. It is now 'that' Monday, the downest day of the year according to the pundits. Luckily I have your latest post to consider, and my wonderful neighbour who Cleans is here reaming out my house. It is, however, winter and grey and cold and I have the ESL for January and February to manage, along with clearing out the Christmas junk (Yes, it is packed up and off the mailbox and Not An Eyesore) and returning the boxes of it all to the Harry Potter Cupboard. I love that storage area - it hides a multitude of sins. (Is that Shakespeare? Sounds like him.)
    Wishing you a belated but heartfelt New Year greeting and all of that.
    We have a new Air Fryer. And it whines. And so does JG about the noise when it does so. And we are shopping for a new frig, but having poor luck as our cavity in the kitchen where it has to fit is an odd size.
    Hmm. That sentence is weird. I am obviously not hitting on all my grammar stops. And so I shall stop. For now. You will never get rid of me permanently.

    1. Mary--I'm finding a Biblical reference for "covering over a multitude of sins" in the book of James, specifically 5:20: ..." he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." Personally, I'd have bet on Shakespeare as well.

      The sun is desperately trying to peek through clouds here today, and I am cheering it on. I'm trying not to complain about the grey and gloom since we are free of snow, but these dark days challenge me terribly. I do not have a wonderful Neighbour Who Cleans, sadly, so I am on my own to spiff things up here today.

      We had the same problem shopping for a fridge at the lakehouse, where we had a teeny space and no need for a huge appliance. All refrigerators are so massive now. We finally found one, but it was by sheer luck.

      News of your steadfastness here is received with great satisfaction, dear friend. It is always a joy to see you. XO

    2. MARY G: I sympathize with the narrow space for a fridge! We live in a condo with a very tiny kitchen. The original fridge (from 1982!) was horrible and I couldn't even open the door all the way because it banged into the stackable washer-dryer that was right in front of it! Spent weeks investigating fridges. I decided it had to have French doors for obvious space reasons, and wanted stainless steel as well. Finally found a model with those specs that actually fit: 28" wide and 70" high. All we had to do was get rid of a small cupboard above the fridge space (which I never used anyway). So… don't know if your 'odd-size cavity" in the kitchen is similar to ours, but here's a link to the one we finally bought. It was the narrowest one I could find, and has enough space for what the two of us need.

  10. Oh Nance, I'm so sorry about your fall, but glad that you didn't chip or lose a tooth! And I feel your pain on the heater too! Thankfully it is still working, albeit noisily. Ours is 40+ years old, and every time it comes on and functions properly feels like a gift.

    You've motivated me to join in on Dry January. I wish I could be motivated to eat less.

    1. J--Thank you for your kind sympathy about my fall and my annoying furnace. My furnace is absolutely a slacker compared to yours! It's nowhere near forty years old. I might have to go to the basement and embarrass it today with a few choice words and news of yours.

      I decided to participate in Dry January because I drank a LOT of wine in December. And I ate badly, too. So I thought maybe cutting out the booze would at least help my body recover better while I also focus on getting back to my usual diet of very few sweets and snacks.

      Are you soggy and muddy? The weather there is increasingly a concern. Such extremes. All the Wishing For Rain we all did may have been too much.

  11. Whoops. I was typing and then POOF All was gone!!

    The Christmas crack indeed looks addictive. Good for you to be able to toss the remaining crack.

    I recently fell going UP the stairs too and it made me wonder if I really WAS THAT SPECIAL. Apparently we both are. Sorry about your busted lip and happy that you didn't lose any teeth. We need to remember to keep at least one hand free to catch us.

    The furnace would make me batty too, but then again, I might not hear it over my annoying tinnitus.

    Yay for a few nice January days!! I'm guessing since it was 45 here in sunny Florida, that you might be feeling a bit chillier.

    Cheers to a happy and healthy 2023!

    1. Oh. My. Gosh. THE TINNITUS!!! I keep saying that I'm losing my hearing, but really it's that the high pitched droning in my ears is drowning out the other stuff. I just try very hard not to fixate on it or it would drive me crazy.

    2. Tinnitus has actually been the cause of people losing their minds. Sadly.

    3. BB Suz--We *are* special, each in our Own Way. I'm up and down those damn steps every single day, and that was the first (and let's hope ONLY) time I've fallen on them. I'm blaming stress.

      You know, I've got a bit of tinnitus, too, a residual condition from my one bout with Covid. It's not too bad, but there are times when I notice it. The furnace, however, is ten times worse at least. The fix cannot come soon enough.

      I'm still out for my daily walks, bundling up when necessary, and will continue to do so until snow makes it unsafe. Today it was 48 degrees with little wind and just a hint of sun now and then. Not bad for January in NEO. I hope you warm up soon down there!


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...