If my New Year’s resolutions were to watch football and stake out the coziest corner of the couch, then Jan. 1 was a success — although my beloved SEC took a hit as both LSU and Mississippi State LITERALLY dropped the ball(s), leaving Georgia and Vandy to represent so far. Now, since I am lazy lucky enough to work part-time in places that sensibly close during the holidays, it’s back to work for me after a two-weeks vacation. My family had a super Christmas. Hope yours did the same. I did discover that my children are sneaky — Older & Younger Daughter conspired to give me an iPad for Christmas and kept the secret (after bringing husband JP into the loop) ever since Black Friday, when my son-in-law apparently was conscripted to stand in line for it after Older Daughter came down with the flu. And you know I try not to be materialistic and to believe in the simple things of love and laughter, but the iPad is THE BEST THING EVER. Ever. It only leaves my hands when it’s time to finish leftover Christmas cookies. Also, husband JP took note of my Amazon wish list and I now have a gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired business-card holder and a lotion warmer that is the most luxurious thing ever and makes me think that perhaps a towel warmer is next. And then my mom gave us a monogrammed doormat, not knowing that JP only tolerates the open-scrollworked metal one we have now because although I think it’s the coolest doormat ever and totally says who we are as soon as you come to our front door, it does leave rust marks all over the porch’s concrete floor. So everybody was happy. And that’s a pretty good start to 2013.
Okay, y’all, here’s your chance to become famous — or infamous, maybe. When I was a staff writer at the TimesDaily newspaper in Florence, Alabama, I’d turn my New Year’s column over to readers every year and publish the funniest and most creative resolutions folks sent me. I didn’t do it this past year since I’m not working in the office anymore, but this year my dear husband pointed out that really that’s no excuse. So here you go: E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your best resolution for 2010 and you may see it in my Jan. 1 newspaper column. I need funny, witty, bright and creative — we all want to save the world and spend more time with our families and friends and adopt more stray puppies, so those don’t count. You can do better! And even though I need to know who you are and that you’re a real live legal non-scary person, you can have your name/location/identity published any way you want: “Mary Smith, Huntsville, Alabama” or “A gardener in San Diego” or “John Doe, writer and part-time cook in Seattle” or “Cathy’s friend and shopping co-conspirator” or whatever you want. So e-mail me your family-friendly G-rated resolution by Sunday, Dec. 27, include your true identity so I can reassure the paper that everybody’s cool and also include your identity the way you want it published. I may edit your resolution to fit the space but I promise not to drastically alter it. I cannot wait to see what you come up with!
Welcome to the first Saturday of 2009 and the ninth day in Cathy’s New Year’s Countdown for a tip on dismantling Christmas at your house. Look, even if you are one of those wonderfully organized people who already have (almost) all the holiday things wrapped, packed, labeled and back in the closet where they belong, you probably have a snowperson here and a Christmas candle there, still hanging around. And of course all the rest of us are staring at the tree that needs taking down today — or is that only me? Anyway, I admit I’m only so-so at housekeeping and downright bad at organization and in no way should I go around dispensing advice on these subjects, but I do love that wonderful feeling when everything is clean and uncluttered and efficient. Granted, because I’m inherently lazy and content to live like a slob, I don’t enjoy that feeling very often. But I know how to get it without much effort, so here’s a quick and easy route to post-holiday satisfaction: When you finally take it all down and put it all up, challenge yourself to 1) Throw/give away three things you don’t use but keep in storage anyway (this is where you can guiltlessly get rid of all those ugly Santas your aunt keeps giving you) and 2) Reorganize so you can easily put your hands on the essential part of your family holidays (the stockings, the Christmas CDs, the Advent calendar) that you spent two weeks trying to find in 2008. Do these things, and I promise you December 2009 will be a little less stressful. Not much, but a little. And isn’t that good enough? Check back for day no. 10 in Cathy’s New Year Countdown.
Welcome to the eighth day of Cathy’s New Year Countdown. Look, I promise you that it is not too late to make your 2009 resolutions. (Go to http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20090102/ARTICLES/901020301 to find out why.) You were nursing a headache busy yesterday, anyway, so make today the day. Need inspiration? Go to your favorite bookstore and find new guides and how-to’s for every problem you’ve got. Browsing in good bookstores is a joy and treat you deserve — what better way to start 2009? (A friend told her book-loving granddaughter she’d take her to Barnes & Noble for her birthday but they only had a couple hours and her granddaughter said, “Only two hours? That’s not much time!”) My motivating picks for 2009 are “A Year of Wine” — which explores the idea of drinking wine by the season and packs in lots of wine info — because I want to stop wandering around wine shops aimlessly and choosing bottles only by the cute labels; “Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design” — a workbook for identifying and celebrating your personal style — because I have none; “Great Hair,” by What Not To Wear’s Nick Arrojo — who shows you how to choose styles and products based on your hair’s texture — because my hair is a disaster; and “Get Positively Beautiful,” by WNTW’s Carmindy — who believes in enhancing the positive instead of hiding the negative — because I couldn’t get Nick Arrojo’s book without getting Carmindy’s, too. Based on the way my post-holiday house looks right now, I probably should have concentrated on books about cleaning and organizing, but wine, fashion and makeup are much more fun. Check back for day no. 9 in Cathy’s New Year Countdown, when we finally face the dismantling of Christmas.
Welcome to the fourth day in Cathy’s New Year Countdown. It’s the Monday after Christmas. The stockings are down, the presents are done and the tree looks sort of lonely sitting there all by itself. Post-Christmas blues, anyone? Here’s a trick to pick yourself up out of your holiday funk. Gather together all the January magazine issues you didn’t have time to read before Christmas, brew some good coffee or pour your favorite wine and enjoy some good old-fashioned escapism. You deserve it, and I promise you’ll have a whole new attitude when you’re done. For instance, right now Vogue wants to show me how to dress cheap and chic and Instyle has tips on making the most of what I have (but how do they know what I have?) and dressing slim. Lucky offers 564 ways to step up my style. Southern Living has the coziest comfort food and easy ideas to relax my rooms. And I can “feel calmer now” with Real Simple’s 20 essential organizing lists (although the thought of 20 lists is not calming at all, seems to me) and learn must-try recipes from Hawaii’s star chef with Coastal Living. See, don’t you feel better already? Now, if somebody would just actually do all those things for me, 2009 would be practically perfect. Anyway, check back tomorrow for the fifth day of Cathy’s New Year Countdown.