Quote of the month
"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."
-- Oprah Winfrey
A New Year, A New Attitude
It's no wonder we dread resolutions. Usually that means we promise ourselves we'll stop doing something we enjoy, like eating sweets, to do something that's good for us, like getting fit. It requires discipline, by golly, and if we can stand it, we'll be better people.
Cathy Gronlund is a rare individual. Not only does she look forward to making New Year's resolutions, she actually keeps them. Her secret? A simple one-word theme, a positive attitude and persistence. She said, "Even if I fail in January, I still have the rest of the year to meet my goal."
For Cathy, her resolution for 2008 was summed up with one word: participation. She promised herself she would get more involved with her friends and her community. She would say "yes" when interesting opportunities presented themselves. Making good on her vow to get out of her comfort zone, she sang karaoke, did the chicken dance at a Brewers game in Wisconsin, and volunteered to play a blue-footed booby in a skit while on vacation in the Galapagos. She said it was fun to be featured in the photographs of strangers, since on other vacations she was always the one behind the camera.
Prior to 2008, she would sit quietly on the side lines, being afraid to look silly, thinking she didn't have what it took to be in the middle of the action. Late in 2007 she realized other people who did the same thing did look silly, but they also looked alive and vibrant.
"My goal of ‘participating' made my experiences richer and more memorable," Cathy said. "Being actively involved not only brought me out of my comfort zone, but it caused me to remain ‘present' in the moment. It was a very rewarding and enlightening year."
Charllotte uses a similar method. After she selects her word for the year, she writes about what it means to her, looks up the definition in the dictionary, and thinks about what qualities it will bring forward in the upcoming year.
Here's a list that might make good one-word themes for 2009. I've also included a few ideas after the first one. I left the others blank since it's up to you to decide how you want to implement your theme.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Write letters to people you are thankful to have in your life; be specific.
- Initiate brief conversations with your spouse, a relative or close friend about three things each of you is thankful for.
Instead of resolving to do things differently, maybe we need to think differently. The single focus Cathy and Charllotte bring to each New Year seems much more invigorating than making New Year's resolutions that will go in one year and out the other.
Announcing Fringe Ticklers!
If you thought the only use for chainette fringe was to decorate Victorian lampshades and flashy flapper frocks, think again. Do you have any idea how heavenly it feels to have 12-inch-long silky fringe caress your bare back? Whether you use it as the finale to a sensual massage or present it as a stand-alone treat, your sweetheart will thank you for it.
I bought one of these last October, and quickly realized one was not enough. One for each hand would double the pleasure. After I made another one for us, I decided to make them for you, too.
Fringe Ticklers are $12 each or 2 for $20. Place your order now in time for Valentine's Day. Allow 2 weeks for delivery. See what the Ticklers look like and order yours at Fringe Ticklers.
If "love" or "play" is your one-word theme, think Fringe Ticklers.
Making Your Valentine's Day Plans
If you're looking for unique Valentine's Day plans, check in the index of your copy of The Art of the Spark under Valentine's Day. Lovers on a budget, read pages 20 through 24 and 227 through 231.
Valentine's Day is a popular time to pop the question. If that's in your plans, see the index under Marriage Proposals for nine clever ideas.
If distance separates you and your sweetheart, page 204 offers for ideas on celebrating your long-distance love.
If you don't have your own copy of The Art of the Spark, you can fix that at Art of the Spark.
Fine Dining during Restaurant Week
In cities across the US and limited cities in Canada and Europe, participating high-class restaurants offer specially-priced three-course meals during Restaurant Week.
For example, since Denver is the Mile-High City at 5280 feet, couples can get multi-course dinners for two for $52.80. In Denver this popular event runs from February 21 to 27. Nearly 200 of the city's finest restaurants participate.
It's a win-win situation for their chefs and patrons. The reduced prices fill restaurants to capacity in an off-season week, and patrons enjoy gourmet dining. Check to see when Restaurant Week will be in a city near you at Restaurant Week Cities.
Celebrating with Food
Speaking of restaurants, the first two recipes were inspired by tasty dishes I had in restaurants. I did my best to recreate the dishes.
One of the Zalmanek family traditions is to have a chili cook-off during the Christmas holidays. Since I smoked the pork tenderloin on my stovetop smoker using oak smoke dust and added beer to the recipe, it was known as the "Sawdust and Beer" chili. It tasted better than its nickname indicates.
Winter is a cold time of year. After shoveling mounds of snow, reward yourself with some hot buttered rum. This is a wonderful recipe. If you live in a warm climate, pretend you've shoveled snow to earn it.
Until Next Time
If you enjoyed this free newsletter, please forward it to friends. I care about people and how they celebrate. If you have any stories you'd like to share, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you a life of romantic adventure,
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