Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year !!

I've been trying to come up with some good ideas for a Year In Review type post, to summarize the year we have had out in Happy Acres (no....that's not a joke, that is actually the subdivision name given to our little lake community when the lots were platted.....) but it's kind of hard to come up with something that covers the vast array of experiences, emotions, disappointments, surprises and turnarounds that have some to represent City Girl's 2011.

To start out our year, the Chef and I abandoned the city and headed west in search of a simpler life and happier times. We found a mixed bag. Simpler, yes. Easier, not even close. Our big plans for growing our own food and living with less became a mandate very early on. But Mother Nature was not going to cooperate and the weather  prevented us from having the garden we envisioned. Not that we didn't have a fantastic garden- we sure did, but it wasn't what we'd planned and  we learned a lot of Dos and Don'ts for next spring.

The crappy economy caught up with us and created a very challenging job situation for both of us. We hung on with both hands and went along for the ride, eventually landing in new jobs where we FINALLY are both happy and productive again.

The weather was a challenge. The long COLD wet spring prevented us from tilling a new garden spot until the last couple days of May- so we missed out on many early veggies and didn't have the time to prepare a brand new garden bed the way we wanted to. We were also forced to locate our garden right next to the dreaded walnut tree, and even though every expert on the planet said we'd never harvest a single tomato from that garden, a cupboard filled with canning jars full of tomatoes, "sun dried" tomatoes and salsa tell a different story. We beat the walnut tree !! We also got a late start on our pepper plants, which have a very long growing season- but in spite of that we managed to harvest enough of the super hot peppers to last us a couple years. A little ghost chile goes a long long long way ! And at the end of the garden season, we started a late planting of peas to try and recoup what we didn't get because the bad spring conditions and, guess what, now she decides that we don't need ANY rain. So.... here it is, January, and I have miniature pea plants, still bright green, still alive in the garden, but forever stunted by the lack of water.

And here we are in 2012, the first garden catalogs just beginning to arrive. We have plans - some work around the house, some things we'd like to buy. Places we'd like to go. The most important thing is we have a future and we have hope. And we have each other. I found something I'd like to share with you- I think it is a good plan for all of us to follow when starting over, whether it's the new year or just a fresh start.....

Life Choices- Optimism may improve your health and success

People don't often think about how optimism impacts their lifestyle, career and relationships. But a positive attitude can help avoid stressful situations, maintain better health, and may even allow one to heal more quickly when not feeling well, according to some experts.

"Optimism and the desire to be successful are the basis for a person's happiness and good health," asserts Elena Korneeva, a psychophysiologist. 

Korneeva promotes a happier, healthier lifestyle with these guiding principles:
* Joyful inspired and outspoken people make great company. These traits will attract people both professionally and personally.
* Laugh. People with a good sense of humor are the life of any party, at any age and in any social stratum.
* One who can sincerely laugh at their own mistakes can overcome most difficulties. A sense of humor is a trait of a harmonious person.
* Make an effort to truly understand and empathize with your conversation partners.
* Don't be afraid of situations that haven't even happened yet. By avoiding fear of the unknown, one can better focus on a positive solution.
* Optimism and humor makes a better parent. With these tools, children will bring joy rather that try the patience. Positive and creative parenting yields positive and creative children.
* An integral part of success is a healthy lifestyle, absent of bad habits. Eat varied, small meals four to five times a day, get sound sleep, and take part in sports and leisure activities.

"With optimism we fill our life with new meaning, and it helps us find a way out of a circle of troubles," says Korneeva.  -Adair County Free Press, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year !!
The Chef and The Baker

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