Funny Contemporary

Jan 1, 2024 - Primary resolution: a home-cooked dinner for every night in January. I live on unhealthy fast food, expensive ready-made meals from the grocery store, or nothing at all far too often. I hate that trite language, like "new year, new you!" Yet, this year will be different. A month of healthy, tasty, home-cooked meals is just what I need to kick off the year right - I'll save money and look and feel a whole lot better. Other resolutions: lose 40 pounds, quit all drinking, read one book per week, and make more money.

Dinner tonight was duck à l'Orange with all the fixings, and a really expensive Veuve Clicquot. I suppose that champagne goes against the resolutions, but it's a celebrating sort of day, and what else is better for my wicked hangover?

Jan 2 - Back at work. Blah. Rice and leftover duck for dinner.

Jan 4 - Forgot to log yesterday; ran the kids to practice and got them some McDonald's. Didn't eat anything. I was exhausted tonight, but dragged myself to the kitchen, sautéed some mushrooms, garlic, and spinach and put that on top of a microwave baked potato, with a pouch of salmon on top. I'm all in on this - it took me like 30 minutes, and saved me a ton of money!

Jan 5 - OK, so I think we need to revise these ground rules a little bit. Today is Friday, and we always have pizza and watch a movie on Friday. I'm not about to change that now, and since this is an individual challenge, I reserve the right to modify the rules. So: the resolution now is a home-cooked dinner every night in January, except for Fridays.

Jan 8 - Forgot to log for a few days, it's been busy! Peanut butter and jelly sandwich at 10:30 PM today. Not my best, but it's homemade!

Jan 16 - I need to be better at this. I can't remember what I had the past few days...come to think of it, I can't remember what I had for dinner yesterday. It's really cold out. I think I'm going to bed early.

Jan 20 - COVID test positive today. I feel like I could sleep for a week straight. Tried some soup for dinner, but forget that.

Jan 30 - Where does the time go? Let me catch you up - I got over the COVID, though it was as bad as they say. Guess I'm lucky I made it this far before catching it. Really, the worst of it was encapsulated in about 48 hours, but they were among the most dismal I've ever experienced. I'm finally starting to feel like myself, but I'm exhausted after the slightest activity.

Clearly, my plan for this month didn't pan out. January's tough, you know? Everyone has the winter blues, the kids are fussy about returning to school after break, and everyone is a little unmotivated from the holidays. February will be better - I'm going to start again next month. I spent the weekend looking at recipes online, though you really get caught in the stories. This one woman makes her own butter every morning in a handmade butter churn with milk from heritage cows, then bakes bread from scratch and cooks it in a wood-fired oven, all before 6:00 AM!

Feb 1 - We're doing this right this month! No Friday pizza, I'll buy it for the kids, but I'll make myself something healthy and fresh. I'm committed. Overnight, my energy suddenly returned - I woke up at five this morning, ran on the treadmill, lifted some weights, and prepped pulled pork for the crock pot. I should have used that last month, coming home to a perfectly cooked (and ready to go) dinner makes things a lot easier!

Feb 2 - Could barely get out of bed this morning. I think I pulled something in my back. Dinner last night was cereal - I forgot to plug in the crock pot. Advils and water for dinner.

Feb 5 - Still in considerable pain. Waited an hour to see the doctor, who told me it was "just a strain" and to take it easy for a couple days. I'm sure I broke something, the least he could have done was give me some stronger pills. Obviously the dinner plan is off the table while I deal with this, I can't be expected to cook in this condition!

Feb 10 - Back feeling better, but I won't be touching those weights any time soon! The treadmill, either - must be something wrong with the alignment. I should write the company and see what they have to say about that. Reminder for myself to do that at some point.

Obviously, I can't continue on the dinner plan this month, I already missed too many days. Start again fresh next month. Also, I modified my other resolutions; I think we look at things a little too optimistically at the start of the year. Instead of losing 40 pounds, my goal is to feel better in the way I look now. Instead of quitting all drinking, I will only drink 1-2 nights a week. Maybe three, but only if there's a holiday, and of course in moderation.

Reading books and making more money...one of those I know how to do, but don't always want to. The other one is just out of my control. Why don't we call those "optional goals," and just see how it turns out?

Mar 1 - I was telling my son about my dinner plan on the way to school today. After rolling his eyes and saying "again?" he pointed out that today is Friday. You know, it would actually cost me more to cook myself something if I'm buying the kids pizza, and isn't the whole point of this thing to save money and time? I mean, yes, also eat healthier, but the occasional pizza hurts no one.

Even, or perhaps particularly when writing in a journal I know no one else but me will ever read, I need to be honest with myself. If I start the whole month off with a cheat day, what sort of precedent does that set? Better to call off this month and start anew next. See you in April!

May 1 - I don't know what happened, I completely intended to start in April, but somehow it slipped my mind. Last week, I was watching a cooking show where they made a bunch of really fast meals in a wok, taking practically no time at all, which reminded me of my resolution. I was going to order a wok on Amazon, but Steve at work, he's a real foodie and he told me I needed a hand-forged carbon steel wok. They cost like $300, but I suppose it'll save me so much money in the end, how can I not?

Baked potato/sauté thing for dinner tonight. I need to read the care instructions and figure this wok out.

May 2 - I think I figured out the secret to why those wok meals are so quick and easy, and I'm not sure it'll work for me. The cooking is lightning fast - I think it took less than five minutes to cook a shrimp stir fry. The prep, however...mincing garlic then turning it into a paste, dicing onions and peppers into tiny bites, thawing shrimp, removing the seeds from the zucchini...I was a good 45 minutes in before I even started heating the wok, and the back of my neck was all tight from bending over the cutting board.

I figured I could go to the store and buy everything cleaned and pre-chopped, but doesn't that defeat the purpose? Plus, I don't know what I did wrong, I got the wok as hot as they said I should, but everything still stuck and everything in the dish was either burned to a crisp, or practically raw. The kids passed on it and I couldn't blame them, but I stuck it out and ate a small plate.

May 3 - Turns out I can't return the wok after I use it. Apparently, their "lifetime guarantee" is only if there's something defective with the wok, and I'm thinking that my disaster last night was user error. (Not like that treadmill - we finally figured out that the feet were not level, which made the whole thing off kilter. It wasn't in my head!)

Aug 14 - Just got back from our trip to Disney World...it was exhausting, but honestly, worth every minute. Watching the kids' faces light up over and over was so rewarding. We had enough time to spend a day at the beach, something I wish I could do every day. I have unpacking, shopping, and countless loads of laundry to do...but when things settle, I'll revisit my resolutions.

Nov 15 - How and why did this year slip by so fast?

Elephant in the room...guess I let this whole dinner thing slip these past few months, eh? Well, if I'm being honest, it's slipped from the start. As I sit here and think back, I do remember some really good meals that I cooked so far this year. A pork roast on a lazy Sunday that I forgot in the oven, and assumed would be dry as a bone, but somehow came out juicy and delicious.

Spaghetti tossed in some olive oil and garlic and topped with a little parsley on a random Tuesday at 10:00 PM, after we watched The Godfather for the 100th time. A big casserole dish full of homemade mac and cheese after my son's team lost the homecoming game - he didn't want to eat at first, but by the end of the night we were all back for another heaping plate as we played a ferocious game of Monopoly.

I think if you want to do something for 30 days, it's best that they aren't consecutive, after all. When you take away the spontaneity and turn something into a chore, you lose something of the joy in it all. Yes, I could potentially save money, lose weight, feel better, and all that if I were to cook every dinner from scratch. For some people, that might be a perfectly wonderful thing to do. For me, when I cook every day, I lose something. After all, nothing is free - there is always a cost to everything we do, it all depends on whether you find that cost cheaper or easier to bear.

The holidays are already upon us, so I think it's time to close the book on 2024 resolutions. I'll try again next year, after all, a new year is a great time for a fresh start. 

January 19, 2024 18:01

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Sophie Sullivan
18:14 Jan 22, 2024

This is brilliant! 22 days into January and I’ve given up on my resolutions 🤣 Yep, I’m taking note from the main character. “Optional goals” is the way to go!


Joseph Manopello
22:16 Jan 25, 2024

Exactly! It's never a failure if we re-adjust and keep on going!


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James Lane
18:09 Jan 20, 2024

hah! That was clever and hit far too close to home. Thanks for sharing Joseph


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