Well, we’ve already started off the year right with black-eyed peas (Eden Foods canned but organic) and turnip and mustard greens from the Back Forty. I cooked the greens with a couple of strips of cooked bacon (certified humanely raised, and organic to boot) and a couple of cloves of garlic, also from the Back Forty.

For tonight, there will be pot roast from Rocking F Farm, with onions and carrots and mashed potatoes from Deep Roots Market. Fresh herbs from the Back Forty, although I think that my parsley has had it with the wild weather swings.

Rumour has it that whatever you do on New Year’s Day will be what you do during the coming year, or something like that. Happily, then, I am not hungover. I spent the morning writing in my journal and binding a book. After I post this, I’m going out to the studio to weave and work on another book.

I don’t reserve New Year’s Day for resolutions. I resent being expected to do things on certain days. I guess that’s why I hate feeling obligated to buy gifts for certain days. I definitely don’t mind giving gifts, but buying or receiving a gift that doesn’t have some thought and care behind it bugs the crap out of me. I’d rather wait to find or make a meaningful gift and give it on whatever day it presents itself, and prefer receiving nothing to anything else.

For example, my grand nephew gave me a chunk of cedar wood at Christmas. He told me that it was about to be thrown into a fire and he remembered from when we went to the lake that I liked weird pieces of wood. What a wonderful gift. Not that I didn’t like the Rachel Ray cookbook that his grandmother gave me on his behalf, but that piece of wood really rocks.

And food gifts. I love receiving home baked or canned goodies. However, that leads me to Goal #1 for 2009, not necessarily the most important goal, but the one that will begin this weekend. Losing weight and exercising. Really. I want to lose at least 25 pounds by the end of this year. I have to stop this weight gain, less for my vanity than for the strain it is putting on my back and hip, and the strain it will put on my pocketbook if I have to go up a size in clothes.

To that end, I’ll walk at least 30 minutes 3 times a week, and add more as my hip gets better. In a month or two I’ll be working on the garden again and that will help too. And I will drastically lower my sugar intake, which I hope will not be that hard for me. Giving up butter and bacon – now that will suck big time. But I need to lower my saturated fats too.

The second, and equally if not more important goal is to continue to develop my artistic life. I begin my woodcut/wood engraving class January 20. I have a direction for my books – remember the woven ATCs? They are becoming covers for books. I have a new warp on my loom for more dishtowels because I enjoy doing something with a simple pattern and a rhythm now and then. I am teaching a two-part workshop for my weaver’s guild on the Sarah Swett tapestry box in February and March. That’s winter and spring.

My immediate goal is to apply for a scholarship or studio assistantship to Penland this summer. Daniel Essig and Helen Hiebert are both teaching there in June and July. There are other artists teaching this summer that would further my artistic goals as well, but those are the two I am familiar with. Now the scary part – I really need for Dan to write me a letter of recommendation, because I’ve only had a couple of art teachers lately and he is one of them. Normally John would be my go-to person, but he is gone and none of the professors at UNCG know me yet. So I’m going to email Dan and ask him to consider me for an assistant and to write a letter recommending me for a scholarship or assistantship or both. This wouldn’t ordinarily seem so scary, but I had a former instructor ignore my repeated requests the last time I needed a letter. It’s quite a kick in the chops. Susanne has agreed to write me the first letter.

I’d prefer a scholarship because I don’t think that I could work 25-40 hours a week AND do an intense art class for two weeks. I know that part of it is working the day before and after, but with my joint problems I just don’t see it happening. What would be the point of taking the class if I was too tired or achy to get the most out of it? But having seen Dan’s class and what his assistant did before, I feel pretty confident that I could handle being his assistant. He may already have one, or doesn’t want one, or wants one that is better experienced with tools, which won’t hurt my feelings if he will recommend me for a scholarship.

Oh yeah, and save money to go to Italy next year, as I’ve done every year and watched my plans go down the drain! But I’ve used the money for other, almost as nice opportunities.

Soon we will refinance the house and add in some money to do some of the expensive repairs and renovations that we need to do; for example, the missing joist under the house and rebuilding the deck into a small porch that will give us access to the basement without it being a major two-person operation just to change the freaking furnace filter.

Another goal is the same one from last year that I re-affirmed to myself several weeks ago. I will be less judgmental and more compassionate for others and myself.

And I will spend more time doing things that I like to do, and less time doing things that I don’t like to do. But regardless of that, I will keep the dishes washed and the kitchen relatively clean, while cooking and preparing more healthy food for my husband and me.

These are my intentions for 2009.